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Old 08-14-2004, 01:32 PM   #43
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I am sooo confused!! I can't for the life of me figure out WHY after almost 3 yrs. of using the shore power w/Univolt but w/o battery, it would suddenly go this route unless this use was actually an "Abuse" of the Univolt. So that would mean that the info posted in previous postings was incorrect re: Univolt + Battery + Shore Power all going at the same time = ruined Battery.

We have asked about a Service Manual from Airstream and Helen, no such animal according to them. I would love it if someone who has an Argosy and a Service Manual would agree to post it or make it available to the rest of us. We would certainly be willing to pay that someone. The wiring diagram available in the Owners Manual is very rudimentary and no real help.

Still appreciate all the posts here and take everything w/some grains of salt before we jump in. Just hate to throw out a perfectly good piece of equipment before we know for sure it is a done deal.
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:02 PM   #44
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Ok, I'm going to throw my two cents in here, and remember that is what I'm saying it is worth:

They are not saying that shorepower + Univolt + battery is bad. That is standard configuration for usage.

They are saying shorepower + Univolt - battery is bad. I don't think that the Univolt is supposed to be used standalone as a 12 volt source, because that's not really what it is supposed to put out. It is supposed to trickle a lower amount than 12 volts to the battery. Using it without a battery will supply you approximately 12 volts to the systems in your camper, but that's not what it was designed for. You may have been drawing more current (amps) through it then it was designed for, without the battery in the loop. Short duration, this may be ok, but more amps = more watts = more heat. Over time, the over heated Univolt has eventually failed in some part and as a result a hot smell and lower output of , what? voltage, current, but nonetheless, dim lights.

This is just my 2 cents, but is based upon a little bit of electronics schooling I had, my understanding of the Univolt and a brief experience with using the Univolt without a battery.

JOhn
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:22 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COArgosy78
I am sooo confused!! I can't for the life of me figure out WHY after almost 3 yrs. of using the shore power w/Univolt but w/o battery, it would suddenly go this route unless this use was actually an "Abuse" of the Univolt. So that would mean that the info posted in previous postings was incorrect re: Univolt + Battery + Shore Power all going at the same time = ruined Battery.

We have asked about a Service Manual from Airstream and Helen, no such animal according to them. I would love it if someone who has an Argosy and a Service Manual would agree to post it or make it available to the rest of us. We would certainly be willing to pay that someone. The wiring diagram available in the Owners Manual is very rudimentary and no real help.

Still appreciate all the posts here and take everything w/some grains of salt before we jump in. Just hate to throw out a perfectly good piece of equipment before we know for sure it is a done deal.

Leigh:

I am not familiar with Argosy trailers, so I may be wrong in my analysis. But I think the Univolt in your Argosy is just a battery charger. If you are just using 120 volt a.c. Shore power and do not want to use lights, fans, etc., it should not be necessary to plug in the Univolt when you remove the battery.

My trailer is a 1964 Globe Trotter. The 1964 only Univolt in it was just an a.c. transfomrer, stepping down 120 volts a.c. to 12 volts a.c. for lights and to 18-19 volts a.c. for the fan and pump. The Univolt changed in 1965 and ofter in later years, so your Univolt is different from mine.

I replaced my Univolt transformer with a 40 amp. Intelli-Power with Charge Wizard battery condition monitor, and leave my trailer plugged in to 120 volts a.c. at all times when it is at my house. The IntelliPower with Charge Wizard will not overcharge my battery, but keeps it topped off all the time. I'm very pleased with it.

If your Univolt does not have a battery condition feedback loop or monitor built into it, then leaving the battery in your trailer and the Univolt plugged in and on all the time would overcharge your battery and eventually ruin it, so that advice seems correct. I don't know, but it would seem to me that your Univolt needs a battery connected to have something to send its charge to whenever the Univolt is plugged in. Think of the battery as a buffer for your Univolt.

However, your Univolt might also work as a stand alone rectifier, changing 120 volts a.c. to 12 volts d.c. so you can run your lights, fan, etc. I might be wrong about the necessity of having a battery connected when your Univiolt is plugged in. But the fact that your 12 volt lights and fan do not work when the battery is removed suggests leaving in the battery is a good idea. But I'll leave that to Argosy owners to advise you. Sorry for adding to the confusion.
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:49 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COArgosy78
The manual indicates that the Univolt could stay plugged in at all times and would regulate the current for both battery power and shore power (from manual "the Univolt System has a transformer designed to maintain constant output voltages regardless of variances that occur in city pwer systems." .
Legh:

The above excerpt from your manual states your Univolt has a constant output regardless of variations in the 120 volt a.c. input. Your Univolt is regulated on the input side, not the output side. It "maintains constant output" which overcharges your battery if the Univolt is left plugged in while the battery is not used, as occurs during long term storage. 1970's battery chargers were not tapering chargers like we have today, hence your off line use of a modern Battery Minder. I think your trailer manual assumes (without expressly stating) the trailer is being used at all times when the Univolt is plugged in, so the battery is often drawn down during use only to be recharged by the Univolt. I don't think your trailer manual contemplates or addresses a long term trailer storage situation where the 12 volt lights and fan are not being used while the Univolt is still plugged in.

A possible soluition might be to leave your battery in the trailer but disconnected and attached to the Battery Minder. When you want to use the trailer lights and fans in your backyard, connect your battery to the trailer and plug in the Univolt. When finished, disconnect the battery from the trailer, attach the Battery Minder to the battery, and unplug the Univolt from its 120 volt a.c. socket. I'm assuming the Univolt is not hard wired into your 120 volt a.c. system, but can be unplugged at a 120 volt recepticle.
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Old 08-14-2004, 05:32 PM   #47
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This is how I added an Intellapower to my Excella 500. THis power unit is 60 watts. I added the fuse panel from the old univolt to the converter. This seems to work very well.
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Old 08-14-2004, 07:16 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind
...
A possible soluition might be to leave your battery in the trailer but disconnected and attached to the Battery Minder. When you want to use the trailer lights and fans in your backyard, connect your battery to the trailer and plug in the Univolt. When finished, disconnect the battery from the trailer, attach the Battery Minder to the battery, and unplug the Univolt from its 120 volt a.c. socket. I'm assuming the Univolt is not hard wired into your 120 volt a.c. system, but can be unplugged at a 120 volt recepticle.
Leigh and Fred,
This basically what I do. If you leave the battery attached to the Univolt, and plugged up to shorepower it WILL boil the battery. The Univolt will power the 12volt items without the battery installed. The battery appears to help act as a buffer. When the battery is installed the lights and fan perform better. The only item(s) that use 120volt in my unit are the plugs and the fridge. All fans and lights are 12 volt only. FWIW I do plan to replace the Univolt with a modern unit with the battery minder. (I don't like the humming, unfortunately it is at a frequency that bothers me )
Leigh what may have happened, and this is just a guess, is that something in the Univolt just gave up the ghost. Face it, it is over 25 years old and electrical devices do have a life span.

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Old 08-14-2004, 07:38 PM   #49
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OK, maybe knowing that there were differences in Univolts for different time periods is important for people to know. We know that our Manual said we should not have to worry about frying anything no matter what was being used (ie. battery or shore power). It was suppose to regulate so you just left everything plugged in, but most of what we read here re: Univolt made us think it was best to remove battery when using shore power. Anyway, I think we might do best to go with the newer technology rather than continue to try to figure this problem out. It may be an easy fix - but without a good diagram or tech manual to follow, I would feel we were working in dark, and dangerous territory.
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Old 08-14-2004, 07:44 PM   #50
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Wiring

Leigh,
I would suspect that the wiring would be very similar to the same year and length of Airstream. What length and configuration is your unit? I have the full service manual for the 1975 AS and would be glad to scan and email you a copy of the wiring diagram.

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Old 08-14-2004, 08:11 PM   #51
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Why not do this.

Put the battery back in with the univolt as designed. Plug the trailer in. Next turn off the breaker in the trailer that runs the univolt.

Durring non usage turn the univolt breaker on for a couple of days a month. Keep the breaker off the rest of the time. This should keep you charged up without destroying your battery.

Proper batter maintenance will have you checking battery connections and water levels whether or not you have one of those fancy tri-state chargers.
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:15 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
Why not do this.

Put the battery back in with the univolt as designed. Plug the trailer in. Next turn off the breaker in the trailer that runs the univolt.

Durring non usage turn the univolt breaker on for a couple of days a month. Keep the breaker off the rest of the time. This should keep you charged up without destroying your battery.

Proper batter maintenance will have you checking battery connections and water levels whether or not you have one of those fancy tri-state chargers.
A few years ago an uncle of mine had similar problems boiling off his battery with the Univolt. I installed a 24 hour time in series with the Univolt's 120 volt AC feed. When he engaged the time lever it came on for four hours a day, and then off for 20. Another flip of the lever and the timer was out of the circuit. A cheap way to limit battery damage.

Although I was successful in reviving my Univolt by replace the capacitors, I'm going to change over to the Intellipower as well. -less heat developed and power used as well as a better, cleaner 12vdc output (less ripple).
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Old 08-15-2004, 09:39 AM   #53
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you guys are trying too hard!

1-install a new power supply as rickstream has shown, reusing the original fuse block so your gauges and panel ammeter work properly.

2- or repair the univolt, the capacitors in the circuit are most likely dried out and causing the overcharging.

univolts are very simple ferroresonate battery chargers, they need a coil, capacitance, and the resistance of the battery to operate as designed. they do work as advertized when all parts are in working order.

for those of you who run them without batteries installed, understand that your output voltage will be around 11 volts give or take. with a battery they run around 13.4 to 13.7 volts.

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Old 06-15-2005, 10:55 PM   #54
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Intellipower VS. Univolt

Andy, what is the difference from the Intellipower and the new univolt, at 55amp?

You sell the univolt, correct? Price?
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Old 06-15-2005, 11:08 PM   #55
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so are you saying...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Stinky.

30 amp city power service is 3600 watts.

40 amps at 12 volt DC is 480 watts, and 55 amps is 660 watts.

Don't confuse city power with 12 volts. They are two very different animals.

Andy

that if you buy a 55amp convertor, that the AC house (30) will work fine? you dont need to get a different plug to bring 55 down to 30?
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Old 06-16-2005, 01:07 AM   #56
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Quote:
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that if you buy a 55amp convertor, that the AC house (30) will work fine? you dont need to get a different plug to bring 55 down to 30?
Albert. The difference is the voltage. The house 30 amp plug you are thinking of is 30 amps a 110vac.

The charger's 55 amp specification is how much it can charge at 12 vdc.

So if the charger was 100% efficent, it would only use 6 amps of AC from the 30 amp house plug. And only when it was charging at full capacity.

This is why you can keep your batteries charged just by pluging into a standard 15 amp house outlet.
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