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Old 04-02-2024, 05:50 PM   #1
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2024 20' Basecamp
Lake Norman , North Carolina
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Changing out batteries - question

My husband and I traded our 2023 Flying Cloud 23’ for a 2024 Basecamp 20x in February. It was already on the dealer’s lot and they had put in lead acid batteries. We decided to just take it as is and when the batteries went belly up we would change them out for lithium. Partly it was a financial decision, we didn’t want to pay for the dealer to switch them out.
However we just got some “found money”, which was a surprise and that we feel we can put toward new batteries.
My question is - if we are unable to do it ourselves, is it just better to have the dealer do it?
We realize it will be more expensive that way but want it to be done by someone competent.
And we cannot do it ourselves for a couple of reasons. One of them is that we need someone competent to do it. My husband is a really smart guy but does not want to do it. I’m simply not that smart.
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Old 04-03-2024, 05:05 AM   #2
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The physical swapping of the batteries themselves is not especially difficult. The tricky aspect is ensuring you have correct components in place to charge and use them.

However, your 2024 Basecamp may come from the factory pre-ready for lithium ion batteries. I would suggest contacting Airstream on that. If they tell you it’s a matter of simply swapping in the li-ion batteries, then you can definitely do it yourself. If some additional new components are needed, you may wish to get some help but you may find you are able to figure it all out, too.
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Old 04-03-2024, 07:41 AM   #3
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Unless the batteries you choose have built in Bluetooth display of state of charge, I strongly recommend that you get a shunt based battery monitor (like an Victron 712) installed at the same time. I put it off, and regretted it after the first trip: you can not reliably tell the state of charge of lithium batteries without one.

Dealers tend to be the most expensive option, if you have a reliable rv repair place nearby they could do it, it’s not a complex install.
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Old 04-03-2024, 07:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogMomDeb View Post
And we cannot do it ourselves for a couple of reasons. One of them is that we need someone competent to do it. My husband is a really smart guy but does not want to do it. I’m simply not that smart.
If you're asking if having a dealership do it is worth it, and you really want it, and you won't and you can't do it, then it sure does sound like the dealership or a competent RV shop will be your bet. If you want it, and have the money, it's worth it. They will be happy to make a few hundred bucks for a few minutes of tasks.
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Old 04-03-2024, 08:38 AM   #5
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I agree if you can find someone competent to do the install it might be a lot better than the dealer in terms of price and convenience. Of course, finding someone is always the issue but there's a lot of people who deal with Victron around.

As stated above, a battery monitor of some sort is necessary with lithium. A battery cutoff switch is essential as well for winter storage and isolating the batteries. The Victron shunt will play with the Victron solar controller to help optimize charging. You can go further and assuming you have the standard Victron solar controller replace it with a Smart Bluetooth version. It's very easy and then you can monitor solar and batteries on your phone. A DC-DC charger is another option. (Not sure how much money you found). But anyone competent should know about all these things and direct you and hopefully stay in budget.

I'm not particularly handy and not an electrician. I'm a software engineer (damn it). I'm also cheap. So I did all the battery upgrades on our Globetrotter and Bambi before it. Neither have burnt down. I just planned, read and posted a lot on the forums, and took my time. Besides saving a lot of money (and getting new tools!) what is really beneficial is that I understand how my electrical system works and if anything goes wrong, I can usually guess where to start looking. Your improvements aren't too complicated, I wouldn't out of hand dismiss doing the work yourself.
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:17 AM   #6
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As several have said in this post. Find out if your charge controller is compatible with lithium then if that is the case go for it. There are many good lithium batteries on the market at a reasonable price. We swapped out our 2 Lifeline AGM 6 volt for an Ionic 125AH heated Marine/RV battery with Bluetooth for $800 with 11 year warranty. As we primarily use propane, it works great for us.
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Old 04-03-2024, 09:46 AM   #7
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2022 Interstate 24X
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

If you are not into DIY (and that's fine) you want somebody to do this that has some experience at it. A random RV shop may or may not have ever done this before. Asking questions and carefully listening to the answers is the key when digging into that. A local tech will be a lower cost approach than the AS dealer. You just want to make sure he's competent.

Parts wise:

1) Lithium converter / chargers are different than lead acid only versions. The only way to know what you have is to dig in an look. Some of the stuff AS puts is less than ideal for lithium.

2) The connectors on the battery cables likely will change when you go to lithiums.

3) As with *any* battery swap out, you need to make sure the new batteries will fit in the space provided. You also should get a well known brand of battery. Going cheap in this case is not a great idea.

Past this you can optionally get:

4) A shunt based monitor. These are a good idea for any battery. They more accurately show the state of charge vs just looking at a voltage.

5) A DC/DC converter. This lets you charge the lithiums while driving down the road.

Do you buy all the parts and let somebody else put them in? Do you let them pick everything and go from there? Each route has its advantages. Letting them do it likely is more expensive, it's also more likely to fit together. Just how good the parts are in either case is going to be a bit of an unknown, unless you do a bunch of research.

Fun

Bob
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Old 04-03-2024, 10:00 AM   #8
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Don't forget there have been many reports of some Airstream dealers only installing batteries that they sell you, with a markup. You need to ask about this before scheduling anyone for the work. It may also add significantly to the cost and limit choices of batteries and parts.
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Old 04-03-2024, 04:34 PM   #9
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I would consider finding a local "Victron" dealer/installer near you to consult with and possibly do the work. They will probably be a better choice than the dealer.
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Old 04-03-2024, 05:34 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. A lot of this I don’t know the answer to so I guess I need to start by asking Airstream or my dealer. It is the 20x REI model and had the option of lithium installed by Airstream.
Not sure whether our Basecamp is pre-ready for lithium ion batteries. It came with 300w of solar on the roof so it does have the Victron solar controller.
We are north of Charlotte, NC and I don’t know that there are a lot of options around here for someone other than either of the two Airstream dealers within a couple of hours. I will take the advice and look for a Victron dealer/installer.
I think I need to find out some answers before I continue use with this. I did get some informative PMs from some of you and thank you.
The money is not going anywhere so unless the current batteries crap out in the next couple of months we have some time.
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Old 04-03-2024, 05:49 PM   #11
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Not real close Alabama) but a most excellent technician is Ronnie Dennis at:

https://airstreamnutsandbolts.com/
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Old 04-03-2024, 10:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
Not real close Alabama) but a most excellent technician is Ronnie Dennis at:

https://airstreamnutsandbolts.com/
I would consider this the #1 option, if you don't DIY.
You can schedule with Ronnie, then make it a short trip, maybe 400 miles.
Try a couple campgrounds on the route!
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Old 04-04-2024, 07:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by field & stream View Post
Not real close Alabama) but a most excellent technician is Ronnie Dennis at:

https://airstreamnutsandbolts.com/
Hi

This is a *much* better option that either the dealer or some random tech.

Bob
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