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Old 03-28-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Power my '79 with jumper cables?

I need to do some cleaning of my '79 before I get ready to move it and live in it. I want to vacuum clean all of the inside as well but I dont have a source of power, except for my truck batteries.

On my truck I have two group 31 batteries rated for 1190CA each, wired parallel, and was wondering, could I just hook jumper cables to my truck and to the cables inside the battery box to power the vacuum and maybe a few lights? I dont see why not but I figured I'd ask y'all first. It would be a lot easier than having to pull one of the batteries to hook up directly to the trailer.

Also, would that be too many amps for one battery box? Should I disconnect the batteries from parallel and just put one battery on each box?

I appreciate y'alls input.

Thank you.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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As long as you have your 12V system properly fused, it doesn't matter how many amps are available from the batteries, if you draw too much current somewhere in the trailer a fuse will blow.

I'd be concerned with accidentally shorting the cables together, or to some metal on the trailer.

Do you have a 12V central vac in the trailer or something? Because hooking up to the truck is only going to power the 12V system, it wouldn't let you use a 120V vacuum.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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Im not sure to be honest with you. Im new to Airstreams and travel trailers in general. I may just have to buy a power inverter in the near future but was curious if I could get away with trying this.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:50 AM   #4
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Unless your trailer has been modified, all of the lights and built-in fans are run off the 12V system, as is the water pump and stereo (if equipped.) You'll have a couple of 12V power points that look like cigarette-lighter sockets, generally where the connection for the TV antenna is and in the bathroom up by the mirror somewhere. If the 12V system is intact, all of these would be energized if you hooked up the battery cables to jumpers off your truck.

Originally, there was a converter/charger that powers the 12V system and charges the battery when you're plugged into 120V "shore power." The original type works well enough but tends to hum and to overcharge batteries if left plugged in. More modern converters take better care of batteries.

If you want 120V power in the trailer from batteries, you'll need an inverter. I'm pretty sure no '79 came with one from Airstream. You'll see lots of big-amp inverters at relatively attractive prices, but be warned that the cheaper ones are never "pure sine" units, so some modern electronics won't like them (computers, my CPAP machine, probably some newer TVs, etc.

Oh, and unless you're planning to use the Airstream as a means to escape to high altitude in the summer, you'll need more 120V than you can get from any reasonable amount of batteries. AC is your friend in Texas, and you'll need 3kw or more of generator power if you don't have a 30A circuit handy.

Where in Texas is "There"? I assumed it was just intentionally vagueness, but given the strange town names I've seen in my life in Texas, I checked google maps just in case. After all, it's not much stranger than "West" and probably less strange than "Cut and Shoot."
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gasgano1979 View Post
On my truck I have two group 31 batteries rated for 1190CA each, wired parallel, and was wondering, could I just hook jumper cables to my truck and to the cables inside the battery box to power the vacuum and maybe a few lights?
It's difficult to do that in a way that doesn't pose a risk of fire and damage to the aluminum skin from shorts. I wouldn't recommend it although it will work (at least as far as the lights are concerned). It's a hassle to move a battery over but it's less likely to damage something.

I believe the vacuum requires 120v ac power, which means you have to plug into an outlet in your house or something.

Quote:
Also, would that be too many amps for one battery box? Should I disconnect the batteries from parallel and just put one battery on each box?
There is no problem involving the number of amps.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:53 PM   #6
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I appreciate y'alls input. It clears up a lot. I guess I'll have to postpone the vacuum job for a little while.

DKBSATX, I am currently located in Stephenville, Texas.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #7
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I appreciate y'alls input. It clears up a lot. I guess I'll have to postpone the vacuum job for a little while.

DKBSATX, I am currently located in Stephenville, Texas.
Yeah, here in a month or two you'll want enough generator for the AC if you're not plugged in somewhere.
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