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Old 10-06-2003, 08:29 AM   #1
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Red face Univolt reminder ** Battery Check!

This has been posted before....

And I read and did NOT take heed!!

I put two new batteries in late last year and monitored them for several months. But then I just left the 110 pluged in for most of the summer. The voltage held up fine.

Just pulled the two batteries for a routine check and they were DRY!!! I put 2/3 gallon distilled H20 in one and the other took about a third gal.

I'm afraid that I have significantly shortened the life of the batteries.

Several times I've read about the univolt boiling the water away but thought that was an occasional problem for a few folks from what I read. Guess I'm "One of Those!"

We generally don't have that concern with car batt. and alternators. I know they reduce voltage significantly as the batt. is topped off. I was thinking that the univolt did much the same.

Apparently the 'maint. voltage' of the univolt is much higher than the car's alternator causing the boil off.

Do more of you just turn off the standard battery switch, or do you just add water on a regular basis, or unplug the 110 from the TT altogether??

I'm thinking of putting a regular reminder to check and add H20 every two months...

Steve
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Old 10-06-2003, 09:19 AM   #2
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Univolt -- Coach Batteries Overcharge

I also worry about the coach batteries overcharging.

I check the water level regularly, so far no problems.

I do not, however, leave the univolt on for long periods of time. I only leave the umbilical plugged in when I need to run the Air Cond in the coach.

One of the things that AS could improve, IMHO, is a switch on the Univolt to turn it off. For me, it's easier to plug/unplug the umbilical as opposed to turning the Univolt off at the breaker switch (hard to get to on the345).
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Old 10-06-2003, 09:50 AM   #3
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Yeap! I'm guilty!

Prior to leaving on my 1st major trip, I checked batteries and all was fine.

When I was traveling through Buffalo, WY, a cold front came blowing in and because of the high winds, I stayed put at a campground for about 4 days. The nightly temps dropped to about 5 degrees.


I have a switch to turn my converter on/off and I normally turn it off during the day and back on at night. Well I forgot to turn it back on prior to going to bed and with the furnace running off of the batteries all night; they were almost dead at sunrise.

When I arrived in BC I checked the batteries and one was completely dry and it was swelling on the sides. The other was low, but ok.

I had to replace one battery and I now check them monthly.
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Old 10-06-2003, 04:42 PM   #4
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Battery Pull Out Trays

I can just barely get the Group 27s into the opening and I get sparks off the top trying to make it through the small opening.

I am quite surprised that A/S has not made it easier to check the battery water levels by adding a slide out tray.

Or at the very least have an opening big enough for the larger 6 volt golf batteries that are "true" deep cycle.

Have any of you found a good way to get them out to check them?

Steve
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Old 10-06-2003, 05:32 PM   #5
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Putty knife

I slide a putty knife under the battery, and pull both the putty knife and battery at the same time. This allows the battery to slide right up over the lip of the battery compartment.
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:17 PM   #6
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sparks bad

steve

you can prevent the sparks by installing your batteries with the positive terminal entering the tray first.

rest the battery on the door, hook up just the positive terminal. then slide the battery half way in. then you can safely connect the negitive terminal.

this way you cannot accidently complete the circuit. and if you bump the positive terminal on the frame nothing will happen because there is no return path to the negitive terminal.

rubber covers on the positive terminals help too.

removal is just the reverse, one terminal at a time.

john
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:34 PM   #7
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A quick solution to the sparking problem is to use batteries with side terminals, instead of the traditional top-post terminals. Most batteries give you this option.
I have been in the battery business for 23 years and see these same problems as mentioned in this thread over and over again.
Instead of making the battery companies richer and also risking damaging corrosion to your trailer, it appears that a couple of things need to be achieved:
1) Find a way to control the output of the Univolt, so that it doesn't boil your batteries dry.
2) When the above is achieved, only use maintenance free GEL or AGM type, true deep-cycle batteries.
It appears that most of you are using flooded batteries in your trailers and when they are killed by the Univolt, you replace them with the same again and the whole cycle begins over with guaranteed results (for the battery companies!).
Wake up and smell the roses!!!!
Cheers.
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Old 10-06-2003, 06:52 PM   #8
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question

gvanman

i use "flooded" marine starting batteries because they are charged by my truck as well as the univolt (magnatek).

they are the same size in amphours as the two in my truck.

i always assumed that when running batteries in a "bank" one wants them all to be as similar in size and construction as possible.

thats the only reason i can think of not to use true deep cycle batteries.

any thoughts on this?

john
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Old 10-06-2003, 07:12 PM   #9
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John HD

You are right about running the same size and age of batteries in a bank. I would think that the majority of the time that would be considered as 'two banks' - one for the truck, and one for the A/S.
Cause the only time they would have in common is when they are charging from the alternator.

I would think that true deep cycle 6 volts in series as your A/S bank would be OK if they would fit --- Unless you are rotating batteries from the truck and A/S. (BTW I do this with my boat battery.)

I also thought that the amount of current flowing that long distance thru that small gauge wire would be rather low amps compared to normal charging conditions. (That is unless you have upgraded the system ).

I didn't unhook the negative when I took it out to refill the cells and recharge with a charger on wheels.

Steve
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Old 10-06-2003, 07:43 PM   #10
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upgrade? why yes!

steve,

http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=3770

the wire to the back of the truck is ten gauge.

john
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:06 PM   #11
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how to turnoff

I have a 67 Tradewind and also had a dry battery. Is there a way to turnoff the univolt on this unit as described in this thread. I am not aware of a switch or anything. Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:09 PM   #12
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The converter switch was added to later models. I don't know the yr, but I believe some time in the 80's????
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:09 PM   #13
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My Wife and I have just purchsed our first travel trailer, a 1995 AS Sovereign. We are very excited to about it. I have been reading the thread about the Univolt on the AS's. The people we bought from warned us about over charging with the Univolt.
I have been a boater and my boat has 2 group 27 batteries to run the electrical stuff and I have in stalled a 20 amp Marine battery charger. This charger is on all the time I am on shore power (110 volts). The charger senses when the batteries are charged and stops charging so the batteries are not damaged. Why not some thing like this in an AS?

Phil
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Old 10-06-2003, 08:15 PM   #14
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The Univolt converter must be within 13.8 and 14.2 volts. It is designed not to over charge the batteries.

The charging circuit automatically controls the current, reducing it as the battery increases in charge.
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