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Old 11-01-2014, 01:47 PM   #1
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'67 Caravel cigarette lighter

In our '67 Caravel when we're on city power the cigarette lighter burns up phone chargers. Is that normal? I have ruined several phone chargers before I realized the lighter in the Caravel was the problem. I take it if I switch the "Lights" univolt to battery power the phone charger should work fine? I haven't tried it since I don't want to ruin another phone charger. I would think that if this is the way the cigarette lighter works, you should never use it when you are on shore power.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:46 AM   #2
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Check your voltage...sounds like the converter is running it high. This will ruin your batteries, too, possibly in a dangerous manner.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deccli View Post
In our '67 Caravel when we're on city power the cigarette lighter burns up phone chargers. Is that normal? I have ruined several phone chargers before I realized the lighter in the Caravel was the problem. I take it if I switch the "Lights" univolt to battery power the phone charger should work fine? I haven't tried it since I don't want to ruin another phone charger. I would think that if this is the way the cigarette lighter works, you should never use it when you are on shore power.
That source of 12 volts DC, is NOT a cigareete lighter, never was.

But it was designed to provide 12 volts DC for some uses.

If it's burning up the plug, then I would suggest that the voltage has increased way beyond the designed 12 to 13 volts DC.

If that is the case, then the Univolt has gone bad, assuming that the original charger is still in place.

Andy
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:04 PM   #4
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Your Univolt, if original is probably the problem. It's actually the problem even if not original. If you look at the rating of your device charger (phone) its probably in the 13-16 VDC range. If your Univolt is not in this range it will probably blow the fuse. There is usually a fuse in the plug that inserts into the "cigarette" lighter plug. You can measure the voltage right there on that 12 volt plug but it would also mean the converter is supplying the same over voltage throughout your Airstream and over charge any battery you might have installed. Check it.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:16 PM   #5
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Thank you for your responses and I'm sorry it's taken so long to get back to your posts.

I had my son come over and look at the trailer, he's an electrician but not at all familiar with trailers. After looking at some schematics he found on line, his thoughts are that the VDC lighter is working like it was designed to do in its day. I finally got out to the trailer today and pulled the lighter plug out, there is no fuse behind it, it looks like it has been rewired since the wires are only connected with electrical tape. Another thing he thinks is that the battery charger was removed from the Univolt. Thereís a mess of wires right outside the Univolt. Iím sure thatís the case since there was a small after market battery charger in the trailer when we bought it. We since replaced the battery charger with a Pro-Logix.

I guess the bottom line is we need a new converter. Any suggestions? Also, what were the VDC lighters used for back in the 60's? Are there fuses behind the lights too? I have a hard time grasping all this. Bear with me.

Thanks again,
Deb
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:30 PM   #6
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If your Univolt is like the one in my 68, it should have a built in fuse bank for the different circuits. When you replace it, you will need to source an automotive style fuse bank (easily found at auto parts stores) and run the circuits through that, separate from your new charger. It's not as bad as it sounds. I replaced my univolt several years ago and am much happier with the modern charging system and fuse setup.

I replaced the Univolt with an Intellipower and Charge Wizard, but it went bad after a few years and fried my battery. I replaced it with another Intellipower and it has been fine so far. There may be better choices now though.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:59 PM   #7
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Did you ever check the voltage at the 12 volt power port? If not don't start throwing new parts at it until you know you have a high voltage problem. Since you already replaced the charger with a Pro-Logix, you may not have high voltage, but just a bad 12 volt power port. If the power port is bad it could cause high resistance and heat up, melting your phone charger. Do some testing first, then spend money if needed.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #8
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This is what my son said about testing the 12 volt power port, which he did test.

'I think he is talking about the cig lighter. You dont have a voltage problem, it works the way it was supposed to. 12V AC on city power and 12V DC on battery power. If you want to use that cig lighter on city power you will need to buy a new converter.'

I did purchase a cheap INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor, on battery power it measured 12.6V DC, it didn't work at all on city power and I thought 'oh crap I burnt up another unit', but it did come back on when I switched it to battery.

I guess I just need to remember not to use it if we are on city power and I'm glad to know I shouldn't be damaging anything else.

Thanks,
Deb
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:49 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info. If I decide to go that route I will look into the Intellipower. Right now as long as I know what's happening with this DC plug I think I can live with it for awhile. That is as long as my feeble mind doesn't forget and damage something more expensive.
Deb
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:08 AM   #10
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Power Issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deccli View Post
This is what my son said about testing the 12 volt power port, which he did test.

'I think he is talking about the cig lighter. You dont have a voltage problem, it works the way it was supposed to. 12V AC on city power and 12V DC on battery power. If you want to use that cig lighter on city power you will need to buy a new converter.'

I did purchase a cheap INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor, on battery power it measured 12.6V DC, it didn't work at all on city power and I thought 'oh crap I burnt up another unit', but it did come back on when I switched it to battery.

I guess I just need to remember not to use it if we are on city power and I'm glad to know I shouldn't be damaging anything else.

Thanks,
Deb
Deb, If your son says that the 12 Volt DC power port ( It is NOT a cigarette lighter port) is working correctly on shore power and on battery power then there is likely some other issue causing the charging plugs for your cell phone to be damaged. It would only require a new Converter Box if it was producing too little or no power to your 12volt DC devices or too much power (above 13 volts DC) and burning up any device plugged into the power port. More likely a villain in this case might just be the power port itself. You said in a previous post that it may have been replaced at some point in the past as the connections for the wiring behind the port are just electrical taped on. I would bet this was a PO (Previous Owner) fix for a shorted outlet and was done while camping or on the road. You can buy a new 12 volt DC power outlet that has fuse protection at just about all auto parts places. Or send your son to a auto junkyard an have him remove one from a newer vehicle and solder the connections on as well as insulate them from each other. There are many vehicles these days that use these power ports for cell phone charging as well as laptop or iPad power ports. Just tell him to make sure it is a power port not a cig lighter port. I replaced the one in our trailer with one from a junkyard just to have a newer port that has a cover over the outlet that says POWER PORT on it. Hope this helps, Ed
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
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Hi Ed,
Would the POWER PORT also work on 12+ volts AC? Because when it is on shore power that's what's going to it.
Thanks,
Deb
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:21 PM   #12
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12 Volts

Deb, The answer should be that only 12 Volt power to the Power Port in your trailer is DC Voltage. If there is any AC voltage at that outlet port then something is wired wrong. Repeat there should be NO AC voltage on that outlet regardless of whether you are on battery power or shore power. This is why you are melting cell phone chargers! You need to find out how that AC voltage is getting to the DC Power Port. I have a hard time thinking that 12 Volts AC could arrive at that outlet port. It would have to be stepped down from 110-120 Volts AC to that smaller AC Voltage. If that is the case the AC voltage source is most likely thru the Voltage converter. Check the converter outputs when plugged in to shore power to see if you can locate the source of this AC power. If you find a 12 volt AC output disconnect that wire and see if the Power Port then has 12 DC. I can only think this is a wiring mistake or AC voltage is leaking to the DC circuit when plugged into shore power. Hope this helps, Ed
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:01 PM   #13
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I think you are right and something is wired wrong, probably at the Univolt since the battery charger is after market and there is a slew of wires outside the Univolt. The DC plug is getting AC power when it is switched to shore power. We will have to look at that once it warms up here, it is -.6 degrees and dropping. Ugg. At least I know this is not the way it was originally intended to be.
Thanks!
Deb
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:52 PM   #14
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'67 Caravel cigarette lighter

Since your son is an electrician. He may be able to understand the basic wiring of a travel trailer. PM me and I will send you drawings of typical wiring on these units.
I am an electrician. So he and I will speak the same language.
I replaced the Univolt in my coach several years ago with a Progressive Dynamics 9245 converter along with a new fuse block.
The other thing is, I live 90 miles from you near Torrington, WY.
Be happy to help.


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