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Old 06-06-2009, 09:49 PM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
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1964 Overlander Interior light Issue

I am in the middle of sorting out my interior electrical components. My exterior lights (tail lights and clearance lights) work well. However, the interior lights are an issue. They only work when the trailer is hooked into the pickup outlet. When I disconnect from the truck and hook up to battery in the rear compartment the left side of the "switch" in the rear compartment which switches between 110 Volt and 12 Volt seems to work, the water pump and exhaust fan work. On the right side of the "switch" nothing seems to work. I can't get the interior lights on. Is this a fuse issue or is there another issue with the 'Switch". When I bought the trailer the 110V cord was cut and taped over in the rear compartment so I currently do not have access to 110V. Any help appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
I am in the middle of sorting out my interior electrical components. My exterior lights (tail lights and clearance lights) work well. However, the interior lights are an issue. They only work when the trailer is hooked into the pickup outlet. When I disconnect from the truck and hook up to battery in the rear compartment the left side of the "switch" in the rear compartment which switches between 110 Volt and 12 Volt seems to work, the water pump and exhaust fan work. On the right side of the "switch" nothing seems to work. I can't get the interior lights on. Is this a fuse issue or is there another issue with the 'Switch". When I bought the trailer the 110V cord was cut and taped over in the rear compartment so I currently do not have access to 110V. Any help appreciated.
Thanks.

The problem should be a switch issue.

You can remove all those switches if you installed a univolt.

That would give you an on board charging system, as well as 12 volts DC for all the lights.

The hookup is very easy.

Andy
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:09 PM   #3
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1964 Overlander Interior light Issue

Greetings 64Overlander!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
I am in the middle of sorting out my interior electrical components. My exterior lights (tail lights and clearance lights) work well. However, the interior lights are an issue. They only work when the trailer is hooked into the pickup outlet. When I disconnect from the truck and hook up to battery in the rear compartment the left side of the "switch" in the rear compartment which switches between 110 Volt and 12 Volt seems to work, the water pump and exhaust fan work. On the right side of the "switch" nothing seems to work. I can't get the interior lights on. Is this a fuse issue or is there another issue with the 'Switch". When I bought the trailer the 110V cord was cut and taped over in the rear compartment so I currently do not have access to 110V. Any help appreciated.
Thanks.
It sounds like you may have multiple issues and it may take repairs to more than one to stabilize your 12-volt operation. In the '64 Overlanders, all of the interior lights are 12-volt DC. With the fact that the lights work when connected to the pickup, that solves the problem of whether they work at all -- that leaves open several possibilities:
  • That switch that is in your one-stop service compartment (has red polarity light on it as well) was originally designed to work as a means of switching between opeating from shore power (Univolt powering all of the 12-volt devices) to battery power (all 12-volt devices pulling power from battery).
  • Your water pump, furnace blower motor, and ceiling fans (assuming that they are original 1964 issue) are an exception to the norm in that they are "throwbacks" to the days before the Univolt was adopted -- each of these motors has its own power converter so typically will operate whenever power is available.
  • One of the first issues may be to determine why the end was cut off of your 120-Volt AC power cord.
    • Could there be a ground-fault in the AC wiring side of your coach? One of the first required replacements on my Overlander was the Circuit Breaker Box -- there was a ground fault and the circuit breakers were ruined as a result -- went with a new box to be certain that all was up to standard from the shore power cord to the breaker box.
    • Did someone get fed up with the buzzing of the Univolt and cut off the shore power cord so it could no longer make noise?
  • If the lights work with power from your tow vehicle, there isn't likely to be a fuse problem -- unless there is something very unusual in the way a previous owner has "re-wired" your coach.
    • There is an outside possibility that you have a weak fuse on either one or both of your battery cables. My coach didn't have its original cables, but if yours does, there were fuses in each cable that can become weak and cause numerous problems.
    • Another possibility would be a ground problem in your coach. Tracing your coach's negative ground wire from its battery to its attachment point and cleaning all connections may correct the problem.
    • Is the Univolt still in your coach? If the Univolt was completely removed, you may not have a 12-Volt Fuse panel as it was built into the Univolt -- this could account for problems operating without the tow vehicle depending upon how the "loose" wires were handled following the removal of the Univolt. The Univolt in the '64 Overlander was in the streetside corner of the One-Stop Service Center -- it wasn't exactly easy to get to and was a rather large (probably dark green) box that when connected to shore power likely hummed very loudly.
Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

If you don't have a manual for your coach, there is a pdf file containing one for a 1965 Caravell that will give you an idea of how your coach is supposed to work -- they are very similar with the exception of where the battery is located.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:25 PM   #4
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Interior light Issue 1964 Overlander

Dear Kevin,
Thanks for the input. Was a Univolt Transformer standard operating equipment for a 1964 Overlander? I think I'm missing mine. Do you have a picture of your rear access comparment where it is located in relation to everything else I would really appreciate it. If it's missing any suggestions on options for a replacement? Also, does the switch box between land power and battery power hook directly into the Univolt? Does the Univolt act as a converter to keep the battery charged while on land (110 V) power? Was there no inverter in these units to run a 110v tv? From what I can see the battery cables go back to the Switch box but from there I am lost as to where the wires should leave the switch box. There is a gray box tucked into the corner of the trailer with what appears to be 110V wire but it's tough to access to see where wires are coming and going.

Also thanks to everyone else for there responses as well
Thanks,
Scott
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:39 PM   #5
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1964 Overlander Interior light Issue

Greetings Scott!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
Was a Univolt Transformer standard operating equipment for a 1964 Overlander? I think I'm missing mine.
Yes, '64 was the first year for the standard Univolt. It is part of the reason that we continue to have the AC fan motors as that was the standard prior to standardization of the Univolt.

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Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
Do you have a picture of your rear access comparment where it is located in relation to everything else I would really appreciate it.
Since my coach has been substantially changed -- switched to Solar Power with an Inverter/Charger arrangement rather than the typical power converter, I am afraid that my present configuration wouldn't hlep you. What I do believe that I have is a factory photo of the original configuration of the compartment -- I will be packing my coach for a rally tomorrow and I will look in my historical materials and see if I can locate that and will post it if I happen to find it where I think it should be stored.

The original arrangement of the '64 Overlander one-stop-service-compartment was comparatively crowded -- water intake (pressure regulator and switch to select city water or on board water, PAR water pump, Univolt, and series 24 or 27 Deep cycle marine battery -- that in addition to all of the bathroom plumbing and fixtures. I can understand your confusion as the electrical and water systems are so compacted into the streetside of the compartment that it can be difficult to identify whether some devices are electric or water.

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Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
If it's missing any suggestions on options for a replacement?
Even if the Univolt isn't missing, it would be cheaper in the long-run to replace it with something more modern that will actually maintain rather than just charge your battery. These early Univolts have the reputation for boiling the electrolyte and greatly shortening the battery's life. I know that with my Minute's Univolt it is almost a given that it will need a new battery each season as the Univolt boils the electrolyte more quickly than it can be replaced.

The generally preferred replacement is the Intellipower with Charge Wizard. My Minuet will eventually receive one of these to hopefully reduce the frequency of battery replacement (my Overlander's batteries are more than six years old and still check-out as fully functional).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
Also, does the switch box between land power and battery power hook directly into the Univolt?
The 120-Volt AC/12-Volt DC switch is actually almost like a standard light switcch. When 120-Volt AC is selected the Univolt is powered on as are all of the AC electrical outlets and air conditioner if so equipped. When the switch is set to 12-Volt DC, the 120-Volt AC is turned off and the only source of power is the onboard battery -- which means only the 12-volt lights, fans, water pump, and 12-volt convenience outlets will work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
Does the Univolt act as a converter to keep the battery charged while on land (110 V) power?
Yes, the Univolt is strictly a battery charger power converter. It does not monitor rate of recovery or anything else regarding the battery -- it just charges continually boiling the electrolyte in the process. It also converts 120-Volts AC to 12-Volt DC as well as 18-Volts DC (for ceiling fans, range vent fan, and furnace fan).

If the Univolt is original it is well beyond its expected life and is likely experiencing more than one problem. The main thing to consider when replacing is to salvage the 12-volt fuse panel that is found behind a panel on the Univolt -- it might really be better to purchase a new fuse panel that utilizes the new automotive style fuses as they are much easier to find when a replacement is needed (my personal preference may be showing here as I don't like to change the glass-bodied fuses).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
Was there no inverter in these units to run a 110v tv?
No, an inverter wasn't even offered as an option. It was anticipated that the television would be 12-volt DC. If you have the International Package (VIN startes with an "I"), you will likely find a 12-volt convenience outlet and tv-antenna outlet on the wall above your refrigerator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
From what I can see the battery cables go back to the Switch box but from there I am lost as to where the wires should leave the switch box. There is a gray box tucked into the corner of the trailer with what appears to be 110V wire but it's tough to access to see where wires are coming and going.
I suspect that what you are seeing is the Univolt or possibly its replacement from sometime in the past. The Univolt was really tucked back into the corner and was VERY difficult to access. I will try to find the photos that I have of the original access area for the Univolt and water pump and post them sometime tomorrow.



The photo of my one-stop-service compartment prior to installation of the solar panels and charging system. The second replacement for the original Univolt is the gray/green box immediately to the left of the toilet -- it is further toward the door and has been slightly rotated so that the fuse panel is/was more easily accessed. My polarity light and switch mechanism were removed when the first replacement Univolt was installed (a job performed by Camping World). I will still try to locate the original photos as they may be more descriptive of what you are seeing.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 64Overlander View Post
. . .

1. Was a Univolt Transformer standard operating equipment for a 1964 Overlander? I think I'm missing mine. . . . If it's missing any suggestions on options for a replacement?

2. Also, does the switch box between land power and battery power hook directly into the Univolt?

3. Does the Univolt act as a converter to keep the battery charged while on land (110 V) power?

4. Was there no inverter in these units to run a 110v tv?

5. From what I can see the battery cables go back to the Switch box but from there I am lost as to where the wires should leave the switch box.

6. There is a gray box tucked into the corner of the trailer with what appears to be 110V wire but it's tough to access to see where wires are coming and going.

7. Also thanks to everyone else for there responses as well. Thanks,
Scott
Hi Scott:

Here's a slightly different take on a few things . . .

A1: Yes, it was standard equipment for all 1964 Airstream trailers. For 1964 only, the Univolt was a dual output AC transformer that powered all interior lights on 12 volts AC (the bulbs don't care whether the 12 volts is AC or DC) and all motors -- the water pump motor and the roof and stove exhaust fan motors -- on 18.5 volts AC (a near equivalent to 12 volts DC as far as motors are concerned).

There was no converter (120 VAC to 12 VDC) feature in the 1964 Univolt, which is why it was necessary to have two different AC outputs, 12 volts and 18.5 volts, to run lights and motors repspectively. If the 1964 Univolt had a converter feature (which feature was first introdued in 1965), then it would have been unnecessary to have dual voltage AC outputs; instead, both interior lights and all motors could have been run off of 12 volts DC. But a converter feature was not available in 1964 only Univolts.

Remember, "Univolt" was a marketing name, not a brand or model name, and the equipment sold by Airstream as a "Univolt" changed every few years or sooner, so Univolt comparisons across different years is often confusing, meaningless and far from helpful.

If your Univolt is missing, do a dance and celebrate. Then go out and buy a brand new combination unit that is both a converter and a 3 stage smart battery charger. Like Kevin, I like the Inteli-power but bought mine 5 years ago when it was then state-of-the-art. Today other people like the newer WFCOs, Magneteks, Xantrexs and Inteli-powers. Read up on them all here:

BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics

A2. I'd say it backwards. The Univolt should hook up to the "shore power" side of the selector switches to power all interior lights and motors when the trailer is plugged into 120 volts AC shore power.

A3. No, the 1964 Univolt was not a converter and it did not have a battery charge feature. That first came in 1965, when Univolts "cooked" batteries rather than intelligently charge them. For years, old "Univolts" were fixed rate single stage (on or off) battery chargers that would boil batteries if left plugged in for too long a time. Today's electronics are far, far better, so get a brand new combination unit.

A4. Correct, there was no inverter factory-installed in 1964 Airstreams. But an owner subsequently could have added one on his/her own, so there may/may not be one in your Overlander today. I can't say.

A5. The cable from the battery to the switch box originally powered the "battery power" side of the light and motor selector switches.

A6. That should be your 120 VAC circuit breaker box with mechanical re-settable circuit breakers that turn off the shore power if you have a large enough short in your trailer.

After unplugging your trailer from shore power, IMMEDIATELY disconnect the "reverse polarity" indicator lamp because that light bulb is a deadly path for electricity when the shore power box you plug your trailer into is wired incorrectly. That lamp causes your the trailer skin to become the "hot" side instead of being the "ground" side. If you then touch your "hot" trailer skin while standing in water or on nice damp ground, you may get "zapped" as if you were sticking a metal rod into the "hot" side of a live 120 VAC plug while bathing (NOT recommended, of course).

The fact that your 120 VAC shore power cable was cut off when you bought the trailer tells me there is a serious wiring problem in the trailer that must be fixed before your trailer could be plugged into 120 VAC. But cutting off the cable, the last (or some prior) owner had made sorting out the electrical wiring problems your challenge. He obviously did not want liability from anyone plugging the trailer into 120 VAC in its present condition. So take your time and locate all electrical problems. Purchase a decent multimeter (VOM, or volt-ohm-meter) if you don't already own one.

A7. Your are welcome. I hope this helps you a bit. Have fun and good luck!
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:18 PM   #7
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Interior Electrical Lights

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for all of your replys. My e-mail box has deleted every e-mail you have sent me unfortunately. Please send me your e-mail address as I had some additional questions for you. I am currently attacking the Interior wiring and will probably need some direction.

Thanks,

Scott
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:06 PM   #8
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Schematic for Interior Electrical Component Connections

Does anyone have an electrical schematic of the Interior wiring for a 64 Overlander detailing the electrical components and their specific connections? I am trying to go through this mess and identify with specificity what is connected to what and what exactly is missing. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:14 PM   #9
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Electrical Schmatic

I think I found it in the 65 Caravelle owners manual Kevin sent. I'll soon find out.
Thanks
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:25 AM   #10
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I think I found it in the 65 Caravelle owners manual Kevin sent. I'll soon find out. Thanks
I would not rely on a 1965 schematic to troubleshoot a 1964 trailer because their electrical systems were slightly different. And a short trailer will have electrical components in different places than a long trailer. Finally,the owner's manual only had a general wiring diagram, not a detailed schematic showing every wire and connection. They are guide books, not road maps.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:05 PM   #11
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I have Power!

Well, the electrical system was explored last night and there is actually a splice on the land power cord that was taped off and left in the rear compartment. The other portion goes on to the breaker box. From there it goes to two 15 amp breakers and onto the 110 v loads.

There is a 30 amp wire that goes from the breaker box to a transformer (the gray box in the corner) through a 30 amp glass fuse. The power from the transformer goes to the switch between land power/ battery power and from there goes on to supply the 12 v side.

The battery goes to the 40 amp fuses on the side of the switch for Shore/battery power then to the switch and then out to the 12 v circuits.

Is the transformer also the Univolt?
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Old 07-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #12
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Is the transformer also the Univolt?

YES!
It is. It is not like the Univolt that everyone else talks about though. It doesn't have a fuse panel or switches at all. It's tucked way back on the street side, almost at the water heater. My safari had all original equipment except for the water pump, and I have a factory electrical diagram if you think it might help with yours. I can't post it until tomorrow though.
I doubt there's anything wrong with your converter. It is pretty bullet-proof.
Rich
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:08 AM   #13
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Factory Electrical Diagram

Yes, that would be a big help to have a factory electrical diagram. Thank you.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:08 PM   #14
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Keep in mind, these are for a safari, so your rig will have a few additional circuits. The pics are showing the location of the transformer and the breaker box. You probably have 3 or 4 breakers instead of 2, like mine.

I hope this helps. I have additional info if you need it.

The PDF at the bottom is the electrical diagram and schematic.

Rich
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