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Old 01-07-2019, 04:50 PM   #1
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Default Lithiums for the South, AGMs for the North?

Lithium batteries intrigue me. The ability to hold onto a charge with very little dissipation, flat voltage output until 20% charge, less weight, etc. However, the big red flag for us northerners of the potential damage if lithiums are charged below freezing is enough for me to stay with good quality AGMs. Our van stays parked in our driveway during the winter and I'll drive it if the roads are clear to various events so I don't want to be forever watching the thermometer to see if the batteries are safe to charge.
Any thoughts out there?
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:44 PM   #2
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I agree with your logic. Other than cost, the major disadvantage of lithium is the lack of temperature robustness. I consider this a major issue. I might possibly go to LI some day, but only if I had a robust plan for the batteries taking care of themselves. I agree with you that they could otherwise be a PITA. This would presumably involve being continuously plugged in while parked, which I currently don't have the ability to do.

Note that charging below freezing isn't the only issue. There is also the risk of freeze damage under extreme conditions.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:45 AM   #3
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Nope. AGMs for outside, lithiums for inside. No inside, or heatable space, no lithiums. The vented outside battery box won't do.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breezeway95 View Post
Our van stays parked in our driveway during the winter . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
This would presumably involve being continuously plugged in while parked . . .
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Originally Posted by hbn7hj View Post
The vented outside battery box won't do.
We have the good fortune of having heated 'inside' parking for our ProMaster CamperVan. However, in our DIY layout we elected to place our lithium pack in a comparatively small compartment inside the van allowing us, if required, to heat the pack. With some insulation we suspect we could maintain an above-freezing temperature with a comparatively small heater - - maybe even a heating pad/blanket).

For us, the bigger question isn't maintaining battery temperature while at home, rather, whether we intend on winter camping (or storing the van) under circumstances where power isn't available.

You noted that this vehicle is your daily drive. Do you need your house batteries while 'daily driving'? If not, disable your house battery during the winter - - then your only concern is maintaining your (lithium) battery above its absolute low temperature limit: -20C.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:56 PM   #5
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OP here. We park the van on our driveway however it's not a daily driver. We'll use it on the weekends if the roads are clear of snow. It's a PleasureWay with an under slung battery box so in our case the batteries get chilly during the winter.
I was more curious about whether van owners were generally concerned about the freezing issue when they were considering a van or battery upgrade. I'm not sure what percentage of Class B owners put their vans in storage for the winter months, so maybe it's not a big deal.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:11 PM   #6
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We use lead acid deep cycle batteries in our van. We store it outside in the winter with the batteries fully charged, use the battery disconnect, and trust out 80 watts of solar to take care of them. This is for the house battery not the starting battery which is disconnected during winter storage. Many years of Manitoba winters using this method and no problems. Never had experience with more modern battery systems so my experience may not apply. We dry camp most of the camping months and our power seems very adequate. All LED lighting sure helps.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:26 PM   #7
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Like most people in the warm areas of Arizona we just turn the furnace on, set at 45F, for the day or two in the winter that threatens to freeze.

We're I in Flagstaff, which can have the national low temperature, I would still have lithiums because they charge so well but would remove them to warm house storage when necessary. No problem while the coach is being used and the furnace running.
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:55 PM   #8
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Its 8 degrees out - which is actually not that cold here in northern Minnesota. Above freezing temperatures will be rare through March. We bought an older Etrek with AGM batteries last fall and had the dealer winterize it since temperatures were expected to get below freezing that day. Its currently in unheated storage. I don't know how we would deal with lithium batteries in storage when temperatures drop into the -20's, much less recharge them when we do winter outings. So far, the AGM batteries have functioned just fine.
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:44 AM   #9
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I have four Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries in my van. Each battery has its own built-in BMS (battery management system), which protects the batteries from all kinds of trouble, including an attempt to charge at low temperatures. They simply won't charge if they are too cold to charge.

https://battlebornbatteries.com/are-...-bms-built-in/
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:59 PM   #10
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I agree with AGM for the North and Lith's for the South! I live in Oklahoma and I guess that is too far North, we have had issues with our Lithiums on our Carado Banff since we purchased and they have an AGM battery tender that controls the heating of the Lith's and BMS. Still issues when temps drop into the 30's. I would not recommend North of the Mason Dixion Line for sure, or only if you are going to put the RV up for the winter!
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Old 01-14-2019, 03:13 PM   #11
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I agree with AGM for the North and Lith's for the South! I live in Oklahoma and I guess that is too far North, we have had issues with our Lithiums on our Carado Banff since we purchased and they have an AGM battery tender that controls the heating of the Lith's and BMS. Still issues when temps drop into the 30's. I would not recommend North of the Mason Dixion Line for sure, or only if you are going to put the RV up for the winter!
Does this mean battery heaters don't provide enough heat? Are the lithium batteries in a Carado Banff outside?
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Old 01-14-2019, 03:59 PM   #12
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Yes, the 2 Lithiums on the Carado Banff and Axion are located in a box under and outside. The heaters at under 30* will take 60-90 minutes to warm lith's enough to turn on and accept a charge, I would imagine longer if closer to 0*. I think most lithium batteries on all are located outside due to fire hazard etc.... Not sure, but would think this is the case.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:08 PM   #13
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Yes, the 2 Lithiums on the Carado Banff and Axion are located in a box under and outside. The heaters at under 30* will take 60-90 minutes to warm lith's enough to turn on and accept a charge, I would imagine longer if closer to 0*. I think most lithium batteries on all are located outside due to fire hazard etc.... Not sure, but would think this is the case.
This means in freezing conditions you can't pull into a rest area and stay overnight. Not acceptable.

One solution would be to install a 100AH lithium battery inside with an A-B-Both switch. When the outside batteries are too cold to function and you don't have the power to heat them use the inside battery to run the furnace overnight.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:16 PM   #14
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That could work, but dont know about safety of Lith's inside?? Experts can speak on this.

If on and warmed you can stay overnight and run elect furnace, etc, I did at 10* in Wyoming in Dec, but had been driving for 10 hours and batteries were on and warmed up.

Issue really is the warm up time needed and keeping them on and active, now I have no experience below 0.

Bottomline they are just a little touchy in the cold, but if OK to have one inside that may be an option to help keep warmer than the battery heater can.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:06 PM   #15
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That could work, but dont know about safety of Lith's inside?? Experts can speak on this.
I'm no expert but, I believe they are stored outside the van to save space.

At an additional cost, Lithionics has an internal heater that can be added when ordering a battery.

https://lithionicsbattery.com/produc...al-heater-kit/
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:55 PM   #16
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That could work, but dont know about safety of Lith's inside?? Experts can speak on this.
I have yet to hear of a lithium iron RV battery firing off. The lithium batteries noted for that are of a different chemistry. Have I just missed it?
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:00 PM   #17
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I think most lithium batteries on all are located outside due to fire hazard etc.... Not sure, but would think this is the case.
The LiFePo4 lithium chemistry - - which is the chemistry normally found in RVs - - is not prone to fire or explosion like the more notorious and higher energy density lithiums found in cell phones and laptops. We don't think there's a significant safety issue and agree with Oliver2017 that outside placement is a space issue solution. We sleep with our lithiums (under the bed)!
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:27 PM   #18
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We sleep with our lithiums (under the bed)!
I will be as well - under the bed.
More afraid of my cell phone.

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Old 02-14-2019, 05:31 PM   #19
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As a practical matter, if you are going to use LiFe batteries in your vehicle, you need to think about a solution that keeps the batteries at 40 F minimum 100% of the time. That gives you some margin for things to occasionally not work correctly.

Exactly how a person implements this is somewhat flexible.

IMHO, there is a mistaken impression that emergency cut off devices, such as the BMS cutting out when it is too cold, are suitable for use as "routine control devices". That is not the original intent of how Li battery safety is intended to be operated. They are a back up safety feature to make up for other control systems failing to keep the battery temperature within its operating range.

The same concept is true on the higher end of the temperature range. This is why simply putting a LiFe pack inside of a van and hoping for the best is not really sufficient.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:56 PM   #20
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We've had lithium batteries for four years and living in Minnesota and keeping our Sprinter outdoors the first two winters. We have boondocked overnight in -9 F. temperatures and as long as a week boondocking in temperatures below freezing 24/7. We have traveled down to about -17 F. temperatures. The 800ah battery pack under the chassis in a nominally insulated fiberglass core box. 10 amps of electric resistant pads are all it takes to keep the batteries constantly above 41 F. If we drive every day or even every other day we have no problem with keeping the batteries above 41 off the battery power alone. Plugged in at home there is no problem. I doubt few have put lithium batteries to this extreme real testing. I don't have any qualms about lithium batteries in cold weather.

We had two incidents in cold weather. When we first got the van I thought the battery heater was on because the toggle switch had a light that said it was. Turned out it was wired backwards and I didn't know it. It has since been updated with a more positive indicator. Last January our inverter went down because one battery cell got down to 31 degrees. It turned out the upgrade also had a "Winterize" touch screen button that I had turned off because we are keeping our van in a 50 degree heated garage now. I didn't realize that turned the heating pads off and set out on the winter freezeout trip at 9 AM and didn't discover the problem until 11 PM in a Walmart overnight. It took that long for the batteries in use to reach freezing. So, I guess user error but with the Silverleaf controlling monitor it is easy to catch and diagnose as it monitors all individual cells for temperature and voltage.

IMG]http://www.classbforum.com/forums/members/178-albums82-picture803.jpg[/IMG]
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