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Old 09-09-2021, 09:46 AM   #1
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Prep for Lithium?

We are early on in the process of putting our 21NE build list together. We plan to go initially with two 6 volt batteries, but want to plan for the future. I think the cost of lithium batteries will come down substantially in the future and we will probably switch when that happens. We will have at least on solar panel with all the necessary controls installed at the factory.


My question is: Should we order the trailer with the lithium battery ready package ($420)? I have no idea what it involves, or if it would be less expensive to just have that work done when we switch. The speed with which electronic things change makes me leery of locking into current technology, hoping it is still useful 5-8 years down the road.
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:58 AM   #2
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Without knowing exactly what devices, what manufacturer of devices & what wiring changes are included in Escape's lithium ready package, it is difficult to tell if it is worth it. I prefer the Victron solar controllers to GoPower, and the Progressive Industries lithium converter to the WFCO, and, because it is difficult to use voltage to determine the state of charge of a lithium battery, the Victron 721 or Smart Shunt battery monitor to keep track of SOC.

I ended up replacing most of the stock Escape stuff and rewired much of the trailer when I changed to lithium - if you are going to do the same, I'd probably skip the option. Again, if Escape's option includes all that you need, $420.00 is far less than I spent...
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:24 AM   #3
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There is discussion about ETI under sizing wiring and fuses for the current lithium installs. It would be wise to inquire if that package includes the upsized wire and fuses.
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Old 09-09-2021, 12:52 PM   #4
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Exclamation mine has the WFCO "LiS" power center with NO Lithium battery option

Just FYI and FWIW, my August 2021 build 5.0 ordered with absolutely no battery, electrical, or solar-related options whatsoever was delivered with the WFCO model WF-8955LiS power center. I verified that the 'LiS switch' was toggled to the "LA" setting, proper for my 'base standard' single 12V FLA battery as delivered.

Obviously I can't assure that all trailers, even those without an optional Lithium battery installed, are now getting the WFCO LiS model as standard, but it's what ETI put in mine at no extra cost. Using the LiS on all trailers regardless of battery chemistry would make sense from a component inventory and stocking efficiency standpoint, the cost difference to ETI is probably extremely small.

Again, just FYI and FWIW. In my case it's moot, I'm already in the process of replacing the WFCO unit with the xantrex Freedom XC 2000 (all-in-one unit with charger /converter / inverter/ transfer switch), stand-alone AC breaker and DC fuse panels, and a BestGo Lithium battery. Yes, that project will be documented in my mods thread when completed .
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Centex View Post
Just FYI and FWIW, my August 2021 build 5.0 ordered with absolutely no battery, electrical, or solar-related options whatsoever was delivered with the WFCO model WF-8955LiS power center. I verified that the 'LiS switch' was toggled to the "LA" setting, proper for my 'base standard' single 12V FLA battery as delivered.

Obviously I can't assure that all trailers, even those without an optional Lithium battery installed, are now getting the WFCO LiS model as standard, but it's what ETI put in mine at no extra cost. Using the LiS on all trailers regardless of battery chemistry would make sense from a component inventory and stocking efficiency standpoint, the cost difference to ETI is probably extremely small.

Again, just FYI and FWIW. In my case it's moot, I'm already in the process of replacing the WFCO unit with the xantrex Freedom XC 2000 (all-in-one unit with charger /converter / inverter/ transfer switch), stand-alone AC breaker and DC fuse panels, and a BestGo Lithium battery. Yes, that project will be documented in my mods thread when completed .
Nice Id be interested in your wiring schematic as Im on the cusp of a inverter install which at the moment is a progressive dynamics ts/inverter.
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:43 PM   #6
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I have stock ETI lithium setup and it works, yes, but battery charge indicator is useless and the iphone app simply does not work via bluetooth
I ended up recording voltage drops manually and using that as indicators for SOC.
At least the charging Amps are showing correctly when battery is charging by solar.
When the battery is completely depleted it won't charge via solar anymore, has to be plugged in. Not sure if that's expected behavior or not but it sucks.
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Old 03-01-2022, 04:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by oldwave View Post
There is discussion about ETI under sizing wiring and fuses for the current lithium installs. It would be wise to inquire if that package includes the upsized wire and fuses.
We have only the Solar option on our 5.0. So we decided to use existing wires , all built in , to install the 18 amp Victron dc/dc charger to handle the 100 ah lithium battery. The question is, IS where to intersect the wires to the house battery to make sure to utilize the charging wires from the tow vehicle via the 7 pin plug
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Old 03-01-2022, 05:27 PM   #8
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We have only the Solar option on our 5.0. So we decided to use existing wires , all built in , to install the 18 amp Victron dc/dc charger to handle the 100 ah lithium battery. The question is, IS where to intersect the wires to the house battery to make sure to utilize the charging wires from the tow vehicle via the 7 pin plug
I'm not familiar with how the jacks are powered on a 5.0. If they are connected to the 7 pin charge line rather than a separate run from the converter, you will need to provide a method of powering them since the DC to DC is a one way device and should be placed close to the batteries.

If you decide to put the DC to DC converter at the front of the trailer before the connection to the jacks (if they are fed by the 7 pin charge line) you won't need to add a wire to power the jacks, but it won't be as accurate as it would if it was put close to the batteries/and converter.

In any case, follow the instructions from Victron as to positioning the converter.
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Old 03-01-2022, 05:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dosby View Post
I have stock ETI lithium setup and it works, yes, but battery charge indicator is useless and the iphone app simply does not work via bluetooth
I ended up recording voltage drops manually and using that as indicators for SOC.
At least the charging Amps are showing correctly when battery is charging by solar.
When the battery is completely depleted it won't charge via solar anymore, has to be plugged in. Not sure if that's expected behavior or not but it sucks.
Since the voltage drop curve with lithium batteries is very shallow, ie they only drop a small amount of voltage until they are almost empty, traditional methods of determining State of Charge by reading voltage doesn't work very well.

The best solution is to add a battery monitor such as a Victron 712 or SmartShunt, and program it for your batteries. Since the shunt counts amps in & out, once properly configured, it will provide an accurate SOC measurement for lithium (or any other kind of battery).
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Old 05-12-2022, 06:51 AM   #10
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We are thinking of getting the lithium ready option and purchasing a SOK battery that has a bluetooth connection built into the battery itself that should allow us to monitor the charge and discharge. ETI says they use 8 & 10 gauge wires and a Victron DC-DC charger (they didn't specify the converter they install).

Does anyone have something similar and does it work? Will I need to change things to run on lithium if I simply bring the battery on the day I pick up the trailer?

I've never had a trailer before and thus never had to figure out the battery needs but this looks to me like it should be fine for boondocking with light electricity use.

One other question, why do people seem to get two 100AH batteries rather than one 200AH battery? I see the multiple battery option very often on Youtube videos and don't know why.
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:08 AM   #11
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I thought ETI was no longer offering a lithium ready option?
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:12 AM   #12
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I thought ETI was no longer offering a lithium ready option?
They did stop it for awhile but they are bringing it back. We will pick up our trailer in early November and they said they would offer it by then.
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:33 AM   #13
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One other question, why do people seem to get two 100AH batteries rather than one 200AH battery? I see the multiple battery option very often on Youtube videos and don't know why.
Honestly I think it is based on the nature of what is available as the lithium market matures. I believe that Battle Born initially only offered a 100AH version. Probably because they were targeting "drop-in" lead acid and AGM replacements. They still have limited form factors but do now have a 270 AH "Gamechanger". SOK has 100AH and 206AH versions. Bestgo (which we have) offers 200, 400 and 560AH versions. Personally I like a single compact package with one BMS. It's smaller and lighter than paralleling multiple 100 AH batteries and the wiring is much simpler. This assumes you have the space to accommodate one large battery.
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:42 AM   #14
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One other question, why do people seem to get two 100AH batteries rather than one 200AH battery? I see the multiple battery option very often on Youtube videos and don't know why.

I put my batteries in the DS dinette cabinet of my E-19, where all the other electronics are. It would be really hard to physically put a single 200 A-hr battery in through the top and past all the other stuff. Two 100 A-hr are much easier to deal with.
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:45 AM   #15
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Honestly I think it is based on the nature of what is available as the lithium market matures. I believe that Battle Born initially only offered a 100AH version. Probably because they were targeting "drop-in" lead acid and AGM replacements. They still have limited form factors but do now have a 270 AH "Gamechanger". SOK has 100AH and 206AH versions. Bestgo (which we have) offers 200, 400 and 560AH versions. Personally I like a single compact package with one BMS. It's smaller and lighter than paralleling multiple 100 AH batteries and the wiring is much simpler. This assumes you have the space to accommodate one large battery.
I agree that going with a single unit is easier with less wiring, etc but be sure to check the maximum current output. It is generally limited by the battery BMS, and with individual batteries, the total output adds per battery/BMS, while with a single case & BMS even if you have 300-400 amp hours, the BMS will determine the maximum load. I have seen large batteries with only a 100 amp BMS. While fine for normal loads, it may limit your microwave use.
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Old 05-12-2022, 08:59 AM   #16
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I agree that going with a single unit is easier with less wiring, etc but be sure to check the maximum current output. It is generally limited by the battery BMS, and with individual batteries, the total output adds per battery/BMS, while with a single case & BMS even if you have 300-400 amp hours, the BMS will determine the maximum load. I have seen large batteries with only a 100 amp BMS. While fine for normal loads, it may limit your microwave use.
Jon: You don't miss much. I had a note about this exact point in my last post but deleted it. You are exactly right. The 400AH Bestgo we have has a 200A discharge limit, the Batte Born Gamechanger has 300A but the 206AH SOK only has 100A. If I had the SOK I would be pushing it with either the microwave or mini-split A/C alone. I have drawn close to 200A DC with A/C compressor ramped up and microwave on. Rare but possible nonetheless with my system design. On edit: If I paralleled two SOK for over 400AH then I suppose that would be equivalent to the Bestgo with a 200A total discharge current limit max.
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Old 05-12-2022, 04:56 PM   #17
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A PD4655L *will* pump a steady 50 amps into LFP batteries that are discharged any significant amount. AWG 8 wire is marginal for 50 amps unless the runs are very short and adequately cooled (open air, for example, not tightly bundled). When I rewired mine, I used mostly AWG 4 for the DC mains
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Old 05-12-2022, 06:16 PM   #18
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A PD4655L *will* pump a steady 50 amps into LFP batteries that are discharged any significant amount. AWG 8 wire is marginal for 50 amps unless the runs are very short and adequately cooled (open air, for example, not tightly bundled). When I rewired mine, I used mostly AWG 4 for the DC mains
Any chance AWG 4 is overkill and my bubble won't be burst?

I might still go with the lithium ready so that I can use the trailer better until it's home and I have a chance to upgrade the wires. I intend to pick it up in Sumas, WA and need to drive it back home to eastern Tennessee so I need it put together and working when I pick it up.
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:03 PM   #19
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Any chance AWG 4 is overkill and my bubble won't be burst?

I might still go with the lithium ready so that I can use the trailer better until it's home and I have a chance to upgrade the wires. I intend to pick it up in Sumas, WA and need to drive it back home to eastern Tennessee so I need it put together and working when I pick it up.
I'd plan on at least #4. Lithium does pull the full output of your converter (or solar controller) until close to 98% fully charged.

I don't know if the currently installed WFCO 55 amp converter can actually produce 55 amps (it was rare for their lead acid version to produce anywhere near its full output) but if it does, you may have overheating & you may find you cannot rapidly charge the batteries due to voltage drop. It would be a shame to waste one of the best features of lithium batteries - fast charging.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:20 PM   #20
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I'd plan on at least #4. Lithium does pull the full output of your converter (or solar controller) until close to 98% fully charged.

I don't know if the currently installed WFCO 55 amp converter can actually produce 55 amps (it was rare for their lead acid version to produce anywhere near its full output) but if it does, you may have overheating & you may find you cannot rapidly charge the batteries due to voltage drop. It would be a shame to waste one of the best features of lithium batteries - fast charging.
Does anyone have an estimate as to how difficult it would be to replace the wires on a 21NE with the battery in the front storage box? Where do they exit the body of the trailer?

I would hate to purchase the lithium ready option and still need to replace the wires and components but my alternatives are to drop a LiFePO4 in to replace the original lead acid battery or try to get by with the lead acid battery until I can figure out how to upgrade. Picking it up far from home in the rainy season of the Pacific Northwest and then needing to get to work pulling wire doesn't sound like a good risk management plan.
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