New Lithium Iron Battery for Kodiak 201QB
Awhile back I posted that I was looking at getting a new battery for my rig. The one it came with (Interstate) was having trouble holding a charge from my solar panel so a trip up into the mountains became a bit of a gamble.
Last year I purchased a 100 watt panel and upgraded my wiring to 6 gauge. The panel is tethered to 25 feet of cable so it can be moved around to get more direct sun. We try to be careful with our power usage - with the water pump likely being the biggest user of power.
About three months ago I purchased a new LI battery, 100 AH, from BattleBorn. At the same time I bought a new controller ( which they said I needed since my existing one wasnít programmable) from them as well going with a Victron MPPT 100/15 based on their recommendation. They programmed it for this battery before sending it out. Also based on their recommendations, I located the controller and battery inside (I chose the pass through) fairly close to each other.
A typical camp trip for us lasts between 7 -10 days. As I mentioned, we try to be conservative with our power consumption. This first trip with the new battery lasted seven days. I was able to get about three hours of full direct sun on the panel each day. The controller has three function lights on it; Bulk, Absorption, and Float. The Bulk light was the only one lit during the entire stay meaning it was allowing any produced power into the battery. The battery status display inside the trailer indicated a full charge during the entire trip.
In short, I never experienced any power issues during our entire seven day stay, including using the battery to raise and lower the hitch at the end of the trip. Last year, on an almost identical trip, the battery was dead at five days. At this point I donít have a generator for emergency power backup but hope to change that status soon.
All in all, I am pleased with how the new battery performed. Granted, it has only been one trip but I can say this unit performed much better than the battery which came with my trailer, which, I suspect may have been compromised by having been allowed to go completely dead one or more times before I ever received it.
One issue I had when installing everything was with the controller. As I said, I had upgraded my trailerís wiring from the solar electrical port to the old controller and battery to 6 gauge. Part of this was based on recommendations I got while reading up on solar rv power, partially because of the 25 feet of cable I went with, and partially because I wanted the option to add more panels down the line. Unfortunately, the new Victron controller would not handle anything bigger than 10 gauge - and although likely not a problem for me now, it was a very frustrating limitation requiring me to splice 10 gauge wiring to the 6 in order to hook everything up. IMO, it really wouldnít be a big deal to build the controller to accommodate 6 gauge (or bigger) at the factory in the first place. Hopefully that will start to happen (eventually). In the mean time, be aware of that limitation and maybe consider going with a different controller that can handle any heavier gauge wire you might have put in place.