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Old 04-04-2019, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Lithium & 2nd Alternators Verses Onan Generators - Mike Mas



Greetings Guys - I have another great In-Depth RV article on the integration of Lithium Batteries and 2nd Alternators in our RV’s and how they stack up compared to our Onan generators. Aside from talking about lithium batteries, we’ll discuss diesel engines and how temperature affects the engines oil shear abilities and viscosity. I’ll also cover cold weather idling which causes “Wet Stacking”.

We’ll also look at the many advantages of lithium over flooded or AGM packs, where just one 600 amp/hr lithium battery about the size of one 8D battery, can operate our RV’s roof top AC (50% cycle), lights and TV for 6-8 hours on just one charge. There is also major weight and space saving advantages with lithium, where the same 600 amp/hr lithium battery weighing just 150 lbs. can replaces 4-5 flooded D size batteries, weighing 500-650 lbs, or 2-4 AGM D batteries for weight saving of 300-600 lbs. This is big news when considering some smaller RV’s like type B’s have limited space and weight carrying capabilities.

We’ll also compare how an RV equipped with lithium batteries and 2nd alternator stacks up to a RV with just one 8D AGM battery a few solar panels and propane generator. I guarantee you’ll be surprised when you find out the Onan generator RV, actually provides more “off the grid” time than a lithium powered coach.

Most important, we’ll also look at the damaging effects of extended idling to a diesel engine, turbo and diesel particulate filter. We’ll also talk about how cold weather and hot temperature idling has a major effect on the Sprinter’s engine.

We’ll also look at other RV applications where lithium companies are taking out big 10kw diesel generators from 45’ Type A’ coaches and equipping them with massive lithium 136 KW packs using three inverters to run the coach. I’ll also provide information on companies and vendors so owners looking to upgrade their existing coach, can consider if lithium will be part of their future in RV’s.

Please click on the link below for the Story

http://www.rotory.com/sprinter/lithium/


Enjoy - Mike Mas
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdleUp View Post
..............
Greetings Guys - I have another great In-Depth RV article on the integration of Lithium Batteries and 2nd Alternators in our RVís and how they stack up compared to our Onan generators. Aside from talking about lithium batteries, weíll discuss diesel engines and how temperature affects the engines oil shear abilities and viscosity. Iíll also cover cold weather idling which causes ďWet StackingĒ.

Weíll also look at the many advantages of lithium over flooded or AGM packs, where just one 600 amp/hr lithium battery about the size of one 8D battery, can operate our RVís roof top AC (50% cycle), lights and TV for 6-8 hours on just one charge. There is also major weight and space saving advantages with lithium, where the same 600 amp/hr lithium battery weighing just 150 lbs. can replaces 4-5 flooded D size batteries, weighing 500-650 lbs, or 2-4 AGM D batteries for weight saving of 300-600 lbs. This is big news when considering some smaller RVís like type Bís have limited space and weight carrying capabilities.

Weíll also compare how an RV equipped with lithium batteries and 2nd alternator stacks up to a RV with just one 8D AGM battery a few solar panels and propane generator. I guarantee youíll be surprised when you find out the Onan generator RV, actually provides more ďoff the gridĒ time than a lithium powered coach.

Most important, weíll also look at the damaging effects of extended idling to a diesel engine, turbo and diesel particulate filter. Weíll also talk about how cold weather and hot temperature idling has a major effect on the Sprinterís engine.

Weíll also look at other RV applications where lithium companies are taking out big 10kw diesel generators from 45í Type Aí coaches and equipping them with massive lithium 136 KW packs using three inverters to run the coach. Iíll also provide information on companies and vendors so owners looking to upgrade their existing coach, can consider if lithium will be part of their future in RVís.

Please click on the link below for the Story

http://www.rotory.com/sprinter/lithium/


Enjoy - Mike Mas
You made good points in your reality-based write-up. From my perspective of not needing a large battery bank for my camping demands I view Li trend a little like a pet-rock business. What is interesting is that neither Europe nor Australia jumped on this Li trend, different strokes for different folks.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:28 AM   #3
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Default Some truths and some big omissions.

Mike.
Your article is good with a couple of exceptions

1 Onan makes a crappy loud generator. Iíve pulled mine out twice and had to rewire it three times. Even the Onan service guy hates them. Sorry. Not an Onan fan.

2 lithiumís canít be swapped for regular batteries as they canít be charged when below freezing. They need to be both kept above freezing and below 90f. Ie they need to be inside the van.


3 you might want to add in solar as a method of charging. The combination of solar and an alternator is a great way to charge lithiumís. Solar is silent and uses zero diesel or propane. I donít think anyone advocates you should run the sprinter engine or a generator 3-6 hours a day to charge batteries. Lithiumís accept a charge much faster so if you have good sunlight for even a couple of hours they can accept the charge. The same is not true of agm. The float and absorb phase wastes solar since it canít use it. The result is you need many more hours of sunlight to charge the AGMs.

4 one of the benefits of a class b is to avoid rv parks. They are small and stealthy, until you start the Onan. If you are out on BLM land and far from an extension cord the last thing any of your Neighborís want to hear is a generator. Same thing goes in a Walmart. Youíre sure to get kicked off a suburban or city street if you start up the Onan.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:04 AM   #4
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Default An excellent project!

You know, I believe that there's a reason that over-the-road tractors almost all use APUs now (generators) instead of leaving the truck engines idle for comfort heat and a/c in the sleeper cab. City busses have moved to propane because it's a relatively inexpensive, clean fuel.

The trend toward all-electric in a B-van hasn't made much sense to me from the perspectives of cost or complexity, and your article provides confirmation for my bias.

While there are people who can benefit from extended battery life, I suspect that many folks (like me) don't really need more than a night or two before we're either hooked up to AC somewhere, or we're on the road long enough to get the house batteries charged and the propane re-filled. Generators are noisy. Frankly, I wish Honda would figure out the on-board motorhome generator business and give Onan a run for its market... I suppose that'll not happen, but at the same time there are a lot worse things than running a generator for a while... like an idling diesel engine.

Thanks for an informative and interesting article!
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:11 PM   #5
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Nice article with some good points. Running AC overnight without hookups was our big driver towards a massive battery bank. The best way to charge it depends on your habits, if you drive a little each day anyway then a second alternator works well and avoids the negatives of idling.

Europe is generally higher latitude than the US so AC usage isn't a big driver for their market. My mom's house in NC is like going to Central Spain in Europe, pretty far south for them. And we still have a kid in school, so vacations tend to happen in the summer. With Europe's population density established campgrounds with hookups are more the norm as well. So massive battery banks doesn't make much sense in their market, regardless of chemistry.

And, yeah, the Onan in our LTV was unpleasant.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:41 PM   #6
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A fairly new arrival in the B market is the Storyteller Overland Nova rig that uses the Volta Li system with chassis fueled (diesel/Sprinter; gas/Transit) hydronic heating/hot water system to eliminate propane altogether... The hydronic system also uses a heat exchanger via the engine coolant to heat the RV while on the road... Fuel fired heaters have been used for many years in other vehicles...
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by camerondsturgess View Post
Mike.
Your article is good with a couple of exceptions

1 Onan makes a crappy loud generator. Iíve pulled mine out twice and had to rewire it three times. Even the Onan service guy hates them. Sorry. Not an Onan fan.

2 lithiumís canít be swapped for regular batteries as they canít be charged when below freezing. They need to be both kept above freezing and below 90f. Ie they need to be inside the van.


3 you might want to add in solar as a method of charging. The combination of solar and an alternator is a great way to charge lithiumís. Solar is silent and uses zero diesel or propane. I donít think anyone advocates you should run the sprinter engine or a generator 3-6 hours a day to charge batteries. Lithiumís accept a charge much faster so if you have good sunlight for even a couple of hours they can accept the charge. The same is not true of agm. The float and absorb phase wastes solar since it canít use it. The result is you need many more hours of sunlight to charge the AGMs.

4 one of the benefits of a class b is to avoid rv parks. They are small and stealthy, until you start the Onan. If you are out on BLM land and far from an extension cord the last thing any of your Neighborís want to hear is a generator. Same thing goes in a Walmart. Youíre sure to get kicked off a suburban or city street if you start up the Onan.
Great points!
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by camerondsturgess View Post
Mike.
Your article is good with a couple of exceptions

1 Onan makes a crappy loud generator. Iíve pulled mine out twice and had to rewire it three times. Even the Onan service guy hates them. Sorry. Not an Onan fan.

2 lithiumís canít be swapped for regular batteries as they canít be charged when below freezing. They need to be both kept above freezing and below 90f. Ie they need to be inside the van.


3 you might want to add in solar as a method of charging. The combination of solar and an alternator is a great way to charge lithiumís. Solar is silent and uses zero diesel or propane. I donít think anyone advocates you should run the sprinter engine or a generator 3-6 hours a day to charge batteries. Lithiumís accept a charge much faster so if you have good sunlight for even a couple of hours they can accept the charge. The same is not true of agm. The float and absorb phase wastes solar since it canít use it. The result is you need many more hours of sunlight to charge the AGMs.

4 one of the benefits of a class b is to avoid rv parks. They are small and stealthy, until you start the Onan. If you are out on BLM land and far from an extension cord the last thing any of your Neighborís want to hear is a generator. Same thing goes in a Walmart. Youíre sure to get kicked off a suburban or city street if you start up the Onan.
Very good points. Especially the great charge rate associated with lithium as opposed to how AGM's are 'throttled" back by the charge controller which equates to extended generator time. Just driving everyday with a singular alternator should do well to keep Lithium's charged up between overnight stops. Generators are loud and suck, suck suck.


Great article - spent way too much time on idling problems. And there are many class B's out there that are not diesel sprinters. But very accurate and informative.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:56 PM   #9
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Mike, really enjoyed your article. While I was already familiar with many of the points you discussed, your article helped me understand the "why" behind the issues many struggle with.
I assume many who experience exhaust sensor problems may be due to excessive idling. I get the idea that Sprinters are like stallions, they are designed to be driven and driven often.
your analysis between lithium and second alternator was an eye opener for me.

And finally, I never considered Midwest Design. I'll take a look, but I'm still leaning toward a Pleasure-Way in my quest for a B van.

thanks
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:25 PM   #10
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Depends on how you use your van. I rarely park in a spot without driving at least a little every day or two so don't need second generator. Have diesel heat and lots of lithium battery storage so don't need propane. I camp in places where noise is not welcome so old-tech generator would be useless. Have tested down to -7F and electrical and other systems perform fine. Based on my 2.5 years experience with an all-electric van; I'd never go back.
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