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Old 08-13-2016, 10:47 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37LX
State: Maryland
Posts: 109
THOR #3920
4 Battery setup on Challenger

This question is for anyone who added the 4 battery setup to their Challenger. I have a new 2017 37LX and had the 2 Harris 6V batteries removed and the dealer put in 4 6 volt batteries. With the inverter and the full size refrigerator, I was told by both Thor and the dealer that the 4 battery setup would power the refrigerator for about 5 days dry camping. I decided to test this out in my driveway before heading out on a trip. I got about a day and a half before the inverter threw an error code of Low Battery. Is this typical and the thought of dry camping for 4-5 days on those batteries is a pipe dream? Has anyone else put in 4 batteries and tested it to see how long they will power the refer? If I only get 1.5 days out of it, so be it. I know the full size refer draws a lot of power, but I figured once it reached temp, it would draw a lot less.

Just asking because DW won't stop chirping in my ear about "I thought we got 4-5 days, what's the real story, blah blah blah".

Hopefully someone else tested this and has better, the same, or worse results so I can save myself some ear pain.

Thanks
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2017 Thor Challenger 37LX, Westward interior, Riverside paint job. Upgraded to 4 battery setup, Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer combo, Progressive Industries HW50 EMS, Heavy Duty Steering stabilizer, and TST TPMS 6+4 setup for tow vehicle . Member FMCA

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Old 08-13-2016, 11:32 PM   #2
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Palazzo 33.3 34'bunkhouse
State: Alabama
Posts: 1,795
THOR #4735
are you trying to drycamp for several days with ONLY the fridge on? no lights, fans, tvs, computers, device chargers - nothing else the whole time??
the generator is your friend, use it to keep the batteries charged, set your Magnum Charger/Inverter panel AGS(auto start) button to start at about 12.0 volts and it will fire up and recharge the batteries when needed. you can also have it run for 30m, 1hr, 2hr, etc. depending on which you select - we use 30mins.

we have 4 phones, 2 computers, 2 laptops, 4 pads, and other devices, 5 tvs, 3 receivers, fridge, and lights used on a daily basis, not to mention the water pump when off grid, and the Inverter itself which also uses several amps. we could probably go a day without needing to recharge the batteries, if we really pare down, or are away from the coach, but most of the time the generator AGS would kick in every several hours for 30mins. we also fire it up if we need to use the microwave, or air conditioners, of course.

the fridge actually uses less power than most people think - it only runs when it needs to, not continually, and if you don't open the door often, even longer - but, it is the only item that always REQUIRES the inverter, since it is 110v only. but, there is also no reason that you cannot turn off the inverter if you really want to since the fridge will usually still keep items cold enough for many hours - though in two years of full timing we have NEVER turned off our inverter, or charger... don't see any reason to, even when dry camping.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:11 AM   #3
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Brand: Still Looking
State: Alabama
Posts: 245
THOR #4160
How many amp hours is your battery series rated? You need to calculate your appliance amp hour requirement and divide by abut 50% of your available battery amp hours. You never want to run your batteries down less than 50% assuming they are deep cycle acid batteries and not lithium. Lithium batteries are a different ballgame. Let's assume your batteries are 220 amp in parallel and series giving you 440 amp hours. 50% of that would be 220 amp hours available.

If you have the Whirlpool with an ice maker, it uses 7.2 amps on full load. We will round that down to about 5 amps per hour so in a 24 hour period it will use about 120 amps. Based on that calculation, you would be good for a little less than two days. The other problem is that you have other devices that while plugged in are parasitic, which means that even if they are not on they will still pull a very small amperage. This would include any plugged in electronics even USB power cords are parasitic even if they are not charging any device.

Look at this calculator to determine what your actual requirement is: Solar Sizing Calculator | Solar Cable Gauge Calculator | Battery Interconnect Calculator - Renogy Solar

If you are looking for an immediate fix, consider placing your coach in store for about 6 hours or perhaps over night. This will ensure no devices are using your battery and as long as the fridge isn't being opened up, it should maintain the temperature. Just my opinion. More seasoned vets may have other recommendations.

Long term, consider installing solar or possibly running your genie every other day.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:46 AM   #4
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37LX
State: Maryland
Posts: 109
THOR #3920
Thanks for the replies. The answers did supply me with enough information to calculate everything.

This was more of a "Hey, let me test things out since I have never really used everything in here". According to the dealer, upgrading the batteries in this particular coach would get me about 4-5 days. I just have the RV sitting in my driveway and am leaving tomorrow. I usually keep it plugged in to 110V to run the refrigerator before heading out. I turned on the inverter and while the refrigerator was running, no lights were on, and as far as I can tell, there was no other power being delivered from the inverter (I am sure the radios pull minimal). According to the digital display, I was not drawing that much. I turned it on Thursday evening and by this morning, I heard an alarm saying Low Power on the display. So I plugged it in. I was checking this out because i will do my first dry camping in a few weeks when I take it to the beach where there are no hookups. I have the auto-gem start which monitors the batteries, but did not have that turned on. I finally decided to go ahead and just use every accessory installed in this and make them work like they should. I figured why not since I have the full 7 year warranty. If it breaks, get it fixed. Might as well find out now rather than later.


Thanks again for the replies. I will check out the link and get out some paper and figure out how much power is being pulled just sitting there with just the fridge running.
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2017 Thor Challenger 37LX, Westward interior, Riverside paint job. Upgraded to 4 battery setup, Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer combo, Progressive Industries HW50 EMS, Heavy Duty Steering stabilizer, and TST TPMS 6+4 setup for tow vehicle . Member FMCA

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Old 08-14-2016, 02:16 AM   #5
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Brand: Still Looking
State: Alabama
Posts: 245
THOR #4160
I will be installing solar within the next month and will have a realistic usage as I intend to monitor every device one by one over a period of time. I will be sure to report back so other Challenger owner's benefit from my tinkering.

If you want to monitor device by device over a period of time for a realistic calculation, this is a inexpensive meter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Best of luck boondocking and let us know how your travels go. Are you on RVillage too? While this is a great site for problem solving, RVillage is great site for staying connected.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:24 AM   #6
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37LX
State: Maryland
Posts: 109
THOR #3920
Yes Sir. I found out about RVillage on here and joined up last week.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Techn0 View Post
I will be installing solar within the next month and will have a realistic usage as I intend to monitor every device one by one over a period of time. I will be sure to report back so other Challenger owner's benefit from my tinkering.

If you want to monitor device by device over a period of time for a realistic calculation, this is a inexpensive meter https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Best of luck boondocking and let us know how your travels go. Are you on RVillage too? While this is a great site for problem solving, RVillage is great site for staying connected.
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2017 Thor Challenger 37LX, Westward interior, Riverside paint job. Upgraded to 4 battery setup, Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer combo, Progressive Industries HW50 EMS, Heavy Duty Steering stabilizer, and TST TPMS 6+4 setup for tow vehicle . Member FMCA

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