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Old 12-06-2021, 09:41 AM   #1
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"Winterizing"/protecting Xantrex?

Help! Newby here with Coachmen Galleria 24Q with Li3 battery system. Xantrex has answered some general questions, but no specific questions on our configuration.

We are in NE Ohio, so already getting freezing temps at times. We have been keeping coach warm (above 40F at least), which s/b OK per Xantrex. They warned us not to charge battery below 32F, but 2nd alternator charges battery when engine is running.

Main control cabinet has a Battery Disconnect toggle switch ("Use" or "Store"). Is this what is seems, i.e., can I switch to "Store" and assume battery system is disconnected and it's safe to start engine below 32F, then switch back to "use" above 32F? Dumb question I know, but I take nothing for granted...

Does anyone actually remove the battery to store? Xantrex was zero help on this. Paperwork provided is of limited help. Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:53 AM   #2
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Many lithium chemistries do not work properly below a certain temperature. 32F may be close to that lower limit. There are many solutions to that issue. NASA uses Li in space probes that experience much more extreme conditions.

One solution is to provide an electronic control system as a part of the battery itself often called a "BMS" or battery monitoring system. It would prevent charging when the battery is too cold.

Battle Born LiPO4 batteries have such a system. The batteries refuse to charge when too cold.

I don't know what a Li3 is. I don't know if it has cold charging protection. Look at the owner's manual for the batteries for best advice.

As far as I know, Xantrex does not sell lithium batteries. I don't think they sell sell lithium battery BMS. They probably do not provide detailed information about specific Li batteries.

Check with the battery manufacturer first and the coach builder second.
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Old 12-07-2021, 09:19 AM   #3
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"We have been keeping coach warm (above 40F at least), which s/b OK per Xantrex. They warned us not to charge battery below 32F, but 2nd alternator charges battery when engine is running."

This would work if batteries are installed in a heated area. Where are the batteries installed?

"Main control cabinet has a Battery Disconnect toggle switch ("Use" or "Store"). Is this what is seems, i.e., can I switch to "Store" and assume battery system is disconnected and it's safe to start engine below 32F, then switch back to "use" above 32F?"

The coach dealer can answer this question. Check with the coach dealer. It works however they wired it. Many "use/store" switches disconnect most but not all appliances. A parasitic draw remains. Some more recently built systems completely disconnect.

Engine charging, solar charging, and inverter/charger charging may or may not be active in the "store" position. It all depends on how the dealer wired them.

The Li batteries may have an automatic low voltage cutoff built into the batteries themselves. Battle Born batteries do as do cell phones and computers.

"Does anyone actually remove the battery to store?"

Certainly this would work, but you don't need to remove them. Just disconnect the main battery negative lead. There also may be an additional battery disconnect switch

Get advice from your dealer, coach manufacturer, and battery manufacturer. Xantrex is not the best source.

I looked at the Forest River instruction manual for your unit. It is useless for these questions. It basically says to ask your dealer.

I would advise to ask nicely. But, don't accept "I don't know". Ask to talk to a supervisor if necessary, or supervisor of a supervisor until you get definitive answers. A service technician can figure it out if necessary, but supervisor may be reluctant to allow necessary time.
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watsonator View Post

Main control cabinet has a Battery Disconnect toggle switch ("Use" or "Store"). Is this what is seems, i.e., can I switch to "Store" and assume battery system is disconnected and it's safe to start engine below 32F, then switch back to "use" above 32F? Dumb question I know, but I take nothing for granted...

Does anyone actually remove the battery to store? Xantrex was zero help on this. Paperwork provided is of limited help. Any advice is appreciated!
Don't know much about lithium batteries but I figure they can be checked with a voltmeter the same as a standard wet cell. If this is so, then you may can set the switch to the store position and take a reading with the engine off then start the engine and see if voltage comes up.

Again, not very familiar with procedures concerning a lithium battery. But I believe that I read on here a while back that they don't do well in cold weather (not sure how cold is too cold). Not sure either, if they might be ruined if stored in really cold temperatures.

As mentioned, I'd call the battery manufacturer to get the proper answers.
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Old 12-08-2021, 04:53 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for your reply! Our system does have a BMS that apparently DOES have temperature protection--nice! The Li3 I think refers to there being 3 ways to charge battery (solar, shore power, and 2nd alternator). The Xantrex paperwork refers to the components as being Xantrex battery and BMS (who knew?).

The battery module is within the coach, under the couch/bed.

Unfortunately, our dealer is 200 miles away, and we got the feeling when we picked up our coach that they had never seen one of these before (!). Orientation was pretty general; we had to point out that our unit has a macerator ('hey, this switch here says "macerator"'), and then they failed to secure the universal nozzle, so that dragged the interstate till we were flagged down.

We have appt with a nearby dealer for some warranty issues on Friday. Hopefully they will be a better source for some of this info.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply!
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Old 12-08-2021, 08:47 PM   #6
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LI3?

The predominant lithium technology is lithium iron phosphate, aka lifepo4 aka lfp.

For LFP which is likely what you have if you charge them bellow 32f you will permanently damage them, for this reason many but not all of them have a battery management system that prevents it from charging bellow freezing, you should find outif yourbatterieshave that feature. Discharge is fine down to a much lower temperature. The best way to store LFP batteries is to drain them down to 30% to 70% and disconnect them. This will make them last the longest and you won't need to worry about them charging bellow freezing. This assumes you have a battery disconnect switch which if you don't have you should add.

There is generally no good reason to remove the batteries, and if you do you won't be able to exercise your generator which is recommended one a month.
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