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Old 05-17-2020, 10:26 AM   #1
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Lithium-ion battery yes or no

Have to replace house batteries (3) I live in AZ I want maitance free . Was looki g at AGM Renogy or Weize. Now wondering about Lithium-ion. If you have and like what brand.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:13 AM   #2
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I just had 2 Battle Born Lithium batteries installed in my 2018 Fuse. We do a fair amount of dry camping/boondocking and sometimes in areas where we don't get much sun for our solar panels and can't run the generator due to campground restrictions, so I wanted batteries that would give me more than the 60+AH of power that I had. Our RV has a compressor refrigerator so our OEM batteries never really gave us enough power for me to go to sleep without worrying about having power in the morning.

Battle Born batteries were (and perhaps still are) on sale and I got the name and phone number of a recommended installer near where I live and he did the installation at a lower cost than I thought possible. So far I have been quite happy with the new batteries.

If you do decide to get Lithium batteries you will also need to think about a DC-DC charger to protect your alternator and a new inverter/charger to boost the shore/generator output to fully charge your batteries.

As to yes/no, I would think that would depend upon how and where you camp, how much power you use and what your current solar setup is.
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kbwitt View Post
Have to replace house batteries (3) I live in AZ I want maitance free . Was looki g at AGM Renogy or Weize. Now wondering about Lithium-ion. If you have and like what brand.
Thanks Kenn
2003 Winnebago Journey 36 DL.
Lithium ion, NO.
Lithium iron phosphate, YES.
There are two schools of thought on what other gadgets you might need if you go the LiFePO4 route.
I opted for KISS.
I added a Progressive Industries Charge Wizard Pendant to my OEM PD9245, so I could bump up the charge rate while plugged in to shore power, just to give them a little boost, since you're paying for it anyway.
I also have a factory installed Zamp ZS-30A solar charge controller that helps top them off when the sun is shining, and it has a "Lithium" charge algorithm setting (the AGM setting does the same things as the Lithium setting) that knows when to boost the charging voltage. I caught it doing that just yesterday, as a matter of fact, on a bright sunny afternoon.
My 3rd charging source is my Mercedes-Benz 220 A alternator. There's enough smarts built into the 2 Relion RB100-LT batteries, that it will cut off all charging sources when it decides they are full, so I didn't bother adding anything else. I accepted the risk of burning out an alternator, because of that.
So far, like AJMike, I'm pretty pleased with the Relion battery performance, and recently spent most of a 4,000 mile trip to Texas, via South Carolina, off grid using just 12V DC power from my new batteries to power all my other stuff. Like the compressor fridge, water pump, lights, Truma water heater circuitry, TVs, USB charging ports, etc., etc.......
Set it and forget it, as the info-mercials used to say.
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:58 PM   #4
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I've been researching Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries for a while and they have a lot going for them. Although not the cheapest, I've never read anything negative about Battleborn.

In my own case, I'm not using my MH enough (even pre- COVID19) to justify the expense since the batteries would just be sitting in storage for most of their life. Plus my golf cart batteries are going strong and LiFePO4 batteries are only going to get less expensive and better.

The big advantage in my mind is that a 100 Ah LiFePO4 battery is going to deliver close to 100 Ah before requiring charging while a conventional 100 Ah battery is going to supply about half that before the voltage drops enough to require charging. I really don't understand how lead acid batteries can be rated at twice their realistic capacity.

If you want to see some good Youtube reviews, including tear-downs of Battleborn and other batteries, check out Will Prowse's channel. He also has a ton of other videos on LiFePO4 batteries and solar systems. Here's a link to some of his reviews and other videos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/errolpr...ery=battleborn
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:10 PM   #5
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Lithium ion, NO.
Lithium iron phosphate, YES.
Is anyone actually selling plain Lithium ion batteries anymore? I thought that all of the newer Lithium RV batteries were Lithium ion phosphate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winterbagoal View Post
There are two schools of thought on what other gadgets you might need if you go the LiFePO4 route.
I opted for KISS.
I added a Progressive Industries Charge Wizard Pendant to my OEM PD9245, so I could bump up the charge rate while plugged in to shore power, just to give them a little boost, since you're paying for it anyway.
I also have a factory installed Zamp ZS-30A solar charge controller that helps top them off when the sun is shining, and it has a "Lithium" charge algorithm setting (the AGM setting does the same things as the Lithium setting) that knows when to boost the charging voltage. I caught it doing that just yesterday, as a matter of fact, on a bright sunny afternoon.
My 3rd charging source is my Mercedes-Benz 220 A alternator. There's enough smarts built into the 2 Relion RB100-LT batteries, that it will cut off all charging sources when it decides they are full, so I didn't bother adding anything else. I accepted the risk of burning out an alternator, because of that.
So far, like AJMike, I'm pretty pleased with the Relion battery performance, and recently spent most of a 4,000 mile trip to Texas, via South Carolina, off grid using just 12V DC power from my new batteries to power all my other stuff. Like the compressor fridge, water pump, lights, Truma water heater circuitry, TVs, USB charging ports, etc., etc.......
Set it and forget it, as the info-mercials used to say.
My Zamp controller has both Lithium and Lithium iron phosphate settings.

I am also using the pendant now but expect to replace the inverter/charger with the Lithium charger this Fall. I have been trying to spread out the cost of the upgrade. Fortunately I got a great buy on the BB batteries and the installation was not too expensive.

One of the main reasons I upgraded to the BB batteries is that we go to a mountain campground that is heavily forested and so we get little sunlight for the solar and the campground does not allow any generator use. We have a compressor refrigerator so just spending a single night was enough to drain our OEM batteries to about half their power (which means pretty much all of their usable power) and we had to leave the campground and drive around to charge them back up before we could spend a second night. Hopefully the BB batteries will solve that problem.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kbwitt View Post
Have to replace house batteries (3) I live in AZ I want maitance free . Was looki g at AGM Renogy or Weize. Now wondering about Lithium-ion. If you have and like what brand.
Thanks Kenn
2003 Winnebago Journey 36 DL.
If you just want maintenance free, then just go with AGM, no need for Lithium.

If you do quite a bit of dry camping or boondocking then you should go with lithium.

We have 400AH of lithium, and 650 watts of solar, that I installed in Jan 2016. Since we dry camp or boondock extensively we love the lithium.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AJMike View Post
Is anyone actually selling plain Lithium ion batteries anymore? I thought that all of the newer Lithium RV batteries were Lithium ion phosphate.



My Zamp controller has both Lithium and Lithium iron phosphate settings.

I am also using the pendant now but expect to replace the inverter/charger with the Lithium charger this Fall. I have been trying to spread out the cost of the upgrade. Fortunately I got a great buy on the BB batteries and the installation was not too expensive.

One of the main reasons I upgraded to the BB batteries is that we go to a mountain campground that is heavily forested and so we get little sunlight for the solar and the campground does not allow any generator use. We have a compressor refrigerator so just spending a single night was enough to drain our OEM batteries to about half their power (which means pretty much all of their usable power) and we had to leave the campground and drive around to charge them back up before we could spend a second night. Hopefully the BB batteries will solve that problem.
Not sure about lithium ion batteries, except in laptops, smartphones, maybe? Small electronics?
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:24 PM   #8
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I've been following a number of YouTubers that installed a LiPo battery bank, mostly with Battleborns, and they've said that the LiPo batteries just about eliminate all worry about power on their trips. A couple have even said, they have always liked having solar panels but that the reason was it made it easier to live by helping keep their old AGM batteries charged. But after installing the Battleborn LiPo batteries they didn't see all that much benefit in having solar.

For instance, James on the www.theFitRV.com has said if you've got money to spend on one or the other, spend it on the LiPo batteries. Because they are more helpful than solar.

https://www.thefitrv.com/rv-tips/doe...ium-batteries/

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Old 05-18-2020, 02:25 PM   #9
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Thanks Al. Did you have to change your alternator or onboard charge? I have 2003 journey.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:38 PM   #10
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I've been following a number of YouTubers that installed a LiPo battery bank, mostly with Battleborns, and they've said that the LiPo batteries just about eliminate all worry about power on their trips. A couple have even said, they have always liked having solar panels but that the reason was it made it easier to live by helping keep their old AGM batteries charged. But after installing the Battleborn LiPo batteries they didn't see all that much benefit in having solar.

For instance, James on the www.theFitRV.com has said if you've got money to spend on one or the other, spend it on the LiPo batteries. Because they are more helpful than solar.

https://www.thefitrv.com/rv-tips/doe...ium-batteries/

Yeah, but solar panels can be had for next to nothing these days, and if you've got the real estate up top, why not add both and get the "best of both worlds"? The LiFePO4s are definitely not cheap, but for me at least, they do exactly what you've said, they do take the worry out of the off grid power supply. They are "set it, and forget it", in my limited experience.
p.s. They get paid to sell products, and in that video, they're pushing the Travato with the larger LiFePO4 battery bank. But, you knew that.
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Old 05-18-2020, 02:50 PM   #11
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p.s. They get paid to sell products, and in that video, they're pushing the Travato with the larger LiFePO4 battery bank. But, you knew that.
Oh yes, I knew. In fact, WBGO gave them the National Park Edition Travato for a year to take around to all the National Parks and put out videos. James and Steph have their own Travato and they are pretty much on WBGO's payroll.

I've met them at the KOA in Tucson this past Feb and they're super nice folks. Huge into bike riding for fitness and fitness in general.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:02 PM   #12
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Oh yes, I knew. In fact, WBGO gave them the National Park Edition Travato for a year to take around to all the National Parks and put out videos. James and Steph have their own Travato and they are pretty much on WBGO's payroll.

I've met them at the KOA in Tucson this past Feb and they're super nice folks. Huge into bike riding for fitness and fitness in general.
You met them at the KOA in Tucson? Did they have the NPS Travato or do they still have the Mellow Yellow one?
Damn, we were heading that way, and decided to turn around and head home. We got as far as Sealy, TX, but had planned to head to Yuma area for another 2 weeks away plus drive time, but decided the fuel expense wasn't worth it for only a week stationary.
I ride as well, and it does seem to be a part of their personna. As well as the fitness training by Steph.
Maybe one of these days, if we live that long....
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:36 PM   #13
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Not sure about lithium ion batteries, except in laptops, smartphones, maybe? Small electronics?
Yes. That is what I thought. All current Lithium RV batteries are Lithium iron Phosphate. The only "Lithium" batteries that are not Lithium iron Phosphate are the ones in my cell phone, portable battery pack and the like.
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Old 05-18-2020, 03:37 PM   #14
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You met them at the KOA in Tucson? Did they have the NPS Travato or do they still have the Mellow Yellow one?
They were in "Lance" their yellow Travato with the matching yellow bike trailer. They were meeting up with biking friends to ride the Tucson bike paths. Their RV was parked directly across from ours the last week we were there this year.

I used to ride 100 miles a week for exercise and fresh air - but after one too many close calls with an auto I got off the bike shaken one Tuesday in Oct 2018 and never got back on. I sold my Felt carbon bike and didn't look back.

Now, I have a small folding Blix Vika+ Electric bike and I take it out solely for fun. I ride it 3 miles to a park nearby and walk a couple of miles and ride it home.

It's nothing like real bike riding. I've been on 20-mile rides in Tucson with some friends and they come home sweaty and tired and I've just had a nice hour out of doors. It sure has ruined me for riding a regular bike.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:07 PM   #15
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Thanks Al. Did you have to change your alternator or onboard charge? I have 2003 journey.
Both my inverter/charger and solar controller are set for charging lithium batteries. I don't have the original equipment inverter/charger. Much more detail about alternator charging down below.

I debated installing the Battleborn isolator and even bought one. (Note: I don't have BattleBorn batteries.) In the end I just installed a on/off switch on the solenoid that connects the alternator/chassis battery to the house batteries. I cut the ground side of the wire for the solenoid coil installed the switch and mounted the switch on the outside of the metal plate that covers the electronics.

When I need for the alternator to charge the house batteries while we are driving I just push the button on the switch. If I expect that the alternator would be putting out a too high a voltage for lithium batteries I would monitor the alternator voltage closely and/or just not use the alternator to charge the house batteries.

We very seldom need to charge from the alternator with 650 watts of solar and 400AH of lithium. If I used lead acid batteries I am sure I would use the alternator charging much more often.

As others read my following comments, if anyone has good factual info, such as websites with details, to point out the errors in my following thoughts about alternator charging of house batteries, please reply. My following comments are based on my observations and experience with installing and observing both lead acid and lithium batteries, not on any extensive testing. They also pertain to my RV. If I had an RV where all the electronics to charge both the house & chassis batteries were within 3-5 feet of each other then that would be different.

As far as protecting the alternator too high a current draw and/or protecting the lithium batteries from too high a charging voltage I don't have a great deal of concern because:

-- In my experience I have not seen alternators putting out anything like 14.6 volts or higher unless it is well below freezing outside. Whether or not all alternators increase voltage at very cold temps, I don't know, but some do. Note: My lithium batteries are installed in a cabinet in the bedroom so will be at the inside the RV temp. Lithium batteries can be charged at 14.2V-14.3V.
-- The Journey has an engine monitor computer panel in the dash board that shows the battery voltage. The times I have looked at the chassis battery/alternator voltage while driving it reads in 13.6-13.8 volt range. I am sure it is higher when the chassis battery needs to be charged. Since the Journey has a factory installed trickle charger, the chassis battery is always fully charged except for right after pulling the slides in, pulling up the jacks and starting the engine. It doesn't take very long to recharge the chassis battery.
-- Cable length from the alternator at the rear of the RV to the solenoid in the front and then back to the batteries at the rear gives over 50 to 60 feet (maybe more than 70') of wire. There is going to be some voltage drop if there is significant current.
-- I have always questioned just how much charging the house batteries get from the alternator. The alternator is almost always going to see the chassis battery voltage and/or charge status before it sees the house batteries. Primarily because of the difference in cable length. If the chassis batteries are at 13.6V and the lithium house batteries, some 50-60 feet away at the end of the cable are at 13.1V which is the alternator going see??? Even if I took my batteries down to only about 10% full I will still be at about 12.4V. That is not a really low battery voltage for an alternator designed to charge lead acid batteries.
-- Would my lithium batteries if discharged down to about 10-20% full try to take 80-100 amps from the alternator? I don't think so, but this is not something I have tested. I again go back to my lithium batteries are at the end of 50'-60' of cable, way farther away from than chassis batteries are and the battery voltage is not going to be down at 11.0-11.5V you may see with lead acid batteries. I am not saying you can't get the lithium down to 11-11.5V, it is just that I monitor my battery voltage/charge level and will charge well before that point is reached.

It is good to note that I don't dry camp or boondock on a premise of install the batteries/solar/alternator charging and forget about it. It is just something that I monitor as every day as the day goes by. All the monitor panels in this RV are in the bedroom. I can see them every time I go in there. When we go to bed I know what my state of charge is, also I know what my expected amp draw is supposed to be. If it is higher I go find out what I left on and turn it off. On my previous RV's the monitors were in the living room, even easier to monitor.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:30 PM   #16
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They were in "Lance" their yellow Travato with the matching yellow bike trailer. They were meeting up with biking friends to ride the Tucson bike paths. Their RV was parked directly across from ours the last week we were there this year.

I used to ride 100 miles a week for exercise and fresh air - but after one too many close calls with an auto I got off the bike shaken one Tuesday in Oct 2018 and never got back on. I sold my Felt carbon bike and didn't look back.

Now, I have a small folding Blix Vika+ Electric bike and I take it out solely for fun. I ride it 3 miles to a park nearby and walk a couple of miles and ride it home.

It's nothing like real bike riding. I've been on 20-mile rides in Tucson with some friends and they come home sweaty and tired and I've just had a nice hour out of doors. It sure has ruined me for riding a regular bike.
How cool is that? I'm sure they're probably very nice people. Busy, but nice? You can never really tell from the videos.

I'm a much more casual biker, mostly due to the season up here being affected by the weather. I can usually ride from April to November, but a couple of years ago I rode on Christmas and New Year's days as there wasn't any snow/ice on the local trails or roads.
In the better weather, I only ride about 5 miles a day, and ride usually about 6 times a week, weather permitting, so I'm doing a third of what you used to do before the traffic misses became a factor. I ride mostly trails, with some city streets, and if I don't almost get hit every other time out, I'm doing well.
I ride a 12 year old Schwinn hybrid mountain/road bike, and have dual front and rear flashing LEDs on it, and I've still had to exercise my vocal cords to excess once in a while. Two days ago, was turnng left off a road into an entrance roadway in a park nearby, and the driver at the STOP sign didn't see me, and almost got me as I turned left across her bow. So, it is good for the fresh air aspect, I guess.

I've considered getting a couple of folding e-bikes, but we're towing the Jeep and it works for us for now. Maybe for shorter trips out, under 500 miles, they might be easier, certainly lighter, but where do I put them where they would get stolen? Plus, would we be using them for shopping, same problem. Do you chain them up outside while you're inside, and hope they'll be there when you come out, or one person stands guard, while the other shops? I guess that could work. There are a few Canadian makers, but I've never got past the website home pages.

You could still ride a conventional bike, no problem. After all, it's just like riding a bike.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:41 PM   #17
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Both my inverter/charger and solar controller are set for charging lithium batteries. I don't have the original equipment inverter/charger. Much more detail about alternator charging down below.

I debated installing the Battleborn isolator and even bought one. (Note: I don't have BattleBorn batteries.) In the end I just installed a on/off switch on the solenoid that connects the alternator/chassis battery to the house batteries. I cut the ground side of the wire for the solenoid coil installed the switch and mounted the switch on the outside of the metal plate that covers the electronics.

When I need for the alternator to charge the house batteries while we are driving I just push the button on the switch. If I expect that the alternator would be putting out a too high a voltage for lithium batteries I would monitor the alternator voltage closely and/or just not use the alternator to charge the house batteries.

We very seldom need to charge from the alternator with 650 watts of solar and 400AH of lithium. If I used lead acid batteries I am sure I would use the alternator charging much more often.

As others read my following comments, if anyone has good factual info, such as websites with details, to point out the errors in my following thoughts about alternator charging of house batteries, please reply. My following comments are based on my observations and experience with installing and observing both lead acid and lithium batteries, not on any extensive testing. They also pertain to my RV. If I had an RV where all the electronics to charge both the house & chassis batteries were within 3-5 feet of each other then that would be different.

As far as protecting the alternator too high a current draw and/or protecting the lithium batteries from too high a charging voltage I don't have a great deal of concern because:

-- In my experience I have not seen alternators putting out anything like 14.6 volts or higher unless it is well below freezing outside. Whether or not all alternators increase voltage at very cold temps, I don't know, but some do. Note: My lithium batteries are installed in a cabinet in the bedroom so will be at the inside the RV temp. Lithium batteries can be charged at 14.2V-14.3V.
-- The Journey has an engine monitor computer panel in the dash board that shows the battery voltage. The times I have looked at the chassis battery/alternator voltage while driving it reads in 13.6-13.8 volt range. I am sure it is higher when the chassis battery needs to be charged. Since the Journey has a factory installed trickle charger, the chassis battery is always fully charged except for right after pulling the slides in, pulling up the jacks and starting the engine. It doesn't take very long to recharge the chassis battery.
-- Cable length from the alternator at the rear of the RV to the solenoid in the front and then back to the batteries at the rear gives over 50 to 60 feet (maybe more than 70') of wire. There is going to be some voltage drop if there is significant current.
-- I have always questioned just how much charging the house batteries get from the alternator. The alternator is almost always going to see the chassis battery voltage and/or charge status before it sees the house batteries. Primarily because of the difference in cable length. If the chassis batteries are at 13.6V and the lithium house batteries, some 50-60 feet away at the end of the cable are at 13.1V which is the alternator going see??? Even if I took my batteries down to only about 10% full I will still be at about 12.4V. That is not a really low battery voltage for an alternator designed to charge lead acid batteries.
-- Would my lithium batteries if discharged down to about 10-20% full try to take 80-100 amps from the alternator? I don't think so, but this is not something I have tested. I again go back to my lithium batteries are at the end of 50'-60' of cable, way farther away from than chassis batteries are and the battery voltage is not going to be down at 11.0-11.5V you may see with lead acid batteries. I am not saying you can't get the lithium down to 11-11.5V, it is just that I monitor my battery voltage/charge level and will charge well before that point is reached.

It is good to note that I don't dry camp or boondock on a premise of install the batteries/solar/alternator charging and forget about it. It is just something that I monitor as every day as the day goes by. All the monitor panels in this RV are in the bedroom. I can see them every time I go in there. When we go to bed I know what my state of charge is, also I know what my expected amp draw is supposed to be. If it is higher I go find out what I left on and turn it off. On my previous RV's the monitors were in the living room, even easier to monitor.
All my batteries and charging methods, MB 220A alternator, PD9245 converter/charger, and Zamp ZS-30A solar charge controller, are within 10-12 feet of each other and I'm not concerned either, based on my experience with FLA and LiFePO4 batteries. I pretty much agree with all of your functional observations. So sorry, I have no links to definitive webpages written by Yoda, just my own anecdotal experience, and observations. My SGII is on the sterring column, and my other display panels are amidships, and sometimes, I go to bed without even looking at any of them.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:47 PM   #18
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Winterbagoal. Yes, James and Step are very nice. It's a popular RV Park we've also met David Bott and Brenda of Outside Out Bubble there. And Kyle and Olivia of Drivin' and Vibin'. We also met Trisha and Mark of Keep Your Day Dream and Nathan and Merrisa of Less Junk More Journey at a restaurant in Austin once, too. All of them very nice people.

I carry my folding Blix electric bike inside the back of our Lincoln SUV Toad. So that's handy, though we have a bike rack for my wife's bike, too. I have a basket on mine and as long as the store, etc is less than 15 miles away it's no problem to bike on into town if the roads are agreeable. I always carry a strong lock with me.

My wife has a huge, heavy beach cruiser type of bike but she doesn't ride it much. I bring it along just in case she wants to go out. She won't have anything to do with the electric bike. She's never even tried it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:17 PM   #19
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 493
Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Winterbagoal. Yes, James and Step are very nice. It's a popular RV Park we've also met David Bott and Brenda of Outside Out Bubble there. And Kyle and Olivia of Drivin' and Vibin'. We also met Trisha and Mark of Keep Your Day Dream and Nathan and Merrisa of Less Junk More Journey at a restaurant in Austin once, too. All of them very nice people.

I carry my folding Blix electric bike inside the back of our Lincoln SUV Toad. So that's handy, though we have a bike rack for my wife's bike, too. I have a basket on mine and as long as the store, etc is less than 15 miles away it's no problem to bike on into town if the roads are agreeable. I always carry a strong lock with me.

My wife has a huge, heavy beach cruiser type of bike but she doesn't ride it much. I bring it along just in case she wants to go out. She won't have anything to do with the electric bike. She's never even tried it.
Inside the towed? That would work for us. I guess we could bring both, towed and bikes? Good idea.

My God, you're (almost) famous, considering all the youtuber contacts you've got. I guess we're just not down that way as much. That said, I think we may try to use the southern AZ area for future winter jaunts, so who knows, maybe we'll run into some of them ourselves.
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2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 JKU (sold @ ????)
2016 Sunstar 26HE, V10, 3V, 6 Speed (sold @ 4600 miles)
2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:21 PM   #20
Winnebago Camper
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 40
I am going all out. I ordered 3 Battle Born Batteries, Precision lithium battery Isolation Manager and victron BMV 702 monitor.
I will repost in a couple of weeks after it's all installed and used for a week or longer.
I like the fact the monitor gives true readings on used and remaining charge so if needed I can run 7500. Generator to recharge at an appropriate time to stay in good grace with any other dispersed campers in the area.
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