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Old 06-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
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HELP!!!! DC power problem

Hi guys, I have a '71 sovereign 31' with the old univolt and no battery connected. This worked fine when I was living in it full time hooked up to shore. Now it's been stored for the last 5 years with only occasional use as a guest house. My DC accessories are not working now at all, either hooked up to shore or connected to my tow vehicle. If the univolt was the problem wouldn't hooking up to the tow vehicle bypass that?

The univolt still hums, and all the fuses I can find are good. AC works in the coach (I have mostly AC lights). Big problem is the bloody jack doesn't work either so I can't hitch the bugger up to take it to a repair facility.

I'm going to be full timing again here very shortly as I go back to school in another city, so I need to get this thing figured out. Are there any dc breakers anywhere away from the univolt? Anything simple I might be missing? Cheap options would be appreciated since I'm about to become a full time student again at 46 and I've got to buy new tires for this thing as well.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Rick
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
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I far from an expert, but from what I have read here, It's NOT a good thing to run the univolt without a battery. Take a test light and check BOTH sides of the fuses, see if you are getting a good connection. The fuses can be good but if you are not getting a good connection your dc stuff won't work.

Annette
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:01 PM   #3
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Yeah, that would be my luck. The battery got cooked by the univolt years back and when I pulled it to replace it I noticed the DC worked just fine without it, so I just kinda went with it and didn't replace the battery.

So, you're thinking the univolt is cooked? I don't know, but it seems that hooking up to the tow vehicle would bypass the univolt? Or does the DC from the tow rig go through the univolt?

Rick
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:03 PM   #4
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Yes, it sounds like one or both of the large DC fuses are either bad, or making no conection. I also had a problem like yours once with a fuse board in a '75 that turned out to be a bad connection on the board where the main DC came into the board before the fuse. I would suggest troubleshooting it with a meter to find the problem.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:15 PM   #5
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Get your meter out... It will help the community diagnose the problem if you can tell us whats going. Just because the univolt is humming doesn't mean it's working correctly. Try hooking up the truck to the trailer, you may get lucky.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:18 PM   #6
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I wouldn't run the dc system on just the Univolt. The were not intended as stand alone dc power supplies like the newer switching type power supplies. If you have checked all fuses, replace the battery.

As for the power jack I had the same problem this past weekend. I loosened the set screws clamping the jack the the post, disconnected the power leads to the motor assembly (mine had a wire nut making the connection). I then just turned the entire power head by hand to raise and lower the jack.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:19 PM   #7
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I bench tested the Univolt out of '72 Sovereign. It put out something in 28 volt range without a battery connected.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:22 PM   #8
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Look around your storage areas for a solid piece of round metal bar in the shape of a crank with a locking pin in one end. Assuming you've got the original-era electric jack. If you find it, take the cover off the top of the jack and you can use that to crank it up or down.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
Yes, it sounds like one or both of the large DC fuses are either bad, or making no conection. I also had a problem like yours once with a fuse board in a '75 that turned out to be a bad connection on the board where the main DC came into the board before the fuse. I would suggest troubleshooting it with a meter to find the problem.
That would be the coolest solution, I'll get the meter out and do some testing here soon. Got a pile of stuff to do, this is only one hurdle.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
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Get your meter out... It will help the community diagnose the problem if you can tell us whats going. Just because the univolt is humming doesn't mean it's working correctly. Try hooking up the truck to the trailer, you may get lucky.
I did try hooking the truck to the trailer, and no DC. That's why I'm thinking the problem may not be in the univolt. If the univolt is bad would that prevent DC from the tow rig from supplying power?
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:41 PM   #11
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I did try hooking the truck to the trailer, and no DC. That's why I'm thinking the problem may not be in the univolt. If the univolt is bad would that prevent DC from the tow rig from supplying power?
No, But a blown fuse or breaker will. It could also mean that the charge line is not hooked up correctly. If you have a battery handy charge it and put it in the trailer. Unplug from shore power first. Tell us what happens.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:42 PM   #12
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Was your truck's engine on? Some manufacturers kill the circuit to the plug in order to prevent draining the starting battery on the tow vehicle. Just a thought...

The univolt should alone not working should not have an effect on the 12V system when plugged into a tow vehicle--I'm pretty sure even without a trailer battery. Make sure the battery terminal leads don't accidently touch one another, though! If they did, then everything was shorted and you'll need new fuses in your truck as well.

There are a couple of possibilities: The fuse mentioned above is still a possibility for why the interior circuits are not working. However, the jack would still be powered from the tow vehicle connection directly. That does not use a separate fuse, but rather a circuit breaker. It is located along with another circuit-breaker near where the umbilical comes in the front of the trailer that interrupts the charge line.

Good luck.
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:47 PM   #13
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No, But a blown fuse or breaker will. It could also mean that the charge line is not hooked up correctly. If you have a battery handy charge it and put it in the trailer. Unplug from shore power first. Tell us what happens.
I don't have a battery handy, may have to try that tomorrow. Is there a breaker or fuse for DC away from the univolt that I'm not finding?
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:53 PM   #14
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If you have glass 12v fuses they can look and test good but where they snap into the fuse holder they will corrode. You need to remove the fuses and clean the ends with steel wool or scotch brite pads. Also to make the jack work, hook jumper cables or a 12v jump box to the leads. Adios, John
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