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Lithium Ion Batteries for My RV


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The New Lithium Ion Batteries 500 AMPS was installed on 2/24/2016.

I was very leery about them because I had 6-L16 Trojans at 1000 amps.
I was told that the 500 AMPS was more then enough to run the rig Now I use a lot of power we use the1300 watt microwave a lot and TV plus a ton of chargers and a 2800 watt full sine wave magnum inverter and a GE household refrig. So here is the facts so far When the sun is out in Arizona which is a lot, we were keeping the Batt at 100% and 99%. Buy the way I have 1000 Watts solar. And in the morning we would drop to 68% and lower 62%. So the system is working. Now the last two days there has been hardly any SUN. So the batteries have not gotten to 100%. We made 83% from a low of 53% on Monday then we dropped to 43% in the morning and made a high of 73% on Tuesday. On Wednesday we made a high of 68% and we are still running the TV, the microwave, the coffee pot and refrig just like normal. So the low today is 36% and still running every thing as normal. And the Sun is out today so we should get back up to the high 80 or 90 % today. The voltage is still at 13.2 volts try to do this on Deep cell batteries you can't because the voltage drops too low to run the microwave without the Generator running. I have not used the Generator at all and the system keeps going.
So the cost of the Lithium is high compared to lead acid and the life of lithium is higher then lead acid, but the way you live when boon docking is what makes the cost affordable for lithium Ion. There is the weight factor. We lost 580 pounds going to lithium there is no water to fill and you can put them any where in the rig. I like them a lot and yes the 500 Amps is working great.

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Yes....spot on. That is exactly the behavior I'd expect to see. The fact that when the bank is that low you can still pull high loads off of it (without excessive voltage sag) is one of the major benefits. Also the fact that not getting a full recharge on the bank for longer periods of time does not hurt the batteries is a major boondocking "benefit".

 

Can't wait to get my bank installed..... :) Thanks for posting.

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Sounds like a very nice set up. When my bank is ready to be replaced, I am definitely going lithium. My current 900+ amp hour bank should have 5 or so years left in it easy. Hopefully the price of lithium will keep dropping with all the new technologies and it will only cost me an arm and I can save my leg for something else when I am ready to switch. ;)

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That's generally speaking how Technomads described Lithium when I attended one of their seminars, so your info doesn't surprise me AND CONGRATULATIONS. I'm going to hold off a bit for cost to come down and all safety considerations having more time to shake out and some day I may take the plunge. The less space and weight really appeals to me

 

Keep us posted, thanks

 

John T

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Thanks for sharing your real world usage!!

 

We too are in the waiting stage, and no real rush, as our 800AH of Lifelines are between 3-4 years of age.

 

We're planning of replacing our CRV toad in 2017-2018, and the 'Coors Light' (Tease a good friend that his recycling efforts over the years, provided the metal for us:)!) Aluminum F150 4X4. Still have not decided between the ECO Boost V6 or the V8. But either way, it will be a heavier toad then our CRV. So the eventual diet of weight from swapping over to Lithium will help offset this gain.

 

Saw an older Monaco Signature, non slide from the mid 90's era, that had Lithium installed. He had put them in his closet, to help on heat/cold temperature control. He had also added a small Yamaha generator on the old battery slide out tray. And had that in an ice chest to help on the sound suppression. Very, very quiet. He did this because though he has the Diesel Generator in his coach. His wife is a Birder, and due to mobility problems needs to stay close to the coach. He said he could fun the Yamaha without scooting the birds away. And because they quite often bodice at a place where he has heavy shading from the trees. Just goes to show you, theirs many needs and many solutions to this thing called RV'ing:)!

 

Again, thanks for sharing. And please post an update after you get more time under your belt!

 

Best to all, be safe, have fun,

Smitty

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Thank you for the information. How many panels do you have for the 1000 watts. How large is the foot print and do you tilt? I won't be spending any time in Arizona, so I'm sure my experience will be much different. Where do you spend the summer?

 

 

Rod

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Thank you for the information. How many panels do you have for the 1000 watts. How large is the foot print and do you tilt? I won't be spending any time in Arizona, so I'm sure my experience will be much different. Where do you spend the summer?

 

 

Rod

We have 7 panels wired in series a bunch of new and old that do the job of recharging.5 panels our on a rack that tilts and two that lay flat.We go north in the summer this year going all the way to Alaska.

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How about the hard facts:

Cost - Total

Labor to install new equipment.

Material Cost, broken out

Life expectancy

Return on investment Vs running generator. (Cost of fuel to run) and how much fuel per hour.

Loss of space where they were installed.

 

New system Vs old system - costs

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We have 7 panels wired in series a bunch of new and old that do the job of recharging.5 panels our on a rack that tilts and two that lay flat.We go north in the summer this year going all the way to Alaska.

Have to ask. What size unit do you have to have 1000w solar?

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Yes, I have read "http://wheelingit.us/2016/02/24/the-big-beastly-solarbattery-upgrade-part-i-why/"

However my questions have never been answer. Yes she ran there AC with the new system. How long would the system maintain running both of their AC for, let's say 8 or, 4 hours?

So, my questions still remain, before I put, what $10, $15 or $20K into a new system, with little or no payback. I would like someone to provide he numbers. How about, posting all of the invoices? That definitely provide some real data to analysis.

How about the hard facts:

Cost - Total

Labor to install new equipment.

Material Cost, broken out

Life expectancy

Return on investment Vs running generator. (Cost of fuel to run) and how much fuel per hour.

Loss of space where they were installed.

New system Vs old system - costs

I would just like some real data. Could I do research on the web, yes. But it is easier to see real invoices.

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How about the hard facts:

 

Unless I'm misunderstanding the intent of your question... from your signature line it looks like you already have all of the equipment you would need other than the batteries themselves. Space and weight savings for you would depend on how much space and weight you have tied up with your current 660amp bank.

 

Most of the other figures you're asking for would likely vary from rig to rig so are kind of meaningless... other than just as ballpark figures.. which are readily available from any number of sources.

 

Return on investment also isn't anything "hard and fast". If would depend on how they are used, under what conditions, and how they are maintained. The true return really can't be known until the useful end of the battery bank.. so again.. just ballpark's.

 

In relation to running costs of a genset instead... again, that's very difficult to say since it would depend on the genset, how it's used and under what loads, how it's maintained, repair costs over it's "life", quality of fuel and associated price per gallon of the life of the unit, distances traveled specifically to obtain fuel and associated costs of wear and tear on your vehicle, mileage calculations on hauling the additional weight, etc.

 

Not to mention the opportunity costs, which for many, is the ultimate deciding factor between solar vs. genset.

 

What is the useful life of a genset is largely unknown (5 years before repair is no longer cost effective? 20? It's certainly subjective) so that makes it all the more difficult to answer your question.

 

I don't believe anyone is trying to ignore your questions.. it's just near impossible to really say.. let alone.. someone to sit down and do all the math for a situation that doesn't apply to them and would be nothing more than an educated guesstimation. KWIM?

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Unless I'm misunderstanding the intent of your question... from your signature line it looks like you already have all of the equipment you would need other than the batteries themselves. Space and weight savings for you would depend on how much space and weight you have tied up with your current 660amp bank.

 

Most of the other figures you're asking for would likely vary from rig to rig so are kind of meaningless... other than just as ballpark figures.. which are readily available from any number of sources.

 

Return on investment also isn't anything "hard and fast". If would depend on how they are used, under what conditions, and how they are maintained. The true return really can't be known until the useful end of the battery bank.. so again.. just ballpark's.

 

In relation to running costs of a genset instead... again, that's very difficult to say since it would depend on the genset, how it's used and under what loads, how it's maintained, repair costs over it's "life", quality of fuel and associated price per gallon of the life of the unit, distances traveled specifically to obtain fuel and associated costs of wear and tear on your vehicle, mileage calculations on hauling the additional weight, etc.

 

Not to mention the opportunity costs, which for many, is the ultimate deciding factor between solar vs. genset.

 

What is the useful life of a genset is largely unknown (5 years before repair is no longer cost effective? 20? It's certainly subjective) so that makes it all the more difficult to answer your question.

 

I don't believe anyone is trying to ignore your questions.. it's just near impossible to really say.. let alone.. someone to sit down and do all the math for a situation that doesn't apply to them and would be nothing more than an educated guesstimation. KWIM?

Well said thank you.

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The install was nice, however, if anyone is or was considering this upgrade, then providing a real cost basis would give Rv owners a leg up of how to go about. Yes I have about 1000 and am planning on an additional 600, to my system. Yes each rig is different to a degree, but equipment is equipment. How can anyone considering or planning a budget get started without some real time data to analysis.

 

There is already a host of battery data out there using solar, so help out the new people who are thinking about this new technology with the cost involved. Is there a reason why you do not want to share this info? You have been nice to share your upgrade.

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Glenn, I don't recall what space you have on the roof of your Teton, but I imagine it is similar to our Travel Supreme. I moved my sat dish, ota tv antenna, and awning wind sensor from the front of ours to the back. This left us with 130 inches (lengthwise) of roof for unshaded panels in the front. I used four 265 watt panels that were 39" x 64.5" and have an 18 inch aisle down the center of the roof to walk on. I bought 265w Grape panels on sale at Home Depot to get a lower cost per watt, but a year ago when I was shopping for the panels, I could have bought 305 watt panels the same size. I bet higher wattage are available in that size now.

 

Jim

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Dale, if you read Part 3 of the series and the comment section in the above link by WheelingIt, she gave a 'range' of

$10,000-$15,000 for their new set-up and take into account that every system will be different and also right now there's a 30% solar credit for your next year's taxes. If you have specific questions of Nina, send her an email. I'm sure she can help.

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In addition to what Nina has posted Technomadia has a pretty good "payback" analysis on their website. I've done my own calculations and if you make some assumptions on cost and lifetime then the Lithium works out about the same or cheaper than AGM.....IF you move them from rig to rig (if you change rigs).

 

The benefits of the technology for someone that boondocks a lot are considerable. But I'm not sure how to put a "value" on that.

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Weight and volume are important considerations for a lot of us. LFP is about 1/4 the weight and volume of lead acid batteries. We are also birdwatchers/naturalists and the lack of noise and fumes helps in these activities. An equivalent weight of lead acid (900#) would overtax frame of 5th wheel and rear axle of dualie pickup.

 

A/C is possible for up to 4 hours a day or for an hour at dusk to cool down the cabin but the draw on the battery suite is over 2 kW. We stick to the Mountain West in summer and spend our time boondocking (dispersed camping) at higher elevations where it is cool. Boondocking in SE US and Arizona in summer is a different game entirely.

Reed and Elaine

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Yes, I have read "http://wheelingit.us/2016/02/24/the-big-beastly-solarbattery-upgrade-part-i-why/"

However my questions have never been answer. Yes she ran there AC with the new system. How long would the system maintain running both of their AC for, let's say 8 or, 4 hours?

So, my questions still remain, before I put, what $10, $15 or $20K into a new system, with little or no payback. I would like someone to provide he numbers. How about, posting all of the invoices? That definitely provide some real data to analysis.

How about the hard facts:

Cost - Total

Labor to install new equipment.

Material Cost, broken out

Life expectancy

Return on investment Vs running generator. (Cost of fuel to run) and how much fuel per hour.

Loss of space where they were installed.

New system Vs old system - costs

I would just like some real data. Could I do research on the web, yes. But it is easier to see real invoices.

Dale,

Very little (almost none) of what you are asking for has a simple answer.

Cost - Total

How many solar panels? How big a battery bank? How big an inverter, and it goes on and on with variables.

Labor to install new equipment.

Varies with size & complexity of system

Material Cost, broken out

Pretty much incidental compared to the total cost of the rest of the system. $200-$500 for misc parts, cables, circuit breakers, etc.

Life expectancy

Varies depending on how well you care for the system. Abuse it, just like abusing a car or taking care of.

Return on investment Vs running generator. (Cost of fuel to run) and how much fuel per hour.

Probably not worth the time and effort for anyone to do a detailed calculation. Keep in mind we don't run the generator (when we didn't have solar) enough to worry about the cost of fuel. Keep in mind you are NOT going to run the air conditioner for hours on end with lithium, even with solar big solar panels. Well I guess you could, but where in and on the RV would you put all the solar panels and batteries.

Loss of space where they were installed.

New system Vs old system - costs

BTW, you seem a little unhappy that others are not hopping to and giving you every thing you want. Then you seem to say it is not worth your time to do some homework and research yourself.

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Total cost of my system, and what I am going claim for the Solar Tax Credit: About $7000. Almost half was the batteries.

 

This is for the following:

2000 Watt Magnum PSW inverter/charger

Morningstar 60 MPPT Solar controller

400AH of Lithium from Starlight Solar

625 watts in two Kyocera Solar Panels.

Miscellaneous parts and pieces to connect everything.

Some fairly nominal shipping costs, considering the total cost of everything else.

Labor, Just my time and effort.

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