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Old 04-24-2007, 10:56 AM   #1
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1978 24' Argosy 24
Woodinville , Washington
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Univolt Sparks

Replacing the old Univolt is on the "to do" list but as long as it's doing the job there are more pressing things that require time and money. However, this weekend I noticed a behavior that may bump the replacement up the list.

I unplug the Univolt when I know the batteries have a full charge and I'm not going to be drawing any 12VDC. One, the hum drives me crazy and two, even though it seems to hold a float charge of ~12.6 volts on the battery I'm a little nervous about boiling it over.

So, this weekend I went to plug in the Univolt when it was pitch dark and noticed a disturbing amount of arcing/sparks inside the unit while it was starting up. It may have done this all along but I only noticed it when it was dark. Sort of like spark plug wires that you don't realize need replacing until you see the light show in the dark . Anyway, I usually have the Univolt plugged in and "turn it on" by fllipping the main AC breaker. When I did this later it appeared that there were no sparks.

Is there an on/off switch on the Univolt that I've missed? Evidently I should always "switch" it on with the breaker rather than plug it into a live socket?

-Bernie
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:15 AM   #2
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1996 28' Excella
Okemos , Michigan
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Many people install a normal 120VAC outlet, with a "light switch" in their trailers to easily allow them to switch the Univolt on and off. You can even get a combo unit at Home Depot or Lowes. That is the good news.
Now the bad news. Your Univolt should not be sparking. The secondary of the transformer is at low voltage, so any sparking is from a loose connection. If you are electronically experienced, you can open it up and find/repair the loose connection. Since the Univolt seems to weigh about a ton when pulling it out, why not go ahead and replace it with a new lightweight converter? No hummmmmmm. The only sound is the fan.
Good luck!
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