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Old 09-08-2020, 08:31 PM   #1
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Boondocking in Freedom Elite

(searched for answers before posting, did not find matching threads)

We recently rented a 2015 Thor Motor Coach Freedom Elite and went to destination without hookups. We knew there would be limitations, and came from tent camping so are accustomed to camping without any electricity (except the batteries in our headlamps) so not a big deal. Yet a couple of the limitations seem unnecessary. I think these limitations don't exist with travel trailers, but since these motorhomes come with generators maybe it is assumed folks will be happy to use the generator even for things which might only require battery?

As we consider motorhome ownership (or maybe just renting from these same folks more) I wanted to better understand what solutions might be to workaround/eliminate some of the limitations...

Lights, refrigerator on gas mode, USB charging ports, and maybe some other stuff can run off 12V DC power. They function if the engine or generator are running (or connected to shore power) but only then. What is required to allow these to run off just the battery?

The water pump only runs when generator is running (or connected to shore power). What is required to allow this to run off just the battery?

Is it possible to make it so the generator can be started, without first starting the engine and waiting the ~10 seconds for electrical system to turn on?

Didn't try the gas water heater (just fired up the generator and used AC water heater) or the gas furnace (didn't need, it was warm). Do they have similar limitations? If so, what is required for them to run off just the battery?

We would expect to have to run the generator for things requiring higher wattage (microwave, air conditioner, plug-in stuff like toaster and coffee maker) and occasionally to add charge to the batteries...so not looking to totally eliminate generator usage. But, we would like to not have to fire it up for simple things like lights, running water, and keeping food cold.

Appreciate whatever knowledge y'all can impart along these lines.

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Old 09-08-2020, 08:43 PM   #2
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The 12vdc items and the generator start should all operate off of the “house” battery (ies).
There is a switch located near the entry door steps (on Freedom Elites at least) that allows the house battery to be turned off while in storage. Sound like you didn’t have this switch turned on.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calligraphy View Post
(searched for answers before posting, did not find matching threads)

We recently rented a 2015 Thor Motor Coach Freedom Elite and went to destination without hookups. We knew there would be limitations, and came from tent camping so are accustomed to camping without any electricity (except the batteries in our headlamps), yet a couple of the limitations seem unnecessary. I think these limitations don't exist with travel trailers, but since these motorhomes come with generators maybe it is assumed folks will be happy to use the generator even for things which might only require battery (we're not, don't like to hear the noise ourselves, don't think the noise makes us considerate neighbors to others).

As we consider motorhome ownership (or maybe just renting from these same folks more) I wanted to better understand what solutions might be to workaround/eliminate some of the limitations...

Lights, refrigerator on gas mode, USB charging ports, and maybe some other stuff can run off 12V DC power. They function if the engine or generator are running (or connected to shore power) but only then. What is required to allow these to run off just the battery? In the power center there is a 12 volt fuse panel. The fuse center is powered by the batteries and will power every 12 volt DC item in the coach. The all batteries can be recharged by the chassis engine, generator or shore power. (the notable exception is Mercedes chassis)

The water pump only runs when generator is running (or connected to shore power). What is required to allow this to run off just the battery?The water pump is 12 volts DC and has a separate on/off switch it is always powered by the batteries or the converter. It should not be necessary to start the engine or generator.

Is it possible to make it so the generator can be started, without first starting the engine and waiting the ~10 seconds for electrical system to turn on? The generator's starter motor is powered by the house battery(s). You can start it independent of the chassis engine.

Didn't try the gas water heater (just fired up the generator and used AC water heater) or the gas furnace (didn't need, it was warm). Do they have similar limitations? If so, what is required for them to run off just the battery? The water heater will work fine on propane and a little 12 volt DC for the control and safety circuits

We would expect to have to run the generator for things requiring higher wattage (microwave, air conditioner, plug-in stuff like toaster and coffee maker) and occasionally to add charge to the batteries...so not looking to totally eliminate generator usage. But, we would like to not have to fire it up for simple things like lights, running water, and keeping food cold. True, those appliances need 120 volt A/C from shore power, generator or inverter.

Appreciate whatever knowledge y'all can impart along these lines.
Hope that somewhat clear.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calligraphy View Post
(searched for answers before posting, did not find matching threads)

We recently rented a 2015 Thor Motor Coach Freedom Elite and went to destination without hookups. We knew there would be limitations, and came from tent camping so are accustomed to camping without any electricity (except the batteries in our headlamps), yet a couple of the limitations seem unnecessary. I think these limitations don't exist with travel trailers, but since these motorhomes come with generators maybe it is assumed folks will be happy to use the generator even for things which might only require battery (we're not, don't like to hear the noise ourselves, don't think the noise makes us considerate neighbors to others).

As we consider motorhome ownership (or maybe just renting from these same folks more) I wanted to better understand what solutions might be to workaround/eliminate some of the limitations...

Lights, refrigerator on gas mode, USB charging ports, and maybe some other stuff can run off 12V DC power. They function if the engine or generator are running (or connected to shore power) but only then. What is required to allow these to run off just the battery?

The water pump only runs when generator is running (or connected to shore power). What is required to allow this to run off just the battery?

Is it possible to make it so the generator can be started, without first starting the engine and waiting the ~10 seconds for electrical system to turn on?

Didn't try the gas water heater (just fired up the generator and used AC water heater) or the gas furnace (didn't need, it was warm). Do they have similar limitations? If so, what is required for them to run off just the battery?

We would expect to have to run the generator for things requiring higher wattage (microwave, air conditioner, plug-in stuff like toaster and coffee maker) and occasionally to add charge to the batteries...so not looking to totally eliminate generator usage. But, we would like to not have to fire it up for simple things like lights, running water, and keeping food cold.

Appreciate whatever knowledge y'all can impart along these lines.

Most of the things you want are possible. My fridge runs off my batteries or gas. Water pump works off of 12V. I can start my generator w/o the engine running (you do need to wait before you put a load on it). You may want to go back to the rental place and ask them these questions. Sounds like something may not have been working.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:56 PM   #5
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Yes, all what you expect should run off the house batteries. As lanko said the switch must be in the use position, but being a rental, the house batteries could also be toast.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandKO View Post
The 12vdc items and the generator start should all operate off of the “house” battery (ies).
There is a switch located near the entry door steps (on Freedom Elites at least) that allows the house battery to be turned off while in storage. Sound like you didn’t have this switch turned on.
I considered that, so tried that switch. No dice. I only tried operating that switch in one direction (connect, not disconnect) as I didn't want to accidentally disable something that was already working. Any prerequisites / conditions to that switch to do its thing (like DC power must be coming from engine or generator for that switch to work...so me pressing it with everything off would not have helped)?
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calligraphy View Post
I considered that, so tried that switch. No dice. I only tried operating that switch in one direction (connect, not disconnect) as I didn't want to accidentally disable something that was already working. Any prerequisites / conditions to that switch to do its thing (like DC power must be coming from engine or generator for that switch to work...so me pressing it with everything off would not have helped)?
The switch I mentioned is a lighted switch. When turned on, it should be illuminated. If you still have no power, then there is something wrong with the house battery, which should be located under the entry steps.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by calligraphy View Post
I considered that, so tried that switch. No dice. I only tried operating that switch in one direction (connect, not disconnect) as I didn't want to accidentally disable something that was already working. Any prerequisites / conditions to that switch to do its thing (like DC power must be coming from engine or generator for that switch to work...so me pressing it with everything off would not have helped)?
The generator only supplies 120 volts A/C. There are no rectifiers in the generator for 12 volts DC. With the generator running, the charger in the power center supplies all the 12 volts DC to the coach. The coach's charger is a very smart, three mode battery charger and supplies power to the batteries to charge them as necessary while supplying 12 volts DC to the rest of the coach.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:25 PM   #9
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calligraphy View Post
I considered that, so tried that switch. No dice. I only tried operating that switch in one direction (connect, not disconnect) as I didn't want to accidentally disable something that was already working. Any prerequisites / conditions to that switch to do its thing (like DC power must be coming from engine or generator for that switch to work...so me pressing it with everything off would not have helped)?
So next time verify these things work before driving off the lot? If you tried connecting the batteries with the correct switch and it made no difference then either the house batteries were completely dead or there were other problems you should not have to deal with on a rental.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Trkyte@msn.com View Post
Yes, all what you expect should run off the house batteries. As lanko said the switch must be in the use position, but being a rental, the house batteries could also be toast.


But if he could start the generator it probably WAS I. The correct position .
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:12 PM   #12
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... And welcome to the Forum also!
The more stuff you power with the batteries: the more time you'll be running the generator.
If only the MI to save and a/c ran on propane...
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:48 PM   #13
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I have a 2016 Thor Freedom Elite 22FE with the Ford E450 chassis V10. I understand that my house batteries are charged when the Ford V10 is running. How long does it take for the Ford V10 to charge the house batteries? Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:51 PM   #14
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Sounds like the store/use switch to me also. Twice the solenoid to switch from store to use Sometimes sticks. The solenoid Is under the master bed. Tap it carefully with the wooden handle of a hammer not the metal part gently. It should change positions and work.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:55 PM   #15
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I have a 2016 Thor Freedom Elite 22FE with the Ford E450 chassis V10. I understand that my house batteries are charged when the Ford V10 is running. How long does it take for the Ford V10 to charge the house batteries? Thanks.
Assuming you do not have a meter to test the battery and are relying on the four little lights showing level of charge?

We can charge from one light to four lights with engine power or generator in about 30-45 minutes.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:00 PM   #16
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Correct I am looking at the lights.


Thanks,
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:11 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Pmoon View Post
I have a 2016 Thor Freedom Elite 22FE with the Ford E450 chassis V10. I understand that my house batteries are charged when the Ford V10 is running. How long does it take for the Ford V10 to charge the house batteries? Thanks.
Assuming you have 2 each group 27 flooded house batteries, they have about a 75 amp-h, 20 hour rating. Since only 50% of that is usable (considering 400 cycles) that is 75 amp-h total usable. If you draw the house batteries down to two lights lit the you have used about 55% of the available current. If the batteries are in good shape, it will take 1.5 hours on the road or about 4 hours at idle or near idle to get the four lights on.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Pmoon View Post
I have a 2016 Thor Freedom Elite 22FE with the Ford E450 chassis V10. I understand that my house batteries are charged when the Ford V10 is running. How long does it take for the Ford V10 to charge the house batteries? Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisCruises View Post
Assuming you do not have a meter to test the battery and are relying on the four little lights showing level of charge?

We can charge from one light to four lights with engine power or generator in about 30-45 minutes.
All those lights tell you is the battery voltage. They are useless when charging as charging voltage is much higher that static "full battery" voltage.

30 - 45 minutes will not fully charge your batteries unless they were already showing full before you started. Depending on how depleted your batteries are, it can take 4 to 8 hours to fully charge them.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:56 PM   #19
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All those lights tell you is the battery voltage. They are useless when charging as charging voltage is much higher that static "full battery" voltage.

30 - 45 minutes will not fully charge your batteries unless they were already showing full before you started. Depending on how depleted your batteries are, it can take 4 to 8 hours to fully charge them.
A typical charger puts out a max of 50 amps @14.2 volts. A F-53 V-10 alternator has a max output of 175 amps @ 14.4 volts, take away 30 amps for the engine and computer and you have 145 amps potential for the batteries almost 3 times what a charger has. The bulk charge times will quite short because of the extra amperage and the absorptive charging time will also be shorter because of the much higher bulk charging amperage.

In other words the charger will drop to absorptive mode ant about 80% total charge where the alternator will change to absorptive charge mode at about 90% of full charge. Remember the alternator is built to bring a starting battery up to full charge as soon as possible, where as the charger is built to preserve battery life by charging slowly.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:43 PM   #20
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Thanks for everyone's response. We bought our rig last Nov. but just haven't taken it out due to Covid.
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