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Old 02-26-2021, 01:01 PM   #1
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Batteries Not Fully Charging

Prior to picking up my 2021 GT 27FBT I had the dealer do the Airstream backed lithium upgrade which included 2 Battle Born batteries and an WFCO (WF-8950L2-MBA) converter charger. The converter charger is a two stage with bulk at 14.6v and absorption at 13.6v.

I live in Michigan so I brought the unit home and dropped it in my inside storage unit hooked to shore power. I returned a few days later with the intent to unplug from shore power and put the unit into store mode. With lithium batteries there is no need to leave the unit plugged in. These are the new Battle Born batteries with internal heaters for charging below freezing temps. So in addition to putting the unit in store mode I would also need to unplug the two heater wires from the batteries so they would not drain the batteries.

While resting still hooked to shore power the battery terminals were reading 13.66v which is expected as this is the absorption rate and also the full voltage when at rest. The problem was when I unhooked from shore power the voltage dropped to 13.25 which according to the Battle Born chart is equivalent to somewhere between 70-90 percent of charge. With that result I decided to leave it hooked to shore power and come back in a few days. When I did I had the same results, 13.66v hooked to shore and 13.25 once unhooked. The terminal measurements matched the reading on the Victron MPPT solar charge controller.

At this point I am perplexed as to why the batteries are not fully charging.
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:20 PM   #2
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Welcome to the board, we have several threads on this subject here you can search for.

Here is a link to many related results.

I was one of the early adopters of Battle Born and discovered this same problem almost immediately, if you want predictable battery capacity you will never achieve it with a converter/charger that does not have a lithium focused charge profile. I upgraded mine using the Progressive Dynamics 4655L MBA WildKat replacement converter which was a 20 minute install into my WFCO 8955 power center.

You would need to look at what model of power center you have an the options that are tailored to a drop in replacement, I have heard that the vendor AS uses may offer a lithium compatible replacement. The lithium compatible chargers output voltage flat at ~14.6V as required to charge and maintain a lithium battery.

You would also want to review your MPPT programing to make sure it has appropriate voltage settings for Battle Born.
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:53 PM   #3
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Just a bit more detail as to what happens here, that is actually a 3-stage converter. 13.2V/13.6V/14.4V https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8955mba/

What normally happens on lead acid battery is that the voltage drops enough under any reasonable load that the converter can detect it and switch to 13.6V, but the lithium battery has a lot more energy to give off and will continue to do so for much longer.

Your best bet is to find someone to buy this lithium compatible replacement converter from: https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8950l2-mba/

Looks like it should run ~$200 and is only 5 wires to install, 120VAC hot, neutral, ground and then 12VDC positive, negative.
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:32 PM   #4
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TrailDude,


I see that in the first sentence of your post, you say you already have the spiffy converter SilverHouseDreams recommends. Good!


My only thought is, how good is your voltmeter? My digital voltmeters vary by as much as 1/10 of a volt, from one to another. How much difference would it make in your estimate of your battery's charge level if your meter was off by that much?


BTW, I have an analog voltmeter too...it is off by 1/4 volt compared to the digital ones!
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailDude View Post
Prior to picking up my 2021 GT 27FBT I had the dealer do the Airstream backed lithium upgrade which included 2 Battle Born batteries and an WFCO (WF-8950L2-MBA) converter charger. The converter charger is a two stage with bulk at 14.6v and absorption at 13.6v.

I live in Michigan so I brought the unit home and dropped it in my inside storage unit hooked to shore power. I returned a few days later with the intent to unplug from shore power and put the unit into store mode. With lithium batteries there is no need to leave the unit plugged in. These are the new Battle Born batteries with internal heaters for charging below freezing temps. So in addition to putting the unit in store mode I would also need to unplug the two heater wires from the batteries so they would not drain the batteries.

While resting still hooked to shore power the battery terminals were reading 13.66v which is expected as this is the absorption rate and also the full voltage when at rest. The problem was when I unhooked from shore power the voltage dropped to 13.25 which according to the Battle Born chart is equivalent to somewhere between 70-90 percent of charge. With that result I decided to leave it hooked to shore power and come back in a few days. When I did I had the same results, 13.66v hooked to shore and 13.25 once unhooked. The terminal measurements matched the reading on the Victron MPPT solar charge controller.

At this point I am perplexed as to why the batteries are not fully charging.
I have Battle Borns as well. I haven’t seen the chart to which you are referring, but 12.25V for a 12V battery would not necessarily concern me, particularly if there were some small parasitic loads drawing slightly on your otherwise fully charged batteries. But if you are really concerned, you might want to disconnect the battery terminals entirely and then measure the voltage. That way you’ll know that the voltage isn’t being artificially depressed by a load you haven’t accounted for.

Also, remember that voltage isn’t that great a measure for the state of charge of lithium batteries. Lithium batteries tend to have pretty flat voltages until they are nearly fully depleted, and then the voltage falls off a cliff. That’s why battery monitors are particularly important for lithium if you really want to know the state of charge because then you can monitor how many amps you’ve withdrawn instead of trying to estimate state of charge from voltage.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:45 AM   #6
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Hi

"...... unplug and walk away ..."

That's not generally how any battery system works on an RV. There are parasitic loads that will drain the batteries flat. Indeed, if the heater pads are engaged (and it's cold out) *they* will drain the batteries flat.

The normal process for storage is to use a cutoff switch to fully disconnect the batteries from *all* loads. You then can walk away.

Bob
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:19 PM   #7
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I’ve got two BB GC2s (100 AH each) with a PD 4655L converter. We got home from a trip 48 hours ago, the trailer has not been plugged in but is powered up (fridge running, TPMS repeater on, propane detector on). The batteries are at 76% SOC according to my Victron battery monitor and they are delivering 13.26 volts.

My first question is: Have you checked the voltage when your WFCO is running? Have you confirmed it’s putting out the 14.6 v your BBs want to fully charge? For how long? If it charges at 14.6 for, let’s say, 2 hours then drops to 13.6 and you leave it there for two days you’ll see just what you observed (and what my batteries have done)... two days of discharging until you are at 13.25 volts without the converter turned on and about 75% SOC.

The first thing I’d look into is the charge profile WFCO defined.

At 14.6 v, your BBs would fully recharge in an hour or two. As a test, you might restart the converter, confirm its outputting 14.6, wait two hours, reconfirm it’s still at 14.6, turn off the converter, drink a cup of coffee, recheck the voltage. I’m predicting 13.5-13.6. Less than that, I’d call Battle Born (I find them excellent on items like this) to see what they think.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverHouseDreams View Post
Welcome to the board, we have several threads on this subject here you can search for.

Here is a link to many related results.

I was one of the early adopters of Battle Born and discovered this same problem almost immediately, if you want predictable battery capacity you will never achieve it with a converter/charger that does not have a lithium focused charge profile. I upgraded mine using the Progressive Dynamics 4655L MBA WildKat replacement converter which was a 20 minute install into my WFCO 8955 power center.

You would need to look at what model of power center you have an the options that are tailored to a drop in replacement, I have heard that the vendor AS uses may offer a lithium compatible replacement. The lithium compatible chargers output voltage flat at ~14.6V as required to charge and maintain a lithium battery.

You would also want to review your MPPT programing to make sure it has appropriate voltage settings for Battle Born.
Thank you for your reply and links. While I am not mechanically inclined I have learned a ton since taking possession of my AS GT. I have a spot booked with Airstream Nuts & Bolts in November to do a full upgrade but need to get through my first season with what I have. Ideally I would like a battery monitor with a shunt but am currently left guessing by volts. I did hook up a Victron bluetooth smart dongle to the Victron BlueSolar 150/35 solar charge controller and set the charging parameters although it is currently stored inside so I would not think that would currently be in play.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverHouseDreams View Post
Just a bit more detail as to what happens here, that is actually a 3-stage converter. 13.2V/13.6V/14.4V https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8955mba/

What normally happens on lead acid battery is that the voltage drops enough under any reasonable load that the converter can detect it and switch to 13.6V, but the lithium battery has a lot more energy to give off and will continue to do so for much longer.

Your best bet is to find someone to buy this lithium compatible replacement converter from: https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8950l2-mba/

Looks like it should run ~$200 and is only 5 wires to install, 120VAC hot, neutral, ground and then 12VDC positive, negative.
I guess I am confused here as I noted I already have the 2-stage WF-895012-MBA converter/charger?
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquared View Post
TrailDude,


I see that in the first sentence of your post, you say you already have the spiffy converter SilverHouseDreams recommends. Good!


My only thought is, how good is your voltmeter? My digital voltmeters vary by as much as 1/10 of a volt, from one to another. How much difference would it make in your estimate of your battery's charge level if your meter was off by that much?


BTW, I have an analog voltmeter too...it is off by 1/4 volt compared to the digital ones!
Thank you for the reply. I have the Fluke 101 digital multimeter and have heard great things about it. Also, the voltage reading from my Victron solar charge controller match the multimeter readings. Also, I have been getting a spot on reading while hooked up to shore power that matches what the WFCO converter/charger should be putting out. I guess it could be off by a small amount which would be huge when guessing lithium state of charge by volts but if I understand the resting voltage of a full BB battery it should match the absorption level of the converter/charger? Thanks again for your input!
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JEB View Post

Also, remember that voltage isnít that great a measure for the state of charge of lithium batteries. Lithium batteries tend to have pretty flat voltages until they are nearly fully depleted, and then the voltage falls off a cliff. Thatís why battery monitors are particularly important for lithium if you really want to know the state of charge because then you can monitor how many amps youíve withdrawn instead of trying to estimate state of charge from voltage.
Thank you and I totally have come to this understanding and will have proper monitoring by seasons end. Just trying to figure out how to best navigate 2021 with what I have and figure out if i have an issue going in.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

"...... unplug and walk away ..."

That's not generally how any battery system works on an RV. There are parasitic loads that will drain the batteries flat. Indeed, if the heater pads are engaged (and it's cold out) *they* will drain the batteries flat.

The normal process for storage is to use a cutoff switch to fully disconnect the batteries from *all* loads. You then can walk away.

Bob
Thanks Uncle Bob! I am working towards getting proper disconnects. The heaters on these new BB batteries are internal and I did disconnect the wire than powers them when unhooking from shore power. If the often maligned "store switch" is working correctly the co2 detector should be the only parasitic draw and given 200ah of lithium I should be able to go a month in storage if the batteries are fully charged. If not it would be a good indication there was additional parasitic draw. However, I am not convinced the batteries are getting a full charge so I am not comfortable attempting to unhook from shore power.

Looking forward to warmer weather and having a proper battery monitor and disconnects for the batteries and solar by this fall.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
Iíve got two BB GC2s (100 AH each) with a PD 4655L converter. We got home from a trip 48 hours ago, the trailer has not been plugged in but is powered up (fridge running, TPMS repeater on, propane detector on). The batteries are at 76% SOC according to my Victron battery monitor and they are delivering 13.26 volts.

My first question is: Have you checked the voltage when your WFCO is running? Have you confirmed itís putting out the 14.6 v your BBs want to fully charge? For how long? If it charges at 14.6 for, letís say, 2 hours then drops to 13.6 and you leave it there for two days youíll see just what you observed (and what my batteries have done)... two days of discharging until you are at 13.25 volts without the converter turned on and about 75% SOC.

The first thing Iíd look into is the charge profile WFCO defined.

At 14.6 v, your BBs would fully recharge in an hour or two. As a test, you might restart the converter, confirm its outputting 14.6, wait two hours, reconfirm itís still at 14.6, turn off the converter, drink a cup of coffee, recheck the voltage. Iím predicting 13.5-13.6. Less than that, Iíd call Battle Born (I find them excellent on items like this) to see what they think.
Great suggestion. I have unplugged and put a load on then plugged back into shore power. The WFCO did indeed go into bulk charge at 14.6v. However, what I have not done is stick around in the frozen shed to see how long it stays at 14.6v. With temps warming up that will prolly be the next thing I try.

Your 13.25v makes sense to me given it has not been plugged in for a time and and the fridge+ drawing on the batteries. With my charging at 14.6 then dropping to absorption of 13.6 I would not expect the batteries to drop to 13.25 moments after unplugging from shore.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:17 PM   #14
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Sorry, I missed that you had the lithium compatible WFCO when I was replying from my mobile device.

Without a battery monitor you are flying blind, sadly. It is a shame that any installer would install lithium batteries without a battery monitor, they are doing a great disservice to their customers.
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:13 AM   #15
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I donít think your batteries are reaching 100% with the WFCO charger.
Researching the WFCO and the PD replacement chargers for Lithium, I was struck by how different the two companies handled the charge parameters.
WFCO seems to us a 2 stage Constant voltage, constant current system with the 14.6 Bulk and 13.6 absorption. The Bulk mode will run for minutes or up to 4 hours max before switching to absorption. Iím not sure how it determines when it will switch to absorb.
PD on the other hand uses a constant voltage with a tapering current to charge Lithium batteries. The voltage is adjustable for various manufacturers recommended charge voltages.
I would lean toward the PD as it seems to more closely match the needs of a Lithium Battery bank.
In BOTH cases, it would be best to unplug and isolate the batteries when in storage.
Everything I have read so far states that Lithium batteries prefer to be stored at ~50% charge. They do lot like to be left at 100% indefinitely.
I am just starting to learn what Lithiumís like and donít like so I may be completely off base here.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailDude View Post
Great suggestion. I have unplugged and put a load on then plugged back into shore power. The WFCO did indeed go into bulk charge at 14.6v. However, what I have not done is stick around in the frozen shed to see how long it stays at 14.6v. With temps warming up that will prolly be the next thing I try.

Your 13.25v makes sense to me given it has not been plugged in for a time and and the fridge+ drawing on the batteries. With my charging at 14.6 then dropping to absorption of 13.6 I would not expect the batteries to drop to 13.25 moments after unplugging from shore.
It sounds like you have the right gear, a good understanding of this topic and a solid longer-term direction for your set up! It took me 6 years of lead acid challenges to dump it all and design and install my current system (pun intended). Youíre way ahead of the crowd already.

Ok... so we know that the 14.6 does work. What the tests so far have not told you is how long it stays at 14.6, what the battery-only voltage is shortly after the converter drops to float or what rate of voltage decline follows the step down. Those things can all be determined through observation.

Unlike lead acid batteries, the BBs have their own electronics in the box (an intelligent function known as the Battery Management System), so it might take a call to BB tech support to interpret what you measure since itís all being processed by the BMS.
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Old 03-07-2021, 02:02 PM   #17
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Test Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
It sounds like you have the right gear, a good understanding of this topic and a solid longer-term direction for your set up! It took me 6 years of lead acid challenges to dump it all and design and install my current system (pun intended). Youíre way ahead of the crowd already.

Ok... so we know that the 14.6 does work. What the tests so far have not told you is how long it stays at 14.6, what the battery-only voltage is shortly after the converter drops to float or what rate of voltage decline follows the step down. Those things can all be determined through observation.

Unlike lead acid batteries, the BBs have their own electronics in the box (an intelligent function known as the Battery Management System), so it might take a call to BB tech support to interpret what you measure since itís all being processed by the BMS.
So here are the results of my testing yesterday:

Prior to unhooking from shore power the battery terminals were reading 13.62v
Shortly after unhooking from shore power I turned on some lights and the stereo
In short order the volts dropped to 13.22 then 13.19.
Prior to plugging back in I ran the furnace for a bit to make sure converter/charger would go into bulk mode

13.55v: The reading at the terminals when i plugged back in
14.08v: The reading approximately 20 minutes later at 4:53PM
14.34v: Reading at 5:10
14.32v: Reading at 5:37
13.61v: Reading at 6:07

Unless I am missing something it appears to me the WFCO WF-8950L2-MBA is not getting to the proper voltage nor holding it at max voltage for long enough?
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:57 AM   #18
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I ran a similar test the other day since I had not monitored how my batteries perform in that situation. I have the advantage of a battery monitor (a Victron 712) in the system, so Iíll share with you what it showed me.

My test started with this state as shown on the Victron app on my phone:

Attachment 390215

That 56% SOC, 13.07 volts measured at the shunt which in my case is 5Ē of 1/0 copper welding cable away from the negative terminal of one of the batteries. The batteries were delivering 2.90 amps (the negative sign shows they were discharging).

I turned on the converter. Mine is a Progressive Dynamics 4655 LIX. Thatís their venerable 55 amp (DC) model with a lithium charge option which is advertised to deliver 14.6 volts. The voltage rose to about 13.5 but amps were +47.5. My converter is 3 feet away from the batteries and connected by the largest cable the 4655 can handle which is 4 AWG copper welding cable.

The current draw of the batteriesí Battery Management System (BMS) was sufficient to cause a drop of -1 volt from the advertised output of the converter over that cable and that distance.

It took 2 hours and 20 min to reach 100% SOC. Voltage measured at the shunt remained under 14 until about 95% SOC when the BMS started to reduce the draw and amps were declining. At 96% SOC the voltage was 14.14 and amps 28.1. At 97% it was 14.2 and 8.5. At full charge with the converter on the shunt measured 14.51 volts and +1.8 amps on this test.

Now the discharge cycle. I turned the converter off and still had only minimal loads (fridge, LP monitor, maybe a light). Ten minutes later the SOC was showing 100%, the voltage at the shunt was 13.98. Two hours later at 99% (2.8 amp hours consumed since unplugging) the voltage was 13.3. It declined slowly over days. At one point I measured 68% SOC and 13.19 volts.

Note that measuring voltage is trickier than it sounds. It sounds like you are literally measuring ďat the battery terminalsĒ which is the best reading youíll get, but the reading is still effected by charges and loads on the system.

The interpretation of your specific readings goes beyond my knowledge level, but clearly our two systems are not performing the same despite the same batteries (I think you said you have two 100 AH Battle Borns which is what I have). Is your issue the converter, the cables (as shipped, my trailer was two lead acid with about 15í of 6 AWG battery cable to the converter) or the batteries? I canít say.

My next stop if I were you would be a call to Battle Born. In my experience, the folks on the phones for them are deeply knowledgeable and helpful. They understand how their products perform with others and likely understand the nuances of the WFCO charger.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:03 AM   #19
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At what TEMPS?

I don't worry, we have two unheated BB's in Cloudsplitter.
I fully charge in the Fall, isolate them completely and reconnect in the Spring.
The resting volts varies between 12.8 & 13.28V depending on ambient temp. They are in their third year.

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18 degrees.
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by TrailDude View Post
So here are the results of my testing yesterday:

Prior to unhooking from shore power the battery terminals were reading 13.62v
Shortly after unhooking from shore power I turned on some lights and the stereo
In short order the volts dropped to 13.22 then 13.19.
Prior to plugging back in I ran the furnace for a bit to make sure converter/charger would go into bulk mode

13.55v: The reading at the terminals when i plugged back in
14.08v: The reading approximately 20 minutes later at 4:53PM
14.34v: Reading at 5:10
14.32v: Reading at 5:37
13.61v: Reading at 6:07

Unless I am missing something it appears to me the WFCO WF-8950L2-MBA is not getting to the proper voltage nor holding it at max voltage for long enough?
Hi

14.6 is the *maximum* voltage you would ever take the battery to. At > 14.6, the BMS disconnects the battery. 14.4 +/- 0.2V is the *range* you want to be in for the BB's. From your data, you are in that range fro at least 27 minutes.

Bob
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