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Old 07-31-2019, 10:41 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1968 24' Tradewind
Oakland , California
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 13
Lightbulb Large Ghost in Machine

Hello Awesomely wise and knowledgeable People,

I hope you are having a great summer!

Ok...honestly... I have no idea where to start. My battery is dead, and when I connect to shore power (my house) it pops the breakers on my electrical box. I tried connecting to a different parts of the house. No luck. More pops.

I found out there is no fuse box on my 68 Tradewind, although it was fun looking for it... (Am i wrong?)

Is it a battery issue (could be 4 years old or so... i dont know)?
Is it a problem with my airstreamís electrical system? Was working perfectly for 2 years.
Is it a problem with my houseís electrical system? We ran an extension cord to his devices for now... its working fine. Itís not directly hooked up to the airstream.

Please rain some wisdom on us or at least a direction of where to start... my high school son, who lives out there, would appreciate it too...
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:11 AM   #2
Rivet Master
Lumatic's Avatar
1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Estancia , New Mexico
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,587
Images: 16
Blog Entries: 1
I would start by disconnecting your battery and testing/ charging it. If it holds a charge connect it and see if there are any problems with your 12v system.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:42 AM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,832
Let me paraphrase what I am hearing: The trailer battery is dead. When you plug the trailer's main umbilical into the house (via an adapter?), the house breaker for that outlet/circuit pops.

Well, your trailer probably had a very small breaker box with maybe two breakers in it. It is probably located in a closet or cabinet in the same area as the battery and converter are. If you are sure that there is not one, then maybe I am wrong, and it wasn't built with one, or maybe some PO has removed it.

Regardless, if you are popping a breaker in the house, then something in your trailer is pulling too much juice. I would unplug the trailer from shore power, and put an ohm-meter on the posititve and negative prongs on the plug, you will probably see very low resistance, suggesting somethign is shorted. Start removing appliances from the circuit and watch to see how the reading is affected. All you can do to remove the AC from the circuit is to turn it off, same with your water heater if it is set up to run on AC. Other than those items, anything else that run on AC will have to be plugged into an outlet (unplug them, one at a time).

I would bet that your converter is probably the culprit, as it is plugged into your AC system, so if it failed just right, it may be creating the short that is popping breakers, and failing to charge the battery. It may also have boiled the battery dry and wrecked it, especially if it is the original "univolt."

good luck!
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:48 PM   #4
Rivet Master
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1966 22' Safari
Hilltop Lakes , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,663
A trailer that old should have a fuse box that contains the old type fuses that look like a glass tube with metal ends. A fuse box for the DC circuits has to be there, unless some previous owner took it out.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:25 PM   #5
Half a Rivet Short
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,110

As mentioned above, you have a pretty old trailer and who knows what somebody may have done to it over the years .....

If you still have the original Univolt charger / converter in the beast, it may have given up on you. That does not explain the lack of fuses in the trailer, but it could be what's popping the house breaker.

With anything like this, it's well worth tracing out what's what in the trailer. You will go around and round in circles trying to fix things if you don't know what goes where and what is where. Yes that may take some signifiant effort to look everywhere. It's time well spent.

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Old 08-01-2019, 02:59 PM   #6
New Member
1961 16' Bambi
Spartanburg , South Carolina
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 4
Current Draw Popping House Breaker

I had the same problem with our restored 1961 Bambi, with new battery, and one of the latest devices to charge it. It was not until I removed an external trickle charger, plugged into the same outlet/breaker that would pop when the entire shore power cord was plugged into it, then plugged the entire cord used for camping that it DID NOT blow. It seems like the sudden in rush of current was too much for my slightly discharged battery. I can only imagine what the current draw for a completely dead and larger battery would be, plus carbon monoxide detector and perhaps other circuitry

If the battery on my trailer has just been removed from a charger, then the breaker does not blow when plugging in the trailer like we would connect at a campsite!

I hope this helps.
Spartanburg, SC
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:37 AM   #7
Half a Rivet Short
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,110

A properly functioning converter / charger will not pop a breaker, regardless of the state of the battery. They are designed to deal with a wide range of battery states. If you have one that pops the breaker then something is wrong somewhere. It should be found and fixed.

There is no situation where a battery is going to give off carbon monoxide .....

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