Originally Posted by Collapso
I'm putting my new acquired 1954
Safari into shape (floors, wood work, plumbing, etc) but am really in the dark (no pun intended) about what to use for my 12 volt source and my voltage inverter. All that stuff is missing and the wiring is pretty hacked, too.
Welcome to the forums!
As far as the 12 Volt stuff being "missing", there is a good chance that your 1954
Safari never had them. In the early 50s a lot of Airstreams were essentially configured as "park models"--you towed them from one campground to another and plugged into AC power when you got there. The fact that your original refrigerator runs off of AC power suggests your trailer might have been configured that way.
Pacer was like that--there was no battery in the trailer and only one 12 V light fixture. The rest of the light fixtures were all 120 V AC. The one 12 V fixture was connected to a 12 V power line to the tow vehicle battery. There was no water pump either, the Pacer used the pressurized tank system whereby you could either connect the water inlet to city water or pour water into the tank and pressurize it through a tire valve.
By the way, in the early 50s most cars used 6 V electrical systems, also, so the exterior lights on the trailer may be set up for 6 V. (Or they may have already been converted to 12 V by a previous owner.)
If you are going to install a coach battery in the trailer I would recommend mounting it forward for reasons of weight and balance. It should either be external to the cabin or in a separate compartment vented to the outside. On the Pacer there was room to mount a marine-style battery box on the tongue behind the LP gas bottles, and I built my own 12 V fuse panel. The battery was kept charged by a modern Intellipower convertor located under a dinette seat. There was also a small inverter under the dinette seat to power the 120 V interior lights when not connected to ground power.
If you don't mind pulling the wiring I would replace the 120 V lights with 12 V and run everything off of 12 V like modern trailers have done since the mid-60s. If you can afford LED lighting, it's great for boondocking--same amount of light as incandescent for about 10% of the power consumption.
Good luck with your project!