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Old 02-10-2018, 11:48 PM   #29
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I am a professional electrical engineer, but certainly not an anal one. I am however suggesting that good design is truly set and forget and yours obviously requires you to hover anxiously lest something go wrong. Sounds very unhealthy to me.

My AGMs are now 11 years old and still doing the same job they were when I installed them. They are buried in the bowels of my 40' bus and together with the inverter charger and the solar system have not required 1 second of thought in 10 years. Don't even have a battery charge monitor installed.

Hmmmm. Well, I guess I lie. I have had to clean the solar panels a handful of times, but that is the extent of it.

As for the unimaginably life-changing event of running out of power. Heaven forbid! If and when they give signs of not giving me their all, I figure I will have at least 6 months advance warning to look around for a good deal on some new batteries - Fullriver AGMs of course, just like the current ones.
Electrical engineer here as well. In the power industry since 66.

Wow. You've done well. I got less than 3 years from my flooded LA. I mostly stayed above 50% but had to go lower a few times. As they weakened, they ever more frequently got down to 50%. At 50% 900W load on my inverter would kick it off.

How do you know when you are approaching 50%? Do you have SOC that warns you? I never found anything that I thought would do that very well so did it manually.

I assume you dry camp / boondock a lot or we wouldn't be having this discussion. For me 10 years would be 600 cycles (not all down to 50% but some below 50%). Getting that kind of life out of any lead acid is remarkable. I wouldn't change a thing you are doing.
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:52 AM   #30
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Lithium/Lifeblue/Battleborn system decision

Thanks for all the information these past few months.
Here is what I have gleaned:
Lithium batteries are easy to over charge-Bad
No adequate stand alone chargers exist that do the job properly.
Itís important to be able to manually cut off power from all charging sources, solar, converter chargers, alternator.
Constant monitoring is needed.
Lage draw from an inverter can shut down the battery???

Do most folks install a switch or disconnect the cable from the isolator that is supplying charge from the alternator?

Installing a solar cut of seems easy enough.

Should I just forget about needing a stand alone, plug in type charger and just depend on an alternator and/or solar system for charging?

Is there anyone out there who has actually lived with and perfected a system for drop in lithiums for more than a few months? How about a few years?

Thanks again for all the information. This is very interesting to me.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:17 AM   #31
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Yes, Cost. Lithium about $1,000 per 100ah capacity. Flooded Lead acid (FLA) batteries, 6v GC2 size; about $80 per 100ah capacity. Sigh.........


You will need double that unless your coach runs on 6v?

You will also need at least 4 to make it worth while .. 6 or 8 would be even better

I always hear when we get old we forget to do things.. water the batteries? Clean them ? And sometimes charge them?

Running the generator to charge regular batteries to 100% can take all day ..

Lithiumís have their place .. being cheap you will never justify it.. big picture and things work a little better..

For everyone? Obviously not considering some of the post.. biggest drawback? Cost!

Spend it.. you wonít take it with you!
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:28 PM   #32
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"How do you know when you are approaching 50%? Do you have SOC that warns you?"

The other design philosophy is to not encourage meter watching by the simple expedient of not providing a meter and sizing the system so that crises don't happen.
Just a digital panel meter behind a door that I can push a button and read the battery volts, so even that doesn't get done very often. Knowing roughly what is coming in via solar and what is going out, my rough estimation of SOC is good enough. Obviously take little notice when boiling the kettle or at midday in bright sunshine, but still plenty of times when input and output are low enough that battery voltage is a good enough indication of SOC. +- 30% is close enough given the operating conditions don't change much day to day. If things did get dire there is always the noisy diesel generator but that is rarely necessary. Maybe once a year. Normal use of microwave or electric kettle don't result in the inverter getting upset
I don't regard 50% as some sacred limit because that may not be optimum depending on battery type, but obviously the less discharge the better and the sooner charged the better too. We tend to be travelers rather than sitters so there is always the 180amp engine alternator available if the sun isn't cooperating.

There is probably little doubt that Li batteries have their place in some applications, but on my big old bus with 2 tons of unused payload and a whole centre luggage bay empty, and a heap of unused roof space to fit more solar panels if required, I just couldn't ever justify changing.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:39 PM   #33
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Lithium is new, so there are unknowns. Fear, even.

Seem simpler to charge than lead acid, no need for multi step charging. Many firms make li compatible chargers.


As for 'real world experience" with lithium: google:

Gone with the Wynns

Technomadia
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:52 AM   #34
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Lithium has been around for a very long time. The only thing new is pushing it more into the consumer market. Some of that was a result of changes in packaging and a bit of chemistry manipulation that created a less dangerous system. Knowing that is not an issue of fear. It is an issue of knowing what the issues are and adjusting accordingly.

Anybody that thinks battery chemistry is new should do some research. There was a lot of it done in the late 1800's and early 1900's as the understanding of electricity and chemistry emerged. Few if any new combinations have been developed since then. What has happened is the development of very sophisticated manufacturing methods that let some of the more dangerous combinations work as a usable device. There is a list of chemistries that are on the shelf if somebody could find a way to safely control them. Lithium is just the one currently in use because some smart folks did figure out how to manufacture a small battery cell that is relatively safe. Relative is the key. We have seen failures eat the various devices they were put in.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:16 PM   #35
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Thanks for all the information these past few months.
Here is what I have gleaned:
Lithium batteries are easy to over charge-Bad
Not good, but not really bad. With moderate abuse you should get 2500 cycles. That's 25 years of 100 days per year dry-camping and using one cycle per day. My approach is to be a bit more diligent, not to get more than 25 years, but because I'm an anal engineer. I think that just as one should be monitoring their lead-acid for long life and reliability, it's worth doing that with an LFP as well.

Quote:
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No adequate stand alone chargers exist that do the job properly.
Itís important to be able to manually cut off power from all charging sources, solar, converter chargers, alternator.
I'd say true. Lead-acid voltage gets high at full charge. LFP voltage gets high at full charge only if the charge current is substantial. Most charging sources in an RV don't deliver that high charge current (unless you have a smallish and marginally sized LFP).

Ideally one would have an external SOC monitor that would cut off the solar or other charge sources. I don't think anybody makes one. It would be easy, SOC of an LFP is easily determined and switching off a source is easy enough.

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Constant monitoring is needed.
I'd call it once or twice per day. Twice if your LFP is marginally sized and you are dry-camping. In no time you will have a feel for how much energy you are using, how much you can expect from the sun that day, how much the alternator will deliver, etc. It will quickly be second nature to keep the LFP charged without abusing it.

In my case, the LFP is good for several days of dry-camping without charging. This makes monitoring much less critical.

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Lage draw from an inverter can shut down the battery???
This is a lead-acid problem. Lead-acid voltage drops under high load an drops more when discharged (say, to 50%). LFP voltage drops hardly at all. You inverter will work just fine on an LFP at any charge level including near 0%. This is another reason to monitor LFP charge -- your inverter will not kick off thereby telling you the charge is low.

Quote:
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Do most folks install a switch or disconnect the cable from the isolator that is supplying charge from the alternator?
I switch off the battery -- I'm in a 5th wheel and don't need 12V power beyond what the alternator can provide when traveling. Not sure this is okay in a coach.

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Originally Posted by Honeyboy View Post
Installing a solar cut of seems easy enough.
Should already exist. There's supposed to be one on the input from the panels and the output to the battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Honeyboy View Post
Should I just forget about needing a stand alone, plug in type charger and just depend on an alternator and/or solar system for charging?
I've never needed more than the solar, alternator, and built-in converter.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:38 AM   #36
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Interesting discussion. Thanks for all the information folks. Subscribing to the thread.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:25 AM   #37
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The Lead Acid batteries that came with my coach work...but I admit, adding water every month...pulling the whole shebang out once a year to clean the corrosion and paint the battery compartment...isnít making me go ga ga.
AGM batteries will make all that go away for a fraction on the cost of Lithium and they work just fine with standard RV battery chargers.
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Old 03-03-2018, 04:48 AM   #38
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AGM batteries will make all that go away for a fraction on the cost of Lithium and they work just fine with standard RV battery chargers.
Unless prices come down...(which probably wonít happen) ó- and it will probably take me running a temperature data logger for a couple of years to convince me that the Lithiums arenít going to shut down at the worst possible time ó- AGMs are the route I will take when these wear out.

Yeah...hauling eight batteryís out for a shower, cleaning all the terminal hardware, metal brushing and painting the battery tray, and reassembling was a chore. Looks good for now. The terminals have a nice coating of anti-corrosion spray on them.
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:58 PM   #39
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New to this board and just saw this post..I work in the energy industry, we have huge lithium back up power systems that need constant temp control, as they are fickle, not good for temp varaitions and uncontrolled climage...AGM batteries are also fickle their cycle times, duty ratings and temp ratings are not as good as flooded lead acid batteries are when using ROI cost vs cycle times vs rating..we switched out all of our AGM UPS back up battery systems with flooded lead acid and replace the AGM batteries as they dont last, especially looking at duty rating, cycle time, temp variances etc each has its place even in my airplane i run flooded lead acid..the nickel hydride did not last and lithium cant handle the temp variations.. just my 2c...
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Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
Unless prices come down...(which probably wonít happen) ó- and it will probably take me running a temperature data logger for a couple of years to convince me that the Lithiums arenít going to shut down at the worst possible time ó- AGMs are the route I will take when these wear out.

Yeah...hauling eight batteryís out for a shower, cleaning all the terminal hardware, metal brushing and painting the battery tray, and reassembling was a chore. Looks good for now. The terminals have a nice coating of anti-corrosion spray on them.
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Old 03-05-2018, 04:27 PM   #40
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New to this board and just saw this post..I work in the energy industry, we have huge lithium back up power systems that need constant temp control, as they are fickle, not good for temp varaitions and uncontrolled climage...AGM batteries are also fickle their cycle times, duty ratings and temp ratings are not as good as flooded lead acid batteries are when using ROI cost vs cycle times vs rating..we switched out all of our AGM UPS back up battery systems with flooded lead acid and replace the AGM batteries as they dont last, especially looking at duty rating, cycle time, temp variances etc each has its place even in my airplane i run flooded lead acid..the nickel hydride did not last and lithium cant handle the temp variations.. just my 2c...
Norcal, You might be the outlier, FLA in an aircraft? Better choices out there:
Concorde Battery - AGM Aircraft Batteries
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:00 PM   #41
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I need to know the MINIMUM current flow to loads before the LiFeBlue system registers it?
Some LiFePO4 systems (mine before vendor modification) require the load to be over 1A before recognizing and including it in SoC calculations -- they're made for cars, golf carts, etc. that have high motor current draws.

Any help is very appreciated!
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:13 PM   #42
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I need to know the MINIMUM current flow to loads before the LiFeBlue system registers it?
Some LiFePO4 systems (mine before vendor modification) require the load to be over 1A before recognizing and including it in SoC calculations -- they're made for cars, golf carts, etc. that have high motor current draws.

Any help is very appreciated!

Interesting issue. Have you found the answer yet?


I've always assumed my SOC was integrating even the smallest current. But, I'm home from a trip and need to bring the SOC on my Lifeblue down to about 50% for storage over the summer, so will first turn on a small load and watch SOC for a week or so, and get back to you.
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