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Old 12-02-2019, 10:37 AM   #1
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37TS - Lithium Batteries

Hi - I'm going to move to Lithium on my 2018 DX3 37TS. I think I am going to go with LifeBlue batteries with the internal BMS and built in heating system. With that, I know I can use the existing charger.

I would really like to just use the existing battery tray for simplicity, but hate having the batteries get exposed to dirt/water/etc.

For those of you who have the 37TS and have added Lithium, where did you install it? Given the slide is directly above the tray, I'm not sure how feasible it is to put them under the bench seat for example (which seems like an ideal location). The other option would be to put it in an adjacent bay (with added support).

I would love to hear your experience and/or thoughts.

THANKS as always!
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:15 AM   #2
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Hi - I'm going to move to Lithium on my 2018 DX3 37TS. I think I am going to go with LifeBlue batteries with the internal BMS and built in heating system. With that, I know I can use the existing charger.

I would really like to just use the existing battery tray for simplicity, but hate having the batteries get exposed to dirt/water/etc.

For those of you who have the 37TS and have added Lithium, where did you install it? Given the slide is directly above the tray, I'm not sure how feasible it is to put them under the bench seat for example (which seems like an ideal location). The other option would be to put it in an adjacent bay (with added support).

I would love to hear your experience and/or thoughts.

THANKS as always!

Considering that "Lithium" batteries are half the weight of conventional Lead/Acid batteries are you certain you'd need extra support?

Also, once installed Lithium batteries need almost zero maintenance, other than perhaps an occasional check of cables and connections so installation is often done in otherwise unused and hard to access locations.
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:35 AM   #3
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Considering that "Lithium" batteries are half the weight of conventional Lead/Acid batteries are you certain you'd need extra support?

Also, once installed Lithium batteries need almost zero maintenance, other than perhaps an occasional check of cables and connections so installation is often done in otherwise unused and hard to access locations.
They will be about 250 lbs if I go "all the way." So yes, I would need to reinforce. Which is possible of course.....
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:57 AM   #4
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They will be about 250 lbs if I go "all the way." So yes, I would need to reinforce. Which is possible of course.....
250# of Lithium batteries would certainly qualify as "all the way".

I know that when I upgraded to Lithium one of the many attractions was that I could have the same power available (usable amp hours) as twice the number of Lead batteries (due to "50% rule").

Guessing you'll have around 900 ah capacity with that kind of weight so you certainly should have plenty of power to last.

With my usage that would last me close to three weeks without having to charge
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:37 PM   #5
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250# of Lithium batteries would certainly qualify as "all the way".

I know that when I upgraded to Lithium one of the many attractions was that I could have the same power available (usable amp hours) as twice the number of Lead batteries (due to "50% rule").

Guessing you'll have around 900 ah capacity with that kind of weight so you certainly should have plenty of power to last.

With my usage that would last me close to three weeks without having to charge
Thats it! No more worrying about batteries. I've had enough I like staying at State and National Parks. Many/most don't have electric or they are hard to get into...this eliminates the worry. Still not enough for extended A/C usage, but I'm okay with that.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:50 PM   #6
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Hi - I'm going to move to Lithium on my 2018 DX3 37TS. I think I am going to go with LifeBlue batteries with the internal BMS and built in heating system. With that, I know I can use the existing charger.

I would really like to just use the existing battery tray for simplicity, but hate having the batteries get exposed to dirt/water/etc.

For those of you who have the 37TS and have added Lithium, where did you install it? Given the slide is directly above the tray, I'm not sure how feasible it is to put them under the bench seat for example (which seems like an ideal location). The other option would be to put it in an adjacent bay (with added support).

I would love to hear your experience and/or thoughts.

THANKS as always!

If you thinking about putting them inside, why get the built in heating system?
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:22 PM   #7
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If you thinking about putting them inside, why get the built in heating system?
I wont if I find a way to put them inside. But havenít figured that out yet and thats what I am asking. If they stay in a bay or on the existing battery tray, they will need to be heated.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:30 PM   #8
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I wont if I find a way to put them inside. But haven’t figured that out yet and thats what I am asking. If they stay in a bay or on the existing battery tray, they will need to be heated.
I was following a guy's blog a while ago who was putting in a couple of 300 AH LiFePo batteries and he used space in the bottom of a closet. Because they require zero venting or clearance (that I know of) once installed they can be totally enclosed, a plywood box for example.

If they need to be separated for any reason just use large connecting cables and make Positive connection at opposite end of parallel bank as the Negative connection.

This may free up some options as they really don't need to be together in the same space/compartment. Just add connector wires into total length and size according to projected load current.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:09 PM   #9
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I wont if I find a way to put them inside. But haven’t figured that out yet and thats what I am asking. If they stay in a bay or on the existing battery tray, they will need to be heated.
I'm a bit envious over $8K of batteries!! I have about the same capacity at an off grid cabin but using sixteen Trojan T-105 batteries (1,000 lbs). But I just have $2200 in batteries.

BTW, with 8 of your LiFePo batts you could do a 4s/2p setup for a 48 volt system. But I don't know what type of inverter you plan on using. Congratulations on more power!
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:40 PM   #10
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I'm a bit envious over $8K of batteries!! I have about the same capacity at an off grid cabin but using sixteen Trojan T-105 batteries (1,000 lbs). But I just have $2200 in batteries.

BTW, with 8 of your LiFePo batts you could do a 4s/2p setup for a 48 volt system. But I don't know what type of inverter you plan on using. Congratulations on more power!
1000 lbs! Wow! I know it makes sense given what they weigh each but crazy to think about. Works good for a cabin (especially at that price).

Iím sticking with the same inverter so unfortunately the 48v isnít an option ....though I have read good things on going that route!
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:37 PM   #11
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1000 lbs! Wow! I know it makes sense given what they weigh each but crazy to think about. Works good for a cabin (especially at that price).

Iím sticking with the same inverter so unfortunately the 48v isnít an option ....though I have read good things on going that route!
When you make the jump to 48 volts the first benefit is "power transmission". No more need for "Garden Hose" sized wires for high current devices like inverters.

In an RV however it could bring on issues by needing two different voltage systems. Not an insurmountable problem just more complex.

My Chevy Volt for example has two different battery systems. A 360v main battery to power many systems nut a small 12v battery for legacy systems (starting gas engine and 12v accessories)

They charge the big battery first and then convert down to charge the 12v.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:41 PM   #12
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Has anyone installed lithium on a 37TS? Where did you put the batteries?
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:24 AM   #13
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Hi - I'm going to move to Lithium on my 2018 DX3 37TS. I think I am going to go with LifeBlue batteries with the internal BMS and built in heating system. With that, I know I can use the existing charger.

I would really like to just use the existing battery tray for simplicity, but hate having the batteries get exposed to dirt/water/etc.

For those of you who have the 37TS and have added Lithium, where did you install it? Given the slide is directly above the tray, I'm not sure how feasible it is to put them under the bench seat for example (which seems like an ideal location). The other option would be to put it in an adjacent bay (with added support).

I would love to hear your experience and/or thoughts.

THANKS as always!
Before enclosure:
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I took my FR3 to a RV customizer to enclose my battery compartment. I started with four Battle Born batteries and I now have six, rotated 90 degrees. (186 lbs, 31 lbs per battery)


I am also installing four Battle Born 12v battery heaters. I like the external control of the battery heat pads. When I am not using the motor home, I do not need the heat pads on.


I still have more work to do but it is 23F today.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:04 AM   #14
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Thanks! This is great. A few quick questions:

1) it looks like the battery box on yours did not include the vehicle batteries? Or did you have them moved?

2) I'm curious on the heating pads. You mentioned you didn't want them running when you are not using the vehicle. My understanding is they only heat when they are being charged. I also understand that you are not supposed to leave the lithium charging (unlike the AGMs). I may be off on one or both of those comments. Just curious how you were thinking about it.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:59 AM   #15
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Thanks! This is great. A few quick questions:

1) it looks like the battery box on yours did not include the vehicle batteries? Or did you have them moved?

2) I'm curious on the heating pads. You mentioned you didn't want them running when you are not using the vehicle. My understanding is they only heat when they are being charged. I also understand that you are not supposed to leave the lithium charging (unlike the AGMs). I may be off on one or both of those comments. Just curious how you were thinking about it.

Are they only operational while being charged or do they become active when temp drops below a set threshold so the batteries CAN be charged.

The LFP batteries have to be warmed before charging and I can't see how the heaters can be powered up by the charger separately as that would also disconnect the battery itself from the system. They can discharge even though the temps are well below freezing so taking them offline would be undesirable.

It would be interesting to see how they control the heating function.

I do know that some batteries are now "Smart Batteries" and can control the charger from their internal electronics. In talking with Progressive Dynamics I learned that they've been asked by battery manufacturers to add a control feature to their Lithium chargers. The PD9100L can have a module added that allows it to be switched on or off from external controls like a Smart Battery or even by using the temp sensor and relay on a Victron BMV 712.

I can see rk06382's desire to be able to control the heating pads separately. Without a means of controlling the charger by the battery itself the internal heaters may well run whenever the temp drops to it's set level and the end result could well be dead batteries while in "Cold Storage".

Being able to switch off the heaters when no shore power is available is one way to insure that doesn't happen.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:44 PM   #16
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Are they only operational while being charged or do they become active when temp drops below a set threshold so the batteries CAN be charged.

The LFP batteries have to be warmed before charging and I can't see how the heaters can be powered up by the charger separately as that would also disconnect the battery itself from the system. They can discharge even though the temps are well below freezing so taking them offline would be undesirable.

It would be interesting to see how they control the heating function.

I do know that some batteries are now "Smart Batteries" and can control the charger from their internal electronics. In talking with Progressive Dynamics I learned that they've been asked by battery manufacturers to add a control feature to their Lithium chargers. The PD9100L can have a module added that allows it to be switched on or off from external controls like a Smart Battery or even by using the temp sensor and relay on a Victron BMV 712.

I can see rk06382's desire to be able to control the heating pads separately. Without a means of controlling the charger by the battery itself the internal heaters may well run whenever the temp drops to it's set level and the end result could well be dead batteries while in "Cold Storage".

Being able to switch off the heaters when no shore power is available is one way to insure that doesn't happen.
I think this is the crux of the issue:

The LFP batteries have to be warmed before charging and I can't see how the heaters can be powered up by the charger separately as that would also disconnect the battery itself from the system. They can discharge even though the temps are well below freezing so taking them offline would be undesirable.

I had assumed that since the BMS can turn on/off charging, it could potentially leverage the internal heaters when it detects BOTH incoming charge AND low temperatures (while not charging). I could absolutely be wrong. If they truly run anytime its below zero, then its a no-go for me. I tried to call LifeBlue a couple times and had no luck. Iíll report back when I get ahold of them.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:19 PM   #17
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I think this is the crux of the issue:

The LFP batteries have to be warmed before charging and I can't see how the heaters can be powered up by the charger separately as that would also disconnect the battery itself from the system. They can discharge even though the temps are well below freezing so taking them offline would be undesirable.

I had assumed that since the BMS can turn on/off charging, it could potentially leverage the internal heaters when it detects BOTH incoming charge AND low temperatures (while not charging). I could absolutely be wrong. If they truly run anytime its below zero, then its a no-go for me. I tried to call LifeBlue a couple times and had no luck. Iíll report back when I get ahold of them.
For me, if the heaters didn't have an external control it would be a deal breaker.

I'd want to be able to shut heaters off when not charging like when in storage. A simple thermostatic control to heat below 40 or so whenever charger is active.

I could see an automatic internal system for an off grid solar setup but RV's have their own unique needs.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:10 AM   #18
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For me, if the heaters didn't have an external control it would be a deal breaker.

I'd want to be able to shut heaters off when not charging like when in storage. A simple thermostatic control to heat below 40 or so whenever charger is active.

I could see an automatic internal system for an off grid solar setup but RV's have their own unique needs.
I was thinking of if I want to use the Motorhome in the winter. If I boondock in the winter, I want to be able to use the furnace. I want to be able use the FR3 in the winter. When the sky is clear you can see Denali for over 150 miles. I also love to see the Wrangell mountains in the winter.

I don't think I will do Arctic Man, but I do want to be able to boondock in the winter.

Battle Born: "Yes, our batteries do have temperature restrictions. The batteries will no longer accept a charge once the temperature drops to 24 degrees F, but they will continue to discharge until the temperature reaches -4 degrees F."

I am going to have two main switches for winter storage:
  1. Disconnect for the Coach Battle Born Batteries.
  2. Bypass for Chassis to Coach Batteries.

The bypass will allow me to use the electric steps while in storage.
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