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4 hours ago, Overland said:

Don't overthink it.  You'll never get a charge to your LFP batteries from your truck except when the alternator is running, and even then, not much.  The resting state of a fully charged AGM battery (your truck's battery) is 13 volts, and with a 12 awg wire 30 feet long, you'll see ~12.5 volts at the battery.  That's equivalent to a completely dead LFP battery.  So, even if your LFPs were completely wasted, they couldn't receive a charge from your truck because the voltages are at best the same.  Your truck will never detect a draw from your trailer and as a result will only engage the alternator when needed on its own.  I'd be more worried about your truck draining your batteries than the other way around.  Not that you should worry about that.

 

 

Hi Overland,

By using the alternator charge diagram attached to another post, you can use the TV alternator as a high current charge source. We have designed and installed this circuit for many people over the last 20 years. With the inverter that Oliver is providing, you would not need to carry a generator as the alternator, battery and inverter make the equivalent of a 3kW generator. Also, the solenoid will prevent any current draw from the truck battery when the ignition is off.

Happy Trails!

Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

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I do have some specific questions about your batteries - 1. RE @NCeagle's concerns about prolonged charging at 100%, I know that Battleborn batteries have a higher capacity than labeled and that

Hello, I have attached a letter of Exemption. All LiFeBlue Batteries sold by Oliver include all the benefits of the 10 Year Limited Warranty. Oliver TT LiFeBlue warranty exemption.pdf

Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic.  He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has b

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Posted (edited)

My comment was about stock wiring, but yes, like I said in another post, if you rewire your truck and trailer you’ll get less voltage drop and a better chance of charging your trailer batteries - when your alternator is engaged
 

But, how are you dealing with the voltage difference between your LFPs and the AGMs in the truck?  The alternator will typically make 14.4 volts when engaged, but it’s only going to engage when the voltage falls below whatever threshold for which it’s set - which is going to be lower than the voltage range of your LFPs. So how do you get a reliable charge from a modern truck without a B2B charger?  My truck will produce 14.4 for only a short period, even when my house battery needs a charge, and I haven’t figured out a trick to get it to charge more reliably.  It’s connected with a relatively short run of 00 cable, so no issue with the truck not seeing the load.  Others have the opposite problem, where the alternators don’t want to turn off.  

Also, while charging while driving is beneficial since you’re just skimming a fraction of the power that’s being used to go forward; I can’t imagine a more inefficient way to charge your batteries while stationary than to use a 300+ hp engine to push 12 volts around.  You’re going to push 3000 watts through a #2 cable for 30 feet?  No, you’re not. Even converting it to 120 to transfer and then back, like has been discussed in the ‘21 F150 thread, is inefficient, though at least a reasonable idea. 

Besides, alternators are important.  If the alternator is charging constantly then you’ve got the opposite issue.  I carry enough spares already without worrying about burning one up charging a 400Ah battery bank every day.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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2 hours ago, LiFeBlueBattery said:

For any TV to charge the house battery, you should install a circuit from the TV battery to the House battery using large cables and connectors. I am attaching a PDF file with suggestions on how to do this. I can't express how important this is to have unless you want to carry a generator and only charge while stationary. Many people with a proper charge circuit do not even carry a generator. They just idle the main engine to charge the battery or while driving. BTW, you would want this kind of charge circuit for any battery chemistry.

Alternator Charge Circuit copy.pdf 76.6 kB · 5 downloads

This is mostly excellent advice, but for those who may not know, it isn’t a new situation ..... I built a system just like this, except I used a Blu Sea marine rotary select switch instead of a big control relay, and I went with fat 00 welding cable from the truck’s alternator positive and battery negative posts, to self resetting relay, to a double Andersen 175 amp winch disconnect at the bumper. For two regular 100 amp hr lead acid batteries in my “stick and staple” Nash, it charged much faster than traditional smaller gauge wiring would have. I would start the truck, let the truck battery charge for five minutes, then switch all the output to the rear for half an hour of flatland highway towing, then I would hop out and switch to Both for the rest of the trip. Crude, yes. I never flattened the Suburban’s battery. This was In 1988.

For stationary charging a raised idle speed is useful but not 100% required. Alternators are not very effective at 800 rpm.

For those towing every few days, I would recommend this, especially if you can do the work yourself, which just requires common sense and two sets of special crimpers. An automotive electric shop could do it, but I wouldn’t trust your average general garage to do a safe and adequate job. The big wires have to be routed out of the way of all hazards and also covered with a protective split loom. 

I personally would be reluctant to idle long periods of time with a gas engine in the campground, unless you were completely alone. With any diesel engine, long term idling is NOT recommended.

“manufactures usually will classify applications with high idle times as severe duty and recommend a more aggressive maintenance schedule.“

.... https://learndiesels.com/8-idle-facts/

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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6 hours ago, Overland said:

But, how are you dealing with the voltage difference between your LFPs and the AGMs in the truck?  The alternator will typically make 14.4 volts when engaged, but it’s only going to engage when the voltage falls below whatever threshold for which it’s set - which is going to be lower than the voltage range of your LFPs. So how do you get a reliable charge from a modern truck without a B2B charger?  My truck will produce 14.4 for only a short period, even when my house battery needs a charge, and I haven’t figured out a trick to get it to charge more reliably.  It’s connected with a relatively short run of 00 cable, so no issue with the truck not seeing the load.  Others have the opposite problem, where the alternators don’t want to turn off.  

This is ultimately the biggest challenge I see - the voltages having to be within specific ranges to actually get a BMS to accept charge - and regardless of wire thickness a vehicle alternator's voltage outputs just aren't made to charge batteries - only maintain them.  I'm back to not overthinking this as you suggest, in fact I'm done thinking about it for now.  🙂   I'm going to play it safe and disable the connection between my TV alternator and the Ollie.  Seems like a very minimal charging capability (if any) is not worth introducing the additional risk.  I'll just be carrying my generator for long boondocking trips for now in case my solar doesn't keep up.

John and Anita

Future (11/20) Oliver Elite II Owners, Hull TBD

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

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Posted (edited)

I really don't think you need to bother with disconnecting the charge circuit with the stock wiring.  On the other hand, I guess it does no harm to do so.

The proper solution seems to be something like what Victron offers, which is specifically designed to charge from and protect an alternator; but of course with that, the cost and complexity increase.  The advantage of LB and BB kits is that they're a simpler, all in one solution and I don't think the value of that can be overstated for 95% of owners.  But in truth, I don't even know how well a Victron system would work with a trailer, given the distances between components, vs something like a fire truck or ambulance, which is what they're designed for.  Another interesting detail, Victron's LFPs seem to be designed with vehicle charging in mind, since they have a nominal voltage of 12.8 vs the 13.2 of a typical LFP.  I'm curious why LB and BB batteries aren't designed the same.  Probably both source generic cells vs custom.

At the end of the day, I think you just have to accept some limitations unless you really want to throw money and time at the problem.  I'd love for someone to do that though - just not me, lol.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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16 hours ago, LiFeBlueBattery said:

Our warranty is not written as a "gotcha" ploy to avoid taking care of our products. But, some people abuse products and then want the manufacturer to be responsible. I think that is rare but it still requires the language in the warranty.

Thank you for taking the time to reply, Larry. I really appreciate that you're willing to answer our questions on a public forum. Direct answers from the company helps ease some of my reservations about spending so much on a solar package. Can you confirm that the warranty on your webpage is the same as what will be offered to Oliver owners? There is some verbiage about dealers and OEMs that could apply to Oliver. Also, does anyone know if Oliver is shipping the heated batteries or the regular ones?

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14 hours ago, John E Davies said:

I built a system just like this, except I used a Blu Sea marine rotary select switch instead of a big control relay, and I went with fat 00 welding cable from the truck’s alternator positive and battery negative posts, to self resetting relay, to a double Andersen 175 amp winch disconnect at the bumper. For two regular 100 amp hr lead acid batteries in my “stick and staple” Nash, it charged much faster than traditional smaller gauge wiring would have. I would start the truck, let the truck battery charge for five minutes, then switch all the output to the rear for half an hour of flatland highway towing, then I would hop out and switch to Both for the rest of the trip. Crude, yes. I never flattened the Suburban’s battery. This was In 1988.

So, would this be a reason to order the 30-amp convenience connection?  The heavy gauge cable could run from the alternator (via relay or switch) to the back for the bumper and then be plugged into the 30-amp connection (assuming it could be done in some sort of weather-resistant manner).

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Posted (edited)

The 30 amp convenience port is for 120 volt AC current from a generator or shore power.  It wouldn't accept DC input, and the cables would be too small anyway - 12v would have 10x the current of 120v for a given amount of power.  But...that's why the new F150 is interesting - since it has a high power inverter in the bed, it could deliver 120v to the convenience connection easily, just like a generator.  Much less fuel efficient and a good bit more expensive than a small generator, but one less thing to carry.  

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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22 hours ago, LiFeBlueBattery said:

Hello Susan,

So glad to hear you have chosen the Pro package. It is a worry free design. We worked with Oliver to get the best package for their trailers.

You can leave LiFeBlue battery connected to any charge source of any voltage up to 16 Volts. Once a single cell is saturated (fully charged) at 3.8 Volts, the BMS will inhibit all charge current and report "Battery Over Voltage" on the event page in your Smart Connect App. Don't let that scare you. It just means the battery will not accept any more charge because it is full. For long term shore power use, your charger will lower the voltage to 13.8 Volts.

Hope this s helpful!

Yes . . . . .  thank you

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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6 hours ago, Overland said:

But...that's why the new F150 is interesting - since it has a high power inverter in the bed, it could deliver 120v to the convenience connection easily, just like a generator.  Much less fuel efficient and a good bit more expensive than a small generator, but one less thing to carry.  

So how inefficient would you expect it to be if you're driving anyway, and just charging while traveling?

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On 8/19/2020 at 1:48 PM, Susan Huff said:

Thanks for checking on this.  Keep us posted on your response from Jason.

Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic.  He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit).  

Here's what I'm going to build and mount on top of my Ollie someday when I get the spare time...  having the alternator closer to the batteries makes everything so much easier!  😉 

generator-7-jpg.jpg

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John and Anita

Future (11/20) Oliver Elite II Owners, Hull TBD

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

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5 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic.  He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit).  

Here's what I'm going to build and mount on top of my Ollie someday when I get the spare time...  having the alternator closer to the batteries makes everything so much easier!  😉 

generator-7-jpg.jpg

So Oliver is recommending that you upgrade the TV wiring from the alternator to the trailer plug?  When they say a "kit" does this mean they can make the modification?

 

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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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, NCeagle said:

He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit).  

@JEssary @LiFeBlueBattery

I do not think it's wise to give this as generic advice - for two reasons:

1) If your truck has a modern, smart alternator, then it likely will not provide a continuous 14.4 volt charge.  It probably will at first, but after 5 minutes or so it will back down to around 13 volts which won't charge your lithiums.

2) If you have a standard alternator, or know a way to trick your smart one into charging continuously, you should only wire your vehicle like that diagram if you know for certain that your alternator can handle a 100+ amp draw for extended periods at low RPMs.  (Or being maxed out if you have a lower rated alternator.).  Burning up your alternator will make for a very bad day.  Remember that just because an alternator may be rated that high, that doesn't mean it was designed to sustain that current for long periods, especially at low RPMs without adequate cooling.  

 

Better advice is this -

1) Test your alternator - measure the voltage across the battery right after you start and then again five or ten minutes later.  If the voltage drops down below 14 or so then you have a smart alternator and you can stop here - you will need a battery to battery charger to charge your lithiums.  Sterling has traditionally been the choice, but Victron also makes one now, and they make solid kit.

2) If you have a traditional alternator, then find its rating.  I don't know for sure, but my gut feeling is that if it's below 150, then I'd probably go back to using a B2B charger.  150 amp is probably marginal, and 200 amp is probably fine.  Don't ask me to pay for a new alternator if that turns out to be bad advice.  If you have a smaller alternator, then an alternative to a B2B charger would be a current limiter, like this one.  I can't say anything about how well that works - I just know it exists.

3) If your alternator is dumb and beefy, and you aren't risk averse, then OK, go for the diagram above.  As a personal recommendation, I use a Victron Cyrix relay on my truck and it's been dependable so far.  Personally, I still don't think I'd go this route with lithium (my truck has an AGM house battery).  Even if your alternator can handle it, it will still run hot for however long it takes and I don't think doing that repeatedly with a component that could leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere is smart.  A battery to battery charger won't charge as fast, but that's ok.  And it will also charge your batteries to 100%, whereas due to voltage drop your alternator will probably only take them to around 80%.

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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15 hours ago, Fritz said:

So how inefficient would you expect it to be if you're driving anyway, and just charging while traveling?

I don't think it matters while driving.  Technically, I've read that most alternators are only about 50% efficient, meaning that half the energy going into them is turned into heat rather that electricity.  But it's a small fraction of your engine's power that's used to drive the alternator. 

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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

So Oliver is recommending that you upgrade the TV wiring from the alternator to the trailer plug?  When they say a "kit" does this mean they can make the modification?

I read Oliver's response as simply concurrence with Lifeblue's recommendation and wouldn't have expected much else. Whatever modifications are necessary for your TV and trailer wiring are your responsibility. IMO if you're customizing to this extent, best to lean more on the advice of battery and component mfgs, and those with first hand knowledge/experience.

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9 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic.  He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit).  

Here's what I'm going to build and mount on top of my Ollie someday when I get the spare time...  having the alternator closer to the batteries makes everything so much easier!  😉 

generator-7-jpg.jpg

I really think the fan clutch is over kill.

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On 8/19/2020 at 7:06 PM, Overland said:

....But, how are you dealing with the voltage difference between your LFPs and the AGMs in the truck?  The alternator will typically make 14.4 volts when engaged, but it’s only going to engage when the voltage falls below whatever threshold for which it’s set - which is going to be lower than the voltage range of your LFPs. So how do you get a reliable charge from a modern truck without a B2B charger?  

My truck will produce 14.4 for only a short period, even when my house battery needs a charge, and I haven’t figured out a trick to get it to charge more reliably.  It’s connected with a relatively short run of 00 cable, so no issue with the truck not seeing the load.  Others have the opposite problem, where the alternators don’t want to turn off.  

Also, while charging while driving is beneficial since you’re just skimming a fraction of the power that’s being used to go forward; I can’t imagine a more inefficient way to charge your batteries while stationary than to use a 300+ hp engine to push 12 volts around.  You’re going to push 3000 watts through a #2 cable for 30 feet?  No, you’re not. Even converting it to 120 to transfer and then back, like has been discussed in the ‘21 F150 thread, is inefficient, though at least a reasonable idea. 

Besides, alternators are important.  If the alternator is charging constantly then you’ve got the opposite issue.  I carry enough spares already without worrying about burning one up charging a 400Ah battery bank every day.

Hello Overland,
Here are some answers that may be helpful to many.

First, start with the understanding that for more than 50 years millions of motorhomes are charging both the chassis and house battery every time they run the main engine. In a motorhome, or in your TV auxiliary charge circuit, there is a solenoid that connects all batteries in parallel when the ignition is on.
When all batteries are connected to the alternator, the output voltage is pulled down because a load (battery and other loads) is present. The alternator will increase current trying to raise the voltage set by the controller or regulator. This is how power is transferred in any circuit and is automatic.  

Current from the alternator is flowing to all loads. The chassis battery needs less power to recover than the house battery needs. When it becomes saturated (fully charged), current to that battery goes to about zero. The house battery needs more time to charge so current flows to it until the alternator voltage is reached. Then current will decrease until the house battery is full.

It does not matter to the alternator what kind of load is present, it supplies current until voltage is met. Since LiFeBlue Battery has such broad charge characteristics, it can be charged by any alternator with out needing a DC converter.

I don’t know what is wrong with your truck. We have designed and installed over 3000 RV power systems and they all work as I have described above. Idling an engine can produce 80-100 Amps and use about 0.5 gallons per hour doing so. Not bad for not having to carry a generator and fuel can.

I agree, most won't be charging at 3kW. But you can easily charge with 1000 Watts with the diagram I supplied. Wire size should be calculated to achieve high current.

In the last 7 years, with hundreds of Li battery installs, we have never had a customer indicate a failed alternator.

I hope this is helpful.

 

 

Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

Lifeblue-logo3-orange sm.jpg

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On 8/20/2020 at 1:59 AM, NCeagle said:

....voltages having to be within specific ranges to actually get a BMS to accept charge - and regardless of wire thickness a vehicle alternator's voltage outputs just aren't made to charge batteries - only maintain them. ...

Hi John and Anita,

This is not true. LiFeBlue Battery can be charged with any voltage above the resting voltage (about 13.5V) and can easily be fully charged from your alternator with the proper auxiliary charge circuit.

Happy Trails!

 

Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

Lifeblue-logo3-orange sm.jpg

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19 hours ago, Fritz said:

So how inefficient would you expect it to be if you're driving anyway, and just charging while traveling?

Charging is more about necessity so efficiency is less important. If you can arrive with fully charged batteries, life is good.

Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

Lifeblue-logo3-orange sm.jpg

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10 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Hi all, Jason did respond back on this topic.  He reached out to the R&D team at Oliver that has worked on the Lithium package and this team also recommended following LifeBlue's design that has been shared and discussed in the forum (Oliver calls it a kit).  

Here's what I'm going to build and mount on top of my Ollie someday when I get the spare time...  having the alternator closer to the batteries makes everything so much easier!  😉 

generator-7-jpg.jpg

Hilarious! But, that photo looks very much like my first wind turbine project in 1978.

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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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Posted (edited)

@JEssary @LiFeBlueBattery

I think the advice you're giving is outdated and potentially dangerous.  It also flies in the face of what your competitors (BattleBorn), your own, well respected suppliers (AM Solar), and known experts in the field (Victron, Redarc) have to say on the subject.  The fact that everyone else in your field disagrees with you makes me concerned that you don't actually know the product you're selling.  

Your design was perfectly fine ten years ago with a traditional alternator and lead acid batteries.  You cannot apply that same solution to modern alternators with modern vehicle energy management, and it is potentially dangerous with lithium batteries and a traditional alternator.  Even more so with the hybrid drivetrains coming out now.  The links provide ample evidence of that. 

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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This is an interesting conversation, I am learning a whole lot of new stuff. Would adding a second belt-driven “conventional” 200+ amp alternator be a solution? With a second power source you could keep it completely separated from the OEM electronics and computers. The truck would literally not even “know” what was happening through those new circuits.

https://www.americanpowerinc.com/custom-alternator-brackets-and-dual-alternator-bracket-kits/#product-tab-description

A huge bonus to this method is it most likely would not negatively affect your truck’s warranty. Running a huge charging load off your truck’s main alternator is risky.

Many HD trucks have a factory dual alternator option (for use with snow plows or winches). I don’t know anything about these .... can somebody comment on how practical it would be to hack the wiring of the second alternator for dedicated trailer charging?

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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1 hour ago, LiFeBlueBattery said:

But you can easily charge with 1000 Watts with the diagram I supplied. Wire size should be calculated to achieve high current.

At 83 amps that will give you a 5.4% voltage drop on 30' of #2 cable, or 13.6v at the load.  I don't think at that level that the battery will be able to balance the cells (correct me if I'm wrong), though occasional charging at that level seems fine.  Typically, a maximum 3% drop is the recommendation, and for that, you'd want 00 cables.

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Posted (edited)

John, I think a ¾ ton truck is more likely to have a traditional alternator these days, though I assume that's changing.  You might find the link in this post from @Dean interesting - they had a dual alternator setup with lithium but had trouble overheating the primary one as well as trouble getting the secondary one to charge. Their setup worked, but their ultimate recommendation was a B2B charger.

 

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Now I am totally confused . . . . . . we are ordering the lithium pro package . . . . . . do we leave the TV  (2013 F-350 SD with tow package) charging connected or disconnect?  Would leaving it connected risk damage to either the Lithium batteries or the TV alternator and/or charge wiring?  

Also, no one has said anything about the solar panels that are continuously supplying power to the batteries.  While traveling, wouldn't solar, along with the TV alternator, supply enough power to charge the batteries during an average day of driving - say 4-5 hours with moderate sun exposure?

All of this may be moot, since we plan to carry a generator for long trips to power high wattage devices or recharge batteries.  When on long road trips, we plan on stopping where we have shore power, showers, and laundry at least once a week sometimes twice - depending on where we are and what we are doing. 

With alternative ways to recharge, I'm not too worried about keeping the house batteries charged.  I just want someone to tell me what to do about the TV plug.

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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