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Old 01-02-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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Question Confused about airstream electrical. help

I'm used to boat AC and DC systems but the Airstream has me baffled. I installed 2 new batteries but they do not charge and any system that is not on the lights system does not operate.

So there is a box that has 2 switches that says city power or battery. Is this box the battery charger?

Photo attached
1st is the switch panel
2nd the 'hi tech' junction for DC
3rd is a mystery box that I have no idea what it does.

Any help would be greatly appreciated
Paul
64 Globe Trotter
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:54 PM   #2
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Actually your airstream is just like a boat in both its AC and DC systems. In your case the model year trailer that you have has a very simple electrical. If you look at your pictures the bottom photo is a UniVolt power converter and charger. the right hand picture is your DC power distribution and the lefthand picture controls the use of on board dc power or shore power AC. If you have the ability you should update your trailer to modern boat standards and get rid of all that old junk.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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Greetings,
This unit does not come with a battery charger. You can purchase a 110v. operated charger for 12v. From Napa or Kragens Auto parts store, That will charge up your batteries, and has a auto shut off that will keep your 12v batteries charged up. Like the Ricknack said previously Updating will be the way to go. These trailers are by no means trouble free. Good Luck
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by man7sell View Post
I'm used to boat AC and DC systems but the Airstream has me baffled. I installed 2 new batteries but they do not charge and any system that is not on the lights system does not operate.

So there is a box that has 2 switches that says city power or battery. Is this box the battery charger?

Photo attached
1st is the switch panel
2nd the 'hi tech' junction for DC
3rd is a mystery box that I have no idea what it does.

Any help would be greatly appreciated
Paul
64 Globe Trotter
First, you need to decide on a Univolt, "NOT" a battery charger.

Second, how to change your old system, is a piece of cake.

Takes less than 1/2 hour to make the conversion.

Andy
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:26 PM   #5
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I believe that the device in the bottom left is a transformer not a charger.

Airstreams of this era used the switches to connect the lights and motors either to the battery or 12V AC from the transformer. Since there is no rectifier there is no way to charge the battery from shore power. The intent was to charge the battery from the tow vehicle.

In 1964 they had selenium rectifiers (since the 1940s or maybe a little earlier) and vacuum tube rectifiers and neither one was any good. High series resistance leading to widely varying voltage depending on charge current, and they ran hot. Little wonder that Airstream did without in those days.

The modern microprocessor-controlled, silicon rectified charger-converter is an engineering wonder by comparison and well worth installing unless your restoration is going in a museum. You can still keep the switches and polarity light for looks.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
First, you need to decide on a Univolt, "NOT" a battery charger.

Second, how to change your old system, is a piece of cake.

Takes less than 1/2 hour to make the conversion.

Andy
Andy,

What is a univolt and why not a charger?

Anyone.

I want to spend some time off grid, and then hook up. I don't know what the charging rate of the TV would be thru that small wire but if it's more that 10 amps continuous, I would be surprised and would think the wire would become quite hot. So let's say my 100 AH batteries are low and I want to charge them up, I can:
A: Hookup with my nice state of the art 2 bank battery charger and after 10 hours they would be perfectly deep cycle charged
B: Let the TV charge the batteries at 10 amps which would be 10 hours at 60 MPH 600 hours?

Am I way off or missing something?

My boat I lived on the main engine would charge the same size battery bank in 2 hours with a 50 AH charger through a 10 gage wire (Of course 2 hours at 7.5 knots was only 16 odd miles)

Anyone have a wire diagram of the existing components?

Cheers

Paul
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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Andy,

What is a univolt and why not a charger?

Anyone.

I want to spend some time off grid, and then hook up. I don't know what the charging rate of the TV would be thru that small wire but if it's more that 10 amps continuous, I would be surprised and would think the wire would become quite hot. So let's say my 100 AH batteries are low and I want to charge them up, I can:
A: Hookup with my nice state of the art 2 bank battery charger and after 10 hours they would be perfectly deep cycle charged
B: Let the TV charge the batteries at 10 amps which would be 10 hours at 60 MPH 600 hours?

Am I way off or missing something?

My boat I lived on the main engine would charge the same size battery bank in 2 hours with a 50 AH charger through a 10 gage wire (Of course 2 hours at 7.5 knots was only 16 odd miles)

Anyone have a wire diagram of the existing components?

Cheers

Paul
Paul.

A battery charger, has no brain.

A Univolt, or the equal, knows when the battery/batteries are charged up, and then backs off the charging rate so not to ruin the batteries.

Your charge formula is a little off.

How fast you tow, has nothig to do with a charging rate.

By your numbers, charging at 10 amps for 10 hours, is only a 100 amp total charge.

If you have 2 or more batteries, they all must be up to snuff, when using a converter. If one is bad, the converter will look at the bad battery, and keep on charging, which in turn, will ruin the good battery/batteries.

Andy
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:06 PM   #8
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Paul.

A battery charger, has no brain.

A Univolt, or the equal, knows when the battery/batteries are charged up, and then backs off the charging rate so not to ruin the batteries.

Your charge formula is a little off.

How fast you tow, has nothig to do with a charging rate.

By your numbers, charging at 10 amps for 10 hours, is only a 100 amp total charge.

If you have 2 or more batteries, they all must be up to snuff, when using a converter. If one is bad, the converter will look at the bad battery, and keep on charging, which in turn, will ruin the good battery/batteries.

Andy
Now I understand Andy, The battery charger I am going to install not only has a brain but charges 2 separate banks at a 4 step rate and is also designed to condition batteries when needed.

Based on your converter comment, that's out of there, no cooking my marine deep cycles.
I know that the speed has nothing to do with charging rate. That was a calculation in how far I would have to drive to charge from the TV. 10 hrs x 10 amp charge is 100 amp hours of charge, even with old math
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:45 PM   #9
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Now I understand Andy, The battery charger I am going to install not only has a brain but charges 2 separate banks at a 4 step rate and is also designed to condition batteries when needed.

Based on your converter comment, that's out of there, no cooking my marine deep cycles.
I know that the speed has nothing to do with charging rate. That was a calculation in how far I would have to drive to charge from the TV. 10 hrs x 10 amp charge is 100 amp hours of charge, even with old math

Paul.

Now I am envious of what you do for a living. You have to be very serious, while your having fun.

Almost better than Airstreaming.

With modern tow vehicles, their charging rates can exceed 50-60-70 amps per hour, output to charge whatever battery that may need charging, including what may be in your Airstream. The trailer battery, if the charge circuit is correct to and within your TV, then it could charge back up in a couple of hours of towing. That would be very reasonable, and normal.

Even short trips, is usually enough time for the trailer battery to be recharged.

Andy

Andy
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:30 AM   #10
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Getting ready to install my marine grade charging, I need an electrical diagram for a 64 Globe Trotter, anyone have one?
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:12 PM   #11
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Getting ready to install my marine grade charging, I need an electrical diagram for a 64 Globe Trotter, anyone have one?
I was going to suggest you check to see if there's one on the Vintage Airstream Club/VAC website, but they've removed all the documents that use to be there. Anyone know why?

Carol
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:18 PM   #12
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Ok thanks for the inputs, Figured it out by tracing wire, not that diffecult. Now all 12 VDC systems work off the battery banks like a boat. The smart charger keeps the batteries conditioned and charged correctly when on shore power and charging takes place when the TV is pulling the rig. Sweet system.

Next the stereo sound system
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #13
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I was going to suggest you check to see if there's one on the Vintage Airstream Club/VAC website, but they've removed all the documents that use to be there. Anyone know why?

Carol
The documents are at the website. You need to be logged in to view them.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:41 PM   #14
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The documents are at the website. You need to be logged in to view them.
Logged in and a member to view. That's a new policy.

Carol
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