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Old 04-07-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
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1958 18' "Footer"
1966 17' Caravel
Pierrepont Manor , NY
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Question Do I need a Univolt or Converter??

Despite having spent most of the winter reading the restoration forums I'm still confused about converters, univolts and inverters and do I need one, none or all!

I acquired a 1958 Int'l Globetrotter in the Fall. Before the snow settled in I was able to do a brief once over. From that glimpse I've since determined that I have no battery, no converter, univolt or inverter on this puppy! What I do have is this...is it called a fuse block? I did plug into it (to a common extension cord in the rear) and found that I have electric (although only on one side of the trailer ...for which I'll start another thread later)! And too... if the trailer is plugged into my husbands running truck I also have interior power (but to different fixtures and outlets)!

I should mention that the GT has dual everything! Each light fixture has two bulbs and two switches. And instead of one outlet I have two, side by side ones, labelled 12v and 110. Only the vent has a single switch (and I'm embarassed to say I don't know what current operates it yet).

So, if my AC and DC run independent of each other I shouldn't need a converter or inverter or univolt right?? Did I originally have any of them? I ask because it seems strange that with dual everything the fan doesn't share that characteristic (or appear to). And what ran the (missing) water pump?

FWIW, I will be using up the GT mostly for boondock or dry camping.

Thanks for any help!
Robin
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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1958 18' "Footer"
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Oops, guess I need practice!

The picture isn't placed where I thought it would be and doesn't resize when you click on it. Hopefully its enough to get the idea!
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:31 PM   #3
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1993 21' Sovereign
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That looks like a 120 volt fuse panel. The reason some of your 120 volt stuff doesn't work, is probably because some of the glass fuses are missing.
Your trailer probably had a battery mounted in front, directly under the front window. There should be a long, narrow box in that location. If so, you can get a 2EE battery to put in there (also known as a tractor battery). It is long, thin, and 12 volt in nature.
Your coach will not have any kind of a battery charging system in it, the way it worked in the good old days was the tow vehicle charged the battery while driving to the next destination. The good news about this, is you can run out and buy a really good 3 stage converter, and put it in your coach. The bad news is you will have to find a place to install it.
Now, if you want to upgrade your 12 volt system, there are mountains of threads in the forums about which battery to get, and why.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:37 PM   #4
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The photo is of an old-style glass fuse block. It could be either 12V or 120V, but I suspect it is for the 12V side of the system. The two systems operate independently. You need a battery and some method of charging it to operate the 12V side, or stay connected to a continuously running tow vehicle and draw 12V power from it. Best suggestion at this point, is to find another Airstream to look at that has all systems operational and, hopefully, with an owner patient enough to explain the workings of the electrical system. In any case, you need more "parts" to make your trailer self-contained. Forget the Univolt - to heavy and obsolete. Intellipower converters are easiest to install and will handle your needs very well. Inverters are designed to convert 12VDC power to 120VAC power. You don't need one. Darol
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:36 PM   #5
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1958 18' "Footer"
1966 17' Caravel
Pierrepont Manor , NY
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 31
Thank you for the response!

Both of you mentioned a converter. Is the Intellipower and a 3 stage converter the same?

At the risk of sounding naive, Why would I need a converter in the "boonies" since there's no AC to power it from...and what am I trying to empower that the battery isn't, besides maybe the battery itself! Apologies, I'm having a tough time composing a question here because there's something I'm just not getting!

I'm thinking, if I had electricity to run a converter I'd have electric to power my independent system with a simple cord plugged in.

Overlander63 you said, "The bad news is you will have to find a place to install it." Is the converter that large! I am building a dinette or L-shaped lounge in the front to house a water tank and pump, would that not fit in there too or off to the side?

From reading the battery forums I realize I do need something to keep the battery charged. Will probably get a small generator since we have unreliable sunlight in the Northeast.

And while I'm on a dumb question roll, here's another (might as well keep them all in one thread). Unfortunately this so elementary it isn't in any threads I've searched-So I get a battery and put it on the tongue in a battery box, fasten it down, etc. Now what? Something goes from those battery terminals and connects onto something in my trailer, does it have a specific name! Does it connect to the plug that goes to the TV, to a recepticle, or is it wired directly into the 12v fuse panel? There is a recessed three blade plug to the right of the A frame. I'm hoping it has nothing to do with providing 12v current because I read in one of the threads that the power cord for this is no longer available. Above this plug is the ___??? in the picture. What I think is the 12v fuse panel is nearly aligned with it on the inside. Husband and I have no clue what it is or for.

Attachment 57793

Because of the age of my GT, I'm having difficulty finding pictures and info that apply. Even other 50's era Globetrotters seem different. I appreciate all the help. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:40 PM   #6
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Second try with the picture

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