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Old 01-29-2016, 07:07 AM   #1
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Interior lights, etc.

Yes, I'm totally new to this but loving every minute of it. By profession, I am a journalist...with very little experience with electrical issues. By reading numerous posts, threads, etc.; I'm making an assumption that the interior lights only work if a 12V battery is connected. Is this correct?

I am connected strictly by power cord as the 73 Argosy I just purchased did not have a battery and I have not yet purchased one. All interior outlets work fine but no lights, exhaust fans, etc do.

Any suggestions on the best battery? Once the battery is connected should I then hear the 'huuummm' that is so often referenced? Would this likely solve the issues with interior lights...assuming the bulbs are good?

Any help or input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:33 AM   #2
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Someone here brings solar lights inside at night...for soft, non-electric lighting

Wouldn't do for all purposes, but I thought it was a great idea, especially for boondocking.


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Old 01-29-2016, 07:46 AM   #3
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the hum would be from the original "univolt" power converter . . . which, if it was still there, you should be hearing - or at least finding it. There's a photo in this thread:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...olt-32769.html

I would think it would be wired so that the 12v Items work whether or not there's a battery present (?). Maybe it's gone?
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:49 AM   #4
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Yes you need a battery to run your 12v DC volt system. Which includes your lights, fans, pump, and other accessories. The outlets run off of the shore power, 120 AC (Same as a house). The humming you are referring to is the converter transformer. Its purpose is to change the current from AC to DC, and that's what you're hearing, completely normal. The converter acts as a breaker panel for your incoming 120v AC from your shore power, and produces a charge for your batteries. It does not have the capabilities of running a constant 12v of DC for your system to use. Therefore you need a battery
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:54 AM   #5
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Thanks all. The univolt is there, not making any sound. I assume when I connect a battery, it will???
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:58 AM   #6
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As far as battery choice, it really depends on the space you're working with to store the batteries. Imo, I would use 6 volt golf cart batteries. Lead-acid is the common battery type but AGM's are maintenance-free, last longer, and can discharge down to 50%. You will pay twice the amount that you would for a lead acid battery. If you do go with 6 volt battery setup you need to run them in a parallel connection in order to achieve 12 volts. You can google how to make a parallel connection easily. A good AGM battery brand is either lifeline or trojan, you can't go wrong with either pick.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleosdad View Post
Thanks all. The univolt is there, not making any sound. I assume when I connect a battery, it will???
If the unit works properly then yes you will see your lights turn on.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:02 AM   #8
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(and if you do have, and keep your univolt, you'll kill an agm battery with it - so i wouldn't buy an agm if you aren't going to upgrade your converter)
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Old 01-29-2016, 03:32 PM   #9
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(and if you do have, and keep your univolt, you'll kill an agm battery with it - so i wouldn't buy an agm if you aren't going to upgrade your converter)
Thank you for including that. Mark is correct, the univolt system was created before AGM battery types. I would use a 3 stage converter or better, you will gain benefits from both types of batteries if you upgrade to a 3 stage converter. There are many helpful threads that have this information already available. Just look up converter upgrade. Follow anything lewster says.....
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Old 01-29-2016, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleosdad View Post
Yes, I'm totally new to this but loving every minute of it. By profession, I am a journalist...with very little experience with electrical issues. By reading numerous posts, threads, etc.; I'm making an assumption that the interior lights only work if a 12V battery is connected. Is this correct?

I am connected strictly by power cord as the 73 Argosy I just purchased did not have a battery and I have not yet purchased one. All interior outlets work fine but no lights, exhaust fans, etc do.
They should work, if badly. They will run on either the battery alone or the converter (univolt) alone, or both the battery and the converter together. Your converter may not be working, or may be switched off, or might not be connected properly.

Quote:
Any suggestions on the best battery?
I'm unsure of the size and shape of the battery box in the Argosy that year. Ideally, you would use as many group 27 deep-cycle batteries as will fit. If none will fit, then use a group 24 deep-cycle battery. If that won't fit you have one of the narrow boxes that requires a tractor battery, which you can still get but which isn't available as a deep cycle battery, so use whatever will fit the space. It is helpful but not critical to get a true deep cycle battery that has a rating in amp-hours; the "marine" batteries do not are at best dual purpose. I buy whatever deep-cycle batteries are readily available and cheapest without regard to manufacturer. I've been doing this for six years and haven't had to replace any yet -- keeping them charged while in storage and adding distilled water when needed are more critical than the original purchase.

AGMs are great but cost twice as much and would in your situation require a new converter. Me, I get cheap batteries and spend my money on travel.

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Once the battery is connected should I then hear the 'huuummm' that is so often referenced? Would this likely solve the issues with interior lights...assuming the bulbs are good?

Any help or input is greatly appreciated.
If you connect a battery it is likely that things will work until the battery runs down. Or not. Or perhaps the converter will start working. It's nearly impossible to diagnose this stuff over the internet. Find a local mentor if you can. Be safe.
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Old 01-29-2016, 05:12 PM   #11
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It is not recommended to run a univolt without a battery. Don't get me wrong, people do it. You will have a fluctuating voltage that can damage anything that is powered 12 volts. Typically light bulbs have the most potential for damage. The battery acts as a capacitor keeping the voltage consistent, you want to run off of your battery source.
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:58 PM   #12
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1975 Argosy....Some times the interior lights work fine - some time they are dimmer than other times. Some time if I turn on the one over the bed, all of them go out. Refilled battery cells with water and that helped some, but it still happens. Any ideas?
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:16 PM   #13
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1975 Argosy....Some times the interior lights work fine - some time they are dimmer than other times. Some time if I turn on the one over the bed, all of them go out. Refilled battery cells with water and that helped some, but it still happens. Any ideas?
Sounds like you maybe have a grounding issue. Follow the negative side of the battery and make sure all of your wire connections are tight
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:40 AM   #14
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battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleosdad View Post
Yes, I'm totally new to this but loving every minute of it. By profession, I am a journalist...with very little experience with electrical issues. By reading numerous posts, threads, etc.; I'm making an assumption that the interior lights only work if a 12V battery is connected. Is this correct?

I am connected strictly by power cord as the 73 Argosy I just purchased did not have a battery and I have not yet purchased one. All interior outlets work fine but no lights, exhaust fans, etc do.

Any suggestions on the best battery? Once the battery is connected should I then hear the 'huuummm' that is so often referenced? Would this likely solve the issues with interior lights...assuming the bulbs are good?

Any help or input is greatly appreciated.
The only thing I could add to all the good tips is, when it comes to a battery, get a Deep Cycle from a nationally disturbed company. There is nothing worse than getting a house battery from a small company close to home, to save a few dollars, then have a problem. If you have a problem 2 states away, and you got it from nationally disturbed company, you can get warranty where you are.
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