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Old 02-05-2023, 05:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 34
Did the refrigerator upgrade - Upgrade house batteries to lithium or hold?

I need some advice as to whether to proactively upgrade to house lithium batteries or hold and see how it goes... so here is my situation -

We have a 2006 Damon Astoria 38' DP. We bought it used in 2011, and have put 130K of the 144K miles on it. We bought it as our first RV, thinking we would upgrade to a Tiffen or Newmar, but over the years we made some upgrades, and now with our two kids getting older, we are thinking that this RV is actually really nice for just the two of us. Consequently, we are making another round of significant upgrades (new furniture and chairs w Bradd & Hall). Two weeks ago, I removed the old original absorption refrigerator, which was showing some issues, and I didn't want to deal further with the risk of fire. Today I did the install on a Dometic 4101 12v compressor refrigerator. To finish the install I need to upgrade to 10 ga. wire.

The only boondocking we do is to overnight in a WalMart or something similar along our route, and don't anticipate doing more. We do not have an inverter, for 120v its generator or hookup only, which for us is fine. Our House batteries are 2 Duracell 6v AGM GC2 batteries - 2 years old. They are rated 409 minutes @ 25 amps, and by my research 215 AH each. Our converter is a Progressive Dynamics Intelli-Power Model PD9280.

So, here is my question - I will find out for sure, but I think I will likely be OK on an overnight boondock running this this new refrigerator without the need to fire the generator up in the morning or at night. Or, cost is not the issue, should I upgrade to Lithium house batteries now, and would I likely then need a new converter to go with them?

Thanks in advance.
John, Jennifer, and 2 kids
2006 Damon Astoria 3579 38' 300 HP Cummins
2005 Ford Explorer Toad
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Old 02-05-2023, 06:29 PM   #2
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I think that you will be fine with the batteries that you currently have. You didn't mention any solar, but the 2 batteries should have plenty of juice for a overnight stop, and driving the next day will charge the batteries again.

I also recently installed a Dometic 4101 and so far I love it. I have read that it will use about 25AH in 24 hours. I don't know if this is true or not. I also don't have anyway to monitor exactly how far down my 4 6 volt GC Durecell batteries are, but I have left the refrigerator running for two days on batteries only and my old style meter still showed 12 volts and the battery as good, not 13volts, but good enough.

So far this is way better than my Dometic Royal absorption refrigerator, Which was still working great even better than most. I hope to add enough solar to make this a non issue even with my lead acid batteries. Right now I reportedly have a total of 80 watts of solar panels, but I don't think that they are producing anything anymore.

So for 8 or so hours overnight I don't think you will have any problems, the fridge will work down to 10.? something volts. So for it really doesn't run all that often to drain the batteries down.

Hopefully this will help you some.
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Old 02-05-2023, 06:31 PM   #3
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I would say you should have no problem running the frig on battery overnight, But remember it will also depend on what other 12v DC loads you are using. For us running 200 AH of AGM an overnight in Wal-Mart is not a problem overnight. Even with some Inverter use for some TV time.
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Old 02-05-2023, 06:33 PM   #4
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The limited amount of boondocking you do I'd say you would be fine.

I installed a residential, I have a 2000 Watt inverter to power the refrigerator and a set of four 6 volt batteries. I don't have any problem lasting overnight.

I usually run the generator before I go to bed to make sure my batteries are at ~90%. When I wake up my batteries are still ~70-75%

I thought about upgrading batteries, from what I read there is quite a bit of things to consider with lithium. I'd probably have to install a DC to DC charger while using the alternator/driving. Lithium batteries require a heated storage area, they don't like cold weather.

So right now I'm going to stay with the lead acid batteries.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD Cummins ISC 350 8.3L
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 02-05-2023, 07:02 PM   #5
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A converter will not supply AC to a refer, so you are dead in the water as far as continuous power to the refer is concerned. If the refer has been plugged in to AC for the day before, going overnight without AC power will be fine
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Old 02-05-2023, 07:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dons2346 View Post
A converter will not supply AC to a refer, so you are dead in the water as far as continuous power to the refer is concerned. If the refer has been plugged in to AC for the day before, going overnight without AC power will be fine

I initially thought the same thing, had to reread the post. He upgraded to a 12V compressor model. So he doesn't need an inverter.
Jim J
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Old 02-06-2023, 07:16 AM   #7
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Sounds like you have enough capacity and most likely at least a few years left in your current batteries if taken proper care of. Use it as you would to test it out. Take a multimeter reading at house batts from fully charged after a night of fridge use if over 12.0 v your still at about %50 charge. Since you don't really deep cycle your batts they will mostly age out before they cycle out so 11.9 at batts is %40 ish they aren't going to self destruct. Not leaving them at lower state of charge is also important and you won't be once you hit the road.
You could get similar capacity from a single 100ah lifepo battery. Battleborn claims a single 100ah doesn't usually need a change dc-dc convertor to protect a MH alternator. But also a LA/AMG/GEL only convertor will only get a lifepo to about 80% . A balance charge to 100% is recommended every 50 cycles I would say more often not for daily use. Any equalization for LA batt would need to be disabled. Only a few convertors had timed equalization anyway.
Don't forget lifepo 4 batts need low temp protection and not charged under 32f.
When time comes to change out your current batts you can consider upgrade some well reviewed and tested 100 ah 12v batts are now priced at only $300-500. A life batt convertor start about $200, 20-30 amp dc-dc charger $100-150. Many owners move battery to inside cabinet to address cold temps.That would need some cables use suggest 0/1 for 100ah .
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