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Old 12-16-2016, 10:01 AM   #1
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How to properly store a winterized Airstream with lithium batteries?

Our 30' Classic is winterized and awaiting warranty repairs in Jackson Center at the moment. We've got 600A of lithiums mounted under one of the dinette seats -- do we need to plan on leaving the heat (probably furnace, given the temps up there) running or will the lithiums be OK if the outside temp dips below freezing at night?
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:06 AM   #2
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The lithiums can be stored without any problem; it is charging below freezing that is the issue. My lithiums have a spec of .05C below freezing, which for you is 30 amps. You certainly do not have enough solar to worry about so if you are not plugged in and have a charger on the batteries, you should be just fine.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:18 AM   #3
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I should have also mentioned that we have 900W of solar up on the roof... so, while storing the lithiums below freezing probably isn't an issue, do I need to worry about the current coming in from the solar?
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:28 AM   #4
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Storage when battery temp is <= 32C is not a problem at all for lithiums... but charging lithiums is (a BIG) problem if their internal temp is <= 32C.

My understanding is that you should have an automatic cold weather disconnect in your system to prevent the solar panels or other sources from charging the lithiums if the temperature of the batteries themselves drops (or could drop) below freezing.

If it's going to be cold inside the trailer, and you have solar + lithiums (or plan to connect shore power + lithiums when its cold inside the trailer), but no automatic temperature cut off, then you should absolutely manually disconnect your batteries from any/all charging sources otherwise you will damage many $1000s of dollars worth of lithiums.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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Paul have you spoken with Marvin Braun? I think you have Elites so no charge below 32 degrees and no discharge below -4 degrees F.

From the FAQ: Proper operating temperature ranges are -20 to 65C for discharging and 0 to 65C for charging. Not operating and storing batteries within these temperature ranges can result in damages to the batteries

Good information on the FAQ page at Elite. http://elitepowersolutions.com/faq.html

There are also parasitic draws even with the trailer in Store mode. The cells self discharge at 2-3% per month. At least on mine the CO detector has a draw. Unless the batteries are completly isolated a 1ah draw begins to add up over a couple of weeks.

In my storage situation, inside unheated, 120V 20a outlet I hook up an electric heater, connected to a farm water tank thermal controlled switch that I set for 40 degrees. Last year I tracked the temps between my batteries with a small recording thermometer and in Colorado the batteries never go down to 32F. I would go out every three weeks and run a charge cycle.

Elite also suggests for normal storage that you store at 50-60% capacity. That is also a good rule, rather than 100%. Lithiums like to 'work'. I use the same rational for all of my large (12000mah+) drone batteries. Not planning to fly for several weeks I'll run them down to 50% either flying or discharging through my chargers and I have batteries that are 3 years old and still going strong.

I think Marv did your install. He would be best to tell you how to configure the system for best results.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:47 AM   #6
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Yes, indeed the safe approach is simply to disconnect the batteries. My install included a marine switch to do an easy disconnect. Don't know what you have.
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:18 PM   #7
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Remember, we are talking about internal battery temperature being at or below freezing. Be sure and isolate the batteries from any charging source when they are at or below freezing. Also, Jackson center many not even know where your after market cut off switches are located in your trailer. Even if the factory service tech tows your trailer into a warm bay it could be hours before the batteries would heat soak enough to rise above freezing and safely accept a charge. However, not knowing this, they may routinely plug your trailer into AC and go to work, if they could find the after market switches to turn on the DC. Do not assume the Airstream techs have any experience with Lithium battery solar systems. They do not. It would be best if you were there to monitor the batteries. I have 800AH of Lithiums and 80#s of propane, but I would not hazard a guess how long the furnace would run under the present winter conditions at JC. As previously stated unattended Lithiums while charging in freezing conditions could be a really expensive over site. At home here, I monitor my Lithium pack temperature from my den easy chair when freezing conditions are a factor. However, if the AH remaining in the pack are above 60%, I leave all charging sources off just to be sure.
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