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Old 01-20-2020, 11:39 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Test results on refrigerator with LI battery

I just did a 20 hour test on the 2 new Battle Born 100 amp-hour 10012 batteries installed to replace the 2 OEM lead acid batteries in my 2018 Navion 24D (posted previously: http://www.winnieowners.com/forums/f...ml#post3852396).
I began with putting some ice packs and frozen water bottles in the freezer and a bunch of water bottles in the refrigerator (which is now we normally travel); I bought two digital temp monitors which record high and low temps: one for freezer and one for fridge. @11:15 AM set norcold refrigerator on #4, LP valve off, Jenson stereo system off (just unplugged it); all lights off, vent fans off, furnace off, water heater off; the only loads left on were three sensors (smoke, CO, natural gas).
* I noted in other postings that the LP gas switch draws ~20 Amp-hours/day, so I’m getting a device that cuts this down to ~3 A-h/day (“it’s in the mail”), so for now I just turned it off; most of our dry camping is in the “NOT COLD” season anyway, so we don’t plan to have to use propane heat (so: ok for this test). The Jenson stereo never goes “all the way off”, but it is super easy to just unplug it under the sink (when not in use).
At 11:15 AM voltage on battery was 13.5. Partly sunny day and ~65 deg f, solar panels charging at 13.5V.
At 9:15 PM: Volts- 13.1; temp freezer: 15; fridge: 35.
At 7:15 AM: volts- 13.0 (!!); temp freezer: 13 (high/low: 18/12); fridge: 30 (high/low: 37/29). Note to self: we don’t want the fridge that cold (below freezing); 35-40 is better. Probably meet to set the Norcold to #3 / 3.5.

Conclusion: amazing! Those LI batteries are a beast! Lead Acids were always bottomed out at 12.2 volts by the morning.
Next test is with LP valve on and running a vent fan and a light all night. Now: time to plug it in and see how long it takes to re-charge.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:39 PM   #2
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Great info. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:57 PM   #3
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Interesting stuff there John. Thx
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:36 PM   #4
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Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but this video discusses using voltage as an approximation of State of Charge (SoC) for both lead acid, and for Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries. You might be surprised at the actual (approximate) SoC of your Battle Borns, based on the correlation of slightly higher voltages to charge levels. There's a LiFerPO4 Voltage/SoC chart at the 1:30 mark.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:15 PM   #5
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LP switch power reducer

Thanks for the discharge chart! Looks like we had it down to 30% (measured it just as sun was creeping up, so it may have had a bit of influence from the solar panels, but not much. I also didn’t start at 14.4V, so my next test will be following me setting the PD9245C converter into the “boost” mode with the pendant I installed. Last test I forgot to time how long it takes to get back up to 14.4V.
The LP switch “anti-vampire” device is built by a fellow winnieowner blogger Alan Skiper ([email protected]); it consists of parallel connections of resistor and capacitor with appropriately sized spade connectors. It simply plugs into the back of the switch. Alan charges $45 for the device...or you can do what Grandpa Ron does and make it yourself (see https://youtu.be/Xdo3LK4qJS4 ). I’m still waiting to get it in the mail; I’ll do a before and after comparison once it arrives.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:42 PM   #6
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You may have been a little higher or lower than 30%, as these charts of the relationship between SoC and battery voltage are approximations, as I understood the video. I'll use 13.6 as being my "fully charged" benchmark. I had thought about adding a "fuel gauge" but after seeing the various makes/models, decided "close" was good enough for me.
My Relions go to FUL on the Zamp CC display fairly quickly after I bump the PD9245 up to boost mode. But mine aren't being drawn down by the fridge, yet. I'd be curious how quickly yours come back up, after dropping them below 50% SoC.

I've seen another "vampire slayer" use DC-DC buck converters that reduce the voltage draw down to below 5V.
Like these...
https://www.amazon.com/Converter-DRO...09DQRWJJ4B6APB
They're really cheap, but I like the one you're showing in that picture. It looks compact and lighter than the buck converters. Easier to install too, I'd imagine? I do like Grandpa Ron's tips and tricks videos. Makes lots of RV stuff seem simple.

Or, I can just turn off the propane on/off switch?
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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Yeah, that turning the LP valve off was my thought. However, IF I want to dry camp AND need to use the furnace, THEN the low power device comes in very handy. This was us at the Redwoods National Park in June. Running a simple test now with LP valve on all night. Tomorrow I re-boost the batteries and then install the device (just came in!!).
FYI, I got a reply from Grandpa Ron (!!) who noted he actually didn’t use the device he made but got one from an electrical guy named John Trombly as John’s was more reliable. Interesting. I’ll post the test results in a couple days.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:48 PM   #8
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Here's the (now very long) thread on the propane solenoid vampire being slayed by the DC to DC 12V to 5V buck converter method. I think it gets off topic around page 3.
https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=68288

I hear you on the furnace requirement on occasion. Us too.
Hoping the new batteries will be up to the task of running the fridge, furnace, and some lights and entertainment, making the solenoid mod less urgent.
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Old 01-22-2020, 02:54 PM   #9
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Not impressed by this device at this point. It was too hot to touch when Installed. Looking into other options as noted by Winterbagoal (“DC-DC converter”)
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:13 PM   #10
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Others have mentioned heat as one of the problems with the resistor/capacitor method. I believe the DC-DC converter method doesn't generate too much. Other issues are tank pressure at the valve causing it to shut after opening briefly when the tank is low on LPG. I also saw that if the voltage is too low, when the coach batteries are at a low SoC, the valve may not stay open, at a voltage lower than 5V. Again, 200Ah of lithium will hopefully overcome that one.
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Old 01-26-2020, 07:45 PM   #11
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Does your refrigerator run on propane or is it electric?
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Old 01-26-2020, 09:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hintro View Post
Does your refrigerator run on propane or is it electric?
Mine is DC electric only.
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:31 AM   #13
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Heat = power consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcurtisis View Post
Not impressed by this device at this point. It was too hot to touch when Installed. Looking into other options as noted by Winterbagoal (“DC-DC converter”)
Hey guys, just a quick lesson in electricity... if it's getting hot, it's using up power. Installing a device to reduce power consumption and it gets hot, or warm, is also consuming power. As in lightbulbs vs LED bulbs, which use only 15-20% of the power but produce the same amount of light and a lot less heat. The heat generated by the light bulbs is lost power.
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Old 01-27-2020, 09:10 AM   #14
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Thumbs up Keep on Keeping on.

Please continue posting the results of your evaluations Mr. jcurtisis.

I'm getting a much needed education from your work and comments by others.


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Old 01-27-2020, 09:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeC View Post
Hey guys, just a quick lesson in electricity... if it's getting hot, it's using up power. Installing a device to reduce power consumption and it gets hot, or warm, is also consuming power. As in lightbulbs vs LED bulbs, which use only 15-20% of the power but produce the same amount of light and a lot less heat. The heat generated by the light bulbs is lost power.
JoeC- agree; that is why I’m not enamored by that solution...and still looking. Heard about DC-DC converters being the better choice, but not being an electrical guy I am hoping someone knows where to get a device that is more plug in / wire in ready.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:14 PM   #16
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As has been mentioned, when providing specs on LiFePO4 batteries it is much more useful to provide Amps , or even Amp/hr data - but not volts. This is because Lithium batteries are much more voltage stable than lead-acid. They operate in a relatively narrow voltage range, so it is much harder - and less accurate - to try and estimate state of charge by voltage alone.

You are correct in noting that for Lead-Acid batteries the resting voltage is a pretty good indicator of charge. But for Lithium the best way to monitor state-of-charge is with a good Battery Monitoring system - such as the Victron 712. This system installs a shunt in the circuit which very accurately measures amps in & amps out of your batteries. As well as tons of other information around charging, time to charge, total amps used, etc.

I had lead-acid batteries for several years before going to 400 Ah of Lithium last July (Battle Born). I was frustrated by the inability of the Lead acid batteries to hold a consistent, usable charge, especially as they began to deteriorate. Went to Lithium and am never looking back. Yes - they are expensive, but they have so many advantages over lead-acid (lighter, much greater charging efficiency, higher operating voltage, greater usable capacity,etc) batteries that they just work so much better when boondocking and traveling off grid.

So interesting test of your new Batteries with your refrigerator. But I question your rating of the LP gas valve @ 20 amps/day. Does not really make any sense. In my experience - running my Norcold fridge for weeks on LP gas alone - it operated very efficiently and the LP gas valve is not actually on for very long periods.

You will find that your new batteries will take a charge MUCH faster than your old Lead-acid. I have a solar system as well so I was watching our usage and charging specs very closely, and it is amazing how much faster those Battle Borns charge up.

Thanks
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:14 AM   #17
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Yes, Im sure a Victron is the way to go, but I don’t have one. Hence the reliance on voltage readings. At this point I just wanted a comparison of the old VS new batteries...and I’m really happy with what I see so far.
The “20 A-h” power draw from the propane valve was a number others have posted- I just took that as true.
I do see that the Lithium batteries charge up fast; I wasn’t checking frequently enough on my last test as they went from 13 to 14.4 in an hour (but it was probably less).
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:07 AM   #18
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It is great that you made the jump to LiFePO4 batteries - you are very much ahead of the game with those.

As for a Battery Meter - watch some of the Will Prowse videos. In one of those from several months ago I believe he identified a much less expensive competitor to Victron, but which seems to provide most of the same functions.
Thanks for your post!
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by jcurtisis View Post
I do see that the Lithium batteries charge up fast; I wasn’t checking frequently enough on my last test as they went from 13 to 14.4 in an hour (but it was probably less).
You just discovered the true value of upgrading to lithium, as indicated by the above quote. So what if you can put 8 or 10 lead acid batteries in your coach to run your fridge and everything else. But what in this world are you using to charge them and how long is that taking? You will end up spending an entire day to charge a day's worth of discharge. Worse yet, partial charging lead acid batteries is detrimental to their overall health which further reduces their capacity. So you drive from shore power to shore power, maybe catch a few amp hours of solar, but you can't survive more than a few days without driving, using the generator or shore power. Fortunately, most RVers fall into that category and never really depend on their batteries. Converting to an all electric refrigerator would make that point really clear. You need to get those 60-80 amp hours per day back into those batteries somehow. Lithium does it 4-5 times faster.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:52 AM   #20
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Wrong LP valve power reducer

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Originally Posted by jcurtisis View Post
Thanks for the discharge chart! Looks like we had it down to 30% (measured it just as sun was creeping up, so it may have had a bit of influence from the solar panels, but not much. I also didn’t start at 14.4V, so my next test will be following me setting the PD9245C converter into the “boost” mode with the pendant I installed. Last test I forgot to time how long it takes to get back up to 14.4V.
The LP switch “anti-vampire” device is built by a fellow winnieowner blogger Alan Skiper ([email protected]); it consists of parallel connections of resistor and capacitor with appropriately sized spade connectors. It simply plugs into the back of the switch. Alan charges $45 for the device...or you can do what Grandpa Ron does and make it yourself (see https://youtu.be/Xdo3LK4qJS4 ). I’m still waiting to get it in the mail; I’ll do a before and after comparison once it arrives.
All,
As a way to reduce power used by the LP cut-off switch mechanism (aka, a power Vampre): DON’T USE THE RESISTOR/CAPACITOR TYPE DEVICE. The one I got from Alan Skiper (see quote above) quickly got wicked hot and the failed with an audible “pop”. Alan sent me a replacement which had the EXACT SAME RESULT. So, $45 lesson learned: don’t try this. Even Grandpa Ron emailed me that he doesn’t use this type either.
Several others pointed me instead to a “DC-DC Converter” method. I just installed such a device to the Propane cutoff switch that lowers the power used by the switch to keep the valve open. The unit cost me $75 from Leonard Casella and came with very easy instructions. I did need to get a multi-tool ($40 on Amazon) to cut a square hole in the monitor panel just below the Propane cutoff switch (pictured below- needed a small cutting blade; $5 at Harbor Freight). Every fit easily in place and looks very professional when done. If interested I have additional pictures of how the wires hook onto the water tank heater (for the ground), as well as how the device connects into the old propane switch and the new one. I verified the generator works while the low power switch is on AND when it is off. Woo hoo! No high heat, and the second switch preserves the life of the converter module as you reall don’t “need” it if you are on shore power or have the engine on.
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