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Old 05-22-2019, 08:24 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, 11:03 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, 07:48 AM   #3
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- 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, 10:38 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, 11:30 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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Old 05-23-2019, 11:48 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, 12:18 PM   #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, 12:22 PM   #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, 12:33 PM   #9
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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, 12:37 PM   #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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Old 05-23-2019, 12:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
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.
I'm not sure I see this as a concern either. If you are home you can presumably have the trailer powered with 120V and run a small space heater to maintain a minimum temperature in the trailer. Space heater settings might not go too low, but all you need is a thermostat power plug where you can dial in your setting of choice. This one I found has a setting down to -30F.

Portable Thermostat - Low Temp - Extended Sensor
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
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

Since there is no lifting slots in the Battleborn batteries, I am making some straps that can go under them in the battery box. While at 31 pounds, they are much lighter than th 6V Interstate batteries, they would still be difficult to get out of the close fitting battery box.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:59 PM   #13
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I just updated the page with today's progress.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:28 PM   #14
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Regarding replacing the GoPower controller with an aluminum panel: From Victron's website I gather that their controller runs pretty warm (e.g. "mount to inflammable surface"), so consider covering that hole with a louvered panel instead of sheet aluminum.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:29 PM   #15
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I think I meant "nonflammable". I get confused.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:29 AM   #16
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I just updated the page with today's progress.
Hi Joe,
I'm interested to see where you mounted the BMV-712, I'm placing mine above the refrigerator next to the water pump ( also relocating the Inverter Remote Control there as well).

I'm trying to decide if I should:
.) wrap around under the the seats and enter below the fridge and then chase the cables up or
.) bring the cables up along the corner ( like you seem to have done) and then feed them along the inside of the upper cabinets...
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:29 PM   #17
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Hi Joe,
I'm interested to see where you mounted the BMV-712, I'm placing mine above the refrigerator next to the water pump ( also relocating the Inverter Remote Control there as well).

I'm trying to decide if I should:
.) wrap around under the the seats and enter below the fridge and then chase the cables up or
.) bring the cables up along the corner ( like you seem to have done) and then feed them along the inside of the upper cabinets...
Another Update.

As to the location of the BMV-712 monitor, I'd prefer it over the refrigerator, but the previous monitor was mounted over the stove, ands since I have a 2 gang box mounted there, I need to fill the hole.

I did mount a remote for the inverter over the refrigerator (got tired of standing on my head to turn it on with the button on the solar controller). I ran the cable behind the corner molding, across the driver's side dinette cabinet, and through a new hole between it & the refrigerator wall.

As to the flammable surface, I guess I will mount the new solar controller on a piece of 1/8" aluminum, although I've seen a number of them mounted on wood & plastic surfaces.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:08 PM   #18
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Jon-


When you said you were going to replace the WFCO power converter I assumed that this would be a daunting task, as I thought you would have to replace the power distribution panel and rewire everything. It's good to know that you only have to replace the bottom portion of the WFCO unit and not redo all of the 120V and 12V wiring. I'm mentioning this here in case others made the same wrong assumption that I did.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:08 PM   #19
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Jon-


When you said you were going to replace the WFCO power converter I assumed that this would be a daunting task, as I thought you would have to replace the power distribution panel and rewire everything. It's good to know that you only have to replace the bottom portion of the WFCO unit and not redo all of the 120V and 12V wiring. I'm mentioning this here in case others made the same wrong assumption that I did.
Well, yes & no. While it might have been possible to just replace the 5 wires (3 120V) and 2 12V), there is a 4 wire jumper that is designed to go between the converter power supply & the Progressive Dynamics supplied 12V fuse panel. I suspect it has to do with the charge wizard circuitry which, in the small print ("LI models DO NOT have Charge Wizard functionality") sorta indicates that it is not needed. Still, rather than taking a chance, I did change the fuse board over to the PD board. A bit of a pain since the output connectors are not made for the #10 wire Escape runs to the refrigerator. Here is the installation manual...

I'll post an update soon - the lithium system is up & running, but everything is not back together, and the install of the DC to DC converter I added to bring the tow vehicle charge voltage up to the 14.4 V the lithium batteries like is not quite finished. To top things off, I decided to do the Fabulous Range Fan upgrade at the same time, so I'm also in the middle of that.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:21 PM   #20
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Jon, why are you fiddling with the standard box and it's location, seems to me you could make a real nice battery holder and place it right where you want it, maybe in the middle of the rear?
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