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Old 09-06-2020, 03:54 PM   #1
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Anyone with Vintage Motorhomes have Lithium Batteries?

Anyone out there have an older motorhome with Lithium batteries setup? I'm going to be upgrading my Motorhome to Lithium soon. It's a 1986 Champion Titan.

Specifically curious to know if anyone out there with an older unit decided to change out their converter/charger to account for the lithium. Or did they purchase an external lithium charger to charge from 110V plug while in Shore power or Generator is running. Being that mine is older, seems upgrading the charger makes the most sense and convenient but not sure if a new charger is a simple swap out like a lot of newer units.

Also anyone do anything special to account for their Alternator? Seems some lithium batteries can over tax the alternator if you don't have the right isolation system setup.

I have talked with several Lithium Batt companies and LifeBlue and seems to offer the best option as they have a battery management system built in, along with a heater if needed and they also won't harm your alternator if you don't set them up to run while the motorhome is on.

If anyone out there has anything similar, any input is appreciated!
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rcksblr View Post
Anyone out there have an older motorhome with Lithium batteries setup? I'm going to be upgrading my Motorhome to Lithium soon. It's a 1986 Champion Titan.

Specifically curious to know if anyone out there with an older unit decided to change out their converter/charger to account for the lithium. Or did they purchase an external lithium charger to charge from 110V plug while in Shore power or Generator is running. Being that mine is older, seems upgrading the charger makes the most sense and convenient but not sure if a new charger is a simple swap out like a lot of newer units.

Also anyone do anything special to account for their Alternator? Seems some lithium batteries can over tax the alternator if you don't have the right isolation system setup.

I have talked with several Lithium Batt companies and LifeBlue and seems to offer the best option as they have a battery management system built in, along with a heater if needed and they also won't harm your alternator if you don't set them up to run while the motorhome is on.

If anyone out there has anything similar, any input is appreciated!
So the biggest benefit of having Lithium batteries is being able to put large draws on them, not to mention the ability to charge them as much as 3-4X faster than Lead Acid.

This being said I think it makes sense to add a modern Inverter/charger when installing LiFePO4 batteries. A modern Victron 12/3000 for instance is only around $1200 and comes with a 5 year warranty, this will power many things on your coach and will also be perfectly set-up to charge those batteries.

Additionally what LifeBlue is telling you about their built-in BMS is true but will not solve the alternator charging issue as those batteries will take too much power from your alternator without intervention of either a Lithium Battery Isolation manager or a DC-DC converter, which is the best way to do it for sure......this will protect your alternator and is really a big deal.

I think you will need about $250 for a DC-DC converter and 1200 for the ner inverter charger plus cabling and you will have a very robust system.

You may be able to find someone who is upgrading from 12V to 24V with a larger system that is selling high end stuff at a reduced price if you look around.......I think I even saw one the other day on a solar forum.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:12 PM   #3
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I replaced our 2 lead acid wet batteries with 3 Lithium iron, 200 AH batteries. I installed a Xantrex pure sine wave 2000W Inverter/charger and disconnected the converter.
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:29 AM   #4
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I replaced our 2 lead acid wet batteries with 3 Lithium iron, 200 AH batteries. I installed a Xantrex pure sine wave 2000W Inverter/charger and disconnected the converter.
Right on. Did you do that to one of the RVs you have listed in your signature?
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Old 09-08-2020, 09:42 AM   #5
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So the biggest benefit of having Lithium batteries is being able to put large draws on them, not to mention the ability to charge them as much as 3-4X faster than Lead Acid.

This being said I think it makes sense to add a modern Inverter/charger when installing LiFePO4 batteries. A modern Victron 12/3000 for instance is only around $1200 and comes with a 5 year warranty, this will power many things on your coach and will also be perfectly set-up to charge those batteries.

Additionally what LifeBlue is telling you about their built-in BMS is true but will not solve the alternator charging issue as those batteries will take too much power from your alternator without intervention of either a Lithium Battery Isolation manager or a DC-DC converter, which is the best way to do it for sure......this will protect your alternator and is really a big deal.

I think you will need about $250 for a DC-DC converter and 1200 for the ner inverter charger plus cabling and you will have a very robust system.

You may be able to find someone who is upgrading from 12V to 24V with a larger system that is selling high end stuff at a reduced price if you look around.......I think I even saw one the other day on a solar forum.

Hope this helps!
Thank you! Speaking with Larry @ LifeBlue he confirmed those batteries have a built in safety feature that will not allow the batteries to draw to much power from your alternator. Problem with that is you then won't get your batteries charged while you're running the motor. My motorhome does already have a Surepower isolator but I am sure its not what I need for Lithium. I have a RV Tech coming this week to check things out on mine so I can game plan accordingly as my MH has had a lot of electrical changes (mostly on the chassis side) from previous owner(s). So there is Solenoids, etc added that are custom essentially so no diagram or schematic for it. I plan to likely instal an isolation management system either now or down the road so I can charge property while running the motor, depending on what the Tech tells me. Same things for a new charger setup (either swap out my internal one altogether or buy external one and make that work for now). Main thing really at this point is just making sure things are safe from previous owner changes. I have found recently through wire tracing that there is several issues with not using the proper wire size and also voltage drop from running cables too far, etc. Once I know we are safe, I will put in lithium (likely the 300AH LifeBlue) and go from there. I like 1 large battery to keep things simple. Plus we really have no large power draw excluding the fridge. All LED's and a couple fans, etc. No TV's or fancy stuff. Once in a while we are charging phone, laptops but we are recreational campers so we usually are out in the boonies not working or needing much technology.
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:59 AM   #6
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Thank you! Speaking with Larry @ LifeBlue he confirmed those batteries have a built in safety feature that will not allow the batteries to draw to much power from your alternator. Problem with that is you then won't get your batteries charged while you're running the motor. My motorhome does already have a Surepower isolator but I am sure its not what I need for Lithium. I have a RV Tech coming this week to check things out on mine so I can game plan accordingly as my MH has had a lot of electrical changes (mostly on the chassis side) from previous owner(s). So there is Solenoids, etc added that are custom essentially so no diagram or schematic for it. I plan to likely instal an isolation management system either now or down the road so I can charge property while running the motor, depending on what the Tech tells me. Same things for a new charger setup (either swap out my internal one altogether or buy external one and make that work for now). Main thing really at this point is just making sure things are safe from previous owner changes. I have found recently through wire tracing that there is several issues with not using the proper wire size and also voltage drop from running cables too far, etc. Once I know we are safe, I will put in lithium (likely the 300AH LifeBlue) and go from there. I like 1 large battery to keep things simple. Plus we really have no large power draw excluding the fridge. All LED's and a couple fans, etc. No TV's or fancy stuff. Once in a while we are charging phone, laptops but we are recreational campers so we usually are out in the boonies not working or needing much technology.
Best check how many amps the LifeBlue battery will take. Lithium will typically take up to a 1C charge. So if your batteries are low, they could take 300 amps, if you have a 140 amp alternator a bad situation unless you like changing out alternators a lot. Another problem is the voltage, most lithiums will top off at 14+ volts, something most alternators cannot supply. As Paul said, a dc-dc charger will protect your alternator from overcharging and provide the proper lithium voltage.
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:21 AM   #7
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I would talk to LifeBlue and ask them what their recommendation is for charging from the motor while running. The common thinking seems to be that a DC-DC charger is best suited for this purpose but LifeBlue may have their own ideas....At a minimum I would want to know what they suggest as a second opinion to the "Specialist" you have coming to take a look
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Old 09-08-2020, 03:20 PM   #8
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I would talk to LifeBlue and ask them what their recommendation is for charging from the motor while running. The common thinking seems to be that a DC-DC charger is best suited for this purpose but LifeBlue may have their own ideas....At a minimum I would want to know what they suggest as a second opinion to the "Specialist" you have coming to take a look
Absolutely. I have spoken with Battleborn, LifeBlue and several others and spoke with folks who have made the upgrade. I'm pretty handy, so at first I planned to do this all myself but after getting into the weeds and talking this out, and really wanting this to be properly installed I decided to look around for a reputable RV tech who knows electrical. I hesitated to do that for the exact reason you used quotes Totally get that and that's why I do most of my own work. The only areas with my home and vehicles I ever source out is electrical stuff. Just not something I ever feel 100% comfortable with. I may not even have the tech do the job, but if he can tell me what needs done and know i'll be safe, then I'm confident in doing the work. It mostly just comes down to the fact my motorhome is older and has weird electrical stuff going on. When you call the Lithium companies they are used to owners of common RV's/motorhomes so they can pretty easily tell them what they need to do. That's not my case. Really at the end of the day an electrician with some experience should be able to look at my setup and know what to do, and i'm willing to pay them for that piece of mind.
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:48 PM   #9
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Absolutely. I have spoken with Battleborn, LifeBlue and several others and spoke with folks who have made the upgrade. I'm pretty handy, so at first I planned to do this all myself but after getting into the weeds and talking this out, and really wanting this to be properly installed I decided to look around for a reputable RV tech who knows electrical. I hesitated to do that for the exact reason you used quotes Totally get that and that's why I do most of my own work. The only areas with my home and vehicles I ever source out is electrical stuff. Just not something I ever feel 100% comfortable with. I may not even have the tech do the job, but if he can tell me what needs done and know i'll be safe, then I'm confident in doing the work. It mostly just comes down to the fact my motorhome is older and has weird electrical stuff going on. When you call the Lithium companies they are used to owners of common RV's/motorhomes so they can pretty easily tell them what they need to do. That's not my case. Really at the end of the day an electrician with some experience should be able to look at my setup and know what to do, and i'm willing to pay them for that piece of mind.
Let us know what you come up with
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:08 PM   #10
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Absolutely. I have spoken with Battleborn, LifeBlue and several others and spoke with folks who have made the upgrade. I'm pretty handy, so at first I planned to do this all myself but after getting into the weeds and talking this out, and really wanting this to be properly installed I decided to look around for a reputable RV tech who knows electrical. I hesitated to do that for the exact reason you used quotes Totally get that and that's why I do most of my own work. The only areas with my home and vehicles I ever source out is electrical stuff. Just not something I ever feel 100% comfortable with. I may not even have the tech do the job, but if he can tell me what needs done and know i'll be safe, then I'm confident in doing the work. It mostly just comes down to the fact my motorhome is older and has weird electrical stuff going on. When you call the Lithium companies they are used to owners of common RV's/motorhomes so they can pretty easily tell them what they need to do. That's not my case. Really at the end of the day an electrician with some experience should be able to look at my setup and know what to do, and i'm willing to pay them for that piece of mind.
Good luck. Just realize that lithium is fairly new tech, so many electrican's will not know the whole picture, you can use them to clean up your system, but will need a real lithium knowledgeable guy to set up the rest. Keep us informed.
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:36 PM   #11
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Right on. Did you do that to one of the RVs you have listed in your signature?
Yes. The 2006 Damon
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:05 PM   #12
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FWIW, here is my experience with upgrading a 2007 National RV Seabreeze: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f105/lit...ze-508000.html. Hope it is helpful. Feel free to pick my brains if you think I can help.
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:35 AM   #13
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FWIW, here is my experience with upgrading a 2007 National RV Seabreeze: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f105/lit...ze-508000.html. Hope it is helpful. Feel free to pick my brains if you think I can help.
Great write up! And thanks for reaching out.

I did make the decision to go with LifeBlue for the Battery itself. Probably wont do the job until later next month. I went with one 300AH to keep things simple. I had an electrician who has done Lithium upgrades come out and he has spoke directly with LifeBlue owner Larry on how to make the upgrade on my particular RV. We are going with one 300AH Lithium battery, changing out my old converter/charger and installing the Powermax 65Amp charger. Run new proper cables/fuses and do some cleaning up with the current solenoids.

As for the Alternator I am not sure what to do there yet, I may get a new isolator or go the DC-DC route. Feedback from the Tech and also LifeBlue is that yes, it can be a problem but I should be fine. They did tell me why, but cannot remember specifics. I'm going to send him the link to your thread and have him give it a read.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-29-2020, 12:15 PM   #14
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You really should isolate the alternator from the lithium battery. If for no other reason that the lithium will draw as much current the alternator can produce, which will significantly shorten the life of the alternator.
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