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Old 01-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1968 30' Sovereign
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Radio install in front overhead

I am preparing to install a new Clarion car stereo and speakers in the front overhead cabinet of our '68 Sovereign. When we got it, it had an old car radion in a plywood box wired up in there. I never even tried to see if it worked, I just took it out knowing I wanted something more current.

I know just enough about electrical to be dangerous and next to nothing about the combined 120v / 12v Airstream system. There is a romex wire going into the overhead that the previous owner had the old car radio hooked to. According to the wiring diagram in the owner's manual, this does seem to be a 12v source. My main question is this - the power wire from my radio is just one single red wire....how do I properly connect that to the two wires of the 12v romex? Also, where is the best place to attach the stereos ground wire?

A less critical question - there are what appear to be speaker wires running into the overhead also. I think I read on the forums that speakers were wired for even if they weren't factory installed. Does anyone know where these speaker wires go to? Back to the sleeping area somewhere maybe? I have looked in all the rear overheads and haven't found anything.


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Old 01-26-2013, 09:36 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
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I am surprised that the Romex would be the 12 volt power source. But again nothing surprises me with these old rigs.
When you disconnected and removed the old radio. Was it connected to the Romex?
If so, it's probably a safe bet that it is 12 volts. BUT I WOULD CHECK IT WITH A METER TO MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE.
If it is 12 volts. My guess would be that BLACK IS POSITIVE and WHITE IS NEGATIVE. But I would check to make sure. If this is the case, the positive (red) wire of the radio would connect to the black wire (thru a properly sized fuse). The white wire from the Romex would then be connected to the metal chassis of the radio. There is probably a stud with a nut on it. Which may be part of the mounting hardware.
The speakers in my trailer are mounted on the bottom of the overhead compartment in the berthing area. Look for wires in the overhead compartments.
I would take a real close look in the box the old radio was mounted and see if among the speaker wires there is a single black stranded wire. If so, I'd bet that's the +12 volts you are looking for.
Don't know what you paid for the new radio, but they don't like being connected incorrectly. So be certain that the polarity and voltage are correct before connecting it. Also make sure there is a fuse on the +12 volts
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #3
1 Rivet Member
1968 30' Sovereign
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5
The previous owner definitely had the radio installed to this wire. He had taken some smaller wire and wrapped and taped it to each of the two wires of the romex. In my haste to strip things once we got it home, I just cut the wire from his radio install without looking to see how he had wired it.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:02 PM   #4
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,330
On a couple of trailers that I've seen them the speakers were hidden behind the curtains on the sides of the trailers near the front and back.

2 wires going up to radio should be ground and power, as said get a meter and check voltage and which is power and ground.

Once you have a meter and know how to use it it makes all wiring diagnoses/repair easier so if you don't want to take your trailer to get fixed every time there is a problem you should have a meter anyway.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:43 PM   #5
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1993 30' Excella
Salida , Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 90
I have a speaker (original) mounted to an overhead cabinet on the streetside of the trailer and another speaker mounted to the overhead compartment over the kitchen (curbside). But for some reason the speaker in the overhead was covered over with the upholstery - and it appears it was done this way from the factory - why did they do it this way?
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