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Old 05-26-2015, 03:12 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Windsport 34F
State: Florida
Posts: 61
THOR #1942
What's the Generator vs Inverter used for?

I'm totally new to RV'ing.

We have a 2015 Thor Windsport 34F. It has an Onan 5500 generator and it also has an inverter system.

I don't understand the difference between the generator and the inverter. What is each used for?

Is the generator used only to charge the batteries, and then the inverter runs everything inside the coach off the batteries?

Can the inverter be used without turning on the generator? I noticed we have a green inverter button we can turn on/off without turning on the generator.

Sorry for the newbie question. Just trying to understand better.

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:47 PM   #2
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Model: 2014 Hurricane 34f
State: Arkansas
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THOR #1845
34f inverter

In our 2014 Hurricane 34f the inverter is there only to run the TVs off of only

the batteries when not running the generator or when not plugged in to shore power. The green inverter button should be on in this situation only.
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:59 PM   #3
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THOR #1469
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Originally Posted by fivekitties View Post
I'm totally new to RV'ing.

We have a 2015 Thor Windsport 34F. It has an Onan 5500 generator and it also has an inverter system.

I don't understand the difference between the generator and the inverter. What is each used for?

Is the generator used only to charge the batteries, and then the inverter runs everything inside the coach off the batteries?

Can the inverter be used without turning on the generator? I noticed we have a green inverter button we can turn on/off without turning on the generator.

Sorry for the newbie question. Just trying to understand better.

Thanks!
In simple terms:

The generator charges the coach batteries and provides electrical power when you are not connected to shore power and the coach is not running.

The inverter converts 12 Volt DC from the coach batteries to 120 Volt AC current for running select appliances when you are not connected to shore power, and neither the generator not coach is running. The inverter can be used without running the generator. If your system includes an AGS (Automatic Generator Start), when enabled, it will automatically start the generator when the battery voltage drops below a certain level. So for example you can roll down the road using the inverter to power the frig etc... In my coach the inverter is not connected to all 120 V circuits. There are only a few circuits that are powered through the inverted. For instance3, the 120V outlet at the passenger seat on my coach is not run through the inverter.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:50 AM   #4
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THOR #1942
Ok. So in our coach I guess I have to figure out what is attached to the inverter and what is not then... That would be a good place to start
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by EV2 View Post
As a practical example consider this. You are camping at a national park that doesn't offer electric hookups. Generators can only be run for a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the early evening. That will allow recharge of your batteries, but you would be without electricity for all of the other hours of the day. The inverter can be used on a limited basis to provide current during those other hours for tv, phone rec The inverter can be used on a limited basis to provide current during those other hours for tv, phone recharging, and limited light appliance use.

And do they really have places with these types of rules? Considering I work fulltime online, I could never stay in a place with these rules!
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:36 PM   #6
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THOR #2016
I have a 2013 Thor Challenger which appears to have two inverters. One for charging the batteries (a PD9260c by Progressive Dynamics) and another that powers several of the 120 volt outlets including the TVs. It is by
WFCO. I found the progressive dynamics one but am unable to locate the WFCO one. Any ideas where might be located?
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by navydavy View Post
I have a 2013 Thor Challenger which appears to have two inverters. One for charging the batteries (a PD9260c by Progressive Dynamics) and another that powers several of the 120 volt outlets including the TVs. It is by
WFCO. I found the progressive dynamics one but am unable to locate the WFCO one. Any ideas where might be located?
I believe you may find that the WFCO is actually the charger/converter and not an inverter. The WFCO should be located around where the shore power goes into the coach and part of that system is the power system which houses the circuit breakers (normally located on the base of the bed inside the coach).
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:58 PM   #8
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2014 Hurricane 34f
State: Arkansas
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THOR #1845
34f invertor

Great and correct info from both Dave and EV2 ! As Dave said the invertor is wired to power only some of the outlets. This depends on the number of coach batteries you have and the size of the invertor. Larger invertors require more batteries. Again your 2015 Wind Sport 34f and our 2014 Hurricane 34f are virtually identical with 2 coach batteries and unless they made a change in 2015 a small 600 watt invertor. Our invertor is wired to power only the tv outlets. We found this out when the tvs quit working even when hooked up to shore power, but when we used an extension cord to plug them into any of the other outlets they worked fine. Service department traced the problem to the invertor going bad (possibly because we often forgot to turn it off ) . Fixed under warrenty. Yours is probably wired the same. If you call Thor Customer Care ( 877-855-2867) they can tell you for sure if you are lucky enough to get someone who knows the answer or will find someone who does! Hope this helps !
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:45 PM   #9
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THOR #1469
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Originally Posted by 3shooter View Post
Great and correct info from both Dave and EV2 ! As Dave said the invertor is wired to power only some of the outlets. This depends on the number of coach batteries you have and the size of the invertor. Larger invertors require more batteries. Again your 2015 Wind Sport 34f and our 2014 Hurricane 34f are virtually identical with 2 coach batteries and unless they made a change in 2015 a small 600 watt invertor. Our invertor is wired to power only the tv outlets.
On the Challengers, and most other Thor 22.5 inch chassis models (Miramar and Outlaws) we have 1800 Watt invertors but still have only 2 coach batteries. The biggest difference in our units and most others is we have residential refrigerators which do not have the ability to run on LPG. For those folks that store their units, the inverter is an absolute necessity in the time period before a trip when they are cooling down the fridge. There have been numerous threads where we Challenger owners have discussed the need to add additional batteries to increase the time between automatic generator starts for battery charging. This same situation holds true when we are dry camping. We cannot switch the fridge over to LPG so we have to rely on the batteries, inverter and generator to keep our food cold.

Just another perspective and some food for thought.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:48 AM   #10
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THOR #1942
The 2015 Windsport 34F we bought, we were told, has a 1000W inverter and the fridge can run on gas or electric but auto sets to gas.
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:04 AM   #11
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THOR #531
Some places with genny restrictions allow you to use "quiet" generators (Honda EU2000 etc) at night. But the definition of "quiet generator" differs I suppose with each person, so even with such a genny, you may not be able to run it at night at some parks.

Last year, we stayed at a place with such rules, so I took along my EU2000 (which I had before buying the coach) and was able to run it at night. A EU2000 will not allow you to run A/C, etc. but it will keep the coach batteries charged, and run the essential items.

And the EU2000 sips gas at a much lower rate than our coach's built-in Onan 4000 genny. Depending on the load, the EU2000 runs on just an ounce or two of gasoline per hour, while the Onan uses 1/2 gallon or so per hour.

That means you may only have a couple of days worth of capacity gasoline-wise running your coach genny.

Even with a EU2000, this is just a temporary situation - if you boondock a lot, at some point you are going to want to go solar.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by fivekitties View Post
The 2015 Windsport 34F we bought, we were told, has a 1000W inverter and the fridge can run on gas or electric but auto sets to gas.
Not sure of the model for your fridge but check the fridge's owners manual. On my prior coach I had a Dometic 4 door fridge and when I set it to Auto it would attempt electric first and then switch to LPG if I wasn't connected to shore power or the generator was not running.
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