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Old 05-20-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
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Default Which Lithium Power System

If money was not a factor, which lithium battery and/or power system would have your recommendation? I do not know enough about the technology behind them to judge for myself. When I read their websites...of course they all sound great.

Battle Born Batteries: https://battlebornbatteries.com/

Volta: https://voltapowersystems.com/

Elite Power Systems Distributer...Starlight Solar Power Systems http://www.starlightsolar.com

Lithionics: Lithionics | Lithionics Battery | Advanced Lithium Ion Batteries

Others?
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Old 05-20-2018, 03:42 PM   #2
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Volta, hands down for me. The 48v alternator puts everyone else in second place, IMO.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:55 PM   #3
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Volta, hands down for me. The 48v alternator puts everyone else in second place, IMO.
I agree with Booster...
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:02 PM   #4
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The ones from marine electrical companies are very good, but, as Booster points out, the Volta 48v alternator is a great choice for an RV application.

The two major marine suppliers are Mastervolt and Victron.

We have a Mastervolt system in our vehicle and it is world class in terms of quality and reliability and usability with a central monitoring and control panel. Similar system can be had from Victron.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:45 PM   #5
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Volta, hands down for me. The 48v alternator puts everyone else in second place, IMO.

+1 I agree with booster. 48V has many advantages and that is where the auto industry is going now for power hungry modern vehicles using more electrical systems. That voltage provides best power for the weight - a key factor in a B-van.


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Old 05-20-2018, 08:06 PM   #6
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Valence is an option that so far has held to their -40C usage, Volta had recently backed off of their cold temp usage claims, so I'm more interested in them at this point.

https://lithiumwerks.com/
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:14 PM   #7
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Valence is an option that so far has held to their -40C usage, Volta had recently backed off of their cold temp usage claims, so I'm more interested in them at this point.

https://lithiumwerks.com/
Can you provide a link that addresses Volta's revised cold temp specs?
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:16 PM   #8
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Valence is an option that so far has held to their -40C usage, Volta had recently backed off of their cold temp usage claims, so I'm more interested in them at this point.

https://lithiumwerks.com/

I would not trust any of the cold weather Lithium claims. These are batteries that need to be kept above a deep freeze.


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Old 05-20-2018, 11:30 PM   #9
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No one has claimed or backed off that you cannot charge lithium batteries core temperature below freezing. That’s the critical thing to know. So battery management is critical. I doubt few will be camping in -4F and if you don’t have a method of heating lithium batteries anyway you are some kind of fool or planning to stay in south Florida.

People make it to be a bigger issue than it ought to be.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:18 AM   #10
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No one has claimed or backed off that you cannot charge lithium batteries core temperature below freezing. Thatís the critical thing to know. So battery management is critical. I doubt few will be camping in -4F and if you donít have a method of heating lithium batteries anyway you are some kind of fool or planning to stay in south Florida.

People make it to be a bigger issue than it ought to be.
I don't think it has much to do with camping in -4F which is unlikely. It has more to do with leaving the vehicle outside, unattended and without shore power in these conditions. I think you periodically experience winter temps < -4F right where you live but you have the enviable luxury of keepings your coach indoors in a heated garage during those months. If you had to leave it outside without some charging source, I think your battery freezing point would be a big issue.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:25 AM   #11
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I don't think it has much to do with camping in -4F which is unlikely. It has more to do with leaving the vehicle outside, unattended and without shore power in these conditions. I think you periodically experience winter temps < -4F right where you live but you have the enviable luxury of keepings your coach indoors in a heated garage during those months. If you had to leave it outside without some charging source, I think your battery freezing point would be a big issue.
Yes, exactly. We (a) park our rig outdoors in a cold climate without access to power; and (b) travel worldwide and often spend long periods at a vacation home on the other side of the continent. For us, lithium would be a nightmare. Even if we had full-time shore power, it would be a constant worry that we can do without. If it fits your lifestyle, it is great. But it is far from an unalloyed good.
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Old 05-21-2018, 12:58 AM   #12
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With all the discussion about freezing temps...what type of heating source would you recommend to heat the van...Winnebago's 59GL does not use electric for cooking and heating.

As for the batteries surviving the deep freeze...I was watching a video where they suggested to bring the battery packs inside your home if you are not going to use the vehicle. Otherwise, leave the batteries in the RV, but make sure that they are disconnected from being charged. Claims about how they can be stored below freezing was on most of the websites I read...they said charging a frozen battery pack is the issue.

I think Volta has three of their four retrofitters in states that see low temps (Ohio & Michigan)...the other battery companies seemed to be located in warmer states like Arizona.

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Old 05-21-2018, 01:16 AM   #13
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This freezing temp issue is not limited to RV Lithium batteries. You can't safely leave your Tesla, or any EV with these batteries, in the parking lot at Minneapolis airport for a week in Jan-Feb if there is a cold snap. I asked that question directly to a Tesla salesperson in Chicago when I took a test drive a few years ago.

This cold issue is manageable for most users. Just need to be aware of issue.


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Old 05-21-2018, 01:50 AM   #14
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Valence LiFeMgPo4 can withstand temperatures down to -40F which is the same as AGMs. Volta is similar but I think the “backing off” was duration. Maybe there would be a concern in the Yukon or Nome, Alaska. You are forgetting I stored my van outside in the extreme cold climate of Minnesota for the first two winters. I feel I kind of know of what I speak. I’m not into worrisome speculation but ultimate electrical transparency in a van that no AGMs can accomplish.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:56 AM   #15
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You are forgetting I stored my van outside in the extreme cold climate of Minnesota for the first two winters.
Unpowered?
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:03 AM   #16
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I think one of the key questions you need to ask is whether you want to buy a system solution or just a lithium battery product and integrate it with the other components yourself.

There are many options if you go the second route but you have to do the work of finding compatible components to complete the system and configure these components to work together in a reasonable fashion.

If you decide to go the first route then it seems you can buy an integrated off-the-shelf system from a single manufacturer with the ones mentioned so far being:

Volta with a complete system including the auxiliary alternator.

Mastervolt and Victron with complete systems minus the auxiliary alternator.

And there are likely others that have not been mentioned...

The other option is to find a supplier that will provide an integrated solution using components from more than one supplier and I recall that this option was used by FitRV with Xantrex providing the system integration using their inverter/charger and a Lithionics battery bank and a Nations alternator. Or something along those lines. Advanced RV provided an integrated solution using multiple suppliers with central display and control using a coach wide system but this solution was not available to the aftermarket.

Personally, I like the single manufacturer integrated system for a couple reasons: First, the components are likely to work well together and there is no finger pointing if they don’t work well together. Second, there is usually a central display and control function that allows easy viewing of the system operation and a central point to configure the system. Volta seems to be going without this feature and only providing a SOC meter which may be all that is needed for most users. For the geeks who want to know all the details and want to tweek the system for ultimate performance this is a negative for the Volta system. If the Volta system works as advertised then the SOC meter is really all that is needed to know the status of the system from a basic functional point of view and there is always a risk involved in allowing the customer the capability to reconfigure the system and create problems with the operation of the system.
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:34 AM   #17
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Unpowered?
You store a Sprinter in Minnesota unpowered over the winter I guarantee you the AGM chassis battery will not start your engine come spring. So what’s the point?
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:29 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by gregmchugh View Post
I think one of the key questions you need to ask is whether you want to buy a system solution or just a lithium battery product and integrate it with the other components yourself.

There are many options if you go the second route but you have to do the work of finding compatible components to complete the system and configure these components to work together in a reasonable fashion.

If you decide to go the first route then it seems you can buy an integrated off-the-shelf system from a single manufacturer with the ones mentioned so far being:

Volta with a complete system including the auxiliary alternator.

Mastervolt and Victron with complete systems minus the auxiliary alternator.

And there are likely others that have not been mentioned...

The other option is to find a supplier that will provide an integrated solution using components from more than one supplier and I recall that this option was used by FitRV with Xantrex providing the system integration using their inverter/charger and a Lithionics battery bank and a Nations alternator. Or something along those lines. Advanced RV provided an integrated solution using multiple suppliers with central display and control using a coach wide system but this solution was not available to the aftermarket.

Personally, I like the single manufacturer integrated system for a couple reasons: First, the components are likely to work well together and there is no finger pointing if they donít work well together. Second, there is usually a central display and control function that allows easy viewing of the system operation and a central point to configure the system. Volta seems to be going without this feature and only providing a SOC meter which may be all that is needed for most users. For the geeks who want to know all the details and want to tweek the system for ultimate performance this is a negative for the Volta system. If the Volta system works as advertised then the SOC meter is really all that is needed to know the status of the system from a basic functional point of view and there is always a risk involved in allowing the customer the capability to reconfigure the system and create problems with the operation of the system.
Greg, The Volta SOC meter is there in an Advanced RV but is hidden away since it is mirrored in the Silverleaf touchscreen controller. I didnít review all but the Silverleaf features for ARVís Volta but in mine adds functionality:

- SOC not in a gauge but readout numbers in one percent increments.
- Battery temperature down to the cell level.
- Programmable SOC % when you want the Autogen to start and/or not start during day quiet hours, or not start at all. Right now I have mine set at 40% which gives me about 3 dayís sitting with inverter always on which in practice I never invoke Autogen and idling.
- Set shut down of your batteries for for SOC% or battery temperature.
- Controls cycle charging.
- Readout of amps charging or discharging in real-time including driving, idling, solar or shore power.
- Control of external battery heating pads on/ off and when they are actually heating when on. Mine is set to maintain a minimum of 41F.

Off the top of my head. I might have forgotten a few features and settings for just the battery management part. But there is no guessing or manual operation. You set your parameters and go all from one touch screen. For the geeks all the controls are still there but hidden behind the ďmagic curtainĒ and not making your van looking like an airplane cockpit.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:32 PM   #19
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Greg, The Volta SOC meter is there in an Advanced RV but is hidden away since it is mirrored in the Silverleaf touchscreen controller. I didnít review all but the Silverleaf features for ARVís Volta but in mine adds functionality:

- SOC not in a gauge but readout numbers in one percent increments.
- Battery temperature down to the cell level.
- Programmable SOC % when you want the Autogen to start and/or not start during day quiet hours, or not start at all. Right now I have mine set at 40% which gives me about 3 dayís sitting with inverter always on which in practice I never invoke Autogen and idling.
- Set shut down of your batteries for for SOC% or battery temperature.
- Controls cycle charging.
- Readout of amps charging or discharging in real-time including driving, idling, solar or shore power.
- Control of external battery heating pads on/ off and when they are actually heating when on. Mine is set to maintain a minimum of 41F.

Off the top of my head. I might have forgotten a few features and settings for just the battery management part. But there is no guessing or manual operation. You set your parameters and go all from one touch screen. For the geeks all the controls are still there but hidden behind the ďmagic curtainĒ and not making your van looking like an airplane cockpit.
Thank you for the detailed review of the Advanced RV system which is top notch as usual.

In the context of the original posterís question, will Advanced RV offer more than just the Volta system for the retrofit installs they are doing for other vehicles besides their own builds. If Advanced RV offers to retrofit the Silverleaf system along with the Volta system then these other control and monitoring functions would be available. For just the Volta retrofit then the SOC meter seems to be the extent of any monitoring for the system. Since I am not in the market for a Volta system, I donít plan to find out the answer but I will be at Advanced RV in November for an air conditioner upgrade in our truck when we return from our summer trip to Alaska.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:03 PM   #20
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Advanced RV still offers the Elite Power Solutions LiFePo4 batteries. They are readying the Lithiumwerks Valence LiFeMgPo4 batteries with ongoing design and testing and they have the Volta batteries in customer hands. Their term at Advanced Fest was good, better and best in terms of performance and price of your choice of system. They all are integrated with Silverleaf.
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