Thursday, October 3, 2013

1971 Scamper Upgrades - Electrical

The wiring in our Scamper had already been upgraded to white wire and a breaker panel.  There were still a couple of places where there was still some of the old orange wire but 75% of the wiring has been converted to white wire.

A couple of things needed fixing however, such as the outdoor outlet.  The old one didn't work anymore  and when I took it apart I found that it had shorted out and melted the plastic of the outlet and the wires were broken.  I bought a new outdoor outlet and installed it.  There really should have been a GFCI outlet installed here, and I did buy one, but it wouldn't fit in the existing hole and I didn't feel comfortable cutting the siding and wall material of the camper to make it larger.  The outlet I did install is weather proof, and we would never use it in a wet situation anyway.

The electrical outlet behind the fridge did not work either, and it looked as though it had gotten wet and corroded.  The weatherstripping was gone from the fridge access panel, and that is how water would have gotten in, especially while driving in the rain.  I replaced the weatherstripping so the panel was now weather-proof.  Then I replaced the old outlet with a new one.  Below is the old outlet, and it was replaced with one similar to the one above.  We can now use the fridge on electrical power if we ever need to.

Next, we wanted a 12-volt outlet that can be used in the back of the camper.  There was a 12-volt wire that was capped off under the sink cabinet.  I checked it with a multimeter and it was live with 12-volts running through it.  I bought a dual 12-volt outlet that also has a USB outlet and installed it on the panel just outside the cupboard.

The wiring:

The new outlet installed:

Once I had it wired up and turned the power back on, I saw something disappointing.  There is a small light around the usb port, kind of like a nightlight.  It looks like it is LED so it shouldn't use much power.  However as we boondock a lot we hate having parasitic power-robbing devices like this.  On the plus side, there is a breaker on our power converter that controls only this circuit.  So we can keep that breaker turned off until the outlet is needed.

The next upgrade was the kitchen light.  While Mom, Suzanne and I were away in Cape Breton in August on our trip, the 42-year-old light finally bit the biscuit.

I at first assumed it was just the fluorescent light tube that needed replacing, but when I got home I checked the bulb for continuity with my multimeter and found that the bulb was good.  That meant that the ballast was probably bad, and replacing the ballast looked like was going to cost around $40-50.00.  I instead opted for a new $60.00 modern LED under-cabinet light from Command Electronics, specialists in 12-volt lighting.  It is aluminum, very low-profile, and has 21 warm white LEDs that produce 350 lumens, with only a .32 amp draw.  The old light produced 400 lumens, and had an amp draw of .8 amps.  The new light is more than twice as efficient as the old one, and any way we can save an amp that is a good thing.  Below are some pics of the new light.

Instead of centering the light over the hole for the wires, I put it closer to the outside edge.  Even though this leaves the hole exposed, it puts the light more centered over the counter which is where it is needed most.

Below are links to all of my posts about the Scamper:

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