Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 12-20-2017, 11:14 AM   #1
Silver is the new black
 
madogkenno's Avatar
 
2018 30' Classic
NAPA , California
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 32
Lithium Ion Batteries/ vs solar

I just purchased my 2018 Classic 30 three months ago. I had the unit in storage at the dealership for three months. I paid $480.00 for the Lithium Ion battery upgrade. You are supposed to unscrew the green knob if the unit is in storage for extended periods. The service department that finished some warranty work on the unit put the trailer back in storage and forgot to unscrew the green cap to kill the energy from the batteries.

I had to postpone my trip because I had to take the trailer back to the dealer to recharge from shore power. I also found out you can't start the fridge without battery power even though you're running off propane.

Now they want to sell me a $2,700 200 watt solar system installed. 100 watts is $1,795.

Any thoughts or suggestions. Is portable solar good to go, etc?
__________________
KT
madogkenno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2017, 11:56 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
daleyocum's Avatar
 
2018 25' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,025
The solar question and the battery discharge question are two issues.

$480 is REALLY cheap for a "lithium upgrade" so I'm not sure what they installed. Quality lithium batteries, without installation, are typically $1,000 on up. I'd recommend heading over to AM Solar's website and checking out their DIY section for complete information on both lithium batteries and solar.

Lithium batteries can be destroyed if allowed to completely discharge, which yours were. Some high quality batteries have electronics inside that prevent that complete discharge from happening, it's not clear if yours do. By the way, Lithium batteries also don't want to be charged below freezing. Yours weren't in this case but that's something else that some high quality batteries include, internal temperature sensing. I doubt for the price you paid your batteries have that feature.

What I'm saying is by leaving the battery on, your dealer could have quite possibly ruined the battery.

Solar is great fun if you plan on doing much camping off the grid. I wouldn't get solar if your main use for the trailer is taking it to places where you can plug in. If you are going to get solar, I'd have it done by someone who knows what they are doing. Alarm bells are going off in my head right now about your dealer. AM Solar, in Eugene Oregon not that far from you, has a stellar reputation. They will replace your battery with a much larger battery bank to efficiently store the power your collect from the sun.

One thing lithium is really good about is holding a charge while disconnected. It only looses about 2% a month. If the dealer is trying to sell you solar just to keep your battery topped off that's pretty unethical. You just have to remember to turn off the battery when in storage.

Portable solar panels are an option if you want to experiment with solar while camping off the grid. You'd have to get one that has a controller designed for lithium, though. Most are not so investigate carefully.

Be aware that lithium batteries have special charging needs and need a charge controller designed to work with them. I don't know what came in your Airstream in that regard and whether it can be set to properly charge lithium. For the price you paid they didn't upgrade it.
daleyocum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2017, 12:24 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
2016 30' Classic
Lorton , Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 682
Can you take some photos of the so-called lithium battery upgrade for $480?
Zybane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2017, 05:55 AM   #4
Reads a lot
 
2017 30' Classic
Titusville , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1,208
Images: 1
If it were me I would be making 2 phone calls early Tuesday morning. 1. AM solar 2. Airstream customer service in Jackson Center to get their input.
__________________
Lauri

She Believed She Could so She Did.
kendrick.l.j is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2017, 08:23 AM   #5
4 Rivet Member
 
2017 25' Flying Cloud
Gold Country , California
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 334
I’m assuming we purchased from the same dealership. If so, I have found there service reps to be a pain to deal with. They don’t seem to listen to what the problem is so much as they start talking to try to solve said problem. It’s to the point where I’ve given up being able to explain some5ing over the phone and just wait until I’m there in person.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they are trying to push the upgrade so that they don’t have take the hit for improperly storing your trailer. Almost like they are blaming you for the battery discharge because you didn’t have the foresight to have them install solar.

I know it sounds like I’m really displeased with the dealer, but that’s not entirely true. I just think there’s a lot bs from the service representatives, it takes time to muddle through it. Kudos to you for asking here and not just taking their advise. I also wonder about the $480 lithium upgrade, could you possibly mean AGM upgrade?
NorCal Matt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2017, 12:16 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
daleyocum's Avatar
 
2018 25' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,025
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Matt View Post
I also wonder about the $480 lithium upgrade, could you possibly mean AGM upgrade?
That’s a good point. If it’s really an AGM upgrade it may be okay to just recharge it. Not great but the battery may survive.

To the OP’s original question, if you actually have AGM batteries I’d recommend one of these portable solar panels to keep your battery topped off in storage. Unlike a panel made to provide power while camping, these are designed specificially to maintain the battery in long term storage. A whole lot cheaper than installing fixed solar if storage is only application you have for it. These don’t work correctly for lithium, though, so make sure what you have.

You do still need to make sure they turn off the battery while in storage, though.

Let us know the end of the story with the dealer.
daleyocum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2017, 06:53 AM   #7
Zil
4 Rivet Member
 
Curtis Wright
Currently Looking...
Eyren Haven , South Jersey
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 326
You had to go back to the dealer to recharge the battery. How were you going to keep the battery charged? Solar is a good thing.
Zil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2017, 05:52 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
BigSxyWhtGuy's Avatar
 
2018 30' Classic
Thousand Oaks , California
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,197
I just picked up a 18 classic myself. Dealer tried to sell me upgraded battery and solar package but I opted for just rolling with stock batteries for now and invest in it all later as needed once we kill the stock batteries.

That being said. My truck charges the batteries while we drive via the tow hookup. For boondocking we opted for the zamp solar portable solar 200w panel. It was about $700 and includes the necessary equipment to just plug into the built in Airstream zamp connector. This has proven to be successful so far. My wife and I both believe that a generator will not be needed for our travels as a result.

We are not heavy electrical users though, I believe usage should be considered overall with this continued conversation. Let me know if I may be able to help more!
__________________
BigSxyWhtGuy

Follow our adventures!
@airstreamvagabond on Instagram and YouTube
BigSxyWhtGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 10:12 AM   #9
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,992
Hi

There is no "stock" Lithium upgrade on an AS. If you got a conversion to Lithium batteries, it is a dealer specific thing. Put another way, if there is a problem with it, you take it back to that dealer.

Batteries are all about amp hours (energy storage). There is no magic involved. More usable amp hours are better than fewer usable amp hours. Battery types vary a bit in terms of how much of the "label" amp hours turn into usable amp hours. No matter what the battery type, the more deep discharges you do, the shorter their life. Discharge to dead flat is not good for any battery.

The fridge needs 12V to run the control circuits. The same is true of the heat, the AC or the water heater. Simply put - 12V is the main thing that keeps everything running. It also powers the brakes. Running down the road with the battery disconnected is not recommend.

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2017, 10:37 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
InterBlog's Avatar

 
2007 Interstate
League City , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5,648
Quote:
Originally Posted by madogkenno View Post
...

I paid $480.00 for the Lithium Ion battery upgrade.

...The service department that finished some warranty work on the unit put the trailer back in storage and forgot to unscrew the green cap to kill the energy from the batteries.

I had to postpone my trip because I had to take the trailer back to the dealer to recharge from shore power. ...

Now they want to sell me a $2,700 200 watt solar system installed. 100 watts is $1,795.

....
My comment is sort of a cumulative +1 on what others have already noted.

Nothing appears to form a coherent picture here. (1) The lithium is too cheap to be lithium, (2) whether lithium or AGM, the dealer probably did wreck the batteries if they failed to disconnect as the OP indicated, (3) there should be no need to return to a dealer for recharge, and (4) the solar suggestion makes no logical sense within the context as presented, unless there's more to the story.


It would be easier to suggest a decision tree if greater technical and operational detail were available, especially regarding (1) the batteries' specs, (2) the OP's active usage projections (how the unit is planned to be used, for what durations, etc.), and (3) the OP's passive storage projections (open in a driveway or on a lot vs. closed in a garage or under a canopy, powered vs. unpowered).
InterBlog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2017, 06:12 PM   #11
Rivet Master
 
mikeinca's Avatar

 
2020 25' Globetrotter
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 874
Given that the OP identifies as being from Napa, CA I'm going to assume with some certainty that he deals with the same dealer that I do. Having just had a discussion with this dealer regarding the options for an after-sale lithium battery installation, I'm 99.99% sure that there is no such thing as a "lithium battery" upgrade available for $480. AGM, maybe, but not lithium. The cheapest system they offer is a drop in lithium solution replacing the stock batteries and using the existing charge controller, for about $2500 including one hour of labor.

I agree with other posters that a portable panel is a cost effective way to get into solar charging. As has been pointed out already it's important to make sure that the portable solar unit you buy has a charging profile for lithium. My 200W Zamp portable was purchased a year ago and doesn't support lithium charging; that capability came into production about 6 months ago. If you purchase a new Zamp unit it you should be ok as long as it's not old inventory. I'll be installing a replacement Zamp controller if I decide to do lithium; they are available for about $125.
__________________
Mike

“The thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

"You can't fix stupid...but you can work with it"
-- Wiley Miller

2020 25' Globetrotter Twin
2017 F250 4x4 6.7 max tow Platinum
mikeinca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2017, 08:13 AM   #12
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,992
Hi

One of the greatest things about solar is using it to keep batteries charged while in storage or near storage conditions. A roof mount is a bit less of a worry than a portable unit when the trailer is left out somewhere for long periods of time ....

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2017, 11:33 AM   #13
Rivet Master
 
mikeinca's Avatar

 
2020 25' Globetrotter
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 874
There's no question that there are advantages to roof mount solar installations and security is one of them. OTOH, I chose a portable because it gives more flexibility in terms of placement...I don't have to park the trailer in the sun or maneuver it to catch rays... and the solar entry price is less for a portable set up. Lots of choices out there and advantages to each; you just have to figure out which option best meets your needs.
__________________
Mike

“The thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

"You can't fix stupid...but you can work with it"
-- Wiley Miller

2020 25' Globetrotter Twin
2017 F250 4x4 6.7 max tow Platinum
mikeinca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2018, 11:13 AM   #14
Silver is the new black
 
madogkenno's Avatar
 
2018 30' Classic
NAPA , California
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 32
Yes, AGM - what's the difference?
__________________
KT
madogkenno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2018, 12:15 PM   #15
Rivet Master
 
mikeinca's Avatar

 
2020 25' Globetrotter
Santa Rosa , California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 874
Quote:
Originally Posted by madogkenno View Post
Yes, AGM - what's the difference?
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are a type of lead acid wet cell battery that we're all familiar with. AGM batteries cost more than a normal lead acid wet cell battery but they store very well and do not tend to sulfate or degrade as easily. Many versions of AGM batteries are maintenance free.

Lithium batteries are a completely different battery technology. Among the many differences: they weigh much less, they are more efficient, they can be discharged almost 100% without damage (a normal lead acid battery can't be discharged much below 50%), they can be handle up to 10 times more charge cycles than a lead acid battery, they can take a charge more quickly, they maintain constant voltage throughout a discharge cycle, and while they cost more up front, their longer life makes them a better value in the long run.
__________________
Mike

“The thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

"You can't fix stupid...but you can work with it"
-- Wiley Miller

2020 25' Globetrotter Twin
2017 F250 4x4 6.7 max tow Platinum
mikeinca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2018, 04:18 PM   #16
TinCan
 
graysailor's Avatar
 
2016 30' Classic
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 878
Getting started on my lithium battery upgrade.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0490.jpg
Views:	79
Size:	285.3 KB
ID:	323907   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0492-1.jpg
Views:	82
Size:	259.9 KB
ID:	323908  

__________________
TinCan
graysailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2018, 04:44 PM   #17
Half a Rivet Short
 
2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 9,992
Quote:
Originally Posted by graysailor View Post
Getting started on my lithium battery upgrade.
Hi

Ok, so - why tack a "I'm starting my upgrade" post onto a thread about being *very* confused about AGM batteries?

Bob
uncle_bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lithium Ion Batteries phil1ben Dollars & Cents 19 04-20-2019 03:48 PM
Follow up on Easy startElectrical/power/generator/lithium ion battery update Driftin Di Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 7 07-19-2017 10:01 AM
Upgrading Converter/Charger To Accommodate Lithium Ion Batteries doutterson Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 2 10-13-2016 09:01 PM
Lithium ion battery bearrand Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 9 04-04-2014 06:02 PM
Lithium ion battery sk8r29 Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 18 03-30-2011 01:33 AM


Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.