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Old 11-11-2019, 02:16 AM   #1
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Question Crappy stock batteries or something wrong?

We have been loving our Thor Challenger since we picked it up in July, but one thing that eats at me is how long our batteries (don't) last. It seems that anytime we are boondocked overnight the batteries get dangerously low, and have twice gotten low enough where I needed a jump to be able to start the rig. Thank goodness for Good Sam Roadside! The display shows BOTH the house and chassis battery levels get quite low. The last time we had to jump all we had running overnight was the heater (it was around 40 outside).

Is this a result of crappy stock batteries that came with the rig? Should I get some nice interstate deep cell batteries (had them in my previous Class C and they worked like a champ!)? The water level on the batteries is fine. Is there something that I should be doing when I am boondocked overnight that I might not already be doing?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by smasiello View Post
We have been loving our Thor Challenger since we picked it up in July, but one thing that eats at me is how long our batteries (don't) last. It seems that anytime we are boondocked overnight the batteries get dangerously low, and have twice gotten low enough where I needed a jump to be able to start the rig. Thank goodness for Good Sam Roadside! The display shows BOTH the house and chassis battery levels get quite low. The last time we had to jump all we had running overnight was the heater (it was around 40 outside).

Is this a result of crappy stock batteries that came with the rig? Should I get some nice interstate deep cell batteries (had them in my previous Class C and they worked like a champ!)? The water level on the batteries is fine. Is there something that I should be doing when I am boondocked overnight that I might not already be doing?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
1st remove the house batteries and have each one load tested. one bad cell will pull the others down. Don't know why your pulling the chassis battery down.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:10 PM   #3
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I agree: get them tested, and then you'll know for sure!
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:21 PM   #4
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What type of Converter / Charger do you have and are you sure they are getting a full charge from your Converter / Charger?

The above advice should be followed but you do want to make sure Charger is doing it's job.

Also, I replaced the stock WFCO Converter / Charger in my coach with a Progressive Dynamics model that has an Equalization Mode that kicks in every 21 hours for a period of 15 minutes with a voltage of 14.4v to prevent battery stratification & sulfation, which is the leading cause of battery failure.

Progressive Dynamics uses 4-stage system microprocessor technology to add intelligent charging capability. It constantly monitors the RV battery and automatically adjusts the converter output voltage based on the battery’s charge status – designed to eliminate battery over & under charging problems associated with most other battery chargers and provide rapid yet safe battery recharging after dry camping.

I also use a Solar Charge Controller that also has the Equalization Mode.

If you make an investment in good deep cycle batteries and you want them to last and give you the best possible performance, I would also look at making sure your Converter / Charger offers the Equalization Mode.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Judge View Post
What type of Converter / Charger do you have and are you sure they are getting a full charge from your Converter / Charger?

The above advice should be followed but you do want to make sure Charger is doing it's job.

Also, I replaced the stock WFCO Converter / Charger in my coach with a Progressive Dynamics model that has an Equalization Mode that kicks in every 21 hours for a period of 15 minutes with a voltage of 14.4v to prevent battery stratification & sulfation, which is the leading cause of battery failure.

Progressive Dynamics uses 4-stage system microprocessor technology to add intelligent charging capability. It constantly monitors the RV battery and automatically adjusts the converter output voltage based on the battery’s charge status – designed to eliminate battery over & under charging problems associated with most other battery chargers and provide rapid yet safe battery recharging after dry camping.

I also use a Solar Charge Controller that also has the Equalization Mode.

If you make an investment in good deep cycle batteries and you want them to last and give you the best possible performance, I would also look at making sure your Converter / Charger offers the Equalization Mode.
Most of what you just said went over my head. Can you post a link to the converter you recommend? I just did a Google search and the first ones that came up appear to be for 12v, which I assume is not what I want.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by smasiello View Post
Most of what you just said went over my head. Can you post a link to the converter you recommend? I just did a Google search and the first ones that came up appear to be for 12v, which I assume is not what I want.
Based on your concerns about 12v, I'm assuming your house batteries are 6v batteries.. If you have 6v house batteries (like my coach), they are wired in series to produce 12v (versus you having a coach using 24V). Thus, the Converter / Charger I mentioned is an option.

The exact model depends on your coach but I am assuming you have 50 amp service. This one would be an option but they have others depending on what type of Converter / Charger you do have in our coach.


https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/po...vertercharger/


Here is a link that talks about their charging technology.

https://www.progressivedyn.com/rv/charge-wizard/


Here is a good link that explains what the Converter / Charger does:

https://www.progressivedyn.com/power...ter_video.html
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:08 PM   #7
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Depending on how long your heater runs the fan plus other loads will easily run batteries down if they aren't properly topped off or if like was mentioned you have a bad cell or connection

Back in the days with one house battery it wasn't enough to power the furnace overnight
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:55 PM   #8
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Not sure what brand of batteries Thor is installing now, but the Harris batteries in the 2014-15 were known to be inferior quality and some of us replaced them right away. But, like others have said, get them load tested.
Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:01 PM   #9
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My 2018 Outlaw still came with Harris batteries...
Just sitting in the driveway with nothing on in the coach: they'd be pretty near dead in about four days.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:02 AM   #10
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in my experience flooded batteries don't like getting drawn down to near zero.
Some folks say damage is done down around 50% level or so...
Personally I don't put stock in that number exactly, but the rule of thumb of the 50% threshold does illustrate the point....
below 50% and am little damage is done (reduced capacity). Do it a few times and even more damage. Take it down to zero and in my experience they almost never come back.

Batteries will self discharge over time even if completely disconnected, a few percent per month all the way down to zero. (I've learned this the expensive way over year years). Sometimes these rigs sit on dealer lots for months.

The other thing I recon happens a lot is the salesman turns on a light while showing a rig on the lot. The customer moves on to the next rig, the light gets left on...dead battery by morning.

My point, I suppose a high number of rigs leave the lot with reduced capacity (damaged) batteries.
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Old 11-12-2019, 02:34 AM   #11
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You should not be draining the chassis battery, only the house batteries. Something is amiss if your chassis battery drains as well as the house batteries. As far as the Harris batteries, we are still running on the originals, but I'm pretty careful to not drain them, and keep them fully charged all the time.
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:38 AM   #12
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Hey Bob! Same here. 2020 Outlaw, 2 months old, house batteries are dead after sitting 4 days with nothing turned on! I have solar but park it inside a garage so I have to keep it plugged in! I guess I should install the 6 volt batteries...
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Handy View Post
Hey Bob! Same here. 2020 Outlaw, 2 months old, house batteries are dead after sitting 4 days with nothing turned on! I have solar but park it inside a garage so I have to keep it plugged in! I guess I should install the 6 volt batteries...
There is usually some small amount of parasitic draw... unless you install a quick disconnect or battery switch to remove them completely from the 12v circuit.

That being said, make sure your Inverter is turned off as well. I now a few people who didn't realize they had their Inverter powered on while their rigs were sitting off shore power and that drained their batteries.

The prior post about discharging flooded batteries past 50% is correct. That is another reason to install a Converter / Charger that has an equalization mode that will periodically boost the charging voltage to get the sulfate off the plates and back into the acidic solution.

Moving to a Golf Cart 6V battery is a better option because those batteries are truly designed for deep discharge.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Handy View Post
Hey Bob! Same here. 2020 Outlaw, 2 months old, house batteries are dead after sitting 4 days with nothing turned on! I have solar but park it inside a garage so I have to keep it plugged in! I guess I should install the 6 volt batteries...
Once I became aware of this tendency: I installed a battery disconnect switch in the ground line going from batteries to coach. It made a very big difference!
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasiello View Post
We have been loving our Thor Challenger since we picked it up in July, but one thing that eats at me is how long our batteries (don't) last. It seems that anytime we are boondocked overnight the batteries get dangerously low, and have twice gotten low enough where I needed a jump to be able to start the rig. Thank goodness for Good Sam Roadside! The display shows BOTH the house and chassis battery levels get quite low. The last time we had to jump all we had running overnight was the heater (it was around 40 outside).

Is this a result of crappy stock batteries that came with the rig? Should I get some nice interstate deep cell batteries (had them in my previous Class C and they worked like a champ!)? The water level on the batteries is fine. Is there something that I should be doing when I am boondocked overnight that I might not already be doing?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
I have a Miramar which is very similar to the Challenger. My house batteries wouldn't allow me to boondock more than a day without starting the generator to recharge. After a year I removed the 2-6 volt house batteries and replaced with 4-6 volt Duracell. No more problems with boondocking.

However, bad house batteries should not draw down your chassis battery. You may have either a bad chassis battery or for some reason it is not receiving a charge from your system.
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Old 11-12-2019, 03:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smasiello View Post
Most of what you just said went over my head. Can you post a link to the converter you recommend? I just did a Google search and the first ones that came up appear to be for 12v, which I assume is not what I want.
12 volt is exactly what you want.
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:23 PM   #17
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THOR #5190
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge View Post
What type of Converter / Charger do you have and are you sure they are getting a full charge from your Converter / Charger?

The above advice should be followed but you do want to make sure Charger is doing it's job.

Also, I replaced the stock WFCO Converter / Charger in my coach with a Progressive Dynamics model that has an Equalization Mode that kicks in every 21 hours for a period of 15 minutes with a voltage of 14.4v to prevent battery stratification & sulfation, which is the leading cause of battery failure.

Progressive Dynamics uses 4-stage system microprocessor technology to add intelligent charging capability. It constantly monitors the RV battery and automatically adjusts the converter output voltage based on the battery’s charge status – designed to eliminate battery over & under charging problems associated with most other battery chargers and provide rapid yet safe battery recharging after dry camping.

I also use a Solar Charge Controller that also has the Equalization Mode.

If you make an investment in good deep cycle batteries and you want them to last and give you the best possible performance, I would also look at making sure your Converter / Charger offers the Equalization Mode.
The OEM batteries on our ACE 30.1 lasted less than 6 months. The batteries Thor uses are the cheapest they can find, plus who knows how old they are and how they got abused on the dealer's lot. There are reports in this forum about Harris refusing warranty coverage by blaming the WFCO converter as the reason their batteries fail.

I also replaced my WFCO converter with a Progressive Dynamics 4500 slide in replacement at the same time I replaced the POS Harris batteries with a pair of Interstate 6V batteries (and got 50% more capacity). I also have also installed 200 Watts of solar on the roof with a Bogart SC-2030 solar charger. Prior to that I used a portable 120 W suitcase solar unit while boon docking and when in storage.

The Interstates have been perfect for 2-1/2 years. Hardly need water and the solar keeps them charged in storage.The Bogart unit doesn't overcharge the batteries and has automatic equalization. It interfaces with our Trimetric battery monitor for programming and detailed performance data.
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Old 11-12-2019, 06:34 PM   #18
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Exclamation

The house battery that came in our 6-month-old MH had no identifying brand name, and kept frequently requiring water and didn't want to maintain a charge. Investigating further when it kept going dead on a road trip, I found a hole in the side of the case, almost the size of a dime about 1/3 of the way down from the top. The hole was covered by the nylon hold down strap, which allowed the electrolyte to slowly leak out. I replaced it with a high capacity deep cycle battery, and also replaced the strap. Surprisingly, Thor paid for the replacement when I contacted them about it.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:27 PM   #19
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Did it look like one of these?

http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1573586852
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Old 11-16-2019, 08:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laco View Post
You should not be draining the chassis battery, only the house batteries. Something is amiss if your chassis battery drains as well as the house batteries. As far as the Harris batteries, we are still running on the originals, but I'm pretty careful to not drain them, and keep them fully charged all the time.
Like you we have been fortunate that our oem Chassis and House batteries are still running strong. I do know, that in the Axis there are a couple things that drain the battery ...which some may not be aware of. The radio in the dash seems to run off the Chassis battery and if you do not turn it off when shutting down the motor it will remain on....you must hold in the on/off button until it totally shuts off. Also, in the Axis 21 … the Jensen radio in the bedroom has a back light which remains on unless you go into settings and turn it off. Little things like this will drain the battery.
We, unfortunately, let our chassis battery drain after returning home in Sept after an extended trip....Fortunately, it took the hour plus charge … and during this cold weather we are having...we start the Axis daily to make sure it is doing well.
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