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Old 03-18-2007, 11:14 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Charlotte , North Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9
Post New to Airstream - inverter problems already

:ang ry:Well guys, I just purchased an older 31' 1976 Sovereign Airstream along with the problems that go with 31 year old models. I think the seller knew about the electrical problem as i incurred it the first time I staged it at a private club campground. It will stay here year round. it's a get-away on the water 12 miles from home.
First the battery seems to have 6 dead cells. Of course the Univolt is not charging it even when unplugged from a 120 volt 30 amp campground connection. I removed the battery b4 checking for any charging voltage from the Univolt unit just in case the battery had an internal short. I had 110 AC volts upon plugging in the service and the Univolt killed the 12 volt as I have read that this was to be expected.
The previous owner had mounted 110 volt flourescent lights over the kitchen and bathroom sink and over the gaucho couch ( because he liked to have more light, BS ).
Upon plugging in a small ceramic heater for some heat while I read the book and began to perform routine check-ups on the Fridge,furnace,waterheater,etc. my lady asked if I would plug in another real small heater in the front for more heat and I did. While reading the owners manual, I LOST ALL POWER. I FIRST CHECKED THE WEATHERPROOF PLUG-IN AT THE CAMPER REAR AND HAD 110-120 VOLTS. I then proceeded to check the Univolt in the bathroom closet. No Hum. I cannot locate a breaker for the 110 volt to the Univolt and assume the switching is internal and the 110 Volt breaker at the campground pole is the only switch or breaker for the 110 volt supply to the trailer.
If there is some other breaker, please advise as to location. I am 100% sure that being all DC fuses in the supply side of the Univolt are good then the charger function is bad and therefore being an older unit, to heck with doing anything but replacing it.
Even though I am ( temporarily ) parking it, I would like to have the charging option,12 volt dc, and 120 volt feed from a reasonably priced unit. I have no problem with installing a seperate circuit panel after the 12 volt feed but I am also open to suggestions that would be a time saving installation upgrade. I also plan on maybe installing a monitoring panel or even trying to make the one in the front operationall.
I would appreciate any and all help with this problem. I worked for the power company years ago and can solve the 120 problem but I only care to go in the closet,remove the Univolt and MOVE ON.

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Old 03-18-2007, 11:31 AM   #2
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I'm sorry to hear about your disappointing experience with your "new" unit. But welcome to the forums, there are plenty of helpful folks here with lots of good advice and experience to share.

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Old 03-18-2007, 11:47 AM   #3
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1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
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It sounds like you tripped one of the 110 volt breakers with the load of the heaters. They do draw a fair amount of current. The breaker pannel for my 75 Tradewind is located in a closet in the bathroom. It should not be too far from where the 110 volt line enters the trailer. I would replace the battery and the converter. Checkout BestConverter - Inteli-Power Converters, Inverters, Solar Chargers which is owned by Randy (68 Overlander).


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Old 03-18-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
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Depending of if yours is center bath or rear the rear bath of that vintage the 110v power panel is in the back of the cabinet just forward of the toilet on the roadside it is a standard appearing gray panel box. IIRC it has 3-4 breakers in it depending on the options and the wiring.

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Old 03-18-2007, 12:55 PM   #5
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1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
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Buy yourself a cheap 110 volt plug in tester. $5.00 That will tell you if the output from the pole is still ok. Plug it inside to tell if the internal breaker has popped. Locate the panel and cycle both breakers. Your unit did not come with an inverter. Inverters turn 12 volts DC into 110 Volts AC. Converters (your unit came with one called a univolt) convert 110 VAC into 12VDC to run the 12 volt stuff inside your unit and charge the battery. It is a big humming box behind the couch. The 12 volt fuse panel is also located there under a plastic cover. Buy a multimeter to check for continuity and voltages to make sure all of the fuses are ok. Buy a set of replacement fuses, so you have some spares. Buy a service manual for $50 frequently on Ebay. Learn a little about your unit and electricity. It is fun.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:13 PM   #6
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Dwightdi is correct about the two electrical systems in your trailer. I believe your Univolt converter would be located in the bathroom closet (assuming you have a rear bath model) instead of behind the front couch as in newer models. Your 120V breaker box should be there, too. Previous owners do tend to modify their trailers in questionable ways sometimes, but it is all repairable and next time you look for a trailer, you'll be less likely to trust the seller on all points. Darol
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Old 03-24-2007, 01:57 PM   #7
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1986 34' Excella
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Welcome to the Forum! You're sure not the first to get frustrated, but before long you'll know you AS better than anyone else.

(Probably won't be the last time you get frustrated with it, thought. smile)


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