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Old 07-09-2006, 11:08 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1974 23' Safari
Richmond , Missouri
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6
To battery or not to battery

Hi Campers! I just bought my first travel trailer! A 1974 Land Yacht. It's really in pretty good shape, just really dirty! I have been reding some of the forums and have determined that I need to "revive" my univolt. Does any one know where I can get the three capicators to replace the old ones? Also, I intend to park my unit at a campground for six months at a time where I will have full hook-ups, so do I even need a battery? Thanks for reading and get ready for a lot of silly questions.

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Old 07-10-2006, 05:21 AM   #2
Site Team
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,561
Images: 59

Welcome to the airstreamforums.

If memory serves, I believe you need a battery in order to modulate or regulate the output of the Univolt. I also think I read somewhere that the newer converters, such as Intelipower or WFCO, do not require a battery to put out good 12 volt power.

That being the case, I would not invest in new capacitors. I would spend the bucks and upgrade the converter.

I pray someone else will correct me if this is in error.

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Old 07-10-2006, 09:35 AM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1971 23' Safari
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 22
The univolt in my 71 Safari recently died. After looking on the forum I decided it was time to move onto a non-univot system. If you repair the univolt, it is still pretty old, heavy and noisy. What you fix is still working with some old material - mine lasted many years which is a great reflection on the product. I had a new extra power unit from a boat purchase (long story) and used it to replace the univolt. Works great.

Let me suggest that you remove the univolt (it is bolted to a wood plank that is screwed to the floor) and remove the fuse panel to use with a new power source. I opened the univolt box by drilling off the rivets.
Then carefully disconnected the three wires from the fuse panel. Next, I bent the fuse panel forward and backward and it snaped-off clean at the spot welds. (Careful not to fool around with the caps as they can store enough juice to hurt.)

I drilled a couple of little holes in the base of the fuse panel where it was spot welded, and bolted it to the wooden plank that held the univolt. Then bolted the new power source behind it and hooked up the wires. Reinstalled the unit in the AS and hooked up all the color coded wires to the fuse panel as before. Everything works like before, but quietly.

New power units will keep a battery charged and will not burn them up. There are a number of good power units on the market that are light weight and quiet. The univolt weighted about 40#. I kept thinking the forum writers were exaggerating, but it is very heavy. I don't know about running lights without using a battery.

Good luck
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:57 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
1974 23' Safari
Richmond , Missouri
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6
Thanks for your speedy replies. My main concern about replacing the univolt with a newer unit was getting it correctly installed. But with the suggestion of saving the fuse panel, I think I might be able to do it.
I have no experience as an electrician or a plumber so I'm not sure what possessed me to attempt to restore an AS, but I sure am having fun. Thanks to everyone who reads and answers the forums. I'm going to need you all a lot!
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Old 07-16-2006, 02:02 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
1972 25' Tradewind
Madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 396
I recently replaced my univolt with a wfco. Remove the univolt and take out the fuse panel. It comes out easily. Use it for a distribution and fuse panel. I am no electrical genius, but found this was an easy method and it saved building a distribution panel. I am no plumber or electrician either, but this has been fun learning this stuff. The hardest part was getting the univolt out.
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