Electrical problems with a 1979 Jubilee Trillium - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-19-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
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Name: Kelli
Trailer: Trillium
Nova Scotia
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Electrical problems with a 1979 Jubilee Trillium

Hello
I am new to the trailer world and I have just purchased a 1979 Jubilee Trillium. I am having issues with my trailers electrical system. When I plug my trailer into an electrical outlet and I push in the knob on the converter I hear buzzing. The plug on the converter works but nothing else in the trailer does (Lights/fridge). The trailer was left out all winter, Is the battery still good? How do I run the fridge with out using propane? I am quite lost as to what to do, so any advice would be welcome
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:57 PM   #2
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Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
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First question I'd ask is the make/model of the converter. I don't understand which "knob" you're talking about pushing in, so presume the unit is different from that in my 1978 Trillium. Mine has a three-position switch on the front that governs what powers the 12v interior lights etc. None will work if the switch is in the wrong position. Taking a shot in the dark: most converters from that era have fuses- yours may be blown. It would be normal for the 120v outlet to continue to operate in that circumstance since it's not related to 12v power.

Next:
The refrigerator at least should work on shorepower since it's likely plugged in to an ordinary outlet wired directly to the trailer circuit breaker. It has to be manually switched to 120v for that to happen, though. There should be a control panel at the bottom of the fridge for that purpose.

Note:

Since there's power to/at the converter, I'm presuming that ALL 110v oulets are working in the trailer.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:00 PM   #3
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Francesca, on the left hand side of your converter is said knob. It is a 10 A 120 VAC breaker. Pull it out, power goes off. Push in to reset.

The buzzing noise is likely just the coils buzzing in the old 120 VAC to 12 VAC transformer. Then the 12 VAC is rectified into very bumpy DC using a four diode full wave bridge. Not much to them actually. I should make a circuit diagram of mine.

There is likely a fuse for the 12 VDC that you should look at. Do the lights work if you are plugged into your tow vehicle?

Pictures would help.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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To answer yet another question, if the battery was left cold for the winter there is a very good chance that it is toast.

While others will disagree, I usually advocate starting anew with the electrical system in trailers over 30 years old. What's there is usually very old and, sometimes, dangerous, and with as many prior owners as it may have had, hard telling what's been done to the electrical system.

Again, at that age, there is a good chance that the refrigerator may have leaked down and may not work. Unfortunately they are usually not economical to repair. However, if you can get it to work on 120 VAC, the gas section can usually be repaired, or vice-versa.

Again, product brand names, model numbers and pics add a lot when talking vintage trailers as it's always hard to guess what's actually installed by 2014.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Francesca, on the left hand side of your converter is said knob. It is a 10 A 120 VAC breaker. Pull it out, power goes off. Push in to reset.
I think you're talking about the first converter below, which is not what came stock in my '78 4500. Probably the same (6900) converter series but different model.
` source

Heaven only knows how many others were used, which is why I asked specifically about the O.P.'s. I do believe that ALL in this series have the toggle switch, though, which must be in the correct position to operate whether by 12v ("Batt") or 120v ("Trans").

Below thumbnail's the model 6921 that's in my '78 4500. Click to enlarge and you can see that the only thing on the left is a fuseholder much like the one on the right. Everything on the converter is stock; no modifications made.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:24 PM   #6
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With our trailers being so close in age it is funny that this is different. I will try to post pictures of the converters I have.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
With our trailers being so close in age it is funny that this is different. I will try to post pictures of the converters I have.
That would make an interesting set!

In this case, though, it probably doesn't matter- one thing they seem to have in common is that 120v fusing/circuit breaker/whatever is on the left. The facts that the O.P. can hear the converter humming and the 120v outlet works clearly establish that it's getting 120v power.

The problem must lie on the 12v (right) side- what seems most likely to me is that the 12v fuse is blown or the switch is in the wrong position (or has failed).

My suggestion is to check the 12v fuse first. If good, try the toggle switch in all three positions, attempting to turn a light on each time.

This assumes that nobody's fooled with the 12v wiring to the extent that everything has to go across the battery/back to the trailer- because if that's the case and the battery isn't there, 12v won't work no matter what the converter is doing.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:33 PM   #8
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As long as you own a trailer you need a Volt/ Ohm meter, get one and learn to set it up and turn it on to the right settings.

First place for me to start is at the battery. Disconnect the battery note which wires are connected where. Get a meter and check the voltage of the battery and the polarity of the battery. is + still plus and - still minus? sometimes if a battery gets all the way drained the polarity will reverse and its junk. I once had one do that. If the battery is lower than 12.5 volts charge it with a seperate charger. Get it above 12.6 volts to 12.8 volts. If after charging the battery wont hold over 12.5 volts overnight you probably have a bad cell in a junk battery. Now hook up the battery cables. Depending on what has been done through the years and what is or isnt labeled. The trailer should have white and black wires. White goes to - negative on the battery, Black goes to + positive on the battery. If the cables are red and black, red should go to the + positive and black to the - negative post. If you have Yellow and Black, Yellow should go to the + positive and black goes to - negative. Now if the previous owner really screwed up then you hope to have different size eyelets on the wires so the small hole eyelet is usually on the - negative post and a larger eyelet on the + positive post. In the positive wire going from the battery post there should be a fuse someplace usually close to the battery. Check that and see if it is still good. If that is still good then you should have 12 volts to the lights and 12 volt circuts. Now you can plug in your converter and turn it on. With it off your battery volts should read a voltage. If you turn on your converter and imediately check your voltage again it should be higher if it is it is capable to charge your battery. Do not trust old chargers as most of them left on will boil and ruin your battery if left on after the battery is fully charged. Good luck as many batteries have been hooked up wrong fuses blown and converters damaged by the simple hook up of something as simple as a battery. There is no way for anyone on the internet to verify if something is properly wired in one of these trailers so you are on your own to properly verify all of these connections. For the lack of proper wire markings so many people have caused so much damage and frustration. If you dont feel comfortable doing this work get your system verifyed by a professional and make sure they properly mark the wires and train you in the basics of the system.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:47 PM   #9
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Name: Kelli
Trailer: Trillium
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Wow thanks for all the advice! I am posting some pictures of my converter and the specifications of whats in my trailer. The fridge works, I just did not give it time to cool. The lights do not work when I am plugged into my truck or into an outlet. I do not know where my battery is located in my trailer. I have looked but I cant seem to find it. The fuse is not blown, but I did buy back ups.
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Old 05-24-2014, 04:29 PM   #10
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I see the converter switch (on right) is in the "off" position...is that just a coincidence or have you not tried switching it to "converter"? That's the position for shorepower operation of the lights.

If you don't see a battery or hookups for one on the tongue or under a bench, the trailer might not have come with one. Mine didn't- had to wire one in myself. In that case lights would only work when plugged into shorepower or the tow vehicle, assuming the vehicle is equipped with a 12v power line (separate wire from any involving outside lights). Converter switch must be in "Batt" position to work lights via those sources.

Good news is that you've lucked out, sort of- there's actually a MANUAL for that converter in the document center here! Click on this link to go to a page where you can view/download the manual.

I'm a little mystified by the circuit breaker on the left, which according to the manual affects the "convenience receptacle" (on front of converter) AND what's described as the "120vac remote circuit.-? Maybe someone will chime in with an interpretation of that.
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