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Old 10-25-2009, 09:19 PM   #341
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FWIW, I put the converter on a high quality surge protector. Just another option for you to consider.

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Old 10-25-2009, 09:20 PM   #342
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Zep

Also thinking about going with a electric hot water take rated at 2000W, if I move the fridge back to the microwave breaker then I can have a breaker just for the hot water.

toastie
2000W? I haven't looked at electrical water heaters for RV's, but that sounds high for a camper. Is that a tankless "instant" electric water heater or a conventional water heater with tank? I would think a tank type would draw significantly less than 2000W peak.

If that 2000W water heater was 100% efficent, it would draw 2000W/115V = 17.4A, but it wouldn't be 100% efficient, so there will be loses in the conversion and the true current draw will be a little higher. Of course if this is a tank type 2000W, that would be peak draw during heating and once the water was up to temperature the average power draw would be less to maintain water temp, but the water probably would be maintained by cycling the 2000W heater on occasionally - you just won't be able to predict when it will come on (other than when you use some hot water).

If you plan on using a 2000W electric Hot Water Heater, that alone would probably use all the capacity of a 20A circuit in a camp ground. You'd have to turn everything else off to use it. If you have a 30A hook up in a camp ground you might be able to use some other appliances concurrently, but probably not the Air Conditioner, 1500W Microwave, Toaster or other high wattage appliances. Try to do so and you'll risk tripping the breaker at the pole. Just separating the breakers inside the trailer is not enough - got to think about the source.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:21 AM   #343
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Sorry Toastie, I really like what you have been doing but I think you are breaking a serious rule of Airstream construction with all this heavy duty wiring and microwaves and electric water heaters. That rule is called K.I.S.S.
I mean this is a vintage rig and it is a whole what 18, 22 feet long? Not trying to be a downer, it is just my gut feeling here. It would be different if this is going to be put up on blocks and be lived in full time, but we are talking travel trailer. I have been feeling lately that less is more. Maybe that is why I am saying this out loud right now. I really do mean that I think you are doing a killer job. Ultimately you are building this to suit your needs, however "WE" have a tendency to blow all the whistles and ring all the bells on things like these trailers. Maybe keeping it simple is just as good as throwing out all stops. Just saying... feel free to tell me to shut up and mind my own business. I can respect that.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:23 AM   #344
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I don't know-- personally I find my microwave to be very useful. Having infants as I do, microwaves are by far the fastest and simplest method for heating water to warm a baby bottle.

But, I do love my propane water heater. It's very efficient, and very fast.

Just my $0.02, and I, too, love the work you're doing on your trailer.

-Marcus
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:44 AM   #345
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feel free to tell me to shut up and mind my own business. I can respect that.
No way, keep it coming, I valve your input........toastie
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:24 AM   #346
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2000W? I haven't looked at electrical water heaters for RV's, but that sounds high for a camper. Is that a tankless "instant" electric water heater or a conventional water heater with tank? I would think a tank type would draw significantly less than 2000W peak.

If that 2000W water heater was 100% efficent, it would draw 2000W/115V = 17.4A, but it wouldn't be 100% efficient, so there will be loses in the conversion and the true current draw will be a little higher. Of course if this is a tank type 2000W, that would be peak draw during heating and once the water was up to temperature the average power draw would be less to maintain water temp, but the water probably would be maintained by cycling the 2000W heater on occasionally - you just won't be able to predict when it will come on (other than when you use some hot water).

If you plan on using a 2000W electric Hot Water Heater, that alone would probably use all the capacity of a 20A circuit in a camp ground. You'd have to turn everything else off to use it. If you have a 30A hook up in a camp ground you might be able to use some other appliances concurrently, but probably not the Air Conditioner, 1500W Microwave, Toaster or other high wattage appliances. Try to do so and you'll risk tripping the breaker at the pole. Just separating the breakers inside the trailer is not enough - got to think about the source.
Well said Joe, the reason that I'm looking at electrical hot water tanks at the moment is that I just don't want to cut a large hole for a propane heater, want to keep the outside looking vintage. I have seen electric heaters at 1500 watts.

Toastie
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:40 PM   #347
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Well said Joe, the reason that I'm looking at electrical hot water tanks at the moment is that I just don't want to cut a large hole for a propane heater, want to keep the outside looking vintage. I have seen electric heaters at 1500 watts.

Toastie
Toastie,
I've got to say I've got the same concern with my '55 Safari. I don't want to cut a hole in the exterior skin for a propane water heater. So while not really doing any investigation yet, I had hoped a small tank type electric water heater might work. I know that until the late '50's, most Airstreams that had a water heater had a tank type electric job. What I don't know was how many watts those units were. I think they did have switches so that they could be turned on when one wanted hot water and left off the rest of the time. Maybe folks just knew to turn off most other 115VAC items when heating water.

Another option is to do what Shari Davis did on her '56 Safari and go with a propane unit that vents thru the floor, but I think that is expensive to the tune of about $1500. Another option could be a propane tankless water heater. I have seen the exhaust from those tee'd into the furnace vent cap so that no exterior holes are needed except for an air inlet in the belly pan (or else crack a window when using it).

I really don't know what we are going to do because without a shower we will have a limited need for hot water. I'd think a tank style with a capacity of a gallon or two would do if there is such a thing. Or a vintage tankless propane water heater could be cool, but I have never seen one for sale. Because I am trying to keep my trailer appearing period correct, going to a brand new tankless propane water heater would not seem to be an option. Maybe I can reuse what appears to be a " scuba tank" electric water heater that is currently in my trailer if I can figure out if and how it works because it is hidden under a dinette bench. It was added in the '60's or '70's by a previous owner. Heck, we have even wondered about just forgoing a water heater entirely and making hot water the old fashioned way - on the stove.

Good luck whatever your decision.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:08 PM   #348
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I poked around on the internet quickly to see what I could find in low wattage tank type electric water heaters. A more detailed search might turn up more.

Here is a 1200W (10A) 2.5 Gallon electric Water Heater on Amazon:
Amazon.com: Eemax EMT2.5 "Mini-Tank" Electric Water Heater: Home Improvement

Here is the same unit on another site:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT2.5: Designerplumbing.com

That site also lists a 4 gallon unit at the same wattage:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT4: Designerplumbing.com

I have never heard of Eemax before so I cannot endorse these products as good, nor tell you to stay away. Nor do I know if they are rugged enough for travel trailer use. I just point them out. You can also find Bosch 2.5 and 4 gallon mini-tank water heaters on Amazon, but they are listed at 1500W. There may be other brands and wattages, but I stopped looking.

EDIT: A google search for "mini tank water heater" turns up more brands and wattages between 1200 and 1500:
http://www.google.com/search?q=mini+tank+water+heater

Good Luck!
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:10 PM   #349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
I poked around on the internet quickly to see what I could find in low wattage tank type electric water heaters. A more detailed search might turn up more.

Here is a 1200W (10A) 2.5 Gallon electric Water Heater on Amazon:
Amazon.com: Eemax EMT2.5 "Mini-Tank" Electric Water Heater: Home Improvement

Here is the same unit on another site:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT2.5: Designerplumbing.com

That site also lists a 4 gallon unit at the same wattage:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT4: Designerplumbing.com

I have never heard of Eemax before so I cannot endorse these products as good, nor tell you to stay away. Nor do I know if they are rugged enough for travel trailer use. I just point them out. You can also find Bosch 2.5 and 4 gallon mini-tank water heaters on Amazon, but they are listed at 1500W. There may be other brands and wattages, but I stopped looking.

EDIT: A google search for "mini tank water heater" turns up more brands and wattages between 1200 and 1500:
mini tank water heater - Google Search

Good Luck!
Isotemp Slim & Basic
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:34 PM   #350
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
I poked around on the internet quickly to see what I could find in low wattage tank type electric water heaters. A more detailed search might turn up more.

Here is a 1200W (10A) 2.5 Gallon electric Water Heater on Amazon:
Amazon.com: Eemax EMT2.5 "Mini-Tank" Electric Water Heater: Home Improvement

Here is the same unit on another site:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT2.5: Designerplumbing.com

That site also lists a 4 gallon unit at the same wattage:
Eemax Mini Tank Electric Tankless Water Heaters EMT4: Designerplumbing.com

I have never heard of Eemax before so I cannot endorse these products as good, nor tell you to stay away. Nor do I know if they are rugged enough for travel trailer use. I just point them out. You can also find Bosch 2.5 and 4 gallon mini-tank water heaters on Amazon, but they are listed at 1500W. There may be other brands and wattages, but I stopped looking.

EDIT: A google search for "mini tank water heater" turns up more brands and wattages between 1200 and 1500:
mini tank water heater - Google Search

Good Luck!
Marine Water Heater Review - Atwood, IsoTemp, Torrid, Superstor
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:35 PM   #351
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I still stand by the idea of not putting all outlets and switches (lights) on a single circuit, though.
Joe

This is my final plan:

Wire 6 will be for the main

Wire 5 to 20 amp, will be only for air conditioner

Wire 4 to 15 amp, will be only for 45 amp Intellipower; will be plugged into a GFI

Wire 3 to 15 amp will be only for microwave and refrigerator, Direct TV box, surge protector, 32" LED TV, bathroom with GFI

Wire 2 to 15 amp will be only for electric hot water tank.

Wire 1 to 20 amp GFCI will be for exterior and interior receptacles and switches.

Toastie
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:19 PM   #352
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You know I haven't studied the electrical set up of any of my Airstreams (yet), but I wonder if any of them have a circuit breaker dedicated to the Univolt (Intellipower in your case). In your case 45A at 12V is about 540W. At 115VAC this is only 4.7A. Given efficiency losses the input current would be a little higher, but still much less than one could on a 15A circuit breaker. Is dedicated really required? I actually don't know.

Food for thought in any case. If anyone else knows that Airstream actually dedicated a circuit breaker for the converter, please speak up.

BTW, I like the current draw of that 750W Isotemp water heater, but at $600+ it is too pricey for me and without engine coolant circulating thru it I wonder how long it would take to heat up. In any case, the idea to look for a marine electric water heater is probably good as they will be made to survive bouncing across waves (or bumps in the road) more than a residential unit would. There seem to be several marine water heaters in the 1500W range, several much less expensive than the Isotemp.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:41 AM   #353
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You know I haven't studied the electrical set up of any of my Airstreams (yet), but I wonder if any of them have a circuit breaker dedicated to the Univolt (Intellipower in your case). In your case 45A at 12V is about 540W. At 115VAC this is only 4.7A. Given efficiency losses the input current would be a little higher, but still much less than one could on a 15A circuit breaker. Is dedicated really required? I actually don't know.

Food for thought in any case. If anyone else knows that Airstream actually dedicated a circuit breaker for the converter, please speak up.

BTW, I like the current draw of that 750W Isotemp water heater, but at $600+ it is too pricey for me and without engine coolant circulating thru it I wonder how long it would take to heat up. In any case, the idea to look for a marine electric water heater is probably good as they will be made to survive bouncing across waves (or bumps in the road) more than a residential unit would. There seem to be several marine water heaters in the 1500W range, several much less expensive than the Isotemp.
The advantages of a 125 amp box.

$600.00 plus for the Isotemp is not all that bad. Price of a propane heater is about $400.00 plus $80.00 for a stainless steel cover to replace the white cover plus you have to cut a large hole. A premium of $120.00 for the Isotemp.

Toastie
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:37 PM   #354
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Thumbs up Dedicated circuits are the way to go

Having done a a lot of electrical work, both DC and AC, I'd have to agree that dedicated circuits are the way to go Toastie. With your complete rebuild, you have the luxury of replacing and re-engineering the wiring, and there have been a lot of advances in insulation and even the copper alloys used in the wire. Personally, I like dedicated grounds as well for high draw circuits, especially in wet areas. I was wondering if you put in any underfloor wire conduit(s) or channel(s) for your AC and DC wiring? I would try to do that on mine if I don't run into fitment problems with other stuff below the floor. Panduit and other companies make a U channel in both plastic and metal that can have a screw on cover, so you could access the wiring troughs from under the airstream. I mostly use stranded wire now for both DC and AC, because it has much better transmission characteristics and lower impedance (Better GFCI performance), and is more flexible and bend tolerant. The exception of course is for communications, where I usually go with solid 24ga twisted pair.

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Old 10-28-2009, 06:54 AM   #355
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Having done a a lot of electrical work, both DC and AC, I'd have to agree that dedicated circuits are the way to go Toastie. With your complete rebuild, you have the luxury of replacing and re-engineering the wiring, and there have been a lot of advances in insulation and even the copper alloys used in the wire. Personally, I like dedicated grounds as well for high draw circuits, especially in wet areas. I was wondering if you put in any underfloor wire conduit(s) or channel(s) for your AC and DC wiring? I would try to do that on mine if I don't run into fitment problems with other stuff below the floor. Panduit and other companies make a U channel in both plastic and metal that can have a screw on cover, so you could access the wiring troughs from under the airstream. I mostly use stranded wire now for both DC and AC, because it has much better transmission characteristics and lower impedance (Better GFCI performance), and is more flexible and bend tolerant. The exception of course is for communications, where I usually go with solid 24ga twisted pair.

Theo
1968 Sovereign 30' - just starting the tearout phase
Theo

After doing a lot of reading on the forum about others electrical problems and having problems with my 65 Caravel, it makes sense to me to be able to trace a problem. The main wire, wire 5 AC, wire 4 INTELLIPOWER, wire 2 HOTWATER will not be buried in the walls. 12v and TV wiring (have box) will be outside the interior walls and behind removable interior panels.

toastie
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:54 PM   #356
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Have decided to go with a suburban LP gas or 110 volt electric hot water system. Have plan's to modify for lp use. Suburban RV Water Heaters on Sale
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Old 10-29-2009, 10:46 PM   #357
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Wire routing

I am still researching the evolution of Airstream's electrical engineering to understand their practices, but in the 60's (I have a 1968 Sovereign 30') most of the wiring was in the walls. I agree that putting the wiring in the walls for things not attached to the walls makes no sense. I plan to have some wiring trays under the floor for wiring the appliances that are attached to the floor, and to try and run conduit or wiring channels in the shell for the things that terminate there. DC circuits are obviously easier to handle than AC, but they can also use harness connectors that can be removed, wire nuts are so yesterday.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:54 AM   #358
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I am still researching the evolution of Airstream's electrical engineering to understand their practices
I would say that Airstream in the 50's safety was not on the top of there list, 110v system was unsafe then and after 50 years from typical corrosion and shorting to sharp edges on the aluminum skin and frame even more today. The sheathing on the wiring has pretty much decomposed, leaving only the vinyl insulation, and Airstream didn't always use grommets. 50's owners and future buyer's beware..........toastie
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:01 AM   #359
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Finished running all 110V wire that will be going into the walls. I ended up with 13 inside receptacles, 1 outside receptacles, 1 switch to outside light, 2 switches for led lights. Wired box, ran test and everything worked. The wire running to Marinco will be changed, see http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449/marinco-electrical-connection-58288.html#post769103

Toastie
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:04 PM   #360
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13 outlets, huh? Now I don’t feel so bad thinking I need 14 or 15 in Little Girl!

Looks great Toastie!

Chris
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