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Old 09-28-2015, 03:08 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Challenger 37KT
State: Texas
Posts: 155
THOR #2871
Power to keep battery charged

If I plug my Challenger 37KT into a 110volt residential outlet (using adapters), will that keep my batteries charged? Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:56 PM   #2
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THOR #2072
It will if you have a inverter/charger in your unit.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:03 PM   #3
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THOR #2871
Yes, it has inverter/charger. Where I am going to store it only has 110V, 15 amp and I wanted to make sure could at least keep battery charged.
Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:11 PM   #4
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THOR #1469
Actually in the Challenger (at least on mine) the inverter is not an Inverter/Charger. The converter handles the charging of the batteries.

The converter should keep the batteries charged when you are plugged into a 110 VAC outlet. The thing you will need to keep in mind is to ensure all appliances are off or you could trip the breaker on the house.

As a note, in my case I found the cost to have a shore power receptacle installed on the house was about the same cost as all the adapters required to plug into a regular outlet.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:18 PM   #5
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THOR #2871
Thanks, Dave. Yes, I do have the two separate units. When our house was built a year ago I had a full hookup put in -- water, sewage, and 30/50 amp power. I don't keep the coach at the house except when packing for a trip or unpacking from a trip. I'm renting a storage space in town and for a few months I let it go because I sold my Discovery. Now that I have a new coach I went back to rent space and the only covered space they have available has only the 110V power. I'll be sure to keep everything else off, except maybe one of the exhaust fans in the roof. I don't believe they use much power but I'll check.
Thanks again,
Robert
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:38 PM   #6
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THOR #2754
One thing you want to be certain of is that your coach has a "smart" (multi-stage) converter that has a float mode once the batteries are fully charged.. If not, you need to keep a close watch on the water in your batteries as a single-stage converter can boil them dry in a few weeks.

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Old 09-28-2015, 04:58 PM   #7
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THOR #1469
The Challenger has a three stage converter which includes Absorption, Bulk and Float modes.

The converted automatically changes mode when necessary depending on conditions.

The converter in my Challenger is the WFCO Ultra III WF-9800 series.

I will add, however, that periodically checking battery water level is always a good idea.
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:17 PM   #8
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Good to know - I hope that the old single-stage converters are being phased out of the market. DRV has always used Progressive Dynamics converters - ours is the PD9280. Personally, I hope that doesn't change under Thor.

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Old 09-28-2015, 08:19 PM   #9
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I am no electrician and have trouble discussing these things. My converter is a WFCO-9855. The inverter is an XM1800. The owner's manual calls this a "dumb" inverter, which apparently means that it has to be physically switched on for it to do its job. I don't know if the converter is "dumb" or "smart".

I also need to look at some kind of electrical protection. On my previous coach I had an EMS-HW50C from Progressive Industries wired inline. More than just a surge protector, it is an Electrical Management System and protects the coach from "bad" power. I don't know how many times I have experienced some form of "bad" power over the years. I plan to put one in the new Challenger.
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Old 10-03-2015, 11:49 PM   #10
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I tried this at my storage lot. Killed both house and starting batteries. I was informed it's because my inverter is powered off the other 120V line. Maybe my adaptor used a different lnput line than yours. I have a Conntek 1f515520 Foot 15 Amp To 20 Amp Power Adapter. Didn't work for me.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbmartiniv View Post
I am no electrician and have trouble discussing these things. My converter is a WFCO-9855. The inverter is an XM1800. The owner's manual calls this a "dumb" inverter, which apparently means that it has to be physically switched on for it to do its job. I don't know if the converter is "dumb" or "smart".

I also need to look at some kind of electrical protection. On my previous coach I had an EMS-HW50C from Progressive Industries wired inline. More than just a surge protector, it is an Electrical Management System and protects the coach from "bad" power. I don't know how many times I have experienced some form of "bad" power over the years. I plan to put one in the new Challenger.
Robert,

Your converter should be smart and the inverter is dumb because it is an Inverter only and not an inverter/charger.

I use a plug in 50 amp surge protector like the one on this amazon link. I have not yet had a condition where the true features of an EMS (such as load management) would be necessary. If I were going to campgrounds that had 30 amp only then I would look into an EMS.

Amazon.com: Technology Research 44270 Surge Guard 50 Amp Surge Protector: Automotive
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:40 AM   #12
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THOR #2871
Electrical Issues

A couple of years ago we went on a Fantansy RV Caravan 47 day trip down to Cozumel and Cancun then back up through central Mexico. We had our '07 Fleetwood Discovery at the time with the Progressive Industries EMS. It's a good thing we had it because the power down there was totally unreliable. At least half, if not more of the time, we had to use our generator instead of the park power it was so bad. Without an EMS down there you may fry your entire electrical system. I got to where I relied on it and felt more comfortable knowing it was there. Soon as I can scrape some more money together I will be installing one in this new Challenger.
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Old 10-04-2015, 12:56 PM   #13
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I use a trickle charger connected to the batteries and turn my use/store switch off. Whenever, I need to go into the camper, the batteries appear to be fully charged.
When it's time to go south and I need to put heat in before I leave, I put the 10amp charger on and run the systems off the batteries. So far no problems. (37KT)
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:55 PM   #14
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dstan,

We use the same surge protector. Love it. I agree with dsheets, a trickle charger would be the answer for RB. I order one, just haven't tried it yet.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:56 PM   #15
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THOR #2871
Thanks for the info. I'm a dummy when it comes to the electrical system in the coach. I suppose you connect the trickle charger directly to the batteries (I really don't know how to use one)? Can you tell me about the use/store switch also? Or tell me where to find the info. Is the 10 amp charger you mentioned the trickle charger or is it part of the coach's electrical system? The Thor manual even said the converter was "dumb" like I am supposed to know what that means. Thanks for any tips.
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:31 PM   #16
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THOR #2538
the use/store switch either connects or disconnects the batteries for use. For example, if you want to listen to the radio, to power it on you must be in the use(connected) position. If you are going to store the RV for awhile, throw the switch into store and no power is used. This switch is used for isolating the batteries to prevent their drainage.

As for a trickle charger, no 10 amps is a high rate of charge. Trickle charging is at a low amperage. Also called float charging and is where a fully charged battery is charged at the same rate it is discharged. Say @ 1/8 amps.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-05-2015, 01:10 AM   #17
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THOR #2871
I've been reading about inverters, converters, transfer switches, and chargers. I found some very good tutorials at Electrical Tutorial. I became concerned because the Challenger uses a modified sine wave inverter, which I learned can actually damage some electrical devices. My previous coach was equipped with a pure sine wave inverter and I never had any problems. The Thor owner's manual (p. 104) actually states,

"The XM Series Inverter will operate most AC loads within its power rating of 1800 watts. However, some appliances and equipment may be difficult to operate, and other appliances may actually be damaged if you try to operate them with the XM Series Inverter.

Examples include: Speed controllers found in some fans, power tools, kitchen appliances, and other loads may be damaged.
Some chargers for small rechargeable batteries can be damaged.
Metal halide arc (HMI) lights can be damaged."

Apparently the only reason for any RV manufacturer using a modified sine wave inverter is the lower cost. They don't seem to be to concerned with any potential damage they may cause. Several articles recommend replacing them with true sine wave inverters, saying you will probably save money in the long run. I believe I will replace mine. Has anyone else done this?
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Old 10-05-2015, 03:05 AM   #18
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THOR #1469
Robert,

It would seem to me that one went from the XM Pro 1800 to the Xantrex ProSine 1800 the swap should be straight forward.

Might try giving Xantrex a call and asking.

No if someone wanted to move away from Xantrex then the cabling might be a little more of an issue.
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Old 10-05-2015, 10:39 AM   #19
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THOR #2871
I would check with Xantrex first. It's a good brand.
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Old 10-05-2015, 01:04 PM   #20
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It has not been mentioned here, but my experience with this new-to-us Thor and our previous RVs with "smart" inverter/chargers is the chassis batteries are not charged when plugged in to shore power of any type or running the generator.
You can normally use the Aux Start switch to get the engine started but in our current situation where we are parked for several months at a location where we are volunteering we found we could not raise/lower the window shade or listen to the radio because the chassis batteries were dead after being here a few weeks. Also, not a good idea to leave batteries in discharged state for too long!
Another issue I find out about in a previous coach that the small low amp battery tenders can drain batteries very slowly when they are not plugged in. That is normally not a problem, unless you dry camp a lot.
To avoid the problem I have used for some years an Amp-L-Start or its smaller brother the Trik-L-Start. When charging voltage is present they divert a small amount to the chassis batteries and keep them charged also. If no charging voltage is present, they keep the batteries isolated as normal.
The company that makes them, LSL Products is very customer friendly and stands behind the product. Their web-site is LSL Products / LSLProducts.com - Problem-Solving Gear & Gadgets
I have no connection with the company other then as a satisfied customer. The devices are particularly easy to install if your coach and chassis batteries are in the same compartment, if not they have instructions for hooking up thru the aux start solenoid or battery isolator.
Check them out. The difference between the Amp-L-Start, Trick-L-Start is the amount of charging current they can divert.
Hope this helps.
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