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Old 04-12-2020, 07:27 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 31W
State: Delaware
Posts: 51
THOR #13591
Chateau 31W Generator auto-start module

Greetings! I have a 2018 Thor Chateau 31W Class-C. Since it spent most of the first year in the dealer's yard for warranty repairs, I've only gotten to use it twice.



I am trying to locate the generator auto start module, and haven't been able to find it.



Long story short, after de-winterizing this week, I decided to test the system by running the fridge off the inverter and the auto-start switch armed. In theory, when the battery level dropped, the generator was supposed to come on to recharge them. I came out to the RV in the morning to find the inverter dropped offline and the battery was showing 11.7v and the hour meter showed the generator never started. I know the module has settings for voltage that I can adjust, but I've got to find the bloody unit first. Has anyone who owns this model been able to locate it? I'm guessing that if I find it, the voltage setting will be something lower than the 11.7, since the genny never came on, but it was low enough to trip the inverter off. Many thanks!!
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Old 04-12-2020, 08:56 PM   #2
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THOR #6826
Quote:
Originally Posted by Choxnpinz View Post
Greetings! I have a 2018 Thor Chateau 31W Class-C. Since it spent most of the first year in the dealer's yard for warranty repairs, I've only gotten to use it twice.



I am trying to locate the generator auto start module, and haven't been able to find it.



Long story short, after de-winterizing this week, I decided to test the system by running the fridge off the inverter and the auto-start switch armed. In theory, when the battery level dropped, the generator was supposed to come on to recharge them. I came out to the RV in the morning to find the inverter dropped offline and the battery was showing 11.7v and the hour meter showed the generator never started. I know the module has settings for voltage that I can adjust, but I've got to find the bloody unit first. Has anyone who owns this model been able to locate it? I'm guessing that if I find it, the voltage setting will be something lower than the 11.7, since the genny never came on, but it was low enough to trip the inverter off. Many thanks!!


I donít have (nor want) an AGS but I wonder if perhaps yours tried to start the gen but failed. My generator can be a bit finicky about starting especially if hasnít been run in a while. Itís one of the reasons I want to be there whenever my machine tries to do anything significant. How is the system programmed to handle a reluctant generator?
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:02 PM   #3
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THOR #13591
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
I donít have (nor want) an AGS but I wonder if perhaps yours tried to start the gen but failed. My generator can be a bit finicky about starting especially if hasnít been run in a while. Itís one of the reasons I want to be there whenever my machine tries to do anything significant. How is the system programmed to handle a reluctant generator?

I haven't the foggiest, Pete. I did run the generator for a good 15 minutes before putting it to bed for the night, just in case she tried to turn over, I wouldn't have to worry about it not catching on the first try. Once I locate the panel and see what the settings are, perhaps I'll spend a night out there just to be on site to see what happens, but step one is finding the panel.
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:07 PM   #4
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I have a different unit, but my AGS is located in a forward bin, mounted to the ceiling. Fun getting to it.
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:14 PM   #5
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Take a flashlight and look for a black box mounted on the black ceiling of a storage compartment. Mine, in three coaches, has always been in a forward compartment near either the inverter or the batteries.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
Take a flashlight and look for a black box mounted on the black ceiling of a storage compartment. Mine, in three coaches, has always been in a forward compartment near either the inverter or the batteries.

Thanks. Once this storm blows through, I'll do a more in-depth search (unless someone with my model speaks up first).
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:09 PM   #7
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I would suggest that it's location is somewhere close to the generator itself, or a storage compartment next to it, since your generator is probably on the driver side rear area, maybe...

Now, the module controls the actions of the AGS(Auto Generator Starter), to start the generator for either low VOLTAGE or inside TEMPERATURE as set on the Thermostat for the air conditioner(s).

VOLTAGE setting will be somewhere between 11.8 and 12.2, or for this unit, closer to 12, if you want the AGS to start the generator to recharge the batteries, and of course, to be able to use the generator for other needs, like a/c and microwave, etc.

RUN TIME is the amount of 'time' you want the Generator to run each time it's started by the AGS.

now, if you want to limit your generator from starting at certain times, like when a campground limits your generator to be used only between 8am and 8pm, then you can set it to manage that. You set the TIME then, too, so it knows what the actual time is where you are parked.

If you don't have a 'remote' for this module, on the inside of your coach, then you'll need to access this unit to set it to your needs. Make sure that it is 'Enabled', which means the 'READY' light should always be lit if that's the case, otherwise even if you 'set' the dials, the AGS may not be 'on' to crank the generator when it needs to.

For your Inverter, yes, most are designed to automatically turn OFF when the battery voltage is sensed to be less than a certain level, such as 11.5 volts, or 11, or 10 for some. This is to keep the inverter from continuing to sap the batteries if you are not aware of it. Some will allow this number to be set by the owner, like mine, which I set to 11.5 volts. My AGS is normally set to about 11.9 or 12 volts to start, but I can vary that if I feel that for our 'off-grid' situation I might want it to start more often, or less often, etc. I also generally use a 30minute run time, which works for most of our situations, giving the 4) 6v battery bank enough charge for several more hours, but I also use 1 hour if I want the battery bank to get a charge that might carry us many more hours. Some will use many hours so that they can feel like the battery bank is getting 'fully charged', but I don't feel that the Generator needs to run so long, as when the battery bank gets to a certain level, it goes into 'absorb charging' mode, and the generator's output is then being somewhat wasted as the batteries are only getting a much small 'charge' during that time. My generator and AGS is simply there to give us several more hours on the batteries, not to fully charge the battery bank for a full day or overnight. I would rather have the generator run a little more often, but less time each run.

Remember, too, that when the AGS kicks on the generator, it's always a good time to make use of the 120v power that the generator is providing, for other things you may need to do anyway, like using the microwave, or even running the air conditioner(s) during that time. When the AGS turns off the generator, the air conditioner(s) will turn off, too... it's designed to do that. If you leave them on, they will also come back on when the generator is started again, and so forth.

Press the TEST button to test : The AGS should then prime and crank the Generator to show you that the module is connected correctly to it, then the generator will automatically STOP running after about 30 seconds... I'm not sure if you have to press and HOLD the test button, but give it a try either way and see.
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
I would suggest that it's location is somewhere close to the generator itself, or a storage compartment next to it, since your generator is probably on the driver side rear area, maybe...

Now, the module controls the actions of the AGS(Auto Generator Starter), to start the generator for either low VOLTAGE or inside TEMPERATURE as set on the Thermostat for the air conditioner(s).

VOLTAGE setting will be somewhere between 11.8 and 12.2, or for this unit, closer to 12, if you want the AGS to start the generator to recharge the batteries, and of course, to be able to use the generator for other needs, like a/c and microwave, etc.

RUN TIME is the amount of 'time' you want the Generator to run each time it's started by the AGS.

now, if you want to limit your generator from starting at certain times, like when a campground limits your generator to be used only between 8am and 8pm, then you can set it to manage that. You set the TIME then, too, so it knows what the actual time is where you are parked.

If you don't have a 'remote' for this module, on the inside of your coach, then you'll need to access this unit to set it to your needs. Make sure that it is 'Enabled', which means the 'READY' light should always be lit if that's the case, otherwise even if you 'set' the dials, the AGS may not be 'on' to crank the generator when it needs to.

For your Inverter, yes, most are designed to automatically turn OFF when the battery voltage is sensed to be less than a certain level, such as 11.5 volts, or 11, or 10 for some. This is to keep the inverter from continuing to sap the batteries if you are not aware of it. Some will allow this number to be set by the owner, like mine, which I set to 11.5 volts. My AGS is normally set to about 11.9 or 12 volts to start, but I can vary that if I feel that for our 'off-grid' situation I might want it to start more often, or less often, etc. I also generally use a 30minute run time, which works for most of our situations, giving the 4) 6v battery bank enough charge for several more hours, but I also use 1 hour if I want the battery bank to get a charge that might carry us many more hours. Some will use many hours so that they can feel like the battery bank is getting 'fully charged', but I don't feel that the Generator needs to run so long, as when the battery bank gets to a certain level, it goes into 'absorb charging' mode, and the generator's output is then being somewhat wasted as the batteries are only getting a much small 'charge' during that time. My generator and AGS is simply there to give us several more hours on the batteries, not to fully charge the battery bank for a full day or overnight. I would rather have the generator run a little more often, but less time each run.

Remember, too, that when the AGS kicks on the generator, it's always a good time to make use of the 120v power that the generator is providing, for other things you may need to do anyway, like using the microwave, or even running the air conditioner(s) during that time. When the AGS turns off the generator, the air conditioner(s) will turn off, too... it's designed to do that. If you leave them on, they will also come back on when the generator is started again, and so forth.

Press the TEST button to test : The AGS should then prime and crank the Generator to show you that the module is connected correctly to it, then the generator will automatically STOP running after about 30 seconds... I'm not sure if you have to press and HOLD the test button, but give it a try either way and see.

Thanks for the in-depth answer. Your information was pretty close to what the manual said (and I appreciate the layman's terms). Now I just need to find the unit so I can check the settings, which is why I was having the problem to begin with. My generator is located behind the driver on the lower chassis, but the arming (on/off/test switch) is by the entry door. I just have to locate the box where I can make adjustments to the time, voltage etc. More to follow once I find it! Thanks again!
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Old 04-14-2020, 12:28 AM   #9
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THOR #4735
since I have an AGS with a remote panel to control it, thru the Magnum Inverter, I have a unit like this, but mine does not have the physical dials since it is only the controller - the settings are all done with the remote, from the inside of the coach.

I was a little confused with the photo of the AGS module, because it has no 'Enable', 'Off', or 'Enabled with Quiet Time' buttons - so, I can only assume that IF you choose either the TEMP or VOLTS setting, and turn either PAST the 'OFF' position, you will have therefore 'Enabled' the AGS (otherwise giving it the 'READY' status, where the light should then be present, confirming that.
'QUITE TIME' would be the same, it would only be activated IF the dial is turned PAST the 'off' position(and the time is set correctly, of course)

: ) Hopefully this helps, if you actually DO have this module.
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Old 04-14-2020, 12:47 AM   #10
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...those with this 'manual' module for the AGS can give better guidance, but several things about it I don't really 'like'...such as the TIME setting, which seems confusing, as it only goes to 4pm, and the QUIET TIME settings, which are also a little confusing to someone new - as these are 'set' timeframes that cannot be modified. You can only choose one of the several options shown, even if your needs are different.
For instance, if you need 8am to 9am, you don't have that option, it only has 7a to 9a, which would start the Generator too early. You might could modify your 'time' setting to get around this, but again, it's a little confusing if you have generator quiet time requirements that are outside any of these available settings.

We went to Alaska back in June/July of 2017. One of the best campgrounds we stayed at was Laird River Hot Springs Campground - no hookups, but it put you very close to the great Hot Springs, within walking distance, and we REALLY enjoyed them! But, later that evening I got a knock on the door. A forest ranger lady stood there, and I asked politely how I could help. I had no idea of what she might want, as it was only 9p or so, and still light outside(that's a given for this time of year this far north!)... she sternly asked me to cut off my generator, as it was WELL past the generator usage time restriction of 8pm!
What??? I asked politely 'where' this information was posted, as I read the signs coming into the campground that said that Quite Time was from 11pm to 6am.
She responded, quiet firmly, that the sign also posted the GENERATOR run time was restricted to 7pm to 8pm, and 7am to 8am, ONLY! Wow. Never seen that before.
And, she was right. When we left that next morning, I looked over my shoulder at that same big posted sign, which had probably 12 different lines of 'things to know' while you're driving past it into the park, the very SECOND line said Quite Time from 11p to 6a, right below the first one which read 'Welcome!', but the very LAST one said something different about the 'Generator Quite Time', which was MUCH different!
If only I had read 12 lines of the 'Welcomes' and the 'Restrictions' while I drove past it into the campground! Sorry. I'll know better next time.

(by the way, she and the other rangers said nothing about the screaming children running thru the park well past 'dark', all the laughter and loud chatter from next door's campfire up till almost midnight, and certainly not the several 'TURBO' diesel trucks left to idle for minutes and minutes on end while new arrivals attempt to back their vehicles into place, level up, and then turn their trucks around in order to 'find' a place within their site to park... all this time I could have had my generator running without anyone the wiser...oh well.)
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:24 AM   #11
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I have a 2017 Four Winds 31W which is pretty much the same rv. My auto gen start module is located in the outside storage compartment that is just to the right of the door to get in the rv.
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Old 04-14-2020, 03:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tacouser View Post
I have a 2017 Four Winds 31W which is pretty much the same rv. My auto gen start module is located in the outside storage compartment that is just to the right of the door to get in the rv.

Thank you! I'll go outside and check it out right now.
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Old 04-14-2020, 03:51 PM   #13
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Mine is in the back driver side compartment, right behind the generator compartment.
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tacouser View Post
I have a 2017 Four Winds 31W which is pretty much the same rv. My auto gen start module is located in the outside storage compartment that is just to the right of the door to get in the rv.
Our Quantum ws31 had the module in the same location. Upper left corner as you looked in the compartment.
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Old 04-15-2020, 06:14 PM   #15
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I have the same year and model, and mine is located near floor level at the entrance. Click image for larger version

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Old 04-16-2020, 12:10 AM   #16
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I have the same year and model, and mine is located near floor level at the entrance. Attachment 23308

Yup, that arms the system, but the remote unit has dials that can be set to adjust how and when it comes on.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:27 PM   #17
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We have a PD31 Quantum, and the auto start is located under the dinette, recessed into one of the bench faceplates.
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Old 04-18-2020, 09:51 PM   #18
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Exclamation

I also have a 31w and haven't found it. I was going to pull the drawer out under the frig where the inverter is and a bunch of wiring.....Half the time my generator takes forever to start. Had in the dealer several times and they could not find any problem....BS.
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Old 04-18-2020, 11:02 PM   #19
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On our 2014 33SW that controller is located in the ďmud roomĒ compartment on the forward side wall next to the inverter.
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:18 AM   #20
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RE: Chateau 31W
I called Thor and the rep guided me and I found it in one of the storage bins outside of the rv door. Click image for larger version

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