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Old 06-23-2021, 08:34 AM   #1
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Auto Gen Start and Lithium

I have a 2004 Itasca Horizon 40ft diesel pusher. I upgraded the inverter / charger to a Xantrex Freedom XC2000. Recently I installed 4 battleborn lithium batteries, which are fantastic in running my residential frig.

I would like to add an auto gen start, but what I am finding is either the magnum or the Xantrex monitor voltage and not state of charge. No point in monitoring voltage on lithium batteries, as it only drops when the batteries are depleted.

The more modern AGS systems monitor state of charge, but are only compatible with the Xantrex SW inverter/charger, which run about $1,500.

So unless I upgrade my inverter, no AGS for me. Am I missing something?
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Old 06-23-2021, 08:47 AM   #2
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Yes you are. Magnum makes a stand alone AGS that starts based on either voltage or inside temp. And lithium batteries do indeed drop voltage as they are used, just like standard batteries do. I have my AGS set for about 11.5 or so.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:31 AM   #3
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In what condition do you want your generator to auto start? Low voltage? Temperature? Fixed time of day and set run time? State of charge? Other?

If you want one that operates on SOC then you need to spend the money for one that does that.

If you are looking for something to keep your batteries from being dead if you are not around to monitor them a low voltage will work. You just have more time before the lithium gets to 12v.

Here is a graph that compares the 2 battery types.
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Old 06-23-2021, 03:31 PM   #4
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I am looking for the AGS for state of charge only, not voltage, not temperature. By the time my voltage is low, the batteries would be less than 10%. You add the quiet hours in there, and I could have a problem. I have a the battlborn bluetooth shunt which monitors state of charge, among other things.

Like I said in my original post, I realize some AGS do have state of charge, but appear to be only compatible certain inverter / charges. That was my main question.

Seems like lithium and low voltage triggered AGS would be a big problem due to the voltage remaining so high, as the above graph represents. I was hoping someone else has encountered this.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:30 PM   #5
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Victron sells the "GX" line of controllers and monitors and as I read the instructions this has a built in AGS.

So, you'd have to buy and install a Victron BMV 700 for $150 and attach a Cerbo GX attachment for an additional $290 and you'd have a shunt based battery monitor and complete Bluetooth reporting monitor on your phone that shows great detail. And, as a result... it looks like you'd have AGS that works on SOC without spending anything more.

At least I think so. If you read he info on Victron's website that what i found, anyway.

UPDATE: The more I read on this the more it looks like it won't work like other AGS systems you need relays and such that are built into other AGS devices.

The Xantrex SW AGS looks like what you need - but the the $1000 more expensive Xantrex SW2000 inverter/charger.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:20 PM   #6
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Okay thank you. Before I spend the money, I at least want to know there were not less expensive options out there I was missing.

Love the residential frig, but certainly limits me leaving the coach for long periods of time without being plugged in. Need an AGS.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:36 AM   #7
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Yes you are. Magnum makes a stand alone AGS that starts based on either voltage or inside temp. And lithium batteries do indeed drop voltage as they are used, just like standard batteries do. I have my AGS set for about 11.5 or so.
So, have you tried your AGS at 11.5v to see if there is enough power left to preheat, run the fuel pump, and actually crank the generator to get a successful start?

Once it starts cranking at 11.5v (somewhere around 5% SOC) does the voltage sag far enough to trip your lithium BMS and shut the battery bank down prior to a successful start?

An AGS setting of 11.5v on a lithium bank seems too low.
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:19 AM   #8
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Based on Will Prowse videos on lithium battery drain, when it starts to drop it goes extremely fast. If that happens during campground quiet hours, I am in trouble. Many of the campgrounds we stay at have strict generator run hours, plus I don't want to be that guy.

But I am not sure if 11.5 would be enough or not, I have not drained them that far. I typically only look at SOC. But like I said, with 9-10 hour quiet time, its not an option anyway.
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Old 07-01-2021, 03:41 PM   #9
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So, have you tried your AGS at 11.5v to see if there is enough power left to preheat, run the fuel pump, and actually crank the generator to get a successful start?

Once it starts cranking at 11.5v (somewhere around 5% SOC) does the voltage sag far enough to trip your lithium BMS and shut the battery bank down prior to a successful start?

An AGS setting of 11.5v on a lithium bank seems too low.
No I haven't, but I don't have diesel anyway, so the drain on the batteries isn't that bad. I'll have to give it a try and see what happens. Now to find a high draw item to drain the batteries....
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Old 07-01-2021, 04:28 PM   #10
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Based on Will Prowse videos on lithium battery drain, when it starts to drop it goes extremely fast. If that happens during campground quiet hours, I am in trouble.

I typically only look at SOC. But like I said, with 9-10 hour quiet time, its not an option anyway.

I feel like I am missing something here.

If you know how fast your battery drains based on SOC, you will know how long your batteries will last between charging.

You say you look at your SOC, so if it low enough that it will not make it though a quiet time, why not start charging before that? If you get up in the morning before you head out for the day and your SOC is say 80% run your generator for a bit to bring your charge up that way it will make it through the night.

I know everyone uses their AGS differently, but if I had one (kind of do on my TV) it is set at a "critical" level. This is your "fail safe". Otherwise know your system, watch your system and charge as needed between quiet times.
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Old 07-02-2021, 08:14 AM   #11
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Yes, its fine when I am there. I can stay on top of it. But there are times I need to leave it for a couple days. That is where I would like to have an AGS.
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Old 07-02-2021, 09:42 AM   #12
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Yes, its fine when I am there. I can stay on top of it. But there are times I need to leave it for a couple days. That is where I would like to have an AGS.
That makes a lot more sense. Thank you.
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:28 PM   #13
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No I haven't, but I don't have diesel anyway, so the drain on the batteries isn't that bad. I'll have to give it a try and see what happens. Now to find a high draw item to drain the batteries....
I ran my lithium batteries down to 11.5 VDC, verified with my digital V/O meter, and the AGS started the generator no problem, and it wasn't a slow starter spin either.
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