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Old 06-25-2015, 01:15 AM   #1
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THOR #896
Battery and inverter should be fixed

Just spent the last week trying to get our 2014 Chatuea fixed. Had an appointment last wednesday because the coach batteries wouldnt hold a charge. After numerous calls and emails found out today the Harris bateries are no longer sold to Thor. Talk to Harris main office and the reason they no longer provide batteries for Thor is because of the inverters Thor uses will not charge batteries to capacity there fore the batteries will sulfate and will no longer charge. The Harris main office declined the warrenty on the batteries and says Thor should step up and fix the inverter problem. If we purchase new batteries for the coach on our dime the inverter will cause the same problem again. Any one else have this problem? Thanks
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:54 AM   #2
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THOR #1469
What inverter do you have installed on your coach?

I would be interested in knowing whether or not others (not just Thor owners) are reporting similar problems. On my coach Thor installed the Xantrex 1800 watt inverter and that same inverter is used by numerous manufactures and has been mentioned in numerous magazine articles about inverters and I have never read anything about the inverter killing the batteries.

The other thing I find interesting is that if the inverter is turned off the batteries are charged by the converter and not the inverter. With the minimal use of the inverter the batteries shouldn't die because they are not being fully charged. The full charge should happen when you run the generator or connect to shore power.

Maybe I'm wrong but something sounds fishy.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:03 AM   #3
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THOR #896
Batteries and inverter should be fixes

I do know when the truck charges the coch batteries they charge alot quicker. I mentioned this to Harris rep and he said they knew they did. They had been working with Thor for 2-3 years to get this straightened out and Thor wouldn't change inverters so Harris quit selling them batteries. When the denied warrenty email was sent to Camping World a copy was also sent to Vice president at Thor.
Can't seem to get either company to step up and take resposibility. Still working on though. Wish me luck.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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Schuttecow, this may be me being picky but like Dave stated, the converter charges the batteries and NOT the inverter. Inverters convert DC to AC and will drain your batteries, not charge them.
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Old 06-25-2015, 12:58 PM   #5
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Schuttecow, this may be me being picky but like Dave stated, the converter charges the batteries and NOT the inverter. Inverters convert DC to AC and will drain your batteries, not charge them.
I'm not sure that's always the case. If designing from scratch, is it not possible to use an inverter/charger? If so, would you need a converter at all?

From other threads I've read it seems Thor adds a inverter or inverter/charger but leaves the standard converter installed.

An issue I can see from the battery manufacturers' point of view regarding having to honor the battery warranty, is that if Thor doesn't install enough battery capacity to support the inverter size it is very likely the average motorhome owner will kill the one or two house battery(ies) in short order.

If an RV has a fairly large inverter and only one or two small batteries, it's very easy to run them down below 50% when drawing a lot of power. And if the battery manufacturer has to replace the battery at their cost, I can see why they may push back.
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:27 PM   #6
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THOR #1764
Here are some combo inverter/chargers: Inverter Charger, RV Inverter Charger | Power Products | Xantrex
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:38 PM   #7
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I noticed on the first trip out in our 35HT that the house batteries would not hold a charge. The dealer replaced the batteries under warranty without question. Perhaps it was because we had only had the coach for a few days when I let them know of the problem.
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Old 06-25-2015, 01:39 PM   #8
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THOR #1469
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Originally Posted by Schuttecow View Post
I do know when the truck charges the coch batteries they charge alot quicker. I mentioned this to Harris rep and he said they knew they did. They had been working with Thor for 2-3 years to get this straightened out and Thor wouldn't change inverters so Harris quit selling them batteries. When the denied warrenty email was sent to Camping World a copy was also sent to Vice president at Thor.
Can't seem to get either company to step up and take resposibility. Still working on though. Wish me luck.
Scuttlecow,

Did Harris put this in writing with the explanation and signature of the person that is rejecting the warranty claim?

Also, since Harris claims the issue is with the inverter, have you contacted that manufacturer as well.

As a note, there were 2 Better Business Bureau complaints against Harris Battery, by RV owners, in 2014 alone. In both cases Harris claimed the batteries were not defective and was due to maintenance.

Seems to me the rotten fish smell is getting stronger in the heat.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:34 PM   #9
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THOR #1490
Our 2014 Chateau had a battery that was not maintained by the dealer. The levels liquid levels was not maintained. But we are looking at more boon docking time then plug in resorts. So I opted on running more batteries and a solar panel.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:00 PM   #10
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THOR #2398
Harris Battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuttecow View Post
I do know when the truck charges the coch batteries they charge alot quicker. I mentioned this to Harris rep and he said they knew they did. They had been working with Thor for 2-3 years to get this straightened out and Thor wouldn't change inverters so Harris quit selling them batteries. When the denied warrenty email was sent to Camping World a copy was also sent to Vice president at Thor.
Can't seem to get either company to step up and take resposibility. Still working on though. Wish me luck.
When did this happen? I'm a first time motor home owner (2015 Thor Vegas) and it has Harris batteries. Only have it 3 mo. and electrolytes in batteries were very, very low. Suspect the dealer didn't maintain the batteries properly pre-sale.
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:10 PM   #11
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THOR #896
Harris batteries

My motorhome rolled off assembly line in June 2014. Batteries went dead May 2015. Still under warrenty but no one will step up and fix them. Harris says they haven't sold batteries to Thor for 11 months and if rvs are still coming off assembly line with Harris batteries the batteries are almost a year old already. Both times I talked to Harris they said Thor would not correct the charging problem so Harris quit selling to Thor last year. Thor says they are still using Harris batteries. I don't know who to believe. I guess if the new batteries I put in do the same thing I will know it's more than likely not a battery problem but a charging problem. We are not new to maintaining batteries. This is our 3 Thor motorhome. And since we farm for a living we deal with a lot of batteries in tractors, trucks and farm equipment .
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:16 PM   #12
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THOR #1469
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
I'm not sure that's always the case. If designing from scratch, is it not possible to use an inverter/charger? If so, would you need a converter at all?

From other threads I've read it seems Thor adds a inverter or inverter/charger but leaves the standard converter installed.

An issue I can see from the battery manufacturers' point of view regarding having to honor the battery warranty, is that if Thor doesn't install enough battery capacity to support the inverter size it is very likely the average motorhome owner will kill the one or two house battery(ies) in short order.

If an RV has a fairly large inverter and only one or two small batteries, it's very easy to run them down below 50% when drawing a lot of power. And if the battery manufacturer has to replace the battery at their cost, I can see why they may push back.
On my coach at least the Inverter is an Inverter only. Thor installed the Xantrex Pro 1800 on my coach and that is not an inverter/charger. Xantrex does make the Freedom series which is an inverter/charger but that is not the model installed by Thor. This is the reason why the coach has an inverter (Xantrex) and a converter (WFCO).
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Old 07-12-2015, 12:03 AM   #13
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THOR #1469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuttecow View Post
My motorhome rolled off assembly line in June 2014. Batteries went dead May 2015. Still under warrenty but no one will step up and fix them. Harris says they haven't sold batteries to Thor for 11 months and if rvs are still coming off assembly line with Harris batteries the batteries are almost a year old already. Both times I talked to Harris they said Thor would not correct the charging problem so Harris quit selling to Thor last year. Thor says they are still using Harris batteries. I don't know who to believe. I guess if the new batteries I put in do the same thing I will know it's more than likely not a battery problem but a charging problem. We are not new to maintaining batteries. This is our 3 Thor motorhome. And since we farm for a living we deal with a lot of batteries in tractors, trucks and farm equipment .
Makes it a little more difficult when you read that Harris has in the past mislabeled 95AH batteries as 165AH deep cycles. This happened between 2013 and 2014. This was discovered, if I'm not mistaken, by a fellow Thor owner.
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Old 07-12-2015, 06:19 PM   #14
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On my coach at least the Inverter is an Inverter only. Thor installed the Xantrex Pro 1800 on my coach and that is not an inverter/charger. Xantrex does make the Freedom series which is an inverter/charger but that is not the model installed by Thor. This is the reason why the coach has an inverter (Xantrex) and a converter (WFCO).
If an inverter was planned from the onset, I'm not sure why we would use an inverter and converter in lieu of an inverter/charger. Perhaps cost may be a little higher since converters are inexpensive (difference between inverters and inverter/chargers can be significant), but using an inverter/charger should make wiring simpler, plus use less space overall. I also think it would make troubleshooting and repairs a little more straight forward. For these reasons I would prefer going with an inverter/charger if option was available.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:11 PM   #15
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THOR #1469
It could be by having the current setup you do not have to have the inverter power on whenever you are connected to shore power. If you replace the converter with an inverter charger the inverter would have to run anytime power was being used.

I like the current setup because if the inverter goes out I can still use shore power. I do not believe that would be possible with an inverter/charger.

I am not aware of Thor offering an inverter/charger as an option to the standard inverter.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:29 PM   #16
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All inverter/chargers I've seen have an automatic transfer switch so that as soon as you connect to shore power (or start generator) the inverter is bypassed. At that point the charger section of the inverter/charger starts to charge the batteries.

I don't know whether the transfer switch would work or not if the inverter/charger goes out, but I assume that's a problem that can occur with a simple inverter also. Additionally, I think I may be able to bypass the entire unit by rewiring in an emergency if the wires are long enough.
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:57 PM   #17
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All inverter/chargers I've seen have an automatic transfer switch so that as soon as you connect to shore power (or start generator) the inverter is bypassed. At that point the charger section of the inverter/charger starts to charge the batteries.

I don't know whether the transfer switch would work or not if the inverter/charger goes out, but I assume that's a problem that can occur with a simple inverter also. Additionally, I think I may be able to bypass the entire unit by rewiring in an emergency if the wires are long enough.
There are limitations to the ATS within the inverter/charger. The Xantrex Freedom for instance will only supply shore power to the appliances connected to the inverter. It would require one heck of an inverter and battery bank to power all residential appliances (refrigerator and convection microwave), two AC units, three televisions, and an electric fireplace. This is not to mention a clothes dryer if one were installed in my coach or the 120VAC outlets used for coffee pot, toaster, laptop computer etc.... Oh, I almost forgot the electric side of the hot water heater.

And before someone says you don't have to, or your not going to run all of that at the same time or that the battery bank doesn't have to be that large, if it is connected to the inverter the inverter must be able to operate all at the same time using shore power or when disconnected from shore power.

I believe that by the time a manufacturer such as Thor or Forest River changed the configuration to accommodate such a system they would probably price 5 to 10 percent of their entry level customers out of the market.

The nice thing about RVs is that after sign the contract and drive it away from the lot you can do whatever it is that you want to do with the coach.

With my current system as is, the only thing I would consider changing would be to connect the passengers workstation 120VAC outlet into the inverter. Other than that, the configuration of converter/charger and separate inverter works just fine.
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:31 AM   #18
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There are limitations to the ATS within the inverter/charger. .....cut......
Inverter/ chargers, including some Xantrex models, are available with 30-Amp or 50-Amp auto transfer switches.

When properly selected and installed, it does not limit shore power below the RV's original design. An RV with a 30-Amp service can still use all 30 amps while connected to utility.
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:17 PM   #19
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....cut..... It would require one heck of an inverter and battery bank to power all residential appliances (refrigerator and convection microwave), two AC units, three televisions, and an electric fireplace. This is not to mention a clothes dryer if one were installed in my coach or the 120VAC outlets used for coffee pot, toaster, laptop computer etc.... Oh, I almost forgot the electric side of the hot water heater.

And before someone says you don't have to, or your not going to run all of that at the same time or that the battery bank doesn't have to be that large, if it is connected to the inverter the inverter must be able to operate all at the same time using shore power or when disconnected from shore power.

....cut.....
I'm not sure why you think it's necessary for the inverter to be able to power everything at once. Most electrical systems are not designed to run everything downstream all at once. That applies to a house, utility, or industry.

If an inverter or inverter/charger is wired so it's on the incoming shore line, and thus could be connected to major items like air conditioners, it will no doubt trip on over-current. But that should be expected.

Before I disconnect at a campground, I turn off the Air Conditioner, Microwave, etc. before disconnecting shore power from the utility. With an inverter/charger it would be no different except that outlets with minor loads can remain powered.

If owners don't understand the concept of very limited power supply from an inverter or inverter/charger, and try to run ACs or clothes dryers, then I can see a problem. For me that would not be an issue at all. On the other hand I'd want the option to use the coffee maker or microwave powered off the inverter.

For people who don't understand the associated limitations or may just not want to be bothered turning major items on and off, perhaps it would be better to wire all the larger items that can't be run off the inverter or inverter/charger anyway separately. It can be done but for me and my needs it complicates the electrical system more than necessary.
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:36 PM   #20
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THOR #1469
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
Inverter/ chargers, including some Xantrex models, are available with 30-Amp or 50-Amp auto transfer switches.

When properly selected and installed, it does not limit shore power below the RV's original design. An RV with a 30-Amp service can still use all 30 amps while connected to utility.
I never stated the limitation is in the amperage provided, although, the Xantrex Freedom Inverter/charger is available in 45 Amp max.

What I said was that for the ATS feature of the Xantrex Freedom series inverter/chargers to function 120VAC circuit must be connected to the inverter. With all 120VAC circuits connected and possibly operational that could be one very large power draw and has the potential to drain batteries within a very short time if shore power is not available.

I can already hear the complaints from such a change:

Call to customer service: "Whenever I am disconnected from shore power my batteries drain in under an hour."

Solution from customer service: "Unplug all 120VAC appliances and turn off AC units before disconnecting shore power and turning on the inverter."

Posting to the Thor forum by an irate customer: "Who was the dumb A*# that designed this system; I'll never buy a Thor again!!!!"

I can also hear the possible solutions which include an EMS, more batteries, bigger batteries, etc... With all solutions there are trade offs and in RVs the primary tradeoffs are weight and cost. If you add 2 additional batteries what do you leave behind, food, water, clothing, your tow vehicle, spare parts, tools, the wife (oh gee honey, I had to add two batteries to the coach to keep the beer cool so you have to stay home this trip ).

For me, the better solution is to leave things alone, they work and are cheaper. If my ATS goes out it is a lot cheaper to replace a converter/charger than it would be to replace an entire Inverter/charger. That's my 50 cents.
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