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Old 06-17-2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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12 Volt Fuse Box Pics and Questions

I'm attaching the old fuse box front picture and the 12 volt wiring inside it. The inside of the box is slightly confusing. How, if anyone can give me a simple explanation, would I convert the wiring going inside this fuse box into a new fuse panel if I bought one. The exterior of the panel has a "RED" positive wire and a "Black" neutral wire between those wires is a fuse and two other wires attach to each fuse on the bottom, which I'm assuming is feeding the 12 volt wiring that feeds the trailer power. If anyone has any diagrams, instructions, or simple literature that I can read I would appreciate it. I'm considering replacing it with a new fuse box and getting a new converter for the Airstream, but before I do want to know exactly what I need to do. Thanks, any help would work, pictures, text, comments or advice.
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:17 PM   #2
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Hi tmeagle1. I have a little information, enough to really mess you up. I replaced the fuse box in my 66 Trade Wind. I can not remember when Airstream went to "univolt" where everything ran on 12v except the AC and the 115v AC outlets for the toaster, etc. My 66 is a univolt trailer.

One thing I learned is the converter powers the 12v circuits in the trailer when you are connected to shore power, and the battery runs the 12v circuits when you are not. The converter charges the battery when plugged in to shore power. So it is "EITHER converter OR battery". The converter pushes 13.5 volts at the battery preventing the 12.8 volts of the battery from powering the 12v circuits.

Here is the electrical diagram for my 66 Trade Wind taken from the owners manual. At least it shows the relationship between the converter and the battery. There are 3 12v circuits in my Airstream. You can see them radiating from the old fuse panel photo as three black wires. The white wires are connected to the "ground buss", which is connected to the frame of the trailer.

The Airstream battery gets charged by the converter as mentioned above, or it can get charged by the tow vehicle when towing. Handy. So there is a blue wire that comes into the fuse box that connects to the 12v plus side.

Airstream liked to use fuses and 12v circuit breakers. I don't know why the "belts and suspenders" design. I installed my new fuse panel without the 12v circuit breakers. Maybe I'll regret that some day.

Since some of the 12v loads are rather high amps, Airstream uses 12 gage wire. It's harder to work with, and harder to jam into a fuse box. 12v DC isn't much power to drive a furnace fan or a water pump. So you need bigger wire to push some amps to the job.

I also included a picture of my old fuse box, and my new one. I used 20 amp fuses on each of the three 12v circuits. You can see all the white wires jammed into the grounding buss at the top of the fuse panel.

The basic thing is to study the wiring diagram and trace your wires so you know what each one does. Wire color convention was goofy back then.

Hope it helps. Others will surly log on and better answer your questions.

David
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:01 PM   #3
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Thanks so much, this info is extremely helpful and I'm sure I'll be printing it soon to tackle the job. I appreciate the support.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:59 AM   #4
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I will second what David has posted. I used the same set up. I will try and snap a pic later with some more explanation for informational purposes.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:32 PM   #5
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In my 67 the 12v wire is 10 gauge.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:36 PM   #6
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silver 67 is probably right. I was guessing. It is heavy gage wire. And it is aluminum wire.

David
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:01 PM   #7
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Dnj216, was the 12v wiring in yours aluminum as well as the 120v?
Tmesgle, if yours is aluminum you may want to put a little noalox on the terminal ends when done.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:40 AM   #8
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My Trade Wind is wired with aluminum "romex". You can see the aluminum wire ends connected to the ground buss in the original Airstream fuse panel in the photo below.

I am installing my new fridge now. I need to run 12 volts to the ventilated "cabinet" where the fridge resides. I noticed yesterday the wall mounted switch that controls the 12v water pump is wired with heavy gage aluminum. I noticed some corrosion at that switch that I need to address. I have not disassembled and inspected my 115 volt outlets yet. I'll be sure to do the outlet in the fridge cabinet before I slide the fridge in there and seal it up. I'll bet the fridge pulls some significant 115v ac amps heating its boiler. I don't want a "hot spot" down there in that outlet. It's been years since my Trade Wind had a fridge installed.

Yes, it appears Airstream along with others used aluminum wire back in the sixties as it was cheaper. Maybe some the the corrosion and expansion issues were not fully realized back then.

David
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiJoeSilver View Post
Dnj216, was the 12v wiring in yours aluminum as well as the 120v?
Tmesgle, if yours is aluminum you may want to put a little noalox on the terminal ends when done.
Thanks, will do. I have a little more digging to do before tackling the project.
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #10
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So, the easiest way to test each twelve volt wire? Turn everything on and take each wire out?
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Old 06-22-2015, 08:03 PM   #11
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Test so I can make my own 12 volt diagram.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:33 PM   #12
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You might need a detailed wiring diagram unless you are going to build your own trailer. I've never had a need to know exactly what wire went to what light. You power your 12v system with your battery or your converter. Once the circuits are powered (and protected with fuses and/or circuit breakers) you are good to go.

Maybe you have found where Airstream initiated the 12v wires in your trailer. Mine go into the inner skin at the rear of the trailer. There are three 12v romex wires. They are strung here and there inside the trailer. But as long as they aren't broken (open) and everything is working, I don't need to know which wire runs what.

Just trying to save work.

David
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:26 PM   #13
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Thanks.
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