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Old 06-10-2021, 09:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Idaho
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Keeping Lithium Batteries Warm in freezing temps

We like to camp in the 5th wheel sometimes in early spring or in the fall, when nighttime temps get below freezing.

Also, in "boon docking" mode with no electrical hookups, and relying on solar to charge batteries during the day.

That said, I want to install lithium batteries (my charger supports them) but knowing that they can't be charged when the batteries are below 0ºC, or 32ºF, and knowing that an unheated battery bay would not warm above freezing until later in the day, I am wondering about locating my lithium batteries within the heated underbelly space where the furnace keeps it above freezing, or perhaps better insulating the current battery bay compartment and running a flex duct to it from the furnace.

Does anyone here have any first-hand experience with dealing with lithium batteries in cold temps?

I'd be interested in hearing what others have done to handle this scenario.

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Old 06-10-2021, 09:31 AM   #2
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I have mine in a heated bay and use the leftover exterior battery space for storage of non temp sensitive items that used to occupy the heated spaces.

Insulation and ducting would work fine as long as the temp's didn't go the opposite direction and get to warm.

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Old 06-10-2021, 10:16 AM   #3
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I have seven BattleBorn batteries inside my Arctic Fox 22G just in behind the front pass through storage area and in front of my sit and sleep sofa. I have a temp monitor on my batteries, in the pass through storage area near the VE Multiplus 3000 inverter charger and outside under the trailer. I haven't seen my batteries go below about 34 degrees even when it is parked at my home in the winter. If we are camping in the cold the furnace will be running to keep the trailer 50 degrees or warmer even when sleeping.

I like them inside the trailer out of the extreme weather and out of sight.
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:23 AM   #4
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There are LiFePo batteries that have built-in heating pads, they are also available as an add-on. Probably the easiest thing to do is to have them live where you do, they like that. One thing you should also look for is a low temp cutoff in the BMS, it will keep you from damaging your batteries if they are not warm enough to charge. I would go watch some Will Prowse videos on youtube and educate myself. Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:28 AM   #6
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My van came with a single 600Ah LiFePO4 battery under the rear jackknife couch/bed. On trips in cold weather, I don't do anything but use it, as the interior temperature keeps it well within its operating temperature range using propane heat with a 12VDC blower and controls. Unless snow covered, the meager 300W of roof solar seems to keep up, though I haven't pushed it very far since we're off and running the next morning and the second engine alternator recharges the battery while driving.

For winter storage, I drain it to 50% SOC, then wrap this blanket heater around it. The longest version (160W) coincidentally is exactly the right length.

I use this Inkbird thermostat to control it, and a slide dimmer for an incandescent light to reduce the heat output to where it mostly runs continuously. The temperature probe sits on top of the battery, in the middle, and I cover the whole mess with a thermal blanket.

The battery manufacturer recommends 60F and 50% SOC for long-term storage, so that's where I keep it. Charge controller and battery switch both off.
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the helpful feedback and links. I think I can find a solution by following many of the tips and tricks from others.
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Old 06-11-2021, 01:02 PM   #8
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I agree with the mention of monitoring. We've camped in low 20's (night temperature) and have not seen below low 40's inside the battery (my LiFePO4 has internal temperature monitoring). The battery is in a compartment with one common wall with the basement which stays above 40F and outside walls with 1.25" of foam core. The battery compartment does get a bit of heat from a 900W inverter. And, of course, even the highly efficient LiFePO4 does generate a small bit of heat of its own when serving load.
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batteries, free, lithium

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