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Old 08-17-2022, 04:20 PM   #1
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1999 Holiday Rambler Lithium Battery Conversion

We have a 1999 Holiday Rambler Navigator. We want to convert to lithium batteries. Has anyone out there done this that can give me some advice on proper hookup so the alternator can charge the batteries. I know this is probably the 1000th question about this but any advice is appreciated. We have a 4 battery system for the house batteries. 2 batteries for the motor. We just want to replace the house batteries with lithium and want them to charge at the proper rate and be able to know when they are low.
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Old 08-17-2022, 04:36 PM   #2
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You should read some of the threads in the "Going Green" section of this forum.
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f56/

The first problem you need to address is your original Trace inverter lithium battery friendly. Probably not, so you should look into replacing it.

The next issue as you suggested is alternator charging. You should install a DC to DC charger to isolate your alternator from the chassis battery bank and alternator.

Next is temperature control for the lithium batteries. They do not like temperature extremes, both hot or cold. Some lithium battery manufacturers offer heat pads to prevent freezing. The tougher problem is preventing excessive heat. We live and travel in the southwest US where summer temperatures are routinely above 100 degrees and I have not yet found a suitable solution for storage and traveling.

There are a few other minor issues, but if you can solve the three above you're doing great.
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Old 08-17-2022, 07:32 PM   #3
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All of the things mentioned above, the important thing to remember is that LiFePo4 is never a drop in replacement for lead acid, they just have too many different traits and when you see the term drop in, they are talking about form factor, not function.
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Old 08-17-2022, 10:32 PM   #4
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Lots of good info in the “Going Green” section, certainly.

When people talk about the difficulties of converting to lithium, don’t get discouraged. Going to lithium is the best thing I have ever done to my rig. For my style of camping it is a huge improvement and worth the effort.

Good luck!
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Old 08-18-2022, 12:30 PM   #5
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I recently completed this type of upgrade to a LiFeP04 House battery in my 97 Monaco Dynasty. My goal was to move to LiFeP04 with a minimum amount of expense or replacement of my existing equipment. I documented my process in this thread https://www.irv2.com/forums/f56/lith...ch-561526.html .

I just updated it with my results so far, so jump to the last post for a summary of what I actually ended up doing and how it's turned out.

If you are considering doing this yourself you will certainly need a basic understanding of DC electrical circuits and LiFeP04 battery management requirements. Otherwise I would recommend trying to find a reputable vendor to work with on your conversion.
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Old 08-18-2022, 08:03 PM   #6
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My detailed upgrade on a Bounder
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f107/16-...de-323250.html
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Old 08-19-2022, 08:54 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. We do have a Trace RV2512 Inverter. It looks like that will be an expense we will have to incur. We bought the batteries a couple months ago thinking it would be an easy thing to swap out. Dumb us. Research research!! So now I am researching. I am thinking it is going to take more than our skills even though my husband is very talented and knows a lot about everything. I am reading all the post and printed out your summary Ken. We will probably never upgrade our motorhome so need to change what we need to do. DH loves the 450 HP and the diesel Cummins on the FRHT chassis. He is a master mechanic and we have owned a commercial truck dealership for almost 20 years. Thank you for all of your help. I am the one who has to give him the results of my research. LOL
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyh View Post
Thanks everyone. We do have a Trace RV2512 Inverter. It looks like that will be an expense we will have to incur. We bought the batteries a couple months ago thinking it would be an easy thing to swap out. Dumb us. Research research!! So now I am researching. I am thinking it is going to take more than our skills even though my husband is very talented and knows a lot about everything. I am reading all the post and printed out your summary Ken. We will probably never upgrade our motorhome so need to change what we need to do. DH loves the 450 HP and the diesel Cummins on the FRHT chassis. He is a master mechanic and we have owned a commercial truck dealership for almost 20 years. Thank you for all of your help. I am the one who has to give him the results of my research. LOL
Cathy
Sounds like you have a decent amount of skills to do the project. If you already have the lithium batteries you've spent most of the required $$$. Just depends what you want/need.


At one time I was thinking about this type of upgrade including more solar. But we just wouldn't use it enough to justify the expense. I've found that I can get by with ~1-1.5 hour of generator time to top off the batteries. In hot weather have to run generator anyway for AC's. Economically it just didn't make sense.

At some point I may revisit this.
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
You should read some of the threads in the "Going Green" section of this forum.
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f56/

The first problem you need to address is your original Trace inverter lithium battery friendly. Probably not, so you should look into replacing it.

The next issue as you suggested is alternator charging. You should install a DC to DC charger to isolate your alternator from the chassis battery bank and alternator.

Next is temperature control for the lithium batteries. They do not like temperature extremes, both hot or cold. Some lithium battery manufacturers offer heat pads to prevent freezing. The tougher problem is preventing excessive heat. We live and travel in the southwest US where summer temperatures are routinely above 100 degrees and I have not yet found a suitable solution for storage and traveling.

There are a few other minor issues, but if you can solve the three above you're doing great.

+2. By the time you change the battries, converter, alternator and inverter you have some serious expenses
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Old 08-19-2022, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtJoyce View Post
+2. By the time you change the battries, converter, alternator and inverter you have some serious expenses
Well, you don't really need to do most of that, actually, depending on how configurable your converter/charger is in terms of charge profiles. You don't require it to have a lithium profile per se, so long as one of the settings provides a "close enough" profile. Generally lower voltages are safer. Lithium will fully charge with a lower voltage, it just takes longer.

In my case I'm relying on my smart BMS to manage and protect the batteries. Many people would say that is foolish and that the charger should be smart and lithium aware and the BMS should be a safety backup. That sounds reasonable, though I'm pretty sure if my BMS starts acting up my cells aren't going to be happy about it anyway. And if the cost of a new smart charger is the same or more than my battery cells were in the first place...

My goal was to get a lithium house battery with minimal changes to the stock gear and I believe I achieved that. Works great. Probably didn't really even need the DC-DC converter for charging off the alternator, but it was on sale so I pulled the trigger.
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Old 08-19-2022, 08:58 PM   #11
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Ken, same here I was able to continue to use most of my existing equipment just had to do some research to make sure charge profile settings were reasonably compatible, though I did add a DC-DC charger between the alternator and the new LiFePo4 battery bank.
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