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 > Battery upgrade, maybe solar option also

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Quint Da Man

Peabody, MA

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Posted: 02/16/22 07:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Trying to learn a little bit about battery upgrades including a solar option.

I have a 2020 Thor Class C, it has 2 house batteries. Last year we joined Harvest Host and did a little more boondocking than usual. I found that the house batteries seem to drop below acceptable levels in about 4 or 5 hours of light duty use (TV and a few lights for a couple of hours). What happens is all the electronic devises hooked up to the battery system I.E. CO2, Leveling system, Fire alarm all start beeping at around 2am. The only thing that is running after around 10pm is the refrigerator and those smaller electronic devises. I've researched lithium battery upgrades and that doesn't seem to be an option because of their limitations in cold weather (below 40 degrees). I live in Massachusetts and early spring late fall camping have many a night below freezing. Another option from my under standing would be AGM batteries these seem to be better than standard batteries but not as good as lithium. I have also had priced out a solar option. My rig is solar prepped so the upgrade would be 4 AGM batteries and two 150w solar panels for about $4500.00 installed. That was a lot more than I expected. Now I'm thinking about maybe just upgrading to 4 AGM batteries and hope they will hold charge at least long enough to get through the night.


I'd love to hear peoples ideas, and options, things they have done. We plan on doing a hell of a lot more boondocking in the near future so would like to resolve this issue.


Please educate me.


Thanks


2020 Thor Quantum WS31
2017 Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk
Blue Ox Ascent Tow Bar BX4370
Blue Ox Patriot II Brake BRK2016


WNYBob

Tonawanda, NY

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Posted: 02/16/22 07:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When up grading batteries check to see if your converter is up to the task of charging them. AGM and Lithium batteries take different charging rates and voltages! Yes, another cost, but don't damage the new batteries.

Quint Da Man

Peabody, MA

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Posted: 02/16/22 07:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WNYBob wrote:

When up grading batteries check to see if your converter is up to the task of charging them. AGM and Lithium batteries take different charging rates and voltages! Yes, another cost, but don't damage the new batteries.



Thanks I'll look into that.

I was just up in North Tonawanda this weekend. My rig is at Colton RV as we speak. That's who will be doing the upgrade if I go forward wit it.

2oldman

NM

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Posted: 02/16/22 08:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

300w of solar will be just barely enough for any normal use, especially if you have an inverter. Installing the panels on the roof yourself is not that difficult and a whole lot cheaper if you're physically capable. And it's a CO monitor, not Co2.

3 tons

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Posted: 02/16/22 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem of which you describe tends to point to the common effects of voltage sag… Lithium (due to a nearly flat discharge voltage profile) is ideally suited to overcome this common problem … Understand too that cold temperature charging (charging at or below 32f) doesn’t prevent continued discharge down to about -04f… Temps can often rise by the early afternoon, and LFP’s far deeper DOD (depth of discharge) over Lead Acid types will often see you through to the next available harvest cycle…Yet some manufacturers offer LFP’s with charge protection shutdowns and some with built-in heating elements that activate when charging, and you could always opt for a battery heater blanket, or even an indoor mount, thereby repurposing your battery box for additional storage (what I’ve done)…

3 tons

theoldwizard1

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Posted: 02/16/22 09:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quint Da Man wrote:

I've researched lithium battery upgrades and that doesn't seem to be an option because of their limitations in cold weather (below 40 degrees). I live in Massachusetts and early spring late fall camping have many a night below freezing.

Lithium is THE ONLY WAY TO GO ! Many batteries actually have heaters built in so that you can use them below freezing.

Best place to get an education is no DIY Solar Power with Will process on YouTube.

3 tons

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Posted: 02/16/22 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quint Da Man wrote:

WNYBob wrote:

When up grading batteries check to see if your converter is up to the task of charging them. AGM and Lithium batteries take different charging rates and voltages! Yes, another cost, but don't damage the new batteries.



Thanks I'll look into that.

I was just up in North Tonawanda this weekend. My rig is at Colton RV as we speak. That's who will be doing the upgrade if I go forward wit it.


Be advised that if you have a Progressive Dynamics charger, you might simply add their optional Charge Wizard dongle… For Lithium, simply switch the dongle into the 14.4v Boost mode / no need for an upgrade…


BTW, in nominal terms, one 100a/h LFP is roughly equivalent to two Lead Acid batteries…

3 tons

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 02/16/22 09:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WNYBob wrote:

When up grading batteries check to see if your converter is up to the task of charging them. AGM and Lithium batteries take different charging rates and voltages! Yes, another cost, but don't damage the new batteries.

If you need to upgrade the converter then now would be a good time to get rid of it completely !

An inverter/charger/automatic transfer switch can replace it.b Easy to install and even easier to use !

Lwiddis

Cambria, California area

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Posted: 02/16/22 09:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lithium batteries provide a smaller and lighter package with a lifespan longer than wet cell batteries with more available amp hours at a good voltage. No, you can't charge them below 32F but you don't need to charge them full every day either. No water to add or check...no terminal cleaning. However, four AGM batteries should easily hold you through the night. Something in your system is bad.

Regarding solar, I haven't run my generator in 45 days of camping except to "exercise" it. Solar is wonderful...install and forget about power. You'll have it.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


otrfun

On The Road

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Posted: 02/16/22 11:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3 tons wrote:

. . . Be advised that if you have a Progressive Dynamics charger, you might simply add their optional Charge Wizard dongle… For Lithium, simply switch the dongle into the 14.4v Boost mode / no need for an upgrade . . .
Excellent advice! There is nothing magical about these so-called "lifepo4 approved" converters other than the slightly higher 14.6v bulk charge voltage. Any quality, late model 3-stage 13.2v/13.6v/14.4v lead-cell converter will safely charge a lifepo4 just fine. Zero downsides. In fact, there's one important upside to using a 3-stage 13.2v/13.6v/14.4v lead-cell converter vs. any single-stage 14.6v lifepo4 converter: zero chance of overcharging.

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