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Old 11-13-2018, 12:10 PM   #1
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Lithium batteries in cold weather

We are at older sonís place in mountains of northern NM. It was supposed to get down to 9F last night. We put a 60 W incandescent shop lamp in the front bay with the LFP battery suite and it kept the bay above 40F. We cheated and utilized sonís electricity. He offered after I whined about having to pull out the 1 kW Honda generator. He has about 6 kW in panels and 50 kW-hrs of Lead acid batteries.

We are 78 and I shall wait for snow to melt off panels

Reed and Elaine
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:56 PM   #2
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Hey Reed, 9 deg wasn't too bad, better than in Minnesota now .
Your son has a big system. Is't it grid tie or purely off grid?
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:02 PM   #3
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Never Minnesota in winter unless I were cross country

Son is completely off grid. He has been a solar contractor since 1991. That is still a whacking lot of lead acid batteries

Reed and Elaine
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:49 PM   #4
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Best if the batteries are not sitting on a cold floor.

Last thing you want is the top of the cells to be 33F and the bottom at 26F.
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Old 11-15-2018, 10:23 PM   #5
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Lithium batteries like it cold. That’s how you’re supposed to store them.
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Old 11-16-2018, 07:17 AM   #6
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Reed does your system show individual cell temp for your battery bank? It would be interesting to see what those cell temps are while compartment is being warmed by the 60w bulb at such a low outside temp.

I haven't been in 9f weather but at 25-30f (outside) the front compartment will be in the 45f with cell temps holding about that till we start using the batteries some then they'll warm up a couple more degrees.
I did insulate the compartment walls with foam board, one piece that was cut to be removed during warm weather to allow for more air flow/ cooling and reinserted during cold weather to hold the heat longer. Which has been doing pretty well but would rather not test it at 9f.

Isn't time you head for warm beaches in Mexico?
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Old 11-16-2018, 09:06 AM   #7
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Itinerant1 - it is time to head for Yucatan but Elaine needs a shoulder replacement so it will be another year.

Just checked Manzanita Micro BMS on line and the batteries do have temperature probes. Now need to determine which buttons to push on display. The single bulb plus battery charger and inverter (we cheated using line power during snow storm but will unhook today to see how well solar does keep up with this demand) did keep battery compartment 30F above ambient.

Will put in foam boards as per your suggestion. Thanks, I should have figured this out myself.

Alloy - the batteries are sitting on thick plywood with a 2” space between them and metal floor w
I’ll put in foam board in space today. Your thought is appreciated. We have been headed to Yucatan every year for last four years and avoided snow and cold. We used solar autonomous 19’ Roadtrek last two years since we wanted to visit colonial towns where you would never get a 34’ fifth wheel into, and if you did, you might never get it out: San Cristobal de Las Casas and San Miguel de Allende). left fifth wheel here at son’s and turned off battery until we returned.
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Old 11-16-2018, 03:40 PM   #8
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Sun is out for next several days so disconnected from line power. Leaving 60 W in battery bay and the 39 W Hallogens in main bay.

Reed and Elaine
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Old 11-17-2018, 11:21 AM   #9
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I agree with RiverBurt. the Lithium batteries are fine with the cold. But, you don't want to CHARGE them, below freezing. So, you can just disconnect the batteries from everything, and temperature will have no effect.
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Old 11-17-2018, 11:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwilcox View Post
I agree with RiverBurt. the Lithium batteries are fine with the cold. But, you don't want to CHARGE them, below freezing. So, you can just disconnect the batteries from everything, and temperature will have no effect.
If you have a proper bms no need to manually do anything let the system do it's thing.

Now if you're a weekend warrior and you're putting the rig away for the season sure low psoc, disconnect and life should be good till next outing.
As fulltimers living off of lfp/ solar being prepared for colder weather make life more enjoyable. Why go into survival mode when a little prep goes along way for comfortable living.
This would also work for the seasonal snowbird boondocker's.
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:34 PM   #11
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As indicated above, we are full timers and disconnecting batteries is not a normal option, particularly since we do not normally use line power as we are doing at this time.

Will be using ideas from ALloy and others. Will use foam panels for further insulation. Will put a 20 or 30 W bulb under the plywood panel on which the batteries rest to keep bottom warm.

The battery compartment did stay above 40 F with outside at 9. Placing plywood panel over batteries will reduce heated volume to a third.

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Old 12-16-2018, 08:49 AM   #12
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I'm hoping to learn enough about these Lithiums to incorporate them when my FLA need replacement.

This thread brings up an important aspect about management. The cold.

Having a combination Inverter/Charger (MS2812) means that if low temp cutoff is reached...I loose a lot of stuff...the dc loads could remain discharging...but all of my Inverter loads ie...important stuff would be shutdown. So, it cetainly motivates me to keep the batteries in the zone to keep working.

Due to all the slideouts it isn't practical for me to mount batteries within the living area. I'll be insulating and sealing off the existing battery compartment.

The 60w light bulb is a good idea. I might add an outlet so that I could choose to put it on a temp relay, or WeMo outlet that could be controlled remotely.

Eventually, I would like to explore the possibility of placing an Oasis heat exchanger in there with it's own thermostat switch...like the one in the wet bay. That would make sure it is ready to work without any action required on my part. We normally keep Oasis going when sub freezing temps are expected.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverBurt View Post
Lithium batteries like it cold. Thatís how youíre supposed to store them.

Do uou have an authoritative reference for that?
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
I'm hoping to learn enough about these Lithiums to incorporate them when my FLA need replacement.

This thread brings up an important aspect about management. The cold.

Having a combination Inverter/Charger (MS2812) means that if low temp cutoff is reached...I loose a lot of stuff...the dc loads could remain discharging...but all of my Inverter loads ie...important stuff would be shutdown. So, it cetainly motivates me to keep the batteries in the zone to keep working.

Due to all the slideouts it isn't practical for me to mount batteries within the living area. I'll be insulating and sealing off the existing battery compartment.

The 60w light bulb is a good idea. I might add an outlet so that I could choose to put it on a temp relay, or WeMo outlet that could be controlled remotely.

Eventually, I would like to explore the possibility of placing an Oasis heat exchanger in there with it's own thermostat switch...like the one in the wet bay. That would make sure it is ready to work without any action required on my part. We normally keep Oasis going when sub freezing temps are expected.
Why would you lose inverting if the temp is below 32f? I personally have not had my system shut down charging due to the cold or any other protection in place.
I suppose it depends on what/ how you're going to implement your bms.

For instance on the Elite GBS I'm using it has it's own safe guards in place... these protect the LFP batteries.
There are seven alarms:
- Over voltage (highest cell is over 3.8V after a 3 second delay)
- Under voltage (lowest cell is below 2.8V after a 30 second delay)
- Over current (current exceeds 10C for 10 seconds)
- Over temperature (highest cell exceeds 150įF or 65įC)
- Under temperature (lowest cell is below 32įF or 0įC, charging is not allowed)
- Ground fault (There is a high voltage leakage greater than 2mA to the chassis pin)
- Unmanaged cells (The programmed number of cells does not equal the number of cells read)

If it's below the allowable temp for charging the battery bms/cpu just doesn't allow charging, but you're still using the batteries so why do you think the inverter won't be functioning?
The Magnum is controlling just what you program it to do, the batteries bms/ cpu should be protecting the battery cells.
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