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Old 10-29-2019, 12:08 AM   #1
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Default In-Depth RV Lithium Install & Wiring Film - Mike Mas

In-Depth RV Lithium Install & Wiring Film - Mike Mas

Hello RV Owners,

With all the excitement and activity regarding the integration of Lithium Batteries to RVís, Linda and I decided document our own independent installation and share it with other RV owners who might be considering a lithium upgrade to their coach.

While there are many different levels of installations, our film shows a total conversion from flooded batteries, to a state of the art advanced lithium system. The film includes an overview of 12 & 110 volt wiring. It also covers our five different charging sources and most important, having the right RV appliances with a lithium coach. This film is applicable to type; B, B+, C, or A motorhomes.

A few of the key components are a pair of Lithionics Battery 400ah lithium packs (800AH) providing over 10 kilowatts of lithium power. The packs are regulated by a Lithionics advanced Bluetooth BMS module. The secondary component is Xantrexís Freedom 3012, 3 kw inverter, with its 150 amp lithium protocol charger, SCP panel and Combox wireless system, connected to our MoFi 4500G 4G cell router, allowing monitoring and making changes to the system from any location.

The system also includes a Mastervoltís Charge Mate Pro for charging from the stock Transit alternator, and Victonís solar controller and 400 watts of roof panels. The film also includes installation of a Ring 4G alarm system with cameras and a lithium heating system.

Enjoy - Mike Mas









http://www.rotory.com/rvvolt/images/L99.jpg[/IMG]
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Old 10-29-2019, 04:51 PM   #2
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Looks like an expensive upgrade. Got a cost total? Looks like you have a better crimper than I do.
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Old 10-29-2019, 05:33 PM   #3
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It's interesting to see how much space you lose when after production modifications like that are done.

It shows the need for practical experience to optimally design and install upgrades else you risk making the coach less desirable when it is time to sell or trade in. Not everyone would want to give up that amount of easily accessible (premium) exterior storage space. If it is a non-ventilated compartment then heat could be a real issue.

The OP should probably post this on a Class C forum for greater response & helpful tips. That coach is clearly not a Class B.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:06 PM   #4
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The OP should probably post this on a Class C forum for greater response & helpful tips. That coach is clearly not a Class B.
I don't think the OP is that discriminating. A quick Google search shows that the exact title of this post has shown up on at least six other forums in the last day or two.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:20 PM   #5
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He posted the same on the Sprinter forum, same power of 10 kilowatts, so it should be good enough to cook on the stove, bake in the oven, heat RV, and water and perhaps even a SPA.

"A few of the key components are a pair of Lithionics Battery 400ah lithium packs (800AH) providing over 10 kilowatts of lithium power.
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the reply's guys - The upgrade is applicable to any motorhome, travel trailer or even a boat. Generally speaking, a lithium upgrade on a B coach can run up to $20K, when you consider the manufacture kept your generator. My advanced installation cost is much less than those figures.

In any respect, It's hard to put a an exact price on my installation because what you'll generally get in a B upgrade will not have the features offered in mine.

Regarding the user who mentioned I lost a lot of space, that is not really the case, in fact I have much more room now than I did before, because the two flooded batteries filled the entire left side of the trunk. In addition, I'm 57 pounds lighter with my lithium upgrade. The steel battery case itself weighs more than one of my packs.

Regards Mike
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:50 PM   #7
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I have had 800ah of lithium ion batteries for 5 years now with all the bells and whistles of control and readouts on a touch screen and remotely. That's not new. I don't suppose or calculate the performance, I know from practical experience in all situations and climates. I suppose a DIYer situation is different but I think a lot of companies are providing lithium systems now for DIY.

One of the distinct advantages of 800ah is you can eliminate propane, propane cooktops and generators and absorption refrigerators. You can easily add convection ovens, Instant Pots and Keurigs with no qualms. It was not clear how he gets around the 40 amp limit of the Sprinter chassis alternator or if he does. To charge 800ah of battery you need a second alternator in my opinion to eliminate long driving days. 400w of solar (I have 420w) is somewhat a maintenance of minimal electrical use and its not dependable on rainy, cloudy or deep woods camping (which I do frequently) and not optimal at all in the winter. My next van will eliminate solar because it is not cost effective with high capacity lithium systems when you can run an engine with second alternator for 15 minutes and get the same result. Solar is for AGMs I think maybe for up around 200ah (you can quibble but you get the point). You can clearly see the benefit in traditional RV battery situations.

He dismisses the second alternator. You don't have to idle. That's a fallacy of why it is needed. I seldom do when driving is the preferred method and I will drive before depleting 800ah.

Once again, people extoll running air conditioners off batteries forgetting maybe they are good for maybe 6 hours but you camp typically from 4 PM to 8 AM, a total of 16 hours. Then what are you going to do the next day? Drive 19 hours to recharge in a Sprinter with just the chassis alternator?
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:51 PM   #8
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If it doesn't have heaters or easily removable batteries, it would not be good for all RVs as some are stored outside, in the north, in the winter, where the temps will go lower than is allowed for storage of lithium unless they are the newer composition like ARV is using.
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Old 10-29-2019, 08:02 PM   #9
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..........the two flooded batteries filled the entire left side of the trunk.............

Regards Mike

That sounds like a poor design. The entire left side of the trunk lost to two batteries! What type of coach is that.


You lost a lot of premium storage space with your add-ons ..... too bad it couldn't have been done differently.
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Old 10-29-2019, 09:23 PM   #10
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Thanks to my system design of wall mounting devices, I lost no floor space in the coach. Even the battery is suspended off the floor. As I mentioned, the stock flooded batteries and steel case, originally took up the entire left side of the trunk, which is now open, so I actually gained usable space. Another plus is my coach is 50+ pounds lighter with lithium.

David regretfully, you can’t begin to compare your 800 ah to mine.
In the real world - I’ll be out for a weeks longer than you, since unlike your coach, I don't have your constant draw of 12 & 110 volt appliances like you do.

Most important - my advanced system “Totally Eliminates” the need to run the diesel engine for charging, wasting diesel fuel creating excess carbon build up to the engine and DPF, plus all the associated problems and failures using 2nd alternators.

Regarding propane - I suggest you re-view my film again, since it explains the important fact that propane is the one best asset for any lithium RV. Facts are facts - when I’m off the grid, my coach requires less than a 1/4 amp to run. Also, unlike your coach where your panels are trying to keep up with draw, my solar panels actually increase my battery charge levels.

Best Regards - Mike


PS: I also wanted to mention that my system is applicable to all motor homes not just B & B+ models.
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Old 10-29-2019, 09:38 PM   #11
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Regarding propane - I suggest you re-view my film again, since it explains the important fact that propane is the one best asset for any lithium RV. Facts are facts - when Iím off the grid, my coach requires less than a 1/4 amp to run.
How many dB does your rig require to run?
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:22 PM   #12
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Sorry Avanti, not sure I understand your question. DB

Mike
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:36 PM   #13
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As aid aid for the few who had difficulty understanding the installation space requirements, I happen to have a few images that will help illustrate my lithium installation actually opened up additional space in the trunk.

In addition, I also ordered my batteries and BMS with extra wire, so I could even wall mount the BMS as well to allow even more available floor space.

Enjoy - Mike
Attached Images
File Type: jpg batt1.jpg (258.6 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg batt2.jpg (267.3 KB, 34 views)
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Old 10-30-2019, 12:18 AM   #14
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I watch your video, very nicely done. My question is about justification of the combo: LPG and Lithium versus LPG with AGM for RV with all propane appliances none requiring 10kW (do you actually have cables supporting that power?) of power, generator, and sizable solar.

I agree that LPG is good source of energy for any RV but can easily be supported by $0.75-1.5K AGM versus $15-20K for Li.

So, what is the specific gain?

Avanti's question relates to noise from the generator.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:31 PM   #15
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I am having a bit of trouble with the logic behind the no second alternator.

With only 400 watts of solar, using the pretty common 30ah/day/100watt panel rule, you would get about 120ah per day under very good sun conditions. Figure in some cloudy and rainy days and may average only 1/2 of that so figure 60ah per day. To me, this would be the maximum amount of power you could use if you wanted to stay off grid for long periods if you didn't want to idle the engine, or run a very noisy generator.

If you start cooking in electric ovens, cooktops, water heating, spas(?), you will use way more than 60 or even 120 amp hours per day. AC would be out of the question.

If you plan on using a generator to recharge the batteries to increase offgrid time, a 150 amp charger will need to run about and hour a day if you are using 150ah per day. Air conditioning would run on batteries for a while, but again you would need to replace the power, with lots of generator time.

Most people are choosing to charge off the engine for battery recharging over generators do to the generator noise and vibrations in many small RVs, and while I agree on the idling (don't like it, especially for diesel), the big second alternators charge faster than the generator will and especially since most smaller RVs like the Bs we here have are the only vehicle available, they get driven to the dump site, store, trailheads, etc fairly regularly to keep up with daily offgrid use. Longer, traveling drives take care of getting full battery capacity driving.

A 150 amp charger is going take over 5 hours to recover 800ah on the generator. Using the 40 amps MB allows off the Sprinter alternator will take a whopping 20 hours of driving to do the same. You would need to run the generator during your driving to get full battery capacity in a one day drive.

The only way I see this setup being usable for the way we, and I think many others here, use our vans would be if you count on shore every 5 days or so to get your batteries full.

This seems to be much applicable to the larger RVs that tow a car along for daily use and leave the RV stationary for longer periods. They would also have quieter generators so it would all work well. It just doesn't make sense to me for the small vans with noisy generators and limited propane to run them in many of the diesel vans.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:48 PM   #16
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When I upgraded our rig to 440Ah of AGM, it took me about a week to realize that a large(ish) battery without a second engine alternator made little sense for us. It was our very next upgrade. Our van has a propane genset. It just gathers dust.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdleUp View Post
Most important - my advanced system ďTotally EliminatesĒ the need to run the diesel engine for charging[...]

Regarding propane - I suggest you re-view my film again, since it explains the important fact that propane is the one best asset for any lithium RV.
Engineering is all about tradeoffs. Power is power, whether drawn from an LP generator, a diesel engine alternator, solar, shore power, or a nuclear power pack. The design choice of one over another depends on what you want to accomplish.

"you canít begin to compare your 800 ah to mine" is nonsense. - do you want a diesel alternator that recharges a 10kW battery pack while driving or do you want an LP generator to do that while you are camping? Do you want to deal with one fuel source or two? There can be good reasons to go either way, but it's a straightforward thing to compare.

Quote:
Facts are facts - when Iím off the grid, my coach requires less than a 1/4 amp to run. Also, unlike your coach where your panels are trying to keep up with draw, my solar panels actually increase my battery charge levels.
Please explain how you run your rig on 1/4 amp of battery draw, which is so low that your solar panels can increase your battery charge, and if you actually can do that, why do you need redundant 400 Ah Lithium battery packs?

This whole thread looks to me to be Xantrex spam spread across any forum remotely related to RVs.
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:37 PM   #18
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No second alternator tells me that it is time to go back to the drawing board, even more so if it then includes an LP generator with the tank size to make that work. I hope he doesn’t ever camp next to me having to recharge that battery bank.

A second alternator though now makes this interesting. You can even almost pay for it by dumping the solar system which is a relative drop in the bucket compared to minimal daily driving
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:54 PM   #19
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I watch your video, very nicely done. My question is about justification of the combo: LPG and Lithium versus LPG with AGM for RV with all propane appliances none requiring 10kW (do you actually have cables supporting that power?) of power, generator, and sizable solar.

I agree that LPG is good source of energy for any RV but can easily be supported by $0.75-1.5K AGM versus $15-20K for Li.

So, what is the specific gain?

Avanti's question relates to noise from the generator.
Thanks for the kind words on the video - Basically a propane / AGM or a propane / lithium package, results in the same product, but it comes at a cost. However, when you consider the average coach is around $150- $200,000, the $15K price tag is minimal when you consider the major advantages of lithium.

The only difference between the LPG/AGM and LPG / lithium system is the longevity of your investment plus the added benefit of many times the storage of power. Most important, a B, B+ or C coach, lacks available space and weight carrying ability to carry enough AGM's to support 6-8 hours of AC use. With this said, lithium plays even a more important role in these smaller RVís.

Sorry I did not grasp the 68b noise when I seen it. The best way for me to answer the question is; hundreds of thousands of owners like myself, have been using generators for around a half century, and its never been a problem until now when the RV industry decides to sell lithium batteries!

Regretfully, this generator-less thinking is the result of RV manufacture brain-washing new owners in thinking they donít need a generator with lithium, so they can delete it and pocket the Onan funds from an already over-priced lithium upgrade.

Regardless, how how you slice it, lithium batteries will end up depleted more often than you would think, so when you most need power, youíre so-called ď off the grid RV is now missing the most important feature you can add to a lithium coach. An Onan allows re-charging or even running the whole coach, without the burdens of damaging your engine and DPF with parked high idle charging, which wastes valuable fuel from our already too small B and B+ fuel tanks.

Thanks Mike
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Old 10-30-2019, 03:21 PM   #20
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.The only difference between the LPG/AGM and LPG / lithium system is the longevity of your investment plus the added benefit of many times the storage of power. Most important, a B, B+ or C coach, lacks available space and weight carrying ability to carry enough AGM's to support 6-8 hours of AC use. With this said, lithium plays even a more important role in these smaller RVís.

Sorry I did not grasp the 68b noise when I seen it. The best way for me to answer the question is; hundreds of thousands of owners like myself, have been using generators for around a half century, and its never been a problem until now when the RV industry decides to sell lithium batteries!

Regretfully, this generator-less thinking is the result of RV manufacture brain-washing new owners in thinking they donít need a generator with lithium, so they can delete it and pocket the Onan funds from an already over-priced lithium upgrade.

Regardless, how how you slice it, lithium batteries will end up depleted more often than you would think, so when you most need power, youíre so-called ď off the grid RV is now missing the most important feature you can add to a lithium coach. An Onan allows re-charging or even running the whole coach, without the burdens of damaging your engine and DPF with parked high idle charging, which wastes valuable fuel from our already too small B and B+ fuel tanks.

Thanks Mike

I would have to categorically disagree about the generator statements above.


* Generators have always been noisy except the fairly quite diesel ones tucked way in the front of a massive class A


* Always generate fumes around the campsite


* Onans are maintenance nightmares for many people


The reason they have been used for decades anyway is because there was not an alternative. Now there is, unless you want AC and don't want to idle the diesel or gas van engine. This has been discussed here many times to very similar conclusions. Still a place for generators, but the applications where the problems are less than the benefits with generators is shrinking rapidly.



Several users here, us included, have gone to moderate sized battery upgrades of 440ah or less and even though we have generators, never use them. We finally removed and sold ours as it was unneeded.


Especially if you keep the propane as the unit in the video has, electrical use can be quite low if you use it for heat, hot water, and cooking, (or use van fuel for those items). Diesel vans normally have propane generators so they will run down the propane fairly quickly, especially is running continuously to carry air conditioning and battery charging. You will limit off grid time that way as you will have to for propane refills.


Yep, there is a place for generators as I mentioned above, but I don't see doing a huge, expensive lithium conversion if you plan on keeping the generator to run the AC and recharge batteries. A smaller AGM or lithium pack would just fine in most cases.


I would also completely disagree with any claim that those of us that have carefully setup, tested, and lived with for years, no generator systems, have been somehow brainwashed. That is totally uncalled for, and IMO totally wrong.
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