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Old 06-16-2019, 06:24 PM   #1
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THOR #15098
Battery drain?

My 2016 29H has been parked in the driveway for 2 weeks, with the power disconnected at the switch just inside the entrance. I went out last week and switched to "use" just to check the status of the batteries, and the light on the inside panel said they were low (one red light). So I fired up the generator and ran it for an hour, which brought the batteries up to full charge. Flipped the switch to "disconnect" and shut the generator off. Just went out this morning (a week later) and flipped the switch to "use", and again, the batteries were almost discharged. The batteries are brand new, and when I ran the genny I checked the fluid level in the batteries and it was OK. Where's the power drain?
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:27 PM   #2
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Battery drain?

So you are saying the red light on the Use / Store switch is out while it is sitting?

Is your Inverter turned off as well? The Inverter is separate from the Use / Store switch and is wires directly to the house batteries.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:00 PM   #3
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Not sure what you're referring to. There is no red light next to the switch that is labelled "use/disconnect", the switch that is mounted on the wall just inside the entry door. I thought that was the switch that operated the inverter. I was told to position that switch in the "use" position whenever I used any power in the unit, and also when I wanted to charge the house batteries, either by running the generator, operating the vehicle, or plugged in to shore power. And, as I said in the post, when I entered the vehicle today, the first thing I did was flip that switch to "use" and went to the panel in the unit that monitors all the systems, like battery and propane availability, and the condition of all the water tanks.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:28 PM   #4
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Parasitic losses can drain the batteries down... You could try putting a battery disconnect switch on the ground terminals, and completely "cut them free" of the coach.
I put one of these in my Outlaw, and it did a really good job. I would only hook up to shore power for about one day a Month, and the batteries stayed up. Prior to it's installation: they'd be discharged in about four days.

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Old 06-16-2019, 11:31 PM   #5
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Even in the “store” position there is still parasitic drain on the batteries. Don’t know why Thor installed this switch since it doesn’t shut off everything. Only solution is to install a Marine battery shut off switch, fairly easy to do.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:55 PM   #6
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I don't think running the generator for 1 hour will charge your batteries to the "full" point. The indicator light might show full for a short time after turning the gen off but the batteries do not charge in 1 hour. If you are plugged into electric with the switch in the use position your batteries would be full charged in 2 or 3 days. Check the water levels. If that doesn't work you have bad batteries.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:48 AM   #7
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I don't think running the generator for 1 hour will charge your batteries to the "full" point. The indicator light might show full for a short time after turning the gen off but the batteries do not charge in 1 hour. If you are plugged into electric with the switch in the use position your batteries would be full charged in 2 or 3 days. Check the water levels. If that doesn't work you have bad batteries.
Well, maybe 4 or 5 hours but it doesn't take days. And you batteries could certainly have been abused when your coach was on the dealer's lot and be bad now, but the comments about using a physical disconnect because of parasitic draws that aren't disconnected by the USE/STORE switch are certainly valid as well.
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:51 AM   #8
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Battery drain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by omar1951 View Post
Not sure what you're referring to. There is no red light next to the switch that is labelled "use/disconnect", the switch that is mounted on the wall just inside the entry door. I thought that was the switch that operated the inverter. I was told to position that switch in the "use" position whenever I used any power in the unit, and also when I wanted to charge the house batteries, either by running the generator, operating the vehicle, or plugged in to shore power. And, as I said in the post, when I entered the vehicle today, the first thing I did was flip that switch to "use" and went to the panel in the unit that monitors all the systems, like battery and propane availability, and the condition of all the water tanks.


I have a 2018 29H and the Use / Store switch has a light in it. Mine is also next to the entry door.

When it is in the Use position, the light is red. When it is in the Store position, the light is off..... if it is not plugged into shore power. When plugged into shore power the light is alway on..... even in Store mode.

The Inverter panel and switch is close to the Use / Store switch in my 29H. I never turn on the Inverter unless I need to run my TV’s off the batteries. Otherwise the TV’s are powered by shore power or the generator. There is no need to have the Inverter on otherwise.

If your Inverter is on and you don’t realize it, it will drain the batteries regardless of whether you are in Store mode.

The Inverter panel should look something like this......

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Old 06-17-2019, 04:51 PM   #9
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You are right, my friend. I just never paid attention to the inverter panel, maybe because I didn't know what it was for!!!!(DOH!) I'll have to look up the operation of that unit somewhere on the Internet. So you say you never use the inverter unless you run the TV's off the batteries. Being a newbie, I am gathering knowledge re/the electrics of this unit as I go. Did find out that the only way you can run small appliances is by either running the generator or being plugged into shore power. That is unless my inverter is now in the off position. Not sure of this. Maybe you could school me on that. Is it possible to use 110 AC appliances with the house batteries and the inverter?
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:59 PM   #10
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You are right, my friend. I just never paid attention to the inverter panel, maybe because I didn't know what it was for!!!!(DOH!) I'll have to look up the operation of that unit somewhere on the Internet. So you say you never use the inverter unless you run the TV's off the batteries. Being a newbie, I am gathering knowledge re/the electrics of this unit as I go. Did find out that the only way you can run small appliances is by either running the generator or being plugged into shore power. That is unless my inverter is now in the off position. Not sure of this. Maybe you could school me on that. Is it possible to use 110 AC appliances with the house batteries and the inverter?
So your rig probably has the 1000W version. That is what is in my 2018 29H. Thor wired the Inverter to provide power from the house batteries to the three TV's and the radio in the garage when there is no generator or shore power available.

The 1000W Inverter could run a small coffee maker and it should be able to run the fridge. You would either need to run an extension cord from one of the TV outlets to the small appliance or do some rewiring.

I plan to change the wiring in my unit to run the fridge off the Inverter when I am low on propane or driving very long distances (since the batteries will be charged by the alternator while driving).

I did a test and ran an extension cord from the TV receptacle in the garage to the garage AC. It is only 5000 BTU drawing about 5 A and the Inverter did power it. However, that is not recommended because it is not a pure sine wave Inverter.

If you put your house batteries in Store mode but leave the Inverter on, it will drain your batteries over the course of a few days. The Inverter draws a little power when on and not used. When it is on, the TV's and radio will draw a little power as well even when they are off.... then you will have dead batteries.

There is no need to have the Inverter turned on unless you are going to be using the TV's or garage radio when there is no shore power or the generator is not running.

I may install a Xantrex Freedom Xi 1800W Inverter so I could run the garage AC off the batteries if I needed to at some point. I am also going to change the wiring to add the refrigerator to the Inverter as well.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:44 PM   #11
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That's right: they even called it an "entertainment inverter".

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Old 06-18-2019, 09:38 AM   #12
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I'm guessing, for all intents and purposes, the inverter is really some kind of bling added to the electrical system. I would probably never run the TV's when I'm boondocking, and the generator can supply AC power for s small appliance or 2 when I'm not hooked up to shore. As far as the fridge is concerned, I've noticed that it's a real miser when it comes to operating on gas, and that's what I've used when I'm not plugged in to shore. I think when I turned the inverter on yesterday, it was probably the first time it had ever been used! Thanks to all for your suggestions and insight.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:58 PM   #13
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My auto gen start is still on even withe the house batteries off
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:18 PM   #14
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2017 29H here. No light on use/store switch. I had crazy parasitic drain on my batteries when storing and boondocking. Here's what I did for incremental steps that, all added up, solved my problem. Now when I store for over a month, batteries dont get below 50%. (I bought a cutoff switch, but havent installed yet- that is certainly the best/foolproof solution.)
First, if you are already dealing with batteries you know have gone below 50% charge, start with a known good charge- for me that means pulling the batteries from the coach (take photo/video of the rats nest of connections and mark on the wires what goes where. The 29H has some interesting wiring choices. Careful to remove BOTH negative leads first- there’s not a lot of room to work and it’s far too easy to short to the metal frame in there.) You've already checked electrolyte level, but also get a fluid based battery charge tester and check each cell- you can pick one up at any auto store; note your baseline readings. Then put batteries on a quality car charger in well ventilated area at least overnight for each- I like my Schumacher charger. Since there are two batteries, this will take 2 or 3 days. Allow a couple hours after removing the charger for “surface charge” to dissipate, then check each battery cell again and ensure each cell is good. My batteries were abused by my dealer, and for the first 6 months also by me because they were always undercharged and I was pretty ignorant of how to treat them. I thought I needed to replace them, but doing this procedure brought them back to life and they’ve been going strong for almost two years now.
I also figured out the four largest parasitic power draws on the 29H.
1. The use/store switch left “on” by mistake.
2. The inverter left on when not actively using it for TV.
3. The King Jack antenna left on (there’s a lighted button inside the cabinet where the DVD player is, near the cable connector)
4. The radios (both front and rear).

The radios were the most interesting. Because I mostly boondock and want the battery to last as long as possible for fridge, lights, and heat blower, so I installed a simple toggle switch at the 12v fuse panel to kill the radio circuit when the “use/store” is on. This lets me use fridge and lights for a lot longer.

Now when I store the rig with everything off, the batteries drop to about 20 - 25% in a month. That’s without a true kill switch on the battery. Pretty good, considering lead acid self discharges at about 5% a month just on its own. My guess is the remaining 15-20% drain is almost entirely the co/propane detector.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:17 PM   #15
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Doesn’t your coach have a 50 or 100 amp breaker in the battery box like the Axis? Tripping that breaker disconnects those batteries from the coach just like a disconnect switch will do. Then you have zero parasitic drain on those batteries, unless you have something else connected directly to the batteries.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:19 PM   #16
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Hey Kickstand, thanks for all the useful info. I too am especially puzzled by the radio thing. Of course, I don't get the radio operation in my wife-s 2019 GMC Terrain either! I did install a disconnect at the batteries. And you are right about the location of the house batteries. I too must have had a moment of clarity when I removed the batteries last fall before storage, as I took a few pics and stuck masking tape labels on all the connections. I do think the disconnect switch will solve my dilemma.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:29 PM   #17
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It took me a second to realize the fridge (inside and the outside kitchen) require me to shut them off regardless of the master power being on / off.

Since I installed a 160w solar panel, the couple times I have visited the unit these last couple weeks, the solar controller says FUL. That was the main reason I installed it.
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Old 06-22-2019, 04:00 PM   #18
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Doesn’t your coach have a 50 or 100 amp breaker in the battery box like the Axis?

Nope, that would be too easy!
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Old 06-22-2019, 04:53 PM   #19
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It took me a second to realize the fridge (inside and the outside kitchen) require me to shut them off regardless of the master power being on / off.

Since I installed a 160w solar panel, the couple times I have visited the unit these last couple weeks, the solar controller says FUL. That was the main reason I installed it.
Might be because the "master power" switch connects/disconnects the house batteries from the DC buss and your fridges are residential and run off an inverter?
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:00 PM   #20
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Might be because the "master power" switch connects/disconnects the house batteries from the DC buss and your fridges are residential and run off an inverter?
Yes but even with the inverter "off" they still run. Guess that is what surprised me.

EDIT: I put that in quotes because the way the button was on the inverter, it would be in the off position. You can still see the power draw in watts on the screen though.
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