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Old 12-03-2006, 09:24 PM   #1
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Univolt

What does the univolt do? Does it just keep the battery charged or does it perform some other function? If it just charges the battery, couldn't i replace it with a trickle charger?
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:32 PM   #2
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The UniVolt converts shore power (110 volts AC) to 12 volts DC. The 12 volts charges the battery(s) and provides power to the lights, water pump, radio and any other 12 volt devices you have. If you are going to be parked at a site with shore power, you will want to have one. A trickle charger may not keep up with your power demands. If you only boondock (no shore power) you could get by with just a charger.
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:39 PM   #3
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Cookeville 34,

If you trailer is anything like mine, my univolt is getting tired and overcharges the batteries.
I have been looking at the Intelli-power 9245 45amp as a suitable replacement.
I would expect you will get some other comments on a good replacement for the univolt.
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:48 PM   #4
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I replaced my Univolt with an Intellipower and have had zero problems with it at all. The intellipower will not only charge your batteries but also condition them to keep them operating at thier peak efficiency (depending on thier age, amount of plate sulfation, etc...).
http://www.canadus.com/home/sulfation/

I still use my old Univolt...as a yard lighting transformer. It doesn't do a good job of even that because it heats up to much with just 10 amps of 12 volt load.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wingfoot321
Cookeville 34,

If you trailer is anything like mine, my univolt is getting tired and overcharges the batteries.
I have been looking at the Intelli-power 9245 45amp as a suitable replacement.
I would expect you will get some other comments on a good replacement for the univolt.
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:49 PM   #5
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How do you know if the Univolt is working correctly? I've put a battery in my trailer and all the 12 volt stuff works, but I don't know if its just working off the battery or using the Univolt or both. Also wondered what size inverter I might need for my 120 v fridge/freezer?
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:05 PM   #6
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Well if you are talking about powering your fridge from your 12 volt system, don't do it. It will kill your batteries in an hour or so. Use AC power when you have shore power and propane when you don't. If you have an A.C./D.C./Propane model, use the D.C. only when you are towing.

The intellipower will only convert 120 volt A.C. power (shore power) to 12 D.C. volts for your batteries and your 12 volt lighting, fans and other equipment in the trailer.

I keep my trailer plugged in all the time when I am not using it. This allows the intellipower to keep the batteries charged/maintained and to ready to use. I do not worry about a boil out.
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:22 PM   #7
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The Forum Idiot

I claim firm title to the label as the Forum Idiot (heh, even Hillary says every "village" needs one!). After three camping trips, I sat down this evening to read the "safety course," owner's manual, and OEM literature that came with my 2006 Bambi Safari 19' unit. Wow. Lots of good stuff in there!



Reading got me thinking...

1. When storing your AS (ours will be in storage less than 30 days at a time), do you turn off your propane tanks? Do you disconnect your battery?

2. When driving down the road, do you have your propane turned off?

3. Should I really upgrade my converter to an Intellipower one or the 3 phase?

4. Do I need to upgrade my hitch to a HA, and Equilizer, Reese? Manteca installed a Robbins 800 lb bar WDH. I have a Prodigy brake controller.

Thanks. I HAVE been reading the threads and am about convinced to upgrade the converter and, if the bonus is big enough in the spring, a new hitch.

Jer
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:36 PM   #8
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You can pull trailer to someone who can test charging in just a few minutes. Or, a small $20 tester can test battery (while unhooked from univolt leads) and also test the univolt when hooked to the positive and neg leads. (not on battery posts) I have a large portable tester used by a lot of garages. Would have to check specs but, seems like my univolt charges at about 13.6 volts.

You can only use approx a 300-350 watt inverter by plugging into your trailer system. Otherwise, you have to hook directly to the battery. Not much more than a tv makes sense due to running down the battery.

Do you have an airstream manual. Should tell you about frig. Mine is gas or 120 volt electric. I startup unit on elec before I travel and switch to gas while traveling.
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Old 12-04-2006, 12:56 AM   #9
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1. Yes
2. no, I run the fridge.
3. The intellipower is a 3 stage now I think, Before you had to get a module to do the staging. There are other units out ther but I can olly speak about the intellipower.
4. Normally i would thing a hitch with a sway bar and weight distribution bars is all that's needed. However, I do love my Hensley.

Just one man's opinion....



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscinante
I claim firm title to the label as the Forum Idiot (heh, even Hillary says every "village" needs one!). After three camping trips, I sat down this evening to read the "safety course," owner's manual, and OEM literature that came with my 2006 Bambi Safari 19' unit. Wow. Lots of good stuff in there!



Reading got me thinking...

1. When storing your AS (ours will be in storage less than 30 days at a time), do you turn off your propane tanks? Do you disconnect your battery?

2. When driving down the road, do you have your propane turned off?

3. Should I really upgrade my converter to an Intellipower one or the 3 phase?

4. Do I need to upgrade my hitch to a HA, and Equilizer, Reese? Manteca installed a Robbins 800 lb bar WDH. I have a Prodigy brake controller.

Thanks. I HAVE been reading the threads and am about convinced to upgrade the converter and, if the bonus is big enough in the spring, a new hitch.

Jer
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:46 PM   #10
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what would be the best univolt for a 1973 Sovereign 31" ?
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Old 12-04-2006, 07:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe1261
what would be the best univolt for a 1973 Sovereign 31" ?
The univolt that Airstream has used for many years, keeps your trailer in the family.

Andy
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:30 PM   #12
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If you are talking about replacing your univolt with a more modern solid state Intellipower then I would suggest getting the biggest they have. They are lightweight and are vastly more reliable than the old univolts and you are practically guarenteed to never boil out your batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe1261
what would be the best univolt for a 1973 Sovereign 31" ?
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:49 PM   #13
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Upgrade?

Heh, Butter...

Was your Intellipower an upgrade? Did you do it yourself?

Jerry
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:06 PM   #14
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Yes I did do it myself. I removed the old Univolt and installed the Intellipower. I got the 65 amp model with the Charge controller (thrown in for free). I got it at Bestconverter.com. It was quite simple to remove the old unit and install the new one. I did put information on my web site. you can CLICK HERE to see it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscinante
Heh, Butter...

Was your Intellipower an upgrade? Did you do it yourself?

Jerry
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:44 PM   #15
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Richard answered the question right off the bat perfect except a typical battery charger will not recover your batteries at an acceptable rate unless you live VERY frugal. Overcharging is another concern mentioned.

There has not been a "Univolt" made under that name for years. Its a word that has carried over to include all converter/chargers they have used in more recent years. We have sold thousands of them and don't really have a personal favorite except the returns rates we see. We swore by the Intelli-power for years and still think they are fine units, we really do, but the numbers going through the warehouse suggest they are just another converter/charger. We don't carry the 9200 yet because of the high volume of re manufactured units still available with such a new unit. Not saying they are inferior, don't get me wrong at all but we don't like things coming back, nor do you. Granted, if they do fail, you win every time and we replace without question. That is our policy. No manufacture hassle, you just call us.
Having said that, the Parallax is probably the only unit we have never had to replace due to failure but it's only a single stage charger so you are limited there unless you opt for the T model.
The WFCO is our most popular for two reasons. Almost 70% of all RV manufactures made today use it and the failure rate under warranty is the least. "Just the facts ma'am" That is in my company, others might be different.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:06 PM   #16
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Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
A univolt has a brain. Battery charges do not.

A battery charger can easily overcharge your battery.

A univolt keeps the battery at 100 percent, so that if you lost city power you would have a full battery charge.

A univolt also opens up for each circuit you may turn on, and immediately backs off when you shut that circuit off.

RV manufacturers would not install a univolt if a simple charger would work.

Battery chargers cannot properly take the place of a univolt.

Andy
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Maybe I'm over thinking it,
but if you are going to be connected to Shore Power (and the park water supply for water) the fridge, outlets and lights all run off 110V, on my trailer anyway, so the only thing the 12v does is run a few interior 12v lights. So wouldn't a $30.00 float/trickle charger work to keep the battery charged while your connected to shore power?
If your not connected to Shore Power then you can't charge your batteries anyway, because you have no power to either the Univolt or whatever you use, right?
You are correct about when you are not connected to shore power.

Every light inside and outside my 75 Trade Wind is a 12 volt light. Since you stated that you would be attached to park water, you will not need your water pump. One very big power drain is your furnace. The blower fan is 12 volts ant that can drain your barrery in one night. A trickle charger will not be able to keep up with that kind of drain. Also some refrigerators have a 12 line for the control circut as do some hot water heaters (mine do not). CO detectors, smoke detectors and propane detectors can also be a drain if your trailer has them wired to the 12 volt system. Exhaust fans (ceiling and kitchen) also run on 12 volts as does the radio.

I don't think that anyone is saying that your idea will not work, it might for you. The problem I see is you will have to keep your power useage on the low side to keep up with the drain when you are attached to shore power. If you have a setup with a good convertor you would not have to worry about this. You could light the place up like "luna park"! My mother used to say that all the time, I have no idea what it means.....
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:40 PM   #19
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I don't think you are over thinking, just thinking out loud, good for you.
A larger battery charger would be more along those lines. A 1 Amp trickle would not keep up.
You might be surprised how much 12 power is used. Lights, furnace fan, water pump, ceiling fans, radio, fridge, electric water heater, parasitic loads such as LPG and carbon monoxide detector, etc
Modern switch converters are power supplies first and battery chargers with whats left over. For instance, if you are running 20 amps worth of DC accessories on a 50 Amp converter, you have a 30 Amp charger at that time.
Another factor is constantly discharging the battery. Granted they are designed to be discharged but they last larger if they are not deeply discharged too often.
Many people use generators to recharge when away from shore power and that is the beauty of multi-stage charging converters.
If manufactures could get away with installing small battery chargers, they would already be doing it.
Good question. Now, since I can't change pages without loosing what I've typed, I hope were still on topic.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:38 PM   #20
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Ok, I see your point about some of the 12V appliances, my experience was with our old Terry and a Starcraft popup, both used very little 12v for anything.
My Univolt is still working so I guess I'll just keep it.

When the trailer is sitting at the house, is it safe to leave it plugged up? Will the Univolt on my 79' automatically shut off when the battery is charged?
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