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Old 02-28-2014, 04:59 AM   #1
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Smile Electrical conversion 120v to 240v for New Zealand

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum, and have recently got our dream Airstream here in New Zealand. It's a 2010 Flying Cloud and we are loving it!

In order to meet the New Zealand electrical regulations, we are looking to convert the voltage to 240v. I have heard that the 110v cable rating in the Airstream is not robust enough for 240v, and need to be replaced? The cable rating for NZ needs to be 450 vac, does anyone know what the cable rating is used for late model Airstreams?

Has anyone successfully converted a 110v Airstream to 240v? This sounds like a very big project, and with much dismantling of panels required.

We are still in the planing process, and would love to gather as much info as possible, and we look forward to your feedback.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-28-2014, 05:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by airstreamz View Post
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum, and have recently got our dream Airstream here in New Zealand. It's a 2010 Flying Cloud and we are loving it!

In order to meet the New Zealand electrical regulations, we are looking to convert the voltage to 240v. I have heard that the 110v cable rating in the Airstream is not robust enough for 240v, and need to be replaced? The cable rating for NZ needs to be 450 vac, does anyone know what the cable rating is used for late model Airstreams?

Has anyone successfully converted a 110v Airstream to 240v? This sounds like a very big project, and with much dismantling of panels required.

We are still in the planing process, and would love to gather as much info as possible, and we look forward to your feedback.

Thanks in advance.
If you can get at any if the wiring, it will be printed or stamped on the cable. I do believe however that it is a 600V rating. Also equally important is the amperage. 14 gauge wire has a 15 amp max rating, and 12 gauge has a 20 amp rating. The size of the circuit breakers are an indication of what size wire is in your trailer.
I am not familiar with NZ electrical, but if it is only 240 where one side is line 1 and the other side is line 2 and there is a ground, vs 120/240 like in the USA having a line 1, a line 2, a neutral, and a ground. So if you don't use a neutral in NZ, I would think you could change the end of the power cord and the receptacles in the trailer using the black wire as one line and the white wire as the other as long as you do not exceed the amperage rating of the wire.
Hope this helps
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:20 AM   #3
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I suspect the wire in place is 600v. Your current draw is no higher but in fact lower by utilizing higher voltage. I am not familiar with the specs on devices local to your standards hovever I can't imagine fir example your roof A/C but likely it draws 30 amps. I think you are good.
You'll have to replace all the outlets, converter, microwave, fridge heater element and board, inverter, etc.
This should be a pretty easy swap. There is a Hella 7 pin direct swap for the umbilical cord.
How will you address your parking brake (or lack of) issue. Don't you need one when off the tow vehicle?
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:22 AM   #4
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As stated the wire in the trailer should be rated at 600V. This will be printed on the exterior sheathing of the wire. When you pull the outlets you should be able to prove this visually.

For those of us here in the states who don't know the 240 used for typical household current around the world is not like our 240 v, it is wired like our 120v.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by airstreamz View Post
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum, and have recently got our dream Airstream here in New Zealand. It's a 2010 Flying Cloud and we are loving it!

In order to meet the New Zealand electrical regulations, we are looking to convert the voltage to 240v. I have heard that the 110v cable rating in the Airstream is not robust enough for 240v, and need to be replaced? The cable rating for NZ needs to be 450 vac, does anyone know what the cable rating is used for late model Airstreams?
600v as others have said

Quote:
Has anyone successfully converted a 110v Airstream to 240v? This sounds like a very big project, and with much dismantling of panels required.
Not much to it.

You will have to replace:
1) the converter
2) the air conditioner
3) the microwave
4) the mains panel and breakers

You will have to modify or replace:
4) The television
5) The refrigerator (I believe 230v elements are available from Dometic)

If you have an electric water heater (most Flying Cloud do not) then you would have to replace the heating element.

It isn't strictly necessary to replace the outlets, because you can purchase adapters for any appliances you use with them.

Since the lighting, water pump, and furnace are 12v and run off the converter you don't have to change them.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:07 PM   #6
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I am not familiar with NZ electrical, but if it is only 240 where one side is line 1 and the other side is line 2 and there is a ground, vs 120/240 like in the USA having a line 1, a line 2, a neutral, and a ground.
NZ wiring is typically 230/400v center-grounded wye.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:08 PM   #7
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If you have to replace the outlets for regulatory compliance reasons you may be better off removing some of them since it may be difficult to fit NZ-type outlets in the same space.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:59 PM   #8
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Is it 240V single phase? or Two 120V single phase that add up to 240V. It you have two 120V phases it is relatively simple. All you need to do is put in a new breaker box or even rewire the one already in the trailer. If you actually need to run everything in the trailer on 240V single phase then you are going to have to replace everything or use a step down transformer.

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Old 02-28-2014, 01:45 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all your replies! I love this community If the wiring is rated at 600v rating, then it should meet the NZ 450v rating, this is what the regulation says:

"All wiring systems have a rated voltage above which the insulation properties are not adequate. The minimum rated voltage for 230 volt ac systems recognised for safety is 450 volts ac. Only cables rated at or above 450 volts ac could be retained for use on circuits reconfigured to supply NZ fittings at 230 volts ac. The use of single strand cables would not be in accordance with AS/NZS 3001although this is not generally considered to be a safety deficiency provided the cable is constructed and installed to reduce the effects of movement."

The only 110v appliance inside the van is: 1. Fridge , 2. Ceiling Air con, the rest run on 12v off the converter/battery. If I can get the fridge to work at 230v easily, then I might replace the AIr con unit with a roof vent.

If I can retain the cable inside the walls of the van, it'll make a lot simpler job with this conversion, so this is the crucial point I guess.

New Zealand 240v is single phase I believe, and a normal household cable is a 3 way Red : Black : Green. I will check the Flying Cloud cable to see if it is single strain or multi. I will keep you guys posted of my progress, thanks!
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:51 PM   #10
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I suspect the wire in place is 600v. Your current draw is no higher but in fact lower by utilizing higher voltage. I am not familiar with the specs on devices local to your standards hovever I can't imagine fir example your roof A/C but likely it draws 30 amps. I think you are good.
You'll have to replace all the outlets, converter, microwave, fridge heater element and board, inverter, etc.
This should be a pretty easy swap. There is a Hella 7 pin direct swap for the umbilical cord.
How will you address your parking brake (or lack of) issue. Don't you need one when off the tow vehicle?
The only appliance running 110v inside the van is the fridge and the ceiling Air Conditioner. All other devices are 12v powered, in which this might make things a bit simpler. I have already modified my tow vehicle with a electronic brake controller, so this is sorted with no issues at all. Thanks for checking
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:40 PM   #11
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Don't forget your converter... that is most assuredly 110 volts!
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:49 PM   #12
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Don't forget your converter... that is most assuredly 110 volts!
Well spotted, indeed I will need to source a new 240v converter for this. It seems the NZ electrical compliance is very strict, and have been told by a few that I am required to completely rip out all existing cables, and rewire/retrofit everything... if this is the case then it will be a huge project, and I'd hate to see a rather new van ripped apart for this
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:27 PM   #13
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Have talked with an electrician, and looks like we are out of luck in hoping to use existing cables in the van. Here is what is required:

"3.4 Wiring System
3.4.1 Size and type of cable
Fixed wiring forming part of the electrical installation shall consist of multi-strand insulated and sheathed cables or flexible cords having not less than seven strands and a conductor cross-sectional area of not less than 1 mm2."

If we were to convert it to 240v, looks like a complete re-wiring is needed, I'd hate to rip out working parts to effect factory condition...
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Old 02-28-2014, 04:48 PM   #14
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You have to love regulators.

Multi strand? Really.

The 40 year old Romex in my trailer was none the worse for the wear after 40 years of hard use.

I ended up reusing all of it.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:46 PM   #15
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How did you come by this trailer and if bought new for NZ how come the US spec electrical system? The fridge is made in Europe so they may have a conversion which would consist of a different heating element. The board runs on 12V I believe. The AC may or may not be switchable to 220V. The converter probably has a selector switch for 220V. The wireing should be fine for 220V. I would use the don't ask don't tell method on that. The TV can be run on a converter for travelers.

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Old 02-28-2014, 07:49 PM   #16
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I just came across your Post. Your are correct with the regulation of the multi-strand cable. Romex (Household) cable has the voltage rating you need, but is not multi stranded. your sqmm is sufficient.
My Suggestion would be to install a new breaker box as needed and a new shore power cord. Im not 100% familiar with the layout of your camper, but you should be able to hide new wiring within the cabinets and furniture towards your refrigerator and microwave.. Blank off the existing receptacles.
As for the Appliances: Microwave definitely has to be exchanged, as it will not work correctly with the different frequency. The refrigerator might just need a different Board. Alternative get a small 240/120 transformer. they are readily available and you fridge should work just fine.
As for the Inverter, check the Nameplate. Most in theses days are multi voltage. Some have a switch to change from 120 to 240.

To clarify the Voltage: US is 120 Single Phase (1Line, 1 Neutral) You also have 230V, which is 2 lines)
240V however is the same as 120 Single Phase(1 line , 1 Neutral)
Frequency is 60 vs 50 hz.

BTW, all camper i have restored are wired with Marine Grade wiring.. multi stranded tinned Copper.. a little more expensive, but i believe way more reliable.. just my 2 cents though
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:53 PM   #17
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Is there any possibility your codes would allow you to simply add a 220 to 120 volt transformer to the input side of the original wiring system? That would be the least expensive and easiest solution to the issue from the electrical standpoint. The transformer would need to have a 30 amp 120 volt secondary. They are not inexpensive, but they are available and certainly would be easier than a complete re wiring. I would check with your codes people.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:31 PM   #18
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Is there any possibility your codes would allow you to simply add a 220 to 120 volt transformer to the input side of the original wiring system? That would be the least expensive and easiest solution to the issue from the electrical standpoint. The transformer would need to have a 30 amp 120 volt secondary. They are not inexpensive, but they are available and certainly would be easier than a complete re wiring. I would check with your codes people.
Thanks, I thought of this point, but the inspector won't be happy for us to have 110v appliances and wiring within the van... however I think this is the best way to do this in a not tell situation. However, if there is a fire, the insurance will probably have an excuse not to pay out... that's my only concern.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:34 PM   #19
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I don't understand why stranded wire is necessary. The Romex in there is only going to be running at 1/2 the amps that it is rated for at 220V. Does the wire in the trailer really have to be replaced? It is hidden, who is going to know? I do like the idea of a transformer.

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Old 02-28-2014, 09:36 PM   #20
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How did you come by this trailer and if bought new for NZ how come the US spec electrical system? The fridge is made in Europe so they may have a conversion which would consist of a different heating element. The board runs on 12V I believe. The AC may or may not be switchable to 220V. The converter probably has a selector switch for 220V. The wireing should be fine for 220V. I would use the don't ask don't tell method on that. The TV can be run on a converter for travelers.

Perry
We were lucky enough to be the new owner of the Flying Cloud in New Zealand. The NZ based seller is Dunbar Slone, who happen to be school mates of Wade Thompson (Boss of Airstream till 2009 when he passed away). Dunbar imported 3 brand new Airstreams into NZ, the 20ft Flying Cloud is his smallest one.

I am sure the Fridge can be converted to 240v, needs a new heating element and maybe a new electric board, but I need to find where to source this. 12v converter can anyone confirm this is switcheable to 240v? it'd be handy if it does!
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