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Old 11-21-2021, 06:43 PM   #1
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Lithium upgrade considerations for new Georgetown 34M5

We just took deliver of our new MH August 31, it is now winterized, and we are ready to do a few upgrades.

I have done some research and believe the list of things below are what I want to make sure the dealership looks at for compatibility with the lithiums. I will be upgrading 2 LA batteries to 2 Battleborn (heated I'm thinking) 100 Ah 12V.

Any thoughts on getting the heated Battleborns? The MH is in Ohio in garage storage and we have 120 power hooked up.

Will the precision Tune battery readout be good, or should I upgrade to a battery monitor with shunt?

Lithiums need to be compatible with:

Chassis battery & system
Charge solenoid replaced with Lithium BIM ?
PD Converter (PD9270) - No Lithium charge profile
Inverter(True Power)
Merlin Solar charge controller - No Lithium profile
Starting generator (Yamaha or Kawasaki 5500W)
Transfer switch (not sure what kind)
Proper gauge cables (do I need to change any cable gauges)

Sorry for all the questions, but want to make sure any concerns are addressed by the dealership doing the work. All feedback and recommendations are welcome.

Thanks - Steve


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Old 11-21-2021, 07:51 PM   #2
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My experience is limited to fifth wheel systems, so my help will be limited, but here are a few things off the top of my head that might be helpful ........

PD Converter (PD9270) - No Lithium charge profile

The charge-wizard is built into the 9200 units and
can't be changed. It will reduce the life of
your LiFePO4 batteries with absorb time and desulfation
stage. I would not use it.
Check https://battlebornbatteries.com/faq/

Inverter(True Power)

Likely no issue here. If it's a big unit and does not
limit capacitor charge current, the battery BMS might
shut down when you close a circuit breaker to bring
up the inverter.

Merlin Solar charge controller - No Lithium profile

As with the PD, best to limit absorb time to 20
minutes if you can, and avoid temperature bias.
Might be okay if it will let you adjust absorb time
and disable equalization/desulfation. You can
probably unplug the temp compensation.

Starting generator (Yamaha or Kawasaki 5500W)

Need to check the starting current. The BB BMS
might disconnect the batteries if the surge
is higher than the BMS allows.

Transfer switch (not sure what kind)

I assume you are thinking 120V. Not a factor
re battery type.

Proper gauge cables (do I need to change any cable gauges)

No problem here. There is a proper way to connect
parallel batteries. But if you are swapping two properly
wired LA with two LiFePO4 then not problem.


I'm sure others will help more.
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Old 11-21-2021, 10:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post



PD Converter (PD9270) - No Lithium charge profile



The charge-wizard is built into the 9200 units and

can't be changed. It will reduce the life of

your LiFePO4 batteries with absorb time and desulfation

stage. I would not use it.

.
When I first upgraded to the Battleborn Batteries I used my PD9260 converter with Charge Wizard Pendant.

Just charging the converter will deliver max output to approx 90% then drops to absorption as current falls off. When current falls again, based on voltage peak, it settles at 13.2-13.3 volts for float. When the Equalization phase kicks in PD9200 series converters don't use all that high a voltage and surprisingly it falls in the same range the LiFePo4 batteries need for cell balancing.

I had several conversations with both Battleborn and Progressive dynamics and both, at least at the time, indicated that the PD9200 or PD9100 converters wouldn't damage the batteries. Only shortcoming was not fully charging to 100%:but by using the charge wizard pendant the converter could be forced into a boost phase (same voltage output as equalization) which would cell balance.

Ideal for LiFePo4 batteries? Perhaps not ideal as the owner will need to periodically force cell balancing although solar would take care of this just fine. The PD9200 won't damage them though.

As for equalization, some converters deliver a far higher voltage during this phase but Battleborn's BMS will shut off charge voltages over 14.6 so no damage.

I have since changed to a PD9160L converter with a fixed 14.6 v output. Max current throughout charge process for minimum charging time.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
When I first upgraded to the Battleborn Batteries I used my PD9260 converter with Charge Wizard Pendant.

Just charging the converter will deliver max output to approx 90% then drops to absorption as current falls off. When current falls again, based on voltage peak, it settles at 13.2-13.3 volts for float. When the Equalization phase kicks in PD9200 series converters don't use all that high a voltage and surprisingly it falls in the same range the LiFePo4 batteries need for cell balancing.

I had several conversations with both Battleborn and Progressive dynamics and both, at least at the time, indicated that the PD9200 or PD9100 converters wouldn't damage the batteries. Only shortcoming was not fully charging to 100%:but by using the charge wizard pendant the converter could be forced into a boost phase (same voltage output as equalization) which would cell balance.

Ideal for LiFePo4 batteries? Perhaps not ideal as the owner will need to periodically force cell balancing although solar would take care of this just fine. The PD9200 won't damage them though.

As for equalization, some converters deliver a far higher voltage during this phase but Battleborn's BMS will shut off charge voltages over 14.6 so no damage.

I have since changed to a PD9160L converter with a fixed 14.6 v output. Max current throughout charge process for minimum charging time.
Mike, your thoughts got me thinking further. So I dug a bit. I was wrong about the Charge Wizard applying typical absorb voltage and equalization to the battery and thus shortening life. I was assuming a classic multi-stage lead-acid charge regime. In reality, the Charge Wizard is a strange beast. See the charge regime below in the image. Very very different from the typical lead-acid three-stage charger.

First, the PD Charge Wizard will charge a lead acid battery to (roughly) 90%. Holding a high current charge up to 14.4V as shown in the image below will charge a LiFePO4 battery to over 99%. This is why the usual 14.4V absorb time is not needed for LiFePO4. It's at 99+% when bulk voltage hits 14.4V. If one can call it that, the Charge Wizard does absorb, but only at 13.6V. This is why it takes 30 hours for the Charge Wizard to get a lead acid battery from 90% to 100%. This is fine, easy on the lead acid battery (so long as you don't need it to be fully charged sooner). But, the LiFePO4 does not need absorb to get to 100% so the 13.6V this charger applies is, coincidentally, the widely preferred float voltage for LiFePO4.

So, in my (revised) opinion, the Charge Wizard is a near perfect charger for LiFePO4 up to 34 hours into the charge regime. It takes the battery to a bit over 99% then floats it at 13.6V with no absorb time. Most LiFePO4 makers specify just such a charge regime. However, some manufacturers specify 15 or 20 minutes of absorb voltage I think usually to finish balancing. This charger will not provide that. But, if the LiFePO4 battery is well balanced from the factory and is not worked too hard, not having that absorb time should usually be okay.

Unfortunately, the Charge Wizard drops to 13.2 Volts after 34 hours. With a LiFePO4 that voltage will allow load on the 12V system to drop the LiFePO4 charge to around 60% until the "equalize" mode kicks in for 15 minutes every 20 hours. That 15 minute "equalization" would be needless if the battery is not loaded but at 14.4V would not have much ill effect. Better would be the charger sitting at 13.6V for the long term as virtually all LiFePO4 chargers do.

There seems to be no trigger to get the Charge Wizard into bulk mode for a full and fast re-charge to 99+%. There surely is one, but its not mentioned in the Charge Wizard write-up.

A problem I see with this charger is that the drop to 13.2V will allow even a small load on the battery to drop it to around 60% SOC. The 15 minute "equalize" bumps every 20 hours will add roughly 9% to the SOC (35 amps per battery for 15 minutes is 9 Ah). This will be dissipated quickly by the load. So, the owner might hit the road for a few days of boon docking / dry camping with just a 60% SOC. This would be a deal killer for me.

So, I agree that this charger will not damage an LiFePO4 or take measurable life out of it. In fact, if it were not for the 15 minute periods at 14.4V, "floating" the LiFePO4 at 13.2 volts will actually extend the life. But, it will also leave the user with a 60% SOC when he might be expecting 100%.

To keep life simple, I would not use this charger on an LiFePO4 battery.

PS: Mike, I don't know what PD was thinking when they told you this charger will only charge an LiFePO4 battery to 90% on its own. That is incorrect. First, bulk charging to 14.4V will take any LiFePO4 battery to over 99%. In addition, floating an LiFePO4 battery at 13.6V will continue that charge to 100%. In fact, one can charge an LiFePO4 battery to 100% at 13.5V or a bit lower.

Click image for larger version

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Old 11-22-2021, 08:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post
My experience is limited to fifth wheel systems, so my help will be limited, but here are a few things off the top of my head that might be helpful ........

PD Converter (PD9270) - No Lithium charge profile

The charge-wizard is built into the 9200 units and
can't be changed. It will reduce the life of
your LiFePO4 batteries with absorb time and desulfation
stage. I would not use it.
Check https://battlebornbatteries.com/faq/

Inverter(True Power)

Likely no issue here. If it's a big unit and does not
limit capacitor charge current, the battery BMS might
shut down when you close a circuit breaker to bring
up the inverter.

Merlin Solar charge controller - No Lithium profile

As with the PD, best to limit absorb time to 20
minutes if you can, and avoid temperature bias.
Might be okay if it will let you adjust absorb time
and disable equalization/desulfation. You can
probably unplug the temp compensation.

Starting generator (Yamaha or Kawasaki 5500W)

Need to check the starting current. The BB BMS
might disconnect the batteries if the surge
is higher than the BMS allows.

Transfer switch (not sure what kind)

I assume you are thinking 120V. Not a factor
re battery type.

Proper gauge cables (do I need to change any cable gauges)

No problem here. There is a proper way to connect
parallel batteries. But if you are swapping two properly
wired LA with two LiFePO4 then not problem.


I'm sure others will help more.

Great info Hclarkx! Thanks for the lengthy response. It sounds like I can narrow down my concerns slightly, and hopefully be able to speak somewhat intelligently when relaying my concerns to the service dept.



I'm not sure about using quotes in the forum, so may not be doing it the best. In further research, it looks like the Merlin solar charge controller does have a user defined mode, so there may be something I can do there. I believe the inverter is a 2000W, just not sure if pure sine or not, doubt that matters for the purposes of the lithium batteries I would think.


Thank you again for responding, I will have to make sure I am comfortable getting this upgrade done, it seems like there is so much I don't know.
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
When I first upgraded to the Battleborn Batteries I used my PD9260 converter with Charge Wizard Pendant.

Just charging the converter will deliver max output to approx 90% then drops to absorption as current falls off. When current falls again, based on voltage peak, it settles at 13.2-13.3 volts for float. When the Equalization phase kicks in PD9200 series converters don't use all that high a voltage and surprisingly it falls in the same range the LiFePo4 batteries need for cell balancing.

I had several conversations with both Battleborn and Progressive dynamics and both, at least at the time, indicated that the PD9200 or PD9100 converters wouldn't damage the batteries. Only shortcoming was not fully charging to 100%:but by using the charge wizard pendant the converter could be forced into a boost phase (same voltage output as equalization) which would cell balance.

Ideal for LiFePo4 batteries? Perhaps not ideal as the owner will need to periodically force cell balancing although solar would take care of this just fine. The PD9200 won't damage them though.

As for equalization, some converters deliver a far higher voltage during this phase but Battleborn's BMS will shut off charge voltages over 14.6 so no damage.

I have since changed to a PD9160L converter with a fixed 14.6 v output. Max current throughout charge process for minimum charging time.



Thanks TitanMIke! More info I didn't fully understand, but if I was to update to the lithiums and the PD9160L, and make sure all other parts of my setup are compatible, do I fully need to understand all the particulars of the charging cycle as you and Hclarkx do to make the jump to lithium, or does the converter and BB batteries have all the safeguards in place to prevent any problems?



Thanks again!
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post

There seems to be no trigger to get the Charge Wizard into bulk mode for a full and fast re-charge to 99+%. There surely is one, but its not mentioned in the Charge Wizard write-up.

A problem I see with this charger is that the drop to 13.2V will allow even a small load on the battery to drop it to around 60% SOC. The 15 minute "equalize" bumps every 20 hours will add roughly 9% to the SOC (35 amps per battery for 15 minutes is 9 Ah). This will be dissipated quickly by the load. So, the owner might hit the road for a few days of boon docking / dry camping with just a 60% SOC. This would be a deal killer for me.

So, I agree that this charger will not damage an LiFePO4 or take measurable life out of it. In fact, if it were not for the 15 minute periods at 14.4V, "floating" the LiFePO4 at 13.2 volts will actually extend the life. But, it will also leave the user with a 60% SOC when he might be expecting 100%.

To keep life simple, I would not use this charger on an LiFePO4 battery.

PS: Mike, I don't know what PD was thinking when they told you this charger will only charge an LiFePO4 battery to 90% on its own. That is incorrect. First, bulk charging to 14.4V will take any LiFePO4 battery to over 99%. In addition, floating an LiFePO4 battery at 13.6V will continue that charge to 100%. In fact, one can charge an LiFePO4 battery to 100% at 13.5V or a bit lower.

Attachment 265982



Now I am really realizing how much I don't know about this topic So all this triggers a question, if I get a proper converter that charges at the recommended 14.6V I think it was, will the PD converter, always charge at that rate, whether the battery(s) are down to 30% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw, or at 90% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw? I'm looking at this trying to figure out if the lithiums would take anywhere near the 30 or 34 hours it takes to get LA up to near a full charge? I believe it definitely won't, but I realize a lot depends on how much the batteries are being used.
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by steveku View Post
Thanks TitanMIke! More info I didn't fully understand, but if I was to update to the lithiums and the PD9160L, and make sure all other parts of my setup are compatible, do I fully need to understand all the particulars of the charging cycle as you and Hclarkx do to make the jump to lithium, or does the converter and BB batteries have all the safeguards in place to prevent any problems?



Thanks again!
If you are using a PD9160 Converter I'd advise it be the latest iteration from Progressive Dynamic's, the PD9160ALV which charges at 14.6 volts and then will fall back to a Float voltage around 13.6. (exact voltages may vary by a tenth or two).

As for the Batteries, Battleborn batteries (as do most today) have a BMS that will protect the batteries from High Voltage, Low Voltage, Over Current (both charging and discharging) temperatures (low and high) so really the only thing the owner needs to do is turn on the charger when needed and off when not.

I follow the simple Battleborn instructions with mine. Charge to 100% and disconnect from system. When ready to use the trailer again I switch on the charging while prepping the TT and it's off camping again.

My setup is a little different than most. I have a PD9160L that has a Total Charge Management Systm (TCMS) port on it (Std with 9100 series). I have added a "Shutoff module" that PD makes to this port. If the two wires extending from the module are connected, the converter shuts off. When not, the converter is on.

This allows me, when I want, to control the converter remotely without having to switch the converter's breaker on/off.

I have it connected to the relay in my Victron BMV 712 and the relay controlled by SOC. When the SOC reaches 90%, converter is turned off. When it reaches 40%, Converter is turned on. I leave it like this while in storage and the batteries connected. While TT is in Storage mode with everything turned off (including radio) my parasitic draw is less than 100 ma. Rarely has my converter been cycled on while the TT is unused as I tend to have it on the road every couple months even in winter. If the batteries reach 40% SOC, Converter is switched on and charged again to 90%.

Because a "Cycle" is only counted when the battery is discharged fully (at least mostly) and then fully charged, my setup only adds one cycle after the converter is turned on and batteries fully charged two times (only 50% DOC each time).

Complicated? Not really. I let the BMV and the simple module do the work. Necessary? Not really. My personal feeling is that RV usage is extremely easy on LiFePo4 batteries when compared to other uses like EV's and Off Grid Solar storage. They really don't need to be babied as much as many think.

I've read several studies that stated a typical LiFePo4 battery used in an RV environment will easily exceed the 10 year warranty periods offered by many mfrs. with some estimates exceeding 20 years.

My Batteries have been in service since 2019 (or was it 2018) and to date have accumulated just 35 charge cycles. A long way to go until I hit the 5,000 advertised by Battleborn
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:31 AM   #9
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There seems to be no trigger to get the Charge Wizard into bulk mode for a full and fast re-charge to 99+%. There surely is one, but its not mentioned in the Charge Wizard write-up.
The Charge Wizard is controlled by the Pendant that is optional to the PD 9200 series and is part of the Charge Wizard Module that needs to be added to the PD9100 series.

Using the button on the Charge Wizard Pendant one can cycle through any of the Converter's charge modes.

Most common use is to force into Boost Mode which then allows faster charging when running off a generator (reducing generator run time).

In my conversation with a PD Engineer when I was upgrading he admitted that the Pendant and boost mode was a way to work around changing their Converter to a "Lithium" model. Just required the manual input to get the higher charge voltage which I believe has a time limit but I can't recall how long.
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:43 AM   #10
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Now I am really realizing how much I don't know about this topic So all this triggers a question, if I get a proper converter that charges at the recommended 14.6V I think it was, will the PD converter, always charge at that rate, whether the battery(s) are down to 30% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw, or at 90% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw? I'm looking at this trying to figure out if the lithiums would take anywhere near the 30 or 34 hours it takes to get LA up to near a full charge? I believe it definitely won't, but I realize a lot depends on how much the batteries are being used.
This is the beauty of the Lithium battery. It pretty much stores every bit of energy you put into it with no energy lost through the electro-chemical conversion process in Lead Acid Batteries.

Charging is almost a One to One proposition. One Amp hour In, One Amp hour stored.

On my battery bank consisting of two Battleborn 100 ah batteries, if the battery bank is for example at 50% SOC, and I start my generator and Converter starts charging the batteries at 50 amp (actual is more like 58 amp). a full charger is achieved almost exactly 2 hours later. My old 12v batteries took more like 6 hours plus.

Actual time to fully recharge will TOTALLY depend on the size of you battery bank and size of converter. In my case I only needed to replace 100 amp hours. If I had four batteries (400 ah total) and was recharging from a 50 amp sized Converter, it would take more like four hours. from an 80 amp Converter then less than 3 hours.

Again, this is the sweet benefit (one of them anyway) of LiFePo4 batteries. The speed at which they can be recharged and with no adverse side effects like boiling out electrolyte, etc. Even more so when using Solar power to charge which is often limited in both amount and time. Nothing is wasted which makes it easier for smaller solar arrays to keep up.
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:52 AM   #11
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We just took deliver of our new MH August 31, it is now winterized, and we are ready to do a few upgrades.

I have done some research and believe the list of things below are what I want to make sure the dealership looks at for compatibility with the lithiums. I will be upgrading 2 LA batteries to 2 Battleborn (heated I'm thinking) 100 Ah 12V.

Any thoughts on getting the heated Battleborns? The MH is in Ohio in garage storage and we have 120 power hooked up.

Will the precision Tune battery readout be good, or should I upgrade to a battery monitor with shunt?...
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveku View Post
Now I am really realizing how much I don't know about this topic So all this triggers a question, if I get a proper converter that charges at the recommended 14.6V I think it was, will the PD converter, always charge at that rate, whether the battery(s) are down to 30% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw, or at 90% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw? I'm looking at this trying to figure out if the lithiums would take anywhere near the 30 or 34 hours it takes to get LA up to near a full charge? I believe it definitely won't, but I realize a lot depends on how much the batteries are being used.
The only way to know the SOC is a battery monitor with shunt like a Victron BMV-712. I use mine to also monitor the chassis battery voltage.


When house battery drop below 13.4v my BCC isolates the house batteries from the chassis/starter battery.


I recharge my Battle Born batteries with my Samlex EVO-3012 Inverter/Charger. The 130 amp output will recharge my 600a battery bank in a few hours with shore power or genset. I keep the SOC around 80% to allow some storage from the solar panels. (80% of 600ah is 480ah.) My solar panels produce about 400ah per day.

Whenever I get home from a trip, I plugin overnight to balance the battery cells & bring the SOC to 100%.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:22 PM   #12
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One thing usually missed in these lead acid-to-lithium conversion discussions is the fact that the chassis battery, the one that starts the engine, is still flooded lead acid, is still charged by the Battery Control Center, and is still charged by the converter when plugged in or when running on generator.

At a minimum that probably will require more frequent water level checks of the chassis battery than you're used to until you figure out how the higher, longer charging voltages associated with lithiums affect the water usage of the chassis battery.

A second issue is that if you are not running the generator when driving, the lithiums are charged directly by the engine alternator. If the lithiums are significantly discharged when starting the engine you will pull a LOT of current from the engine alternator, perhaps more than it can handle. That could result in alternator damage.

The third consideration is related. When driving without the engine running the alternator is not going to output a high enough voltage to fully charge the lithium batteries.

These considerations are why people will install a DC-to-DC converter. That device can limit the current sucked out of the engine alternator and also can boost the DC voltage going to the lithium batteries higher than the engine alternator is actually putting out.

FWIW,

Ray
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:56 PM   #13
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Great info Hclarkx! Thanks for the lengthy response. It sounds like I can narrow down my concerns slightly, and hopefully be able to speak somewhat intelligently when relaying my concerns to the service dept.

I'm not sure about using quotes in the forum, so may not be doing it the best. In further research, it looks like the Merlin solar charge controller does have a user defined mode, so there may be something I can do there. I believe the inverter is a 2000W, just not sure if pure sine or not, doubt that matters for the purposes of the lithium batteries I would think.

Thank you again for responding, I will have to make sure I am comfortable getting this upgrade done, it seems like there is so much I don't know.
YES ..... if the Merlin solar controller has a user mode, you are set. I should have mentioned this. Many of the solar controllers sold even today handle lithium via a "user mode." Mine included. We can help you with the settings when the time comes.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:01 PM   #14
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Thanks TitanMIke! More info I didn't fully understand, but if I was to update to the lithiums and the PD9160L, and make sure all other parts of my setup are compatible, do I fully need to understand all the particulars of the charging cycle as you and Hclarkx do to make the jump to lithium, or does the converter and BB batteries have all the safeguards in place to prevent any problems?

Thanks again!
I second Mike's recommendation to switch to the PD9160L.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:05 PM   #15
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One thing usually missed in these lead acid-to-lithium conversion discussions is the fact that the chassis battery, the one that starts the engine, is still flooded lead acid, is still charged by the Battery Control Center, and is still charged by the converter when plugged in or when running on generator.



At a minimum that probably will require more frequent water level checks of the chassis battery than you're used to until you figure out how the higher, longer charging voltages associated with lithiums affect the water usage of the chassis battery.



A second issue is that if you are not running the generator when driving, the lithiums are charged directly by the engine alternator. If the lithiums are significantly discharged when starting the engine you will pull a LOT of current from the engine alternator, perhaps more than it can handle. That could result in alternator damage.



The third consideration is related. When driving without the engine running the alternator is not going to output a high enough voltage to fully charge the lithium batteries.



These considerations are why people will install a DC-to-DC converter. That device can limit the current sucked out of the engine alternator and also can boost the DC voltage going to the lithium batteries higher than the engine alternator is actually putting out.



FWIW,



Ray
Right on.

Something to consider if worried about maintaining the starting battery while camping for extended periods would be a second, small DC-DC charger only wired in reverse of one charging coach batteries from alternator.

Amazon sells a DC-DC 2 amp 12v charger for around $100 that would be perfect for the task. Could be hard wired between both batteries and switched on or off as needed.

Tried to link it but couldn't. Search Amazon fir Techmate Optimate and it should pop right up.

OR

An inexpensive maintainer connected to the 120vac outlets in coach that would charge whenever the outlets are live from Shore Power, Generator, or Inverter. Would keep the starting battery healthy.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:07 PM   #16
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The only way to know the SOC is a battery monitor with shunt like a Victron BMV-712. I use mine to also monitor the chassis battery voltage.
Yes. The BMV-712 is a great choice. It may come set for Lead-Acid and so need to have a hand full of parameters changed to work well with lithium. This is a bit like the solar chargers that come set for LA but have user settings for Lithium Iron. The manual covers these fairly well though wading through them is a bit of a tedious process for the first-timer. Come here for help on this when the time comes (if you
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:10 PM   #17
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I second Mike's recommendation to switch to the PD9160L.
Just make sure it's the latest version made in late 2021. P/N. PD9160ALV. This one switches to a lower float voltage and some earlier priduction didn't have this feature.

Some Amazon vendors are apparently selljng old stock under new P/N. Caveat Emptor.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:21 PM   #18
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Now I am really realizing how much I don't know about this topic So all this triggers a question, if I get a proper converter that charges at the recommended 14.6V I think it was, will the PD converter, always charge at that rate, whether the battery(s) are down to 30% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw, or at 90% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw? I'm looking at this trying to figure out if the lithiums would take anywhere near the 30 or 34 hours it takes to get LA up to near a full charge? I believe it definitely won't, but I realize a lot depends on how much the batteries are being used.
Mike covered this fairly well. I would add that a charger that gets only to 14.4V will charge to about 99.4%. One that goes to 14.6V will get closer to 100%. So this is splitting hairs. I prefer 14.4V for the extra year I will get out of the batteries .... that's 21 years instead of 20 years. Again, splitting hairs.

I would also note that Battleborn recommends charging to 100% then disconnecting the battery (for storage) for just one reason. It's a simple process that most any user can get right. It sacrifices some battery life, but makes using the battery simpler. I have no problem with that. With their 2-3% lose of charge per month, starting at 100% isn't all that problematic because the charge drops fairly quickly on its own. With the prismatic cells that others use, the monthly drop is a fraction of a percent so it's best to start storage at a lower charge level. I'm a bit anal so I stick with the research that shows longest life occurs with the battery stored at around 50%. Also, I usually store for 3-4 months. For short periods between trips, I don't make the effort to get down to 50%. Mostly I turn the solar off a day before arriving home so I'm down around 60 or 70% for storage.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:33 PM   #19
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Now I am really realizing how much I don't know about this topic So all this triggers a question, if I get a proper converter that charges at the recommended 14.6V I think it was, will the PD converter, always charge at that rate, whether the battery(s) are down to 30% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw, or at 90% SOC under a light, heavy or no load draw? I'm looking at this trying to figure out if the lithiums would take anywhere near the 30 or 34 hours it takes to get LA up to near a full charge? I believe it definitely won't, but I realize a lot depends on how much the batteries are being used.
Steve, Mike covered this well enough. I'll just amplify it a bit. Any proper lithium charger will get to 99+ percent in the first couple of hours (usually called bulk or boost stage from lead-acid days). This stage is not 14.4 or 14.6 volts though. It's a "maximum current" stage with the battery SOC determining the voltage. When voltage rises at the end of this charge cycle, it reaches the 14.4 or 14.6 setting where the charger switches to float (13.6V). So you only see a rising voltage and you see 14.4 or 14.6 for just an instant. Then voltage falls to 13.6V over some time, again, controlled by the battery and load on the battery. When the voltage hits 13.6, the charger then picks up the load and "floats" the battery while doing so. I mention this because it could be confusing later when you are watching the charging process and don't see 14.4 or 14.6. Or don't see 13.6V in the float stage until things have settled.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:43 PM   #20
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One thing usually missed in these lead acid-to-lithium conversion discussions is the fact that the chassis battery, the one that starts the engine, is still flooded lead acid, is still charged by the Battery Control Center, and is still charged by the converter when plugged in or when running on generator.

At a minimum that probably will require more frequent water level checks of the chassis battery than you're used to until you figure out how the higher, longer charging voltages associated with lithiums affect the water usage of the chassis battery.

A second issue is that if you are not running the generator when driving, the lithiums are charged directly by the engine alternator. If the lithiums are significantly discharged when starting the engine you will pull a LOT of current from the engine alternator, perhaps more than it can handle. That could result in alternator damage.

The third consideration is related. When driving without the engine running the alternator is not going to output a high enough voltage to fully charge the lithium batteries.

These considerations are why people will install a DC-to-DC converter. That device can limit the current sucked out of the engine alternator and also can boost the DC voltage going to the lithium batteries higher than the engine alternator is actually putting out.

FWIW,

Ray
Really good information. But, I see a problem. Steve is new to this and I think we are sending him into information overload. He did ask good questions, and I think we have answered many of them, but not in a way that is easily processed and leads to an action plan. We know that dealers are often not equipped to do the job that is necessary. Hopefully Steve's is.

Does anybody know of a source that covers all of the issues with directions on the conversion to lithium iron? For instance changing to an Li BIM? Such a source would let Steve confirm the dealer is getting it right.
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