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Old 05-13-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
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To Univolt or NOT Univolt?

Just thinking over how Im going to redo the electrical in our 67 Safari...is there any real reason i NEED a Univolt? Im going with all LED lighting inside and out. My thought was to use no univolt, but instead just go with a 10 or 20 amp 12v supply and a seperate battery charging circuit off of the 12v supply or just a 12v battery charger. What are all your thoughts on this? Do i actually gain anything by installing a Univolt?
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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Well, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying you won't need any 120v ac power supply?

As long as you don't need alternating current, you'd be OK. Would you run your fridge on LP all the time? No reason you can't, just asking. What about a microwave? You could rectify 12v to give you 120v, but batteries wouldn't last long trying to run a microwave or hair dryer.

There are newer, better converters available. Progressive Dynamics makes some pretty nice ones that a lot of folks on here use (I have one myself, just haven't installed it yet, but I'm converting my 34 footer to 50amp). Xantrex (sp?) makes some nice stuff too. And I'm sure there are others.

But, if you don't need 120v and can get by fine without air conditioning, microwaves, or hair dryers (unless you really do a neato torpedo 12v to 120v rectification), you could do this.

The really old trailers didn't have 120v. They got by in the 30's without it. No reason you couldn't today.

As for me, my wife really likes 120V for her hair dryer and I like air conditioning

Best of luck,
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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The plan is to install 110 and use the outlets no diferrent than they are now...doing that still doesnt necessitate the need to install a univolt to obtain 12vdc. That would be accomplished with a 10-20A 12v supply....Yes, Im planning on installing AC and microwave...
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Unless you have a 10-20 amp supply available for free. By the time you buy it and a good RV/Marine battery charger you will have as much $$$ in it as a Converter. Plus it will take up more space.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #5
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Unless you have a 10-20 amp supply available for free. By the time you buy it and a good RV/Marine battery charger you will have as much $$$ in it as a Converter. Plus it will take up more space.
Thats just it...I have a couple of 20A 12v supplys sitting here...and the only 12v items in the trailer will be the LED lighting... havent yet thought about installing an inverter...
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:58 PM   #6
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Will the 12v be a separate system from 110?

Univolts are obsolete, noisy, battery killers. New 3 stage inverter/converters are much more efficient and will automatically charge your battery as needed without overcharging.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:02 PM   #7
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Will the 12v be a separate system from 110?

Univolts are obsolete, noisy, battery killers. New 3 stage inverter/converters are much more efficient and will automatically charge your battery as needed without overcharging.
well, yes..the 12v system is seperate from the 110v system... not sure i understand what you mean by that...
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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well, yes..the 12v system is seperate from the 110v system... not sure i understand what you mean by that...
I mean no connection between 110 and the battery.

This is not a new idea. Most trailers pre 1960 that had both 12v and 110 had 2 separate isolated systems where 110 was not used to charge the battery.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:17 PM   #9
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I mean no connection between 110 and the battery.

This is not a new idea. Most trailers pre 1960 that had both 12v and 110 had 2 separate isolated systems where 110 was not used to charge the battery.
Thats what im thinking...since the 12v current drain is rather low since all the lighting will be LED...and if Im plugged into shore power, a small charger to keep the battery level up...
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:20 PM   #10
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So you don't need 12v for the furnace, fridge or water pump? I assume you don't have any exhaust fans?
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:23 PM   #11
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The 20A supply and battery will supply that for the water pump...going with a catalytic heater and the fridge will either be 110 or LP...
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:20 PM   #12
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Newer fridges require 12 volts for the circuit boards.

Personally I wouldn't do what you're suggesting but it's very possible. As noted it used to be done that way - I remember one SOB we had that had separate bulbs for 12 volt and 120 volt lights in the same fixture. But on the other hand, Airstream (and everyone else) moved away from that setup for a reason...

A converter is $200 or so and then it takes care of the batteries for you, and it's easy to wire up. I really don't see a downside.
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