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Old 03-31-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
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New Intellipower - No Shore-power Lights?

replaced my old Univolt with a new Intellipower 9200 with built in charge wizard but although I have full 110 volts at all my interior receptacles I seem to have lost all the "converted to 12 volt" functions inside like interior lights..???

here's what the Univolt hookup looked like (sorry the photo didn't rotate, the right side is actually the floor):

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as you can see there's no existing receptacle to "plug" the Intellipower into, so I added a receptacle to the wires that were lower-left ("120v") in the first photo and plugged the 9200 "extension" into that, then proceeded to hookup the "battery" cables (the ones that are on the right in the first photo)... am I not seeing some very obvious mistake here? here's what I currently have:

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my VOM reading at the battery cables is around 13.6 DC volts, the charge wizard is reading "full" (solid light, no blinking) and I have 120 v AC at the interior receptacles, just no lights.... any info appreciated
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:01 PM   #2
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On my Univolt (yet to be replaced), there is a ground wire coming off the fuse panel that connects directly to the interior wall to provide a ground point for certain 12v items (like the running lights and a couple of the interior lights). Got any "before" pictures?

Jim
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:28 PM   #3
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thanks, jim. I don't recall any other Univolt wires besides the two sets in the first photo...? here's what my fuse panel looks like, including a switch added at some point which was used to prevent battery-boiling (which I won't have to worry about I suppose with the new converter...soon as I get it all running again):

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Old 03-31-2008, 12:48 PM   #4
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just to clarify: the one existing 110v ground wire (lower left in photo, attached with a nut and post) was attached the the ground in the receptacle I added for the 9200:

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Old 03-31-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Sounds like some kind of grounding problem to me. I replaced mine like you did and had no problems. You must be missing a ground.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:02 PM   #6
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oh boy. great news. noticing that the fourth fuse from the top looked a bit scorched I pulled it out (whereupon it broke) and when I replaced it the new one immediately sparked and blew. (can you tell I'm electrically challenged?) a wild guess this means a short somewhere...yes? not my forte', unfortunately... advice anyone?
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:07 PM   #7
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Rick,

1. I checked my Intellipower and see that you've got the red (positive) wire in the correct terminal on it. I can ony assume the white wire is ground(negative--from the old ground terminal on the Univolt) and you've got that one correct, too.

2. I'm looking at your fuze panel. The top two fuzes protect the battery ammeter--the ammeter is driven by the current through the large copper plate at the bottom of your fuze panel. (now don't get crazy, because I know it was existing this way before you changed your converter) It looks like the copper plate is wired in the positive circuit (three red wires), but it should be wired in the negative (ground) circuit (there's no problem with this, it just protects the ammeter wires a teensy bit more). Here's the proper diagram (if I haven't made some stupid....):

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Or if you have one battery, it would be like this:

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Anyway, just from wire color, I think you blew one of the ground circuit fuzes. I'd guess it's the one from the new Intellipower (the one connected to the negative lead on the Intellipower).

Why? Well, it shouldn't have happened. Something else had to change since the last time the Univolt was powered up (and I'm thinking very securely that it has nothing to do with the 120V side).

You still have voltage across the battery. You still have an indication that the Intellipower is "on." All I can think of is that somehow there are a pair of wires reversed.

3. Since your 12V systems are dead, even though you have battery voltage, I'd agree that you have a ground problem. When that fuze blew, it opened the ground from the battery to ground, so there's no path for current to return from, say, the lights. Notice in the diagrams above that the lights are powered directly from a 12V line, but the shell (ground) is how the current completes the loop back to the battery. I have to say that this is totally confusing, because blowing one ground circuit fuze should have left the other ground circuit OK, so either the battery or the Intellipower should be powering the 12V systems. You will tell us what you discovered, won't you?

4. I need to know if the copper plate is indeed rewired into the positive circuit. (By the way, is it an optical illusion or are the three red wires bolted to the copper plate?) To do this, first find out where that black wire on the copper plate is going. If it's going to another panel of small fuzes, then your copper plate is in the positive circuit. You can also use you VOM--put the positive VOM lead on the red wires and the negative on the shell. If the indication is positive, then the red wires are positive. Avoid the following detail, if you must--There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it does mean that your ammeter wires are floating at 12 V, but if they were in the ground circuit, they would be at something like 50 millivolts. It's just to protect them from high current should they get shorted out. But if they are OK, there is no problem. Actually, since they are fuzed, there's no problem except for the short length of wire from the copper plate to the fuzes. One other thing to note--if the copper plate is wired in correctly, the ammeter only sees current through the battery(s) [see green arrow in the first diagram], either discharging or charging current. In the positive circuit, current flows both directions--the converter can charge the batteries or the batteries can power the 12V circuit [see red arrow]. If it's wired like the second diagram, the ammeter sees the sum of batter and charger current, so you don't really know what's happening to the batteries. OK, now I know I need some 2-Buck... If the copper plate is in the positive circuit, then we need to determine if somehow the PO also reverse the normal wire colors.

5. Did you reinstall the battery and is it possible you have the battery polarity reversed?

Zep
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:21 PM   #8
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Oh, Lordy, maybe ignore the previous, or most of the previous post!!

Are those red wires going into the switch box below the fuzes? And what is connected at the other end of the copper plate (the end to the left, opposite the medium sized black wire)?

If so, I'm betting your battery polarity is reversed (trusting that you took the wires off the Univolt exactly as pictured).

Is this where the car guys call a previous caller to see how good their advice was......?

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Old 04-01-2008, 08:04 AM   #9
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Check the fuses on the Inteli-power unit - they'll blow if the battery is reversed. Fix the reversal first.

I would disconnect the two wires (red and white) from the Inteli-power and check to see that there's voltage on those terminals. That will eliminate the converter as a source of problems.

Then, follow the white and red wires. The white wire should be connected to a ground or negative terminal somewhere, and the red should be supplying your fuse panel. Unfortunately it looks like your fuse panel has both red and white wires, which either means they've fused the grounds OR someone has used inconsistent wiring colors, making your life more difficult. Either way is possible.

I'm not sure about this - I'd have to be there! - but it looks to me like the converter should be supplying power to the switch, which then connects to the homemade fuse panel. You might want to consider getting the fuse panel upgrade kit Bestconverter sells - I would be very tempted to simply re-do those wires altogether. (I'm assuming that panel is carrying 12 volts, not 120 volts - it looks that way but I'm not sure.)

Also, disconnect the batteries while doing this testing so that any 12 volts you see will certainly be coming from the converter.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater
...Unfortunately it looks like your fuse panel has both red and white wires, which either means they've fused the grounds OR someone has used inconsistent wiring colors, making your life more difficult. Either way is possible.....
The ground side of the battery(ies) in this vintage were fuzed. Seems like overkill to me, but someone in the distant past did explain that there was some vanishingly small "goodness" for doing this. So it's proper for the fuze block to have both red and white wire. Just confusing...

Rick, wish I was there with you. This would be a snap if I could put my fingers on the wires!

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Old 04-01-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
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first off: a huge thank you for putting your brains behind this one. I'm pretty confident about my mechanical skills but I must admit electricity is only a half-step removed from voodoo in my mind...

I enlisted the help of my forums buddy Jim Clark and his meter and after an hour of prodding and beeping, checking continuity and for shorts and open circuits, tracing wires, we took a long hard look at the Intellipower schematic and there it was clear as day: the negative output of the converter must have its OWN ground wire, in addition to the one that feeds the battery, and in addition to the separate chassis ground that keeps ignition interference out. Once we added that ground it all got good again..

I'm not sure that this thread is titled correctly since the issue, really, is that once I added the new converter I lost all my 12 volt functions inside the trailer.

One of the tougher aspects of Airstream ownership down here where we really don't have a dealer or an abundance of qualified repair shops is that when a mystery problem crops up beyond the scope of your abilities you must try to network with fellow owners and figure it out. More gratitude to my buddy Jim and also Zep, Skater, and Pick (your gut instinct was right on) for pitching in to help on this one...now back to bathroom knuckle-busting....
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:42 AM   #12
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Rick, that doesn't help me understand why the fuze blew. Yes, once it blew then the battery ground (I'm assuming here) was broken, which is why nothing worked. Is it possible the battery charge was low and there was a high charging current and that fuze just happened to be the first to go (not the ones on the Intellipower or the positive fuze on the battery)?

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Old 04-01-2008, 10:47 AM   #13
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The battery charge was definitely low (the battery has been idle for a month or more while I'm obsessively rebuilding the bath and neglecting to hook up the external battery charger) and the status light on the Intellipower stayed on "boosting" for quite a while (2-3 hours) before it got a charge again. If that could blow a fuse I think it would be a prime suspect.
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