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Old 03-08-2021, 04:59 PM   #1
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Question Upgrading from AGM to Lithium Batteries

I've had the worst luck with batteries. I screwed up and ruined my AGMs. Lessoned learned. I'm considering upgrading to two Lithiums for now. I had previously upgraded the power converter/charger to a 60 AMP 4-stage converter/charger hard wire. Boondocker Model ( BD1260HWL ).

Randy at bestconverter.com mentioned this multi-stage converter that I have now should work by changing the multi to Fixed and tuning the voltage to 14.6.

Has anyone done this previously? Anything recommendations or suggestions regarding lithium before I jump into this front loaded investment?

Currently doing mostly campground land-power, but looking to do more boondocking in the future if I can get the batter situation figured out. I have 400 watts of solar on the roof.

Thanks
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Old 03-08-2021, 05:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitansUSA View Post
I've had the worst luck with batteries. I screwed up and ruined my AGMs. Lessoned learned. I'm considering upgrading to two Lithiums for now. I had previously upgraded the power converter/charger to a 60 AMP 4-stage converter/charger hard wire. Boondocker Model ( BD1260HWL ).



Randy at bestconverter.com mentioned this multi-stage converter that I have now should work by changing the multi to Fixed and tuning the voltage to 14.6.



Has anyone done this previously? Anything recommendations or suggestions regarding lithium before I jump into this front loaded investment?



Currently doing mostly campground land-power, but looking to do more boondocking in the future if I can get the batter situation figured out. I have 400 watts of solar on the roof.



Thanks


I would not do that with the old converter. Spend the few hundred and replace it with one that has a lithium profile. Float is different from charge.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:41 PM   #3
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Yes one of the benefits of Lithium is their ability to charge rapidly. You would be best to make sure your solar charge controller and converter can be programmed / set for LiFePO4.
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:34 PM   #4
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I would not do that with the old converter. Spend the few hundred and replace it with one that has a lithium profile. Float is different from charge.
I agree. If you are spending nearly $2k on batteries you want to get the most out of them and a $200 investment in a proper charger makes sense.
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:56 PM   #5
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I went Lithium recently. So far, they have far outperformed my expectations.

I replaced my converter (a PD 4655 ) with a lithium capable model. I used the PD 4655 LIX which I got from Randy and which Battle Born recommended.

The PD 4655 LIX puts out a constant 14.51 volts as measured by my Victron battery monitor.

So... if your Boondocker can be programmed to deliver a fixed charge, why replace it with something that will deliver a fixed charge? It seems to me you’ve already got the converter you need. There is currently another active thread about a converter (specifically a WFCO) with a Lithium charge profile stepping down too soon and failing to fully charge a set of Battle Borns.

As for the other sources of charging (solar and 7 way), don’t forget to upgrade them for the higher charging voltages. I shopped those and used a Victron Smart Solar and a Victron Orion.
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Old 03-10-2021, 06:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TitansUSA View Post
I've had the worst luck with batteries. I screwed up and ruined my AGMs. Lessoned learned. I'm considering upgrading to two Lithiums for now. I had previously upgraded the power converter/charger to a 60 AMP 4-stage converter/charger hard wire. Boondocker Model ( BD1260HWL ).

Randy at bestconverter.com mentioned this multi-stage converter that I have now should work by changing the multi to Fixed and tuning the voltage to 14.6.

Has anyone done this previously? Anything recommendations or suggestions regarding lithium before I jump into this front loaded investment?

Currently doing mostly campground land-power, but looking to do more boondocking in the future if I can get the batter situation figured out. I have 400 watts of solar on the roof.


Thanks
Your luck is about to change.
Upgrade to lithium.

Use the search feature here and see what everyone has done.
Quite impressive really.

I would look at your floor plan and do whatever others have done here.
Move the batteries inside, change the converter and solar controller, and get a battery monitor like everyone else. You can do it.

Battle Born batteries are great.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitansUSA View Post
I've had the worst luck with batteries. I screwed up and ruined my AGMs. Lessoned learned. I'm considering upgrading to two Lithiums for now. I had previously upgraded the power converter/charger to a 60 AMP 4-stage converter/charger hard wire. Boondocker Model ( BD1260HWL ).

Randy at bestconverter.com mentioned this multi-stage converter that I have now should work by changing the multi to Fixed and tuning the voltage to 14.6.

Has anyone done this previously? Anything recommendations or suggestions regarding lithium before I jump into this front loaded investment?

Currently doing mostly campground land-power, but looking to do more boondocking in the future if I can get the batter situation figured out. I have 400 watts of solar on the roof.
Thanks
Thats the converter we use, it's adjustable and IS lithium compatible.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:51 PM   #8
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Suggest to buy the charger from whoever sold you the batteries.

Collyn
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Old 03-14-2021, 03:27 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone!!!

Funny thing happened while I was checking the boondocker power converter today. I was going to flip the setting to make the current one fixed power and after basically Unwiring the dang thing. I discovered that best converter sent the HW version not the HWL version. Maybe Randy will honor my previous purchase.

Thanks for all of the advise. I’m on the right path now as soon as the new toys arrive.
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Old 03-17-2021, 09:54 AM   #10
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Update!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TitansUSA View Post
Funny thing happened while I was checking the boondocker power converter today. I was going to flip the setting to make the current one fixed power and after basically Unwiring the dang thing. I discovered that best converter sent the HW version not the HWL version. Maybe Randy will honor my previous purchase.

Thanks for all of the advise. I’m on the right path now as soon as the new toys arrive.
I wanted to give an update: Randy at BestConverters was Super helpful. He shared that some of the models that shipped out had a wrong label on them. I went ahead and took out the power converter; like ALL the way out. LOL. Opened up the factory box to see all sides of the boondocker power converter. Good news it was lithium ready and the label was wrong.
Now how to tune it to a fixed 14.6v as Randy suggested. Updating the switch to fixed was easy, setting the voltage required creativity. Randy was great at thinking outside the box because I didn’t have batteries to connect, only AC power. He suggested me sacrificing an extension cord and creating a pigtail to power the converter outside of the AS. It worked perfectly. I was able to tune the boondocker to 14.6 without issue by turning the dial and measuring bolts, etc.

Everything is installed again and now I’m waiting on the new lithium batteries to arrive. Thanks again for everyone’s support and comments.
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Old 03-17-2021, 10:07 AM   #11
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Right behind you

Just retrieved the coach from the outfit that installed the Dexter lift and now waiting for some warmer weather to accomplish the battery upgrade. Removed the PPP hitch for the lift installation and leaving it off until I am done crawling around inside the front storage compartment where the batteries and DC-DC charger will be mounted.

Bought a Boondocker Power Center last year in anticipation of the upgrade so will be switching to constant 14.6. It is unclear from the instructions where/how exactly to attach the multimeter POS and NEG leads to read volts when adjusting the B pot. Any tips?
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Old 03-17-2021, 04:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pjshier View Post
Just retrieved the coach from the outfit that installed the Dexter lift and now waiting for some warmer weather to accomplish the battery upgrade. Removed the PPP hitch for the lift installation and leaving it off until I am done crawling around inside the front storage compartment where the batteries and DC-DC charger will be mounted.

Bought a Boondocker Power Center last year in anticipation of the upgrade so will be switching to constant 14.6. It is unclear from the instructions where/how exactly to attach the multimeter POS and NEG leads to read volts when adjusting the B pot. Any tips?
Once I got wired the pigtail with the extension cord.. I was able to connect it pretty easily. Not sure if your units wiring is the same, but it might be close since my AS is a 2016 international. Here’s what I saw.. I’m sorry that I didn’t have a picture of this. I was thinking the entire time that I should have made a video because there are so many confusing things around this out there. Anyway... here goes. My boondocker BD1260HWL had three wires in the back (white, black and yellow/green stripe (ground) ), then coming out of the front was a larger gauge wires Blue and Yellow (pos/neg). I pigtailed the wires from the extension cord that I opened up and matched Pos/pos, neg/neg and ground to ground. I put the Pos and Neg in wire nuts and then just taped the ground with electrical tape because I couldn’t find another wire nut. Then I left the blue and white wires coming out of the other side exposed. That is what I used with the multi-meter to get the voltage dialed correctly. Safety first always because you are working with exposed wires and you be super careful to not shock yourself. That wouldn’t be pleasant I’m guessing. Once i pulled the extension cord into AC power, the boondocker was live. I used the tester prongs of the multimeter to touch the blue and white wires to get a reading. NOTE: it will take it several seconds to finalize the reading. Do this BEFORE you start changing any dials. I did go ahead and Switch the float to FIXED before plugging in the boondocker. That way I should get the fixed reading for current voltage. I confirmed that my voltage was the standard 13v setting so I was ready to adjust. here is where you need another set of hands. You need someone to hold the prongs of the multimeter while someone else turns the dial to the LEFT i believe. There is a marking on the side of the boondocker BD 1260HWL that will tell you which way is higher or lower volts. Turn to the dial until you get to 14.6 volts. It may jump around a bit until it lands on 14.6. The dial on the boondocker is VERY sensitive, you will know what that means when you start turning it. It is very responsive. It’s a super easy adjustment. Once you have the voltage set correctly you can disconnect the AC power but DO NOT touch the live wires yet.. they still have some volts on them from the transistors and internal things.. I’m not an electrician so I cannot explain the why.. Remember Safety first. :-). I used the multimeter to drain the rest of the current off the pos/neg wires you were using before. The multimeter is reading volts even when it isn’t connected to AC power anymore. When the reading settles and stays on ZERO you should have successfully discharged the juice stored in the unit from having it connected to AC power previously. Once you are at zero then you can disconnect the extension cord pigtails and put it all back together. I hope this helps you, let me know if I missed the mark on your questions and I will try again. Good luck!!
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:30 AM   #13
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I have up-graded to Battle Born lithium batteries and the PD Converter and the Victron monitor. I also moved the batteries into the trailer. One last issue to solve is the tow vehicle charging through the 7-pin connector. Both the reps at Battle Born and at Progressive Dynamics have told me there is no problem, but just make sure when boon docking that you disconnect the 7-pin while parked. I haven't towed my Airstream yet since I've put the batteries in.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:07 AM   #14
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BMS and Battery Heater?

Did not notice what brand or what features you have with the new LiFeO4 batteries.
Built in battery warmers are handy, just in case.. Add ons are good too.
Also a Battery Management System (BMS) that balances cells, limits over and under charging/discharging and shuts down at both high and low temperatures. Sort of redundant however new cells are not spare change.
There are things besides Magic Smoke that shorten cells lifespan.
Congrats on the upgrade, Camp long and Happy.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:42 AM   #15
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How did you ruin the AGMs? Me too but I don't have solar.
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Old 03-21-2021, 10:51 AM   #16
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Our Solar/battery setup

Here is our solar and lithium battery setup

https://livinginbeauty.net/2019/04/07/hot-stuff/
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Old 03-22-2021, 01:14 AM   #17
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I have up-graded to Battle Born lithium batteries and the PD Converter and the Victron monitor. I also moved the batteries into the trailer. One last issue to solve is the tow vehicle charging through the 7-pin connector. Both the reps at Battle Born and at Progressive Dynamics have told me there is no problem, but just make sure when boon docking that you disconnect the 7-pin while parked. I haven't towed my Airstream yet since I've put the batteries in.
Your tow vehicle is set up to charge its lead/acid batteries (typically at 13.something volts). Your new lithium iron phosphate batteries require higher voltage to charge completely than did their predecessors. I agree that simply plugging the 7 way in is “no problem”. It’s also not the fastest or most thorough way to charge the BattleBorns. Many of us use either Sterling or Victron chargers to address the voltage difference.

In my setup, there is a Victron Orion Smart TR 12/12/30 DC to DC charger between the 7 way pin and the 12 volt bus for the BattleBorns. It’s name means 12 volts in from the truck, 12 volts out to the batteries and a max of 30 amps. These devices are programmable. In practice, it’s whatever the truck can push from the alternator through a skinny wire to the 7 way connector and 14.6 volts out to the lithiums. I now believe the smaller 12/12/18 would have been a better choice since the standard wiring in my Tundra experiences major voltage drop when the lithiums say “feed me!”.

Unplugging your trailer when camping was a good idea even when both vehicles were lead/acid. It prevents the vehicle with the higher voltage from discharging into the one with the lower. Staying plugged in used to be the cause of dead batteries in tow vehicles. Now it can drain your lithiums faster.

Adding a DC to DC charger (and a lithium-friendly solar charge controller if you charge with solar, too) is the equivalent of upgrading your converter, but for those other charging sources. In each case, the new/upgraded devices feed the lithiums properly to deliver a full charge in a short period of time.
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Old 03-22-2021, 06:27 AM   #18
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Thanks for your response regarding the tow vehicle 7-pin charging Lithium batteries. I also have a 25' Airstream. It's a 2019 International Signature front twin beds. I also tow with a 2020 Tundra and we also carry our two E-bikes on top of our Retrax truck bed cover. I looked at your pictures. We have thought about converting to two recliners. However, our furnace is in the corner opposite the door. I'm working on retiring completely. Finally hired an assistant so we can travel. We are scheduled for Springtime in the Rockies. Cheers!
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Old 03-26-2021, 03:54 PM   #19
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Thanks for your response regarding the tow vehicle 7-pin charging Lithium batteries. I also have a 25' Airstream. It's a 2019 International Signature front twin beds. I also tow with a 2020 Tundra and we also carry our two E-bikes on top of our Retrax truck bed cover. I looked at your pictures. We have thought about converting to two recliners. However, our furnace is in the corner opposite the door. I'm working on retiring completely. Finally hired an assistant so we can travel. We are scheduled for Springtime in the Rockies. Cheers!
Hey, sounds like total fun!
Try the Grand Targhee Ski resort parking lot for summer boondocking and awesome bike riding!
It is on the Western side of the Tetons.
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Old 03-28-2021, 04:53 PM   #20
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Did not notice what brand or what features you have with the new LiFeO4 batteries.
Built in battery warmers are handy, just in case.. Add ons are good too.
Also a Battery Management System (BMS) that balances cells, limits over and under charging/discharging and shuts down at both high and low temperatures. Sort of redundant however new cells are not spare change.
There are things besides Magic Smoke that shorten cells lifespan.
Congrats on the upgrade, Camp long and Happy.
I ended up getting the Expion 360 lithium 120AH group27 batteries. Will install two in the existing battery box until I move them inside later.
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