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Old 10-25-2022, 08:21 AM   #1
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LiFePo4 batteries, solar, and winterization

So, maybe my search skills are suspect. Or, maybe, the forum has gotten big it is hard to filter through 140 "returned" search responses.
A lot of info suggests to not charge lithium batteries below 32 F.
What is the best practice for caring for an RV solar system with LiFePo4 batteries?
I think, based on what I have read is that it is best to remove the batteries and move them to a storage location that is kept above freezing temps. Not sure if constant trickle charging is needed if the batteries are pulled when they are fully charged.
My guess is to turn off the terminator from the solar panels. Turn off the switch from the batteries. Leave the inverter off. Only if necessary, plug in to shore power to run the electric heater or other systems.
Still learning. The solar set up is a new wrinkle. Prior winterization efforts were effective. Just want to make sure I am not missing something critical.
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Old 10-25-2022, 08:32 AM   #2
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Many solar chargers have temp sensors and can be set up to disable charging when near freezing, same with DC2DC chargers. I bought Renogy batteries that cutoff charging at just above freezing via the internal BMS and set my chargers to stop charging at 37 degrees.

Lithium batteries need nor want any “trickle” charging. They hold their charge for months.

If you’re talking about storing a RV in cold winter weather for months then yes bring them home and protect them from freezing. They should be checked periodically to insure they are holding their charge but other than that they should be good.
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Old 10-25-2022, 10:23 AM   #3
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You can use, but not charge batteries below freezing.

If not using the RV, just disconnect the batteries.

If using the RV, get automatic tank warmers for the batteries to keep them above freezing so they can also be recharged.
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Old 10-25-2022, 01:10 PM   #4
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Lifepo4 batteries are also not to be stored fully charged.

They should be stored 60-70% charged.
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Old 10-25-2022, 04:32 PM   #5
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Generally you should not have to worry about storage if you store in Kansas. Store in place disconnected for 6 months. Leave solar and/or shore power connected to power 12 volt appliances if you want.

The best instructions for winter storage of lithium batteries is the one detailed in the batteries specifications. If the manufacture does not include such instruction, you may wish to consider a different brand. Different designs have different requirements.

Most high quality drop in Lithium RV batteries monitor temperature and disconnect charging automatically at about 40 degrees. See instructions for the batteries you buy as to how to care for them.

How cold does it get in Kansas? Is that below the temperature specified for disconnected storage?

Lithium batteries can be stored fully charged. They have a little shorter life if you do.

Trickle charging lithium batteries is not required. Most high quality batteries will disconnect when fully charged and will reconnect only when circuit voltage drops below pre-programmed recharge point. Any kind of charger will be disconnected by the batteries built in BMS.

However, voltage will drop if appliance are still drawing power when the shore power goes out, battery will reconnect and discharge to the low charge preset before disconnecting again. Batteries can be stored fully discharged. The batteries will have a little less service life.

As long as solar keeps the voltage above the pre-set reconnect voltage, the lithium batteries will stay disconnected.

Disconnected lithium batteries may last 6 months before needing a full charge and discharge to recommended storage % of charge. See instructions for the batteries you buy.
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Old 10-26-2022, 06:58 AM   #6
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OK, great advice from all the responses. Thanks. Love this forum.
They are Dakota batteries, so pretty reputable and well made.
Seems like the solar "system" is not as challenging as I thought it might be.
Appreciate all of the responses.
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batteries, lifepo4, solar, winter

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