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Old 04-17-2022, 05:23 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 25
Lithium battery retrofit on BC16

Hi,

After scouring the web about retrofitting the Basecamp 16 with lithium batteries and not finding what I needed I decided to go for it. Here are a few notes from the install.

The trailer:

2018 Basecamp 16.


The batteries:

I chose the Battleborn BBGC2 form factor, two for a total 200AH. I chose one heated, one non-heated with the thought that in the rare occasion I'd need battery heat one would be enough to get the cabin heat up and running warm enough to charge the other. The heater control's not hooked up yet.


The installation:

The batteries mount in a two-bay tray beneath the sink. I initially tried to take the tray out which was a big mistake - it was obviously installed before the cabinets and is not coming out with them in place.

Each bay is a snug 7" x 11". Initially I thought this was a no-go for the BattleBorns which had a spec of 7.28" x 10.31" x 11". The critical 7.28 dimension is due to a few mounting tabs near one end of the battery. With the exception of these, the battery is about 6 13/16. **But** Battleborn's documentation lags their actual design and they did away with the tabs. Luckily the battery is a snug fit in the battery box (with terminals up)

I put lashing straps around each battery before dropping them in. Without they'd be near impossible to pull back out as there's no place to grip them. The straps are taped on so they don't slip off, and I put stick-on mounting feet under the battery so that it doesn't teeter-totter on the strap.

I removed the original battery posts in the box and placed feed-through grommets.

I removed the original vent hose, sealed the vent, and reinstalled from the outside as it's not needed for anything but lead-acid batteries.

I wired the positives through a fuse block purchased from BattleBorn. Given the energy density of lithiums, I wanted a fuse as close to the batteries as I could

I wired the grounds through a Victron energy monitor shunt. This is a great little monitor and is a better battery 'fuel gauge' than the voltage readout on the SeeLevel. I bought the bluetooth version (BMV-712) so I could blind-mount it if I didn't feel like drilling a hole somewhere for the readout.

I likely discard the battery box cover. I'm not sure it will fit, and even if it does, I don't like having a metal surface above the batteries that could potentially come in contact with the terminals.

BattleBorn said that the original WFCO converter isn't compatible with the charging voltages of the new lithium batteries, so I replaced this with a PD4655V. I question this as there's nothing that says it's "lithium specific" nor do I see how the voltages are different, but I took it on blind faith and replaced it anyway. Hey, it's only money.

Next steps include doing a better insulation job on the positive connections and mounting a hinge on the cabinet floor for better access. I'll also find a real mounting spot for the Victron monitor and neaten up cables.
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Old 04-18-2022, 11:08 AM   #2
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2021 16' Basecamp
Silverale , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 36
Following... good intel as I am also considering a conversion...
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2021 Basecamp 16x
2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
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Old 04-18-2022, 09:18 PM   #3
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2020 16' Basecamp
Louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 107
Thanks

Thanks Chrispo for the great info. I am planning on adding lithiums but couldn’t determine if the BB lithiums would fit. I mounted my BMV 712 monitor on the back wall of the space, but honestly have never looked at it since installation. I always use the Bluetooth connection to my phone or tablet. The pic is rotated 90* CCW.
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Old 04-19-2022, 09:19 PM   #4
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Austin , Texas
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Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolind View Post
... I mounted my BMV 712 monitor on the back wall of the space, but honestly have never looked at it since installation. I always use the Bluetooth connection to my phone or tablet...
Thanks! I am thinking of a similar installation for my 712. I guess the back panel wasn't too thick? And there was space between this and the buss bar / connections right behind?

The electrical schematics suggest there's a cable running from this area over to where the SeeLevel monitor is for a solar controller, although my trailer didn't have it. That would have been a nicer spot. But as you point out, with Bluetooth a blind mount is a-ok.

Thanks for the pictures ~
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Old 04-20-2022, 09:47 AM   #5
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2020 16' Basecamp
Louisville , Kentucky
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 107
There is plenty on room to mount the BMV 712 monitor on the panel in front of the bus bar, but it does make access behind this panel a little more complicated bc the connections to the monitor tether the panel unless they are disconnected. We had factory solar and there is a yellow ri 45 cable that ran between the Atkinson charge controller, located where the bus bar is and the curbside storage console where a sunexplorer 2 monitor was located. The sunexplorer 2 monitor is right next to the 110 outlet. I bet the yellow cable is in there somewhere. I have replaced my solar charge controller with a victron unit and have been very happy with the change.
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Old 04-20-2022, 10:33 AM   #6
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1962 26' Overlander
2016 28' Flying Cloud
Defiance , Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 64
Here’s a link that tells you how to set up the charging voltages for lithium:

https://www.bestconverter.com/PD-4655VL-55-Amp-Converter-Upgrade-Optional-Remote-Pendant-_p_676.html#.YmAmtKQpC_Y
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:47 AM   #7
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Austin , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62olander View Post
Here’s a link that tells you how to set up the charging voltages for lithium
Thank you for this!

At first I thought "oh, crap, I just spent nearly $300 on the wrong converter, the PD4655V. Maybe I needed the lithium-specific converter, the PD465LIV? Dangit.

But as the instructions point out, the -V model also has the jumper, just set to AGM by default. A minute or two to change the jumper and the converter then put out the proper 14.4V charge voltage that Battleborn recommends.
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Old 04-21-2022, 11:17 AM   #8
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2019 Basecamp
Whitefish , Montana
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 41
Some quick notes: (Based on my installation of 2 RelIon 100 watt Li Batteries in my 2019 BCX)

1) It is possible to completely remove the battery box without surgery to the cabinet box. The thing is steel and quite heavy and removing it allows a dramatic improvement in insulation between the batteries and the outside wall and the bottom of the trailer. (I installed the batteries on their side above the floor and filled the area under the floor with spray foam. Also provided a vent through the cabinet wall into the living space and resistance heat fed from solar. So the batteries stay toasty even in the winter in Montana.

2) I installed the 2 Victron monitoing gauges in the wall facing of the curbside cabinet facing the door (next to the fire extinguisher). I also put some switches there for things like turning an inverter on and off, controlling heat for the batteries, etc. and switching the trailer 12 volts in various modes) Not ideal for viewing from inside of the trailer but Bluetooth does work.

3) I found that the Victron 120v charger had the most flexibility and control for charging the batteries. I kept the original WFCU but only use it for providing 12 volts to the trailer when connected to shore power. There are relays that isolate the batteries from the WFCU when the trailer is connected to shore power.

4) While towing I charge the lithium batteries with a 12 to 48 v Dc to Dc converter from the Tow vehicle and then the 48 volts goes through a Victron solar converter that is also used for 2 100 w portable solar panels while boondocking. (Separate from the rooftop Victron converter because of the different cell voltages). 12 volts for the trailer circuits is provided separately from the TV while under tow. (again a relay isolates the battery).

For boondocking 2-3 days at a time I haven't needed to deploy the portable panels.
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Old 04-24-2022, 10:25 AM   #9
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Austin , Texas
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Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Basecamp19 View Post
Some quick notes: (Based on my installation of 2 RelIon 100 watt Li Batteries in my 2019 BCX)
Great feedback, thanks!

But I'm still wondering how you ever got that battery box out? Did you disassemble a lot of the cabinetry?

Great idea about the vehicle 12v -> 48V -> solar charger -> battery. I was wondering how to manage this and have just left this disconnected for now.
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Old 04-24-2022, 10:47 PM   #10
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2019 Basecamp
Whitefish , Montana
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 41
I am sure I took out the all the shelves -- I was doing other things under the sink including installing a drain to the outside for the sink water, and also I replaced the rather thick board under the top shelf (silverware holder) with a piece of aluminum sheet. But other than that I didn't deconstruct the cabinetry at all.
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Old 04-25-2022, 07:39 PM   #11
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2022 16' Basecamp
Creighton , Nebraska
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 24
I recently ordered a BC16, it will be a 2023 with delivery this fall. The dealer called me today with an update on the new battery configuration. It will have 200w of solar instead of 180, the controller is switchable for all types, and the battery box will take lead/acid, AGM, or lithium. It sounds like they will be delivered to the dealers without batteries so the battery decision came be made as late as pre-delivery.
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Old 11-20-2022, 06:32 PM   #12
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2018 Basecamp
Paulden , Arizona
Join Date: Nov 2022
Posts: 2
For easy, clean mounting solution for a new Victron BMV-712 Solar Monitor at original Sunexplorer location, utilizing existing RJ45 cable, attach a RJ12/RJ11 Male to RJ45 Female Adapter at the MPPT end under kitchen sink. At the BC16 armrest by the door (factory mounting location) install a 2” round wall plate as a mounting adapter for the new BMV-712.

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Old 11-20-2022, 06:33 PM   #13
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2018 Basecamp
Paulden , Arizona
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Posts: 2
https://www.airforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1668990518
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