RV News RVBusiness 2021 Top 10 RVs of the Year, plus 56 additional debuts and must-see units → ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-23-2020, 03:39 PM   #1
New Member
1974 31' Sovereign
Lawrence , KS
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 1

Hi all!
My wife and I just recently purchased a 1974 Sovereign 31' with rear bath. I attached a battery yesterday to check interior wiring and everything seems to be working. We hope to install solar at some point (probably a ways away) and my question is if we are planning to do this will we need to take off the interior skins and rewire things? Or will the original wiring work if it is functioning?

Any help would be appreciated!
Nwilder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2020, 08:42 PM   #2
Rivet Master
dbj216's Avatar

1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,417
Images: 1
Hello from Colorado and welcome to these Airstream Forums and the vintage Airstream hobby. I have a 75 Overlander and I'm working on a friend's 76 Sovereign this winter. You'll have to post a few pictures of your Sovereign.

I know little about solar generated power. I know Airstream Life and I'm sure others sell "portable" solar panels that you haul in the back of the truck, set them up when parked, and they will charge the battery. But wait, no 120 volts to charge a phone or laptop.

I know bigger solar systems involve roof mounted panels, controls, a DC to AC inverter, and you can generate some wattage from the sun. These systems are quite expensive. Folks take pride in their investment as they are "off the grid".

Me, I start up my generator and charge the battery as well as our devices. I can also make coffee or run the microwave. This is easier and cheaper for me.

You can read all about folks who have installed solar systems in their vintage Airstreams here in these Forums. The common systems don't involve a lot of rewiring. The elaborate system do.

WBCCI #8607
VAC Region 11

See my 1966 Trade Wind Renovation Documentation:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers

See our 1976 Sovereign Renovation Project:
Knowledge Base Airstream Trailers
dbj216 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2020, 09:33 PM   #3
Rivet Master
daleyocum's Avatar
2018 25' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 982
Nobody pulls off the interior skins just to do solar, even the fanciest systems. If you have the skins off for other reasons, sure, you can make things easier.

Solar can be as complicated and expensive as you like. The easiest, as was mentioned, is to get one or more portable suitcase panels and put them on the ground. Be sure to get a suitcase with a controller with at least 100 watts. You can have more than one or get bigger 200w versions if that’s not enough. Renogy is a popular brand.

Once you decide to put something on your roof and build it into your trailer you can go on quite a trip down the rabbit hole. Mine is a 500w system with 500ah of lithium batteries along with a Victron hybrid inverter and associated electronics. That cost about $10k for the parts, I did the installation myself. www.amsolar.com has some good videos and tutorials about these high end systems.

Having a built in system with the batteries and electronics to go with it is truly liberating. We don’t have to think about power. We run induction cooktops, hairdryers, tv, coffee makers without a thought. Whether it’s worth it to you is a personal choice.
daleyocum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2020, 09:38 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
Can of beans's Avatar
1972 31' Sovereign
Silverton , Oregon
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 295
Images: 48
I've Had this thought about installing solar, and I decided not to wire for it when I had the skins out, I didn't have the wire, and it seemed like a hassle for me. I don't get that much vacation time, so it would be easier to just use a generator.

I started to think about it though, and the main charge wire (blue) in my 1972 trailer is the same wire that powers the vent fans and is also located for the optional Vent fans that weren't installed. it's 10 gauge, and located at each vent opening. You could put a couple panels on it, and it's easy to access by pulling the rivets around the vent openings. If I ever get a mild solar bug, that's my first choice.
"Daddy when's the trailer going to be finished?"
Can of beans is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Supplement Factory Solar with Portable Solar dkottum Generators & Solar Power 10 06-16-2016 04:28 PM
Best Quality Solar Panels & Solar Controllers to use | Opinions Wanted BoldAdventure Generators & Solar Power 54 03-17-2016 07:04 AM
Airstream solar pre-wiring compatibility with AM solar robi Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 06-11-2014 10:31 PM
Solar Install AM Solar outdoors717 Generators & Solar Power 3 07-15-2012 08:11 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.