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I am sure there are a lot of people that can help with this but they will need a little more information.   Will you be plugged in or boondocking?   What is the battery setup you plan to replace and did it function for you or are you looking for more power?  Battleborn are good batteries but expensive.  Many feel these are worth it in the right setup but care must be taken to properly charge and care for these.

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I replaced four lead-acid batteries with two 100 Ah lithium batteries from Renogy. I got them on sale for around $700 each so it is worth watching for sales. 

How many you need depends completely on what you use them for.  If you boondock regularly and use an inverter much you will need to do an energy audit or at least get equivalent usable capacity to what you have now, assuming that it is sufficient. Lithium batteries will tolerate a deeper discharge than lead-acid so it is not an amp-hour for amp-hour comparison.  If you only use your batteries once in a while for lights, water pump, etc. it is probably not worth the expense to change over to lithium.

To optimize their use you will need to set up your charger for lithium chemistry rather than lead-acid chemistry. BattleBorn has some good information regarding various chargers and solat controllers and how to configure them. 

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A basic rule if there even is one.   LiFePo4 will provide 80% or 90% of their AH. Lead chemistry about 50% rated AH. Plus LiFePo holds near the same voltage top to bottom. I am converting my 460ah  GC2 system to LiFePo 200ah. The GC2 is oversize to start. Rod Collins has about the best read on the subject here:: https://marinehowto.com/lifepo4-batteries-on-boats/

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Battleborn states that their batteries will work with just about any converter designed for lead acid batteries.  You may not be able to fully charge them unless your converter meets the voltage requirements.  When I switched, I went from a WFCO converter that never got into the bulk mode charging a pair of 6V batteries to a Progressive Dynamics converter designed for lithium.  I went with a smaller converter because I carry a 900 watt generator that would be overloaded if the original converter (a 55 amp) went into bulk.

If interested, here is a link to my conversion.  I dry camped for 71 days last winter without needing a generator.

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9 hours ago, Cappi said:

Yes, we want to boondock mostly and recharge while driving or use the generator an hour or two a day. We have regular deep cycle wetcell batteries now. Our dealer will have to change the converter setup they said. 

I just got a notification from Renogy that they are running a 15% off sale.  That would put their 100 Ah battery at around $765. Just FYI.  No affiliation. 

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There is also currently a sale on the Lion Energy UT1300's. (105ah/1344wh) until July 5th. It's $1400 for 2 105ah Lion Energy UT1300's with free shipping in the CONUS. You can reach out directly to me for more info. They are physically smaller than the battle born batteries and have full BMS protection. They do have a basic 5 light SOC right on each battery. Comes in handy if you are troubleshooting a dead battery. I've installed several BB & UT1300 batteries in rigs and both are very nice.  

The one thing I do like with the Lion's is they do support up to a 150amp discharge per battery. Really not an issue if you run more than 1, but if someone is running only 1 lithium, the BB can hit their BMS protection with say a microwave, while the Lion easily handles that load. 

Edited by BlueLghtning
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On my sprinter class c,  have a progressive dynamics pd 4060K, it actually has a setting for constant voltage [lithium] as well as the normal 3 stage charger for lead acids. Might check, will save you a couple of hundred if you don't have to change it out. Some inverter/chargers also have lithium settings.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi folks, mark  here from San Diego area and totally new to RV'ing. I got a Coachman Prism and and wrongfully assumed it would come with what seemed like basics to me (solar controller, inverter, etc,) rude awakening. 
I want to swap my cheap batteries for New lithium Ion ones ( 2 100Ah Renogy  batteries will fit in the exact same location easily) Can I do that? 
I would think I can turn off the disconnect and do a simple swap. I won't until I am 100% sure I won't mess things up by doing it. I have the Go power portable solar to help charge it and the unit came pre wired with a port on the roof and another one by the entry door for Go Power. I would love to find someone to install an inverter and a a solar controller too, but at $200 an hour and getting quotes of 8 hours of work to do that seems a bit HIGH. I would also love to put some solar panels on the roof too, especially as the port is already there. ( unfortunately no label as to where the prewiring is ( guessing near the refrigerator but no sure location. )
Anyone have any suggestions? I am willing to pay what would seem to be a normal hourly fee but $1600 to put in an inverter seems insane to me. but hey, this is California! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  mark 

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On 6/14/2020 at 3:41 PM, mptjelgin said:

I replaced four lead-acid batteries with two 100 Ah lithium batteries from Renogy. I got them on sale for around $700 each so it is worth watching for sales. 

How many you need depends completely on what you use them for.  If you boondock regularly and use an inverter much you will need to do an energy audit or at least get equivalent usable capacity to what you have now, assuming that it is sufficient. Lithium batteries will tolerate a deeper discharge than lead-acid so it is not an amp-hour for amp-hour comparison.  If you only use your batteries once in a while for lights, water pump, etc. it is probably not worth the expense to change over to lithium.

To optimize their use you will need to set up your charger for lithium chemistry rather than lead-acid chemistry. BattleBorn has some good information regarding various chargers and solat controllers and how to configure them. 

Hi, I just went out and bought two 100Ah renege lithium ion batteries also and found out that my new Prism does not come with an inverter( inverter/charger) or solar controller.  I plan to install them ( possibly with a DC to DC 40A charger) My problem is Dealerships are booked into end of February already and they charge $200/ hour and I think are over estimating how much time everything will take. 

I also hope to add some roof solar too( and it is prewired for Go power on the roof but no-one knows where the wiring is inside the unit- guessing near the refrigerator ) Wondering if anyone knows enough to discuss what would make the most sense. Can I do this myself?  Happy to try but so far haven't found anyone to discuss it thoroughly with me. 

Thanks  mark 

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On 12/25/2020 at 1:55 AM, Mark Crootof said:

Hi folks, mark  here from San Diego area and totally new to RV'ing.

Welcome to the Escapee forums, Mark! I would suggest that you start a new thread to ask your questions on the technical forum as there are many here who have experience with solar on an RV, but very few of them are in a class C. Since solar is a subject of general interest, it would be OK in that forum too, but technical is probably where you will get the most help. 

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On 12/24/2020 at 11:55 PM, Mark Crootof said:

Hi folks, mark  here from San Diego area and totally new to RV'ing. I got a Coachman Prism and and wrongfully assumed it would come with what seemed like basics to me (solar controller, inverter, etc,) rude awakening. 
I want to swap my cheap batteries for New lithium Ion ones ( 2 100Ah Renogy  batteries will fit in the exact same location easily) Can I do that? 
I would think I can turn off the disconnect and do a simple swap. I won't until I am 100% sure I won't mess things up by doing it. I have the Go power portable solar to help charge it and the unit came pre wired with a port on the roof and another one by the entry door for Go Power. I would love to find someone to install an inverter and a a solar controller too, but at $200 an hour and getting quotes of 8 hours of work to do that seems a bit HIGH. I would also love to put some solar panels on the roof too, especially as the port is already there. ( unfortunately no label as to where the prewiring is ( guessing near the refrigerator but no sure location. )
Anyone have any suggestions? I am willing to pay what would seem to be a normal hourly fee but $1600 to put in an inverter seems insane to me. but hey, this is California! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  mark 

Very few RV's come from the factory with solar and inverter set ups.  There are more than there used to be as manufacturers are starting to realize the benefit, but it is still pretty rare in anything other than very high end rigs (for a complete set up).  Some will come with an inverter installed when they are also equipped with a residential fridge, but usually no solar.  Some will come "pre-wired" for solar as it appears yours has, but often that pre-wiring is insufficient for a system of any significant size.  It all depends on what you want to do and what your power needs are. 

The quotes you mentioned are typical of solar installation costs (especially in your area).  I would be wary of having an RV dealer do any type of solar installation.  Most dealerships have very little knowledge about solar and how to do a proper installation.  There are some that are good at it, but they are few and far between.  It would definitely take some research to make sure any installer you choose knows what they are doing.

Luckily there isn't really a lot to adding solar and most good DIY'ers who are comfortable with working with electricity can manage an installation on their own.  This can greatly reduce the overall cost of a system (as you have seen based on the labor quotes you have received).  As an example, I have all the parts for a 1600 watt solar system with a 3000 watt hybrid inverter sitting in my garage right now waiting to be installed in a friends RV.  The components are all high end Victron and the panels are American made quality panels.  The components themselves cost about $6000.00.  This does not include batteries or installation.  This installation will probably take about 40 hours or so to do (maybe less or maybe more) depending on how much customization is needed.  There are still a few minor components that will be sourced locally for the installation as well (probably another couple hundred dollars at the most).  This maybe will give you an idea on costs.  Lesser components and a smaller system, will obviously cost less.

Just for some background information on me, I do not do installations professionally currently.  I still have a full time job doing something else, but I dabble in solar installs and have done a number of them.  I may turn it into a job when I retire from my real job, (but I don't know if I want to work that hard in retirement 😉).  I give presentations at rallies on solar/inverter/battery installations and I have been known to advise people on their own installations.   If you have some specific questions, I'd be happy to help.

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I would agree that I would not have a dealer put in your solar. That price is definitely high (maybe not for a dealer).  This summer I basically had to redo a solar system someone had a dealer install for them and they actually had done their homework and had high quality Victron parts, all the fuses, breakers, etc. The dealer handed them back a box of parts and said they didn't need all that, yet the system didn't even work when it left the dealers lot. I spent 8-10 hours cleaning it all up for them. The time it takes to install definitely adds up too.

I don't focus on installs although I do them now and then, but I do solar consulting and if you think you are capable of some DIY with guidance, I offer a service where customers can come to me, and I basically guide them as they install their own system. This greatly helps you understand your system and you are doing the labor saving you a lot of money. I have my site in my profile if you want to reach out to me.  

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Mark, just an idea. Since you are in S.D. maybe a road trip up to Quartzite may be in order. There are 2 outfits there that do installs. You could talk to them about what you want. Of course there are good and bad reports. Also, there is no sales tax on solar equipment in Arizona.  

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