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Old 01-19-2015, 08:49 AM   #1
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'78 Argosy converter swap

I had originally started a thread on this issue back in August, but I had no pictures at the time. Finally, I have pictures to show what I'm working with, but since the original thread is so old, I haven't gotten any replies on the update, so I started a new thread. Here's what I found:
I pulled out the old Univolt, which has 3 wires coming out it, going to a fuse panel. The wires attached to the Univolt are red, white, and blue. The red and white wires are attached to black wire extensions, and the blue wire is attached to a white, braided thread covered wire, which all lead to the fuse panel. On a multimeter, I get 12v between the white and red, and between the white and blue, but no volts between red and blue. Inside the Univolt, you can see where the blue wire attaches to the common end of a relay, the other 2 wires are attached to a NO and NC terminal of the same relay. My assumption was that the white wire was 12V+, red was 12V-, and blue was common, or ground. Ok, so on the new converter (a 55A Powermax), I have a +, a -, and a chassis ground. I have no pictures of the Powermax, but with only 3 labeled inputs, I figured it wasn't necessary. When I hooked it up according to my assumptions, I got no power to the cabin. No fuses blew, but nothing worked either. I ended up putting the Univolt back in, and halfway through our last trip of the year, it died, leaving us with dead batteries, so it's time to get this figured out. I appreciate any help that comes this way.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:28 AM   #2
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I believe the red is 12+ the white or black is 12-.
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:26 PM   #3
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Do you mean the red wire coming out of the Univolt? I would assume (most of the time) that red would be positive, and black would be negative, say for example, on a battery. For some reason, after following the wires from end to end, I thought otherwise. I suppose all that will happen is I blow a fuse somewhere, but I'm new at this, and I'm NOT an electrician, so I figured I'd ask for some help. Does your fuse panel look like that, or had the previous owner done some work to mine?
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:38 PM   #4
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I would guess that someone along the years has changed the fuse panel as i dont think that type of fuse was available in 78 and our 78 Argosy has the old glass tube type fuses untiil i get around to changing the panel
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:35 AM   #5
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I would say the heavy red wire on the top of the fuse panel is 12+, the heavy black wire at the top of the fuse panel is 12-. An easy way to test would be to take a test light and touch the heavy red connection in the fuse panel with one end of the test light and ground the other to the aluminum shell. If the light lights you have red 12+. Do the same with the black, it should not light=12-. If the light lights when connected across the heavy red and the heavy black then I am correct. All this assuming the battery has the negative post to ground. Good luck, Brian
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Old 01-20-2015, 06:32 PM   #6
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Thanks so much Brian. I'm gonna give it a try sometime this week. The RV is parked out at a friend's property when not in use. Does it make sense to have an inline fuse on a negative wire? And what is the solenoid looking thing that the red wire passes through?
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:00 PM   #7
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I have a 77 Argosy trailer that has the same big fuse in the negative line going to the battery. Is yours a trailer or motorhome? No idea what the solenoid is for.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #8
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Motorhome. So your fuse panel looks similar to mine?
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:48 AM   #9
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On my '82, the original converter had 3 wires coming out. I dont remember the colors but that shouldnt be a big deal. You can test to determine + and -. Two were heavy gauge and they fed the + and - on the fuse panel. The third wire was a dedicated circuit to the light on the control panel that indicates "ac on". The new converter is just like yours with + - and chassis ground. No third wire. Your wiring looks like it has been modified quite a bit so no telling how the PO set it up. That selenoid is a head scratcher. How is the starter on your generator fed?
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Old 01-24-2015, 09:52 AM   #10
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That sounds like the same setup as mine. So what did you end up doing with the dedicated circuit wire? As far as the starter on my generator, I don't know about the feed, but I've got a switch on my "information center" (I don't know if it has a real name for the panel in the overhead cabinet above the rear bed) that fires it up, as well as a switch on the generator.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:20 AM   #11
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I think most people just abandon the wire going to the light on the control panel. Its just telling you that the converter is now plugged in. Some folks will stick a night light in an outlet and it will basically do the same function. But, it looks like a PO has done some mods to your electrical and its hard to tell from the pics whats going on. Maybe some electrical experts will chime in here. Youve got that relay and solenoid in the mix and its confusing. I think if it were me, I would track down what those two items are controlling. Just so you know. I would go to the store and get a few feet of red and a few feet of white #6 (or whatever gauge wire youre using now on the two black extensions) and pull them directly to your new converter to feed your system. That way you know + n - at the panel for sure in the future. Terminate the new feeds exactly how the old converter was. (Abandon the blue for now). Then see where youre at. Use the red for + and white for - obviously.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:23 AM   #12
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That information center is referred to as the "control panel", it wasnt too long ago that I was learning all these terms, dont worry.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:31 PM   #13
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Much appreciated, mayco. This is my first RV, and it IS a learning process. We got 4-5 inches of snow last night, so I doubt I'll make it out to my friend's house to fiddle with it this weekend, but I will update the process on this end as it goes along.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:20 AM   #14
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And of course run the chassis ground. Its a good time to clean up that ground connection at the frame too if you havent yet.
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