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Al F

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    Photography, Scenic traveling & camping.

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  1. The LiFePO4 batteries WHEN they have a BMS are very safe. The BMS will cut off the charging if any of the cell voltages get above a set limit, and the same when discharging. Additionally when you set up your charging devices you program them to limit the upper voltage setting they won't over charge, unless the charging device fails, and then the BMS will protect the battery.
  2. Freedom 2020, Do you know you opened 2 identical topics in the same forum area? You might edit one of them to remove the questions so only one of your topics get replies.
  3. Have you tried going to http://www.campgroundreviews.com/ picking the town or area and browsing for RV Parks and then going to the RV Parks website to see if they have online reservations and if they have an option for monthly stays. Kind of "let your fingers do the walking" on the internet rather than trying to call on the phone. I see many times, in seasonal popular areas, many places don't take monthly stays. I assume that is for certain parts of the year they stay full, so taking monthly stays would reduce their income. Other times of the year they take monthly stays to entice people to stay long term. This is for RV parks. For public campgrounds, like state parks, they want to service as much of the "camping" population as possible and don't really want long term stays.
  4. Speaking of gambling. A charge voltage of 14.6V (3.65V per cell) is at the very top end of the acceptable charge voltage for LFP chemistry batteries. https://batteryuniversity.com/index.php/learn/article/bu_216_summary_table_of_lithium_based_batteries Everything I have seen about lithium batteries state for best life you should avoid charging to 100%. 93% to 95% is best. Even the Lithium solar controller you referenced seems to be set for a charge voltage of 14.2V I know this get confusing as different sellers of lithium batteries state different things. Just as in the battery you bought, the seller states the charge voltage to be 14.6V. That is correct that the battery CAN be charged to that level. Now SHOULD the LFP battery be charged to 14.6V (3.65V per cell). You will have to decide that for yourself. NOTE: I wrote "seller" and not "manufacturer". A seller can tell you anything they want in order to sell you something. A mfg will usually, or should, provide detailed info for proper use of a product. Above I gave a link to info at Battery University. Poke around in that website and read the various pages about lithium and charging/discharging/higher temperature affect on battery life, etc. I find Battery University's website to be somewhat confusing, but IMO the info and advice is spot on for how to care for the batteries for long life. Keep in mind that LiFePO4 chemistry is the same no matter who mfg the battery. Just as lead acid is the same no matter who make it. That is all lead acid must be brought to 100% charge frequently or it looses capacity and there have been plenty of charts showing 50% loss in the number of life cycles if you discharge to 50% instead of only discharging 25% (75% full). Lithium life cycles and safe usage is the same no matter who makes it.
  5. Check the charge parameters for the battery you want to buy. It should be: to have a charge voltage no higher than 14.2-14.4V and a float voltage of about 13.4-13.6V. Unless they want to sell you a charger as well as selling the battery. Of course if they are going to void their warranty if you don't buy their charger, you might want to find a different place to buy the battery. BTW, it matters little what LiFePO4 battery you buy. They all should have the above general charge voltage parameters. Also be sure to have the equalize function turned off or set for no higher that 14.2-14.4V. Now if your PWM controller is not programmable to the voltage I gave above you should not use it for lithium. A solar controller for lead acid should be default to 14.6V absorb charging and about 13.4-13.4 float. If you can't change that voltage it is not compatible with lithium.
  6. As far as the questions Gimmy Tree has asking on this forum, I appreciate him posting separate questions for each subject, instead of lumping 3-5 questions into a single posting. I have always felt you get better and easier to understand answers by asking an individual question in a each topic you start. The questions seem reasonable to me.
  7. I comment on the term "freezing temps", because that always gives the impression of "when the outside temperature is below 32 degrees F" and not the internal temp of the battery. Note that it is not "freezing temps, but the internal temperature of the battery that counts. If you have them in a compartment that has just a bit of insulation and not exposed to outside temps they will stay above freezing for quite a while when outside temps are below freezing. Lithium really lends itself to being installed inside the living area, which is where mine are. In a non temp controlled compartment you can place a remote thermometer transmitter there and monitor the temp from inside the living area. Also you can use (discharge) the battery to down below zero degrees. Not that I want to be in an RV at that temp.
  8. I now know what a Kontiki fishing device is. 🙂 Great idea for getting your fishing line out from the beach. I also now know what a Toyota Hiace is, a campervan, what we would call a Class B RV in the USA. I'm not sure how many AH's (Amp Hours) it will take to charge the Kontiki, but as long as you only need to charge it once or twice a week when you have pretty good sunlight you should be fine. I would recommend a lithium battery for your life style. The less expensive of the two you listed in your post, as long as the reviews of the company selling them is good. You can take a lithium down to 20% SOC (80% discharged). It does shorten the number of cycles some to go that low but not too much. Personally I prefer to stay above 40-50% SOC. Just like I don't accelerate really hard in my car/truck constantly or slam on the brakes constantly, that adds extra stress on the system. The big disadvantage of lead acid batteries is you must get them to 100% charged about every 5-7 days. If you don't the plates in the batteries will start to sulfate, which decreases your battery life. If you go for a couple of months w/o getting to 100% regularly you loose a lot of capacity. Charging the last 10% or 5% to get to 100% takes several to quite a few hours of charging. Lithium batteries are perfectly happy going from 40-50% SOC to 80-90% SOC and live a long and happy life. If you are going to have a small elect refrigerator, then I would suggest 2 batteries and install 2 160 watt solar panels. They will take up just about all your roof. You sound like you have a good plan for your electrical needs.
  9. Gimmy Tree, Would you share with us what RV you have, you RV'ing experience, and what your travel plans are. Will you be doing a lot of dry camping/boondocking, or will you spend quite a bit of your time with electrical hookups? There is a great deal of difference in battery usage/charging and general requirements between dry camping for 2-3 days once a month or once a week and then back to shore power, than there is if you are planning on dry camping for 5-7 days or more before getting back to shore power. Will you have an inverter to power a microwave/coffee maker/toaster, or a satellite TV receiver, or are you just looking to power your lights, cell phones, laptop computer and limited use of your RV propane heater (the fan uses a lot of battery power if it runs a lot at night).
  10. Gimmy Tree, You are asking great questions and receiving many good answers. I believe you are pretty new to all this RV electrical stuff, like batteries, solar, battery charging, how much power each of the devices in your RV uses, etc. Here are some excellent links to detailed info that should give you more concise and detailed info, than the short answers you receive from forum topics. Very good basic info in this 2 part website. Be sure go to part 2 at the bottom of part 1's website. "The 12V side of life" Here is a rather technical website that has very good detailed info for designing and operating RV electrical systems: http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm This website pretty well lays out the entire RV electrical system from shore power to solar power: https://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html Here is a link to a article about what to look for in a quality install and especially what not to do. The writer has very strong opinions and is rather blunt, as well as over wordy, but the advice is pretty much spot on. http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/the-rv-battery-charging-puzzle-2/
  11. A MPPT charge controller works best with solar panel voltages in the mid 30's and above. Chances are that your 160 watt panel only puts out around 20 volts. The MPPT controller takes the higher voltage (above about 20V) and coverts that into additional 12V power to the batteries. Keep in mind you will never get 160 watts of power from a 160watt panel in actual usage. The 160 watts is only obtained in laboratory conditions where the panel is pointing directly into the the light source. In real life you seldom have the panel pointing directly to the sun and having a perfectly clear sky. That is no haze, and NO pollution particles to filter out the power of the sun. Getting 30% to 40% less than 160 watts means your panel & controller is working just fine.
  12. Also at Battle Born they have a FAQ page: https://battlebornbatteries.com/faq/ that should have some answers to your questions about lithium batteries. Yes, there are some restrictions and warnings about using lithium. The Battle Born and most others have a build in BMS (Battery Management System) to cut off the batteries from your RV system if you try to over charge them or over discharge them, or charge then when the temperature "inside" the battery is below freezing. Note, the freezing temps are not what the temperature is out side your RV, but what the temperature is internally in the battery. You can use them to power your RV (i.e. discharge the battery) down to below zero degrees. The chemistry in the lithium batteries we use in RV's is very safe, especially when paired with the BMS. This is unlike the lithium batteries which were in the Boeing airplane that was in the news a couple of years ago and the batteries in some consumer products that have caught fire. One BIG caution. You really should have a battery charger and solar controller which are programmable so you can adjust the charging voltage to what Battle Born recommends. I think that is to not supply a charging voltage above about 14.3 volts to 14.4 volts. Many chargers/controllers will supply 14.6-14.8V which is exactly what lead acid batteries require. Here is a link to Battle Born's website about charging parameters: https://battlebornbatteries.com/charging-parameters-chargers-recommend/
  13. As an Escapee member you can buy the lithium batteries from a company in the USA, rather than New Zealand. Should be lower shipping costs as well as lower price.
  14. Did you intend to delete most everything when you edited your post?
  15. I am guessing this I am guessing the 10 batteries and solar were professionally installed. As such the owners may not be looking for an assessment of the installation. Especially since it is working to their satisfaction.
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