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Susan Huff

Battery maintenance while stored

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Our new Oliver (yet to be delivered) will be stored in our RV carport.  We are ordering the solar option with either AGM or Lithium batteries (still undecided).  Since the trailer will be under cover, the solar panels will not be keeping the batteries charged.  When we don't have the power hooked up we would like to use a portable solar panel plugged into the external solar connection to keep the batteries healthy.  This side of the trailer will have good Southern exposure  (assuming the connection is on the port side near the battery compartment) with no trees or obstructions with the caveat that we live in Oregon, so solar energy might not always be optimal. Has anyone done this?  What size solar panel (wattage) would be recommended? 


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Susan,

If you get LiFePO4 batteries, it is best not to consistently float charge them.  

Andrew

 

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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Posted (edited)

If you decide on the agms, a smaller portable panel (25 watts)  may be sufficient.  maybe nothing beyond your existing panels.

We park ours, in the winter months on the south side of our home, where it is shaded by two homes, 24 plus high, 20 feet apart,, and a row of tall Washingtonia palms planted in our neighbors side yard by the previous owner. 

Not a carport, but very shady.

I check our agms every few weeks. Unless we leave something turned on, we don't have to plug in. 

But, we're in Florida. 

Sherry

 

Edited by SeaDawg
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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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57 minutes ago, AndrewK said:

Susan,

If you get LiFePO4 batteries, it is best not to consistently float charge them.  

Andrew

 

Would you just monitor them and charge when SOC gets low?  Or disconnect?


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

Would you just monitor them and charge when SOC gets low?  Or disconnect?

Susan,

I just trip the breaker on the positive lead from the battery.  The residual draw in our trailer is less than 0.01 amp/hour.  At that rate, our two 100 amp/hr Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries can sit for more that two years without any problem.

I just reset the breaker a couple of days before we are ready to head out and park the "Burrito" in the sun.

Andrew


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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2 hours ago, AndrewK said:

Susan,

I just trip the breaker on the positive lead from the battery.  The residual draw in our trailer is less than 0.01 amp/hour.  At that rate, our two 100 amp/hr Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries can sit for more that two years without any problem.

I just reset the breaker a couple of days before we are ready to head out and park the "Burrito" in the sun.

Andrew

Breaker on the positive lead from the battery?  Picture?


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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2 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

Breaker on the positive lead from the battery?  Picture?

Susan,

It is similar to this and it is under the driver's side bed.

Andrew

81LTltAsUIL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 


Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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7 hours ago, AndrewK said:

Susan,

It is similar to this and it is under the driver's side bed.

Andrew

81LTltAsUIL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

So this does the same thing as a battery cutoff switch?  It opens the circuit between the battery and the onboard electrical system, but not the solar input? 


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Posted (edited)

Susan,

It does the same thing as a battery cutoff switch but Oliver does wire the trailer in a way that not everything is cut off.  In our trailer, as I assume all others, the propane leak detector is not cutoff by the breaker.

We also have a breaker on the positive side of the solar, that can also be tripped.  In your example, with your trailer covered, it may not be necessary to trip the solar breaker.

If you would like to discuss further, please PM me your phone number.

Andrew

Edited by AndrewK
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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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5 hours ago, AndrewK said:

Susan,

I does the same thing as a battery cutoff switch but Oliver dose wire the trailer in a way that not everything is cut off.  I our trailer, as I assume all others, the propane leak detector is not cutoff by the breaker.

We also have a breaker on the positive side of the solar, that can also be tripped.  In your example, with your trailer covered, it may not be necessary to trip the solar breaker.

If you would like to discuss further, please PM me your phone number.

Andrew

So Oliver does install the breaker switch?  

I would like to discuss further, but am in the midst of canning peaches right now.  

As we are still deciding which solar option to order - AGM or Lithium - it all comes down to which system will be less trouble.  We do dry camp often; with our current RV system (2-6v flooded deep cycle batteries, 200w solar and 1000w inverter) we have to continually monitor the batteries, even though we don't use a lot of power (no inverter use and onboard generator occasionally).  Under these conditions, our solar panels mostly keep the batteries topped off, depending on weather conditions. 

That being said, here are some of my thoughts:

1.  The Oliver lithium solar package would supply more power than we currently use.  Not to say we wouldn't use more if we had it.  We camp about 50/50 hookup/boondock but prefer boondocking as we enjoy remote outdoor camping vs RV resorts and overpopulated state parks.  

2. The upfront cost is greater, but recovered over life of the batteries.  Cost is no object if our RV experience can be more enjoyable without having to think so much about batteries. 

3. Our energy needs will change with the Oliver.  Our motorhome is not 4-season, so it stays parked, for the most part, 4 mos out of the year. 

Just having more power is attractive, but less power management  is our goal.  Our decision rests on this factor more than the availabilty of onboard power.  It's nice to have reliable power when camping off-grid, but we there are still other limiting factors, the biggest being waste water holding capacty.  I've read about the differences in lead-acid vs lithium, but without experience with lithium power we'd like to know if we will see a big difference in the management of our batteries.

I'll send you a message when I'm done canning peaches.  I do have a lot of questions, especially how lithium batteries are managed during down time.

Thanks for reaching out.

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Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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That switch cuts off most power, but not all. Some things are wired direct to the battery.

My trailer is over a decade old. Pm Andrewk. My advice.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

So Oliver does install the breaker switch?  

I would like to discuss further, but am in the midst of canning peaches right now.  

As we are still deciding which solar option to order - AGM or Lithium - it all comes down to which system will be less trouble.  We do dry camp often; with our current RV system (2-6v flooded deep cycle batteries, 200w solar and 1000w inverter) we have to continually monitor the batteries, even though we don't use a lot of power (no inverter use and onboard generator occasionally).  Under these conditions, our solar panels mostly keep the batteries topped off, depending on weather conditions. 

That being said, here are some of my thoughts:

1.  The Oliver lithium solar package would supply more power than we currently use.  Not to say we wouldn't use more if we had it.  We camp about 50/50 hookup/boondock but prefer boondocking as we enjoy remote outdoor camping vs RV resorts and overpopulated state parks.  

2. The upfront cost is greater, but recovered over life of the batteries.  Cost is no object if our RV experience can be more enjoyable without having to think so much about batteries. 

3. Our energy needs will change with the Oliver.  Our motorhome is not 4-season, so it stays parked, for the most part, 4 mos out of the year. 

Just having more power is attractive, but less power management  is our goal.  Our decision rests on this factor more than the availabilty of onboard power.  It's nice to have reliable power when camping off-grid, but we there are still other limiting factors, the biggest being waste water holding capacty.  I've read about the differences in lead-acid vs lithium, but without experience with lithium power we'd like to know if we will see a big difference in the management of our batteries.

I'll send you a message when I'm done canning peaches.  I do have a lot of questions, especially how lithium batteries are managed during down time.

Thanks for reaching out.

 I don’t see how anyone could recover the cost of the lithium batteries.  They will reduce the dry weight by 140 lbs and increase stored energy by 33% eliminating management for those camping between the spring and fall equinox  Expanding the camping season ( the shorter days, less direct light and increased furnace use) make the lithium batteries more attractive.

Edited by Dean
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11 hours ago, Dean said:

 I don’t see how anyone could recover the cost of the lithium batteries.  They will reduce the dry weight by 140 lbs and increase stored energy by 33% eliminating management for those camping between the spring and fall equinox  Expanding the camping season ( the shorter days, less direct light and increased furnace use) make the lithium batteries more attractive.

@Dean Thank you,. . . . . I don't expect to recover the cost of lithium batteries, nor limit the initial cost of our Oliver, but rather confirm that the benefits of lithium power are worthwhile for our needs.  If they only give us less concern about battery health - SOC, maintenance, storage, etc. - I am willing to pay the extra $$$$.  Not totally understanding the contrast between lead-acid and lithium, in terms of maintenance,  We are still undecided regarding our choice of battery package (AGM/solar vs lithium/solar).

I do believe there are long-term benefits such as a much longer life, quicker charge times, and higher resale value, in addition to the fact that the cost of lithium batteries should continue to drop.  There is also the possibility that the lead-acid battery will go the way of incandescent light bulbs and internal combustion automobiles - though probably not in our lifetime.

I appreciate your input.  I'm leaning more toward the lithium option, but would like a better understanding of how RV life with lithium compares to our lead-acid/solar experience, especially in regards to power management, maintenance, and storage.

 


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Susan Huff said:

Think of an old cordless phone with NiCad batteries vs your current cell phone

 

Edited by Dean
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2 hours ago, Dean said:

 

We still have cordless phones 😀  But I hear what you're saying.


Ray and Susan Huff

Prospective Elite II Twin owners

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

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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