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Old 10-19-2014, 09:35 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Curtis Wright
san marcos , Texas
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need electrical help on 1965 caravel please

i hope y'all can help me. i am trying to get my 1965 caravel ready to go on the road. it didnt have a battery when i bought it and an electric hot water heater had been installed. i used it as a bedroom at my kids house for a couple of years and the electrics worked fine when connected to 120V. i now what to go on the road and would like to be able to use it with 12V. btw the lights use 12V car bulbs at present even with 120V.
here are some original pictures.

as you can see i have a rats nest of wires. it appears as though the original battery terminals can be seen to the right of the water pump. one wire is a thick red wire and the other a white wire that just grounds to the trailer wall.
i think that the red wire comes from the polarity rats nest. that box appears to have 120v entering it and a whole host of wires coming out that i cant figure out their use. they possibly go to the lights when used on 12v (???)

what is the use of the other box in front of the wheel well?


so where do i go from here?? lots of confusion on my part. what do i keep? what do i change? how do i add battery?
thanks for your input.
kevin
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:03 AM   #2
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Well, this will take some sorting out first. Attached is a wiring diagram from my 66 Trade Wind It may help you as Airstreams were built rather alike. However, 1966 was a significant model change, so I don't know.

Airstreams are wired to run on 12v and propane. At the time they called it "Univolt". I think Airstream was a pioneer in this type of RV electrical systems that is still used to day for the most part.

So the "heart" of your electrical system is a "converter". Yep, it converts 115v AC to 12v DC. Your water pump, vent fans, fridge, furnace fan, etc. run on 12v. Your trailer works on 12v while plugged in to 115v because your converter is working. Good! Your new 115v water heater won't work, and if you have an AC on the roof, it won't work either while on 12v.

My 66 trailer has a battery, and the red wire is on the + and the white wire is on the -. It appears you have identified these two wires. They ought to be in the 12ga or 10ga wire size. Pretty beefy wires.

There is a 12v fuse box in your trailer somewhere back there. There will be three 12v fuses protecting the 12v circuits from overload (like a failed fan motor.) You need to make sure those fuses are good.

So I guess I would unplug the 115v and hook up a 12v battery to your red wire (connect first) and white ground wire and look for smoke! If none, then
start trying out your 12v lights, fans, furnace, etc.

David
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by kevinkatz View Post
i hope y'all can help me. i am trying to get my 1965 caravel ready to go on the road. it didnt have a battery when i bought it and an electric hot water heater had been installed. i used it as a bedroom at my kids house for a couple of years and the electrics worked fine when connected to 120V. i now what to go on the road and would like to be able to use it with 12V. btw the lights use 12V car bulbs at present even with 120V.
here are some original pictures.

as you can see i have a rats nest of wires. it appears as though the original battery terminals can be seen to the right of the water pump. one wire is a thick red wire and the other a white wire that just grounds to the trailer wall.
i think that the red wire comes from the polarity rats nest. that box appears to have 120v entering it and a whole host of wires coming out that i cant figure out their use. they possibly go to the lights when used on 12v (???)

what is the use of the other box in front of the wheel well?


so where do i go from here?? lots of confusion on my part. what do i keep? what do i change? how do i add battery?
thanks for your input.
kevin
That box is the original "univolt", but is actually a transformer that provides 12 and 19 volts AC.

The 12 volts is for the lights and the 19 volts is for the fan.

That system cannot charge the battery.

You can easily update the trailer by adding a regular "univolt" that provides DC for everything, fan motors included.

That transformer is actually rather expensive, but cheaper than a regular univolt. You probably could sell it on e-bay.

Andy
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:58 AM   #4
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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experience talking here

From my time with my Caravel I can tell you that you will be WAY ahead if you just start fresh with updated systems....period. It is not hard to do and not any more expensive than working and maintaining that old stuff.

Go to EBAY and get a new Progressive Dynamics, I use 9245) with a built in 3 way charge wizard capability. should be less than 100 dollars if you shop around. You will need a small ground terminal strip, a few circuit breakers and box, an auto reset (I use 35 AMP) circuit breaker, and an automotive blade type fuse panel.

Diagrams are around this site. Look at Best Converter and ask Randy for some advice if you need it. He can also provide all you will need....a little more expensive but well worth the total package he provides. Their web site has lots of info too.

Without a total rebuild of the Caravel go with the wiring thats there. Your going to get all sorts of well meaning info on aluminum wiring.....there are some easy ways to work with any concerns which you will hear about.

Your going to need a new battery..... period.

From what you said in your question about the 12v and 115v...the relation to the bulbs I think you should also read around this site and learn the relationship of the two electrical sources and their common point....the converter. That will answer many of your questions.
Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
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1965 17' Caravel
Curtis Wright
san marcos , Texas
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thank you for information

thanks to those who replied and gave me direction. appreciated.
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