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Old 05-17-2010, 07:37 AM   #1
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More Electrical Questions

Having a little trouble understanding the electrical in this AS. Not sure what each componet is. I think they solid grey is the inverter as it hums alot when plugged in. The AS does have solar panels. Not sure how to use them though. Are they controlled by one of the boxes (gold one)? Do they have to be manually turned on? Please help. BTW, your looking at an 85 Soveriegn 25' if that helps. The battery switch also has an on off postion. Why? I think the past owner installed the switch on the panelling to turn the inverter on and off without having to go under the gaucho each time. Its a good idea but kind of annoying.

Thanks in advance

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Old 05-17-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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I guess I would start by following the wires and making a simple wiring diagram. The gray box looks like the univolt and the gold one looks like an inverter. I would also tidy up the wiring some. The battery on/off switch is a good idea, so you don't wear down the battery when you are not using your trailer.

Dan
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Old 05-17-2010, 09:45 AM   #3
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What are the different functions of the inverter and the univolt? My last AS only had the univolt. Can a unit be purchased to incorporate the two?
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:08 AM   #4
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The univolt is a voltage dropping transformer combined with a rectifier and takes mains voltage (110VAC) and converts it to 12VDC to run the various electrical items in the trailer. The inverter is the opposite: it takes battery power and inverts it to AC and steps the voltage back up from 12 to 110 and is used when you're not connected to mains voltage to run items that use standard household current. Your inverter will have a wattage rating which tells you how big an item you can run off of it. It is limited by the power in your batteries and can drain them fast if a big appliance is used. Both these items need good wires and tight connections to work properly since they handle a lot of current.
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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Its really confusing to me as I am not electrical savy at all. The univolt is plugged in, the inverter has an on/off switch, the battery has an on/off switch and then the house hold switch on the plywood? The solar panel charging status mounted on the wall by the frig is lite up constantly. I'm really confused as to what needs to be turned on and what doesnt from day to day. I am not a boondocker or dry camper so I wont (at this point) ever be too far from shore power. I plan on getting a new univolt as this thing is driving my nuts with all the humming. Should I purchase the minimum 30 amp or upgrade to 50 amp?
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:31 AM   #6
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Your univolt is 25 years old. I replaced mine with a 45 amp model from Progressive Dynamics (9200 series). It is much smaller and more efficient than your univolt and has a 3 stage battery charger on it so it will be much kinder to your battery. I got mine from Randy at www.bestconverter.com for less than $200. It was very easy to install, but if you are electrically challenged then just get somebody to help you. The instructions are really pretty good though.

Dan
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rc707 View Post
Its really confusing to me as I am not electrical savy at all. The univolt is plugged in, the inverter has an on/off switch, the battery has an on/off switch and then the house hold switch on the plywood? The solar panel charging status mounted on the wall by the frig is lite up constantly. I'm really confused as to what needs to be turned on and what doesnt from day to day. I am not a boondocker or dry camper so I wont (at this point) ever be too far from shore power. I plan on getting a new univolt as this thing is driving my nuts with all the humming. Should I purchase the minimum 30 amp or upgrade to 50 amp?
The univolt is a 110 VAC to 12 VDC converter and battery charger. It's plugged in so that whenever the trailer is plugged into shore power, it will automatically start working to supply 12 VDC to the trailer and keep the batteries charged. The univolt, or a replacement charger, does not require a switch to turn it on and off. If you replace the univolt, you should consider gettign a chrager that will not fry your batteries by over charging them. Look for the words "intelligent charger" "smart charger" or "3 stage charger" on the new charger. These types of chargers reduce the charging current to a maintenance level to keep from over charging the batteries and ruining them prematurely.

The inverter does the opposite of the univolt/charger. It takes the 12 VDC from the batteries and converts it to 110 VAC. You want a switch on this unit so it's not draining your batteries when you're not using it. Also, you would never need to use the inverter when you are plugged into shore power since you would then have 110 VAC at all your other outlets already.

I have no idea what the household switch on the panel is for. Where do the wires go? Is it switching 110 VAC or 12 VDC for whatever it's controlling?

I have no experience with solar panels and their controls, so I'll defer to someone else to answer that question.

Chris
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
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The inverter does the opposite of the univolt/charger. It takes the 12 VDC from the batteries and converts it to 110 VAC. You want a switch on this unit so it's not draining your batteries when you're not using it. Also, you would never need to use the inverter when you are plugged into shore power since you would then have 110 VAC at all your other outlets already.


Chris
Just to add a little here. "The inverter does the opposite of the univolt/charger." and when they are both on they take power are run it in a circle. That is why it runs the battery down so quick. The inverter inverts the DC into AC and then the converter (univolt/charger) sends it back to the batteries. There is a switch somewhere that allows you to turn the converter (univolt/charger) off so that when your using the inverter (taking DC and running a 110 appliance.) you can stop the circle. If you have your unit plugged in and you hear that loud hummmmm, flip that switch. If the hummmmm goes away then that is the switch for the converter.
I would not be so quick to classify yourself as "not a dry camper" and taking the inverter out. With the increases of low power consuming appliances you will be finding more and more camp sites that don't have hook ups. You may find yourself in the dark at some point. I would change the converter to get rid of the noise and leave the inverter in there. Get a 60 amp.

Dan
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:42 AM   #9
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:21 AM   #10
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Now its starting to make since. Keep the info coming
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