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Old 10-04-2006, 12:29 AM   #1
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Question Is this a Power Inverter?

Can anyone out there tell me if this is an old power inverter? It's located under the sink of my '63 Safari. I don't think this is a Univolt power system, so I am left to wonder if it's an abandoned inverter? It is a 5"x5"x4"h silver perforated box that has 2 nuts (presumably for the cover) and 1 hole with a bunch of wires going in and out of it (see my previous post for the wiring diagram). The only thing it says on the box is "Suburban Manufactering Company" at the top.

Anyways, it was suggested to me that this is a broken power inverter, which is why some of the wires coming out of the box are currently disconnected. If this is an inverter, can I just replace it with a modern 12V inverter? I plan on keeping my loads to a minimum. i.e. NO vacuums, microwave, espresso machine, laptop, dvd players, or computers.

Thank you!
a.Z.
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Old 10-04-2006, 05:31 AM   #2
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Arrow Is this a power inverter?

Hello Aaron; For some of us that are not familiar with the way things looked in 1963 it is hard to determine what it is. However for those of us who can make a determination by the wiring schematic visable on top of the unit which however is not legible in your pic. Posting it as well, would have helped to identify it. You need to keep in mind that since 1963 PO could have installed many different things many times over. Wiring could have been altered as well. Playing a guessing game with electrical systems can be very dangerous. You may not be able to run fast enough when the battery explodes in your face, or the trailer catches on fire. There is a old joke, quote; How long does the electrical short last? answer; untill the fuses/wires burn thru, or the source of power is exausted. My recommendation to you is that anything that is close to fifty years old should be replaced anyway for a piece of mind. Your safety should be valued at much higher level than the cost of a new power inverter. I own a boat business and we deal with all sorts of abortions when it comes to electrical systems, we are especially cautious where you cannot see and track wires. My GOLDEN RULE for employees is; source of power must be disconnected and Ohmmeter must be used. If you ever seen what we deal with, you would value my rule. Do it yourselfers will do anything and everything and when they get in trouble, it comes to us.
If the item in your pic was disconnected there must have been a reason and you do not know what the reason was. Since you cannot safely test the unit it is much cheaper to buy a new one, than to have a professional check it out for you. In the end it may turn out to be not worth repairing and you waste your dollars on checking it out. Be safe and good luck, "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-04-2006, 10:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAaron
I plan on keeping my loads to a minimum. i.e. NO vacuums, microwave, espresso machine, laptop, dvd players, or computers.
Boatdoc's advice is good.

BTW - what DO you intend to plug into your inverter if you get one??
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Old 10-04-2006, 11:40 AM   #4
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No, it is certainly not an inverter. There are 110v wires going into it, if it were an inverter, there would be a 110v plug on it to plug in something running on A.C. power.
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
BTW - what DO you intend to plug into your inverter if you get one??
Coffee pot, iPod charger/docking station, maybe an electric blanket during the colder months. Not a lot of draw, overall.

So if it's not an inverter, what is it? It looks stock, and I think it's disconnected because it's broken? Surely someone out there has one of these working in their A/S and knows what it is!

I'll work on getting a pic of the 1-line on the cover to share with the forum to help figure this one out!

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:36 PM   #6
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I honestly don't know what it is but I know battery emulators were popular for those that used there RVs as a park model. Can't tell if there are any 12 volt lines going to it.
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:45 PM   #7
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You still have a beautifully intact schematic on the top of that "box" - take a picture, even if you dont have zoom take the picture from closest listed distance allowed and I will crop the schematic part from it and enlarge it!
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:46 PM   #8
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I don't know what a battery emulator was used for, but from what I can deduce, the "mystery box" appears to have both 12V and 110V action going on. I have attached my own wiring diagram to help visualize this rat's nest.

There are (3) wires tied into the box:

Wire #1 is made up of (2) brown wires that tie into a 110V line that appears to lead back to the circuity breaker.

Wire #2 is a pair of red and white wires that tie into a 3-position switch located under the sink. Not sure what this switch is for?

Wire #3 is a single black wire that is disconnected.

I bought this trailer in July, and it has obviously not been connected to a battery for a very long time now. I'm trying to figure out which wires belong where and how to get the 12V system up and running again. While it's very good advice to just leave everything alone and disconnected, I feel that I am doing myself an injustice in not gaining a fully understanding of my trailer and the associated systems. This was obviously all original wiring and had SOME sort of purpose and meaning, one that I would like to get to the bottom of!

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:47 PM   #9
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I will get a picture of the schematic on the top of that box and post it tonight!
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:57 PM   #10
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It sure looks like you need to rewire your trailer to clean up several years worth of modifications and changes that were all cobbled together. Alot of work but not difficult.


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Old 10-04-2006, 04:51 PM   #11
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Kip -- that's sorta the path I'm heading. Though the existing wires are in pretty good shape, so I'd like to salvage what I can without pulling new wire. For me the biggest challenge is figuring out the original intention of the A/S wiring (since I don't have a wiring diagram to work from) and bringing my trailer back into good graces with the 12V electrical system. On a positive note, it's only the 12V system that's out of whack. My city power works perfectly!
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:04 PM   #12
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I,d be more then willing to come over and give you some pointers when I get back to town, another week to go before I,m back in Co. PM me and we'll set up a time. We can ring out the wires and see what goes where and possibly save some of it.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAaron
I don't know what a battery emulator was used for, Thanks!
A battery emulator was used in place of a battery when camping long-term, rather than draining and recharging the battery continuously (there were no converters back then). You would plug it in, and it would supply 12 vdc for lights, the air pump for the water system, fans, etc. Your furnace may or may not need 12 volts for the thermostat.
Maximum output was usually 10-15 amps.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:55 PM   #14
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They were also used with non regulated converters that need a battery to filter the dirty power they produced. I actually saw one on a dealer shelf in the last year or so and the ole boy wanted over $200 for it. It was a little dusty!
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