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Old 06-20-2021, 05:34 PM   #1
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Lithium battery confusion

We have replaced our dead lead acid battery with 2 Battleborn 100 Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries in parallel. Our future plan is to add enough solar to keep them charged when boondocking. After spending days poring over all the EXCELLENT posts here I have gotten myself so confused. So a few questions I have are:

1. We have the WFCO WF-8955 Power Center which won't charge the batteries to 100%. Progressive Dynamics was one brand highly recommended (PD9260CV in particular but the PD website says it doesn't charge Li). What Li compatible converter (that fits in the current spot) would be an improvement on the WFCO or would it be better to change out the entire distribution center (to what - WFCO has one)?

2. The batteries are mounted in the front compartment about 10 feet from the distribution center. Would that distance be an issue with the wiring (not sure gauge of wire currently used) or should I mount the converter in that same compartment or run heavier gage wires?

3. Is there going to be an issue with the TV having issues charging the batteries while moving (over heated wires/ruining the alternator of the TV). The biggest draw would be the fridge but it is a propane/electric version; the CO detector and whatever other ghost users will also be drawing power.

4. Monitoring the batteries is probably needed and we don't have one. What is a good one that is relatively easy to install (Victron BMV-712 has ben mentioned).

We were hoping this would just be plug and play (except the converter and battery monitor) until we get solar installed and not have to replace anything we put in now.

Thanks in advance for some guiding wisdom.

Bob
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
1. We have the WFCO WF-8955 Power Center which won't charge the batteries to 100%. Progressive Dynamics was one brand highly recommended (PD9260CV in particular but the PD website says it doesn't charge Li). What Li compatible converter (that fits in the current spot) would be an improvement on the WFCO or would it be better to change out the entire distribution center (to what - WFCO has one)?
I believe you're looking for the PD4655LIV. Here is the page with the description: https://www.progressivedyn.com/pd4600-series-lithium/
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Old 06-20-2021, 06:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by H2Odogs View Post
We have replaced our dead lead acid battery with 2 Battleborn 100 Ah 12V LiFePO4 batteries in parallel. Our future plan is to add enough solar to keep them charged when boondocking. After spending days poring over all the EXCELLENT posts here I have gotten myself so confused. So a few questions I have are:

1. We have the WFCO WF-8955 Power Center which won't charge the batteries to 100%. Progressive Dynamics was one brand highly recommended (PD9260CV in particular but the PD website says it doesn't charge Li). What Li compatible converter (that fits in the current spot) would be an improvement on the WFCO or would it be better to change out the entire distribution center (to what - WFCO has one)?

2. The batteries are mounted in the front compartment about 10 feet from the distribution center. Would that distance be an issue with the wiring (not sure gauge of wire currently used) or should I mount the converter in that same compartment or run heavier gage wires?

3. Is there going to be an issue with the TV having issues charging the batteries while moving (over heated wires/ruining the alternator of the TV). The biggest draw would be the fridge but it is a propane/electric version; the CO detector and whatever other ghost users will also be drawing power.

4. Monitoring the batteries is probably needed and we don't have one. What is a good one that is relatively easy to install (Victron BMV-712 has ben mentioned).

We were hoping this would just be plug and play (except the converter and battery monitor) until we get solar installed and not have to replace anything we put in now.

Thanks in advance for some guiding wisdom.

Bob
1. WFCO has drop in LI replacement chargers for that Power Center. WFCO WF-8950L2-MBA.

2. Given you have a 8955, the wire gauge should be appropriate for the 55A charger, no matter if it's FLA, AGM, or LiPOFE4.

3. Several threads around this, you'd likely want a DC to DC charger. The 7 pin connector isn't going to supply a lot of current so many will run larger gauge wires to handle the selected DC - DC charger. The 200AH should be enough to run the low draw 12V DC items for quite a long time while traveling.

4. Lots of options, the Victron being a very solid product, several options from them.
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Old 06-21-2021, 07:46 AM   #4
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Another option if you have the space, you could mount a Progressive PD9160ALV 2-stage deck mounted converter behind the power center.





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Old 06-21-2021, 01:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by H2Odogs View Post
3. Is there going to be an issue with the TV having issues charging the batteries while moving (over heated wires/ruining the alternator of the TV). The biggest draw would be the fridge but it is a propane/electric version; the CO detector and whatever other ghost users will also be drawing power.
I haven't experienced any problems in 4 years of having 4 x 100ah Battleborn drop-ins. Though, the actual charge amps making it to the trailer are VERY minimal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by H2Odogs View Post
4. Monitoring the batteries is probably needed and we don't have one. What is a good one that is relatively easy to install (Victron BMV-712 has ben mentioned).
The Victron BMV-712 or the Victron SmartShunt are my 2 recommendations. The 712 gives you more features and a remote mountable display. The SmartShunt is slightly less featured and only provided the Bluetooth connectivity for monitoring it.


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Originally Posted by H2Odogs View Post
We were hoping this would just be plug and play (except the converter and battery monitor) until we get solar installed and not have to replace anything we put in now.

Thanks in advance for some guiding wisdom.

Bob
You can get away with not replacing anything. You're just missing out on a portion of your lithium battery power. You won't hurt anything by not fully charging them and the lack of battery monitor won't hurt you either. The internal BMS will protect the batteries from damage from discharging. But, you're more apt to be surprised by a "sudden off" of the batteries since lithium voltage doesn't taper off like lead does.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:45 PM   #6
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You can get away with not replacing anything. You're just missing out on a portion of your lithium battery power. You won't hurt anything by not fully charging them and the lack of battery monitor won't hurt you either. The internal BMS will protect the batteries from damage from discharging. But, you're more apt to be surprised by a "sudden off" of the batteries since lithium voltage doesn't taper off like lead does.
I agree with all this with the exception of the bold portion.

LiFePo4 batteries all have to have cells balanced periodically. Unlike lead acid batteries where there is enough current still flowing through a fully charged cell to balance the other cells at full charge, LiFePo4 batteries will have current through a fully charged cell just stop. To balance cells separate circuitry is employed (in the BMS) to charge the "lagging" cells. Cell balance only occurs above 14 volts so if the Lead Acid Converter charger is used, yes it will only bring the battery up to around 90% charged.

However a solar panel system often has a "Lithium" mode and when the sun is out, the batteries are charged the rest of the way and cell balance occurs.

As long as LiFePo4 batteries are "topped off" to 14.4 - 14.6 volts cell balance is achieved and all is good until the sun comes out again.

Also, a relatively inexpensive battery charger/maintainer with Lithium mode can finish the topping off process.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:59 PM   #7
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Another option if you have the space, you could mount a Progressive PD9160ALV 2-stage deck mounted converter behind the power center.
I wish my cabinet had that much space in it! But I agree if you have the space and can access it then use it
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:48 AM   #8
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LiFePo4 batteries all have to have cells balanced periodically. Unlike lead acid batteries where there is enough current still flowing through a fully charged cell to balance the other cells at full charge, LiFePo4 batteries will have current through a fully charged cell just stop. To balance cells separate circuitry is employed (in the BMS) to charge the "lagging" cells. Cell balance only occurs above 14 volts so if the Lead Acid Converter charger is used, yes it will only bring the battery up to around 90% charged.
Good information, Mike. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:50 PM   #9
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Thanks

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a Progressive PD4655LIV arriving tomorrow and a Victron BMV-712 the end of the week. Hopefully the install isn't too difficult. Working in the space for the converter is going to fun I'm sure!

Bob
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:11 PM   #10
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Converter installed

Got the converter installed today. Not a hard transfer as I didn't have to change out the board with all the fuses (per Progressive Dynamics instructions). Now just waiting on the battery monitor which will be a bit more difficult I'm sure.
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Old 06-25-2021, 03:03 PM   #11
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Now just waiting on the battery monitor which will be a bit more difficult I'm sure.
It's not bad at all. Any negative leads from the battery to the trailer go to the one side of the battery monitor shunt. You then add a new battery cable between the shunt and the negative post where you just removed the leads from.

Connect the positive and temperature probe wires and viola, you're done!

Hardest part is mounting the shunt somewhere and getting the negative leads stacked on the shunt itself. I fought 3 or 4 of them for a long time before I finally wised up and got a busbar. Made life so much easier.
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Old 06-25-2021, 03:19 PM   #12
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https://wfcoelectronics.com/lithium-solutions/

according to WFFCO you can use your regular 8955... i have been looking at this myself, as i have the same PDC/Convertor... they say you can use it because the bulk charge rate (14.6v) will kick in and allow the cells to balance

they also offer the same convertor in a specific lithium option... https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8955lis/
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Old 06-25-2021, 05:49 PM   #13
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https://wfcoelectronics.com/lithium-solutions/

according to WFFCO you can use your regular 8955... i have been looking at this myself, as i have the same PDC/Convertor... they say you can use it because the bulk charge rate (14.6v) will kick in and allow the cells to balance

they also offer the same convertor in a specific lithium option... https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-8955lis/
The WFCO 8955 only "kicks in" to 14.6 volts at the beginning of the charge cycle and the current draw of the battery drops the effective voltage at the battery to much lower level.

Cell Balance takes place after the bulk of the charge has been restored and the BMS merely tops off each cell much like one would top each cell in a lead acid battery with water. Requires voltage over 14 volts at the END of the charge cycle when standard WFCO converters have shut down to 13.2 volt Float level.
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Old 07-01-2021, 09:21 PM   #14
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Well I got the BMV-712 and batteries all hooked up (only one trip to the hardware store which is a first for me ). Went to program the 712 and started the phone app which is where my day ended.

Needed to do a mandatory update of the app AND be near the 712. No wi-fi or cell service where we park our camper. If I get into wi-fi range the 712's blue tooth doesn't reach the phone. Quite the catch-22.

Tried using the head unit to do the programming and it took me back to the 70s with the funky lettering which I find difficult at best to read. You'd think that being in 2021 and for the cost of this unit the display would be better. I guess that is why most everyone says they only use the app. I'll have to wait until I get out camping where there is cell service.

I AM happy that I will be able to monitor my batteries. Next up is placing the head unit in the camper. Still trying to find the best route for the cable. I've gotten it as far as the bathroom and just need to get it another 6 feet.
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Old 07-01-2021, 09:42 PM   #15
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Well I got the BMV-712 and batteries all hooked up (only one trip to the hardware store which is a first for me ). Went to program the 712 and started the phone app which is where my day ended.

Needed to do a mandatory update of the app AND be near the 712. No wi-fi or cell service where we park our camper. If I get into wi-fi range the 712's blue tooth doesn't reach the phone. Quite the catch-22.

Tried using the head unit to do the programming and it took me back to the 70s with the funky lettering which I find difficult at best to read. You'd think that being in 2021 and for the cost of this unit the display would be better. I guess that is why most everyone says they only use the app. I'll have to wait until I get out camping where there is cell service.

I AM happy that I will be able to monitor my batteries. Next up is placing the head unit in the camper. Still trying to find the best route for the cable. I've gotten it as far as the bathroom and just need to get it another 6 feet.
The issue isn't so much with "Victron" and the BMV 712 as it is with "Bluetooth". The updates are required periodically and most items that use it are usually within cell coverage, WiFi range, or actually connected to the internet.

The good news is that once done you won't be hampered when it needs an update and you aren't "in range". You just won't be able to change settings using the app.

I have the same issue with my Victron Smart MPPT Solar Controller. Then again, why change settings all the time once they are established.
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:11 PM   #16
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Went camping and got the Victron updates installed! App works great. Thanks to everyone for their input. It is greatly appreciated.
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