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Old 07-20-2007, 01:03 PM   #1
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Exclamation Emergency help needed with univolt-related breaker issue

My wife just called with an electrical emergency, and I'm hoping this group can help.

She was in the '79 sovereign last night when she spilled a glass of water by the front (the bed "side-table" is "conveniently" near the Univolt). A few seconds later the GFI circuit that the trailer is connected to (at our neighbor's place, through an extension cord) blew.

She's been unable to get the outside GFI breaker not to trip, even after switching off all of the breakers in the bathroom breaker box compartment.

The power does come to the trailer, but when the trailer is plugged in, it causes the GFI circuit breaker to trip.

SO:

I'm assuming the water caused a short in the univolt somewhere, and that's what's causing the problem. (It's also been raining, but that's nothing new in BC).

I read on some posts that the Univolt has its own switch separate from the circuit breakers. Where would that swich be on a '79 Sovereign?


--david
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:28 PM   #2
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Something inside probably got some water in it, causing the GFCI breaker to trip. Try some canned air to try to blow and/or dry water that got into the wrong place. I have had the same problem with an outside outlet that was letting in water.
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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I'm not familiar with your trailer... But on my 84 MH the univolt is plugged into a standard 120V duplex outlet. So if yours is also, you should be able unplug it and see if the breaker will stay on.

Last winter I had the GFCI circuit breaker fail. First it tripped several times for no obvious reason, then it would not stay in the set (on) position even when there was no power to the MH. Replaced breaker, problem solved.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:17 PM   #4
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My '77 has the univolt plugged into a standard 110v outlet. As suggested above, unplug it and see what happens.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:25 PM   #5
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Unplug the univolt. Plug the trailer in and put a fan on the univolt to dry it. Once dry it should be OK to plug it back in. It may take several hours to dry depending on humidity. If you have AC on the trailer close the trailer up and turn the AC on also, that is if the extension cord will support AC.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:34 PM   #6
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The univolt is probally full of dust, dead mice, other accumulated stuff and when the moisure got into it caused a ground path. The univolt should be removed at some point and cleaned. Low pressure compressed air, 30psi, or less should work ok. - any higher could cause damage to the unit. Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:49 PM   #7
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Now I feel silly -- I don't know where the univolt plug is -- I assumed the univolt was behind the fuses that are at the head of the trailer, hooked into the wiring behind the scenes. I'll ask my wife to look around there, but is there an obvious way to describe the location of the plug?
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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Mine is behind the front sofa. Have you ever noticed a humming sound? That was it.
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:10 PM   #9
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My wife says she can see the univolt under the sofa, but that there's no clear power cords or way to reach in there. Is it necessary to take apart the bed frame?

(I hate troubleshooting this sort of thing remotely! ;-))
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:02 PM   #10
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A standard GFCI outlet will only allow you to "trip" it a finite number of times, sometimes as few as 6, others up to 12 or more. After that many "trips" it often will not hold and must be replaced. Of course, there are exceptions to this. I'd recommend drying out the univolt and checking the GFCI outlet with something to "load" it to see if it does hold or if it is past it's designed obsolecence.
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davida
My wife says she can see the univolt under the sofa, but that there's no clear power cords or way to reach in there. Is it necessary to take apart the bed frame?

(I hate troubleshooting this sort of thing remotely! ;-))


The cord for the charger should have a 110volt, 15 amp, 3 prong plug, I have not seen one that doesn't. Lift the the seat cushion and either the plywood base will lift out or there will be an inspection plate over the Univolt. Take look for these item, should solve your access problem. As for the Univolt, I say chuck it and get yourself a good three stage charger.
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Old 07-21-2007, 12:13 PM   #12
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Thanks all. She never did find the cord, so the problem is unresolved for another week at least.

I'd been meaning to investigate replacing the univolt anyway (the buzzing is annoying when it's right under one's bed).

This is a landed trailer, so I only care about providing power to the lights and the water pump. What amperage should I be looking at?

--david
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Old 07-21-2007, 12:23 PM   #13
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Rivet Univolt Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by davida

I'd been meaning to investigate replacing the univolt anyway (the buzzing is annoying when it's right under one's bed).

This is a landed trailer, so I only care about providing power to the lights and the water pump. What amperage should I be looking at?

--david
Hi David,

It’s on my list too. At least my bed is at the opposite end of a 34’ trailer. I replaced the univolt in my ’67 a few years ago with a new solid-state unit and the only noise it makes is when the small cooling fan comes on. It’s like a very small computer cooling fan, so it makes almost no noise. In the Trade Wind, it is under the bathroom sink, so I never hear it unless I am in there “contemplating nature.”

The newer units are vast improvements over the originals. Given the size of your trailer, I would go larger rather than smaller. Keep us informed.

Vaughan
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