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Old 02-27-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Replacing the Connector / Plug for my 76 AS

I've got a 1976 Sovereign with this outdated (I'm told) plug to connect my AS to my TV. The existing original plug is a 7 prong setup, six around and one in the middle.

In my manual it states that, when plugged into AC power, I can not only power my AS, but the tow vehicle's battery will be charged as well. Is that true? An electrician who specializes in RVs and trucks says he's ever heard of that. I'd like to have that option, given that our van will actually be mine and my girlfriend's bedroom with our litter of kids in the AS. So being able to use the van's DC cigarette lighter outlets for charging phones and using computers would be really, really swell.

Anyone have any input on this? Is that what one of these seven wires is for? Or does anyone even know what all seven wires do? I can think of three wires to run the lights, two to run the brakes and a ground....
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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The tow vehicle end plug has flat pins instead of round 7th wire is charge line [hot 12 volt] use simple 12 volt tester when putting new plug on t.v. end as AS uses dif. set up than new vehicles use for standard wiring, wiring stays same on end that plugs into AS
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherbedder View Post
The tow vehicle end plug has flat pins instead of round 7th wire is charge line [hot 12 volt] use simple 12 volt tester when putting new plug on t.v. end as AS uses dif. set up than new vehicles use for standard wiring, wiring stays same on end that plugs into AS
Okay so the 7th wire is indeed the one that charges back to the t.v. Good to know.

I went out and grabbed an adapter, I've attached two photos, but essentially I need to know what my old plug wires are for. That is, what do all six outer and one inner control?

Clockwise from top they go:
Red, Green, Brown, Black, Yellow and Blue in the middle

Where might I find that info?
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:54 PM   #4
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The easiest thing to do is to change the trailer plug to the much more common "Bargman" type 7 wire flat blade plug. You will have to figure out the color codes, the ones on your Airstream are somewhat different from the common code used today.

If your tow vehicle does not have a battery isolator, or a relay to shut off the charge line when the engine is off, your AS converter/charger will back feed the tow vehicle battery and keep it charged when the AS is plugged in. Test the pins on the TV side to see if there is + 12 volts on any of them when the rig is stopped and the ignition switch is off. If there is, you can back charge the TV from the Airstream.

If you are not familiar with 12 volt electrical systems, it would be best for you to find someone who is, or pay a service place to do the changover of the plug for you.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan View Post
I've got a 1976 Sovereign with this outdated (I'm told) plug to connect my AS to my TV. The existing original plug is a 7 prong setup, six around and one in the middle.
OK. There are two 7 pin Trailer-to-Truck connectors in widespread use, the flat-blade "RV type" and the pin type used mainly by semis. The one in your photo is one I've never seen, and I doubt if it is original to your trailer.

Quote:
In my manual it states that, when plugged into AC power, I can not only power my AS, but the tow vehicle's battery will be charged as well. Is that true? An electrician who specializes in RVs and trucks says he's ever heard of that. I'd like to have that option, given that our van will actually be mine and my girlfriend's bedroom with our litter of kids in the AS. So being able to use the van's DC cigarette lighter outlets for charging phones and using computers would be really, really swell.
It's true up to a point although it depends on how the trailer and the tow vehicle are wired and the type of AC-to-DC converter in the trailer. The "charge line" is part of a circuit that connects the tow vehicle and trailer batteries together. It's main purpose is to allow the trailer batteries to be charged by the tow vehicle's alternator when under way, but it also does allow some charging of the tow vehicle battery when the trailer is on shore power.

Care is required to be sure the circuit is actually working or you can inadvertently discharge the battery.

Quote:
Anyone have any input on this? Is that what one of these seven wires is for? Or does anyone even know what all seven wires do? I can think of three wires to run the lights, two to run the brakes and a ground....
Ground
Tail and running lights
Left turn
Right turn
Brakes
Backup light
Charge line


Quote:
Originally Posted by clicknathan View Post
Okay so the 7th wire is indeed the one that charges back to the t.v. Good to know.

I went out and grabbed an adapter, I've attached two photos, but essentially I need to know what my old plug wires are for. That is, what do all six outer and one inner control?

Clockwise from top they go:
Red, Green, Brown, Black, Yellow and Blue in the middle

Where might I find that info?
The standard colors are:
Yellow - left turn
Green - right turn
Brown - tail/running lights
Blue - brakes
White - ground

The charge line and reverse colors vary widely.

But Airstream is notorious for not following the standard color code. The best thing to do is test them one at a time. An RV tech or competent car mechanic can do it for you. Experience is required so I won't describe the process.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
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The info and diagrams here

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...eam-73697.html

may help
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:34 PM   #7
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I used a 7-way tester to test the tow vehicle, wire the trailer cord plug, and wire and test both ends of the removable umbilical cord. I used a small 12 volt battery charger, a multi-meter, a soldering gun, a map gas torch, plumber's brush on flux, acid core solder, and some shrink tube to cover splices. I soldered everything, no solderless connectors at all.

I used the diagram of the 7-way tester to wire the trailer. When I finished, any standard 7-way tow vehicle will work to tow my trailer(s).
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:16 PM   #8
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Acid core solder and flux can lead to long-term unreliability of the electrical joint. Rosin core is the preferred solder for electrical work.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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The 7th pin (usually the center) is used for backup lights in most cases.
6 pins are used for the following:
Ground/common
Tail/marker
Left turn/brake
Right turn/brake
Charge line to trailer battery
Electric brakes on trailer.
You need to ID each, then wire the UCord to match the TV.
Use only rosin core solder on electrical connections.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #10
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Okay thanks everyone for the input. I got everything wired up on the Airstream side and had a mechanic who specializes in RVs and trucks get my Tow Vehicle wired. Still haven't checked regarding whether the AS can charge the TV but plan to figure that out. I know my van (TV) has this Intellitec Battery Guard which doesn't work at the moment but when working is supposed to prevent it from running out of batteries. Not sure if that's the kind of system mentioned above for isolating things...

On another note, I'm looking at the hitch now, there are three wires, a grey one which powers my jack (I have to manually hook it up to a battery and ground it manually too at the moment), and then a red and blue wire which are hooked into the emergency cut off thing-a-majig. Should the red wire have power from the trailer or does it need its own power source?
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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The house battery should provide power to the break away switch as well as to the tongue jack. The tongue jack lead should be fused. The break away switch should not be fused.
I believe the red wire is the +12 volt connection on the breakaway switch. Since blue is typically the brakes on the trailer.
You need a properly wired and charged house battery to tow safely.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:02 AM   #12
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This might be a little off the subject, but you might want to take a look at the EZ connector. I installed it on my TV and AS and really like it. As with anything new I have gotten a lot flack, but I am one who likes to try new and inovative things.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by msmcv51 View Post
This might be a little off the subject, but you might want to take a look at the EZ connector. I installed it on my TV and AS and really like it. As with anything new I have gotten a lot flack, but I am one who likes to try new and inovative things.
We installed the EZ connector on our last two AS, and it is a superior product.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:37 PM   #14
I Bought it I Broke it...
 
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1976 31' Sovereign
Migratory , North America
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkowalyk View Post
We installed the EZ connector on our last two AS, and it is a superior product.
I haven't checked back in on this thread for a minute but we actually wound up getting an EZ connector before I saw this.

I have some diagrams and whatnot that I found and were very helpful, straight out of my manual, which made hooking this all up very easy. A few colors on standard trailers were different than what AS had done but after a few weeks of using the EZ connector, I'm definitely a fan.

We're at about 85% of where we wanted to be when we embarked on this renovation a couple of months ago, and after some seriously hard work, a tiny bit of fun, and vast knowledge gained, I'm pretty satisfied with the turn out.

I'll end up posting all about it sometime here in the future, but once again wanted to thank everyone for all of their help!
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