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Old 11-16-2014, 10:00 PM   #21
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Chateau 31A
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THOR #1036
Replacement House Battery.

I have requested info from Thor on the use of an AGM house battery in the Thor Chateau 31A. We will see what kind of response I get. If charging systems will work or if they will over charge an AGM battery.
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:39 PM   #22
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Model: 2011 Four Winds 28Z
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THOR #531
I think you actually mean a converter not an inverter. An inverter's input is 12VDC and supplies 120VAC when not on shorepower, while a converter is simply a DC power supply that provides 12VDC from 120VAC and intrinsically includes a battery charger.

While this might seem a matter of semantics, some RVs have both an inverter and converter, so it can be confusing in the discussion if meaning the other.

Most of the modern converters these days are capable of multiple stage charging (including a trickle charging "float mode") a battery.

In normal operation, you should always run both the converter and battery when on shorepower. When the converter is connected to the battery and you use 12VDC, energy is being supplied by both the converter and battery. Lead acid batteries charge by a voltage, and the converter voltage will always be slightly higher than a battery's voltage.

Converters may not be capable of supplying all of the 12VDC power needs for the RV. Thor normally installs (made in China) WFCO converters. The last two digits of the converter is usually the DC rating. My WFCO is a 8955 (89 series - 55Amps DC output).

For example (if you have not changed over to LED interior lighting), each lamp consumes 2A, and if you turn on half or all of them, you could easily draw a 30A load (@12VDC); the water pump may use 20A when running, and so on. If the converter cannot supply this load, the battery supplies it.

In actual operation, keeping the battery connected means the battery supplies the energy needed by the house, and the converter/charger keeps the battery charged.

The WFCO converters are three stage; Absorption (normal operation supplying 13.6VDC), which is active whenever you have a load on the system. The other two modes are Bulk and Float. Bulk mode is essentially a "fast charger" (14.4VDC for 4 hours max), while Float mode is the trickle charge mode (13.2VDC) when there is no load on the system.

So essentially, the converter supplies 13.6VDC when it and the battery are supplying power to the system. But then, if you turn all of the 12V loads off, the converter goes to 14.4VDC "fast charge" for 4 hours (or less, depending on the state of charge on the battery), and then switches to "trickle" charge (13.2VDC) indefinitely.

A fully charged lead acid battery supplies 12.6VDC (12.8VDC for AGM), and since the converter always supplies a higher voltage, the battery will always be under some state of charge by the converter (the higher the voltage difference, the faster the charge rate).

It's always possible you have a bad converter/charger. I still have the two original house batteries (also Harris) in my 2011 coach and they are still working OK.

Some people have replaced the converter section of the WFCO 8955 with the Progressive Dynamics 4655 (made in USA) as the charger is a 4 stage (equalization charge), and is a more robust charger. That is always an option as well.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:13 PM   #23
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THOR #1036
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Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
I think you actually mean a converter not an inverter. An inverter's input is 12VDC and supplies 120VAC when not on shorepower, while a converter is simply a DC power supply that provides 12VDC from 120VAC and intrinsically includes a battery charger.
Thanks so much! I am learning more every day! Thor told me that using an AGM battery should not be a problem. I guess that's not gospel, but its good enough for me. We will see how it goes in March when I really go into travel and camping mode. 30 days in Florida! Wahooooo!
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:08 AM   #24
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THOR #1317
Angry Dead battery on our new Chateau 28Z

We just picked up our new Chateau 28Z and after 1 week I found that the coach battery is not charging. It is a Harris battery. As per Thor support I called Harris since they warranty the battery. Harris told me that they would not replace it because it was Thor's problem for letting them set to long without charging. They also said that they have had a lot of problems lately with the Thor coach batteries that I was not the only one with this same problem. Needless to say I was not a happy camper and had to buy a new battery myself since Harris would not warranty it. Harris batteries are junk and would never buy one.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:16 AM   #25
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THOR #531
That sucks.

I would not let Harris off the hook just yet... there is no way they can prove your battery was sitting around at Thor for months without a charge being applied to it.

Even if they have knowledge of such practice by Thor, they cannot prove this is the case for your specific battery. Of course, all of this might be more trouble than worth for a $75 battery.
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:47 PM   #26
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THOR #1036
Chateau Battery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glaumeyer View Post
We just picked up our new Chateau 28Z and after 1 week I found that the coach battery is not charging. It is a Harris battery. As per Thor support I called Harris since they warranty the battery. Harris told me that they would not replace it because it was Thor's problem for letting them set to long without charging. They also said that they have had a lot of problems lately with the Thor coach batteries that I was not the only one with this same problem. Needless to say I was not a happy camper and had to buy a new battery myself since Harris would not warranty it. Harris batteries are junk and would never buy one.
I feel your pain man. Big business is stickin to us again. Its not worth my trouble to fight these idiots. I am going to purchase an AGM with a 4 or 5 year full replacement warranty. (These cost in the neighborhood of $350-$400 dollars) Advertised at 900+ cycles at 50% discharge. We'll see how they work in March when we take off down the road. Also, even though you can get free shipping online, I have heard its a bad idea cuz we do not know how long their inventory has been sitting. They may ship you a battery that's a year old already. I will be picking mine up locally.
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:27 PM   #27
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THOR #908
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Originally Posted by Ultra Limited012 View Post
Also, even though you can get free shipping online, I have heard its a bad idea cuz we do not know how long their inventory has been sitting. They may ship you a battery that's a year old already. I will be picking mine up locally.
How do you know the local one isn't old too?
I guess there will be a date stamp someplace.... but still. You never really know how it has been maintained....

I discovered that Batteries Plus keeps their battery stock on charge and topped off. Makes me lean to getting batteries from them.

And when I bought my golf cart batteries recently, the golf cart shop I bought form "claimed" to be some sort of master distributor for Trojan, or some such thing.... and that their inventory cycles through very often.... i forgot how frequent but it sounded like they don't sit on the shelf longer than a few weeks.
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:45 PM   #28
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THOR #531
If you go AGM for your coach batteries, make sure the charger in your rig will support AGM, or you could end up damaging them.

For AGM, it requires a lower charge current when the battery goes into the overcharge state. This is not generally an issue with an engine battery as it is never in the overcharge state due to the load from the engine.

However, for the house battery, it might go into an overcharge state when the coach is just sitting there with a charger running.

So you may need to possibly out your charger, if the one you have won't do AGM.

Most of my experience comes from when I had boats. My last boat had three batteries (two engines and house). Our boat was located on Lake Michigan, and on that lake, you could die if your equipment is faulty, and good batteries are a big part of that. I sure didn't want to get in to a storm and have the batteries conk out in the middle of it.

For safety reasons, I always changed my batteries every three seasons, whether it needed it or not. The batteries I used were around $100 each, so $100 per year.

AGM batteries were about twice the initial cost, and they could go 6 years, but the per-year cost was the same.

The only real difference in the two (other than having to buy an AGM-specific charger) is AGM could be stored a lot longer without damage. AGM also typically has a lower internal resistance, so they can deliver energy efficiently.

So AGM, while they are better, the cost differential was not much different in my case. And premium wet-cells these days have really improved a lot.

Even so, in Michigan, we stored the boat from Oct to Apr; during that time, there was no charge on the battery. But the batteries also had a disconnect switch so they were completely removed from any loads.

In the spring, I found that the batteries still had a charge to them, and about 4 hours on the charger was enough to bring them back up.

So the way I always looked at is the cost-differential for my boats between the two batteries was about the same per year, which was a wash.

And since I did not have an AGM capable charger, a good marine three bank charger would have cost $600 or more to install in the boat.

While this does not make me an expert at batteries, I have learned how well they hold up under storage conditions.

The batteries of choice for me were Interstate... which perhaps are better than Harris. In reality, there are only a few true battery manufacturers. Don't know much about Harris, but I would not be surprised if their batteries are actually made by someone else.

My 2011 coach still has two Harris batteries for the coach. They have already survived four seasons, so I probably need to think about replacing them next year. When the time comes, I will use Interstate batteries as I have had good luck with them in my boats.
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:59 PM   #29
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THOR #1715
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Some people have replaced the converter section of the WFCO 8955 with the Progressive Dynamics 4655 (made in USA) as the charger is a 4 stage (equalization charge), and is a more robust charger. That is always an option as well.
Is the Progressive a direct replacement for the WFCO ??
Basically you'd unwire and remove WFCO from wall, slide Progressive unit in & wire back up ??
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:03 AM   #30
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THOR #531
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Originally Posted by BCRacing24 View Post
Is the Progressive a direct replacement for the WFCO ??
Basically you'd unwire and remove WFCO from wall, slide Progressive unit in & wire back up ??

You can replace the entire box; converter/AC Breaker Panel/DC fuse panel with a similar one that Progressive Dynamics makes. You would however, have to determine if the hole in the wall is the right size, and select the panel that would work (i.e. proper capacity, etc.).

Or you might be able to replace just the converter (battery charger), not the entire unit with a Progressive Dynamics converter sub-assembly. It is not necessarily intended to be a direct replacement for the WFCO converter, so there may be a few minor issues getting it installed.

There is a You Tube video of a guy that did it, and he had to cut some plastic around the WFCO box to find a place for a switch the new converter has, but electrically, they were very similar if not identical.

I have not tried it, just watched the video, and looked into the possibility for my rig. So it should work OK; but that comes from someone pretty adept at electronics. So consider your own skill level before attempting (I caution you to assess your skill level if you attempt this as I don't want to be liable for any action you take).

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Old 01-02-2017, 10:27 PM   #31
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State: New Hampshire
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THOR #5819
Battery drain

I have a new-to-me- 2013 Sprinter Siesta. I put 'er to bed about 6wk ago and visited the indoor storage site last weekend with the intention of putting a smart charger on the chassis battery, disconnecting the neg lead on the two-battery coach bank and using another smart charger on them.
The chassis battery showed 12.3v, the coach bank 0.9! Supposedly new batteries ( I bought rig in Oct). I put a 10A charger on the almost-flat batteries and will revisit this weekend.
Help! The coach batt switch is off. Where's the significant parasitic drain likely to be?
Suggestions are gratefully accepted.
Happy New Year, all!
Peter
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:16 PM   #32
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Model: Citation Sprinter 24SR
State: Oregon
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THOR #972
Cells?

Peter -

I had trouble with my coach batteries of my 2015 Sprinter Chateau right out of the chute. It being brand new and all I failed to suspect the most basic thing - condition of the batteries. When I finally got around to them I discovered they were mostly dry. Adding electrolyte didn't help; they were already too far gone.

Sorry, I can't begin to imagine what might drain them if the battery disconnect switch is in the off position.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:06 PM   #33
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THOR #7515
The Thor technician should know the answer and as often as you were connected the batteries should not have run down. It sounds like Thor was less than helpful and looking to shift the blame, without addressing the problem.
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