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Old 05-04-2006, 12:55 PM   #1
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Univolt replacement wiring?

I'm pulling my dead Univolt and I find something that perplexes me. See the pic below. My coach has a seperate fuse panel, but here's the question: Why THREE wires? More importantly, what do I do with the extra Positive? Do I connect the LOAD, the BATTERY or both to the Positive terminal of my new converter?


And dig the funky Star Trek style fonts on the panel! That stamp reads APR 7 1966.
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Old 05-04-2006, 06:07 PM   #2
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That does not look anything like the ones I have pulled,....

How bout some help here????
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:05 PM   #3
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if you're replacing with an Intellipower (or probably any other modern converter), both positives go together on the one 12V output.

You might want to add a little extra protection by fuzing the battery lead. The converter protects itself from a short on the output, but the battery doesn't, so any short in the wire going over to the fuze block (or something dropped right on your fuze block), could result in a battery meltdown.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:21 PM   #4
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I don't know how all of them were wired but I do know how some of them were. It looks like one hot went to the distribution panel and one went directly to the battery. To me it doesn't matter as DC is DC and you can split it up as many times as you need to. If you combine them, you have exactly what the converter/charger will produce, 45 amps for example. On the other hand, one could be a separate line with limited amps for charging the battery. All new switch converters deliver the full rated output for charging, less what is needed to run the 12 accessories that you might have running at that time.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:58 PM   #5
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This is good information, guys. So far, I'm hearing what I expected, but it's nice to have some agreement on it.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:49 PM   #6
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univolt wiring

John, now I can help you with something. I just replaced my old univolt (66 Tradewind) and after a weekend of scratching my head I went to my local RV dealer where I bought my new univolt. As some have already replied both positives mount together.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:57 PM   #7
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John,
The only thing for sure is what you measure from the output of the converter lugs. Inside the converter is a deliberate mystery that the engineers that programmed them won't share (and quite frankly, I don't blame them). Doesn't matter if its a Parallax, Univolt, WFCO, Iota, or Inteli-power, you get 13.6 or so nominal and 3-stages that you can count on under normal conditions (if you get a 3-stage that is). When I try to outsmart it, I lose every time so if you decide on a 3-stage, best is to let it do it's job. You can overide some of them but its only good for a season or two on the batteries unless you are very careful and constantly monitor the water level of the batteries. Weekly even, not monthly.
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Old 05-05-2006, 05:43 AM   #8
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Thanks to all! Next queston would be, since Airstream put this in the same compartment as the battery, I have to move the new one somewhere else (according to what I have read). What's the max distance from the battery I can move it and not lose a noticable amount of power (it IS power that I'm losing, over distance, right?)?
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:51 AM   #9
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A "newbie's" chance to offer some help!

Hey John, you gave me some good advice on finding my new AS (I'm still looking) and now I have a chance to provide you some useful info about your converter replacement. First, I'm not a "converter" expert....but I have many years as an electronics engineer and some solid "electrical" background. This is what I have deduced from looking at the photo of your old converter. The reason for the two separate DC terminals, one battery and one load is that inside the "box" the battery and the 13.6VDC output of the converter are both connected to one side of that big fuse and the load terminal is connected to the other side of that big fuse. That means that any overloads or shorts in the load side will take out that big fuse, thereby protecting the converter and the battery. And if there is a short in the battery side, like shorted cells (common failure mode) it will take out the small 6 amp fuse which is in the primary side of the transformer (117 VAC), protecting the converter circuitry. Now, if your "replacement" converter only has "one" 12 VDC terminal and you connect both your battery and the load wire to the same terminal, then the battery will NOT be protected from overloads and shorts on the Load side!! That means that it is IMPORTANT that you put an appropriate size fuse in the battery lead, as has already been suggested above. If you move the battery further away from the converter box, then you might want to use a little larger size (stranded) wire to the battery. Any "power" loss from the extra distance is due to the voltage drop in the wire, caused by "resistance". In your case it should be minimal and not even noticable. Good luck, John. Bill Lewis
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Old 05-05-2006, 08:01 AM   #10
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Thanks, guys! I hope to have it in by the end of the weekend, charging up the battery.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:36 AM   #11
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Bill; I just performed the same manuver as did John, I replaced my unibox. You suggested an appropiate size fuse in the battery lead. What is an appropiate size fuse for this? Thanks, Neil Holman.
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:08 AM   #12
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Does anyone know what the gray wire attached to the little 4 amp fuse, goes to? The other end of the fuse goes back to the rectifier bridge in the old Univolt. I suspect it may just be for the indicator light in the front control panel. I may just leave it unhooked and see what doesn't work.

I would suggest a 40 or 50 amp fuse in the battery lead.
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AYRSTRM2
Thanks to all! Next queston would be, since Airstream put this in the same compartment as the battery, I have to move the new one somewhere else (according to what I have read). What's the max distance from the battery I can move it and not lose a noticable amount of power (it IS power that I'm losing, over distance, right?)?
Depending on the distance that you are going to move your converter from the batteries, I would go +1 size on the cableing. If you are using a 75 amp converter, normal wire size is 4 guage, and I would go to 2 guage for lengths over 6'. If you are using a 55 amp converter, you would normally use 6 guage and I would go up to 4 guage.

I always like to have a little extra capacity in my battery cables just to be on the safe side. When you have the eye ends attached to the cables (NAPA will do this for you) be sure to seal any exposed cable with shrink tape to keep moisture out of the cable strands.
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:42 AM   #14
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Could that be the "Reverse Polarity Indicator Light" that my 66 owners manual indicates exists? That would be my guess, maybe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
Does anyone know what the gray wire attached to the little 4 amp fuse, goes to? The other end of the fuse goes back to the rectifier bridge in the old Univolt. I suspect it may just be for the indicator light in the front control panel. I may just leave it unhooked and see what doesn't work.

I would suggest a 40 or 50 amp fuse in the battery lead.
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