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Old 10-22-2006, 04:53 PM   #1
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1978 31' Excella 500
Santa Maria , California
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 36
Condensation-Is This The Answer

I purchased a 1978 Excella, 31 foot, rear twins, center bath, and front gaucho. I have a small cabin in the North West part of Montana. I plan on retiring in May of next year and planned on moving my Airstream on to the property. I will be living in the Airstream while I work on the cabin (needs a lot of work). I will probably be in the trailer throughout the winter. I have read almost everything about wintering in an Airstream on this forum (a real eye opener, hope I survive ). Condensation, heating and ruptured plumbing seem to be the 3 major concerns. For heating I plan on building a shelter (carport) that I can put up temporary insulated walls for the winter. If I do this, will I need to provide some kind of venting to the outside? I also plan on building solar collector heating panels, as posted by doorgunner ( I wish I had time to insulate the inside with the foil/bubble insulation but that will have to come later. I will run a water line (below the frost line) from my well, to the carport. I will use heat tape on all exposed plumbing. I’m not quite sure how the winter cold in my location will affect the plumbing in my Airstream. If all this fails, I suppose I can dry camp. I have a small port-a-potty and can use bottled water. There is a trailer park, just down the road from me, I think they have shower facilities but I don’t know if they are open in the winter.
NOW THE BIG QUESTION. I have been researching dehydrators for the condensation problem. I found a unit that sounds ideal. I read the thread in Winter Living, posted by auston (Infernal, Internal Condensation). There was a reply by 2airishuman in which he stated a person produces 1-2 liters of water vapor per day. Some of the remedies to correct for this seemed like you would be using a measuring cup to empty a swimming pool on a rainy day. The unit I found is called Ruby-Dry / Amber-Dry. It is a portable unit, it measures 16.92 inches wide x 7.87 inches deep x 21.65 high. Weight is 15 1/2 pounds. It removes up to 5 1/2 liters of water per day. It is an adsorption dehumidifier and will operate efficiently down to –4 degrees f, unlike a condensate dehumidifier, which can freeze up at 50 degrees f, or 23 degrees f if it has a hot gas defrost system. The cost at today’s exchange rate is about $370.00 dollars. This is a little expensive, but to reduce the health issues associated with mold and mildew along with the damage it can do to “My Baby” I think it would be worth it.
NOW THE BIG PROBLEM. The Ruby-Dry / Amber-Dry is available from Dry it Out Limited in the UK. I sent them an email asking if they had a unit available for the US. (110 volt, 60 Hz). Below is my question to them and there response.
Question to Dry-it-Out

I am very interested in the Ruby Dry/Amber Dry. I live in the United States. I have a 31 foot (meters ?)

Airstream Trailer, which I will be living in while I build a house. The area I will be in gets very cold in the
winters, with lots of snow. From what I have read, these trailers have a major condensation problem in
cold weather. My question is, do you make or is there anyway it can be converted to operate on U.S. power
source (110 VAC, 60 Hz). From what I have read on the trailer forums here, I think you would have a
large market for this item (Ruby Dry/Amber Dry) here in the U.S.
Thank You for your response to my question. Murray McIntire

Response from Dry-it-Out

The Ruby/Amber is only available in 240V / 50Hz I am afraid.

I have found voltage converters/transformers that would work for the 240 volts but they would still be at 60 Hz and I think the 50 Hz would be important for timing circuits and motor speeds.
Does anybody know how to make this unit compatible with our volts/Hz.. I am more then willing to modify this unit if I know I could make it work. Below links are 1st Types of Dehydrators, 2nd Ruby-Dry specs. ts_id=17

If there is any entrepreneur out there that would like to pursue importing or manufacturing a U.S. compatible unit, I’ll be your first customer. I think Airstream and other SOB’s should offer these as an option.

Thanks “Mac”

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Old 10-22-2006, 06:33 PM   #2
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2005 28' Safari
Port Orchard , Washington
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First, when it is below 32 outside, there is almost no water vapor in the air.
So just open the door for a minute, then close it, heat the new air and it will suck up all that moisture.
Moisture is more of a trouble when it is between 32 and 50 outside, because the outside air has more moisture in it than the inside air. So nothing dries out.
Second, those driers looked like they would do the job, if you could get the right power setting, 230 volt 50 cycle.

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Old 04-15-2007, 06:43 PM   #3
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1985 25' Sovereign
corning , New York
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240V 50Hz inverter

If you google "240V 50Hz inverter" you will find many available in europe.Since this unit uses only aprox. 500 watts you should be able to run it off your 12V system via the inverter.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:20 PM   #4
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2004 16' International CCD
1997 25' Safari
hamilton , Montana
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Hi Mac, and welcome to the Forums,,, live in Montana and condensation is a major problem,,, use portable throw away moisture absorbers presently,, if you find a solution,, please let me know,,, find it is most prevelant in the trailer with the non aluminum interior,,, happy trails to you and welcome to the Big Sky Country,, donna
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:27 PM   #5
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I would not worry about the condensation. The traile rwill leak some. If you use the vent fan when cooking it should get most of the moisture out. Then again ther are times I cook and leave the fan off to bring the mositure level in the trailer up to a comfortable level. Worry about the pipes. You are going to need to run the furnance to keep the trailer plumbing from freezing. You will need a large propane tank. 100# or larger.
Michelle TAC MT-0
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:10 PM   #6
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1978 31' Excella 500
Santa Maria , California
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Posts: 36
Thank you ssspeciale. Inverter, what a great idea. I found an inverter at They have a 400 watt unit for $50 then the next size unit is 1400 watt for $190. I think I will continue my search.

donna thank you for the wellcome to Montana. I love this part of the country. My place is about 11 miles in from Idaho, on Hwy 200 (the Bull River, Hwy 56, runs into the Clark Fork River). I will post how the Ruby-Dry works when I get it up and running.

Michelle Thank you for your for your response. My cabin has a 500 (# or gal) tank, which I hope I can tap into. I am planning a plumbing redo. I will build an enclosed, insulated box with a drain to the outside (just in case I do have a problem) The box will be located rear curb side, under the twin bed. I will move the water pump etc. into the box. I plan to build water manifolds using Sea Tech fittings with each line having shutoff valves. I will duct heat into this box from the heater along with a small thermstat controlled electric heater. I will use PEX tubing coming out of the box to each device, with the ability to drain and shutoff water to any or all devices. I hope it dosen't come to that, but I do have a Porti Potty and can use bottled water.
If anybody sees flaws in my plumbing plans, please let me know. Thank You All. "Mac"
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 7xp
If there is any entrepreneur out there that would like to pursue importing or manufacturing a U.S. compatible unit, I’ll be your first customer. I think Airstream and other SOB’s should offer these as an option.

Thanks “Mac”
Hi Mac,

try these people: 230V transformers for use in America Canada and Japan

Nice name! Lol!

I bought my 240 - 120 transformer from them and it's a first-class piece of kit. Speak to Karen Middleditch, she's a star!

I'm familiar with your problem of condensation. I had so much it blew my electrics! I fitted a 10litre/day dehumidifier and whilst it won't always prevent condensation on the windows it's powerful enough to stop mildew and damp.

Good luck,


ps. if you want a product sent over, PM me.
Hampshire, UK
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:04 AM   #8
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1978 31' Excella 500
Santa Maria , California
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Hi Mark,
Thank you for your reply. It's great to hear from somebody across the pond. My question to you is what dehumidifier are you using, and have you heard anything good or bad about the Ruby-Dry. I'm not sure about the voltage converter/transformer. I think if the input is 60 Hz the output will be 60 Hz. What do you use your transformer for, and do you think your 50 Hz makes a difference? I don't know how critical this would be on the Ruby-Dry.
Thank you "Mac"
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:34 AM   #9
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Keep an eye out on ebay - often 50hz 240V quality (trace-xantrex) inverters are offered with very little competition on bids. Without knowing the exact unit I would be hesitant to push 60Hz power to it, it would be an invitation to thouroughly overheat any inductive coils present, since you've decreased the power-off time of waveworm by 20% or more the heat management designed into it would be overloaded...

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Old 05-24-2007, 11:19 PM   #10
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Steamboat Springs , Colorado
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Maybe we are just lucky, but we spent the winter in Steamboat Springs with NO condensation problems in a 71 Overlander. Winter Airstreaming is the best!!!
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:35 AM   #11
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The good news about condensation is that there is an easy test for when there is too much humidity in your trailer: If you can see condensation on your windows.

If you cannot manage to ventilate sufficiently to keep your windows generally clear, then you should investigate more effective measures. I'd try this cheap way first.

It sounds like you are beginning a great journey. Happy days.

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Old 05-29-2007, 08:49 AM   #12
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Why not go to Sears and buy a dehumidifier made for the North American market? We use one at the cottage and they work amazingly well.
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:05 AM   #13
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As long as you keep the interior temperature above 55 F you can likely use the cheap refrigurator style condenser unit. It will make a couple of quarts of distilled water for you per day so you can fill your batteries and use in your steam iron. Opening the door when it is cold outside is cheap trick that works. I would put 2 inch thick insulating rigid foam in the roof vents when you are not using them and in some windows that you do not care if you get light in. Also use it to skirt the trailer. Insulation in the floor is not that good and you have alot of surface area down there.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:26 AM   #14
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Condensate is actually acidic from carbon dioxides' carbolic acid so the water has a lot of aluminum alloy ions in it from the evaporator coils ... consumer dehumidifiers were not designed for purity and I trust the water would slowly poison batteries. Elsewhere its great but just not for batteries..


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