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Old 09-23-2023, 02:12 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
 
2019 25' Flying Cloud
Bozeman , Montana
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 17
Another AGM vs. Lithium Question

The original AGM batteries in our 2019 25 FC RBT are toast. Somehow, we got down to 9% charge after 3 days of rain in Idaho in August. We have factory-installed solar and a Zamp suitcase, which typically serves us very well. We boondock more than plug in. This past summer we had 3 plug in trips and 7 boondock trips. The only other time we were concerned about battery charge was a few years ago in Canada where it also rained for days at a time. A/C not a concern as we are in MT and our nights are cool. We do use a Weeboost for cell enhancement, which is a drain on the inverter.

Our local RV repair wants $900 to just replace the AGMís and about $6k to upgrade to 2 Battleborn lithium batteries, replace the converter and charge controller and upgrade the existing 2 solar panels to 200 wt/each.

It seems like a huge investment to upgrade. Iíd love to hear your thoughts on this and if there is anything else we should be considering.

Thank you so much!!
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Old 09-23-2023, 02:24 PM   #2
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2017 28' International
Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by Hlifson View Post
The original AGM batteries in our 2019 25 FC RBT are toast. Somehow, we got down to 9% charge after 3 days of rain in Idaho in August. We have factory-installed solar and a Zamp suitcase, which typically serves us very well. We boondock more than plug in. This past summer we had 3 plug in trips and 7 boondock trips. The only other time we were concerned about battery charge was a few years ago in Canada where it also rained for days at a time. A/C not a concern as we are in MT and our nights are cool. We do use a Weeboost for cell enhancement, which is a drain on the inverter.

Our local RV repair wants $900 to just replace the AGM’s and about $6k to upgrade to 2 Battleborn lithium batteries, replace the converter and charge controller and upgrade the existing 2 solar panels to 200 wt/each.

It seems like a huge investment to upgrade. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if there is anything else we should be considering.

Thank you so much!!
1) You don’t need a repair shop to replace the AGM batteries. You can do it on your own. It’s really simple. Take a picture of the wiring configuration of your batteries and just take them out and put new in. You can get AGMs for about $750 or less if you want to stay with AGMs. Again shop around a bit.

2) As far as the Lithium package, I would look at the thread below.

It seems your “repair” shop is ripping you off on the AGMs.


https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ar-225201.html
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Old 09-23-2023, 02:30 PM   #3
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2005 25' Safari
Brooks , Georgia
Join Date: Mar 2009
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I put in 2 BB batteries, a shunt, and changed the charger on my 2005’ safari. Lots of threads on this forum and You Tube clips too. The batteries are $750 if you catch them on sale. 6K sounds high to me. I would think you could buy all the parts and tools needed for under 3k.
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Old 09-23-2023, 04:01 PM   #4
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Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 12
I'd be cautious going with Battleborn these days. I just had 2 of their batteries fail almost simultaneously and my warranty claim was denied because the batteries were 'water damaged'. They were installed in a stock 2021 Airstream battery box, not submerged under water. The customer service rep straight up told me they recently changed their warranty process and are now denying most claims because they have been losing too much money fixing old batteries. They wanted me to pay $908 for repair and shipping on two 2 year old batteries. Ridiculous.

I'm going to replace them with some budget Chinese lithium batteries since it seems the vaunted Battleborn warranty isn't worth much anymore, and apparently the budget batteries (LiTime, Weize, Redodo, PowerQueen) are pretty good now.
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Old 09-23-2023, 04:19 PM   #5
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2017 28' International
Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachary M. View Post
I'd be cautious going with Battleborn these days. I just had 2 of their batteries fail almost simultaneously and my warranty claim was denied because the batteries were 'water damaged'. They were installed in a stock 2021 Airstream battery box, not submerged under water. The customer service rep straight up told me they recently changed their warranty process and are now denying most claims because they have been losing too much money fixing old batteries. They wanted me to pay $908 for repair and shipping on two 2 year old batteries. Ridiculous.

I'm going to replace them with some budget Chinese lithium batteries since it seems the vaunted Battleborn warranty isn't worth much anymore, and apparently the budget batteries (LiTime, Weize, Redodo, PowerQueen) are pretty good now.
Sorry to hear about that. I donít have Lithiums, but paying too much isnít just on Lithiums. This is also true for AGMs. I can get AGMs at Blaines Farm and Fleet for close to half.
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Old 09-23-2023, 05:44 PM   #6
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2007 16' International CCD
Vintage Kin Owner
Somewhere , Colorado
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Posts: 1,425
I am on the cheap side, but I don’t think the $6k is way too much for parts and labor (to install two lithium batteries, a new converter and charge controller, plus two 200w solar panels) total price out the door. Especially if you knock $1k off for less expensive batteries.

This will serve you well in good-to-great solar conditions, but will only double your electrical life span under the poor conditions you described. Maybe that’s enough, maybe you can become expert on power conservation. Maybe you will need a generator.

I am very glad we upgraded to lithium……
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Old 09-23-2023, 06:08 PM   #7
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2017 28' International
Jim Falls , Wisconsin
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I am not trying to talk you out of lithium batteries. In the long run they are probably a good investment based upon what I have read. And if you boondock a lot then being set up for that is pretty nice. But why not get a decent generator to help charge up the batteries or run things just in case. A good generator has lots of other uses as well. I use mine at home quite a bit for various projects. Kind of handy not to have to run long cords to the house outlets, etc. If you are concerned about the up front costs for the lithiums, then get a decent set of AGMS and a portable generator when there are cloudy conditions. I have lots of solar on my house, and if I hit a cloudy stretch they don’t produce much. Just a thought.
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Old 09-23-2023, 08:59 PM   #8
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2023 27' Globetrotter
Williamsburg , Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Get lithium. Don't pay $6K. Our install was just under $3K for 2xBattleborn 100 aH. Included the Victron stint. You need to shop the install around, or as others have said, do it yourself.
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Old 09-24-2023, 10:35 AM   #9
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2017 30' Classic
2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Capacity wise, one 100AH lithium gives you the same usable capacity as a pair of the typical AGM's. More or less, even going with BB's, the cost is roughly the same for the same capacity.

If you still have the stock converter / charger, I'd bet at least half a bottle of warm beer that it's at the root of your "batteries went flat" problem. The converter charger died and that ultimately gave you to little battery to work with. If it hasn't died yet, it's pretty good bet it will die in the next couple years.

Best guess: You will buy a new converter charger as part of this deal, no matter which option you pick. With the AGM route, it will get "discovered" after the batteries are in the vehicle.

There is very little (if any) cost difference between a "lithium compatible" charger and one that only does lead acid these days. Some of what's on the market seems to work a bit better than other models. Without some discussion, you have no idea what the dealer will put in. Even more so on that "surprise you need this" phone call.

Either way (AGM or lithium) a shunt monitor is a really good idea. I'd put one in either way. Indeed, you *can* get away without one, but you are very much flying blind. If you do a lot of off grid camping, that's not a great idea.

Bottom line: For the same capacity, the raw cost is likely to be very close either way. If the dealer wants to charge 3X the raw cost for lithiums that's more than a bit steep. I'd shop around a bit ....

Bob
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Old 09-24-2023, 10:36 AM   #10
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2006 30' Classic S/O
Naples , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2017
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We upgraded to 4 lithium 100 amp hr batteries 600 rooftop panels a Victron controller full rig inverter. All done it was 16k and this was 5 years ago +/- and has been a huge game changer in our travels. If you Boondock regularly it is probably worth the cost, and if you can cut that down by DIY ing, even better. We used to travel with a Champion dual fuel generator but have been leaving that at home.
Before the Lithiums we had AGM’s and they worked well we just always had a generator with us and really had to monitor our usage. It is better now or we’ve gotten better at conserving energy. Happy travels.
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:00 AM   #11
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
Jacksonville , Oregon
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On our 2014 FC we have 2 100 watt panels on the roof & have never lost electricity. The solar recharges batteries to near full during the day and the 2 AGM batteries provide plenty of power for the night. Even running the furnace during the night/day is no problem. Sometimes using the 110V toaster in the morning puts a strain on the system so we just skip the toast when boondocking. In an older AS prior to them going to pretty much all elec. I really don't see any benefit if cost is a consideration. In other words if I had unlimited funds I'd probably upgrade just for heck of it but I don't I'd really notice any difference except maybe some toast in morning
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:01 AM   #12
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2018 26' Flying Cloud
Oriental , North Carolina
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I honestly would stick with the AGMs. Like has been said---take a picture before you remove the old ones. It is not hard to change them out at all. I had a dealer replace mine and he wired them up wrong. That's why a picture is a lifesaver.
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:27 AM   #13
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2007 16' International CCD
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Somewhere , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2link2 View Post
On our 2014 FC we have 2 100 watt panels on the roof & have never lost electricity. The solar recharges batteries to near full during the day and the 2 AGM batteries provide plenty of power for the night. Even running the furnace during the night/day is no problem. Sometimes using the 110V toaster in the morning puts a strain on the system so we just skip the toast when boondocking. In an older AS prior to them going to pretty much all elec. I really don't see any benefit if cost is a consideration. In other words if I had unlimited funds I'd probably upgrade just for heck of it but I don't I'd really notice any difference except maybe some toast in morning
Respectfully, the description of your success with two AGMís and 200w of solar is strictly due to the assumption of good to great solar conditions. Under poor solar conditions the batteries will be drained in a very few days.

So, a benefit to the lithium upgrade is a doubling of stored power and therefore a doubling of days under poor solar conditions like shade and/cloud cover. These conditions are not uncommon.
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:43 AM   #14
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2015 20' Flying Cloud
Lander , Wyoming
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 41
I love lithium batteries like most everyone else, but keep in mind lithium batteries cannot be charged when the temp is below freezing, and the BMS will shut the lithium batteries down if the battery temp falls to about 20 degrees F. From your post I see you live in Montana (Iím in Wyoming), so if you ever pull in or out during the winter and if you depend on lithiumís then you could have problems. Your frig must have 12V to work, as well as your runaway brakes, so driving in our winter temps often involves travel in sub zero temps. For this reason I stuck with AGMís for the main trailer batteries, because they still work just fine in sub zero temps.

I use a 100A lithium for our CPAPís, but I keep it inside the coach and separate from the main trailer power system. Yes you can get lithiums with built in heaters, but imagine the amp draw to heat a batttery in the box up front when driving at highway speeds in sub zero temps.

I bought nice AGMís from Bass Pro Shop and got them shipped free to the house. I agree with another comment that they are not hard to replace. I recommend you stick with AGMís unless you never travel when itís cold.

Last winter we left for Arizona in December when it was -16 degrees F. We returned in February when it wasnít much better.
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Old 09-24-2023, 11:51 AM   #15
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2018 16' Sport
St. Louis , Missouri
Join Date: May 2019
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Lithium

Get a couple of lithium batteries. Renogy and Battleborn are a couple of good options. You donít need more solar, probably need less with lithium.
Be sure you have a lithium solar controller.
One of my pet peeves. You donít need to change your converter. You only use it when you have electric hook ups. Your solar will top off the lithium.
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Old 09-24-2023, 12:21 PM   #16
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2023 28' International
Mercer County , New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sport 16 STL View Post
Get a couple of lithium batteries. Renogy and Battleborn are a couple of good options. You donít need more solar, probably need less with lithium.
Be sure you have a lithium solar controller.
One of my pet peeves. You donít need to change your converter. You only use it when you have electric hook ups. Your solar will top off the lithium.
The other use of the converter is when you are charging from a generator when there is limited solar available. In this case you may want to charge the batteries to 100%, not the ~85% you'd see without a lithium-compatible controller.
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Old 09-24-2023, 01:13 PM   #17
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2007 16' International CCD
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Somewhere , Colorado
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Originally Posted by jeffb831 View Post
The other use of the converter is when you are charging from a generator when there is limited solar available. In this case you may want to charge the batteries to 100%, not the ~85% you'd see without a lithium-compatible controller.
I could only charge my Battleborn lithium battery up to 70% when the installer failed to put the new Progessive Dynamics ďlithium compatibleĒ converter into lithium mode.

Lithium compatible converters are important both when charging from shore power and when charging from a generator. Hardly worth the lithium battery upgrade cost without one.
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Old 09-24-2023, 01:33 PM   #18
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2006 25' Safari
St. Augustine , Florida
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I went lithium this year and got the Lion batteries at Costco on sale. They have a lifetime warranty and I called the company and asked what that meant- LOL. They said that if I have trouble and there is no issue that I have caused- installed and used as per directions, I am good to go. I followed the directions and installed them as prescribed with parallel passing from one side through the other of the two batteries and charged them both to 100% before install as prescribed.

What is nice is that the shunt and blue tooth is built into each battery and warrantied as well. The app tells me the charge on my phone. The two of them cost $1399 with tax. The young guy on YouTube, Will, liked the performance but not the posts. He loves Battleborn. I find these are nice though I had to change all my hook ups and wire for the different connection. So far so good. I had to also add the 1" channel trim on top and re-attach the door on top. Make sure the door edge on the top favors the tank side edge if you do this. Clearance is tight on trailer side of door.
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Old 09-24-2023, 02:28 PM   #19
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2022 27' Globetrotter
Haslet , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2022
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I converted our batteries myself from AGM (128AH) to lithium (200AH) in January. It has been a great improvement. We boondocked for ten days on Monarch Pass, CO in June below freezing each night, so we ran the electric fridge, heat and CPAP all night. Had plenty of power for that, but we did have to recharge each day using 200W Renogy solar suitcase and generator. Recharging is quicker with lithium which also helps. I provided a detailed description of my DIY install, including Victron smart shunt, here if you're interested: https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...um-241239.html. I agree with previous comments that a "before" picture of battery wiring is critical to guide you in wiring the new batteries in. Also, be sure that your prospective batteries will fit in the battery box or whatever space you're putting them in before you order.
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Old 09-25-2023, 11:19 AM   #20
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
Jacksonville , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
Respectfully, the description of your success with two AGMís and 200w of solar is strictly due to the assumption of good to great solar conditions. Under poor solar conditions the batteries will be drained in a very few days.

So, a benefit to the lithium upgrade is a doubling of stored power and therefore a doubling of days under poor solar conditions like shade and/cloud cover. These conditions are not uncommon.

No assumption on my part just our real world experience. I think everyone knows the lithium upgrade will improve your solar power storage. The OP said they have gotten along fine using AGM batteries & was asking if a lithium upgrade cost for them was worth it. I posted our experience which is in line with the OP's experience, that using AGM batteries we have no problem. So for us spending the money on the upgrade just isn't worth it. We don't use the AS full time, we winterize late November & don't use it in December, January or February. Obviously everyone's need or want for solar power & storage is different if cost is a consideration than IMO need would be a deciding factor, in my reading of the OP's post it didn't sound like they needed to upgrade.
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