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Old 10-19-2014, 08:35 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
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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, 07:03 AM   #2
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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, 07:24 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, 07:58 AM   #4
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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, 11:09 AM   #5
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thank you for information

thanks to those who replied and gave me direction. appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:16 PM   #6
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1965 17' Caravel
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
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.
What is his website? How do I contact Randy?
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:18 PM   #7
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1965 17' Caravel
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Need to redo Electrical in 65 Airstream Caravel. No idea how to start! Any help would be appreciated. Thank you
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:20 PM   #8
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1965 17' Caravel
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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
Ours looks just like your pics. What did you end up doing? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:35 PM   #9
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Hi dougandkim: Welcome to AirForums and the vintage Airstream hobby. Gee, a 65 Caravel, a very sought after vintage cutie.

So you have electrical problems. But what problems? You're gonna have to do some homework so you can describe what Forum members can help with. There is usually no reason to "redo electrical" in a vintage Airstream.

That said, here is just a few basics. Your Airstream is designed to operate off the battery in the back so you can have all the comforts of home on the 12v system. Then Airstream added a 120vAC battery "charger" to your trailer so you can charge the battery by plugging into "shore power". Then Airstream got a bit fancy and wired some 120vAC outlets in your trailer so you could plug in a coffee maker and the like if you are on "shore power".

So if you have no trailer lights, or fan, or water pump, or furnace fan, you don't have any 12v current being supplied from the battery. Tell us what the voltage reads across the terminals of the battery without being plugged into shore power. I would expect to see something like 12.5 volts

It may be your battery charger ain't working. Most folks call this device the "converter" because it converts 120vAC to 12vDC. So plug in your trailer and then measure the voltage across the battery terminals again. It should be maybe 14vDC.

With the trailer plugged in, plug in a lamp to all of the wall outlets. Does the lamp turn on? If not, then you are not getting power through the "power panel". Find the power panel, and reset the main breaker, and the two other breakers in the box. Do this by turning the breakers off, and then back on. Make sure they are set to "on". Now does the lamp light?

You also have to tell us what might work in your trailer on 12vDC. Any lights work? Any fans work? Does the water pump turn on? Can you tell us what doesn't work.

Report the results after doing these tests. Then folks more experienced than I can begin to help you diagnose the "electrical problems" with your Carvell

Hope this helps. I might add you tagged a 4 year old thread. It is pretty cold and some of the posters may have left the forums.

David
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:17 PM   #10
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Instead of connecting a battery to an unknown system. I would recommend you use a battery charger like one used to charge a car battery.
The device in your coach is known as a converter. It does a similar thing when compared to a battery charger. But it is not very smart. It will cook your battery if it even works.
Test the DC system using an automotive battery charger. Fix any problems.
Then order a new converter and install it.
Ebay is a good source. Look for a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter. It will be more than adequate for your needs.
Adventure RV usually has the best price. Look for their logo in the photo of the converter.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:54 PM   #11
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I got your email Doug. I can't post pricing on a 9245 here but suffice to say it's not what you will find on auction sites but better. That said you won't have a warranty through PD from auction sites.
I don't think that is the product you need anyway but maybe. Sounds like you need more than just a stand alone converter and those are available. The distribution panel (AC and DC) likely needs upgraded as well. Hang in there and contrats on your new find.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:25 PM   #12
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Does anyone recognize how long this thread has been around? 2014
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:27 PM   #13
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I don't believe all things listed on ebay are at auction.
Many items simply have the price. You don't bid on those items. You just buy it like you would on Amazon.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:32 PM   #14
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I don't believe all things listed on ebay are at auction.
Many items simply have the price. You don't bid on those items. You just buy it like you would on Amazon.
That is true and anybody can. They just won't honor the warranty because the sellers buy them out the back door from OEM and tear off the serial numbers to so the don't get caught.
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