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Old 02-16-2019, 03:08 AM   #1
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after all that, I think I will go lithium ion

So, went to the RV show today. Ran into a company that released their new 12 V lithium ion RV batteries about 4 months ago (https://lionenergy.com/products/lion-safari-ut). Expensive ($750 to $999) for one 100 Ah 12 V battery, but sure got my heart pumping. Near zero maintenance (holds charge for up to a year, no water, no emissions/fumes/gases), 100% Depth of Discharge allowed. 5,000 cycles (WAY past "deep cycle"). Works well (100% efficient) in very cold or hot temperatures. Weighs 20 lbs. Safe (lithium iron phosphate). Lifetime warranty (my lifetime, apparently...not the battery's lifetime...I asked).

Using my two current 81 Ah batteries that cannot go below 50% DOD, I only have 81 Ah of usable energy, so this ONE lithium battery more than replaces my two lead acid ones.

I know the cost is steep, but I don't expect my 12 V flooded batteries to last more than 3 years or so. At $120 each for my Interstate batteries, that is $240 every 3 years.

What am I missing here?

One of my concerns is if my trailer's converter/charger will charge it okay. I know WFCO has converters/chargers that are labeled for lithium, but these lithium batteries have a Battery Management System (BMS) that is supposed to take care of all that.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:12 AM   #2
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I looked into the lithium's last year. In my case, I would have had to upgrade my charging system to suit the new batteries. It was probably not a bad idea to update the charger anyway since I believe they may have put the cheapest one in. ...just a thought!
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:53 PM   #3
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Here is a utube video with a ton of info on the differences.
I am pretty sure you will have to add/change a Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) to your circuit also.

https://youtu.be/PZ7HMRReZKY


Battle Born and Dragonfly (same company) seem to be the front runners in the RV lithium battery market.
I have even heard of folks using batteries made by Telsa and Chevy Volts (48v) in RVs.

Keep us updated on what you do.
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Old 02-16-2019, 01:01 PM   #4
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I have been looking at the Lithium batteries for a while. Eventually, maybe.

They are definitely the wave of the future. FWIW I typically get 5+ years out of a set of standard batteries, a bit more from true deep cycle.

Based on my experience with WFCO chargers that would be the first thing I would replace if I were going with Lithium batteries. I just don't trust them.

I have had several conversations with Battleborn batteries and they have been quick to respond to my questions and provide all the information I have asked for. When the time comes I will most likely go with them.

Aaron
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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$1000 for an RV battery
I know who to call when I need a loan.

I did buy a lithium Iron battery as a replacement for my motorcycle several years back, it was tiny and super light compared to the original. It did cost 3 times more, but it performed way above my expectations. Sat in a garage (around 50-54F) for 3 months in the winter and would fire up my bike with no problem, never on a charger.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:18 AM   #6
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Here is a utube video with a ton of info on the differences.
I am pretty sure you will have to add/change a Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) to your circuit also.

https://youtu.be/PZ7HMRReZKY


Battle Born and Dragonfly (same company) seem to be the front runners in the RV lithium battery market.
I have even heard of folks using batteries made by Telsa and Chevy Volts (48v) in RVs.

Keep us updated on what you do.
Thom -

THANK YOU for the video link you sent. I watched the whole thing. Those guys are EXCELLENT and really know their stuff. It jives with ALL that I have read and researched. Another shorter/quicker video can also be seen at https://youtu.be/UfMROVzjVWU (shorter, mostly accurate, but not as good as the RV Geeks one).

I will probably make a post later about what I have learned about lithium. I am so done with flooded lead acid batteries. I will be picking up a lithium battery this week, most likely a Lion Energy one. They had a lifetime warranty 100 Ah one at the show for $750.

I could go on forever about the benefits of lithium. I am SO done with 50% DOD and the charge, water, and off-gassing maintenance that FLA batteries require. I will put together a chart of the pros/cons of FLA, AGM, and lithium later.

The ONLY downsides about the LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries that RVers use is that (1) they are expensive up front (but far less expensive in the long-run), (2) they can be USED in below-freezing temperatures, but cannot be CHARGED when the BATTERY itself is below 32 degrees F (and probably WON'T charge due to the BMS on the batter), so I need to figure something out for our travel trailer, and (3) there is a small possibility that SOME RVs may need upgraded electricals (converter, etc.) to have a lithium battery. HOWEVER, several manufacturers of these batteries are swearing that you do NOT need to change your converter or anything else. I will call WFCO on Monday to get their opinion, but by in large these should be 'drop in and go' batteries.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:22 AM   #7
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I have been looking at the Lithium batteries for a while. Eventually, maybe.

They are definitely the wave of the future. FWIW I typically get 5+ years out of a set of standard batteries, a bit more from true deep cycle.

Based on my experience with WFCO chargers that would be the first thing I would replace if I were going with Lithium batteries. I just don't trust them.

I have had several conversations with Battleborn batteries and they have been quick to respond to my questions and provide all the information I have asked for. When the time comes I will most likely go with them.

Aaron
I agree a well-maintained FLA battery could last up to 5 years. And yes - I know my new 65 watt WFCO converter keeps getting a bad rap. I will deal with that separately.

I will probably not go with Battleborn. There are a few other brands out there too. But Lion Energy seems to have the best cost, lowest weight, and best warranty for 100 Ah LFP batteries.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:24 AM   #8
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$1000 for an RV battery
I know who to call when I need a loan.

I did buy a lithium Iron battery as a replacement for my motorcycle several years back, it was tiny and super light compared to the original. It did cost 3 times more, but it performed way above my expectations. Sat in a garage (around 50-54F) for 3 months in the winter and would fire up my bike with no problem, never on a charger.
Yes. These batteries only discharge about 2% or so per month. They can go down to a true 100% DOD (0% life left) without any harm to the battery. They can sit for a year with nothing without harming the cell or voiding the warranty. I would probably trickle charge them every other month or so in my case. The cold or freezing temps don't really hurt them. Try doing ANY of this with a traditional FLA battery and it will dead and not recoverable. Such a shame.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:20 AM   #9
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I will start by saying I know nothing about Lithium Ion batteries but $750 to $999 per battery! I pay just a bit over $100 for one deep cycle acid lead battery, so I guess I can buy 7 to 10 batteries for that amount! My history, I have had seven different RV's over the years. I had never kept one over 5 years and I never had to replace a defective battery. I had four battery bank systems on three of them. So, for me, the cost just does pencil out... Maybe when the cost comes down!


I could see investing in a 400+ watt solar system for $1000!
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:37 AM   #10
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I will start by saying I know nothing about Lithium Ion batteries but $750 to $999 per battery! I pay just a bit over $100 for one deep cycle acid lead battery, so I guess I can buy 75 to 100 batteries for that amount! My history, I have had seven different RV's over the years. I had never kept one over 5 years and I never had to replace a defective battery. I had four battery bank systems on three of them. So, for me, the cost just does pencil out... Maybe when the cost comes down!


I could see investing in a 400+ watt solar system for $1000!


Check your math, I think it is 7.5 to 10 batteries for that amount, not 75 to 100.
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:00 AM   #11
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Check your math, I think it is 7.5 to 10 batteries for that amount, not 75 to 100.
Your right! A case of my thumbs out thinking my brain.

I would like to tag doesn't it also come down to amp hours in the final annalist? I realize that Ion batteries will operate down to 0 unlike acid lead batteries.. But with my current system I am getting about 340 amp hours. In my case I would need more than one Lithium Ion battery for the my needs...
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:10 AM   #12
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I will start by saying I know nothing about Lithium Ion batteries but $750 to $999 per battery! I pay just a bit over $100 for one deep cycle acid lead battery, so I guess I can buy 7 to 10 batteries for that amount! My history, I have had seven different RV's over the years. I had never kept one over 5 years and I never had to replace a defective battery. I had four battery bank systems on three of them. So, for me, the cost just does pencil out... Maybe when the cost comes down!


I could see investing in a 400+ watt solar system for $1000!
First of all, you are only talking about up-front cost. The actual life cost (value) of lithium is about 3x LESS that FLA batteries. Also, my Interstate 12 V batteries were $125 each, and I have to buy TWO of them (ONE lithium would replace of those). So if my Interstates lasted 5 years each at most, I still spent $500 already for the first 10 years. And not even counting the cost of a $350 Battery Monitoring Kit (BMK) that some buy or a nice smart trickle charger during the winter. So for me the cost is about the same. But even if not, what is another $250? I will tell you.

For me, it is just not about the cost. It is more about the quality of life. I hate guessing whether I've damaged my FLA batteries by going below 50% DOD (lithium can be fully discharged with no damage). I can't stand that my 81 Ah FLA battery only has 40 USEABLE amp-hours. Drives me nuts that if I have high discharge use in my trailer, that my 40 Ah are actually less with FLA (lithiums are not subject to Peukert's Law). I hate that my FLA battery could freeze to death (literally). I am so tired of checking/filling my battery water all the time (lithiums require zero maintenance). Rotating my two 12 V FLA batteries back and forth between my nice trickle charger is annoying because if they go uncharged for 3 months or so, they're DEAD (lithiums hold their charge a VERY long time...over a year or more)....and lifting the HEAVY FLA batteries each time (lithiums are half or a third of the weight). I am so sick about fussing over toxic/flammable off-gassing (lithiums have no emissions). I hate having a 1 year warranty on my battery (my lithium has a lifetime). I ESPECIALLY hate the SLOW charging from my generator which REQUIRES FLA batteries to get to near 100% to maintain their health (lithium batteries do NOT require full charge and charge WAY FASTER).
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:11 AM   #13
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First of all, you are only talking about up-front cost. The actual life cost (value) of lithium is about 3x LESS that FLA batteries. Also, my Interstate 12 V batteries were $125 each, and I have to buy TWO of them (ONE lithium would replace of those). So if my Interstates lasted 5 years each at most, I still spent $500 already for the first 10 years. And not even counting the cost of a $350 Battery Monitoring Kit (BMK) that some buy or a nice smart trickle charger during the winter. So for me the cost is about the same. But even if not, what is another $250? I will tell you.

For me, it is just not about the cost. It is more about the quality of life. I hate guessing whether I've damaged my FLA batteries by going below 50% DOD (lithium can be fully discharged with no damage). I can't stand that my 81 Ah FLA battery only has 40 USEABLE amp-hours. Drives me nuts that if I have high discharge use in my trailer, that my 40 Ah are actually less with FLA (lithiums are not subject to Peukert's Law). I hate that my FLA battery could freeze to death (literally). I am so tired of checking/filling my battery water all the time (lithiums require zero maintenance). Rotating my two 12 V FLA batteries back and forth between my nice trickle charger is annoying because if they go uncharged for 3 months or so, they're DEAD (lithiums hold their charge a VERY long time...over a year or more)....and lifting the HEAVY FLA batteries each time (lithiums are half or a third of the weight). I am so sick about fussing over toxic/flammable off-gassing (lithiums have no emissions). I hate having a 1 year warranty on my battery (my lithium has a lifetime). I ESPECIALLY hate the SLOW charging from my generator which REQUIRES FLA batteries to get to near 100% to maintain their health (lithium batteries do NOT require full charge and charge WAY FASTER).
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First of all, you are only talking about up-front cost. The actual life cost (value) of lithium is about 3x LESS that FLA batteries. Also, my Interstate 12 V batteries were $125 each, and I have to buy TWO of them (ONE lithium would replace of those). So if my Interstates lasted 5 years each at most, I still spent $500 already for the first 10 years. And not even counting the cost of a $350 Battery Monitoring Kit (BMK) that some buy or a nice smart trickle charger during the winter. So for me the cost is about the same. But even if not, what is another $250? I will tell you.

For me, it is just not about the cost. It is more about the quality of life. I hate guessing whether I've damaged my FLA batteries by going below 50% DOD (lithium can be fully discharged with no damage). I can't stand that my 81 Ah FLA battery only has 40 USEABLE amp-hours. Drives me nuts that if I have high discharge use in my trailer, that my 40 Ah are actually less with FLA (lithiums are not subject to Peukert's Law). I hate that my FLA battery could freeze to death (literally). I am so tired of checking/filling my battery water all the time (lithiums require zero maintenance). Rotating my two 12 V FLA batteries back and forth between my nice trickle charger is annoying because if they go uncharged for 3 months or so, they're DEAD (lithiums hold their charge a VERY long time...over a year or more)....and lifting the HEAVY FLA batteries each time (lithiums are half or a third of the weight). I am so sick about fussing over toxic/flammable off-gassing (lithiums have no emissions). I hate having a 1 year warranty on my battery (my lithium has a lifetime). I ESPECIALLY hate the SLOW charging from my generator which REQUIRES FLA batteries to get to near 100% to maintain their health (lithium batteries do NOT require full charge and charge WAY FASTER).
If one Lithium battery will work for your system that would be great.

Why I don't think Lithium will work for me . With my Rig there is just not enough amp hours in one Lithium battery for my system. It's not uncommon for me to have a 40" a 23" TV running at the same time. Also a portable satellite system and 4 or 5 Led lights , ceiling fan for several hours per day.
I currently have 340 amp hours with four 12 volt deep cycle batteries.
After adding a battery disconnect switch. My fully charged battery bank will last all winter when in storage with no recharging needed. I may drop from 12.7 volts to 12.3 volts. This depends on how many times I go in the trailer and turn on the lights when in storage. Generally we don't RV between November and March.
I only charge through the 3 stage battery charger in the Converter.
I check battery level once a year (have never added any in two years).
I uses a inexpensive battery voltage monitor with low battery alarm.
I run my Honda 2000 Gen about 4 hours per day when dry camping.

The longest I have ever owned a RV is five years. Paying a premium for a lifetime battery warranty is not that important.
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Old 02-17-2019, 07:53 AM   #14
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1l243 - Thanks for the reply. Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I do not sell these, by the way. haha. I am just a little excited about the prospect of a really nice battery.

You seem to have a somewhat unique situation in a few ways. So if I were you, I may not bother with the cost either. However:

1. Currently, you should only use 170 of your 340 amp-hours in your FLA batteries without damaging your cells. You CAN buy just one lithium battery for your rig (Relion makes a single 170 Ah battery, but it is $2,400). Or, you could buy two 100 Ah Lion batteries for $1,500 total and would be MORE energy than you already have. Either way, I understand that is still a good chunk of change.

2. If you are running your Honda generator for 4 hours per day when dry camping, I am estimating you would only run it for 1 to 2 hours per day with Lion batteries. If that is not worth it to you, then no big deal.

3. I have read dozens of horror stories of people not charging their FLA batteries for a few months and having batteries that are not recoverable by the time March comes. Seems like 12-volt FLA batteries can go a max of 3 to 6 months without being maintained/charged. If you are one of the lucky ones, more power to you. (no pun intended, hahaha)

4. I too considered getting a $10 to $30 volt meter, but have been told over and over that they are not that accurate. I could not go into a sermon on why, but others may be able to. A recent thread discussion talked about $300+ BMKs that some buy so they know exactly what is going in, out, and on with their batteries. I struggled with such a purchase, and would rather put that money into an nice battery.

5. I wasn't suggesting that the lifetime warranty is the only reason for me to spend $750. Just another perk.

6. Otherwise, if the offgassing and other considerations are not a big deal to you, no problem.

We only spent $22,000 on our new 2018 travel trailer (26 ft box length). People seem to spend far more than that on their trailers, 5th wheels, and motorhomes. And then there are all the accessories and things everyone wants/needs to buy to make your RVing more enjoyable. It just seems to me that good/nice batteries could be near the top of the list. They are for me.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:09 AM   #15
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1l243 - Thanks for the reply. Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I do not sell these, by the way. haha. I am just a little excited about the prospect of a really nice battery.

You seem to have a somewhat unique situation in a few ways. So if I were you, I may not bother with the cost either. However:

1. Currently, you should only use 170 of your 340 amp-hours in your FLA batteries without damaging your cells. You CAN buy just one lithium battery for your rig (Relion makes a single 170 Ah battery, but it is $2,400). Or, you could buy two 100 Ah Lion batteries for $1,500 total and would be MORE energy than you already have. Either way, I understand that is still a good chunk of change.

2. If you are running your Honda generator for 4 hours per day when dry camping, I am estimating you would only run it for 1 to 2 hours per day with Lion batteries. If that is not worth it to you, then no big deal.

3. I have ready dozens of horror stories of people not charging their FLA batteries for a few months and having batteries that are not recoverable by the time March comes. Seems like 12-volt FLA batteries can go a max of 3 to 6 months without being maintained/charged. If you are one of the lucky ones, more power to you. (no pun intended, hahaha)

4. I too considered getting a $10 to $30 volt meter, but have been told over and over that they are not that accurate. I could not go into a sermon on why, but others may be able to. A recent thread discussion talked about $300+ BMKs that some buy so they know exactly what is going in, out, and on with their batteries. I struggled with such a purchase, and would rather put that money into an nice battery.

5. I wasn't suggesting that the lifetime warranty is the only reason for me to spend $750. Just another perk.

6. Otherwise, if the offgassing and other considerations are not a big deal to you, no problem.

We only spent $22,000 on our new 2018 travel trailer (26 ft box length). People seem to spend far more than that on their trailers, 5th wheels, and motorhomes. And then there are all the accessories and things everyone wants/needs to buy to make your RVing more enjoyable. It just seems to me that good/nice batteries could be near the top of the list. They are for me.
The only thing I would add is that if you find down the road that one Lithium battery is not enough you have to jump in for another $799 to $999.
I don't know why batteries fail. As I mentioned I have had several rigs with 0 battery failures.

My future will be in solar for sure....
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:29 AM   #16
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Lithium goes well with solar and is quite popular for that. Charging times and all.

I can’t think of any reason to need a second lithium battery for our current rig since one lithium provides more usable energy than both my current lead acids. But if I did, I wouldn’t hesitate. Given the stated benefits, it is chump change for what people spend on RVs.

I will think of it like maple syrup...once I tried the real stuff, I could never go back to the fake sugar liquid I grew up on, despite the cost being quite a bit more.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:41 PM   #17
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I'm not a fan of internet grammar corrections, but these are Lithium Iron batteries, not Lithium Ion, there's a big difference between the two.
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:09 PM   #18
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I'm not a fan of internet grammar corrections, but these are Lithium Iron batteries, not Lithium Ion, there's a big difference between the two.
Nope, not quite. These are indeed lithium ION batteries. However, there are multiple chemistries, and the ones typically used for RVing use lithium IRON phosphate (also called LiFePO4, lithium IRON, LFP for short).

The ones you always hear about exploding are also lithium ION, but are of the lithium cobolt oxide persuasion.
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:43 PM   #19
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Nope, not quite. These are indeed lithium ION batteries. However, there are multiple chemistries, and the ones typically used for RVing use lithium IRON phosphate (also called LiFePO4, lithium IRON, LFP for short).

The ones you always hear about exploding are also lithium ION, but are of the lithium cobolt oxide persuasion.
If you look at the specs of the battery link you posted, it clearly states it's lithium iron.
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Old 02-17-2019, 03:26 PM   #20
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If you look at the specs of the battery link you posted, it clearly states it's lithium iron.
Yes, you are correct. And that is what I said in my post. But they ARE a type and form of lithium ION as well. The iron variant is just one specific type of lithium ion cell. Most manufacturers (including the one I cited) will list it both ways on their websites and marketing materials. Iron will most likely be listed on the battery itself to make sure the specific chemistry is known, but it IS lithium ION (as well).

Does that make sense?
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