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Old 11-27-2020, 03:16 PM   #1
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Lion Energy Lithium batteries in the Interstate?

Has anyone installed the Lion Energy Lithium batteries in the Interstate or any Airstream really, and had luck with them?

What do you think of some of the comments out there that lithium is a drop in?
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:39 PM   #2
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I recommend a few videos from Will Prowse's YouTube channel:

Comparison of Lion Energy vs. BattleBorn:

This one covers an earlier model, but should be interesting:

This one is fun, because he tears down a couple of Lion Energy batteries and critiques their terminals:
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:16 PM   #3
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The terminals are definitely the biggest downfall to the Lion Energy battery. That and being made overseas.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:34 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, there are some inexpensive imported batteries that Will Prowse likes quite a bit, though I personally never heard of them. Here's an example:
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:01 PM   #5
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We installed the SOK 100ah (x2) and for $620us have work fantastic...
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
What do you think of some of the comments out there that lithium is a drop in?

Speaking to your second question, the answer is there is really no such thing as removing your old batteries and dropping in lithium replacements.

You need to replace all charging sources with ones that have Lithium charging profiles if you want to properly protect your expensive lithium batteries and your engine alternator. That includes coach battery charger, solar controller, and installing a DC to DC charger between your lithiums and your engine battery/alternator. Count on including a battery monitor to keep track of charge levels since voltage alone is not a good gauge of battery status like it is with lead-acid technology.

I did a Renogy Lithium Battery install (2 X 100AH), 3000W Inverter/Charger, Victron Solar Controller, Renogy 40A DC to DC Charger, and Renogy Battery Monitor. $2500 and a year later, I'm happy. But even "doing-it-on-the-cheap" ain't cheap. I consider Lion Batteries to be comparable to Renogy. A top of the line Battle Born and all Victron components upgrade would be a $1000 more.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:54 PM   #7
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I’ll back up the above comments that lithium can’t really be “drop-in” unless your system was designed with lithium in mind beforehand.

I have 6 Lion batteries in my trailer and they’ve been working great for the last 6 months. I definitely give them a workout too. They run my AC (or heat pump) while I drive.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:42 AM   #8
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I have three Lion Energy batteries in my FC and have been very happy with them. The only negative I know of is the factory terminal bolt threads are too short, but you can spend a few cents and buy some longer ones and the problem is solved. The bolt itself isnít there to conduct anything, itís there to hold down the cable lug. The diameter of bolt is plenty big for the job - itís just doesnít have enough thread engagement and can vibrate loose. I had one do just that from driving the Alcan and the heat from the increased resistance of the loose terminal melted the case around the terminal. I emailed Lion Energy and they sent me a free replacement battery with no hassle at all. I installed the new one using longer bolts and replaced the bolts in my other two batteries just to be safe. Iíve had no trouble since and have driven many hours down dirt roads.
Costco Online currently is selling a 2-pack of UT1300ís for $1400.
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:12 AM   #9
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Hi

Since this is a MH and not a trailer .....

You have two battery systems in the vehicle. The battery that starts the engine should stay as a lead acid battery. The charging and starting "stuff" on the engine is set up for lead acid. There is no reason to mess with that. The second battery system is what runs your lights and appliances when you are parked. That system could be converted to lithium.

*IF* you convert one system and not the other, there are various links between them that have to be changed around. Lithium charges differently than lead acid. They also don't like to start engines in the cold. That means separating both the charge and discharge links.

So no, it's very much *not* just a drop them in sort of thing ....

Bob
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:32 PM   #10
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Well, I did a lithium drop-in in a 2013 AI and everything was OK because I used two Battleborn batteries - it was their BIM that made it "OK." I could run longer and stay plugged in during storage ( a big issue with a AGM system.) But note that I had to also use a Goal Zero 1000 to satisfy my wife's need for hair dryer, curling iron, etc. This arrangement satisfied us for about two years.

After running totally dead during a 7-day Colorado boondocking stay last July, I was ready to bite off the DIY hassle and expense of going "full" lithium. I went with Battleborn's recommendations based on our needs, bought the shop tools and set about completely re-doing the whole system. It was a total tear out, keeping only the two previously purchased lithiums. I'll admit the placement of everything within the confines of the AI was most perplexing. Now we're happy!

So, you could just exchange your AGMs with lithiums if their BIMs are OK. You could go with a "drop-in system" if you do not want to re-design the backend of your AI. There are a lot of scenarios and all depend on your use and personal preferences. We preferred to make our AI a boondocker capable of a week-long stay.

One last thing... you can compare lithium-related products all you want, BUT after multiple dealings with those at Battleborn I can tell you their corporate ethics are outstanding! This opinion is based on my experiences with them as retired engineer and corporate consultant for four decades.
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Old 11-28-2020, 02:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iaqstuff View Post
Well, I did a lithium drop-in in a 2013 AI and everything was OK because I used two Battleborn batteries - it was their BIM that made it "OK." .........
I have a 2016, so it may be different.

Are you talking about the precisions battery isolation manager for lithium they recommend (part 00-10041-260) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...thium-battery/
Click image for larger version

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that is a replacement for the installed precision battery isolation manager (part 00-10021-000) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...ager-225-amps/
Click image for larger version

Name:	old BIM.png
Views:	9
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ID:	383955

The reason I ask is I am right in the middle of doing this currently.

Thanks!
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Old 11-28-2020, 05:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wxbuoy View Post
I have a 2016, so it may be different.

Are you talking about the precisions battery isolation manager for lithium they recommend (part 00-10041-260) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...thium-battery/
Attachment 383956

that is a replacement for the installed precision battery isolation manager (part 00-10021-000) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...ager-225-amps/
Attachment 383955

The reason I ask is I am right in the middle of doing this currently.

Thanks!
Dave

Your bottom picture is what I had prior to my lithium upgrade. It has been bypassed by my install. Then I added a Renogy 40A DC to DC charger between my chassis battery/alternator and coach lithiums instead of the top device you show.


With my setup, I no longer charge the engine battery when plugged in to shore power, but I also have no parasitic drain from the engine battery. So just like a regular automobile, the engine battery is fine charging only when driving.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:22 AM   #13
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Not to sound cheesy, but great discussion and suggestions on the Lion Energy Batteries and Lithium upgrades. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

As far as where the lithium batteries are going, house batteries only. They are not recommended for starting batteries at all.

Interested in the discussion on the BIM. Hope to hear a few owners of Interstates pop on and see what works with their upgrade.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:28 AM   #14
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One more place where BIM becomes interesting: The in-dash radio in our 2016 is powered by both the chassis battery and the house batteries. We want to maintain that feature after our lithium upgrade. Somewhere, there's obviously a splice, though I don't know what kind. I suspect we're going to have to make sure there's some kind of isolation that prevents one battery system from transferring electricity directly to the other via this connection.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:55 AM   #15
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Hi

Ok so what happens if you simply drop in the lithiums and don't change anything?

1) Your charge voltages going to the lithiums are to low. They do not get up to full capacity and do not go into "balance" mode.

2) Your lead acid chassis battery sees charge voltages that are to high (due to the draw of the lithium). They boil out / wear out.

3) Your alternator may well fry due to the higher current the lithiums are capable of accepting. (there are threads on this ....).

Net result, you spent a few thousand dollars and got a system with half the capacity you should have had.

Bob
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:57 AM   #16
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... The radio in our 2016 is powered by both the chassis battery and the house batteries. ....
Here is a factoid that may be of interest. In our 2017 GT, in "off" mode the Fusion system seems powered only by house batteries. When we turn the master house switch off then on, the radio re-boots completely, something that doesn't happen otherwise. We have used this trick a few times when the Fusion hangs and needs a hard re-boot.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:47 AM   #17
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Here is a factoid that may be of interest. In our 2017 GT, in "off" mode the Fusion system seems powered only by house batteries. When we turn the master house switch off then on, the radio re-boots completely, something that doesn't happen otherwise. We have used this trick a few times when the Fusion hangs and needs a hard re-boot.
Similar to our situation. Our in-dash radio has no power if both ignition and house batteries are off. We know that because if we turn either of these on, the radio does a cold boot. The radio setup memory is maintained by a low-power wire from the chassis, and that works fine.
(BTW, we replaced our Kenwood with a Pioneer unit, which we like pretty well so far. Primary objectivew was to get CarPlay / Android Auto support, which works well via a USB cable. Wireless CarPlay with this unit is so far unreliable with my iPhone X.)
Anyway, the Pioneer unit only goes to sleep vs. turning off when you use the radio's controls to tell it to shut down. We know this because it literally stays warm when the coach batteries are on, and when we activate the radio from that state it resumes where it left off vs. rebooting. So, we added a rocker switch we can use to kill power to the radio even if ignition or, especially, coach batteries, are on, because we don't want the radio sucking power from the coach batteries if we're not actively listening to it.

What all that means is that there's a splice of some kind between coach and chassis batteries before the power wire enters the radio. I suspect that because of this connection, the batteries aren't really isolated and we'll have to do something there when we switch to lithium. We'll see what our installer says.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by wxbuoy View Post
I have a 2016, so it may be different.

Are you talking about the precisions battery isolation manager for lithium they recommend (part 00-10041-260) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...thium-battery/
Attachment 383956

that is a replacement for the installed precision battery isolation manager (part 00-10021-000) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...ager-225-amps/
Attachment 383955

The reason I ask is I am right in the middle of doing this currently.

Thanks!
Dave
Wxbuoy, I included the green isolation manager in my latest revision. That isolates charging the lithiums via alternator using a limited on/off method.
You could also consider the DC to DC managers.
It's a matter of choice. Both methods have pros and cons.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:31 AM   #19
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One more place where BIM becomes interesting: The in-dash radio in our 2016 is powered by both the chassis battery and the house batteries. We want to maintain that feature after our lithium upgrade. Somewhere, there's obviously a splice, though I don't know what kind. I suspect we're going to have to make sure there's some kind of isolation that prevents one battery system from transferring electricity directly to the other via this connection.

Radio operation did not change after my lithium upgrade. And I completely bypassed to the Precision Circuits battery isolation manager, so the radio must be getting power from the coach batteries elsewhere.

I have the Kenwood head unit. No parasitic drain on coach batteries when battery disconnect switch used.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wxbuoy View Post
I have a 2016, so it may be different.

Are you talking about the precisions battery isolation manager for lithium they recommend (part 00-10041-260) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...thium-battery/
Attachment 383956

that is a replacement for the installed precision battery isolation manager (part 00-10021-000) http://precisioncircuitsinc.com/prod...ager-225-amps/
Attachment 383955

The reason I ask is I am right in the middle of doing this currently.

Thanks!
Dave
Based on my only using 2 BB I went with a Sterling dc to dc. If I expand to 4 batteries then I would use the aftermarket isolator. I also put in a on/off switch where to old BIM was to isolate the chassis and house systems.

My choice of the Sterling was based on it runs off the chassis battery. Chassis battery is charged by the alternator. Schmitte used a different dc to dc charger but the same concept of a dc to dc charger that will work independently outputting power and not putting a strain on the alternator.
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