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Old 08-24-2023, 09:47 AM   #1
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Lithium battery brands - opinions?

Hey all, I’m looking to upgrade our 2012 17B to lithium. I’m a newbie to this - learning as I go - and figured I’d reach out to you pros for advice as to battery selection.

I’m working with Jack at AM Solar and he’s a gem - but he’s recommending we go with LifeBlue batteries, which are super $$$. I was looking at LITime and PowerQueen - significantly cheaper (and LITime has batteries that were returned because of incorrect orders that are significantly discounted - 4 year warranty instead of 5). I know you often get what you pay for, but if Renogy and LifeBlue approach double the price - is it worth it? What think all of you?

Also - we boondock off grid for two weeks at a time (shoulder seasons - usually northern Ontario) and have two Dometic coolers we use on DC - they use about 550Ah. I just installed extra solar - we now have 300W worth of panels up top. What kind of battery capacity would you all suggest?

TIA!
Elizabeth
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Old 08-24-2023, 10:31 AM   #2
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If your batteries will be in the trailer and not exposed to freezing temperatures when charging, I’d go with litime batteries, you can get them in capacities up to 460ah. I have a 300ah battery from them and I’ve been using it for over a year and it’s worked great. My battery is mounted inside.

If you need protection from cold temperatures an SOK battery should be good. More expensive than litime, but worth it if it might be subjected to charging in freezing temperatures.
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Old 08-24-2023, 12:24 PM   #3
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Renogy has been hit and miss for me in the past. I probably would not buy a Renogy product when another choice is available. We have 380watts of solar on our 5.0 and 400ah of HubLion battery in the coach. The 5.0 came with two batteries and we purchased another 2 from ETI when we picked up the rig. I personally would not mix and match brands but some folks do.

Like you, we almost exclusively boondock offgrid. Our max so far has been 14 full days. We utilize our microwave and brew 3 or 4 pots of coffee with a 500w, 4cup coffee maker, plus lights, pump, etc. Fridge runs on gas. With partly cloudy days, shade, etc., we have never been below 83% at anytime and batteries have always been at 100% when we go to bed at night.
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Old 08-24-2023, 12:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medora View Post
Hey all, I’m looking to upgrade our 2012 17B to lithium. I’m a newbie to this - learning as I go - and figured I’d reach out to you pros for advice as to battery selection.

I’m working with Jack at AM Solar and he’s a gem - but he’s recommending we go with LifeBlue batteries, which are super $$$. I was looking at LITime and PowerQueen - significantly cheaper (and LITime has batteries that were returned because of incorrect orders that are significantly discounted - 4 year warranty instead of 5). I know you often get what you pay for, but if Renogy and LifeBlue approach double the price - is it worth it? What think all of you?

Also - we boondock off grid for two weeks at a time (shoulder seasons - usually northern Ontario) and have two Dometic coolers we use on DC - they use about 550Ah. I just installed extra solar - we now have 300W worth of panels up top. What kind of battery capacity would you all suggest?

TIA!
Elizabeth
I'm using Chins Smart Batteries with internal heater. I have a 100ah Chins Smart Battery in my Sprinter van dedicated to my 12 volt dual zone chest style compressor refrigerator / freezer and a 300ah Chins Smart Battery in the front storage box of my Escape 19. Both have been working great.

I also have two 100ah Weize LiFePO4 batteries. I follow Will Prowse on YouTube for information on LiFePO4 batteries. Weize changed their batteries from the time I purchased mine, so he no longer recommends them. The Weize I purchased have been working great, but, the newer ones are an unknown. Mine do have low temperature charging cut off.

I originally purchased the 100ah Chins when I installed an inverter and had the battery dedicated to it. I thought I would be adequate to run my convection microwave oven. But, in microwave mode it drew 140 amps. So, a single 100ah battery wasn't going to cut it. I decided since that battery was inside the trailer I really didn't need the internal heater, just low temperature charging cut off. So, I purchased the two 100ah Weize batteries and replace the Chins. I still had the LiFePO4 battery and the inverter separate from the main trailer batteries which were dual 6 volt lead acid batteries. I had my solar panel charging the LiFePO4 batteries first and then charging the trailer lead acid batteries. I found that with my CPAP running on a 12 volt adapter the dual 6 volt batteries really weren't keeping up with the trailer loads. Rather than just replace the dual 6 volt batteries with the 100ah Chins which really didn't add any extra capacity, I decide to use the 100ah Chins in my Sprinter since it had the internal heater and the van isn't always heated. And instead get the largest Chins Smart Battery that would fit in the front storage box. That was the 300ah Chins. So that's how I ended up with 600ah of LiFePO4 batteries in my Sprinter and trailer. My Sprinter does still have two 6 volt LifeLine AGMs (thanks C&G in FL) for the interior lights, Espar heater fan, weBoost, a small 300 watt inverter for a laptop, and other house loads like my CPAP if we are overnighting in the Sprinter.
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Old 08-24-2023, 12:38 PM   #5
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If your batteries will be in the trailer and not exposed to freezing temperatures when charging, Iíd go with litime batteries, you can get them in capacities up to 460ah. I have a 300ah battery from them and Iíve been using it for over a year and itís worked great. My battery is mounted inside.

If you need protection from cold temperatures an SOK battery should be good. More expensive than litime, but worth it if it might be subjected to charging in freezing temperatures.
LiTime does now have a model with low temperature charging protection. It was recently reviewed by Will Prowse.

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Old 08-24-2023, 12:52 PM   #6
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We purchased two 100ah SOK batteries for our camper. We have a 2,000 watt inverter, and our main use is for the furnace and Terry's CPAP. Toast and microwaves use very little compared to the furnace and CPAP, or a compressor fridge.

We purchased our SOK's from Current Connected and they have a 7 year manufacturer warranty, but a 10 year warranty with Current Connected.

We did have a BMS problem with the SOC and CALC capacity, they immediately sent me new BMS's and those BMS's are easy to install. The new BMS has SOC and CALC capacity fixed. We use a Victron BMV-712 shunt, so SOC is read there anyway and I could care less about the CALC capacity.

We're happy with SOK,

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Old 08-24-2023, 02:28 PM   #7
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SOK’s are a decent mid priced battery, I have two 205 ah in parallel that provides plenty of capacity and enough continuous ah to run my 1600 watt inverter charger (victron), they are about 1000 a piece. You can go cheaper or more expensive. They have worked well all summer on a nearly 3 month trip. We travel with the absorption fridge on the inverter and can drive all day with minimal drain on the battery capacity, 20% was the worse day. With a compressor fridge we’d drain a lot less ah from the bank. These batteries are serviceable unlike the cheaper chines batteries that are sealed (or BattleBorns for that matter). The Cadillac of lithium’s are Victron with amn external bms, but 200 ah is 2000. 3000 for 330. However their batteries have the best continuous output for heavy inverter loads. The 350 ah can out put 600 continuous ah. To put that in perspective, the 205 ah SOK can out put 100 amps continuously or with two 200 amps continuously. The same for the 100 ah . The bms are the limiting factor ergo two or three batteries depending on the load on your inverter.. if I had to do it again, I would have spent the extra 1000 plus for the 330 ah victron, sacfricing capacity for better output and management. However we all learn from each install.
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Old 08-24-2023, 08:26 PM   #8
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Just going to put in a plug for the "DIY" route as well. There's not much difference between wiring a few batteries together, and assembling a battery from individual cells. I built a couple of 460Ah batteries for our 21C, and have been very happy with them.
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Old 08-24-2023, 09:23 PM   #9
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Wow, that’s a great review - and it convinces me that this will be more than adequate for us! Thank you so much!!
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Old 08-24-2023, 09:31 PM   #10
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I have 4x100A Battle Born Batteries and really like them. They are expensive though. They do have two sizes, and one of the sizes is the same dimensions as a 6V Deep Cycle Battery so could fit in the spots of your old batteries quite nicely.
I have a 12V only compressor fridge (Novakool 7.3 cu ft) with separate freezer. I have 190W solar on the roof and 2x100W portable solar panels so I can chase the sun. On a recent trip where we had a lot of sun, but very hot so the fridge was running a lot, I didn't come close to running out of power after 8 days. After a day in the sun my batteries always got back to 100% SOC. When camping in the shoulder seasons when the sun isn't as high or intense, we can easily go 7 days, but I do keep a Honda 2000 generator on the standby, so far only had to use it once
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Old 08-25-2023, 10:45 AM   #11
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If you have a modicum of skills...just build your own LFP battery using Fortune/Prismatic cells & an off-the-shelf BMS. That's what I did.
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Old 08-25-2023, 01:56 PM   #12
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We installed a 300AH lithium battery from Enduropower, a company based in Colorado which is not far from our home. So far, so good. We installed the battery in June, 2023. It has the form factor we were looking for in a battery and the right AH capacity which were important for our install. We put it in the rear of our 21C under the rear rench after removing the 2 LA batteries and the dreadful battery box. Still looking for a cap or plug for the old battery vent hole. enduropowerbatteries.com
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Old 08-25-2023, 02:50 PM   #13
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I have the SOK 206AH from CurrentConnected, and am totally happy.
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Old 08-25-2023, 04:37 PM   #14
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If you have a modicum of skills...just build your own LFP battery using Fortune/Prismatic cells & an off-the-shelf BMS. That's what I did.
The biggest issue there is where do you source consistent quality cells? And how much money do you save over a $369 100ah Li Time 'Trolling Motor' LiFePO4 battery?
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Old 08-25-2023, 07:19 PM   #15
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We installed a 300AH lithium battery from Enduropower, a company based in Colorado which is not far from our home. So far, so good. We installed the battery in June, 2023. It has the form factor we were looking for in a battery and the right AH capacity which were important for our install. We put it in the rear of our 21C under the rear rench after removing the 2 LA batteries and the dreadful battery box. Still looking for a cap or plug for the old battery vent hole. enduropowerbatteries.com
These work great, Oshkoshkaboo sent this picture to me a year and a half ago. This is a standard Home Depot part that I think youíll find in the irrigation isle. I used a little pipe glue, fits perfectly

Click image for larger version

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Old 08-25-2023, 08:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by medora View Post
Hey all, I’m looking to upgrade our 2012 17B to lithium. I’m a newbie to this - learning as I go - and figured I’d reach out to you pros for advice as to battery selection.

I’m working with Jack at AM Solar and he’s a gem - but he’s recommending we go with LifeBlue batteries, which are super $$$. I was looking at LITime and PowerQueen - significantly cheaper (and LITime has batteries that were returned because of incorrect orders that are significantly discounted - 4 year warranty instead of 5). I know you often get what you pay for, but if Renogy and LifeBlue approach double the price - is it worth it? What think all of you?

Also - we boondock off grid for two weeks at a time (shoulder seasons - usually northern Ontario) and have two Dometic coolers we use on DC - they use about 550Ah. I just installed extra solar - we now have 300W worth of panels up top. What kind of battery capacity would you all suggest?

TIA!
Elizabeth
Hi Elizabeth,
I have 300W of solar on my rooftop (3 100W panels). I also have one 100 ah Battleborn battery. My Battleborn handles the panels just fine. I have never had problems supporting my power needs when boondocking for 2-3 weeks.

My refrigerator, heater and stovetop/oven are powered by propane. My 12 V auto stereo system, lights, 12 V ceiling fan, CPAP machine, MIFI, computer (use a 400 W inverter) mobile devices are powered by solar panels. I do without my microwave, AC, & TV when boondocking. I use my computer to stream movies & TV shows.

IF YOU PLAN TO INSTALL AN INVERTER, THAN YOU WILL NEED 200ah OF LITHIUM POWER.


And if you do get an inverter, get a midsized Unit with at lease 2000 Watts. Otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to upgrade.

I originally planned to get an inverter along with a second lithium battery. But, other than having limited off grid use of my microwave, I really have not been able to justify the additional expense. And I’m use to using my stovetop when dry camping.

At the time I purchased the Battleborn, it was the gold standard of lithium batteries and had the best warranty. It is also one of the most expensive lithiums on the market. Within just a couple of years since purchasing my Battleborn, SOK came on the market for much less money and a fairly nice warranty. It also has a slightly smaller footprint than the Battleborn. I am planning to get a second lithium (probably a SOK) and connect it with my Battleborn.

If purchasing from scratch today, I’d get a 200ah lithium. I would probably spend extra bucks for a SOK. I would not consider a Renergy.

But frankly, as the battery is the most expensive component of your system, it worth your time to carefully research some of of the Chinese brands such as LiTime.

In addition to the lithium battery you will need to purchase a BVM. Most folks on this forum have Victron Bluetooth monitor which will cost over $150. You should consider how long you plan to own your Escape. If you plan to move up to a larger trailer in 2-4 years, definitely go with the least expensive lithium offering decent quality.

Regarding the less expensive lithium batteries, check out Will Prowse’s DIY Solar website & Youtube channel. He does recommend SOK. But he’s also posted a couple of videos regarding some of the Chinese batteries on the market, including LiTime. My RV Service guy also likes both LiTime & Weiss. He thinks they are economical and seem to be decent quality. Here’s a couple of links:

https://m.youtube.com/c/WillProwse





Will you need to upgrade your solar controller to a 40 AMP MPPT? If so, you may want to consider a combo MPPT, 2000W inverter and ATS. You’ll need to make sure that a combo unit will fit in you Solar locker along with the lithium battery.

Check out will Prowse’s review for combo unit.

http://https://watts247.com/product/pip-2024lv-mk/
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Old 08-25-2023, 11:39 PM   #17
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yeah, most all these lithium batteries have max 100A sustained output, and a 2000W inverter needs 200A input, so you need two batteries in parallel (AND 0 gauge battery wiring)
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Old 08-28-2023, 03:44 PM   #18
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https://share.icloud.com/photos/0724...gHMOjbW78Z3G8w

Hey all - thanks again for your help! Batteries are on the way. In prep I’m looking to see where I’ll mount the LI and curious - those of you who have upgraded from external old school 6vs, where did you put them? And is this the line running in from the 6v? I don’t see anything else coming into the camper, and we have insulative foam underneath that obscures things. (For some reason the photo isn’t showing in the post - should be at the link above).
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Old 08-28-2023, 03:59 PM   #19
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https://share.icloud.com/photos/0724...gHMOjbW78Z3G8w

Hey all - thanks again for your help! Batteries are on the way. In prep Iím looking to see where Iíll mount the LI and curious - those of you who have upgraded from external old school 6vs, where did you put them?
For awhile ETI installed the Lithium option under the rear bench. Then they switched to installing them in the same location as the 6s. My friend had ordered on the basis that the expensive lithium battery would be inside. When he was notified of the switch in location he wasn't happy. Karl kindly made an exception with the caveat that it was the last 17 that would have a battery inside.

So, there are 17's with the battery under the bench seat and that seems like a good location, who wants to put an expensive battery on the back bumper.

Ron
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Old 08-28-2023, 04:03 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by medora View Post
https://share.icloud.com/photos/0724...gHMOjbW78Z3G8w

Hey all - thanks again for your help! Batteries are on the way. In prep Iím looking to see where Iíll mount the LI and curious - those of you who have upgraded from external old school 6vs, where did you put them? And is this the line running in from the 6v? I donít see anything else coming into the camper, and we have insulative foam underneath that obscures things. (For some reason the photo isnít showing in the post - should be at the link above).
those appear to be grounds, as they both go to the ground post near the top left of you pic.

look at your fuse panel, there should be a BAT+ terminal block, with a red wire, its probably one of those two red wires near the bottom left of your pic, going into the grey cable ports behind said fuse panel. I would expect it to be the thicker wire at the very bottom edge. the black wire thats with that red wire is probably the battery negative/ground.

ah, here's my fuse panel (with the converter removed, I was exchanging it).. yeah, the heavy black and heavy red wires are the battery leads



My 6V batts were in a battery box under the curbside bench of my U shaped rear dinette, I removed that battery box and its vent hose, and strapped the lithium batteries down in the very back curbside corner under said bench.

original batt box.


lithium batts not yet strapped down, and only partly wired


batts with strap


and all wired up
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