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Oliver Lithium Pro Package


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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

So, the lithium option includes two 200ah batteries for a total of 400ah.  Doesn't say what size, but Oliver told me there is room for one more (?).  

Can someone tell me - are these two 6v or two 12v?  I'm assuming 6v since that's the way the AGMs are configured.

Also, I asked my sales rep if the Lithium package includes a battery disconnect switch.  He says, "yes, inside the trailer".

Hummm...The pictures on the OTT  website show the batteries provided with the package. Type, size, and leftover space are evident and battery disconnect means is also shown.

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Oh yea!  We pick up hull # 626 (demo) available Sept 8 which has Lithium ion Batteries, 340 watt Solar package & 3000 watt inverter.

There seems to be concern for the need to have heated LiFePO4 batteries. I too was concerned before I installed our Battle Born batteries.  I thought about drilling holes in the compartment, to a

I agree to a certain extent.  Like I said above, I think they're still more of a niche product that work well for a smallish subset of owners.  But that's all down to the cost.  The advantages that Su

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1 hour ago, bhncb said:

yesterdays technology. Then, the latest will be twice as much as Lithium, is today.

Yes . . . . . just like computers.   

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Ray and Susan Huff

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7 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Susan, I don't see any 6v batteries on the Lifeblue website, only 12v.

And I deduced, from another post, that the LifeBlue, as installed by Oliver, is two 200 ah 12v's.  I also concur with the comment that there isn't room on the tray for a third.  However, pictures can be deceiving.  Not sure we would need a third, anyway. 

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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I feel I need to mention one thing that is vitally important to anyone considering Lithium Ion batteries. If the battery does not have low temperature protection that prevents accidentally charging the cells when they are frozen, you can cause permanent damage to the battery. The damage can then lead to internal short circuiting and possibly fire. Buyer due diligence is necessary as many import batteries don't have this protection.

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Correct - all lithium batteries need a battery management system, or BMS, which will help keep the batteries from being charged in freezing temperatures, as well as protect them from over current, over charging, fully discharging, etc.  It will also monitor the individual cells within the battery to make sure that they maintain the same voltage.  

To my knowledge, all of the major players either have the BMS built into their batteries, or sell a BMS to be installed separately.  I think it would really only be an issue if someone is buying their batteries directly from China. Hopefully, anyone who goes through that much trouble will have done their homework.  

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Lithium Batteries in Cold Weather

There seem to be 2 threads on this lithium battery topic (this thread and the one called "LifeBlue Battery Representative."  Dean and I posted some questions about battery heating on 8/27 in the latter thread that went unanswered, but I received some relevant information from Oliver that I thought I'd share.  This thread seemed like the better place to post.

  1. The LifeBlue batteries require heating when charging at less than 37°F.  The only way to charge them at temperatures less than 37°F is with 120 V shore power (or perhaps generator).  Shore power is first used to heat the batteries, and then to charge the batteries.  The batteries can provide electricity at temperatures less than 37°F, but they won't accept a solar charge.
  2. According to Oliver, LifeBlue recommends that their lithium batteries be discharged to about 50% when stored for an extended period of time. Oliver has included a solar cut off switch to turn off solar gains, so that the batteries can be discharged to 50% without solar gain.
  3. In the mountain west, temperatures can go below zero in the winter and above 100°F in the summer.  According to Oliver, all batteries can suffer the effects of excessive heat. One way of protecting the batteries during storage would be to remove them from the trailer and store them in a more suitable environment. This would also allow checking internal temperatures and charge level.  They would be lighter than other batteries, making them easier to remove and transport.

 

 

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It is clear that some of you have a very strong electrical background, but I needed some refresher to better understand these lithium battery discussions.  So I’m going to try and re-phrase what I’ve learned from this discussion and Oliver.  And, cutting to the chase, I’m rethinking the value of the lithium pro package.

Perhaps this summary will help others.  Warning: long post.

Electrical current can be described with this formula: 

        Current = “I” (amps) = Power (watts) / Voltage (V)  

By example, the current 11,000-btu A/C draws about 1,100 watts.  If plugged in to 120V shore power, the current to run the A/C is 1100W/120V, or about 9.17 amps.  If, however, the A/C is run on inverted 12V power, the draw is 1100W/12V, or about 91.7 amps.  Thus, an hour’s worth of battery-powered A/C would discharge the batteries by about 92 amp-hours.  Actually, the discharge would be a bit greater (about 2 amp-hours), because the inverter uses about 2 amps to do its inversion. 

After this hour of cool air, the batteries could be recharged with shore power at 120V, solar gain at 12V, or (at least theoretically) the tow vehicle (at 12V).  

Several people have commented that tow vehicle provides very little charge through the standard 7-pin connector, because the wiring is too small.  LifeBlue described a TV wiring modification to provide a greater charging current, but others (e.g., Overland) have questioned the ability of newer alternators to supply this current without damage.  Absent TV modification, this option is out.

With shore power, the controller is set by Oliver accept a charge current of 100 amps.  At this rate, it would take a little less than an hour to replace the 92 amp-hour charge after using the A/C with battery power for an hour. 

The battery could be recharged with solar gain, but this would take substantially longer.  With an average gain of about 120 amp hours (see Overland’s solar availability chart posted 6/15/20, using May Wyoming/Montana values), it would take almost a full day of charging (~120 amp-hours) to make up for an hour of battery-powered A/C use.

The battery also could be charged with a generator to replace the draw of an hour’s worth of battery-powered cool air, but this, for some, might defeat the purpose.  Nontheless, a 1000W generator might replace the 92 amp hours in about an hour (at 100 amps/hr), and a 2,000W generator would do this same job in about 30 minutes.  (as an aside, I just checked the Honda 1000W and 2000W generators on Amazon: the 2000W unit is 10 lbs heavier than the 1000W version, slightly quieter than the 1000W unit, and only slightly more expensive.   

Other electrical uses are also drawing from the battery.  This includes lighting (about 7 amps with everything on), electronics (camera, wifi, cell booster, tank monitor) takes about 5 amps, water heater uses about 5 amps, and both vent fans might pull up to 9.5 amps.  The inverter takes about 2 amps when in “invert” mode and about 0.4 amps on standby.  A composting toilet fan draws perhaps another 1-2 amps.  The furnace draws electricity to run.  My point is this: an average solar gain of about 10-15 amps on a moderately sunny day, with the trailer in the sun for perhaps 8 hours, will be just enough (or maybe not quite enough) to make up for regular daily uses.  There’s not much solar gain left over to recharge from battery-powered A/C use.  Similarly, on a series of cloudy days in (as is common in the Pacific Northwest), or when parked in shade, the solar alone could be insufficient for even basic uses over a period of time.  Question: does this reflect your experience?

So now I get it: this is the reason that folks carry generators (which I’ve always avoided).  My hope for the lithium pro solar package was that it would reduce the need for a generator, and perhaps provide the occasional 30-60 minutes of A/C during a hot rest area break.  But without generator or shore power (or modified TV power), it’s hard to see how the solar system will keep up with even occasional A/C use.  It seems that after spending a premium for lithium pro system, the weakest link could be the solar charging capacity (i.e., need more panels).  And if a person is going to carry a generator anyway, might not the 2000W inverter and AGMs be sufficient?

Thoughts, anyone?

  

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It does seem that the LifeBlue batteries have a narrower operating range than my Battleborns.  Their recommended operating range is 24° to 135°.  Actually, 24° is the temperature at which their BMS will cut off charging, as measured within the battery.  So conceivably, the outside temperature could dip below that, since it would take a while for the batteries themselves to reach that temperature.  To my knowledge, Battleborn doesn't have a recommended storage range, but I do know that Victron recommends -49° to 158° for their batteries, and they are generally pretty conservative with their numbers.  

Battleborn doesn't require you to discharge their batteries before storage.  They do recommend disconnecting any trickle charge (solar).  

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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25 minutes ago, Fritz said:

So now I get it: this is the reason that folks carry generators (which I’ve always avoided).  My hope for the lithium pro solar package was that it would reduce the need for a generator, and perhaps provide the occasional 30-60 minutes of A/C during a hot rest area break.  But without generator or shore power (or modified TV power), it’s hard to see how the solar system will keep up with even occasional A/C use.  It seems that after spending a premium for lithium pro system, the weakest link could be the solar charging capacity (i.e., need more panels).  And if a person is going to carry a generator anyway, might not the 2000W inverter and AGMs be sufficient?

Thoughts, anyone?

My experience is that we can get by fine without a generator, but then we don't camp in hot weather.  If we know that we're going to need the AC at night, then we plan to stay at a campground with hookups. 

For occasional use, like the 30 minutes to an hour for a lunch stop, we do OK.  We typically will run the AC for about 5 or 10 minutes and that cools the trailer down sufficiently to enjoy lunch.  We'd rather eat without the racket of the AC anyway.

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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3 hours ago, Overland said:

It does seem that the LifeBlue batteries have a narrower operating range than my Battleborns.  Their recommended operating range is 24° to 135°.  Actually, 24° is the temperature at which their BMS will cut off charging, as measured within the battery.  So conceivably, the outside temperature could dip below that, since it would take a while for the batteries themselves to reach that temperature.  To my knowledge, Battleborn doesn't have a recommended storage range, but I do know that Victron recommends -49° to 158° for their batteries, and they are generally pretty conservative with their numbers.  

If that's true about LifeBlue needing 120v to charge when it's below 37° then they wouldn't work for me, although I suppose that you could add a 12 volt heat blanket.  But that negates one of their selling points.

Battleborn doesn't require you to discharge their batteries before storage.  They do recommend disconnecting any trickle charge (solar).  

It's my understanding that the LifeBlue lithiums, as installed by Oliver, are heated.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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I say: There are more advantages to lithium batteries, than the elimination of the need for a portable generator. 

1. Easier maintenance; blue tooth battery monitoring

2. Faster charging

3. 80% of battery usable in Lithium vs 50% in AGM/flooded; less worry of dangerous level of discharge

4. Longer battery life

5. Increased resale value (only an advantage if you sell)

6. Solar Tax credit - jury is still out on how much of the cost can be claimed as a credit against tax liability

7. Less weight to carry

Running the AC off the batteries is near the bottom of our list of perceived benefits of the Lithium Pro Pkg.  1. We have seldom used our AC in the past 10 years of RVing. 2. We tend to tolerate heat better when we are enjoying the outdoors.  3. I anticipate it will be easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the well insulated Oliver.

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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5 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

I say: There are more advantages to lithium batteries, than the elimination of the need for a portable generator. 

1. Easier maintenance; blue tooth battery monitoring

2. Faster charging

3. 80% of battery usable in Lithium vs 50% in AGM/flooded; less worry of dangerous level of discharge

4. Longer battery life

5. Increased resale value (only an advantage if you sell)

6. Solar Tax credit - jury is still out on how much of the cost can be claimed as a credit against tax liability

7. Less weight to carry

Running the AC off the batteries is near the bottom of our list of perceived benefits of the Lithium Pro Pkg.  1. We have seldom used our AC in the past 10 years of RVing. 2. We tend to tolerate heat better when we are enjoying the outdoors.  3. I anticipate it will be easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the well insulated Oliver.

Well summarized Susan.  These are the reasons I'm investing in lithium - I'm certainly not investing in the technology hoping to run my A/C all night while boondocking.  The reasons are really convenience (more forgiving) and cost savings over time when compared to the AGM / wet batteries.  I've already conceded trying to get rid of my generator - it's not going to happen any time soon.  Also, I definitely would not have gone with the Lithium package if Oliver had chosen the non-heated version.  

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John and Anita

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Just in time for my ancient AGM's to be replaced.

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Overland may have been one of the last to get that kind of customization. You could ask your sales rep if service would install after pickup. 

Some owners have added and upgraded solar om their own.

Here's a link to Rideaceuces upgrade:

 

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There seems to be concern for the need to have heated LiFePO4 batteries.

I too was concerned before I installed our Battle Born batteries.  I thought about drilling holes in the compartment, to allow air to flow from the basement into the compartment and installing a heating pads.  From our experience, neither have been necessary.

I did seal the four holes on the battery compartment door and installed a single layer of the same insulation Oliver uses on the basement compartment door.  

We have camped in temperatures down to 16 degrees and exterior of the batteries have never gone below 49 degrees.

Andrew

 

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


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10 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

I say: There are more advantages to lithium batteries, than the elimination of the need for a portable generator. 

1. Easier maintenance; blue tooth battery monitoring

2. Faster charging

3. 80% of battery usable in Lithium vs 50% in AGM/flooded; less worry of dangerous level of discharge

4. Longer battery life

5. Increased resale value (only an advantage if you sell)

6. Solar Tax credit - jury is still out on how much of the cost can be claimed as a credit against tax liability

7. Less weight to carry

Most of that is true, but also largely countered by the original cost.  $4000 is a lot, and while I think they work well for me, I don't know if I would recommend them to everyone.  It's a question of relative benefit - yes they're better in many respects, but you have to think hard about how much those things really matter to you.  

I do question whether the LifeBlues are easier to maintain.  I think my Battleborns are, to a certain degree.  When I get back from a trip, I just have to charge them and turn off the solar.  But I do have to check them every three weeks or so, since I leave a few electronics on, and turn the solar on for a few days to charge the batteries back up.  Is that easier than AGM?  A little, I think - certainly not enough on it's own to justify the expense.  But it looks to me like the LifeBlues may even be a bit more difficult to maintain.  You'll have to disconnect and check them like I do, but you also have to discharge them to 50% after each trip.  But worse, if you think it's going to get over 100° in the battery box, which is definitely a possibility anywhere in the south if you leave your trailer in the sun, you have to remove them and store them inside?  That's not easier, and I wonder what effect that has on your warranty.  I mean, it's easily possible that they could get over 100° without you even knowing it, and if the BMS keeps track of that, do you lose your warranty?

As far as bluetooth battery monitoring goes, you can add that to any battery bank for $150, so that's nice to have but easily gotten otherwise.  And arguably there's an advantage to having a separate monitor.

 

I also think that the longer life / lower lifetime cost is overstated.  I can get 4 AGM T105s for $250 each, or a quarter of the price.  So, the math is the same.  And increased resale?  Perhaps, but you also paid a lot more up front and I doubt if you'd get that back.

As far as the solar credit goes, the battery is irrelevant to that.  You can take the credit on your AGM upgrade as well, but of course is does soften the blow of the higher cost.  It's well established that you can take it, so you'll have to explain what you mean by the jury being out.

The truth I that unless you're a regular boondocker, I don't see the cost benefit working out.  And for me, not buying a generator was not only the primary drive for going lithium, it also had a big effect on making the cost worthwhile - that's a $1000 swing in the numbers.  

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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6 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Also, I definitely would not have gone with the Lithium package if Oliver had chosen the non-heated version.  

I don't get that.  You can stick a 12 volt heat pad to the side of the battery box for $40 if needed.  And with Battelborns, you'd only need it if it gets into the mid-20s. The 120v requirement for charging the LifeBlues in even moderately cold temps would be a deal killer for me - it makes your solar worthless in the cold.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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26 minutes ago, Overland said:

But worse, if you think it's going to get over 100° in the battery box, which is definitely a possibility anywhere in the south if you leave your trailer in the sun, you have to remove them and store them inside?

I'm not sure where the 95F number on Lifeblue's datasheet comes from other than Topband's optimal storage conditions. If you look at the real data sheet it states:

Storage Environment:

< 1 Month: -20~+60℃,5~75%RH

< 3 Months: -10~+45℃,5~75%RH

Recommended Environment: 15~35℃,5~75%RH

Charge and discharge temps:

Charge:     0~45℃
Discharge:     -20~60℃

Source: http://www.rechargeablelifepo4battery.com/sale-11854400-bluetooth-app-12v-200ah-lithium-iron-phosphate-battery-customize-with-heating-film.html

Edited by Jairon
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47 minutes ago, AndrewK said:

There seems to be concern for the need to have heated LiFePO4 batteries.

I too was concerned before I installed our Battle Born batteries.  I thought about drilling holes in the compartment, to allow air to flow from the basement into the compartment and installing a heating pads.  From our experience, neither have been necessary.

I did seal the four holes on the battery compartment door and installed a single layer of the same insulation Oliver uses on the basement compartment door.  

We have camped in temperatures down to 16 degrees and exterior of the batteries have never gone below 49 degrees.

Andrew

 

Oliver installed lithium pkg includes heated batteries

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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45 minutes ago, Overland said:

. . . explain what you mean by the jury being out.

 

My tax advisor has found language that suggests, in order to take the full credit for the battery cost, 100% of the battery charging has to come from the solar panels.  If not, the credit (for the cost of the batteries) must be prorated based on the percentage of charging that is solar vs alternative sources (120v, generator, or TV alternator).  Like most tax laws, the language is vague, at best, and can be interpreted in many ways. 

I'm not certain you could definitively determine this ratio.  I suspect the tax laws are written for permanent structures; since it has been ruled that RV's are considered a second home for tax purposes, perhaps the laws will be rewritten to account for multiple sources of charging power.  It will probably end up like claiming a vehicle for business use: we'll be expected to keep a log of the source of all charging.  Sounds like a great way to enjoy "Oliver Time"!

Edited by Susan Huff

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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LifeBlue's data sheet shows the heater coming on at 32°, which is more reasonable than what Oliver said.  I think some clarification from @LiFeBlueBattery would be helpful regarding the need for a 120v connection when charging in the cold.  I'm not really sure how that even works, I guess that the heat pack in the battery requires a certain number of amps before it will engage?  Regardless, the inability to charge via solar in cold weather seems like it would be a significant limitation.  Also some guidance on storage temps would be appreciated.  If owners can feel safe with what Topband recommends (3 months at 113°), then I'd think that people shouldn't worry too much about it.  If 95° is really the limit though, I think that people would be concerned about their warranty and the lifespan of the batteries.

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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16 hours ago, Fritz said:

Lithium Batteries in Cold Weather

  1. The LifeBlue batteries require heating when charging at less than 37°F.  The only way to charge them at temperatures less than 37°F is with 120 V shore power (or perhaps generator).  Shore power is first used to heat the batteries, and then to charge the batteries.  The batteries can provide electricity at temperatures less than 37°F, but they won't accept a solar charge.

Hello Fritz,

Statement 1 above is incorrect. With our latest BMS, if the cell temperature drops below about 26°F, the heater circuit will activate whenever you apply charge current. If the current is below 0.05C , charge current will be delivered to the cells. If above 0.05C but less than the minimum required for the heater, the battery will not charge and a 10 minute delay timer will start. When sufficient current is available, the heater will activate. When the release temperature threshold is met, current will be directed to the cells.

The charge source can be anything that make 12 Volts, shore power, alternator, generator or PV solar. You can combine charge sources if needed.

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Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

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18 hours ago, Overland said:

Correct - all lithium batteries need a battery management system, or BMS, which will help keep the batteries from being charged in freezing temperatures, as well as protect them from over current, over charging, fully discharging, etc.  It will also monitor the individual cells within the battery to make sure that they maintain the same voltage.  

To my knowledge, all of the major players either have the BMS built into their batteries, or sell a BMS to be installed separately.  I think it would really only be an issue if someone is buying their batteries directly from China. Hopefully, anyone who goes through that much trouble will have done their homework.  

One important note: some of the batteries mentioned in this thread do not have low temperature protection.

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Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

Lifeblue-logo3-orange sm.jpg

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