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Old 06-27-2011, 07:42 PM   #1
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1976 25' Caravanner
Port Hueneme , California
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Univolt on a 1976 Caravanner

I need conformation that the Univolt on my 1976 Caravanner is located under the range area behind the 12 volt DC distribution panel. After 35 years the Univolt is on its last legs and needs to be replaced, most probably with a 9200 series 60 amp intelli-power unit. I've looked all over the coach and haven't found anything that even remotely looks like a Univolt except the box behind the 12 volt DC panel, which is difficult to see.

Also has anyone had experience removing the cabinet in front of the DC panel, let me know about that too.

Thank you, wba1
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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1976 25' Caravanner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wba1 View Post
I need conformation that the Univolt on my 1976 Caravanner is located under the range area behind the 12 volt DC distribution panel. After 35 years the Univolt is on its last legs and needs to be replaced, most probably with a 9200 series 60 amp intelli-power unit. I've looked all over the coach and haven't found anything that even remotely looks like a Univolt except the box behind the 12 volt DC panel, which is difficult to see.

Also has anyone had experience removing the cabinet in front of the DC panel, let me know about that too.

Thank you, wba1
You have the right location . You can get it out through one of the 2 doors without removeing any cabinets . It's a little akward because it's heavy , but it does come out. The new one will be much lighter . Good luck.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response. I have some more questions. How many wires should be connected to the Univolt? I suspect 3 AC wires, 2 12 volt DC Panel wires and 2 Battery wires.

In 2005, they also installed a solar system to charge the battery. There was no documentation with it and as of now I don't know where it is connected to the battery. I know from the ASC documents I found on line how it should have been connected, but if the work is of the same quality as some of the other work I've seen on the coach, they could done anything. They even sold the last two owners car batteries to use on the coach which the solar system cooked in good order, yes I have the proper marine deep cycle battery in there now.

Also how many screws are holding the old Univolt if anyone knows? Hope i don't need to reach around anything in that very confining area.

Thanks again, wba1
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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Dawn , Missouri
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I am doing this same thing! I have found the univolt and there are wires coming out of it and conected to the fuse box. There are no wires conected to the box that I can see, just the ones coming out of the side of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:55 PM   #5
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1976 25' Caravanner
Port Hueneme , California
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Do you AnneAnderson have a 1976 Caravanner? I understand it is rather rare to have the Univolt located under the range area. Wires coming out of the unit are most likely definitely connected to it. First you'll need to determine where the Univolt's AC input wires are connected to. If your lucky, 3 of the wires coming from the Univolt are going to be pulled into an AC electrical outlet.

Please let me know if you find that and send some Photos if you can.

I can not get to the Univolt replacement part of my project for about another month. But I am going to post some photos of the Univolt area as soon as I can. My coach is presently getting its door rehung bye a aluminum trailer shop after the last owners kids bent it so badly I could not lock it. I should get the coach back within the next week. They are waiting on a new door gasket to complete the job.

WBa1
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:38 AM   #6
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Dawn , Missouri
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I have a 1976 Land Yacht. The univolt is connected behind the stove in a very tight area. There is a electrical plug coming out of it that you plug to the wall and then I believe there are three others coming out of it going to the fuse box. I will try to take some photos. I took some of the fuse box. If they would have made the location more acessible things sure would be easier
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:34 AM   #7
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There should be a 3 wire plug that plugs into a 110v outlet . Then a heavy hot and neutral that goes to the fuse panel . Then a white wire that is a chassis ground . If you unscrew the fuse panel from the floor and move it out of the way it's helpfull , or remove it completely . The univolt box should have 4 screws holding it down , 2 on each side . The 2 on the back (right)side are hard to see because it is so close to the wall , a small mirror is helpfull. Good luck
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:06 PM   #8
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1976 25' Caravanner
Port Hueneme , California
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I finally installed the new AC to DC converter today removing the old Univolt. The entire job took nearly 4 hours. The area under the range is very small and extremely difficult to work in. You must be very careful not to cut DC distribution wires or disturb touchy connections of the DC distribution panel. I cannot recommend this job to anyone whose is not very experienced in 12 volt and 120 volt electrical systems. Most people will want to get a professional to do this job.

I owed a boat for twenty years, which is really a floating RV and I am also an electrical engineer.

Check out the pictures attached to see the part of the job up to the removal of the Univolt unit.

I will describe the job in more detail in other posts.

WBa1
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:50 AM   #9
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1976 25' Caravanner
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These are steps I took to remove the old Univolt and install the new AC to DC converter. I recommend you work carefully and very deliberately. Watch cutting wires accidently, removing rivets with a drill so not to affect wires and carefully routing new cable connections so not to disturb other wires or leave a wire something under some equipment. Also be sure to attach any new equipment such as to be able to withstand the vibration and jolts of traveling.

The first thing I did was to turn off the main AC circuit Breaker. I then opened the auxiliary AC circuit breakers just to be safe. I next disconnected the battery outside the coach. My coach has a single battery, other coaches might have two. Lastly I disconnected the Solar system on my coach taking extra care to remove the battery connections. Also I double-checked to make sure the gas was shut off at the valves outside. I recommend in order to remove the Univolt, DISCONNECT EVERYTHING!

Once the power was removed the power I examined the wiring mess that is in the under the gas range area of my coach. Wires everywhere. I also noticed that the Univolt was lying loose and it could be easily moved. I additionally found several of the Univolt mounting screws lying on shelf where the Univolt was supposed to be mounted. Although removal was easier, I have been driving a coach whose 20+ pound Univolt was loose without being mounted properly. Iím lucky the adjacent water pump did not get any electrical or plumbing damage by having the heavy Univolt plow into it after a bump in the road. Also the heavy Univolt did not knock into the fragile DC distribution panel wiring. At this point I carefully studied the wiring realizing that the Univolt had been previously worked on or was moved by someone who did not do a good complete job of working on it. As I said in an earlier post, Iím not impressed with the quality of the work that the previous owners of my coach paid for. I think they got ripped off.

After studying the wiring I remove the AC plug, which was plugged into a three prong outlet under the range, that was easy. The DC wires were more difficult. The DC wires into the Univolt were run internally into the housing of the unit, which made seeing them from the outside impossible. So in order to see the wires I drilled out three rivets to take the front plate off the Univolt. Unfortunately the two DC wires were both black, of the same gauge with no indication as to their polarity. What I did next was to cut the wires and subsequently removed the Univolt. To get this far took me well over 2 hours.

Having removed the Univolt from the area under the Gas Range, I removed about another 10 or rivets to remove the outer housing so I could see the entire Univolt. I got some indication as to the polarity of the wires but I needed further assurance.

What I did next should not be tried unless you are absolutely sure about what your doing. Doing this step wrong could blow every fuse on your DC distribution panel!
I reconnected the battery outside the Coach and read the voltage on the wires I cut from the Univolt. I had very carefully moved the wires such that they were not touching anything and could not short out something. Noting the polarity I labeled the wires with electrical tape to mark, which one was positive and negative. I then disconnected the battery again.

Next I installed the new AC to DC Converter. Before doing this I had read the installation instructions carefully at home and then reviewed them again before I did anything else.

Connecting the old DC wires from the Univolt proved difficult. After three attempts I got the thick old wires to finally sit properly in the new DC connectors. To reach this point took about 3.5 hours from the beginning. I also installed a ground wire, which was not connected on the old Univolt. I carefully made sure I was connecting to coach ground by checking the continuity of the group of wires I wanted to connect to as the coach ground, confirming indeed it was the coach ground. Again be careful, you mess this up and you could fry your new converter putting voltage on the case ground!

Upon making the connection it was the moment of truth. First I hooked up and started a 2k Honda generation to the coach and turning it on. After that I turned on the AC circuit breakers. Good! I saw no flashes, heard no noise or saw any smoke! I checked the DC voltages and they were all within specifications.

During this the ground wire from the water pump got disconnected in another example of previously done poor shoddy work. I fixed the ground wire correctly and the pump works fine.

Next I reconnected the battery outside the coach measured the voltage and all appeared good. After that I reconnected Solar system. The solar measurements are not within listed specs. I did not notice any problems with the new converter from the solar system. Iíll give the battery a while to see if the solar can charge it within specifications. Its not impossible the old Univolt fried the Solar charging circuitry, but Iíll determine that later.

In closing let me say the tick2 was correct. The old Univolt is very heavy and hard to remove. I had to be real careful not to break any fragile wiring or the DC distribution panel. Being a big guy, the area under the gas range was quite hard to work in. Just getting my body in the right position to screw things or remove things was a challenge. Having big hands created more difficulties.

All said and done the job was completed successfully taking right at about 4 hours. If you try to remove a Univolt in similar circumstances I wish you luck. Just be careful and work slowly/deliberately. Check out some more pictures of the job.

I hope this helps others with similar projects.

WBa1
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:07 AM   #10
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1976 25' Caravanner
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I forgot to mention that I also removed the old AM-FM 8 track radio to get to the Univolt. I will probably sell that, I have no real need for it. The radio has about 20 wires connected to it, most of which are in 5 connectors. The supposedly quick release connectors did not not want to release. It took quite a bit of pressure and some time to pull them all apart. I taped the bundle of wires together to keep them out the way of the job and to avoid future shorts. One of these days I'll install a ham radio in the space previously occupied by the AM-FM radio. After 35 years things don't work exactly as expected

WBa1
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:49 PM   #11
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One more item. After examining the job a day later I found that indeed the poorly placed water pump did have a slow leak. Fortunately I store my trailer in a yard that has an associated trailer rental and repair business on the grounds. I was able to contact their plumber and he graciously fixed my problem in about 15 minutes after he left his normal shift. He made sure the water pump was also secured to the floor properly and checked my installation of the new converter which he deemed as okay.

So just know an unsecured Univolt can cause other problems.

WBa1
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:56 PM   #12
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Great lookin job! Looks like you are good to go now! Looks safe and secure.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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One more item. After examining the job a day later I found that indeed the poorly placed water pump did have a slow leak. Fortunately I store my trailer in a yard that has an associated trailer rental and repair business on the grounds. I was able to contact their plumber and he graciously fixed my problem in about 15 minutes after he left his normal shift. He made sure the water pump was also secured to the floor properly and checked my installation of the new converter which he deemed as okay.

So just know an unsecured Univolt can cause other problems.

WBa1
FWIW , your water pump is a replacement and evidentally was not installed properly, glad you got both problems solved.
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