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Old 11-17-2007, 08:21 PM   #1
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1978 31' Excella 500
Etobicooke , Ontario
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7
Question Help - new '76 Excella

Lord knows i need it with this trailer. So i picked up this 1976 excella 500 31'. So i have it here sitting in my driveway so i can leanr how the beauty works since it is my very first trailer. It has come with no keys all compartments locked, no owners manual and im not sure yet what works and what doesnt. Anyway i went out and picked up an adapter to plug it in and see if the electrical works or not. Ive also changed all the 20 amp fuses but havent been able to find the 2 new 50 amps yet. So i get this humming sound that comes from in behind the fuse panel and thats about it, no lights on inside, no receptacles have power as i plugged in a lamp to those to see, but nothing. Theres also the main breakers in the bath at the rear anfd the fuses are behind the stove curbside. Would appreciate anyones help on this. Also love the forums and to all you contributors, your awesome.
Thanks
Paul
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
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First off you have 2 electrical systems in a trailer. 120 volt AC that runs the standard household recepticals and the converter and a 12 volt DC that runs the lights, tongue jack, and water pump. You should also have a fuse or circuit braker panel for each.

If you are plug into shore power the 120 recepticals should have power. If not look for the circuit brakes for that system. The hum you hear may be the converter that converts 120AC to 12 DC and charges the batteries. If the converter is working you should have lights.

Not sure what you could have 2 50 amp fuses for since the shore power is a 30 amp service.

First thing I would suggest is take a volt meter and check the 120 reepticals for 120 volts AC. Then check any of the 12 light sockets for voltage. Get back to us after a first pass check.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:53 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
1973 27' Overlander
1977 23' Safari
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Don't panic on the locked access doors. There seem to be few variations in those keys. I have only three entrance keys and two sets of access door keys and I can get into all the doors on five trailers, with the exception of one fresh water fill door. If there are any vintage owners near you, get a copy of their keys.

the hum is the converter, so at least one of your 120 volt circuit breakers is "on." Your breaker box should have 4 circuit breakers in it--one 30 amp in, and then three 20 amp circuits.

If the converter is huming, you proably have some [probably crappy] DC voltage (these old converters need a load on them to have even rudimentary voltage regulation. running without a battery will result in higher than desired DC voltage--not too much of a problem except your lights will have shorter life). The only reason the lights aren't working are (1) blown fuses, (2) blown lights, and/or (3) corroded and inoperative switches. In a very few cases you might have had a wire come loose. The distribution of DC throughout the trailer sometimes passes through a bullet connector and they can [rarely] come apart. Most of them will be above the 2' wide long strip of skin running along the center of the ceiling. This skin can be taken down, but it is a two-person operation. You have to oil-can the skin into a convex shape to get it out of the two channels (after taking out all the rivets at the ends and those that attach it to the vents and air conditioner).

Zep
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:07 PM   #4
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
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Not a good idea to run the vintage 120VAC - 12VDC converter without a healthy battery attached, though would be a good way to force an upgrade when it burns out.

The mains DC fuses in a vintage unit can and will turn into an open circuit from tiny but perfect corrosion crystals lifting the conductor springs from the fuse body. Only took a week after I picked up my 1973 to have them appear open circuit again, a little wiggle on the fuse barrels got them back...
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:53 PM   #5
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1978 31' Excella 500
Etobicooke , Ontario
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Okay so now i have lights and the receptacles are all working. Yea. So im not sure about the battery as the compartment is locked and im with out keys. I guess i will call Airstream and see if they can send me a copy for my trailer. So next question will be about the heater. Thanks folks
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:48 AM   #6
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1991 34' Excella
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As noted above, don't run the converter without a battery for some time. If you can not get a key soon and want to work with the 12 volts lights on consider drilling out the lockset on the battery box. A new lockset is a lot cheeper than a new converter.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:19 AM   #7
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Chandler , Oklahoma
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Just looked to see where you were, as I just got a 76, 31ft Sovereign and have all the keys. Guess you are way too far from me to come get a set. Sorry. We'd love to see some pictures of your new toy. Perhaps you could call a locksmith to come unlock those compartments for you. Just a thought.
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:42 PM   #8
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1999 30' Limited
Port Perry , Ontario
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Hi I live in Richmond Hill and work in Etobicoke near Pearson Airport and an experienced 79 Excell 31 owner. Id be happy to try and help you. I also have a manual on CD for the 79 that may help. I have piles of keys but they are up in Lakefield with the Trailer, but Im up there frequently.

I'll send you a PM with my cell # and perhaps I can help you with your problems !

Regards Rob
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