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Old 08-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #1
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1988 25' Excella
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Brand newbie...plug in excella to house?

1-day new owner. Have a '88 Excella now in my driveway. Bought a power adapter so I could plug the rear power cord into my home's exterior outlet with an extension cord. I was thinking I could do this to use the interior AS lights for cleaning, etc without having the batteries on and draining them. All connections are good, but I am not getting power to the unit? I have to turn the batteries on to get power. Wondering if I am missing something here?

When we bought the AS, the previous owner had the power hooked up to a household plug while the batteries were disconnected and being recharged....and all of the lights worked well. I have ordered an owners manual/technical manual but was hoping to get some insight. I was planning on doing the same (using an exterior power supply) @ a remote location where the AS will be kept...need help!
Thanks for helping to educate an ignorant new owner.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:58 AM   #2
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Use test light to be sure the 110 is reaching the trailer. Check 110 outlets in the trailer that it is getting that far. Check to see if the battery leads are not touching each other and shorting out the converter. See if the battery master rotary disconnect switch, behind the couch, is turned on. Check that the plug that connects to the converter is plugged in. Check the 12 volt output from the converter is there. Check the main fuses from the converter on the main 12 volt panel.
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:12 AM   #3
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Thanks....so, even with the unit plugged in, the battery master switch needs to be turned on? if that is so, i should assume that when the previous owner had the batteries out and charging them, and the AS pluuged in to their house, they still had the master battery switch on?
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Old 08-04-2013, 06:58 AM   #4
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Yes, the way the Trailer is engineered is the fact that most everything that "runs" in the unit is 12V. In order to have lights, water pump, heat, etc; one needs to have that switch turned to ON. It really isn't a problem whether the batteries are in or out. When you turn it to OFF is when you want to totally shut down the trailer.

The drawback to having the Trailer plugged into the house is the fact that the inverter/battery charger is sitting there humming away. This really isn't a problem either except that it can and will overcharge the batteries. Lots of folks get around this problem by leaving something running, radio, a few lights, exhaust fan, etc that will burn off the excess amperage.
Yes, YOU NEED TO HAVE A HEAVY DUTY CORD if you plan on running the AC......God bless.....Dennis
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:03 AM   #5
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Lights are 12v so the battery has to be on for the lights to work. Plugs are normally 110v so you could plug a lamp in and have light.

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Old 08-04-2013, 07:08 AM   #6
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No, the batteries should not need to be connected to have 12 volts in the trailer.

As for the master switch, some previous owner may have changed it, but it should only disconnect the batteries from the system. Not the converter. Meaning it should be ok for it to be off and still have the converter power the inside of the trailer.

Check to make sure you are getting 120 volts inside the trailer. Turn on the TV, look for a light on the microwave, plug a drill or hairdryer in a outlet.

Check the outlet you have the extension cord plugged into. Ground Fault Interrupt circuits don't like trailers sometimes.

Good Luck, and welcome to the forums!

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Old 08-04-2013, 07:31 AM   #7
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That is correct. Nothing works until you turn on the converter.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for all of the replies. You all are fantastic!
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:32 AM   #9
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But, when you turn on the converter to run the lights while cleaning or loading and have the trailer plugged in to a receptacle it is charging the batteries as well.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:12 AM   #10
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I haven't seem mentioned here, BEWARE, don't try to run the AC while plugged in unless you upgrade and provide a 30 amp service. Your household is likely to be 15a or 20a only. Thats more than enough for everything except the AC and maybe the microwave
( if you have one ). The factory provided convertor will not do well plugged in for the long term but if you upgrade to a modern multi-stage one you will find them much more battery friendly and can handle being plugged in long term. So take a look and see. If it's a Parallax 55amp don't leave it plugged in continually. The good ones are not that expensive and are easy to install so you might consider it a homecoming gift to your AS.

Take care of your Airstream and it will take care of you for many miles.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:39 PM   #11
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Some Airstreams have a "light switch" that turns the converter on and off.
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Old 08-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #12
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Old 08-04-2013, 03:56 PM   #13
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Excella battery switch

Hello All. Congratulations on your 88 25' Excella, that is a great size trailer.
On my 88 25' Excella the battery disconnect switch only disconnects the batteries and thats all. Every thing will still work including 12VDC operated things as long as the converter is operating and the trailer is pluged into 120VAC shore power. My 88 manual also states that it is NOT recommended to operate the trailer with the batteries disconnected if you have the original UNIVOLT converter in the trailer as they are not highley regulated and rely on the battery to keep from overvoltage on 12VDC. If the PO has replaced the original converter with a new smart converter then you don't even need to have batteries as they are regulated but you would be relying on the TV for 12VDC power while towing.
If you are connected to shore power and the battery disconnect switch is off then the converter will not charge the battery. Anyway this is how my 88 Excella works.
Happy camping nm1oqrz
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:18 AM   #14
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What do I look for in a heavy duty extension cord? I've got a long one that I use to run electricity upstairs during the summer in the old adobe house. I plan on plugging my Airstream into a 20amp circuit in my house. How do I know if the batteries are getting overcharged and/or how many lights or whatever I need to leave on? I can't get to the converter to see what it is. It's under the couch. Apparently, my factory installed solar panel is not charging the batteries. There is a wire coming through the back vent into a little box that says it's charging, but the batteries were dead in a week with nothing running. When I looked at the batteries when I got the trailer home, one of them was disconnected. The other one was well charged from the drive and also the trailer was plugged in at the POs house and Holiday Trailer in Albuquerque where everything was checked out and working. If I use only 12v lights, will I be able to use an electric heater in there? Sorry if the questions are too dumb to be believable and thanks for information! So far the only thing I've got figured out is how to back it up. I've lived and worked on cattle ranches and hay farms for most of my life backing up big things into small crooked spaces.
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janeinthemtns View Post
What do I look for in a heavy duty extension cord? I've got a long one that I use to run electricity upstairs during the summer in the old adobe house.
I'm no electrician, but I have been advised for safety, on several construction sites, not to use an extension cord of a smaller gauge than the cord I'm plugging into it.

By that reasoning, the best thing is to pick up up a 30-amp extension cord. I got mine at Cabela's. Using a 30-amp extension cord (with 30-amp plugs) you can also use it at older campgrounds where the electric service is inconveniently located. Or with a generator when you want the generator to be set far, far away for noise or exhaust fume control, even when you're not using a 20-amp adapter.

And you can still use the 30-amp extension cord at home by connecting the adapter to the far end of the extension cord where it goes into the 20-amp service.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nm1oqrz View Post
If the PO has replaced the original converter with a new smart converter then you don't even need to have batteries as they are regulated but you would be relying on the TV for 12VDC power while towing.
Actually if you are going to tow you need a battery (by law in many, possibly all states) to operate the electric brakes by the breakaway switch on all trailers with electric brakes.
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Old 08-05-2013, 05:14 PM   #17
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Several more things to consider...

1. Whichever extension cord (the orange outdoor types are OK for gentle battery charging, but never for A/C..) be careful if you run them coiled around a drum or reel.. Too much current in a coil shape and they overheat and melt insulation, and smoke begins to escape.. <ask me how I know..)
2. On the Excella 25, there is unlabeled switch in cabinet over stove hood. It switches 110V power between A/C plug and outlet for plug for microwave over refrigerator.. Both plugs can't be "hot" at same times, as microwave plus converter plus A/C will overload capacity of main circuit breakers <Ask me again...>
3. It's OK to leave original converter plugged in and charging batteries for a day or two at a time.. Older chargers will boil/cook batteries dry if left plugged in for several weeks, especially in warm weather... < Yup, go ahead and ask...> New 3 stage charger/converters are better...
4. Driving without batteries very bad idea (see note above about brakes..). Also risky to assume tow vehicle will charge batteries with leftover current from alternator.. Worse case is that trailer can overload and cause alternator failure, and brakes won't work either... < Do you need to ask??>
5. As also noted above, A/C needs a full shot of close to 30 Amps to kick over compressor at beginning of cooling cycle, depending on age of unit, brand, rating or load, etc.. If you try to run A/C on less power, it may turn over and fan may blow, but you can damage compressor system and ultimately need new A/C.... < And yes, we have 30 A dedicated circuit now at the house where our 88 Excella now lives with us..>

Good luck with your great new trailer...
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