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Old 11-08-2004, 12:23 PM   #1
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Unhappy Found a wire in the roof

This weekend I installed my new AC unit. After removing my old AC unit I found a romex wire tucked behind the insulation between the interior skin and the exterior skin. There are white and black aluminum wires in the sheething (black is hot). On this forum I read that some AS models would have this wire available for the AC. I assume the PO was not aware that this hidden wire was there. He had wired the old AC by running the another wire through conduit to the breaker box (ugly). The biggest surprise was when I stripped the insulation to get it ready for connection; I found that this wire was hot. I had unplugged the 110V and had only the 12-volt converter on. I assumed that this wire should be 110 in order to power the AC.
  • This scenario tells me that the wire is 12 volt, right?
  • Shouldn’t it be 110?
  • Can anyone help me figure out how to tack this wire down?
  • Once I track this wire down, is it ok to convert it to 110?
  • Is it ok to hook up the new AC to this aluminum wire?
  • What are the precautions of aluminum wire?


Thanks,

Bill
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66 Tradewind
This scenario tells me that the wire is 12 volt, right?
Shouldn’t it be 110?
Can anyone help me figure out how to tack this wire down?
Once I track this wire down, is it ok to convert it to 110?
Is it ok to hook up the new AC to this aluminum wire?
What are the precautions of aluminum wire?
Bill,

I have worked with aluminum wire in both my house, and my Airstream. Yes, it sounds like someone has "converted" an aluminum wire from 120 vac to 12 vdc service. Wire gauge wise, I do not see an issue. How this aluminum wire is connected to the 12 vdc service might be an issue if the wrong fittings were used.

To track it down, start at where your 12 vdc breakers and/or fuses are, and look for aluminum wire. Since I doubt it will be that easy, move on to your 120 vac breaker box. All of your 120 vac lines should come out of the wall somewhere around the box. Look for a wire that does not go into the box.

If those two approaches fail, you will have to start removing light fixtures & studying their wiring connections to find the aluminum wire. If you do find the wire, look around for another aluminum wire. Their is a good chance that the previous "electrician" cut the aluminum wire in order to make the 12 volt connection.

The only precaution you need to keep in mind is to use connectors rated for service with aluminum wire. Instead of going into numbing detail at this point, go ahead and trace your wire. If the right way to re-connect the wiring eludes you, we can discuss a solution to your particular problem.

Good luck!
Tom
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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Found a wire in the roof

Greetings Bill!

It would appear from your description that the previous owner may have placed the air conditioner in an existing vent opening rather than where the Airstream is braced, wired and plumbed for an Air Conditioner unit. My guess is that the 12-volt wire is the one that would have connected to the ventilator fan in the original roof vent. By checking with Airstream, an Airstream dealer, or an Airstream Service Center, you should be able to learn where the intended air conditioner location was, and that is where you are likely to find the 120-Volt AC wiring, factory bracing, and the built-in condesate drain tube(s). I know from what has been posted by reliable sources that the wiring and bracing was done to all coaches by 1966, but am not certain whether the condesate drain tube will be present - - I know my Overlander had the factory pre-wire and brace but the condesate drain tube was not included so it was run along one of the interior bulkheads then along the wall to where it exited the coach through the floor.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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Old 11-09-2004, 05:41 AM   #4
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Looking for that wire

Hi! I would be interested in finding out "just where exactly" you found that wire. We have a vintage AC unit to install and would like to locate it in the correct place, using the factory installed wiring. Thanks all! (I love this place!)
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:08 AM   #5
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Found a wire in the roof

Greetings eljay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eljay
Hi! I would be interested in finding out "just where exactly" you found that wire. We have a vintage AC unit to install and would like to locate it in the correct place, using the factory installed wiring. Thanks all! (I love this place!)
The Air Conditioner pre-wire is located a specific distance from the #1 roof bow (intersection of front dome and main roof panel). This distance varies depending upon model (length of coach) and date of production. The safest method of obtaining the measurement (be prepared with the coach's VIN) is to contact an Airstream dealer, Airstream Service Center, or the Customer Service at the factory. I know that my dealer contacted the factory to get the correct measurement for both the Overlander and Minuet.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljay
Hi! I would be interested in finding out "just where exactly" you found that wire. We have a vintage AC unit to install and would like to locate it in the correct place, using the factory installed wiring. Thanks all! (I love this place!)
eljay,
Did your AS have an AC at the time you bought it? If so, hopefully the PO installed it in the right place. There are cross/side supports to help carry the weight. I found my wire on the forward corner, curbside of the cut out, behind some insulation. If I had to guess it is one of the wires behind the refrigarator on the curbside. I am still trying to figure this out.
Good Luck,
Bill
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:08 AM   #7
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Nope, no AC installed. That's why I want to do it right the first time...
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