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Old 10-08-2021, 03:23 PM   #1
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Group 34 Lithium Options?

I'm researching options for adding solar and lithium batteries to our coach. Problem is our battery compartment is under an entry step, with two what I believe to be group 34 batteries. Each is roughly 7x10x8". The opening in the compartment is smaller than the compartment itself, and there is NO leeway to get the batteries in or out - I have to even have to remove the rubber gasket around the opening.

This means I can't really get any larger than group 34 batteries. I'm not seeing many options for lithium in that size. Battleborn's smallest won't fit.

I do need to verify the compartment's inside height to see if I could go an inch taller, but LxW are pretty much fixed.

Anyone know of where I can find reputable, compact lithium batteries that may fit? I'm looking for a total of at least 150 Ah or more.

BONUS QUESTION - my house batteries are also used to start our generator. Is that okay to do with lithium batteries? I know it must draw a bunch of current to turn that starter.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:36 PM   #2
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I'm a fulltimer that boondocks about 95% of the time and have done so for the last 7 years. I have four 100 amp BattleBorn batteries and 840 Watts of solar panels in and on my Arctic Fox 5th wheel.

I would suggest if you want to get serious about your boondocking, forget about that tiny compartment where your batteries are now and find somewhere on your class C that has room for normal sized lithium iron batteries, my BattleBorn batteries are under my bed, and not just because it protects them from the cold, it's also the least likely spot where they would get stolen. Remember your house batteries can be located anywhere, not just where the factory decided they should go. Just run some cable from where the batteries are now to where you want the batteries to be.

Your batteries need to be fairly close to your solar controller, so find a spacious place for your batteries, and put the solar controller near there. Then run your wires from the solar controller to your solar panels on the roof. It's actually a lot easier than you might think.

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Old 10-08-2021, 04:39 PM   #3
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Sorry I forgot to answer your bonus question. The answer is.... I don't know. I've been full timing for 7 years mostly boondocking and I've never owned a generator I live totally on sunshine.

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Old 10-08-2021, 04:48 PM   #4
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Many people find a different home for their lithium batteries. The lead-acid batteries have to be vented, but the lithiums do not. Putting them inside is better for security and for temperature control.

If you want to run an inverter or a high-capacity charger you will want much larger cable than your original battery cables, and keep the distance from the charger to the batteries small.

I have a Victron hybrid inverter, and can charge my Battleborn batteries at 75 amps with a 2000 watt Honda generator. I have about 5 feet of 4/0 cable connecting them. When I did a simple switch from lead-acid to lithium in a previous trailer I could not get more than 25 amps.
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Old 10-08-2021, 04:54 PM   #5
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The boondork has offered the best solution because your battery will be in a heated space. But if you must mount in the under-step know that LiFePo4 can be mounted on their side. I’ve got a 170ah Bigbattery owl, and it’s dimensions would probably fit that space if laid on its side.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theboondork. View Post
I'm a fulltimer that boondocks about 95% of the time and have done so for the last 7 years. I have four 100 amp BattleBorn batteries and 840 Watts of solar panels in and on my Arctic Fox 5th wheel.

I would suggest if you want to get serious about your boondocking, forget about that tiny compartment where your batteries are now and find somewhere on your class C that has room for normal sized lithium iron batteries, my BattleBorn batteries are under my bed, and not just because it protects them from the cold, it's also the least likely spot where they would get stolen. Remember your house batteries can be located anywhere, not just where the factory decided they should go. Just run some cable from where the batteries are now to where you want the batteries to be.

Your batteries need to be fairly close to your solar controller, so find a spacious place for your batteries, and put the solar controller near there. Then run your wires from the solar controller to your solar panels on the roof. It's actually a lot easier than you might think.

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Thanks for this. Iíve considered this option. I have room under the dinette seat for everything, but itís in a slide on the other side of the coach, and routing cables might not be easy. Iím not sure how I could get heavy ones out of there safely to connect to the rest of the system. I think I need to pull some stuff out and have a closer look.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Marine359 View Post
The boondork has offered the best solution because your battery will be in a heated space. But if you must mount in the under-step know that LiFePo4 can be mounted on their side. Iíve got a 170ah Bigbattery owl, and itís dimensions would probably fit that space if laid on its side.
Interesting. I hadnít thought of that at all. Thanks.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:01 AM   #8
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Interesting. I hadnít thought of that at all. Thanks.
There may be other American made (assembled) brands that will fit. But do buy American in case there is an issue for which you need to contact customer service. If youíll need to charge in freezing temps, you can put a small heating blanket in the battery compartment and route the cord up to the breaker through a lighted switch in your entryway.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:29 AM   #9
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If they are LiFePo4 they can supply tons of current all at once - way more than lead-acid. That is why the original electric car batteries were LiFePo4. Most of these batteries have built in surge current protection, as well as over charging protection. LiFePo4 is probably one of the most durable lithium batteries out there. They stand up to the abuse without damage. Modern battery technology has improved with cheaper, higher density lithium-?, but LiFePo4 is still the common trusted standard in the consumer market. There are better batteries out there, but then you are going to be stuck doing tons of research for only modest improvements. Most sacrifice durability for density.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spidergawd View Post
I'm researching options for adding solar and lithium batteries to our coach. Problem is our battery compartment is under an entry step, with two what I believe to be group 34 batteries. Each is roughly 7x10x8". The opening in the compartment is smaller than the compartment itself, and there is NO leeway to get the batteries in or out - I have to even have to remove the rubber gasket around the opening.

This means I can't really get any larger than group 34 batteries. I'm not seeing many options for lithium in that size. Battleborn's smallest won't fit.

I do need to verify the compartment's inside height to see if I could go an inch taller, but LxW are pretty much fixed.

Anyone know of where I can find reputable, compact lithium batteries that may fit? I'm looking for a total of at least 150 Ah or more.

BONUS QUESTION - my house batteries are also used to start our generator. Is that okay to do with lithium batteries? I know it must draw a bunch of current to turn that starter.
It's too bad you couldn't squeeze just one of these Group 31 size 200AH lithium batteries under your step. 200AH of lithium right in your stock battery compartment sure could make your upgrade simple without major upgrade work: https://www.lithiumion-batteries.com...on-battery.php

Note that "Group 34" may be based on a different battery sizing system than what "Group 27/29/31" size batteries are. Your Group 34 may be close enough to the physical size of a Group 31 such that the Group 31 lithium in the link above could be dropped down into your battery area right under the step.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:56 AM   #11
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It's too bad you couldn't squeeze just one of these Group 31 size 200AH lithium batteries under your step. 200AH of lithium right in your stock battery compartment sure could make your upgrade simple without major upgrade work: https://www.lithiumion-batteries.com...on-battery.php

Note that "Group 34" may be based on a different battery sizing system than what "Group 27/29/31" size batteries are. Your Group 34 may be close enough to the physical size of a Group 31 such that the Group 31 lithium in the link above could be dropped down into your battery area right under the step.
Oh this is great! This one looks like it should fit. I see it has protection circuitry, which is mandatory IMO. Any experience with this brand?
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Old 10-11-2021, 08:26 AM   #12
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Here's an option that had a good review by Will Prowse on his DIY Solar Youtube site. At 11.42" x 7.87" x 11.02" it will probably fit in your battery box on it's side:





It's available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/SOK-Battery-R...s%2C235&sr=8-4

Will Prowse is a well respected reviewer of LiFePO4 batteries, solar panels, etc.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
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Thanks for the options! I'm really glad I asked.
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Old 10-11-2021, 07:24 PM   #14
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My OEM batteries were about the same size as yours. I replaced them with two Renogy 100AH SmartLithium batteries. The Renogys are a little big longer but I was able to modify the battery tray underneath my step to gain a little extra length and make them fit. Renogy also makes a 170AH LIFEPO that is not as long as two 100AH, but a little bit taller. I thought about moving them under the dinette but once I found I could make these fit it seemed easier to keep them where they were already wired.

Also, I don't have any trouble starting my generator with them.
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