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Old 12-18-2018, 03:23 PM   #1
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Lithium Ion batteries

I am new to the RV world. I have heard talk about Ion Batteries and even heard dude on a video from Winnebago say they are experimenting with them on the Class A units before they put them in class C's. Has anyone made this swap in a class c? I will be purchasing a 2019View. If not Ion, what is the consensus on group31 vs whatever comes standard, I have seen both 24 and 27 group batteries listed in features lists.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:05 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome!
There are lots of posts, blogs and YouTube videos about using Lithium Ion Batteries in RVs - Class B's, Class C's and Class A's, as well.

RVs are available with Lead Acid Batteries, AGM Batteries and Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries. too. Generally in most class C's there is a dedicated space for house batteries that doesn't always lend itself to changing battery group size. So, to get specific answers you need to investigate the specific models/brand of RV you're talking about.

There are a lot of View owners here and I'm sure many of them will speak up about their particular coach.

PS. I have a friend visiting at my house today with a brand new 2019 Pleasure Way Class B Van and his coach came standard with 200 watts of Lithium Ion Batteries. I know Winnebago is also offering this option with some of their Class B Vans and this time as well.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:30 PM   #3
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The 12 volt Li coach batteries require a different converter/charger and a different Battery Isolation Manager than the legacy Flooded Lead Acid or AGMs do. So a proper change out is more involved than just replacing batteries.

The same company Winnebago used to do the Travato Class B Li battery system has systems that can be fitted on new Class A or Class C motor homes, so I think it's only a matter of time before we see them appear. Won't be cheap, even on a Travato the Li option adds $ 10,000 to the price. For Class A or C I expect it will be slightly more.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:51 PM   #4
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WOW!!!!!!! I had no doubt it would cost more but 10K!!!!!!!!! There would have to be some HUUUGGGEEEEE payback for that to be worth an after market modification. Not even sure as a new option.
Just how much better ARE LI systems anyway? My thought was strictly longevity and a bit more juice.
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Old 12-18-2018, 06:27 PM   #5
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Just to clarify the $ 10,000 package gives a Travato owner the ability to live as if they were on shore power when they not. It can even run the AC and refrigerator across an evening and night without running a generator or the engine. The chassis engine auto starts and runs a huge extra alternator to recharge when needed. It uses a huge 48 volt Li battery like what are used in electric cars.

Now, replacing "standard" batteries with 12 volt Li batteries like Battle Born is much less, but buys you no additional functionality vs. good golf cart batteries except less weight and less maintenance, and involves about:

$ 1000 - $ 2000 for 1 or 2 Battle Born Batteries ( You need 1 for every 180 AH of "standard" batteries )

$ 250 to replace your converter charger with one that is compatible

? to modify your solar system , if not compatible with Li batteries (some are so this can be $0)

? to modify your Battery Isolation Manager , not absolutely needed. If you don't do it, then when driving your chassis you existing BIM will think your Li Coach batteries are charged and stop trying to charge them so they will never fully charge when driving.

? for labor, if you are not going to do all the work yourself.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:39 PM   #6
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I installed 400AH of lithium batteries and 650 watts of solar in Jan 2016 (almost 3 years ago). I love the lithium and the solar.


However we do lots of boondocking and dry camping. We travel from 5-9 months of the year.



If you are going to spend many consecutive days (7-50 days or more in a row) dry camping or boondocking then the expense of lithium is cost effective and works much better than lead acid.



If you seldom dry camp and boondock or just do it for 1-5 days and then are back on electric hookups there is little need to install lithium. Lead acid works just fine.
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Old 12-23-2018, 05:36 PM   #7
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The Pleasure Way manual says that you are not supposed to charge that type of battery if they are less than 32 degrees. So if you cannot get them inside the RV it would be tuff to camp in cold weather. Pleasure Way has them under the seats in the living area so if you get the inside warm they can be used.
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Old 12-24-2018, 04:34 PM   #8
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The Pleasure Way manual says that you are not supposed to charge that type of battery if they are less than 32 degrees. So if you cannot get them inside the RV it would be tuff to camp in cold weather. Pleasure Way has them under the seats in the living area so if you get the inside warm they can be used.
Yep, it is the BATTERY temperature, not the air temp. So even if the batteries are installed in a storage compartment they will be warmer than the outside temp. Also batteries will create some heat while being used (discharged) or being charged. That will help keep them above 32 F as well.

The batteries can be discharged or stored to 0 F or lower. I don't remember the exact limits.

Any good lithium battery install should come with a BMS (Battery Management System) to cut off the discharge or charging if the battery exceeds operating temps, over or under voltage conditions. Also a properly installed system would have a remote to display the temperature and state of charge.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:48 PM   #9
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Just another experience: we visited Arches National Park, got even a spot up there in the campground. No hook-up we knew, so good for testing the extended capacities of our new Forza 34T.... we thought.... fact was: at 8AM everyone except us started their generators.... two hours of noise around us.... we felt that our investment in additional battery capacity did not really made sense....
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Old 12-29-2018, 07:18 AM   #10
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Just another experience: we visited Arches National Park, got even a spot up there in the campground. No hook-up we knew, so good for testing the extended capacities of our new Forza 34T.... we thought.... fact was: at 8AM everyone except us started their generators.... two hours of noise around us.... we felt that our investment in additional battery capacity did not really made sense....
Buy your extra battery capacity does give you the ability to go places where it is quiet and not have to listen to the noise of your own generator.

I guessing the Arches NP limited the generator run time to 2 hours in the AM & 2 in the PM. Be thankful they are not allowed to run all day.
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Old 12-30-2018, 04:26 AM   #11
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Ah due to my mishap, my first post was not set. Well my experience (Forza 35T) is that an extra capacity of battery-power is an advantage, as well as a solar panel but our limit is now set by the water. Fresh tank empty and grey/black tanks full let us move the RV on primitive campgrounds looking for a "refill". Due the fact that moving the RV means that the batteries will be charged, we won't need more battery power capacity. For us AGM Batteries are good, there is no need for Lithium-Ion Battery.

The factory-installed battery package is doing quite well so I suggest that first try the limits and then think about an expensive Lithium-Ion or solar panel package.

For us is important that fridge & freezer will "survive" those 5 days in the dark on the Alaska Ferry without beeing connected. A 6-AGM-Battery-Pack (1680ah, cost $2000) with a solar panel 200W (cost $300) is good for unlimited days primitive camping in the desert and even two nespresso-coffee-machine coffees in the morning. As I said, the limit is the water, not the battery capacity.
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:13 AM   #12
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Ah due to my mishap, my first post was not set. Well my experience (Forza 35T) is that an extra capacity of battery-power is an advantage, as well as a solar panel but our limit is now set by the water. Fresh tank empty and grey/black tanks full let us move the RV on primitive campgrounds looking for a "refill". Due the fact that moving the RV means that the batteries will be charged, we won't need more battery power capacity. For us AGM Batteries are good, there is no need for Lithium-Ion Battery.

The factory-installed battery package is doing quite well so I suggest that first try the limits and then think about an expensive Lithium-Ion or solar panel package.

For us is important that fridge & freezer will "survive" those 5 days in the dark on the Alaska Ferry without beeing connected. A 6-AGM-Battery-Pack (1680ah, cost $2000) with a solar panel 200W (cost $300) is good for unlimited days primitive camping in the desert and even two nespresso-coffee-machine coffees in the morning. As I said, the limit is the water, not the battery capacity.
Residential fridge and a small freezer will drain your 6 batteries well before the 5 days are up. Even if it is gas/elect fridge you have to have the propane turned off and the elect side takes more power than a residential fridge.

BTW, I thought that the Alaska Ferry took a max of about 48 hours to go directly up the inland passage? If you plan on getting off for 2-4 days at major stops along the way the time on the ferry is shortened considerably.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:52 AM   #13
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@Al1florida: Nope, that works quite well. As you are not in your RV during the cruise (you must reserve a cabin) freezer and fridge will never be opened during the days on the ferry. So the power consumption is much less. We have a 4.6cu.ft. energy-star rated fridge installed and a 2.45cu.ft. freezer (both residential 110V, Summit Appliances).

We prefer to take the ferry (MV Kennicott) up from Bellingham WA to Whittier with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Yakutat and drive down across Canada.

Just for adding: My parents own a small cabin for the weekends which is equipped with a 75W solar panel, a 250ah common led-acid truck battery and 500W inverter for light and a small fridge (and a smart-charging-control unit). This system works since 1996 (second battery... need to be replaced next spring, cost $350) very well, you never get out of power even on a rainy weekend. So its all about your needs and what you want to feed by battery power.
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Old 12-30-2018, 12:22 PM   #14
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@Al1florida: Nope, that works quite well. As you are not in your RV during the cruise (you must reserve a cabin) freezer and fridge will never be opened during the days on the ferry. So the power consumption is much less. We have a 4.6cu.ft. energy-star rated fridge installed and a 2.45cu.ft. freezer (both residential 110V, Summit Appliances).

We prefer to take the ferry (MV Kennicott) up from Bellingham WA to Whittier with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Yakutat and drive down across Canada.

Just for adding: My parents own a small cabin for the weekends which is equipped with a 75W solar panel, a 250ah common led-acid truck battery and 500W inverter for light and a small fridge (and a smart-charging-control unit). This system works since 1996 (second battery... need to be replaced next spring, cost $350) very well, you never get out of power even on a rainy weekend. So its all about your needs and what you want to feed by battery power.
Sorry. I made some incorrect assumptions, such as the typical 6-12 cu ft gas/elect fridge or a 10-18 cu ft residential fridge. Will either of these go for 5 full days (120 hours) without being turned on. I guess I really don't know, I have never tried it. I would be really, really surprised to find these fridges still cold after 5 days.



As you wrote "So its all about your needs and what you want to feed by battery power." is absolutely correct.



It is very important to understand your power needs and how you are going to use your systems. One size does not fit everyone.
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Old 12-30-2018, 02:07 PM   #15
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It is very important to understand your power needs and how you are going to use your systems. One size does not fit everyone.
This is dead on! If you live in RV parks and have shore power then lithium is not a good investment as you aren't really ever using your batteries.



For those of us that like to avoid those places, personally I feel it is a great investment. Instead of paying for RV parks a little at a time which can be more than a 4k-5k investment over time. We instead our putting the money into our RV which allowed us to stay off grid and not pay for hook ups, thus paying us back for our up front investment.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:38 PM   #16
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Al: The environmental temperature on the ferry is about 75F, the fridge is set on 43F (and not open), so it will use about 0.2kWh per day (the difference of energy consumption between 39F and 43F is about 10%). So milk, cheese, eggs, butter, meat will keep fresh. Concerning the freezer you are right: You can hold it just on 30F but not lower. Regarding food-safety rules this is risky if you have meat in stock. What I can say about the few cups of icecream we have in it, it was no problem to enjoy it.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:43 AM   #17
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...........................
For us is important that fridge & freezer will "survive" those 5 days in the dark on the Alaska Ferry without beeing connected. A 6-AGM-Battery-Pack (1680ah, cost $2000) with a solar panel 200W (cost $300) is good for unlimited days primitive camping in the desert and even two nespresso-coffee-machine coffees in the morning. As I said, the limit is the water, not the battery capacity.
What brand and model of AGM battery do you have.

Six 12V batteries at 280AH each would be 1680AH.
If you have six 6V batteries they would be 560AH each.

Either way those are some large batteries.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:46 AM   #18
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Al: The environmental temperature on the ferry is about 75F, the fridge is set on 43F (and not open), so it will use about 0.2kWh per day (the difference of energy consumption between 39F and 43F is about 10%). So milk, cheese, eggs, butter, meat will keep fresh. Concerning the freezer you are right: You can hold it just on 30F but not lower. Regarding food-safety rules this is risky if you have meat in stock. What I can say about the few cups of icecream we have in it, it was no problem to enjoy it.
Sounds like it works well for you. A very efficient fridge when the door is kept closed, using only about 17 amp hours of battery a day.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:48 AM   #19
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As to the freezer. You can fill the voids in the box with some filled containers of frozen drinking water to provide a thermal mass which will help maintain the temp. The same goes for the fridge before you set sail on the ferry, if you use frozen water bottles in the fridge it may maintain the temps there for a long time before it needs to kick on to cool it! Dry ice in the freezer is another option, just be careful handling it. Left overs make a great witches brew punch at the campground to amuse the kids in all of us!
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:22 PM   #20
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What brand and model of AGM battery do you have.

Six 12V batteries at 280AH each would be 1680AH.
If you have six 6V batteries they would be 560AH each.

Either way those are some large batteries.
Plus a VERY heavy battery bank. Li's weigh roughly half of a AGM
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