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Old 02-07-2023, 04:29 PM   #1
ACK
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AMP-L-START W/Lithium batteries 2020 View

I've been trying to get some help from LSL but it seems they're gone for good.

About 18 months ago I installed an Amp-L-Start in my 2020 Winnebago View with FLA batteries. It worked great until I had the house batteries changed to Battleborn lithium. The installer enabled the "lithium" mode by adding the jumper per the instruction sheet and added a Victon Orion-TR DC-DC charger.

The green "maintaining" LED on the AMP-L-START is on and not blinking but after 6-8 weeks the charge on the chassis battery is depleted to to the point where I need to jump start the engine.

Anyone have a similar problem? Suggestions for troubleshooting?

Assuming I can't get this to work, what's the best way to proceed? Easiest thing would probably be a solar charger. I'd have to add an always-on 12 volt outlet but that shouldn't be too difficult.

Thanks
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Old 02-07-2023, 09:39 PM   #2
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Are you sure the chassis battery is not bad. I just replaced my chassis battery last month. It was also replaced by the previous owner less than two years ago.

I believe my batteries may have failed early due to high voltage supplied by the alternator. I have seen 14.8 to 14.9 volts applied for a long time. I suspect the issue may be aggravated by the way Winnebago connected to the battery that appears to bypass the Sprinter's battery current sensing preventing it from sensing the actual state of charge on the chassis battery.
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Old 02-07-2023, 10:08 PM   #3
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I have the Amp-L-Start, lithium batteries (LFP) and the Victron DC2DC charger. Everything is working just fine for my. I installed everything last April. But I installed everything myself, no installer was involved. So, if things don’t work as they should it’s because I’ve done something wrong.

That’s both good and bad. But you assume your installer did everything correctly.

The Sprinter chassis has something similar to the Amp-L-Start built in doesn’t it. I’ve seen others mention this here before. Perhaps there is some conflict???
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Old 02-08-2023, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I have the Amp-L-Start, lithium batteries (LFP) and the Victron DC2DC charger. Everything is working just fine for my. I installed everything last April. But I installed everything myself, no installer was involved. So, if things donít work as they should itís because Iíve done something wrong.

Thatís both good and bad. But you assume your installer did everything correctly.

The Sprinter chassis has something similar to the Amp-L-Start built in doesnít it. Iíve seen others mention this here before. Perhaps there is some conflict???
The newer chassis might,but the older Mercedes sprinter chassis had the old boost relay.
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Old 02-08-2023, 10:16 AM   #5
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My 2020 Navion has somethng called a Mastervolt Chargemate Pro that limits the house charging current to 70 amps. It does not properly charge LiFePO4 batteries but once it allowed me to start my generator when the lithium battery was dead. I only had to run the chassis engine for a few minutes first. I don't believe the Amp-L-Start or similar items would properly charg the LiFePO4 batteries either.

The Chargemate Pro has the ability to directly tie the batteries together for starting purposes but Winnebago did not wire that part up. The Chargemate Pro requires equal voltage systems on both sides and normally the LiFePO4 batteries float higher than lead acid batteries.

I installed a Victron DC to DC charger that charges the lithium batteries properly at 30 amps max. It does an excellent job. The Victron un-isolated DC to DC unit only needed 3 wires (Positive from each bank and ground) to hook it up. It detects when the vehicle starts by monitoring the chassis battery voltage. I also installed a switch to disable the Chargemate Pro.
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Old 02-08-2023, 10:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by eyecando View Post
I don't believe the Amp-L-Start or similar items would properly charge the LiFePO4 batteries either.
As an FYI, the Amp-L-Start charges the non-lithium Chassis battery only. It takes power from the LFP House batteries and supplies just enough to keep the chassis battery charged.
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Old 02-08-2023, 06:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by eyecando View Post
Are you sure the chassis battery is not bad. I just replaced my chassis battery last month. It was also replaced by the previous owner less than two years ago.
It is starting to get up there in age but the odds of it failing at the same time that the change to lithium occurred have me looking for other answers.

When it discharged to the point where the engine wouldn't start, it took the charge and held it for about 6 weeks before dropping below 12v again.
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Old 02-08-2023, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I have the Amp-L-Start, lithium batteries (LFP) and the Victron DC2DC charger. Everything is working just fine for my. I installed everything last April. But I installed everything myself, no installer was involved. So, if things donít work as they should itís because Iíve done something wrong.

Thatís both good and bad. But you assume your installer did everything correctly.

The Sprinter chassis has something similar to the Amp-L-Start built in doesnít it. Iíve seen others mention this here before. Perhaps there is some conflict???
I did the original install myself and it worked fine for a year+. The installer added the jumper to the back per the instruction sheet. I verified that it was done correctly. I'm tempted to remove the jumper and see what happens.
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Old 02-12-2023, 04:25 PM   #9
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A couple of points on your post. The Amp L Start was made to accommodate lithium batteries. There is a setting on it for lithium before you install it. If you have a 2020 View/Navion, you have a solar system with 200 watts of solar panels as standard equipment. That along with your amp l start will maintain your chassis battery.
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Old 02-12-2023, 06:23 PM   #10
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A couple of points on your post. The Amp L Start was made to accommodate lithium batteries. There is a setting on it for lithium before you install it. If you have a 2020 View/Navion, you have a solar system with 200 watts of solar panels as standard equipment. That along with your amp l start will maintain your chassis battery.
Thanks for the information. I looked at the Amp L Start manual but could not find anything about a lithium battery setting. The manual did indicate that the house batteries should maintain 13.5 volts to properly charge the chassis battery.

The information provided is very limited, but it probably does a good job.
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Old 02-13-2023, 07:20 AM   #11
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There is an older version of the Amp-L-Start that doesn’t have any Lithium house battery support. The difference is in house battery voltage settings and is activated by moving a jumper on the unit.

Quote:
Rev G2 and later versions also have a "Lithium" mode for use with LiFePO4 house batteries that increases the turn-on and turn-off voltages to 13.50 and 13.30 volts, respectively. Either mode is enabled by installing a jumper across pins on the back of the unit. Rev I1 and later versions have a wire on the back side for optional connection to your engine ignition switch.
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Old 02-13-2023, 10:11 AM   #12
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Supposedly the owner of LSL passed away and business was closed until further notice. It may never come back because it was almost a 1 man operation. I use their Toad charger and it has worked good for the past few years.
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Old 02-13-2023, 04:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rx4fishing View Post
A couple of points on your post. The Amp L Start was made to accommodate lithium batteries. There is a setting on it for lithium before you install it. If you have a 2020 View/Navion, you have a solar system with 200 watts of solar panels as standard equipment. That along with your amp l start will maintain your chassis battery.

The AMP L Start was installed with lead-acid batteries and worked fine. The setting was properly changed to lithium when the battleborns were installed. This is where "will maintain" turns to "should". I took some voltage readings today and the unit appears to be working, just not providing enough current to keep up with the phantom load. I'm wondering now if the cloudy weather we've been having may only allow enough current to be generated to keep the house batteries charged but not enough for the chassis battery.

I wanted to verify yet again that the lithium setting was done properly. I had to remove the passenger seat to do that so I took advantage and installed a non-switched 12v outlet (all of the others have no power when the ignition is off). There was a hole in the seat base and the necessary connections were available on the amp l start. If sunny spring weather doesn't solve the problem, I'll try a plug in solar panel.
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Old 02-13-2023, 04:54 PM   #14
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This is where "will maintain" turns to "should". I took some voltage readings today and the unit appears to be working, just not providing enough current to keep up with the phantom load.
Perhaps I don't understand what you are saying, but if you think the AmpLStart will keep your chassis battery charged up while in unpowered storage I think you are misunderstanding what the product was intended to do.

The AmpLStart was created for RVs that don't have a BIM or latching solenoid the combines the chassis and house battery when on SHORE power. For those RVs, even while plugged into shore power, the chassis battery would slowly loose charge.

The revised model of the product just adjusted the voltages of the house battery on/off function to reflect the higher nominal voltages of the LFP batteries.

As stated by the manufacturer the LFP version sets "the turn-on and turn-off voltages to 13.50 and 13.30 volts."

So, lets say you have the AMPLSTART installed and you are parked in storage without any outside power supply. When you go into storage your House batteries are above 13.5v. So, the AmpLStart will maintain your chassis battery as designed. But in doing so, without shore power, maintaining your chassis battery will begin to deplete the house battery and once it drops below 13.3v the AmpLStart will turn off and stop maintaining your chassis battery.

This is how the device is programmed and perfectly normal.

So, no, the AmpLStart will not prevent your chassis battery from being depleted by phantom loads, unless you are plugged in to a charging source that is keeping your house batteries between the turn-on and turn-off voltages of 13.50 and 13.30 volts.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:22 PM   #15
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As usual Creative is spot on.

When I installed the Amp-L-Start along with Lithium batteries Joel Donaldson (Gen Mgr of LSL) told me nothing else was necessary. However, when I installed the DC-DC converter he told me they sold a jumper which would turn their unit off when the engine was running to avoid conflicts with the DC-DC. He then suggested that I just install a switch to open the ground whenever I am driving the RV. I purchased the jumper kit and then decided it would be easier to just install a switch. Everything has been working fine for about a year.
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Old 02-17-2023, 04:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Perhaps I don't understand what you are saying, but if you think the AmpLStart will keep your chassis battery charged up while in unpowered storage I think you are misunderstanding what the product was intended to do.

The AmpLStart was created for RVs that don't have a BIM or latching solenoid the combines the chassis and house battery when on SHORE power. For those RVs, even while plugged into shore power, the chassis battery would slowly loose charge.

The revised model of the product just adjusted the voltages of the house battery on/off function to reflect the higher nominal voltages of the LFP batteries.

As stated by the manufacturer the LFP version sets "the turn-on and turn-off voltages to 13.50 and 13.30 volts."

So, lets say you have the AMPLSTART installed and you are parked in storage without any outside power supply. When you go into storage your House batteries are above 13.5v. So, the AmpLStart will maintain your chassis battery as designed. But in doing so, without shore power, maintaining your chassis battery will begin to deplete the house battery and once it drops below 13.3v the AmpLStart will turn off and stop maintaining your chassis battery.

This is how the device is programmed and perfectly normal.

So, no, the AmpLStart will not prevent your chassis battery from being depleted by phantom loads, unless you are plugged in to a charging source that is keeping your house batteries between the turn-on and turn-off voltages of 13.50 and 13.30 volts.
However if you have solar while in storage, the Amp L Start will maintain the chassis battery without shore power. that is how mine works.
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Old 02-18-2023, 07:50 AM   #17
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However if you have solar while in storage, the Amp L Start will maintain the chassis battery without shore power. that is how mine works.
Shore power, generator power, solar power all provide charging current. The Amp-L-Start simply monitors battery voltages. It doesnít care how those batteries are charged. When the house batteries are between 13.5v and 13.3v the device will supply a maintenance current to your chassis battery whenever it is below 12.6v (I think the chassis cutoff is 12.5v or 12.6v, Iím not positive).
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Old 02-18-2023, 10:20 AM   #18
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Shore power, generator power, solar power all provide charging current. The Amp-L-Start simply monitors battery voltages. It doesnít care how those batteries are charged. When the house batteries are between 13.5v and 13.3v the device will supply a maintenance current to your chassis battery whenever it is below 12.6v (I think the chassis cutoff is 12.5v or 12.6v, Iím not positive).
I'm not sure how this translates to a LiFePO4 house battery bank but here's info on the settings from the Amp-L-Start manual:

"HIGH TEMPERATURE" MODE ó Installing a jumper across the 2 pins on the back of the unit (marked with a "*") reduces the turn-on voltage from 13.2 to 12.7 volts,
and reduces the turn-off voltage from 12.8 to 12.5 volts. This allows the starting batteries to still receive a maintenance charge if the house battery charger has reduced
its float voltage in very hot weather. To confirm operation in this mode, the unit beeps 8 times (rather than 4 times) when first powered up; thereafter, the House Bat. and Starting Bat. lights blink in rapid sequence every few seconds. Without the jumper installed (or only installed on 1 of the 2 pins), the unit operates in its "NORMAL" mode (13.2 volts turn-on, 12.8 volts turn-off). The unit is shipped from the factory in "NORMAL" mode (jumper only installed on 1 pin.) NOTE: "High Temperature" mode is only intended for use in motorhomes equipped with a temperature-compensated house battery charger or inverter/charger, and only then in very hot weather. Since most house battery chargers are not temperature-compensated, most users will never need to activate it.
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Old 03-08-2023, 05:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Perhaps I don't understand what you are saying, but if you think the AmpLStart will keep your chassis battery charged up while in unpowered storage I think you are misunderstanding what the product was intended to do.

So, no, the AmpLStart will not prevent your chassis battery from being depleted by phantom loads, unless you are plugged in to a charging source that is keeping your house batteries between the turn-on and turn-off voltages of 13.50 and 13.30 volts.
Thank you all for your responses and assistance. Pardon the delay in response but I've been on the road for a while with limited connectivity.

I do have 400w of solar active at all times (at least during the day...) which is more than enough to keep the fridge running full time and the house batteries topped off. The AMP-L-START kept the chassis battery happy with the FLA batteries installed but stopped when changed to lithium batteries.

I guess there's a problem with the part of the device that's activated by the jumper but apparently no way to test it.

Yesterday I received a response from LSL (manufacturer of AMP-L-START) letting me know that Mr. Donaldson passed away in September 2022
and his estate is still in probate.
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Old 03-08-2023, 06:11 PM   #20
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Here's a Youtube video on using the Amp-L-Start with LiFePO4 batteries. At about 7:30 into the video, it addresses the need to change a jumper on the back of the unit. I'm not sure, but, if you have an older unit, it may not have this feature.

https://youtu.be/UhO206nrLoo
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