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Old 09-14-2010, 10:21 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
Bozeman , Montana
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Exclamation Dying battery in a 1966 Trade Wind

I just recently purchased a '66 Trade Wind that has had no issues in regards to the battery life. Unfortunately as soon as I got across 3 states and back home I haven't gotten good performance out of the battery which is now dead after 3 days. I've had the converter plugged in to a very reliable glow-plug extension cord, I've even had the battery tested at a local car parts shop with good results. I also repaired a small black wire that was frayed and connected to the negative terminal. (I have no idea what this wire went to... it was also connected to the positive terminal... I'm guessing it led up to the battery tester located in the bathroom storage compartment next to the hot water heater switches.) Anyone have any suggestions on where to trouble shoot next? Did a mention there's a six pack of beer in Bozeman MT with your name on it?! Thanks for the consideration!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:30 PM   #2
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It's time to add a cheapo digital multi-meter to your tool kit....

1. measure the voltage using your new meter, at the battery terminals - with the converter turned OFF - write down the voltage reading...

2. plug in the converter and measure the voltage at the battery terminals again - did the voltage rise? with a dead battery, the voltage should bump up to over 14 volts - how do your readings fair? If you didn't get a voltage rise, the converter isn't doing it's job! check all the wires, cables, FUSES, connections, etc - if you still aren't getting any 'voltage rise' at the battery, your converter is the prime suspect, and may need replacement...

3. don't forget a 'dead' battery is going to take lots of time to recharge fully...

Here's some more info that may be of use...http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...art-69200.html

Ray
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:53 PM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Feedback?

Thanks Ray, I did as you had suggested and purchased a multi-meter and went to task on the battery. The battery after 2 days worth of being plugged into the Airstream (without use) read 10.85 on the meter, with and without the converter attached. Without the converter attached and having the turned on 4 lights within the trailer, the battery read 6.78 after only 2 minutes. I also measured what the leads off the converter read when not attached to the battery and that read approx 4.58. Is the writing on the wall the converter needs replacing? Or is the battery not able to be loaded to capacity? Considering I had the battery tested a week ago at a local car parts shop... maybe I need a second opinion, but I'm trusting they did their job. Again any insights?
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #4
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Correction

I've been posting that I have converter installed in the Airstream, I was incorrect. Technically speaking I have an 110V/12V Univolt Power Inverter/Charger. Sorry for the mistake.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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If you have a regular automobile battery charger, I'd disconnect the cables to the trailer and just charge the battery like you would if it was in your truck or car. This may take 24-48 hours or more to fully charge, depending on the size of the charger. Then disconnect the charger and hook the trailer cables back up again, WITHOUT the trailer plugged into shore power. That way it's only running on battery power. Then check the voltage across the battery leads. It should read somewhere between 12 volts and 13.5 volts. Then, go turn on some lights, etc. and see if the voltage holds in this range for a little while (time depends on how much the voltage drops, how quickly the voltage changes and how patient you are).

If the battery is OK, it should stay above 11.5-12 volts after 30 minutes to an hour with some lights and accessories on. If the voltage drops to 10.5 or below in this time, the battery is probably going or gone. The auto parts store can do the same test, if you want to drag it down there. They will put a quick charge on it for 30-60 minutes or more, and then put a heavy load on it to see if the voltage holds, and to see how much current it will withstand.

If the battery is good, then it's most likely your converter/charger. Or, you may have some appliance, device or wiring that is always on and drawing current that is pulling the battery down.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:57 PM   #6
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Ben,

When your battery's voltage was 10.85 volts - that's indicative of a battery with one bad cell (plates are shorted internally)...

As you noted, the voltage dropped off right away with a small load on the system (I assume the Univolt was turned off) -another indication of a bad battery with shorted plates...

I can't really say if your Univolt is operating properly or not - you'll probably need a good battery in the circuit to check the voltages again as I noted in the posting above...

Your Univolt may well still be operating and capable of supporting the 12 volt needs when plugged into sore power...HOWEVER, this type of older converter/charger will overcharge your batteries (evaporate battery fluid due to elevated voltage levels) if left operating over longer periods...

If you can swing it, look into installing a more modern, 3-stage, solid state converter/charger - this will charge your batteries faster, provide a finishing charge at the proper voltage, and then go into 'float' mode to insure longer battery life with minimum water loss...

I updated our older AS with a new C/C from BestConverter - Converters, Inverters, Electrical Supplies, Electronics - quick and knowledgeable service!
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:15 PM   #7
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Aren't Univolts loud?

I've read in a couple of blogs that Airstream commonly located the Univolts in the back of the trailers under sinks etc. because of the noise they make. This Univolt is nearly always dead silent except of the faintest buzzzzz. Should I be hearing something I'm not?
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:38 PM   #8
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I ended up replacing the Univolt with a 55 Amp Iota converter... we're as good as new! Thanks again for your helpful hints! -Back on the road- Ben
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