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Old 10-13-2016, 09:42 AM   #1
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Do I need a converter?

Hello,
I have an '86 Airstream and am doing some work on it. It remains parked and hooked up to 120v power all the time. It is no longer road-worthy. The converter/charger is an old Univolt that has a loud hum. I want to get rid of it. I also need to replace my batteries. My question is this: Since we are not traveling with the trailer and it stays hooked up to 120v power constantly, do I need a converter? I'm thinking I could just replace the batteries and get a good charger and that would work for us. Can anyone give some advice?
Thanks!
Nathaniel
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Old 10-13-2016, 09:48 AM   #2
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I think your plan would work. But you are going to be creating work for yourself unless this is just a temporary work around kind of thing. Since you are plugged in, get a converter and let it charge the batteries. No need to use an external charger and no requirement that you monitor the batteries all the time.

Look into a good three stage charger/converter and I think you might be pleasantly surprised at the cost. Just my two cents.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:11 PM   #3
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A battery charger will get you by in a pinch and for a little while. They are not however rated for continuous duty as a power supply. If you will be connected to shore power and won't be moving the Airstream, you don't even need batteries if you have a modern converter. You would with the older styles since they are not regulated and need a battery for filtering. You could postpone the battery purchase until you are ready to hit the road again.
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:32 PM   #4
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Multi-stage Converter Recommended

In my opinion a multi-stage converter is a must when you are hooked up to shore power for extended periods. It will increase the battery life and for about $200 is a good investment for peace of mind.
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:22 PM   #5
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If your unit will never see the road and will be hooked up to 120VAC all the time, why do you need batteries?
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GinaNBob View Post
If your unit will never see the road and will be hooked up to 120VAC all the time, why do you need batteries?
That's what I mean't, you don't need a battery in a 'park model" set up when always connected to AC with a modern converter. As soon as you hitch up, you need a battery, at least for the trailer brakes if equipped.
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:10 PM   #7
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There are lots of ways to approach this but here are some thoughts that come to mind...

Install a multi-stage converter. It will cost a few more dollars than doing something with a battery charger but you'll have several advantages. As somebody else indicated, a 12V charger is not rated for continuous duty at the output levels you need if you run multiple lights, fans, etc. at the same time.

I suspect a 12V converter is also not rated for continuous duty. Yes, it can run for extended periods but is it truly rated for continuous duty? I suspect not. It's intended to charge a battery (or batteries) and turn on and off as needed.

Go ahead and use one or two batteries. Buy something inexpensive and replace them when needed. This gives the advantage of allowing you to operate the 12V systems even if the power goes out.

You indicate the trailer is not road worthy right now but does that mean that nobody will ever buy it (want it) as a travel trailer at some point after you're finished with it? If there's any chance somebody will use it for travel again, even if it's only after repairs are performed, it seems worthwhile to keep it relatively original and self-contained.

If you begin to make odd modifications to your trailer, even if they suit you, it may make the rig undesirable for others.

When I was looking for a classic car several years ago I came across all sorts of vehicles that had been customized to varying degrees. I passed on all of them until I found a unit that was relatively stock/complete. Not everyone thinks this way and hey, it's your trailer... do whatever you want. But if it has odd/unusual systems installed you may be limiting your options.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:07 PM   #8
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I went through the same things in looking for a pickup up.. too many are modified with large tires, raised up etc. I wanted one also stock for the most part.

Change out the convertor with newer type and have a ball in the trailer till you sell it, or fix it up and hit the road jack..
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 68 Overlander View Post
That's what I mean't, you don't need a battery in a 'park model" set up when always connected to AC with a modern converter. As soon as you hitch up, you need a battery, at least for the trailer brakes if equipped.
You need a battery as a 'snubber' to swallow voltage spikes. That's why they called 'accumulators'.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:01 PM   #10
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You need a battery as a 'snubber' to swallow voltage spikes. That's why they called 'accumulators'.
Actually not, modern switching converters have filtering built-in. No need for a battery emulator. Promise Some folks with older Airstreams might have the emulator still installed and if using an old Univolt (without a battery), it needs to be there but not with any of the new units, PD, Iota, Parallax, Boondocker, etc.
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Old 10-17-2016, 06:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathaniel View Post
Hello,
I have an '86 Airstream and am doing some work on it. It remains parked and hooked up to 120v power all the time. It is no longer road-worthy. The converter/charger is an old Univolt that has a loud hum. I want to get rid of it. I also need to replace my batteries. My question is this: Since we are not traveling with the trailer and it stays hooked up to 120v power constantly, do I need a converter? I'm thinking I could just replace the batteries and get a good charger and that would work for us. Can anyone give some advice?
Thanks!
Nathaniel
This is the PERFECT SCENARIO for using one of Airstreams Parallax constant voltage converters. No battery necessary and it will operate as long as you like, providing that continual 13.6VDC to all of the DC circuits in your trailer for lights, control voltage for things like igniter and control boards for water heaters furnaces and refrigerators. I have one on my test bench and use it as a constant voltage power source.

YOU WILL NEED A BATTERY if you ever take the rig on the road, but while you are stationary with no plans to move the beast for an extended period (guest house, cabana, etc.) you will be FINE WITH NO BATTERY!!!

The BEST way to get one on the cheap is to find someone who removes these units on a regular basis and will send you one for a small fee.

Sound like anyone you might know...... hmmmmmm

PM me if you would like more information!
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