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Old 10-08-2021, 05:33 PM   #1
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Lithium battery drop in

I have a 2019 airstream international 28 RV. I tow it with a 21 Chevrolet 2500 diesel. Is it possible for me to drop in lithium ion batteries in the current box and just use the charging system that is in my current airstream?

Oops I forgot one thing I do have the factory solar package with two panels 180 W watts. Let me know if that makes a difference or not
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Old 10-08-2021, 05:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Msowers22 View Post
I have a 2019 airstream international 28 RV. I tow it with a 21 Chevrolet 2500 diesel. Is it possible for me to drop in lithium ion batteries in the current box and just use the charging system that is in my current airstream?
Nope! You can simply drop in the lithium batteries, but your converter will not produce the right voltage to properly charge your new lithiums. I would get a converter for lithiums from Progressive Dynamics that is specially suited for lithium batteries.
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Old 10-08-2021, 06:59 PM   #3
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Listen to Lew! He knows a thing or two!!
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:26 PM   #4
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Do you need to also disconnect the charging lead from the tow vehicle?
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:33 PM   #5
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You will also need to reconfigure the solar controller.
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:27 PM   #6
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Lithium battery drop in

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwii;
Do you need to also disconnect the charging lead from the tow vehicle?


Yes. Or install a DC-DC converter. Let the lithium snowball begin.
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:23 AM   #7
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I agree that in order to fully charge the lithium batteries, its best to upgrade to a lithium capable converter.
Having said that most all major lithium batteries will work fine with converters set up for lead acid batteries, but they will not be fully charged.
Unlike lead acid batteries, lithium batteries dont mind being partially charged.
In addition, since you can use virtually all the capacity of lithium batteries without damaging them, you still end up with much more useable capacity.
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:50 AM   #8
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Hi, I just did this in our '21 Caravel 22FB.
1. battleborn gc2s fit in box (they are on sale & free shipping when I purchased)
2. Needed to remove plastic tray in battery box.
3. Victron Blue Solar charge controller...under bed work side...change rotary dial to "7" lithium setting.
4. Replace current wfco converter under fridge with wfco 8950l2 MBA. (10 minutes). Battleborn said this was fine.

I ended up doing other upgrades based on info in the forum...smartshunt & bluetooth dongle for better monitoring / settings but it's not necessary.

Picture of batteries prior to smartshunt install

Forum made it pretty easy due to all the data to reference.

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Old 10-09-2021, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ww4nc View Post
I agree that in order to fully charge the lithium batteries, its best to upgrade to a lithium capable converter.
Having said that most all major lithium batteries will work fine with converters set up for lead acid batteries, but they will not be fully charged.
Unlike lead acid batteries, lithium batteries dont mind being partially charged.
In addition, since you can use virtually all the capacity of lithium batteries without damaging them, you still end up with much more useable capacity.
Hi

Nope

If you don't get to the full required charge voltage, the normal BMS will not balance the cells. Your lithiums could easily fail very early. Spend the $200 on a proper converter charger vs blow the lithiums out in a year or two .. .hmmm ... wonder which one is cheaper to do ....

Simply put: You buy lithiums to get more capacity and longer life. Running with a charger that struggles to make it to 13.3V eliminates the capacity improvement. It also gets the life down to the "on sale at Costco" RV battery level. Far better to just go with the Costco cheap version.

Bob
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:52 AM   #10
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What year does the onboard converter/charger support lithium? My 2022 has the new charger that supports lithium. Dealer said both the charger and solar controller can be configured to properly support the Battle Born batteries as drop ins.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by 2012FB View Post
What year does the onboard converter/charger support lithium? My 2022 has the new charger that supports lithium. Dealer said both the charger and solar controller can be configured to properly support the Battle Born batteries as drop ins.
Hi

This is Airstream so the exact answer will always be "who knows". They seem to have started phasing them in during the 2021 model year. Some got them, some did not.

Bob
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:10 PM   #12
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How many pounds do you lose if you switch from AGM batteries to lithium? Does anyone absolutely, positively know the answer? No theorist answers, please.
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Old 10-10-2021, 07:22 AM   #13
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Lithium battery drop in

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
How many pounds do you lose if you switch from AGM batteries to lithium? Does anyone absolutely, positively know the answer? No theorist answers, please.


I gained 441 lbs. including my solar panels. Just the batteries added net 224lbs - I actually left my old lead acid batteries in the box as ballast based on the rear bed location of most of the equipment.

If you want to know specifics for your situation then google your current batteries models to get the weight and add weight of everything else you need (new battery models, inverter, cabling etc.).

Gear I “dropped in” …

8 AM Solar SP100 panels up top with tilt mounts
Victron 150/85 MPPT controller (Smart w/BT)
Victron 12/3000 Multi-Plus inverter/charger with 50A pass-though
Victron Lithium batteries (600ah total - 2 X 300ah batts)
Victron CCGX monitoring panel
Victron BMV-712 battery monitor (Smart w/BT)
Victron Digital Control Center
Victron BMS
Victron Battery Protects (2)
Victron Lynx 1000 distributor
AM Solar AMS control module for cold weather and other automatic system disconnects
4 Inverter, battery, blue sea solar disconnects
New 120v panel and sub panels
New 12v panel
WeBoost 50db LTE/4G/3G signal booster with Surecall external antenna
Lots of cabling
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Old 10-10-2021, 07:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
How many pounds do you lose if you switch from AGM batteries to lithium? Does anyone absolutely, positively know the answer? No theorist answers, please.
Hi

Exactly which make and model of AGM battery do you have? Their weights vary a bit.

Exactly which make and model of Lithium do you have? Again their weights vary a bit.

The BB lithiums 100AH lithiums that most of us use weigh 31 pounds each. You have two of them so that's 62 pounds.

The Lifeline GPL-27T that many get as a stock battery weighs 61 pounds. Again you get two of them.

That would get you to 60 pounds saved going from those specific AGM's to those specific lithiums. If you had group 31's (some do) they weigh more. Group 24's (which also are out there) are about 5 pounds less (so 10 pounds for the pair).

The converter chargers are within a pound of each other. Which one is heavier depends on what you buy.

Past that, anything you add is a separate upgrade. Once the converter charger is in there, you have a working lithium system. Solar, full disconnect, shunt monitor all work quite well with lead acid. If you decide to go with a DC/DC converter that's an option but not required.

Bob
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Old 10-11-2021, 06:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
I gained 441 lbs. including my solar panels. Just the batteries added net 224lbs - I actually left my old lead acid batteries in the box as ballast based on the rear bed location of most of the equipment.

If you want to know specifics for your situation then google your current batteries models to get the weight and add weight of everything else you need (new battery models, inverter, cabling etc.).

Gear I “dropped in” …

8 AM Solar SP100 panels up top with tilt mounts
Victron 150/85 MPPT controller (Smart w/BT)
Victron 12/3000 Multi-Plus inverter/charger with 50A pass-though
Victron Lithium batteries (600ah total - 2 X 300ah batts)
Victron CCGX monitoring panel
Victron BMV-712 battery monitor (Smart w/BT)
Victron Digital Control Center
Victron BMS
Victron Battery Protects (2)
Victron Lynx 1000 distributor
AM Solar AMS control module for cold weather and other automatic system disconnects
4 Inverter, battery, blue sea solar disconnects
New 120v panel and sub panels
New 12v panel
WeBoost 50db LTE/4G/3G signal booster with Surecall external antenna
Lots of cabling
That has got to be the coolest AS I’ve ever seen.
So it sounds like the 2022 models are made to accept the larger Lithium Batteries and has a Lithium capable Converter. If this is correct, for the new 22’s, is it just a swap of batteries and your are done?
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Spaggs View Post
That has got to be the coolest AS I’ve ever seen.
So it sounds like the 2022 models are made to accept the larger Lithium Batteries and has a Lithium capable Converter. If this is correct, for the new 22’s, is it just a swap of batteries and your are done?
Hi

Given that pretty much nobody has seen a 2022 yet, exactly what's what on them is not 100% clear. The converter is supposed to be a lithium compatible unit. Is that true on all models and all delivery dates? Who knows.

If the battery box is bigger than in 2021, that's a well kept secret. It is a pretty good bet that the few models that still had the old battery box finally got the new one. Those started going in back around 2015 or so. Again, who knows what got what .....

Bob
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Old 10-11-2021, 08:17 AM   #17
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Thanks, Bob.
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Old 10-12-2021, 06:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
Thanks, Bob.
Hi

No problem ....

(Beware of using words like "exact" when talking to an engineer .. )

Bob
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Given that pretty much nobody has seen a 2022 yet, exactly what's what on them is not 100% clear. The converter is supposed to be a lithium compatible unit. Is that true on all models and all delivery dates? Who knows.

Bob
This is what the dealer stated about my 22 that is on order:

2) I understand that the onboard charger will also charge lithium batteries. Is this automatic or is there a change at the charger required? The charger has to be set for lithium by our tech.

3) I believe I can simply swap the 2 included AGM’s for 2 Battle Born Lithium. Is this correct? The batteries swap, solar controller must be configured, charger reconfigured and a switch installed for the battery heaters.

Not sure about the battery heater switch. I think that is for older Battle Borns. Isn't it automatic internal now?
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:55 AM   #20
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Yes they drop in. Yes your converter will charge them alright. Yes you need to disconnect the wire feed that comes from trailer 7 way at the busbar and then you don't need dc to dc
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