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Old 09-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #1
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Univolt to Intellipower?

Help from anyone!

I'll be in RI for 3 weeks to update a 1975 Airstream. The first item on the list will be to replace the Univolt with an Intellipower Converter.

How many different types are there, if many, how do I make my selection?

Is this a easy replacement?

I'm pretty handy, but I haven't tackled this type of system before. Any suggestions would be awesome.

Thanks, Charlie
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #2
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there are two series 91xx and 92xx along with several amp ratings. On my 75 TradeWind I went with a the 45 amp version (9245) since I have only one battery to charge. If you can keep your current fuse panel, the swap is straight forward.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:06 PM   #3
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Hi Charlie, welcome to the group. I changed out my univolt aka the humming dervish with an Intellipower 9270. It was definite overkill but rather too much capacity than too little. Also got a voltminder and put it right with the old panel. The changeover was pretty easy and I haven't had any problems. Got all the stuff from Bestconverter, good service and quick delivery.......Phil.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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I replaced all my light bulbs with LED's from LEDs 4, Recreational Vehicles And the old univolt was putting out to much voltage and blow a few bulbs. So I went with the 9245 thinking the univolt had 3-15amp circuits so the 45 would be right on even more than I need now that led's draw less amps.
As far as replacement, I had 3 output wires coming from the univolt. One to each of three 15amp fuses. The inteli-power will have only one. I ran that wire to the 1st fuse and jumper'd to the other 2. All other connections were straight forward using the instruction book. (ok don't laugh, I did read the instructions)
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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Hey Charlie, we replaced ours with a 9260 a couple months back. (also had to replace a GFCI that I started tripping) coincidence I guess but darned frustrating for a week or so since I figured it had to be something I did wrong... It wasn't, GFCI just got old I guess...1984 27 ft Sovereign, two batteries. It is working great. Attached is a pic documenting the evolution of the converter...
First, there was a cinderblock...
And another showing it installed down on the floor, between the chairs. We have a cover for it now but when we finished the floors and put in the chairs I snapped a pic. I think you will find it to be a very simple changeout, and you will like how quiet it is..
Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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We, too used the 9245 in our replacement. It was pretty painless, especially if you still have the 12v distribution panel on your existing Univolt, and plan to continue to use it. We just ran the wires out of the unit to the back of the univolt..done.

Here's a post from our blog about it: Intelli-power Installation.....DONE! | Airstreaming Dreaming
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:52 PM   #7
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My installation went very well without a hitch. I had a pleasant surprise when I turned on the power--the 12 volt systems (lighting) came on without having hooked up the battery. That never happened with the Univolt. We have a lot of ambient type of light in the trailer (ie. lamps, nightlights, wall sconces) and so when there is low lighting and I need to really see something, it's nice to have the overhead lights. Even though I never put a meter on my 12 volt system, I can tell you that the Univolt on put out only about 2/3 power compared to the Intellipower 9245. The lights are so much brighter now!
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
If you can keep your current fuse panel, the swap is straight forward.
Would recommend against keeping that nearly 40-year-old fuse panel. If things haven't been going well with the Univolt for a while, the metal in the fuse clips and screw blocks can lose its temper and add significant resistance to the circuit.

Do yourself a favour and replace it, too; you won't regret it.

While I suppose that new fuse panels using the old glass cylinder style fuses could still be bought, another benefit is that this allows you to update to an automotive-style fuse. Up here, some retailers no longer handle the glass ones, which tells me that in the future, they might become harder to find.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #9
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I am in the 'same boat',and I will be converting over soon, probably with a 9245 . Is there a fuse panel you would recommend? Maybe a pt. nu. and manufacturer.
Thanks,
Barry & Karen in Mi.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #10
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I am in the 'same boat',and I will be converting over soon, probably with a 9245 . Is there a fuse panel you would recommend? Maybe a pt. nu. and manufacturer.
Thanks,
Barry & Karen in Mi.
I think they make a version of that model that has a built-in fuse panel. If it isn't them, it's one of the other big companies mentioned frequently here.

I bought a separate one at Out-of-Doors Mart. I think it was about $40, and had a nice steel cabinet.
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:22 PM   #11
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I just finished putting a PD 9245 in my 22' Argosy (I have already done the other two). On the 20' Argosy, I elected to put a new fuse panel in, as I was adding more circuits to the rig. On the 22' I decided to simply cut off the front 2" of the old Buzz box that had the fuses in it, and mount that to the closet wall next to the 120 volt breaker box. Now there is access to the fuses. I ran lines from the 9245 to the cut down fuse panel. Kinda cool, the old front and yet new electronic guts.

In general, if you have a buzz box with the fuses inside, it probably makes the most sense to put an entirely new fuse panel in, using blade fuses. I wanted to see what I could do with the old one, which mechanically and electrically was in good condition.

The biggest nice change is the access to the fuses. In the 22' Argosy, the buzz box and fuses were in the back curved floor corner of the closet in the bathroom. The only way to access it was to go into the bath, open the closet door, lay on your side with your feet in the shower, and then try to get your head and flashlight into the tiny space under the closet shelf. Even then, you were lucky to see the fuses. The new location is so much nicer.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:16 PM   #12
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Pardon my ignorance, but what I'm gathering from reading these posts, is the old Univolt (which is at the right rear of my '69 Overland) has multiple 12w volt outputs, which runs through a fuse block (In my rear cargo hatch), to the various systems in the trailer?
How does the Control Center (at the front of the trailer) inter-connect?
Also, the Control Center has #6 ga wires with a 40 amp fuse (probably for the Amp gauge). Does this feed from the battery circuit (in the rear cargo hatch)? Seems like a long way to feed the Amp gauge.
Is a single battery normal? I would think I'd need at least two for the load.
Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:07 PM   #13
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Went with Randy's recommendation and changed out a Zantex, (lasted 2 daze) upgrade with the IOTA DLS IQ4 55a, on sale now. $160.00

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Old 09-15-2011, 12:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edglenn View Post
Pardon my ignorance, but what I'm gathering from reading these posts, is the old Univolt (which is at the right rear of my '69 Overland) has multiple 12w volt outputs, which runs through a fuse block (In my rear cargo hatch), to the various systems in the trailer?
How does the Control Center (at the front of the trailer) inter-connect?
Also, the Control Center has #6 ga wires with a 40 amp fuse (probably for the Amp gauge). Does this feed from the battery circuit (in the rear cargo hatch)? Seems like a long way to feed the Amp gauge.
Is a single battery normal? I would think I'd need at least two for the load.
Thanks in advance!
AS did a lot of various 12 volt electrical systems, so not real sure about yours, but in general, if the Univolt and battery is in the back, the fuse panel is also there, and the 12 volt circuits will feed from those fuses. In general, the battery, univolt, and 12 volt circuits all feed through the fuse panel.

The ammeter used in the AS was generally a shunt type, in which the vast majority of the current went through the shunt (located in the fuse panel), and only a tiny amount went through the meter itself, so it can be remotely located, and use small wires with no drop in voltage. So, the meter can be located in the front, the high currents are all in the back. Other things in the control panel, like the tank gages and pump switch etc, in general do not need to go through the main 12 volt fuse supply system in the back. I vaguely recall one of my older AS's having a large fuse in the front and I think, but am no longer sure, it was a fuse to protect the charge line from the tow vehicle. The wire and fuse size would indicate that. Also the tongue jack is generally supplied from that line, and so the wire size is good.

Charging the battery in the back from the alternator in the tow vehicle way up front, and through the hook up plug, is never going to give a very satisfactory charge. The voltage drop through all that wire is just too great to do much charging.

The older, and even some of the newer AS trailers had single batteries, and yes they were undersized for the loads. The old Univolt is also an antique electronically, good in it's day but times have changed.

Get a modern converter/charger such as a Progressive Dynamics 9245 or 9260 and if you have room in the rear compartment, put two 6 volt golf cart batteries in series for the battery system. Change as many of your lights as possible to fluorescent ones and you will have done a lot to upgrade your 42 year old 12 volt electrical system. Not a lot can be done about the "charge while towing" situation though, the distances and wire sizes are just too hard to overcome.

Hope that helps you some.
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