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Old 12-04-2006, 11:44 PM   #15
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Richard answered the question right off the bat perfect except a typical battery charger will not recover your batteries at an acceptable rate unless you live VERY frugal. Overcharging is another concern mentioned.

There has not been a "Univolt" made under that name for years. Its a word that has carried over to include all converter/chargers they have used in more recent years. We have sold thousands of them and don't really have a personal favorite except the returns rates we see. We swore by the Intelli-power for years and still think they are fine units, we really do, but the numbers going through the warehouse suggest they are just another converter/charger. We don't carry the 9200 yet because of the high volume of re manufactured units still available with such a new unit. Not saying they are inferior, don't get me wrong at all but we don't like things coming back, nor do you. Granted, if they do fail, you win every time and we replace without question. That is our policy. No manufacture hassle, you just call us.
Having said that, the Parallax is probably the only unit we have never had to replace due to failure but it's only a single stage charger so you are limited there unless you opt for the T model.
The WFCO is our most popular for two reasons. Almost 70% of all RV manufactures made today use it and the failure rate under warranty is the least. "Just the facts ma'am" That is in my company, others might be different.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:06 PM   #16
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Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
A univolt has a brain. Battery charges do not.

A battery charger can easily overcharge your battery.

A univolt keeps the battery at 100 percent, so that if you lost city power you would have a full battery charge.

A univolt also opens up for each circuit you may turn on, and immediately backs off when you shut that circuit off.

RV manufacturers would not install a univolt if a simple charger would work.

Battery chargers cannot properly take the place of a univolt.

Andy
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
You are correct about when you are not connected to shore power.

Every light inside and outside my 75 Trade Wind is a 12 volt light. Since you stated that you would be attached to park water, you will not need your water pump. One very big power drain is your furnace. The blower fan is 12 volts ant that can drain your barrery in one night. A trickle charger will not be able to keep up with that kind of drain. Also some refrigerators have a 12 line for the control circut as do some hot water heaters (mine do not). CO detectors, smoke detectors and propane detectors can also be a drain if your trailer has them wired to the 12 volt system. Exhaust fans (ceiling and kitchen) also run on 12 volts as does the radio.

I don't think that anyone is saying that your idea will not work, it might for you. The problem I see is you will have to keep your power useage on the low side to keep up with the drain when you are attached to shore power. If you have a setup with a good convertor you would not have to worry about this. You could light the place up like "luna park"! My mother used to say that all the time, I have no idea what it means.....
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:40 PM   #19
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I don't think you are over thinking, just thinking out loud, good for you.
A larger battery charger would be more along those lines. A 1 Amp trickle would not keep up.
You might be surprised how much 12 power is used. Lights, furnace fan, water pump, ceiling fans, radio, fridge, electric water heater, parasitic loads such as LPG and carbon monoxide detector, etc
Modern switch converters are power supplies first and battery chargers with whats left over. For instance, if you are running 20 amps worth of DC accessories on a 50 Amp converter, you have a 30 Amp charger at that time.
Another factor is constantly discharging the battery. Granted they are designed to be discharged but they last larger if they are not deeply discharged too often.
Many people use generators to recharge when away from shore power and that is the beauty of multi-stage charging converters.
If manufactures could get away with installing small battery chargers, they would already be doing it.
Good question. Now, since I can't change pages without loosing what I've typed, I hope were still on topic.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:38 PM   #20
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Ok, I see your point about some of the 12V appliances, my experience was with our old Terry and a Starcraft popup, both used very little 12v for anything.
My Univolt is still working so I guess I'll just keep it.

When the trailer is sitting at the house, is it safe to leave it plugged up? Will the Univolt on my 79' automatically shut off when the battery is charged?
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:52 PM   #21
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Many of the old linear and ferroresonnant coverters were not voltage regulated so I wouldn't count on it. Watch your electrolyte like a hawk if you do.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:58 PM   #22
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Use a timer...

Just my semi-professional opinion on the subject (as I have maintained batteries for a project but not professionally). Don't leave it plugged it in all the time. A better option might be to put the univolt on a timer. Set it to charge for perhaps 2 - 4 hours a day. That way you will not over charge or boil them out and you will keep the batteries topped off. OR just plug the Univolt in for one day each month. That will work but the timer option will actually be better for the batteries as it will go further in preventing sulfation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Ok, I see your point about some of the 12V appliances, my experience was with our old Terry and a Starcraft popup, both used very little 12v for anything.
My Univolt is still working so I guess I'll just keep it.

When the trailer is sitting at the house, is it safe to leave it plugged up? Will the Univolt on my 79' automatically shut off when the battery is charged?
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Old 12-09-2006, 11:16 PM   #23
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Buttercup,
Without knowing the details of your project, I'd probably agree but it's really Okay to leave a modern switching converter hooked up with only a few conditions.
First, the battery must be healthy. With a shorted or weak cell the current might not taper off because the battery never reaches full charge voltage. With all converter/chargers in the automatic mode, the battery controls the output, not the converter/charger. I subscribe to quarterly specific gravity tests although I hate doing it because I seem to sacrifice a shirt every time. (My wife says I only want to mess with batteries when I'm wearing a good shirt for some reason)
Secondly, your climate plays an important part. Lead Acid batteries will gas at about 13.8 volts at 75 degrees. In Arizona, you will have to watch the water more vigilantly than in the northern climates. That is why I like 13.6 as a float and 13.2 that most of the 3-stage units are to cover all climates but leave them a little short of full charge.
With very few exceptions, manual override (If you have it) should not be used unless you know the true 'depth of discharge' before. Most battery indicators you find installed in RVs, including Airstream are only measuring voltage and not a good indicator of the true state of the battery.
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:03 AM   #24
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Oh, sorry - I could have mentioned that. I have a car parked in a garage that is almost never used (a few times a year at best). I installed one of those "automatic" battery maintaining chargers. But as soon as it got the battery to 100% it would shut off and the battery would just die. So I dumped the automatic charger and got a standard battery charger, left it in manual on 10 amps and set it on a timer to run 2 hours on a day.

This setup does a few things:
  1. maintains the battery charge
  2. Doesn't overcharge/boil out the battery
  3. 10 amp charge goes further limiting the buildup of sulfation than a 1 amp charge would
  4. helps circulate the juices
It's a poor mans solution to getting a 100 dollar charger. The thing with most of these "automatic chargers is that they do shut off the battery once fully charged, but most of them don't start charging when the battery voltage grops below a certain level.

Now the modern switching power supply chargers, like the Intellipower can do whatever they are programed to do. And because they are programed to equalize, float and charge a battery, they are the best choice for maintaining a battery that you can get.

Personally, I have no problem leaving the modern switching (solid state type) charger, supply like my Intellipower running all the time because it does put an equalizing charge on battery for a short period. That alone go a long way in keeping the battery happy. And because it only does it for a short period (mine for about 4 hours) the battery likely will not be boild dry provided simple inspections are done. I leave my trailer plugged in and all charged up all year long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander
Buttercup,
Without knowing the details of your project, I'd probably agree but it's really Okay to leave a modern switching converter hooked up with only a few conditions.
First, the battery must be healthy. With a shorted or weak cell the current might not taper off because the battery never reaches full charge voltage. With all converter/chargers in the automatic mode, the battery controls the output, not the converter/charger. I subscribe to quarterly specific gravity tests although I hate doing it because I seem to sacrifice a shirt every time. (My wife says I only want to mess with batteries when I'm wearing a good shirt for some reason)
Secondly, your climate plays an important part. Lead Acid batteries will gas at about 13.8 volts at 75 degrees. In Arizona, you will have to watch the water more vigilantly than in the northern climates. That is why I like 13.6 as a float and 13.2 that most of the 3-stage units are to cover all climates but leave them a little short of full charge.
With very few exceptions, manual override (If you have it) should not be used unless you know the true 'depth of discharge' before. Most battery indicators you find installed in RVs, including Airstream are only measuring voltage and not a good indicator of the true state of the battery.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:38 PM   #25
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Any danger in installing an 80 amp intelivolt in a 1976 LY

After reading the entry that i should get the biggest one they had, I ordered the 80 amp intelivolt. Any dangers in installing this? Note that most people in the forum are opting for the 65 amp model?
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:58 PM   #26
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Kent,
Welcome.
Yes there is some danger opting for the largest converter. Wiring to the battery needs to be able to handle the current. 80 amps is a bunch and I rarely recommend it in Airstreams.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:05 PM   #27
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After reading the entry that i should get the biggest one they had, I ordered the 80 amp intelivolt. Any dangers in installing this? Note that most people in the forum are opting for the 65 amp model?
Another draw back could be current draw if you attach a small generator to your trailer. A Honda EU1000 may not be able to supply enough current to the unit to meet it's demand. In that case it would go into overload and shut down.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:19 PM   #28
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Richard is correct and I often get calls about the EU1000 not supplying enough power for the 60 Amp as well, even though on paper it should. Kent didin't mention anything about running a genny so don't want to get sidetracked but something to consider also, good point.
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