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Old 06-21-2014, 09:25 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Citation 24SR
State: Colorado
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THOR #900
Appliance Outlets not working off 12 volt

First time camping with no hookups in our new 2014 Thor Citation.
Coach batteries are providing power to all (awning, water pump, lights etc.); however no power to any plug-in outlets. The GFI outlet in the bathroom isn't enabling us to set/reset it either. Any ideas? - thanks.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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Unless your coach has an inverter or you are running your generator, you will not get 120VAC when you are off the grid.

If you are running your genny, make sure either the transfer switch has connected it to your 120VAC system, or if you don't have a transfer switch, make sure the coach is plugged into the genny.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:33 PM   #3
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THOR #900
Appliance Outlets not working off 12 volt

What/where is a "transfer switch." Our manual talks about "When it is not possible to access 120 volt power, the 12 volt system can be supplied by the auxiliary batteries." .. this is where I assumed all 12 volt outlets would work. Last night we also turned on the Generator for about 5 mins and while it was running we still didn't get any power to the appliance outlets. The biggest thing that puzzled me was that the GFCI outlet in the bathroom was unable to be set/reset... could that be a possible symptom??
..thanks for your help.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:14 PM   #4
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It is possible the GFI is bad, one of mines was bad when I got the unit I replaced bpth of them at the same time
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:47 PM   #5
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I just went over to a vacant site and plugged in the 30 amp/120V shore power.... and all the appliance outlets worked fine.. Could it be that the GFI is defective with chassis batteries but works fine with 30 Amp electric connection? thanks all...
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:29 AM   #6
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Appliance out lets don't work off 12 volt DC. They work off 110 volt AC. the only way you can make them work off the batteries is to have an inverter.
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Old 06-22-2014, 01:34 AM   #7
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The appliance outlets you speak of are 120VAC, not 12VDC. I am not sure if this is a matter of semantics or if you realize there are both 120VAC and 12VDC systems on board, which are mostly isolated one from the other.

Things like lights, fresh water pump, etc. are all 12VDC powered, but "appliance outlets" of the kind you describe - especially those on the GCFI - are 120VAC powered.

Most of the time, coaches are supplied with a generator as standard equipment, but an inverter and transfer switch are both options. So I don't know if you have either.

An inverter will convert 12VDC to 120VAC when you are boondocking. So you would need this option for your coach to run strictly on the 12VDC batteries yet supply power to the 120VAC appliance outlets. Do you know if your coach has an inverter?

The other option is a transfer switch. This is strictly a part of the generator system (has nothing to do with the inverter or 12VDC system). Normally, the coach has a 30A or 50A power cable. When you are on park power, you simply plug that cable to the park shorepower pedestal to get AC.

However, to use the generator (assuming you do not have a transfer switch), you must unplug the power cable from the park's shorepower pedestal and plug it into the generator (which is usually an outlet in the same compartment as where the shorepower cable goes into).

If you have a transfer switch (some are automatic and some are manual), you can "switch-over" from shorepower to generator power without having to unplug the power cable from park power and plug it into the RV's generator outlet.

A transfer switch then is simply a convenient option that alleviates you to unplug/plug your cable from one source to the other.

If you don't have the transfer-switch option, then you have to plug the coach into the generator receptacle on the coach.

I know this can be quite confusing, and it's often hard to visualize what you are trying to describe in this kind of forum.
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:18 AM   #8
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Here is a quick drawing I made... sadly, it's probably better than what you'll find in your manual.



This is more or less what you will find in a basic configuration, and unless you know for sure you have an automatic transfer switch or inverter option, this is probably what you have.
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:20 AM   #9
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When you go "off grid" (without running the generator) then only part of the system will work, as shown here:



From your description, since you state that none of your 120VAC appliances are powered, you probably have this configuration.

In order for you to obtain 120VAC power to the 120VAC receptacles in this configuration, you must unplug the RV's main power cord from the RV park's shorepower pedestal and plug it into the generator's receptacle onboard your RV (usually located in the same compartment as the RV's main power cord). And of course, start the generator.
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:24 AM   #10
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If you have the generator transfer switch option, then there will be an automatic (or manual) transfer switch that essentially does the same thing as unplugging from the shorepower pedestal and plugging into the generator.

If an automatic transfer switch, when it senses generator power and lack of shorepower power (or some combination thereof) it will automatically switch the RV to the generator.

If a manual transfer switch, you must flip the transfer switch to the generator or shorepower power - depending on what you desire the source of power to be.

And while not shown on the drawing, there will be a safety provision to prevent generator power from appearing on the RV's main power cable.

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Old 06-22-2014, 02:27 AM   #11
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And finally, if you want the option to run AC appliances off the batteries while off the grid and don't want to run the generator, then you will need an optional inverter as shown below.

Not shown on such a simple drawing is the inverter will either have it's own AC breaker or go through the main AC panel. It is highly dependent on if the inverter was installed as a factory option or installed by a owner or dealer as an aftermarket item.





These are just generic rough descriptions of the various setups. There may be specific differences in any individual coach so some or all of this may or may not apply to you.
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Old 06-22-2014, 02:36 AM   #12
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One additional note. Should you have an aftermarket solar panel or wind generator, they are typically directly connected to the batteries to keep them charged.

Also, the batteries - depending on their size - may only power the AC appliances for a short period of time via the inverter. For example, if you have typical type 27 or 31 batteries, they might have an 80AH rating (x 2). Ignoring conversion/inversion inefficiencies and things like Peukert's Law, this would power a 100Watt lightbulb for around 12~18 hours.

So the inverter approach is only a temporary situation. However, with enough solar panels and large enough battery bank, you could potentially recharge the batteries and power modest loads on your RV on a continuous basis.

The cost of such a system (solar panels, batteries, electronics, etc) can be as high as $5~10 per watt - which is fairly expensive. In comparison, wind generators are around $1~2 per watt, and a generator is around $0.25 per watt.

The old saying... it takes a lot of green to go green.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:27 PM   #13
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FW28z and all.. thanks. Finally figured it out. The reference to the transfer switch and all the diagrams helped. We finally confirmed with that we had a transfer switch as a standard feature; however, also discovered that on the Cummins Onan RV Generator there is "another "line circuit breaker" switch that was set to "off." When we switched it to on, the transfer switch/inverter/generator combination worked and provided AC to the appliance outlets. Not sure why this Generator switch was set to "off," maybe while it was on the sales lot it was overloaded..
We appreciate everyone's replies and the diagrams were very educational.
thanks to everyone.
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