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Old 04-20-2019, 09:08 AM   #1
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
OAKDALE , California
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 16
Lithium Upgrade

Hi,

We have a 2018 AI Grand Tour. ( This unit has electric fridge/freezer )...
The battery life has never preformed. It's been upgraded to four Lifeline AGM, and a new solar controller, but still can only boon dock for 24 hrs before the batteries are in the red. SO, we want to move forward to a lithium system. We have discussed doing this with the dealer in Fairfield, CA, as well as Lewster in Oregon. My question for those who have done the upgrade:
1. How successful was the result? Can you run both the fridge and the freezer? How many days do you boon dock?
2. If we are to have the work done in Oregon (we live in CA), would there be any reason to be concerned about warranty issues, and being so far away from the person who has installed it? in other words, once the system is in place, has anyone had problems, and needed to have repairs or changes done?
It's feasible for us to drive up to Oregon to have it done, but not really handy to have to keep driving up there for repairs, etc.

Thanks for your input !!!
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:29 AM   #2
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2013 Interstate Coach
Townsend , Tennessee
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 595
Lew did our lithium upgrade 2 years ago. We have a Lounge Ext, so we donít have the same setup as you. We have added an ARB freezer to supplement our refrigeration needs.
Specifically to your question. We have gone 5 days without shorepower hookup or running the generator. We used the microwave occasionally, actually ran the air conditioner. The AC is what made me finally run the generator. I still had a fear (unjustified) of running below SOC of 50%. We were camped in Cadeís Cove (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) for the solar eclipse, so no hookups. Ran the AC to knock edge off of the dayís heat.
When we considered the upgrade, I looked at our RV dealer and also Lew. After seeing his work and our dealerís work, the decision was easy. Lew, hands down...because of his technical capabilities.
We live in Tennessee, so if we had to deal with issues it would be either phone call, email, or road trip. If you go with quality equipment and quality installer this gets minimized. I did have some operational problems at first, but a quick email exchange showed me what I did wrong.
We also realized if we are traveling, we would automatically be far from ready technical support regardless of where the work was done. So we tried to choose wisely up front. We feel we did just that
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:56 AM   #3
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 6,415
Hi

Very different rig, but same basic issue. Stock battery system dead after about a day in normal use mode. We upgraded the batteries first and went to 400AH usable (vs stock 100AH). We just did a solar upgrade as well. Even without the solar, the lithium got us into the "several days" range. With the solar, (even here in the clouds and rain) I expect to be
into the "week or more" range.

I would have no problem at all with having work done a ways away from my normal base. That's just the way it works with this stuff. I would *much* rather have the work done by somebody who is good at it than have a first timer playing with my rig.

Bob
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:13 AM   #4
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2013 Interstate Coach
Raymond , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Before going to lithium you might want to reviews posts about Sprinter alternator problems. I think some have experienced increased alternator failures due to the extra load posed by fast charging of the lithium batteries.
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:29 AM   #5
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2012 25' FB International
Trent Woods , North Carolina
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,744
Use good stuff

I do not have an AI but did a full Lithium upgrade 2 years ago, installing all Victron equipment procured from AM Solar. I had some startup issues because of firmware flashing provided by AM Solar, but after that was resolved(in one day via email), there have been no problems. The stuff just sits there and works like it is supposed to. Lew has a stellar reputation and only installs good stuff.
Larry
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:33 AM   #6
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Before going to lithium you might want to reviews posts about Sprinter alternator problems. I think some have experienced increased alternator failures due to the extra load posed by fast charging of the lithium batteries.
Hi

The "simple" answer there is to put a DC/DC converter between the alternator driven 12V side (chassis) of things and the battery driven 12V side (house). That way you limit the current *and* keep the lithium's at a voltage they are happy with. The Victron units are a < $100 sort of thing. Mine limits at 9A. You could just as easily put in one that limits at 18A.

Bob
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