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Old 03-15-2009, 12:51 AM   #1
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1961 24' Tradewind
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61 Tradewind 12v help

Hi, I'm new to Airstream and new to RVing, I bought a 61 Tradewind with no battery and not sure anything works(Fridg, heater, water heater etc). I found a battery to fit the box under the front window. 3 wires come out of the trailer to the box. 2red with inline fuses and one green. I hooked them to the battery the only way I could make them work. Everything was fine. 12 volt lights worked etc., but the battery drained dead after about an hour. Any ideas on what I may have done wrong? Many more questions later.

Finding this forum was great! I look forward to meeting some of you in the future.

Mike
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:04 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
What is wrong is your trailer did not come equipped with a converter, or any way to charge the 12 volt system. Depending on how involved you want to get, you can use something as simple as a 10 amp battery charger, like for your car, or go whole-hog, and get an Intellipower converter, fuse blocks, AGM batteries, solar panels, etc... I would opt for the battery charger, at least short-term.
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mike&Mary View Post
Hi, I'm new to Airstream and new to RVing, I bought a 61 Tradewind with no battery and not sure anything works(Fridg, heater, water heater etc). I found a battery to fit the box under the front window. 3 wires come out of the trailer to the box. 2red with inline fuses and one green. I hooked them to the battery the only way I could make them work. Everything was fine. 12 volt lights worked etc., but the battery drained dead after about an hour. Any ideas on what I may have done wrong? Many more questions later.

Finding this forum was great! I look forward to meeting some of you in the future.

Mike
Welcome to the forum, Mike.

To drain a battery dead after "about an hour", assuming the battery is good and was fully charged, you must have had a heavy load on it. I don't think you could run a battery dead in an hour with everything in the trailer on at the same time, with the possible exception of the refrigirator.

I would check to see just what was on, and/or if you have some sort of wiring error that is drawing so much current.

The refrigirator, by the way, works best on propane and will drain the battery quickly running on 12 volts. It really only has that option for use when you are driving and the tow vehicle alternator can supply the current.
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Old 03-15-2009, 09:13 AM   #4
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Disconnect all your circuits at the fuse panel and connect them one at a time. Put a meter on the circuit looking for the draw.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:17 AM   #5
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Greetings Mike & Mary!

And welcome to the Forums! I see you are also located in Bend. We are in the process of rebuilding a 62' Flying Cloud and would be happy to share our experience with you. I sent you a PM with our phone number if you would like to get in touch.

FLYNCLD
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:35 AM   #6
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IIRC, the battery was a 2EE battery, and didn't have a lot of reserve capacity, it wasn't a deep cycle battery, but rather a starting battery for a forklift or tractor. The original fridge was at best 120 volt/LP only, with no 12 volt supplied. Now, if you have a 120 volt fridge, and are running it off the battery through an inverter, all bets are off as far as time to drain the battery.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:45 AM   #7
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Hello Mike and Mary--
You picked a good year, 1961. I like it.
Your wiring sounds just like mine. Remember that the battery also powers the break-away switch for the trailer brakes. If it is faulty it could be the cause of the battery drain. I would replace it if it even appears to be original or old. They take a beating from the weather and road spray and are not expensive. There may also be a 12 volt positive wire in the plug that goes to your tow vehicle. It is there to charge the trailer battery while towing if your vehicle is wired for that. Make sure all those connections are clean and tight.
Have fun with your new toy.
Sam
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum, Mike.

To drain a battery dead after "about an hour", assuming the battery is good and was fully charged, you must have had a heavy load on it. I don't think you could run a battery dead in an hour with everything in the trailer on at the same time, with the possible exception of the refrigirator.

I would check to see just what was on, and/or if you have some sort of wiring error that is drawing so much current.

The refrigirator, by the way, works best on propane and will drain the battery quickly running on 12 volts. It really only has that option for use when you are driving and the tow vehicle alternator can supply the current.
If it is the original fridge, it could not drain anything but the propane tank.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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Hi Mike and congrats on your 61 TW I have a 63 TW you stated that you found a battery, I'm guessing that it was new and had a good charge. I use a 10 amp bat. charger in mine, also a 15 amp solar charger. Carry a 2000 watt generator, when it is running my bat is charging, so far so good. I don't use the 12 v water pump, my original pressurized tank works great, so it saves my bat. when boondocking. Good Luck!!
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:04 PM   #10
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I don't use the 12 v water pump, my original pressurized water tank works great, so it saves my bat. when boondocking. Good Luck!!
When we had our '63 with the pressurized system, before getting the 12 volt on-demand system, I got a Campbell-Hausfeld self-contained 12 volt air compressor. You can hold it in your hand, switch it on, and pressurize the water system. It's also great for inflating flat bicycle tires, and plugs in to a 120 volt outlet, or cigarrette lighter receptical in your tow vehicle for recharge.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:15 PM   #11
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1961 24' Tradewind
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Thanks for all the replies. Let me elaborate further. I think frank is right. It is the original fridge, a pink Dometic M50 that appears to run on propane only(many questions later). I have not found a fuse box, only the two in-line fuses on the red wires coming into the the battery box. The trailer is not hooked to the tow rig. No lights or appliances were on. My assumption was that the green wire was to the battery negative and the red wires to the positive. One of the red wires was too small to fit over the positive terminal so i attached it to the neg. I think this where my problem is but I need to know the correct way.

Thanks again
Mike
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Old 03-15-2009, 02:05 PM   #12
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Hi Mike, The in line fuses are the fuse box. Most models back then were considered Park Models and were meant to be plugged in to 120v at a park and had limited or no 12v system. Take a look a this thread HERE. Post #5 flyfshr has a basic diagram for a 12v rewire. There are no manuals or wiring standards for the trailers back then so trial and error and a volt meter will be your friend. If I remember on my 60 the red wires were positive. Hope this helps.
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