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Old 04-19-2015, 11:02 PM   #1
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Thinking of going no DC in camper

We are rebuilding a 1950 Liner and I am going through the reasons to put in a DC system. Originally it did not have one and I am considering not adding one in. We are going to use a manual front jack, AC setup for interior lighting, no radio (iPads work fine for music and windup weather radio), no white tank so no electric pump needed...

The only reason I think I may want to add DC is for the electric brakes, emergency switch if disconnected. Am I missing anything that will need DC power?
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:16 PM   #2
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So if you are dry camping, are you planning on just using flashlights at night, or a gas light? BTW, the old Thompson trailer I had came with a piped-in propane gas light. It was also useful to take the chill out, but definitely a negative for a hot night. When I got a 1976 Shasta, I actually put in a Humphrey propane gas light.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:17 PM   #3
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dc is the most efficient power from batteries and also available from solar panels, seems easier to eliminate ac, but both have their applications. Propane for all heating chores.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:20 PM   #4
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Rv appliances like furnace, water heater, fridge, stove vent have 12VDC reqs.

Also should you ever pull over when dark you can see inside before you hook to shore power. ... Not to mention having the wiring in place during the rework... May make a sale!
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:01 AM   #5
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Our old trailers has a 2-way (gas/electric) fridge that had no 12-v connection. It was started with a piezoelectric button that produced a spark while holding open a gas valve. The hot-water heater was started with a BBQ lighter (also no 12-v connection). The Thompson has a gas heater (no fan, so no 12-v). It also had no water heater and the fresh water tank sat under the sink and there was a paddle-type of pump.

However, even though you can dispense with 12-v and technology, do your really want to do that? You might also want to consider that many campgrounds require waste holding tanks. So if you are rebuilding the Liner, you might just want to install waste, wash and fresh water tanks - sometime in the future you will appreciate them.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:45 AM   #6
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Is this trailer going to be parked outside your house like a guest house?

If you're traveling you need DC and you will want solar. Not every campground has electrical hookups.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowmans View Post
We are rebuilding a 1950 Liner and I am going through the reasons to put in a DC system. Originally it did not have one and I am considering not adding one in. We are going to use a manual front jack, AC setup for interior lighting, no radio (iPads work fine for music and windup weather radio), no white tank so no electric pump needed...
I thought that 1950 Airstreams had a DC system with 3-way light switches (off, city, battery). I could be mistaken. Battery and charging systems were relatively primitive in those days.

If your plan is to build a trailer that is not self contained (no tanks, no DC system), you'll be OK, just be aware of the limitations of what you've built.

The DC loads in a modern trailer are:
- lighting
- range hood light and fan
- exhaust fan (fantastic fan or similar, bathroom fan also if equipped)
- furnace (though some 120v models are available)
- water heater controls (though some require no electric power)
- water pump
- refrigerator (depending on type, most gas fridges require 12v to operate though there are exceptions)
- propane detector (though 120v models are available)
- entertainment system

The thing you'll have to watch is that 120v wiring components require more space and have more stringent safety requirements.

Quote:
The only reason I think I may want to add DC is for the electric brakes, emergency switch if disconnected. Am I missing anything that will need DC power?
There are small breakaway batteries and chargers available specifically to address that.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:59 PM   #8
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redundant power

Actually you don't have to have anything (dry camping) but usually having redundant resources is a plus. Example of a good combo might be a small as generator (Honda 1000 or 2000) very quiet and also has DC charging capability for that small motorcycle battery you will use for your brakes. Using this with propane to supply heating and cooking (refrigerator if needed) is enough and basic. Then you just need carry a small fuel container. Hope this helps
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:59 PM   #9
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Are you taking the skins off inside? (probably a good idea if you can) then you may want to add it for you or the next owner. you'll find that washing your hands is a huge benefit when camping. You can run the wires when you're restoring even if you don't plan on adding a battery. If you have a single axle, you don't need electric brakes in VA.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies. We do plan on doing shell off, weld new frame, add black and gray tanks, remove all inside panels to re wire and re insulate. More than anything, I wanted to keep from cutting the shell as much as possible as well as keep wiring simple. I saw where someone put the battery box on the hitch which would eliminate the hole issue so that is a plus. It is probably best if I go ahead and add in DC, converter and DC fuse panel for some of the reasons listed by you all. Better to have it and not need it than to need it later for sure.

I found nothing to indicate any DC in the camper prior. There was a double glass fuse ceramic block in the back for the AC current and a number of 110 outlets. There were 2 late model plastic AC lights in front and back interior and one propane lamp in the center which had what looks like original glass globe. We hope to reuse the fixture with an AC light (or DC since it looks like we are going that route). The hot water heater was a cylinder type you find in a house, only much smaller. Looks like it only had propane attached.

We want to keep the outside as original as possible but I'm seeing it look like Swiss cheese after all of the vents and access panels that will be needed...
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:01 PM   #11
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Bowmans,

The 110/12V came in the late 1950's. The early 1950's were 110V only.

You can install a Dan Foss compressor refrigerator which will eliminate holes in the skin for venting, probably no way to eliminate the hole for a water heater, install your batteries inside (using AGMs) will eliminate any hole for battery cables, run your umbilical cord to the belly pan will eliminate a visible hole.

Any other questions, just ask,

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowmans View Post
Thanks for all the replies. We do plan on doing shell off, weld new frame, add black and gray tanks, remove all inside panels to re wire and re insulate. More than anything, I wanted to keep from cutting the shell as much as possible as well as keep wiring simple. I saw where someone put the battery box on the hitch which would eliminate the hole issue so that is a plus. It is probably best if I go ahead and add in DC, converter and DC fuse panel for some of the reasons listed by you all. Better to have it and not need it than to need it later for sure.

I found nothing to indicate any DC in the camper prior. There was a double glass fuse ceramic block in the back for the AC current and a number of 110 outlets. There were 2 late model plastic AC lights in front and back interior and one propane lamp in the center which had what looks like original glass globe. We hope to reuse the fixture with an AC light (or DC since it looks like we are going that route). The hot water heater was a cylinder type you find in a house, only much smaller. Looks like it only had propane attached.

We want to keep the outside as original as possible but I'm seeing it look like Swiss cheese after all of the vents and access panels that will be needed...
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Old 04-21-2015, 05:50 AM   #12
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Wkerfoot,
Thanks for the info on the fridge and the batteries. The fridge was the one major issue I was seeing and looking into the danfoss compressor fridges looks like a great solution.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:23 AM   #13
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It all depends on how you want to use it. If you plan to always have electrical hookups, you can probably figure out a way to do it all using 110 volt, aside from the running lights/brakes/etc., which are all powered from the tow vehicle anyway (aside from the battery for the breakaway switch and brakes).

That's not a trailer I'd want, because we do camp off-grid from time to time, so it'd be a major hindrance for us. But if you won't be dry camping, then you can probably get away with it.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:13 AM   #14
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No DC means it's dark and nothing works most of the time.

While I understand the desire to keep a nice trailer clean and neat, what is the point if it can't be used for it's original intent.....

Delete too many systems, and becomes simply a well restored museum piece with limited functionality.

Which is fine, if that is what one desires.


Regards,

JD
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