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Old 05-22-2019, 07:24 PM   #1
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Converting to Lithium

As promised, now that I've started the conversion from lead acid batteries to lithium, I'll document the process. If the consensus is that it make more sense to put everything in this thread, I will, but there will be lots of that & images, so it might be better to just link to the page I started on my website.

In any case, the batteries arrived via FedEx today, so I pulled the old batteries. If anyone wants them and are close enough to make picking them up worthwhile, they are available first come. I hate to just turn them in for the core $.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:03 PM   #2
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Good! I have questions / comments already :

- Can the Victron SmartSolar controller be used with both lead-acid and lithium batteries? I was considering buying one soon as a first step.

- You said you used the tabs on the tops of the old batteries to lift them. I wondered about that, as the tabs don't look strong enough, but there is no other reason for them to be there.

- Your battery box looks different from mine (2014 Escape 21). In mine the batteries are side-to-side; it looks like yours were end-to-end. Is that right?

- The EC2-format lithium batteries are more expensive than the automotive-format lithiums, but have the same capacity. Is there any reason to use the EC2-format lithiums other than to fit the existing battery box?


thanks.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
- Your battery box looks different from mine (2014 Escape 21). In mine the batteries are side-to-side; it looks like yours were end-to-end. Is that right?
Looked at your photos again-- your batteries are end-to-end. Oops.

When I saw you in Townsend you said that Battleborn had a sale at Quartzite. So apparently they were willing to sell you the batteries at their sale price then ship them later. I'm planning to attend the Quartzite rally in 2020 then continue on a (long) trip, so I would want to buy the batteries then and have them shipped later. Were you charged for shipping?
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:38 AM   #4
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No idea if the tabs on the top of the Interstate batteries were made for lifting, but I slid a piece of webbing through them and it worked. Not sure how you would get them out of the battery box without some way of lifting from the top.

The Victron SmartSolar does either type of battery, including AGM, and a list of others. 9 settings on a rotary switch or programable using the Bluetooth app.

I didn't buy them at Quartzsite. They offered a $50.00 discount when I ordered them over the phone. Free shipping.

I chose the GC2 format to fit the existing battery box.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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Looking at the max surge spec of "200 amps for 30 seconds". Assuming that in parallel you have 400 amps for 30 seconds available to use, doesn't that put a limit on 110v inverter use? Will you be able to run a toaster oven for 5 minutes - for example?
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PS - Thanks for being an early adopter and leading the charge.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:48 AM   #6
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200 amps at 12 volts = 2400 watts continuous from two of these in parallel. Should be no problem with a toaster oven which will work off a normal 15amp 120 volt circuit. And, as Jon points out in his blog, they should be able to supply the inverter at high output for a lot further into the charge cycle than lead acid batteries would.



Sounds like nice tech, but I wonder a bit about not being able to charge when they are below freezing.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:18 AM   #7
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GC2 golf cart batteries should have two plastic rectangular loops on the top, that you pick up with a battery strap like this...
https://www.amazon.com/Battery-lifti.../dp/B00JA0FXKS

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Old 05-23-2019, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanEdie View Post
200 amps at 12 volts = 2400 watts continuous from two of these in parallel. Should be no problem with a toaster oven which will work off a normal 15amp 120 volt circuit. And, as Jon points out in his blog, they should be able to supply the inverter at high output for a lot further into the charge cycle than lead acid batteries would.



Sounds like nice tech, but I wonder a bit about not being able to charge when they are below freezing.




Since the batteries are inside the 21, I'm not that concerned about charging below freezing. If it looks like it will be a problem, there are 12V battery blankets that are a possible solution.

If I ever stay in upstate NY over the winter, I do have a bit of concern about the suggestion from the folks at Battleborn that the batteries be moved to a warmer location if the temperature is below -4F.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanEdie View Post
200 amps at 12 volts = 2400 watts continuous from two of these in parallel. Should be no problem with a toaster oven which will work off a normal 15amp 120 volt circuit. And, as Jon points out in his blog, they should be able to supply the inverter at high output for a lot further into the charge cycle than lead acid batteries would.



Sounds like nice tech, but I wonder a bit about not being able to charge when they are below freezing.
Yes, one of my frustrations with the standard 6V 220 amp hour batteries was having enough capacity left, but too low a voltage when hitting the inverter hard. It would shut down due to low voltage.

As to load, the coffee pot draws 60 amps, the toaster 80 amps, and the microwave, depending on the setting (it is a 950 watt inverter microwave that can be "turned down" lowering the wattage to as low as 500 watts) as much as 140 amps. All of these are well under the 200 amp limit of the paralleled batteries.

I will still have the problem of putting back what I take out of the batteries, but since they don't really have an absorption mode like lead acid batteries, the solar controller will be in bulk or full output until the batteries are full. This should make more efficient use of the solar panels.

One of the frustrations dealing with lead acid batteries is watching the battery monitor during early afternoon when the batteries are still 20 amp hours down, and the controller shifts into the absorption mode, limiting charging current to a couple of amps, knowing that the panels are capable of producing 12 -15 amps. If you put that much current into lead acid batteries when they were over 80% full, they would off gas & overheat. The lithium batteries can be charged at 1C (the amp hour total), although they will last longer if the charging current is limited to .5C, or in my case, 100 amps. Again, this rate can be used until the batteries are full; there is no absorption phase.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:37 AM   #10
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I boil my coffee water in a kettle on the stove, and use a hand pour, or aeropress.

we toast rolls and make cheese melts and such in the oven.

no electricity needed, just propane.
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