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Old 05-23-2024, 09:00 PM   #1
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How are you using your Lithium Bank while traveling?

I am traveling with a new 400 ah relion lithium battery bank. Between solar and campsite plugins, the bank is staying pretty well 100% charged. I do have pretty heavy ac loads - an isotherm refrigerator, an isotherm freezer, and a convection/microwave, plus the nessary hair dryer, and an induction stovetop! I HAVE drawn the bank down intentionally to 40% along the way a couple of times, as I understand lithiums don’t really like staying full!
What are some of you travelers and/or longer term RV camp living folks doing to ‘be nice’ to your very spend lithium battery banks?
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Old 05-23-2024, 11:04 PM   #2
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When we're camping, I don't worry too much about how much I'm charging the batteries since I'm more concerned with having adequate capacity to accommodate all of our needs. As a practical matter, though, it's storage at home, which actually represents a bigger slice of time, where I try to be mindful of my battery SOC.

You're correct. Generally speaking, lithium batteries of all types from those in cell phones to electric vehicles to RV batteries don't like to be constantly charged to 100% so at home I use the trailer's solar to charge my 400Ah Battle Born batteries to about 80%. I then monitor my Victron app periodically and when the SOC gets down to around 50%, I will fire up the solar again and recharge back to 80. My hope is that by being "kind" to the batteries most of the time, the occasional 100% charge won't be a problem.
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Old 05-24-2024, 07:51 AM   #3
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I also try to not have the batteries sitting at 100% for long periods. When at home the trailer is cozy in it's trailer port, so solar is non-existent. Also, I installed a switch for my converter. Similarly to mikeinca, I monitor the SOC, and when it gets to around 40 percent I turn on the converter.

When camping, I usually still have the converter turned off. With the solar on nice days, the batteries are usually charged up before noon. On cloudy winter days (we camp year round), the solar cannot keep up, so I have to engage the converter once a week or so.

My understanding is that LiFePo4 batteries are not as sensitive as LiIon batteries (like our Nissan Leaf has) to being fully charged, so I don't worry too much, but I still try to minimize 100% full times. We have 300 AH of battery and 400 Watts of solar on the roof.
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Old 05-24-2024, 08:53 AM   #4
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I have cheap lithium batteries; replacement cost isn't too great so I don't baby them. Also, I don't worry at all about the charge level and I'm not sure it matters that much because as stated above, LiFePO4 are not as sensitive. And most are rated for 3,000-5,000 charging cycles before getting to the 80% of charge threshold. I'd guess we might have 50 cycles in one camping season, so for most people I'd think the batteries are barely being used.
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Old 05-24-2024, 09:21 AM   #5
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Hi

The term "lithium" covers a wide range of different batteries. The Lithium Ion batteries in your typical cell phone or computer don't like the 100% charge stuff. The LiFePO4 chemistry batteries in your typical RV setup are different. They are quite happy with 100% charge. Indeed, you *need* to get them up to 100% fairly regularly to engage the equalization function on the BMS. Without doing this there is indeed risk of catastrophic failure. Go back a couple decades and this was "something that happened" from time to time.

We charge our batteries while in motion. We use them when we stop. We save money by stopping at places that charge very little, but have no power available. Works for us ....

Bob
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Old 05-24-2024, 12:33 PM   #6
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Hi

The term "lithium" covers a wide range of different batteries. The Lithium Ion batteries in your typical cell phone or computer don't like the 100% charge stuff. The LiFePO4 chemistry batteries in your typical RV setup are different. They are quite happy with 100% charge. Indeed, you *need* to get them up to 100% fairly regularly to engage the equalization function on the BMS. Without doing this there is indeed risk of catastrophic failure. Go back a couple decades and this was "something that happened" from time to time.

We charge our batteries while in motion. We use them when we stop. We save money by stopping at places that charge very little, but have no power available. Works for us ....

Bob
There seems to be a wide range of opinions on the subject of frequent charging of LifePO4 batteries to 100%. I've attached just a couple of links below but there are many more if one googles the topic.

My takeaway from these sources is that although occasional charging to 100% is desirable for the reasons you mention, a consensus seems to be that repeated charging to 100% and/or maintaining LifePO4 batteries at a full charge is not optimal for long term performance. I think I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

In long term storage applications a lithium battery should not be stored at 100% SOC...

https://www.power-sonic.com/blog/how...2050%25%20SoC.

While frequent charging to 100% is not recommended, periodic deep charging is beneficial. Deep charging helps calibrate the battery's charge level display and improves its performance.

https://leaptrend.com/blogs/news/sho...20and%2090%25.
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Old 05-24-2024, 02:31 PM   #7
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Never thought about any of the above. We pretty much do the opposite of everyone else in this thread. We have 2 Battle Born 100 AH LiFePO4 batteries and have really used them. We like boondocking anywhere at anytime. During our recent 17 state & 9 national parks trip (11/23 to 04/27) we only paid attention to % charge and outside temperature. Many nights were spent unplugged, <32F, with the internal battery heater on and propane furnace running. Add a CPAP and we gave them a real work out. That is why we bought them. We have been to 0 % at least 5 times and they came back to 100% without any issues. Right now they are on the charger, in my garage, waiting to head out for the next trip.

Have fun and go. If you have good batteries it should not be a problem.
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Old 05-24-2024, 04:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MMCMRET View Post
Never thought about any of the above. We pretty much do the opposite of everyone else in this thread. We have 2 Battle Born 100 AH LiFePO4 batteries and have really used them. We like boondocking anywhere at anytime. During our recent 17 state & 9 national parks trip (11/23 to 04/27) we only paid attention to % charge and outside temperature. Many nights were spent unplugged, <32F, with the internal battery heater on and propane furnace running. Add a CPAP and we gave them a real work out. That is why we bought them. We have been to 0 % at least 5 times and they came back to 100% without any issues. Right now they are on the charger, in my garage, waiting to head out for the next trip.

Have fun and go. If you have good batteries it should not be a problem.

Thank you for posting. I was hesitant to post because our use was just so different than the majority of posters here. We have AIGL w factory Li4Po batteries Battleborn.

It was new January 2021, though over the last four months we have spent 25+ nights, we have taken the batteries down to 30%. We’ve used them in 35° weather with heaters on. Other than that, we leave it plugged in and when it’s sitting in the driveway to essentially maintain 90 to 100%.

The batteries seem to be operating fine within the parameters, I watch them very closely to understand what they will and won’t provide us consistently since the vehicle is only four months old to us. When traveling Alternator charges they back to 100% and sits there whole trip. We usually don’t plug in on our overnights.

Good luck to all, use your batteries how you feel it’s safest for your investment. I feel batteries are like propane, gas, tires and oil changes. They’re part of the consumables over the life, use pleasure that the vehicle brings.
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Old 05-24-2024, 05:27 PM   #9
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I agree with the last couple of posters that, while camping or on the road, it's unnecessary to worry about whether LifePO4 batteries are being charged to 100%. It makes sense to maintain a high SOC where practical on a trip in order to have energy available when needed and not to have something else to keep track of or stress about. IOW, as suggested, just enjoy the flexibility the lithium batteries afford.

But when not on a trip and when the trailer is sitting at home or in storage, what is the advantage to keeping LifePO4 batteries constantly at a high SOC, especially since numerous sources suggest that this is not in the interest of long-term battery health? I mean, it may not be a huge negative, but what is the benefit? The only situation I can think of is if they must be left untended for so long that there is a concern the battery SOC will drop to zero. That scenario aside, with the minimal power demands from an idle trailer most LifePO4 setups can go weeks before falling to 50%. At that point, recharging to 80% and occasionally 100% seems like a better recipe for the batteries and is not likely to be inconvenient.

Anyway, just my $.02...again.
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Old 05-24-2024, 06:01 PM   #10
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True, personal preference I agree with your post we find ourselves using it almost every weekend so keeping the fridge and fan set to 80 to keep temps regulated for food in pantry plus means we have less to pack or worry about fridge cleaning / mold, etc. I’ll let it cycle down to 70 - 80% weekly and then turn it back on to 100. Personally, we keep ours parked in the driveway on the side of the house, so we don’t catch enough solar to recharge it each day.
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Old 05-24-2024, 10:01 PM   #11
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I use my batteries by worrying about them as little as possible. When we are using the trailer they are charged by solar and/or by the converter. When we're not using the trailer, the batteries are disconnected and just left alone.

My thought is that I've built a reliable system with the proper charging protocols. When we're camping I am focused on relaxing and not interested in micromanaging the charging of the batteries. We have only 200 Ah total, so at times they run down fairly low, usually in the cooler camping season when we are running the furnace.

If we run them through too many charge cycles and they need to be replaced, in my book that's a success story - it means we've spent lots of nights in the trailer having a good time. The cost of replacing the batteries after a few years of heavy use is cheaper than the mental cost me having to constantly thinking about them. The only times I do watch the batteries more is when we're dry camping in inclement weather, as there is no charge coming from the solar. Then we have to be careful to leave enough charge in the batteries to keep vital things functioning like the water pump, etc. Otherwise I try to not stress over it.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:18 AM   #12
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I don't "worry" about my batteries, I just try to do what's best for them. It takes almost no time to do what I do (as outlined above).

One thing I like about keeping my converter off while camping is that I am forcing the use of solar more. I invested in the solar charging system, it's nice to get some use out of it. Also, it saves a few electrons from the power grid.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:57 AM   #13
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Interesting discussion. I installed a Progressive Dynamics two stage lithium converter. When initially powered, it provides 14.4V then drops to an idle voltage of 13.6V which I understand is not charging the batteries. Without any load on my batteries because the converter is running, then go into standby mode and sit at 99%. The PD paper says for storage, the converter sits at the idle voltage, the converter will go to the charging voltage every three weeks.

My batteries are LiTime. This is what they say about leaving them on the charger:

"Can I leave the LiTime lithium battery on charging all the time?

For a lithium battery with a low maintenance charging procedure and battery management system, it's perfectly fine and better than leaving them discharged for a long period. The LiTime LiFePO4 batteries have a charging cut-off voltage, which means that it will stop charging at a certain volt."

We don't have solar, but we are used to plugging in to 15amp at our storage unit. I've decided we are going to do the same with these new batteries. The fact that they were $309 helps with that decision.
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Old 05-25-2024, 11:12 AM   #14
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Battleborn CEO addresses all your questions / concerns



This youtube will answer any questions you may have about battleborn batteries. The 15-17 minute mark addresses how much to charge them before storing. He doesn't tell customers how much to charge them to. Just don't charge them empty.

If charged to 100% they will probably be around 14.4 or .6V and then drop to around 13.6 and self discharge 2% per month and then settle at 13.3 for a long time. Just don't let them sit a -0-.

Regarding chargers that charge at a constant 14.4V it doesn't really hurt the batteries. However, it may hurt your 12V appliances to have 14.4V running them 14.4V all the time.

IMO it is a very thorough and informative interview. I have seen it elsewhere on the Forum and just googled to find it again.
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Old 05-25-2024, 03:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mikeinca View Post
There seems to be a wide range of opinions on the subject of frequent charging of LifePO4 batteries to 100%. I've attached just a couple of links below but there are many more if one googles the topic.

My takeaway from these sources is that although occasional charging to 100% is desirable for the reasons you mention, a consensus seems to be that repeated charging to 100% and/or maintaining LifePO4 batteries at a full charge is not optimal for long term performance. I think I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

In long term storage applications a lithium battery should not be stored at 100% SOC...

https://www.power-sonic.com/blog/how...2050%25%20SoC.

While frequent charging to 100% is not recommended, periodic deep charging is beneficial. Deep charging helps calibrate the battery's charge level display and improves its performance.

https://leaptrend.com/blogs/news/sho...20and%2090%25.
Hi

Which kills you first, the lack of equalization or the charge issue?

If you have a 4,000 charge cycle battery (which is what a LiFePO4 is), you can do a cycle a week / 6 months a year (so 24 cycles a year) for 166 years. I don't think *anybody* is counting on their batteries to work for 166 years. If going to 100% knocks that down by 20%, will you miss those 32 years of life? Nope. If it cuts it in half and you *only* have 83 years, I suspect you will still be quite happy.

If you bank goes out of equalization in a year (and can't compensate) ... *that* you will be unhappy about.

Bob
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Old 05-25-2024, 04:19 PM   #16
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So, uncle, what defines a "cycle"? If you keep the converter plugged in and it is continuously topping off the batteries how many "cycles" does it go through in a day? I know it is a bit of a rhetorical question, but I think there is something to it. As I said before, I just keep my converter turned off and turn it on periodically to charge up the batteries. And I'm okay with you keeping your batteries at 100% all the time. To each his own...
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Old 05-25-2024, 07:06 PM   #17
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Hi

Which kills you first, the lack of equalization or the charge issue?

If you have a 4,000 charge cycle battery (which is what a LiFePO4 is), you can do a cycle a week / 6 months a year (so 24 cycles a year) for 166 years. I don't think *anybody* is counting on their batteries to work for 166 years. If going to 100% knocks that down by 20%, will you miss those 32 years of life? Nope. If it cuts it in half and you *only* have 83 years, I suspect you will still be quite happy.

If you bank goes out of equalization in a year (and can't compensate) ... *that* you will be unhappy about.

Bob
Since I charge to 100% about every 3rd recharge, I'm not too worried about an equalization issue. Besides, my concern isn't so much about recharging to 100% when I do charge every few weeks but rather keeping the batteries in a full SOC constantly. I see no advantage at all to doing that especially if there is even the slightest chance that my batteries will be adversely affected. I'd prefer to let them go through at least a partial natural discharge cycle before charging them again, whether to 80 or 100%.

As I stated earlier, there are obviously a wide range of opinions on this topic and maybe none of this makes any material difference with respect to practical battery life. OTOH, I'm suffering no inconvenience at all following my present regimen and even if I might never miss that theoretical extra 32 years of life I like knowing that it's there. Pay your money, make your choice.
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Old 05-25-2024, 09:27 PM   #18
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Thanks for posting. I am considering the LiTime batteries also. I want to install them in the stock battery box on the tongue. Where are yours installed? Which charger/converter did you install? I have spent so much time trying to learn about these batteries and how to properly install them. I know that it is preferred to install them inside for cold nights, but I am not an electrician. We will be using our trailer for 200+ nights in the near future, so I want to get this right. We have a hungry 12V fridge in our 2021 flying cloud that is nudging us to upgrade to Lifepo4. I would love to install some heated batteries in the front box with a new converter, and unplug the fuse on the 7pin connector while traveling to avoid problems. Any advice is appreciated!!
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Old 05-25-2024, 10:46 PM   #19
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Thanks for posting. I am considering the LiTime batteries also. I want to install them in the stock battery box on the tongue. Where are yours installed? Which charger/converter did you install? I have spent so much time trying to learn about these batteries and how to properly install them. I know that it is preferred to install them inside for cold nights, but I am not an electrician. We will be using our trailer for 200+ nights in the near future, so I want to get this right. We have a hungry 12V fridge in our 2021 flying cloud that is nudging us to upgrade to Lifepo4. I would love to install some heated batteries in the front box with a new converter, and unplug the fuse on the 7pin connector while traveling to avoid problems. Any advice is appreciated!!
I installed two LiTime smart group 24 batteries in the stock battery box. We have a 2019 so our converter was for lead acid only. It was 55amp, which was a bit aggressive for the preferred charge rate so I installed a Progressive Dynamics 45 amp model, PD9145ALV.

Not at all hard to do. You charge each battery separately (I used the new converter on my workbench) and then connect the batteries together for about a day to equalize. I had to change the converter charge wire ends at the battery to eye lugs instead of auto style battery post clamps, but a crimper and 5/16" lugs did that easily. I bought 8" 2 gauge wire with 5/16" lugs to join the batteries together because I thought the OEM 6 gauge wire seemed too small given that LIfepo4 batteries can discharge more current.

A great feature is that you can use the bluetooth app to stop the batteries from discharging. That makes it super simple to do the wiring work at the batteries and the converter although I stupidly didn't do that when I changed the converter and blew the 100 amp fuse mounted on the battery (which I reused from the OEM installation).

These batteries are not heated, but they do have cold temperature protection. They still discharge in cold weather but will not charge below freezing. Not something that is much of a concern to me, but if it ever were, they sell 12 volt heating blankets for batteries. I know that these batteries are pretty safe, but I still feel better that they are outside.

I did not disconnect the 7 pin charge wire.

Happy to send you Amazon links to the things I bought.

I should point out that I just installed mine. I have not used them yet except to test. LiTime was pretty responsive when I asked a question about one battery initially discharging more than the other (normal) when I asked a question about that. We will be boondocking for a week next month. I will know more about them then.
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Old 05-29-2024, 10:00 AM   #20
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My three 100 amp hour BB10012 are over five years old. We just live our best lives and do not worry about regular discharge. I do pay attention to the state of charge when heading to a dry/boondocking location. They seem to be holding up very well and hopefully in a few years we will replace them with a couple of game changers or similar.


Note I live in Canada and leave the batteries in the trailer (they are under the bed) over the winter at 100% with roof solar connected.
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