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Old 03-09-2007, 07:43 PM   #1
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univolt function

please clarify the exact purpose of the univolt. Does it just charge the house batteries only? If you replace it with an intelipower(with battery charger option),can you add an outlet that you then could use it for 120v small appliance/computer battery charger/etc without having to run the generator while traveling down the road.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:59 PM   #2
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A 'univolt' is classified as a power converter. The function of a converter is to provide the RV with 12 VDC power derived (converted) from a 120VAC source (shore power).

Keeping this in mind, a new switch-mode electronic converter will keep your batteries charged properly with 3 stage charging AND provide 12VDC power for all of your interior needs. Remember that your some of your appliances may need 12VDC, so size your new converter accordingly. A 55 amp model should power most Airstreams nicely and still charage your battery.

You also might want to check in with Overlander 68. Randy is our resident converter expert anad sells them too.
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:29 PM   #3
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If you want to run a 110 Volt AC appliance off your 12 volt batteries you need something called an inverter. Available in many sizes at your local Walmart or any electronics store. The more power you need the more you will pay and the sooner you will drag your batteries down.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:32 AM   #4
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MlMarch, I hope its Okay to call you that.
We have apples and oranges mixed in this and maybe a peach too.
No, it does not charge the batteries only but rather acts as a battery charger after it job as a DC power supply is complete.
You cannot add an outlet to it because it is not an inverter but rather a converter..AC to DC only.
Lew said it perfect but just let me add in case it is unclear to some people.
The only reason for a Univolt or converter in the first place is so you can run the basic accessories in your Airstream or any RV while not connected to shore power. Lights, furnace, water pump, radio, refer, etc run on DC instead of AC so you can run them off the battery.
I don't want to insult your intelligence and I'm sure you know this stuff but its still a mystery to a lot of RVers about how we get power.
Dwight is right on about inverters if you want to "inverse" the equation. You need an inverter to make AC power from a DC battery and the options are endless there. That's what you need for your computer battery. (Ironically they run on DC too)
Your generator is nothing more than another AC source.
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 68 Overlander
MlMarch, I hope its Okay to call you that.
We have apples and oranges mixed in this and maybe a peach too.
No, it does not charge the batteries only but rather acts as a battery charger after it job as a DC power supply is complete.
You cannot add an outlet to it because it is not an inverter but rather a converter..AC to DC only.
Lew said it perfect but just let me add in case it is unclear to some people.
The only reason for a Univolt or converter in the first place is so you can run the basic accessories in your Airstream or any RV while not connected to shore power. Lights, furnace, water pump, radio, refer, etc run on DC instead of AC so you can run them off the battery.
I don't want to insult your intelligence and I'm sure you know this stuff but its still a mystery to a lot of RVers about how we get power.
Dwight is right on about inverters if you want to "inverse" the equation. You need an inverter to make AC power from a DC battery and the options are endless there. That's what you need for your computer battery. (Ironically they run on DC too)
Your generator is nothing more than another AC source.
Randy,

This looks like a good place to ask a question that has been bugging me. The converter in my '77' Minuet looks to be orginal to the coach. It's label TU-430-2, 30A Litton, TRIAD-UTRAD. Is this what is called a Univolt? When on it sounds like a buzz box. Appears to function as orginally intended. Replace or live with it, What do you suggest? Fuzzygraph attached.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:31 AM   #6
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Powerful questions...

"Lew said it perfect but just let me add in case it is unclear to some people.
The only reason for a Univolt or converter in the first place is so you can run the basic accessories in your Airstream or any RV while not connected to shore power. Lights, furnace, water pump, radio, refer, etc run on DC instead of AC so you can run them off the battery.
I don't want to insult your intelligence and I'm sure you know this stuff but its still a mystery to a lot of RVers about how we get power."

I am glad to know this is a mystery to more than just me.... I think I have it figured out and then I find myself confused again. So, to clarify... one needs a converter because it does something that makes the power from the battery 'usable' for the lights, furnace, water pump etc? Because the power from the battery is DC, so why does an appliance that runs on DC need it to be 'converted'? That is what is confusing to me.

Also, will my Suburban furnace run off of battery power? I have been reading posts about this and have never tried it. I assumed it was like the AC, that can run on shore power only.

Thanks, Pam
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
...So, to clarify... one needs a converter because it does something that makes the power from the battery 'usable' for the lights, furnace, water pump etc? Because the power from the battery is DC, so why does an appliance that runs on DC need it to be 'converted'? That is what is confusing to me.
it doesn't need to be converted. the converter converts the 110vAC to 12vdc. your lights and appliances run off that...anything leftover is used to charge the battery. When not on shore power, 12vDC comes from the battery to run the appliances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelake
Also, will my Suburban furnace run off of battery power? I have been reading posts about this and have never tried it. I assumed it was like the AC, that can run on shore power only.

Thanks, Pam
in runs on 12v, so yeah, it'll run off the battery only. However, it is a "high demand" appliance, and will run the battery down rather quickly. for some people, 1 night is all it takes. of course, it depends on your battery's condition, how many you have, how cold it is, etc, etc, etc...
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:22 PM   #8
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Boy I made it more confusing, what was I thinking last night. The DC items I mentioned can run off the battery but the Univolt acts as a 12 power supply instead of relying on the battery while connected to shore power.
Since it converts AC to DC, it is also capable of using its DC output to charge the battery while connected to shore power. That is all it does, provide a 12 volt supply.
The problem with the Univolt is they were not regulated back then and the DC output was "Dirty". Full of spikes and surges. Another annoyance is the use of the transformer back then. That is what hums and drives people crazy. New switch mode converters are all solid state and do not hum as well as having "Clean" filtered DC power . This is the reason you can now run them with or without a battery. With the older Univolt, you need a battery in line to act as a filter and stabilize and clean the DC power.
Chuck is right on with the furnace. DC runs the fan and control board whether from the Univolt or battery.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:36 AM   #9
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converter brands

Randy, I was surfing around and found this thread, coincidentally, shortly after I had placed an order for an Inteli-power 9160A through your company. It's probably a little late to ask this, but since you carry both the Inteli-power and the Parallex I was wondering if you would be willing to share your opinion on the preferred converter. The Airstream factory is recommending the Parallex, but when I talked with my dealer they said they have had a lot of problems with them and suggested the Inteli-power. Your thoughts?
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:31 AM   #10
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Randy, I was surfing around and found this thread, coincidentally, shortly after I had placed an order for an Inteli-power 9160A through your company. It's probably a little late to ask this, but since you carry both the Inteli-power and the Parallex I was wondering if you would be willing to share your opinion on the preferred converter. The Airstream factory is recommending the Parallex, but when I talked with my dealer they said they have had a lot of problems with them and suggested the Inteli-power. Your thoughts?
Hi Brenda,

Let me chime in again. I'm not a fan of Parallax products. I have replaced a number of their items for my customers. One of the first things that I did when I got my '06 CCD was to replace the converter (Parallax) with WFCO brand. The OEM unit did not have 3 stage battery charging (desired) and was a bit on the noisy side when the cooling fan was on. Intellipower also makes a good product.

I'm sure that Randy can give you details about product reliability based on the # of returns he gets.

Hope this helps a bit!
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:15 AM   #11
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Ironically, the only brand we have NEVER had a return on to date is Parallax. Not even one! That's not to say they don't have a percentage of failures because I'm sure they do, we've just never had one.
I was not a huge fan of them for awhile because most of their converters use a single stage charging output. I've mentioned it somewhere here before that I have a new found respect for Parallax and what those guys are doing to improve their Product line. Very impressive stuff going on over there at Parallax. The 4455TC is very well received in the industry and will directly compete with the Truecharge with its temperature compensation capability. We sold out of them in two days and had to scramble to get more in.
Progressive Dynamics is slipping on my recommendation list simply because of the number of returns in the last year. Some people here in this forum have reported problems with them too.
The WFCO is a workhorse and used in about 70% of all new RVs manufactured today. They aren't going anywhere soon.
The fans in all manufactures sound the same to me.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:17 AM   #12
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Triad-Utrad Converter Brochure

Manuals and other GMC Miscellaneous
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:39 PM   #13
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IPM,

Thanks for the manuals link. Very helpful. Karma on the way.
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