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Old 10-03-2010, 08:28 AM   #1
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univolt vs. converter help!

i have a 1977 excella 500 but the batteries always discharge even with the humming noise from the univolt. Ive decided to replace with an Intella power. My main questions are- with a converter when your plugged to shore power will the 12 volt lights and accessories work even when the batteries are discharged or dead? i had a Holiday Rambler (1980)that even with NO battery installed- all the lights and accessories would still work when plugged to shore power and never had a problem. Is the Univolt more of a battery charger instead of a converter? Thanks for your help
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:02 AM   #2
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Depends on how it is wired in. Converter to battery to fuse panel / or converter to fuse panel to battery.

Hopefully someone who is more expert in this area than me will add a post.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tinindian79 View Post
i have a 1977 excella 500 but the batteries always discharge even with the humming noise from the univolt. Ive decided to replace with an Intella power. My main questions are- with a converter when your plugged to shore power will the 12 volt lights and accessories work even when the batteries are discharged or dead? i had a Holiday Rambler (1980)that even with NO battery installed- all the lights and accessories would still work when plugged to shore power and never had a problem. Is the Univolt more of a battery charger instead of a converter? Thanks for your help
The Univolt is a battery charger, and a converter.

It converts 120 volts AC, to a 12 to 14 volts DC.

What is the DC output voltage? That depends on the charge condition of the battery.

Basically, with the Univolt wired and functioning properly, it charges the battery and keeps it at 100 percent.

Then you turn on some lights. The Univolt then supplies the extra power, for those lights, or whatever extra load you may have engaged.

In that way, it keeps the battery at 100 percent, at all times, and yet powers the load demand, up to the limit of it's maximum output in amps.

Andy
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinindian79 View Post
i have a 1977 excella 500 but the batteries always discharge even with the humming noise from the univolt. Ive decided to replace with an Intella power. My main questions are- with a converter when your plugged to shore power will the 12 volt lights and accessories work even when the batteries are discharged or dead? i had a Holiday Rambler (1980)that even with NO battery installed- all the lights and accessories would still work when plugged to shore power and never had a problem. Is the Univolt more of a battery charger instead of a converter? Thanks for your help
The Univolt it a converter, which is basically an advanced battery charger. Even a simple battery charger would run the lights, etc., but would not have the ability to monitor the state of the batteries and adjust its output accordingly. The old Univolts are not particulately good at that compared to new converters. The new Inteli-Powers are quiet, too. I put one in my Excella about a year ago, see http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...0-a-57567.html.
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Depends on how it is wired in. Converter to battery to fuse panel / or converter to fuse panel to battery.

Hopefully someone who is more expert in this area than me will add a post.
Actually it would make no difference. They are wired together and there are no one-way valves in the wiring. The current will always flow to the path of least resistance, meaning to whatever is using power and on to ground.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:27 AM   #5
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Regarding the converter a battery charger: the usual converter is simply a DC supply that runs at a voltage that will tend to charge a battery over time. Some do have an additional charging phase and some go farther.

The IP with ChargeWizard not only provides good multiple stage charging, it also includes a battery maintenance mode that helps keep the battery fully charged without plate corrosion or electrolyte loss and inhibits sulfation. (The WFCO does the same thing)

You should be able to remove an old converter and then connect a new one to the power leads on your DC fuse block. Some of the older converters had special 'power on' indicator leads or special power leads to the water pump. The indicator leads can be ignored and the power pump just wired to the standard DC fuse block if need be.

Another source of confusion in older Airstreams is the shunt built into the fuse block that was used to indicate current flow on a control panel meter. That should not be a problem if you trace the busses on the fuse block. Do take care to note how the battery feed and the charge line connect.

There may be a ground connection at the fuse block but most circuits will use the chassis ground as the DC return lead. The fuse block ground connection is to make sure the converter negative has a good chassis ground connection.

I have seen some RV DC service panels with relays that only connected certain DC circuits when AC power was supplied. I haven't seen any of these in Airstream trailers, though. Airstream trailers tend to be rather straightforward.
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