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Old 11-17-2009, 07:59 PM   #1
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1960 26' Overlander
Everett , Washington
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Confused about Converter in 60 Overlander

I have a 60 Overlander with dual 12v/120v fixtures and fans. I understand from reviewing this forum that the Univolt was added in 1964, but some prior units were equipped with step-down transformers converting 120v AC to 19v AC for powering fan motors and other things.

I will almost certainly be converting to a modern smart charger system as part of a series of upgrades I am doing, but I wanted to fully understand what I have and whether it is working properly before I make final decisions and tear things out.

Behind a cabinet on the floor to the left of the "dresser drawers" on the curb side opposite the double bed, I have a Converter mounted on a shelf. The case has the following information: Phillips Power Converter, Model PC-151-M-2; input 120 volts AC 2.7 amps at 60 cycles; output 12.7 volts DC at 15 amps. There is a black rocker switch on top of the unit marked "Batt" and "City". Inside the back cover is a panel which says:

Blue wire is positive to RV 12v motor and light circuits
Red wire is positive to RV Battery
White wire is negative to RV 12v motor and light circuits. Also for
negative lead to RV battery.

My blue wire appears to be connected only to a lead running to the Suburban furnace. With the rocker switch in the "City" position, I measure 13.1 volts at the blue wire. In the "Batt" position there is nothing. I measure no voltage at the red wire, regardless of the switch position.

My questions are:

1) Was this Converter original equipment or installed by a PO?
2) There is a low humming noise from the Converter whenever I am plugged into shore power. This noise is very low, inaudible when the cabinet is closed, and remains the same regardless of the position of the switch. Is this normal?
3) Given there is a lead to the battery (Red wire), was this unit designed to provide battery charging as well?
4) Are the voltages I am measuring correct for this unit?
5) Would this unit have been installed solely to provide power for the furnace ignition?

Finally, if I install a smart charger, the best location for me will be under the bed where I have vented battery boxes for the AGM batteries. Any advice for easily getting to the circuits on the opposite side of the trailer where the Converter is mounted?

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:14 PM   #2
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2000 30' Limited
battle ground, , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2009
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early 60's electrical ain't too good

A) if you are restoring; then you may wish to keep everything the same as original.
B) if you are rebuilding/updating, then you WILL want to put the very latest batty charger/inverter/solar/gen xfer switch, etc into your trailer as you can afford.

So the question as to the PO changing the charger out is moot.

I am not familiar with the older AS's, but any unit over 20 yrs old needs to have its electrical upgraded, especially the battery charger.

The same (imho) appies to lighting and appliances. The old stuff can most certainly be rebuilt, and placed back into service; but unless you are restoring, leave that task to someone who truly wants to restore the older trailers-they are always looking for the original "stuff."

To effectively route wires from A to B, a conduit or a raceway is the best/easiest method. Depending on the depth of your remodel/restore/rebuild, you can usually come up with a hightly effective and efficient wiring plan-make a one line diagram from the fuse panel to the "whatever" and do this for both the 12VDC and the 120AC, then figger out your best and shortest routes-remembering to keep such electrical stuff readily accessible for the adds/mods that will surely crop up in the future.
ol Bill
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:32 PM   #3
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glang58@comc View Post
1) Was this Converter original equipment or installed by a PO?
To the best of my knowledge a 1960 trailer would not have a converter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by glang58@comc View Post
2) There is a low humming noise from the Converter whenever I am plugged into shore power. This noise is very low, inaudible when the cabinet is closed, and remains the same regardless of the position of the switch. Is this normal?
The hummmmmmmming is normal for a converter of that age.
Quote:
Originally Posted by glang58@comc View Post
3) Given there is a lead to the battery (Red wire), was this unit designed to provide battery charging as well?
Converters were designed to charge the batteries too. I'm sure it was an upgrade that a previous owner installed. Maybe for the furnace.

You can put the smart converter anywhere you want as long as it can circulate some air. You just have to run the wires.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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Univolts

The first Univolt was a simple transformer with a 12 volt and 19 volt AC secondary. It was first used in the 1964 larger models.

The first battery charging Univolt was first used in the larger 1965 models.

Prior to 1964, Airstream did not install any converter of any kind.

Your 1960 Airstream had to be modified by a previous owner. What they may have install, is a "who knows what"

The original furnaces did not require any ignition from an electrical source.

Your best bet, is to inventory each and every appliance and/or gadget that is in your coach. Post that information, and a number of people can then ID what you have.

Andy
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:46 AM   #5
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1960 26' Overlander
Everett , Washington
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Thanks all. I feel better knowing this wasn't an original piece of equipment. Now I'll start tracing the wiring and making sure I won't lose anything when I disconnect the Converter. I'd still be interested if anyone has specific information on this Phillips Converter, but I appreciate the helpful comments so far.
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