I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this, but I'm regularly surprised at how long every step takes. Sara says this is because I teach 1st grade. Whole lessons can take as little as 8 minutes. The number of unique plans we complete in class in a day usually number well above 10. I started wiring a few weeks ago. In my mind I think, "First step: pull all the AC wire. 20 min. Second step: pull all the DC wire. There's a few more lines to do in DC. Maybe about 30 minutes. Third step: solder and heatshrink. 20 more minutes? So I should be done in two hours, tops." But, I'm still wiring.
Anyway, I started by deciding on the best place for the new electrical panel. I decided to put it in the streetside closet nearest the bathroom. However, I haven't bought the panel because I'm planning on buying an all-in-one converter & distribution panel. It's pricy and my budget/savings is getting to the I've-got-to-make-hard-decisions point. We will camp this summer, but probably not with working electricity.
From this spot, my helper and I ran all of the AC wiring.
He took a bunch of photos of me too:
Basically, it just takes planning for each outlet/AC line. I planned lines for possible AC outlets, kitchen appliances, bathroom outlets, and an extra line for air conditioning. I'm not planning on putting in an air conditioner (we will mostly camp in the mountains), but I want everything there if I change my mind someday. Then I drilled new holes, installed rubber grommets to protect the wires, and pulled the wire.
Next, I moved onto the DC wiring. For those that might not know, Airstreams have two different electrical systems. Alternating current or AC (all the yellow wires above) is your typical house current. It only works inside the Airstream when plugged into shore power - like at a house or RV park. On the other hand, direct current, or DC, is essentially battery power. There will eventually be two deep-cycle AGM batteries that power the lights, water pump, assorted appliances, safety detectors, etc. Most of the electrical functions of the trailer will run off of DC power. A charger that runs off AC will recharge the batteries once they get drained. In addition, there is an umbilical cord that runs from the tow vehicle to the trailer that powers and controls all of the running lights, brake lights, and turn signals.
I started by rolling all the spools of wire randomly around the trailer. It turned out that dealing with 6 spools of heavy wire requires a system. So I built a little cradle.
Each of those wires is a different color for a different function. In addition, the some are different gauges:
So that's where I'm at. I assure you that it's taken me longer than two hours. I think I'll be done with running wires, soldering and heatshrinking in about 45 minutes.
I'm not an Airstream Jedi, yet. Airstream Jedi would have sounded presumptuous, like I know what I'm doing. That couldn't be further from the truth. Padawan is a title I can hope to live up to.
Knots Per Hour
My friend Mike is building an airplane. Check it out.