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Old 08-06-2007, 03:25 PM   #1
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General Electrical questions

I have read through most of the threads but did not find an answer. I recently purchased a '62 Ambassador and have three main questions.

1. There is a small battery box on the front which has wiring for a battery. Coming out of the side of the box is a conduit with two outlets and a wiring cable that runs the entire length of the trailer and comes into the rear compartment. This is then connected to another set of battery terminals. Has anyone seen this? I think someone tried to use the rear compartment as a battery box. I am having a difficult time figuring out where the 12v fuses and panel would be.

2. There is a 110v panel in the rear compartment with two 20A breakers. I just returned from my " shake down trip" which we were getting a small shock from the trailer. After investigating this I realized that the shore power cable was shot and full of cracks. I replaced the entire 50' of cable and wired it into the box correctly. I have checked with a meter and the ground has continiuity to the trailer skin. There is no voltage reading from the skin to earth. Is there anything else that I need to check?

3. The previous owner installed a new carrier A/C unit to the trailer. When the compressor kicks in, I notice that the lights inside dim slightly. Is this normal? I am assuming that the A/C does not have it's own breaker since there are only two that seem to be original to the trailer. I do not know if this is proper or not.

Any advice here is greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:57 PM   #2
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General Elecrical questions

Greetings lhall!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreaming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhall
I have read through most of the threads but did not find an answer. I recently purchased a '62 Ambassador and have three main questions.

1. There is a small battery box on the front which has wiring for a battery. Coming out of the side of the box is a conduit with two outlets and a wiring cable that runs the entire length of the trailer and comes into the rear compartment. This is then connected to another set of battery terminals. Has anyone seen this? I think someone tried to use the rear compartment as a battery box. I am having a difficult time figuring out where the 12v fuses and panel would be.
The small, oblong battery box is original to your coach. It wouldn't be until 1964 that the battery would move to the rear one-stop service compartment along with the adoption of the larger series 24 or 27 battery. This particular external battery compartment takes a battery typically utilized for 1960s era farm tractors -- it is often most easily found at stores catering to agriculture and farming.

The conduit is likely a previous owner addition to facilitate relocating the battery to the rear compartment as the only battery on pre-'64 60s era coaches was the front mounted "tractor" battery. You may find that there is an additional cable in that box that was originally connected to the tow vehicle to provide charging when underway -- this was from a time when the charge circuit wasn't always a part of the regular tow vehicle connector.

If your '62 is similar to the '60 coaches that I have encountered, your 12-volt fuse panel is likely hidden behind a removable panel below the front window of your coach. When this panel (a small almost square patch of aluminum) is removed, it exposes 2-glass-type fuses similar to the ones utilized in homes prior to adoption of circuit breakers as standard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhall
3. The previous owner installed a new carrier A/C unit to the trailer. When the compressor kicks in, I notice that the lights inside dim slightly. Is this normal? I am assuming that the A/C does not have it's own breaker since there are only two that seem to be original to the trailer. I do not know if this is proper or not. Any advice here is greatly appreciated.
The answer is that it depends, but this can be evidence of a potential problem with low voltage which will eventually damage your air conditioner and can be fatal for several components of the air conditioner. The first question regards the circuit to which the trailer is connected when this happens -- is the circuit 30-AMP? If the circuit is not 30-AMP, you are in great danger of buring out either your compressor or capictors if not both (due to insufficient voltage). With a 40+ year old coach, you may also find, as I did, that the breakers were worn and not performing up to standards -- with my '64 Overlander, this meant a new service box was cheaper than trying to find replacements for the old breakers. On my '64 Overlander one of the circuit breakers serves the air conditioner while the second supplies all other electrical circuits.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome!!

I will check to see if I can find the fuse panel under the front window. I do not recall seeing an access panel, however since the interior was freshly painted, I may have missed that. I may just remove the cable that runs from the fron to the rear, and try to revive the old battery system. I think it looks cool up front anyway.

In regards to the A/C. The trailer does operate on a 30 amp system. It seems to work just fine, except that the lights dim slightly when the compressor kicks in.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:47 PM   #4
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General Elecrical questions

Greetings lhall!

The 12-volt panel on the '60 models that I have seen is located in the interior storage compartment below the front lounge slightly above the level of the top of the fresh water tank.

Some dimming of the interior lights is not uncommon with the start-up of the air conditioning compressor. After burning out the compressor on my Overlander's original Armstrong Bay Breeze due to low voltage, I always have a volt-meter plugged into one of my outlets in the kitchen so that I can monitor the electrical supply. If the voltage drops below 115 volts, I generally discontinue use of the air conditioner -- I have found that it is quite unusual to find a park with voltage higher than 120 volts.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:58 PM   #5
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Thank You Kevin!

My coach does not have the freshwater tank in the front, but rather on the street side over the wheels. It is under the rear bed and next to the galley. I will look under the front gaucho and see if it is there.

I am sure I will be posting more on here, it seems that each trip will bring about a new set of questions.

Thanks again,
Louis Hall
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:00 PM   #6
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Questin #1

I had a '78 Argosy and it had a DC electrical system similar to the one you describe.

The forward mounted battery had three basic cicuits. 1 to the seven point plug to allow the T/V to charge the trailer battery. 2. A fused supply that fed the electric lift. 3. A supply that connected the univolt located under the sink in the rear of the trailer. There was also a fuse panel under the left hand arm rest of the front couch.
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Old 08-06-2007, 05:20 PM   #7
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I may be able to answer a few more questions you have more fully. We had a 63, built in Ohio, with several self-resetting circuit breakers scattered through the trailer. One was in a small compartment under the floor in the belly pan, at the right front of the trailer. There were two more mounted under the sink area (left side of trailer), near the battery. Yours should take a 3EE or 3TE battery. The last breaker was in the pantry near the fridge.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings lhall!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreaming!



The small, oblong battery box is original to your coach. It wouldn't be until 1964 that the battery would move to the rear one-stop service compartment along with the adoption of the larger series 24 or 27 battery. This particular external battery compartment takes a battery typically utilized for 1960s era farm tractors -- it is often most easily found at stores catering to agriculture and farming.

The conduit is likely a previous owner addition to facilitate relocating the battery to the rear compartment as the only battery on pre-'64 60s era coaches was the front mounted "tractor" battery. You may find that there is an additional cable in that box that was originally connected to the tow vehicle to provide charging when underway -- this was from a time when the charge circuit wasn't always a part of the regular tow vehicle connector.

If your '62 is similar to the '60 coaches that I have encountered, your 12-volt fuse panel is likely hidden behind a removable panel below the front window of your coach. When this panel (a small almost square patch of aluminum) is removed, it exposes 2-glass-type fuses similar to the ones utilized in homes prior to adoption of circuit breakers as standard.



The answer is that it depends, but this can be evidence of a potential problem with low voltage which will eventually damage your air conditioner and can be fatal for several components of the air conditioner. The first question regards the circuit to which the trailer is connected when this happens -- is the circuit 30-AMP? If the circuit is not 30-AMP, you are in great danger of buring out either your compressor or capictors if not both (due to insufficient voltage). With a 40+ year old coach, you may also find, as I did, that the breakers were worn and not performing up to standards -- with my '64 Overlander, this meant a new service box was cheaper than trying to find replacements for the old breakers. On my '64 Overlander one of the circuit breakers serves the air conditioner while the second supplies all other electrical circuits.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
Hello Kevin,

Is it possible that there are only inline fuses for the 12Volt system, I went over to my rig this morning and checked out what you told me, and there is not a panel under the front window. The only 12V wires I could find are coming into the upper cabinet in the front of the trailer, which I am guessing were for a radio or something. They were green, orange, and a small red one.
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