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Old 08-13-2012, 11:32 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Mobile Doctor Unit

We are converting a 76 31' sovereign into a medical mobile doctors unit. While very excited about the project, we have hit a couple of stumbling blocks that I was hoping someone could help with. :

1. we removed the front / rear plastic molding - now we need to rebuild the interior walls were the prefabbed molding was. a) what material should we use - i.e sheet metal b) how in the heck do we get the material molded to the curves ? or c ) is there a replacement unit we can purchase ?

2. since this is an office and we will not need the 12v system (with exception of Jack) - we were going to do away with it and convert everything to 110 ... eg. motor in the overhead fan, water pump --- Question: anything wrong with this idea ? Any suggestions?

3. We are in the Phoenix Arizona area - any clubs/specialists here that can be recommended?

This is it for now ... sure there will be more.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:47 AM   #2
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Rewiring would be needed, as the 12v wiring is not designed for the loads you might put at the end. You might have issues finding 'small' stuff that runs 110V... little fans for the vents, for the fridge, water pump... all little 12v motors. It's possible for sure.

Many vintage parts are still available... sheet metal (unless you are talking aluminum) can't be easily formed. Aluminum is the other material Airstream has used for interiors, and can be ordered in all kinds of thicknesses and shapes. They might be able to send you the exact piece you need. Check other vintage Airstream part suppliers as well...
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
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Welcome to the forums.

Are you referring to the end caps which are the molded plastic pieces that are at both ends of the trailer? Pictures would help...

Most of the systems are 12 volts. Since this will be a mobile unit, you will need 12 volts for the emergency break away brakes which are required by law. To change everything to 120 volts will require a complete rewire of the trailer and pulling most of the interior skins to do that. My suggestion would be to stick with the existing 12 volt systems.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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I must agree that changing everything over to 12V is going to make things harder than they have to be. You will probably need to upgrade the wiring and add more circuits on the AC side. You can make an inside end cap by making sections of aluminum. You may need to add some ribs to rivet to. There are others on here with more experience than I have on that. If you put a light right in the middle you would have a built in reflector.

Perry
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:43 PM   #5
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It has been 30 or so years since I apprenticed but I'm pretty sure medical offices/hospitals have separate and much stricter code requirements for the wiring, outlets etc. I honestly dont know how this would translate in a mobile office such as this but I suggest you do your research now so you dont have to do a much more expensive second rebuild later.
tim
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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What I ment to say was leave the 12V systems intact and add whatever AC additions you need.

Perry

Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I must agree that changing everything over to 12V is going to make things harder than they have to be. You will probably need to upgrade the wiring and add more circuits on the AC side. You can make an inside end cap by making sections of aluminum. You may need to add some ribs to rivet to. There are others on here with more experience than I have on that. If you put a light right in the middle you would have a built in reflector.

Perry
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:04 PM   #7
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I meant aluminum.

We will only have lights / AC , and electric outlets for laptop / printers. So not sure why we need 12v - except for as previously stated the jack, and apparently an emergency breakaway break...
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:05 PM   #8
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Yes the interior molded caps.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #9
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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The lights are all 12v and as Perry suggested, I would leave them that way. However I would convert the bulbs to all LED type since this will result in current flows that are about 10% of what they would need to be with incandescent bulbs. You may want to add a lot more lighting too. You can do this easily if you use LED bulbs.

Good Luck.

Dan
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:39 PM   #10
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1976 31' Sovereign
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photos of front/end caps that need repairing
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:40 PM   #11
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1976 31' Sovereign
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We have removed all the existing lighting and will replace with fluorescent light fixtures running down center
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:30 AM   #12
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Considering you are in Arizona, I assume you plan on using air conditioning in the summer months. Camping in the desert is different from a mobile office and/or exam room in an Airstream.

Also, it sounds like there will be extra medical equipment, computers, copy and fax machines, more lighting in an office environment than most people need while camping, and frequent traffic coming in and out; so it may be difficult to keep it cool inside. Sounds like you may need a larger, or even a second air conditioner, if you don't already have one.

Also, if this will be a mobile unit, will it always be connected to shore power? If so, you'll need to add at least a 30-amp RV outlet at each remote location. And, if you have two air conditioners, a copy machine or laser printer(s), and other medical equipment, you may need 50 amps or more, which might necessitate additional outlets, wiring and breakers inside and higher capacity RV connector(s) outside.

As an aside, we installed a 65 ppm copier in our home office (previous living room); and when it's running, the heat from the fuser unit is roughly equivalent to turning the kitchen oven to broil and leaving the oven door open. When we run our large color printer and copier at the same time, our home air conditioner runs continuously to keep the office at 80-82 degrees. If you plan on installing heavy amperage office and medical equipment, you should have an air conditioning specialist evaluate your needs to determine the proper unit(s) for your Airstream. Then, you may need to modify your wiring to meet these requirements.

In addition, if you will travel to remote locations where you may need to provide your own power, you should probably be thinking about generators, fuel storage and how you will transport this additional equipment.

Just a few things that I'm sure you have already considered...
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