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Old 03-24-2016, 10:36 PM   #1
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1985 25' Sovereign
2007 27' Classic FB
Lake City , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 18
Trouble shooting why 12 V battery isn't charging.

Have a 1985 Sovereign with original Univolt, new 12 V Battery. Up until recently, when plugged into shore A/C power, all 12V DC lights and equipment worked and the battery stayed charged. Now, when plugged into Shore A/C, all 12V DC lights and equipment work but the battery doesn't charge and slowly runs down to where none of the lights or equipment work. If I connect my trailer to tow vehicle electric cable to the tow vehicle with shore cable plugged in to shore power, the battery charges fine and all 12V DC lights and equipment work.

All connections on the 12 V power panel are tight. So I am assuming that perhaps the Univolt 12 V charger is not working?

How can I trouble shoot to isolate the problem? If, indeed it is the Univolt, is it possible to repair or do I just replace?
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

1. To see if Univolt is working, monitor battery voltage with a voltmeter with shore power disconnected. Connect shore power and see if battery voltage increases to somewhere in the 13-14 Volt range. If not, Univolt is not working.

2. If it's not, check to see if 120 VAC power is getting to Univolt. Might have a blown fuse or something along those lines.

3. Then, regardless of whether or not the old Univolt is working, take it out and replace it with a modern electronic converter, which won't cost much, will take better care of your battery, and lighten your trailer by about 50 pounds!
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:45 AM   #3
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Step # 3 in nuvite-f's post is the one to do first. It is great advice.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:17 PM   #4
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1985 25' Sovereign
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Thank you both! Have been contemplating the replacement for some time so guess what has been moved up on the priority list!
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:10 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
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And while you have your wallet opened, purchase a digital multi meter for your tool box. This instrument is invaluable for trouble shooting electrical problems with your Airstream. You can test your battery, you can test your converter, you can test fuses, you can find broken wires, etc. etc.

David
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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If your Univolt is bad, it's cheaper to buy a new replacement than it is to repair the old. If you want to repair, there is a company in Michigan called GALCO that has the correct diodes and capacitors. Clayton
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:28 AM   #7
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Boynton Beach , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
And while you have your wallet opened, purchase a digital multi meter for your tool box. This instrument is invaluable for trouble shooting electrical problems with your Airstream. You can test your battery, you can test your converter, you can test fuses, you can find broken wires, etc. etc.

David
And here's my favorite multimeter for the Airstream, at an unbeatable price! http://goo.gl/vYgqCc
I like this one because it'll read up to 10 amps DC, so that you can accurately measure the drains on the battery. At the $5.99 price, you can afford to have a spare in your trailer tool bag, or do what I did when I owned a '62 Shasta- velcro it in an inconspicuous place, and wire it in to the main circuit. It did double-duty as a portable meter and an accurate voltage gauge.

If you time it right, Harbor Freight gives them away occasionally as part of their many sales.

Ditto on the Univolt- you need a smart charger that won't toast your batteries!
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