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This has been an enlightening thread.  The lithium option looks promising.  I’m left scratching my head a little though on the cost vs benefit.  We boondock about 50% of the time.  The other 50% we have 30a.  My AGMs have performed well and I barely look at them once a year.  We have covered storage with a 20a that I plug in to.  Temps here range from about 25 to 105 degrees and I’ve never thought about cooling or warming them.  Like I said, I’m scratching my head a little....  Mike

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

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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

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

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2 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m scratching my head a little

The lifepo4 stuff is arguably a bit over-hyped. That said, you only need to look at cycles and DOD to understand why lifepo4 has a following: https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/AGM_Trojan_ProductLineSheet.pdf

If you discharged somewhere between 80-90% of an AGM, the expected number of cycles would be 500. Compare that to lifepo4 which claims to handle 100% DOD at 2800 cycles. The AGM setup would realistically need replaced 4-5 times before the lifepo4 setup would need to be.

It all just boils down to how many amps you can pull before the batteries bite the dust. I'm guessing there is only a slight advantage ($ per amp) to lifepo4 at current prices but lifepo4 costs should continue to fall.

Edited by Jairon
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15 hours ago, Jairon said:

The lifepo4 stuff is arguably a bit over-hyped.

16 hours ago, Mike and Carol said:

I’m scratching my head a little

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 Susan listed are real - hands down, they're better batteries.  If they cost the same as AGM, no one would hesitate to buy them.  

But the cost is a big factor.  I was able to justify mine because I bought my whole electrical system at day one, getting some discounts, the full tax credit, eliminating things from our Oliver order that we would have otherwise paid a good bit of money for, and deciding to forgo a generator.  With all that, I spent an extra $1000 or so.  To me, that was an easy call for what I got in return - which wasn't for just the batteries, but the extra solar and all the cool electronics.  I also had the compressor fridge which was going to cost me extra amp hours, so the bump in battery capacity was more easily defendable.

If I were thinking about it on an in-service trailer today - where I'd already bought AGM's, a generator & accessories, inverter, generator port, and was looking at a smaller or no tax credit, I don't know if it would be such an easy a choice.  Even assuming that your current batteries are dead and have to be replaced, LFPs are still going to be $2,500 - $3000 more than just getting a new set of AGMs.  For that money, you'll get roughly 1 ½ to 2 days of extra battery storage and a handful of extra goodies (which, let's face it, are nice to pad a list of advantages but on their own aren't really worth much).  Is that worth the money?  Maybe?  It entirely depends on your priorities and how well your trailer has taken care of you so far.  

And it's that second part that's the key.  I don't think that I've seen single post from anyone who's been disappointed at the battery life of their Elite II.  Sure, people always want more, but the fact is that 200 usable amp hours is sufficient for the vast majority of owners.  And for the times that it isn't, most people don't mind carrying a generator.  It's maybe a different story for an Elite I owner, due to the limited battery space available - a much easier choice imo for them to opt for some LFPs.

If I were looking at a new Ollie right now, and the LFP pro package, I'd probably pass.  Not probably - I know that I'd pass, just because having done all the research and being comfortable that I can wire my own electrical, I'd want largely the same system I have now rather than what Oliver is offering.  What Oliver is selling is fine, but I don't think it's the best, and for the same money you can get the best, provided you're willing and able to do the work yourself.  The one thing I'd change, apart from getting a few updated components, would be that I'd probably go with Victron batteries today instead of Battleborns, just because the price of those has gone down and I wouldn't care so much about the issue I had at first where I thought I'd have to do my first trip using Oliver's electronics.  

Even then, I'd still have the issue of a somewhat undersized solar array relative to the increased battery capacity.  So I'd probably want to spend more for a portable solar kit (and hope it doesn't get stolen), rewire my truck to charge from it (unlikely), or give in and get a generator.  And I really don't see the advantage of having both LFPs and a generator.  With a generator, you've made the primary advantage of the LFPs practically irrelevant.  Maybe you'll have to use it less often, but the real pain of a generator is just having to carry it and its fuel around all the time.  Plus you've paid $3000 more for batteries and then another $1000 for a generator that you're hoping not to use.  How many times do you have to be able to go without a generator to add up to $3000 worth of convenience?  

To me, this is all very similar to the debate about compressor vs absorption fridges.  No doubt, one is better than the other; but the lesser of the two is still fine.  If you can choose the better without great cost or trouble, then do so.  But if it's going to cost a lot of money or be a pain to retrofit, then I think justifying it is going to be entirely an exercise of exaggerating to yourself the advantages of the one and the disadvantages of the other.  That, or be comfortable with the fact that you're doing it just because you want to. Which is fine - I have a number of those projects under my belt.

 

 

 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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49 minutes ago, Overland said:

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 Susan listed are real - hands down, they're better batteries.  If they cost the same as AGM, no one would hesitate to buy them.  

But the cost is a big factor.  I was able to justify mine because I bought my whole electrical system at day one, getting some discounts, the full tax credit, eliminating things from our Oliver order that we would have otherwise paid a good bit of money for, and deciding to forgo a generator.  With all that, I spent an extra $1000 or so.  To me, that was an easy call for what I got in return - which wasn't for just the batteries, but the extra solar and all the cool electronics.  I also had the compressor fridge which was going to cost me extra amp hours, so the bump in battery capacity was more easily defendable.

If I were thinking about it on an in-service trailer today - where I'd already bought AGM's, a generator & accessories, inverter, generator port, and was looking at a smaller or no tax credit, I don't know if it would be such an easy a choice.  Even assuming that your current batteries are dead and have to be replaced, LFPs are still going to be $2,500 - $3000 more than just getting a new set of AGMs.  For that money, you'll get roughly 1 ½ to 2 days of extra battery storage and a handful of extra goodies (which, let's face it, are nice to pad a list of advantages but on their own aren't really worth much).  Is that worth the money?  Maybe?  It entirely depends on your priorities and how well your trailer has taken care of you so far.  

And it's that second part that's the key.  I don't think that I've seen single post from anyone who's been disappointed at the battery life of their Elite II.  Sure, people always want more, but the fact is that 200 usable amp hours is sufficient for the vast majority of owners.  And for the times that it isn't, most people don't mind carrying a generator.  It's maybe a different story for an Elite I owner, due to the limited battery space available - a much easier choice imo for them to opt for some LFPs.

If I were looking at a new Ollie right now, and the LFP pro package, I'd probably pass.  Not probably - I know that I'd pass, just because having done all the research and being comfortable that I can wire my own electrical, I'd want largely the same system I have now rather than what Oliver is offering.  What Oliver is selling is fine, but I don't think it's the best, and for the same money you can get the best, provided you're willing and able to do the work yourself.  The one thing I'd change, apart from getting a few updated components, would be that I'd probably go with Victron batteries today instead of Battleborns, just because the price of those has gone down and I wouldn't care so much about the issue I had at first where I thought I'd have to do my first trip using Oliver's electronics.  

Even then, I'd still have the issue of a somewhat undersized solar array relative to the increased battery capacity.  So I'd probably want to spend more for a portable solar kit (and hope it doesn't get stolen), rewire my truck to charge from it (unlikely), or give in and get a generator.  And I really don't see the advantage of having both LFPs and a generator.  With a generator, you've made the primary advantage of the LFPs practically irrelevant.  Maybe you'll have to use it less often, but the real pain of a generator is just having to carry it and its fuel around all the time.  Plus you've paid $3000 more for batteries and then another $1000 for a generator that you're hoping not to use.  How many times do you have to be able to go without a generator to add up to $3000 worth of convenience?  

To me, this is all very similar to the debate about compressor vs absorption fridges.  No doubt, one is better than the other; but the lesser of the two is still fine.  If you can choose the better without great cost or trouble, then do so.  But if it's going to cost a lot of money or be a pain to retrofit, then I think justifying it is going to be entirely an exercise of exaggerating to yourself the advantages of the one and the disadvantages of the other.  That, or be comfortable with the fact that you're doing it just because you want to. Which is fine - I have a number of those projects under my belt.

 

 

 

hmmm...  interesting perspective that cost is a big (seemingly negative) factor for you, I agree that cost is a big factor but I definitely went with Lithium because I was sold on lower maintenance and longer life that over time should be significantly LESS expensive.  I have come to the conclusion that if you have batteries, no matter what kind, and you dry camp, you will always have to consider having a generator of some sort with you or risk not being able to recharge (solar or otherwise).  If I didn't think I was getting more value over time for the Lithiums, I would have passed.  Hope I didn't make a mistake, but only time will tell.

John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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I think the lifetime cost argument is somewhat valid, if you're comparing amp hour to amp hour.  But if you're buying a generator either way, then the Ah advantage of the LFPs is nil.  So in real world usage, you're comparing $1000 of AGMs to $4000 of LFPs. The AGM will last ¼ the life of the LFPs, but they also cost ¼ less.

So you could argue that for practical purposes they cost the same over time, and I'd agree.  But there's a couple of things to consider.  One is that $4000 up front is a harder pill to swallow.  But more importantly is that at least for me, I'll never come close to even the minimum expected cycles of my LFPs.  Looking at my battery monitor, I have 10 full cycles on my batteries right now, over three years.  Assuming a minimum of 2000 lifetime cycles, I'll break even in, roughly, 650 years.  In other words, for me, either battery type will die of old age before they die from use.  I expect that it's the same for all but the most active full timers, and maybe even them.  Perhaps the LFPs will still last longer, but I've seen no data on the shelf life expectancy of either so I can't say.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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25 minutes ago, Overland said:

I think the lifetime cost argument is valid, if you're comparing amp hour to amp hour.  But if you're buying a generator either way, then the Ah advantage of the LFPs is nil.  So in real world usage, you're comparing $1000 of AGMs to $4000 of LFPs. The AGM will last ¼ the life of the LFPs, but they also cost ¼ less.

So you could argue that they cost the same over time, and I'd agree.  But there's a couple of things to consider.  One is that $4000 up front is a harder pill to swallow.  The other is that at least for me, I'll never come close to even the minimum expected cycles of my LFPs.  Looking at my battery monitor, I have 10 full cycles on my batteries right now, over three years.  Assuming a minimum of 2000 lifetime cycles, I'll break even in, roughly, 650 years.  In other words, for me, either battery type will die of old age before they die from overuse, and I've seen no data on the shelf life expectancy of either.

Yeah, I definitely see your points.  I was trying to figure out why you only have 10 full cycles on your batteries over 3 years and I think I remember you mentioning in another thread that you camp where you don't need the A/C that often!  I'm still glad I'm getting Lithium - I will need the A/C and plan on using space heaters for winter camping (lots of ski trips).  😉   Extra Ah could reduce propane dependency for me as well.  Do you think it has reduced your propane dependency at all?  If nothing else, I'll not have to get out and jump in my truck and get the generator as often as I would have otherwise.  Can't really put a price on that.  🙂   

John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

Tow Vehicle:  2006 Silverado 2500HD Crew Cab.  6.6L Duramax

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1 hour ago, NCeagle said:

I was trying to figure out why you only have 10 full cycles on your batteries over 3 years and I think I remember you mentioning in another thread that you camp where you don't need the A/C that often! 

I think that's part of it, plus we're both still working and so the trailer is seeing limited use right now.  I'm sure I'll start going through cycles more often once we're retired.   

But I also think part of it is exactly what counts as a 'cycle'.  Someone more knowledgeable can correct me, but I think estimated life cycles assume discharging them each time to a certain state of charge, say 50% for AGM, probably more for LFP, and then recharging them fully.  I think if you discharge them less, it doesn't have as much of an affect, proportionately, on the battery's life.  In other words, I don't think that if you take your batteries to 90% say, that you've used 1/10 of a cycle.  It's probably much less.  Whatever it is, my Victron battery monitor has an algorithm that's supposed to give an accurate estimate of how many 'official' cycles you've put your batteries through regardless how many times you've actually charged them.  

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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37 minutes ago, Overland said:

I think if you discharge them less, it doesn't have as much of an affect, proportionately, on the battery's life.

Yeah, DOD has a huge impact on batteries, even lifepo4.

Here is a graph from another manufacturer but the curves should apply more or less to any battery of similar chemistry:

lifepo4vsacid.gif

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Hey, according to that, I should get 6 or 7 thousand cycles.  I won't need batteries for another two millennia.

Seriously, though, when we're using the trailer, average DOD is around 35% per day.  That's two months out of the year.  The rest of the year, I let them go to 60% before recharging, maybe 10 times during the year.  So around 39% average?  That corresponds to about 6000 cycles.  At 70 cycles per year, that's a lifespan of 85 years.  That's probably why my battery monitor only shows 10 cycles, if they're trying to normalize that to some expected number.  It's also beyond anything I'd think is reasonable just from a shelf life perspective.  

If I were to get 1000 cycles out of AGMs, the same calculation is 1000/70 = 14+ years.

Frankly, I'd wager that within 15 years, there will be a battery technology that will make me want to replace my LFPs anyway.  

So there you go - for practical purposes, the relative lifetime cost for me would be the initial cost.  But if you're a full timer, using your trailer 150 days a year, the life span would be more like 5 years for AGM vs 20+ for LFP, which is something to consider.  Still, it does seem like it would take that level of use to make the lifetime costs even out.  

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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My 2008 Elite has a smaller battery tray, and can only hold two group 27 size batteries. My Agm batteries are 105 amp hours each. But, agm maximum recommended discharge is 50 per cent. Longer life if you discharge less. 

Edited by SeaDawg
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2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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DeeKay, my Lifeline AGM battery is actually in my truck.  I installed four Battleborn LFPs while the trailer was sitting in the Oliver parking lot at delivery, so I don't have any first hand experience with anything else.  I think Oliver was using Trojan T105 AGMs in 2017, which are excellent batteries.  

Sherry, I noticed that Trojan is now advertising their T105 AGM as being 217 Ah.  I don't know if they've changed the chemistry or just the rating.  

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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20 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

The Elite has a smaller battery tray, and can only hold two group 27 size batteries. My Agm batteries are 105 amp hours each. But, agm maximum recommended discharge is 50 per cent. Longer life if you discharge less. 

I used the Search function and found a user with these, that are rated at 220Ah each: Lifeline GPL-4CT. Maybe that was with an Elite II he was referring to. These are 6V, no? Lowest rated 6V from Lifeline is 220Ah.

Thanks SeaDawg!

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If the newer battery tray in the Elite will hold two Trojan t105s, that would be a great improvement. 

Maybe we should ask the owners of the 2017 Elite?

 

 

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Trying to extract information from owners of this model year, but so far I'm in the dark. Went to Lifeline website and 220Ah is smallest 6V they now sell.

All this inquiry is to determine how much it would cost to upgrade a 2017 Elite to Lithium batteries, which is why I'm here. I've contacted AM Solar, but they need information on what is currently installed to base their estimate of an upgrade.

Again, thanks for your input!

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1 hour ago, Overland said:

DeeKay, my Lifeline AGM battery is actually in my truck.  I installed four Battleborn LFPs while the trailer was sitting in the Oliver parking lot at delivery, so I don't have any first hand experience with anything else.  I think Oliver was using Trojan T105 AGMs in 2017, which are excellent batteries.  

Sherry, I noticed that Trojan is now advertising their T105 AGM as being 217 Ah.  I don't know if they've changed the chemistry or just the rating.  

Maybe 105Ah is an estimate of usable power, but the capacity rating is 217Ah. Just a thought. I went to Lifeline's website and the smallest 6V is 220Ah, which is close to your Trojan's rating.

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I do see that Oliver offers an upgrade now for 2 6v agm batteries. Hopefully,  that was true in the 2017, also.

This reminded me of some very old posts, where early owners modified the early tray to fit larger batteries, and at least one owner did install trojan t105s. (Which, I agree, are very good batteries.)

 

Sherry

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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On 9/8/2020 at 4:57 PM, Jairon said:

The lifepo4 stuff is arguably a bit over-hyped. That said, you only need to look at cycles and DOD to understand why lifepo4 has a following: https://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/AGM_Trojan_ProductLineSheet.pdf

If you discharged somewhere between 80-90% of an AGM, the expected number of cycles would be 500. Compare that to lifepo4 which claims to handle 100% DOD at 2800 cycles. The AGM setup would realistically need replaced 4-5 times before the lifepo4 setup would need to be.

It all just boils down to how many amps you can pull before the batteries bite the dust. I'm guessing there is only a slight advantage ($ per amp) to lifepo4 at current prices but lifepo4 costs should continue to fall.

DOD is important when it comes to off grid camping and how much power your batteries can supply before needing recharged.  

I've come to the conclusion that weighing the cost/benefits of Lithium vs other batteries is a bit like an apples to oranges comparison.  Money aside, choose that which gives you the most satisfaction 🍎 🍑 (I know, it's a peach.  But there isn't an orange emoji)

 

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

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