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Old 06-06-2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
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12 volt went out

The inlaws have been living in our Airstream while they build a new house. Father-in-law called tonight, said the 12 volt lights started going dimmer and dimmer and now don't work at all, but the 120 volt outlets and a/c work fine. The battery is 4+ years old.

Does the 12 volt system go out if the battery is bad? Or could this be a Univolt problem? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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I'd start by charging the battery back up. The lights getting dimmer & dimmer was the charge leaving the battery. I does sound like you have a charging issue. Check the fuses. There are some fuses between the charger & battery. Can't offer much more help without more details. maybe photos?

Ricky
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #3
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Make sure that there is power to the outlet the Univolt uses, too.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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Hi, check the charging system to see if it is working; And yes, a 4 year old battery can go bad. My batteries went bad in about 3 1/2 years since delivery. That made them about 4 years old since manufacture.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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Well, I got the battery tested and it wasn't holding a charge, so I replaced it. So far, so good. Also turns out a PO replaced the Univolt at some point with a Magne-Tek 3230, which does have a 3-stage battery charger, so unless this battery goes dead in the next few days I think the problem is solved. Thanks to all for your advice!
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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My Univolt is the original. There is no battery in my TT.

The lights all work.

:: swell spooky organ music ::
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
My Univolt is the original. There is no battery in my TT.

The lights all work.

:: swell spooky organ music ::

You must have one of those optional cold fusion generators under the rear bed
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
My Univolt is the original. There is no battery in my TT.

The lights all work.
I'd do this with my '74 Argosy some when I was working on it -- the lights would run from the Univolt. Though I believe it was Inland Andy who said it was hard on the Univolt without the battery in the circuit. If a Univolt cries in the forest and there's nobody there to hear it....

Mebbe the much more advanced MagneTek won't operate the lights without a battery in-line.

You still may not know if the actual problem was the battery. I've got a fairly simple VOM and monitor my battery voltage when questions arise. Don't damage that new battery -- make sure you aren't in the habit of letting it get below 40-45%. State of charge charts apply to a battery that has rested for 6-8 hours.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:36 PM   #9
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Have the same issue with my '78. Noticed lights got dimmer and dimmer. Battery recharged overnight. Battery is less than four months old. On control panel I had noticed the light above AC power was not working. Assumed LED was burned out. Checked the 4 amp fuse and it appears to be good. Did notice some corrosion on contacts for fuse. How to procede? Disconnect 120 volt/plug? Clean contacts? What is this 120 volt outlet univolt uses? Thanks. Jack
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #10
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Arrrrgh! The new battery discharged... I'll have to put a meter on the converter, but it sounds like it needs replacing. By the time we get everything fixed, we're not going to have any money left to take it out! Oh the joys of a vintage Airstream.
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