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Old 11-18-2021, 12:10 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: WindSport 29M
State: Connecticut
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THOR #11725
2018 WindSport 29M BATTERIES

No doubt this topic has been gone over a million and one times but I can't find the answer to one specific question:

Why would the CHASSIS battery go dead instead of just the COACH/HOUSE battery/batteries? And, yeah, I should know if there's more than one but, honestly, my husband is the one who looks under the hood!.

The situation that led to this question was we were boondocking the other night and ran the furnace too long, depleting what I thought would be JUST the house batteries. Nope... killed the chassis battery, too. A quick jump from AAA got the engine going... then the generator... and we were all good.

Is there something we should have done or should be doing to isolate the chassis battery from the coach batteries? My researching here seemed to indicate they are together forever but it's highly likely I misunderstood!

Thank you to this group for being here to answer a million other questions that don't require me re-asking! Apologies for this one!

Temple DaSilva
Connecticut

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Old 11-18-2021, 12:13 PM   #2
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THOR #1469
Any number of reasons.

Parasitic loads
Chassis battery older and less capacity
Faulty BIM

So on and so forth.

You didn’t engage the AGS when boondocking? It would have started generator to charge the house batteries.

If the house batteries had juice didn’t the emergency start button work?
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Old 11-18-2021, 12:36 PM   #3
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THOR #11725
Quote:
Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
Any number of reasons.

Parasitic loads
Chassis battery older and less capacity
Faulty BIM

So on and so forth.

You didn’t engage the AGS when boondocking? It would have started generator to charge the house batteries.

If the house batteries had juice didn’t the emergency start button work?
Thanks for the super quick reply!

-- Yup, could have a parasitic load but we've never had a problem with the batteries and the likely culprit was running that furnace blower all night. But I'm from SC, too, and it was cold!

-- Nope, we replaced the chassis battery a year ago and haven't had any problems with this one before or since. A quick jump got it going and it was fine for the rest of the trip.

-- Yeah, I read that the BIM might be faulty. I am not clear what it does so wanted to be sure I understood whether or not it was responsible for protecting the chassis battery from a drain when the house batteries go like in this situation.

OK, so I'm not an RVing newbie but I am not a techie! What does AGS stand for? Is it automatic generator start for when the house batteries are low? Is that available on our 2018 Windsport? I read about that, too, but didn't know if it was an option we had.

And, no, I must not have been clear but the house batteries were totally dead, too.
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Old 11-20-2021, 10:58 AM   #4
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We have a 2020 Hurricane, very similar to your Windsport. My understanding of the system is that when you are not hooked to shore power, the furnace should be drawing only from the house batteries and this should happen automatically. You should not have to do anything manually. We have done the same thing as you did a couple of times and the chassis battery did not drain down along with the coach batteries. I think there must be a problem with your system, either a failed component or something mis-wired.
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:16 PM   #5
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THOR #11725
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Originally Posted by Vibeman View Post
We have a 2020 Hurricane, very similar to your Windsport. My understanding of the system is that when you are not hooked to shore power, the furnace should be drawing only from the house batteries and this should happen automatically. You should not have to do anything manually. We have done the same thing as you did a couple of times and the chassis battery did not drain down along with the coach batteries. I think there must be a problem with your system, either a failed component or something mis-wired.
Thanks so much, Vibeman! That was my understanding but most definitely not how it went down! I'm leaning to the "failed component" so we'll do some digging there.

LOVE your tagline. It's so true, isn't it?

-temple in CT
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:17 PM   #6
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Battery threads are abundant and many of the same type problems

There are about three primary ways the battery banks are connected and recharge

Read up and if you don't have a VOM you need to get one and start checking

My Trombetta solenoid failed at less than a year. Most newer systems use a bit different solenoids and relays but the battery connections typically work the same

AGS, panel monitoring and awareness all lead to knowing what is going on and how to prevent dead batteries

Bottom line is knowing how your system is supposed to work and using the VOM to make sure it is
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post

AGS, panel monitoring and awareness all lead to knowing what is going on and how to prevent dead batteries

Bottom line is knowing how your system is supposed to work and using the VOM to make sure it is
Thank you for your response, lwmcguire. Unfortunately, we don't even know if we have an AGS (gonna go look for it shortly based on what I found here) since we hadn't even heard of one.

We thought we knew how the system was supposed to work so that's why we're struggling with understanding how it actually did work last weekend - meaning that the furnace killed both the chassis and the house batteries. Just vetting how we thought with the crowd here to see if our thinking was wrong or the system is malfunctioning.

But we'll get a VOM and go from there.

Thanks again!
-temple in CT
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Old 11-20-2021, 01:52 PM   #8
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There are really just three basic causes of a chassis battery running down:

1. Bad battery- Very unlikely and with a new battery virtually impossible

2. You left some sort of load like dash lights that run off of the chassis battery on. Again unlikely if you didn't notice anything in the dark when you went to bed.

3. Faulty BIM- Most likely cause.

The BIM is a system that automatically connects the chassis electrical system to the coach system so you can charge the coach while driving and charge the chassis while the coach is being charged by the generator/converter or solar.

There are two types in use:

Older coaches use the Intellitec BIRD/Trombetta relay system. The relay is prone to sticking and causing exactly what you experienced.

Newer coaches use the Precision Circuits BIM 160. It does the same thing but with a more sophisticated connection algorithm. I have seen fewer reports of failures but that may be because they are newer.

Once you get everything charged up again shut down the chassis engine and put some load on the coach- turn on all of the fans and the furnace to put 10-15 amps on it. Then check the coach battery voltage. It should be 12.5 or less. Then check the chassis voltage. It should be more- 12.6 or 12.7. If it is the same that means the BIM is bad since the BIM should not connect the two if both are less than 13 volts, meaning one is charging.

If you have the BIRD/Trombetta system, replace the Trombetta relay. If you have the BIM 160 then replace it.

David
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Old 11-20-2021, 02:27 PM   #9
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Thanks, David, for this super helpful response! Yep, based on my very limited research, I was leaning towards the BIM/BIRD... though I literally don't even know what that stands for!

Could you give me an idea of where to find this thing or what it might look like? If the answer - like most things RV related - is "it depends", I'll do some googling since I'm still trying to find out whether the 2019 Windsport 29M has an AGS or not.

Again, thanks so much... and if you're in the North Stonington area and want to stop by, we'll happily shoot you our address! ;-)
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Old 11-20-2021, 02:48 PM   #10
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THOR #11725
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Originally Posted by GreenFallsHollow View Post
Thanks, David, for this super helpful response! Yep, based on my very limited research, I was leaning towards the BIM/BIRD... though I literally don't even know what that stands for!

Could you give me an idea of where to find this thing or what it might look like? If the answer - like most things RV related - is "it depends", I'll do some googling since I'm still trying to find out whether the 2018 Windsport 29M has an AGS or not.

Again, thanks so much... and if you're in the North Stonington area and want to stop by, we'll happily shoot you our address! ;-)
OK, some more digging on this forum and I have determined that our 2018 Windsport 29M does have the BIM 160 and have located it... no thanks to Thor painting over it with some red paint for whatever reason. Another post on this forum goes into really nice detail on testing the BIM so that's next in the attempt to solve the mystery of the discharged chassis battery!
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Old 11-20-2021, 02:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibeman View Post
We have a 2020 Hurricane, very similar to your Windsport. My understanding of the system is that when you are not hooked to shore power, the furnace should be drawing only from the house batteries and this should happen automatically. You should not have to do anything manually. We have done the same thing as you did a couple of times and the chassis battery did not drain down along with the coach batteries. I think there must be a problem with your system, either a failed component or something mis-wired.
This happened to me. Faulty BIM 160. Thor shipped free as goodwill. Thor said chassis should NEVER be use for coach operations.

Localled front over driver tire.
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Old 11-20-2021, 02:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GreenFallsHollow View Post
OK, some more digging on this forum and I have determined that our 2018 Windsport 29M does have the BIM 160 and have located it... no thanks to Thor painting over it with some red paint for whatever reason. Another post on this forum goes into really nice detail on testing the BIM so that's next in the attempt to solve the mystery of the discharged chassis battery!
The BIM IF faulty is hard to test catch.
My 30 year rv tech put on the inverter, ran the microwave and saw chassis battery go down trying to support coach.
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Old 11-20-2021, 03:01 PM   #13
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THOR #11725
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Originally Posted by Scubawise View Post
This happened to me. Faulty BIM 160. Thor shipped free as goodwill. Thor said chassis should NEVER be use for coach operations.

Localled front over driver tire.
Thank you, Scubawise! I'm glad to have more confirmation that our assumption that the chassis battery should not have drained down is super helpful.

Oh, and in keeping with the "it depends" for every make, model and year of RV, our BIM is located in the bay with the coach batteries, mounted above them to the right in the bay. And painted with some red paint Thor sprayed on the breakers and the BIM. Ugh. Took reaching in with the camera on the phone and snapping a pic to try to make out the "160" on the box.

And the info on the BIM 160 is helpful, too. I have found in my digging here that it may not be that the BIM is faulty but rather that it isn't connected correctly. I've found a great thread on the BIM 160 and am just getting ready to print out some things and head out to the coach and get this thing figured out!

-temple in CT
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Old 11-20-2021, 04:21 PM   #14
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THOR #13058
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFallsHollow View Post
since I'm still trying to find out whether the 2019 Windsport 29M has an AGS or not.
I looked at various types of Thor 2018 / 2019 ACE 29.3s, 29Ms & 27Bs and all came with a AGS. You may take a picture of your primary controls wall so we can point it out. My best guess it is part of the Firefly Display if you have one.

Just so you know and not like most folks, my AGS Controller is my most favorite and important ally. I use all the time and it is the very 1st thing I review every time I go inside the RV; I have a SOB Onan Cummins EC-30 but the principles is the same for any AGS. If I had the exact same problem you did; as soon as my house or chassis battery hit 12.5vdc my genset would have started. It would have likely startled me, and I would have wondered why it was draining? But my batteries would NOT be dead and still have very good SOC (State of Charge) Note: I have AGM thus my limit is 12.5VDC but with the FLA; I had the limit set to 12.VDC
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Old 11-20-2021, 04:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFallsHollow View Post
Thanks so much, Vibeman! That was my understanding but most definitely not how it went down! I'm leaning to the "failed component" so we'll do some digging there.

LOVE your tagline. It's so true, isn't it?

-temple in CT
Yes, the best of both worlds!

The "red paint" you see on the electrical components is probably an anti-corrosion coating. Your battery posts probably have it on too. It doesn't really have to cover anything more than the actual electrical connection but because it comes in a spray can the Thor tech probably just closed his eyes and gave it a shot in the general direction.
I hope you get your problem sorted out soon!
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Old 11-20-2021, 06:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by GreenFallsHollow View Post
And the info on the BIM 160 is helpful, too. I have found in my digging here that it may not be that the BIM is faulty but rather that it isn't connected correctly. I've found a great thread on the BIM 160 and am just getting ready to print out some things and head out to the coach and get this thing figured out!

-temple in CT
Glad you found it and that it is a BIM 160. Attached is info from PC on their BIM 160.

Thor usually does connect the BIM 160 incorrectly, but that should not affect protecting the chassis battery from being pulled down by the coach battery system. It will affect coach battery charging from the chassis alternator. Judge on this forum was the first to flag this problem and when I wired it right it all worked fine.

You need to wire the chassis alternator output to the A terminal which is on the ignition side of the BIM. Easy enough to swap either now or if you replace it.

Sent you a PM.

David
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Precision Circuits BIM 160-Rev7-1.pdf (711.5 KB, 28 views)
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Old 11-20-2021, 07:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
I looked at various types of Thor 2018 / 2019 ACE 29.3s, 29Ms & 27Bs and all came with a AGS. You may take a picture of your primary controls wall so we can point it out. My best guess it is part of the Firefly Display if you have one.

Just so you know and not like most folks, my AGS Controller is my most favorite and important ally. I use all the time and it is the very 1st thing I review every time I go inside the RV; I have a SOB Onan Cummins EC-30 but the principles is the same for any AGS. If I had the exact same problem you did; as soon as my house or chassis battery hit 12.5vdc my genset would have started. It would have likely startled me, and I would have wondered why it was draining? But my batteries would NOT be dead and still have very good SOC (State of Charge) Note: I have AGM thus my limit is 12.5VDC but with the FLA; I had the limit set to 12.VDC
The thor default in my AGS is 11.6. FLA??
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Old 11-20-2021, 08:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Scubawise View Post
The thor default in my AGS is 11.6. FLA??
That seems awfully low although mine could be set at low as 10.5vdc or as high as 12.5vdc

The Onan EC-30 Default is AUTO. Auto is kind of complex to explain because it is constantly learning based on how the batteries are being used, recharge etc. After just watching it for a while I learned that the AUTO generally would not kick on until it was down to 12vdc

So I went to manual and set it at 12.2vdc because that is 50% SOC for my then FLA batteries. It worked well, as I had barely just enough amps to get through the night, but when I bought the new pure AGM 135 amp vMax SLR tank batteries, I had more amp capacity than I really needed, so I have it set it up to the max which is 12.5vdc which is about 60% SOC for AGM batteries.

If it were me, I would never set my batteries to knowingly drain down below 12vdc (25% SOC), but maybe someone explain a good reason?

FWIW, the above is why I hear a lithium owner crow about Lithium's ability to drain down to 10%, It is of no value to me. Thus far in my coach, based on my usage, I have no issue being limited to drain down to 50%; your batteries will appreciate and you will also know your batteries are ways ready to go.

Few other little advantages;
1. I can fully recharge with genset or shore in 2 - 3 hours
2. I like to occasionally have my generator kick on with the automation to verify all is working like it should plus to me it is a good thing to let the genset run
3. Note most of the time it comes on with automation anywhere to run the ACs
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Old 11-20-2021, 09:05 PM   #19
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Great will set mine to 12.0
Thanks
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Old 11-20-2021, 09:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Scubawise View Post
Great will set mine to 12.0
Thanks

That is a lot better.

If it were me, I would try setting to 12.2vdc which is 50% SOC for FLA.

I would then just watch and monitor. Use your RV like normal and see if you notice much difference as to when your AGS has to start up.

If you are finding out that you go from a full charge to 12.2vdc or 12.0vdc too soon you may find out your batteries are not capable of producing it's rated amperage anymore. if that is the case the batteries may already approaching it's ultimate demise. Ideally you never want ANY battery new or old to go lower than 50% (Lithium is the exception). When I bought my AGMs; I doubled my amp hr capacity to two 135amp batteries from two 65 amp hour batteries.

Note: I actually went from 12.2vdc to 12.5vdc with the new batteries because I never could get the AGS to at least occasionally start the generator 12.4vdc is 50% SOC for AGM and 12.2 is 50% for FLA.
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