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Old 10-12-2016, 09:55 AM   #1
2017 25' Flying Cloud
Angleton , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Upgrading Converter/Charger To Accommodate Lithium Ion Batteries

I am seeking to replace the converter/charger in my 2017 Airstream FC 25 FB to accommodate the unique charging requirements of my lithium-ion batteries.

Here is what I have:

- One Parallax 5355 Power Center (stock from Airstream) which provides 50 amp Service and a 55 amp Converter/Charger. Link
- Two Stark Power Deep Cycle 12-Volt 125AH batteries. (installed) Link
- One PD9180AL 80-Amp, 12 volt, Lithium Ion Converter/Charger (not installed yet) Link

Here is the approach I’m considering:

- Leave the stock converter/charger in place in case someone down the line wants to use non-lithium batteries. However, I would leave the breaker to the stock converter/charger turned off permanently.
- Install a 20 amp receptacle compatible with the 20 amp cord that comes on the PD9180AL. This receptacle would be powered off the AC panel with a new 20 amp breaker. This receptacle would be in the same area as the power center.
- Install the PD9180AL near the new receptacle making sure there is good ventilation for it. Run two wires from the 12VDC positive leads on the PD9180AL to the 12VDC positive lead lugs on the DC Distribution Panel. Run two wires from the 12VDC negative leads on the PD9180AL to the 12VDC negative terminal bar in the Power Center. Make sure the wire is adequately sized for 80 DC Amps.

Have I missed anything?

Should I consider a lower amperage 12 volt Lithium Ion Converter/Charger since I’d be replacing a 55 amp one with a 80 amp one?

Any help anyone could provide would be much appreciated…

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Old 10-13-2016, 03:08 PM   #2
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1986 25' Sovereign
2008 F350, 6.4L diesel , Oak Harbor, WA
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I would not down size the charger. Li-ion handles the higher smart charging current well. The charger is going to ramp up and down so your average charge current would be lower anyway. The charger I have uses a warm-up 1/2 power start charge, then full ampere charge and then a fixed voltage final charge.

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Old 10-13-2016, 09:01 PM   #3
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 663
I don't recommend the PD9180AL. I purchased this initially but found it quite noisy. It has a temperature controlled fan. After charging the batteries, it will go into low power mode and during that time, the fan will squeal pretty bad.

I exchanged it for the 70 amp unit and it doesn't have that problem. And it is quite a bit smaller to boot. It is also 15 amp service which leaves more A/C current for other things you may want to run.

Note also that you must have a lithium battery management system. I have one but prior to hooking that up, I connected the above charger and in just a few minutes, it pushed one of the four cells into overvoltage. If I had not been there, it would have damaged it.

You can try to balance the cells manually and then use the charger but without it, I would not recommend relying on the charger alone.

You also need a low voltage/charge cut-off which the BMS provides. A single instance of that could completely ruin your cells.

If you are using one of the batteries with BMS in it, then it should be OK subject to how good the BMS is in that unit.
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