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Old 10-23-2020, 10:04 AM   #1
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Battleborn LifePo4 battery maintainer

I pulled the trigger and bought a couple of Battleborn's. I figured with the prices coming down, and a 10 year warranty it was time. I will be leaving them on the bench in my heated garage till spring. What's the recommendation for keeping them charged on the bench, or should I just not worry about it? There will be nothing attached to them for the time being. Do I need a special battery charger/maintainer or can I use one for agm/wet cell? I understand they won't take them to full charge, but on the bench that's not a big deal. Correct?
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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Per Battleborn, just charge, disconnect, and let them sit.

No large internal discharge like Lead/Acid.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:19 AM   #3
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You likely need a new converter to take advantage of some of the lithium advantages in the rv.

Glad to hear the prices are coming down. Not what I would predict in the next years. The demand for these batteries far exceeds supply. Besides, they are labor intensive to build. Kind of limits much lower costs.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:42 AM   #4
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You likely need a new converter to take advantage of some of the lithium advantages in the rv.

Glad to hear the prices are coming down. Not what I would predict in the next years. The demand for these batteries far exceeds supply. Besides, they are labor intensive to build. Kind of limits much lower costs.
My thoughts also. Lithium is becoming the latest commodity to fight over, but with the drop in prices I've seen recently I figured I'd jump on them.
I've been making a number of changes to my rig in preparation of converting to lithium. The converter is probably next. The one I have is a Progressive Industries for AGM and Wet cell. It is built into the fuse/breaker panel and I haven't researched how to bypass it when installing a new converter. I don't have the desire to completely re-wire the panel. That's where I'm at for the moment. Any advice in that capacity would also be welcome.
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:32 AM   #5
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My thoughts also. Lithium is becoming the latest commodity to fight over, but with the drop in prices I've seen recently I figured I'd jump on them.
I've been making a number of changes to my rig in preparation of converting to lithium. The converter is probably next. The one I have is a Progressive Industries for AGM and Wet cell. It is built into the fuse/breaker panel and I haven't researched how to bypass it when installing a new converter. I don't have the desire to completely re-wire the panel. That's where I'm at for the moment. Any advice in that capacity would also be welcome.
Usually the converter built into the Power Distribution Center is a removable/replaceable module. Two 120vac input wires and two 12vdc output wires connected to fuse board.

Progressive Dynamics makes replacement modules that may take a whole 30 min's to swap out from start to finish.

Also possible to replace with a Deck Mount placed close to batteries to reduce voltage drop in DC line. Just need ro run 120vac line from converter breaker to new converter location. Romex is far less expensive than heavy gauge welding cable.

If you choose the latter method bypassing existing converter is as simple as merely disconnecting both 120vac and 12vdc wires. Deck Mount now connects to batteries directly and existing wire from batteries to fuse board stays connected.
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:28 PM   #6
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I replaced my original Progressive dynamics converter/charger with a direct replacement of theirs that is made for Lithium batteries. It cost about $220 and it took my service center less that 30 minutes to swap out.
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:12 PM   #7
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I emailed Progressive Dynamics with my model number and they gave me a couple of options. The first was an across the board replacement, but according to their specs that unit puts out a constant 14+ volts with no float availability. The other option was to use the "Green" button on the old unit which puts it into boost mode at 14.4 volts for 4 hours then it reverts back to the 13.8 volts, but every time you want to fully charge the batts you need to push the button. I definitely don't like the "no float" option. What would you all suggest as an alternative? I don't think it will be difficult to install a different brand converter.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:01 PM   #8
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I emailed Progressive Dynamics with my model number and they gave me a couple of options. The first was an across the board replacement, but according to their specs that unit puts out a constant 14+ volts with no float availability. The other option was to use the "Green" button on the old unit which puts it into boost mode at 14.4 volts for 4 hours then it reverts back to the 13.8 volts, but every time you want to fully charge the batts you need to push the button. I definitely don't like the "no float" option. What would you all suggest as an alternative? I don't think it will be difficult to install a different brand converter.
Lithium batteries do not require a float charge as they have extremely low self discharge rates. If you are using your RV and batteries are being charged/discharged all the time there's no problem with the 14.6 volt output of the PD converter. The BMS protects the batteries from excessive voltage. If you are storing for several months turn off batteries.

I have a victron monitor and a PD 9160 AL converter that I've added PD's shutoff module to. Victron monitor has relay that controls the converter. I have it set to charge to 90% when in storage then shut converter off until the batteries fall to 40% SOC. Takes months.

Only time I use this is when plugged in and I think mt TT might be idle for a couple months. The feature is built into the Victron display and the shutoff module was around $10 IIRC. Only works with the PD 9100 series converters.
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Old 10-24-2020, 10:11 AM   #9
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Old 10-24-2020, 10:32 AM   #10
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Is "Overcharging" a worry on Lithium's?, or does the BMS prevent that from happening? What happens with a sustained 14.6 volt charge if it's just there all of the time? What are the biggest damage potentials to the Lithium's? Obviously I want to be aware. Don't want to learn "the hard way".
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:12 AM   #11
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The batteries have an internal BMS to prevent overcharging.

From the manual: "If an individual cell voltage exceeds a prescribed threshold during charging, the BMS will prevent a charge current from continuing. Discharge is always allowed under this condition."

Just simply charge them to what you want and then turn them off with a disconnect switch. I keep ours at 90% SOC until we're ready to go on a trip where we'll be dry camping, then I turn the switch on and wait 20 minutes for the batteries to reach 100% SOC and then unplug and drive. Ours will sit at 90% SOC for months while disconnected, minimal self-discharge.

Some people argue that the WFCO Li replacement is so far superior because it has a 13.6V float mode, but if you read about them they stay in bulk mode for four hours at 14.6V. My batteries can be charged from 20% to 100% SOC in under an hour easy with the converter, so then they would be sitting there at 14.6V and 100% SOC for 3 hours and the internal BMS would have to stop the charge anyways.....it's a baseless argument .

It's really easy to just shut them off once they reach the SOC you desire. Our PD4655L Wildkat replacement converter section does a wonderful job charging our batteries.

For storage, charge them and then disconnect and leave them alone.

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Old 10-25-2020, 12:41 PM   #12
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While I actually installed a PD lithium converter when I did my conversion, and it works fine for me (I don’t leave my unit plugged in for multi-day periods), I am now in the WFCO Lithium converter camp:
http://wfcoelectronics.com/wp-conten...-Converter.pdf

If you dig deep enough into the Battleborn site, you will find that Battleborn recommends against leaving their batteries connected to over about 13.6 volts long term (multiple days). The WFCO 4 hour potential high voltage “soak” should be a non issue. Is My PD lithium Converter never cuts back the voltage. TitanMike’s work-around, of course, is another solution.
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Old 10-25-2020, 12:55 PM   #13
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While I actually installed a PD lithium converter when I did my conversion, and it works fine for me (I don’t leave my unit plugged in for multi-day periods), I am now in the WFCO Lithium converter camp:
http://wfcoelectronics.com/wp-conten...-Converter.pdf

If you dig deep enough into the Battleborn site, you will find that Battleborn recommends against leaving their batteries connected to over about 13.6 volts long term (multiple days). The WFCO 4 hour potential high voltage “soak” should be a non issue. Is My PD lithium Converter never cuts back the voltage. TitanMike’s work-around, of course, is another solution.
Remember all the posts over the years about WFCO Converters boiling Lead Acid batteries dry? That didn't ever go into bulk mode no matter how deeply discharged the batteries were?

When I pulled the converter section from my Power Distribution Center to upgrade to a PD converter I was totally unimpressed with the quality of their build. Not sure anything has really changed with WFCO. They're the low priced offering at the OEM level and that's where cost rules.

Those who have had good luck with their WFCO Converters are either fortunate or lucky. Not everyone is.

Just my observation.

BTW, I read in the Battleborn FAQ's that "extended periods" of float at 14.6 volt was more like months, not days. When my batteries are fully charged and I leave (by bypassing my Auto shutoff mode) my converter running I see at most 200 milliamps of current flowing into the batteries. It decreases over time and is most likely attributed to cell balance as it slowly decreases over a couple weeks.
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Old 10-25-2020, 05:58 PM   #14
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I wouldn't never put a WFCO converter in on purpose!

Lithium batteries with a quality BMS really don't care about a float voltage. If the battery is fully charged and the BMS has finished its top balancing there will be no current going into the cells at any voltage between 14.6V and 13.6V so why do people think this is a big deal?
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Old 10-25-2020, 06:32 PM   #15
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I went with the WFCO WF-9850L2 Lithium charger this past spring when I installed a Battleborn battery. Works exactly as advertised, I am almost always hooked up to power so with this converter I don't have to think about anything. That's the way I like it!
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:09 AM   #16
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I wouldn't never put a WFCO converter in on purpose!

Lithium batteries with a quality BMS really don't care about a float voltage. If the battery is fully charged and the BMS has finished its top balancing there will be no current going into the cells at any voltage between 14.6V and 13.6V so why do people think this is a big deal?
It probably is not a huge deal, but most LiFePo4 makers either void the warranty or suggest not leaving the battery at 14.4-14.6V or higher for extended periods. The reason is that "chemical activity" which takes life out of an LiFePo4 is higher at higher voltages. Some users intentionally charge to a lower voltage to limit this loss of life. No current does not mean no chemical activity. BTW, Chemical activity is lowest around 50% SOC; hence most LiFePo4 makers suggest storing them at 50% SOC.

I saw two mentions of the BMS protecting an LiFePo4 from excess voltage in this thread. This is not the case. Since virtually all LiFePo4 batteries can be charged at up to 14.6V, the BMS takes no action unless a higher voltage, usually 15V or more and sometimes as high as 15.6 to 16V, is reached. As such one could take life out of an LiFePo4 without the BMS taking action.

BMS are designed to avoid catastrophic damage, not limit unnecessary loss of life. One can abuse an LiFePo4 battery without triggering the BMS. This is the case on high voltage (mentioned above) and low voltage. At the low voltage end cell damage occurs at around 2.5 volts so the BMS will open at some quite low voltage, perhaps 10.5 volts. This prevents major damage, but does not protect against loss of life from discharging an LiFePo4 to around 11 volts. Again, it's possible to take life out of an LiFePo4 without triggering the BMS.

Likewise, the BMS will open on high current, but only at a current level that would damage the BMS and maybe the cells if it was not curtailed quickly. This is not intended as overcurrent protection for the system (though it is helpful). Circuit breakers that open at lower levels are advisable.

Again, likewise, the BMS will typically open-circuit the battery if charging occurs below 32F. This does not mean that high current charging is not okay at 32F but is okay at 33F. The damage from charging at or below 32F does not begin suddenly. Limiting charge current below 40F is advisable for long LiFePo4 life.

This information is available in academic papers covering LiFePo4 development and use. Most manufacturers don't provide such details.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:04 AM   #17
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Since I have all the battery "powers that be" here, what are your opinions regarding the converter changeover. I like the idea that my current unit will charge at 14.4 then throttle back. Seems as if it will be less prone to affecting battery life than the "Lithium" PD that maintains a constant 14.6 volts. I'm not seeing where there is a specific advantage to changing. If I can get the batteries close to 100% with the old one, and can control how and when that happens, seems like an advantage for that unit. What am I missing? I'm willing to make the change if there's a good reason for it, just like changing to Battleborns, but as of yet I'm not seeing a huge difference in the unit specs. to justify the expense.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:57 AM   #18
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It probably is not a huge deal, but most LiFePo4 makers either void the warranty or suggest not leaving the battery at 14.4-14.6V or higher for extended periods. The reason is that "chemical activity" which takes life out of an LiFePo4 is higher at higher voltages. Some users intentionally charge to a lower voltage to limit this loss of life. No current does not mean no chemical activity. BTW, Chemical activity is lowest around 50% SOC; hence most LiFePo4 makers suggest storing them at 50% SOC.

I saw two mentions of the BMS protecting an LiFePo4 from excess voltage in this thread. This is not the case. Since virtually all LiFePo4 batteries can be charged at up to 14.6V, the BMS takes no action unless a higher voltage, usually 15V or more and sometimes as high as 15.6 to 16V, is reached. As such one could take life out of an LiFePo4 without the BMS taking action.

BMS are designed to avoid catastrophic damage, not limit unnecessary loss of life. One can abuse an LiFePo4 battery without triggering the BMS. This is the case on high voltage (mentioned above) and low voltage. At the low voltage end cell damage occurs at around 2.5 volts so the BMS will open at some quite low voltage, perhaps 10.5 volts. This prevents major damage, but does not protect against loss of life from discharging an LiFePo4 to around 11 volts. Again, it's possible to take life out of an LiFePo4 without triggering the BMS.

Likewise, the BMS will open on high current, but only at a current level that would damage the BMS and maybe the cells if it was not curtailed quickly. This is not intended as overcurrent protection for the system (though it is helpful). Circuit breakers that open at lower levels are advisable.

Again, likewise, the BMS will typically open-circuit the battery if charging occurs below 32F. This does not mean that high current charging is not okay at 32F but is okay at 33F. The damage from charging at or below 32F does not begin suddenly. Limiting charge current below 40F is advisable for long LiFePo4 life.

This information is available in academic papers covering LiFePo4 development and use. Most manufacturers don't provide such details.
Would be interested in seeing a citation of any manufacturers voiding a warranty for what you describe. Even a copy of their warranty information.


As for the BMS taking no action once the charge voltage exceeds 14.6 volts, apparently you haven't read Battleborn's literature. Once the charge voltage on their batteries reaches 14.7 volts the BMS shuts off the incoming current------period. Current drops to zero and once voltage drops below the high limit the battery is back online.

Only time this is really an issue is if one is trying to use a garage type battery charger that essentially has an unregulated output, just a switch on the front saying "Lo-Med-Hi" and a meter that is supposed to show them when the current is safe.

Converter Chargers are better regulated and most charging from an alternator requires a BIM/DC-DC Charger, etc that is also closely regulated.

Way too much misinformation floating around regarding LiFePo4 batteries.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:16 PM   #19
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Since I have all the battery "powers that be" here, what are your opinions regarding the converter changeover. I like the idea that my current unit will charge at 14.4 then throttle back. Seems as if it will be less prone to affecting battery life than the "Lithium" PD that maintains a constant 14.6 volts. I'm not seeing where there is a specific advantage to changing. If I can get the batteries close to 100% with the old one, and can control how and when that happens, seems like an advantage for that unit. What am I missing? I'm willing to make the change if there's a good reason for it, just like changing to Battleborns, but as of yet I'm not seeing a huge difference in the unit specs. to justify the expense.
If what you have is working why not just go with it. When it comes to affecting Lithium battery life, how much does it actually affect? If one just uses their batteires (for example Battleborn's) and they get 3,000 cycles, or babies their batteries and get upwards of 5,000 cycles, how does that transfer to years of use?

A cycle is "tallied' when a battery is discharged from "full" to " fully discharged". Most of us will only use a percentage of the battery's capacity before fully charging so in reality we're only using fractions of it's capacity. A "Cycle" is only added to the count when use adds up to the total capacity of the battery. A nice feature of the Victron monitor is that it actually counds cycles. I've had mine for a couple years now and my Victron shows only 25 complete cycles and that's with regular boondocking trips averaging over those years of at least one week per month. Solar power tends to reduce the cycle count as it's providing some of the energy you are consuming which slows the rate of cycle count increase.

Frankly, my batteries will no doubt outlast me and most certainly the 10 year warranty.

I've refocused my worries to how full all the good boondocking sites have become lately

BTW, how many people put this much 'worry" into the Lithium batteries in their cell phones, laptops, or even flashlights, etc?
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:16 PM   #20
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quote: TitanMike: BTW, how many people put this much 'worry" into the Lithium batteries in their cell phones, laptops, or even flashlights, etc?

You can live without any of those easily, but when you lose your coach battery on a cold winter night, you're suffering.
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