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Factory lithium batteries - do they have a heating system?


John E Davies
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If so, can somebody please describe it or provide a link or picture? FYI they should be kept above 41 degrees F or they will not safely charge. And excessive heat is also bad. I am planning to:

Seal the existing battery door vents and insulate the door.

Add large inside ventilation holes top and bottom for natural convective airflow.

Install a 10” x 20” (18 watt 120 VAC) hydroponics heating mat and temp control for about $20. Since it should probably not be in direct contact with the batteries I was going to install it underneath the sliding tray. It should provide 10 to 20 degrees of heating over ambient (battery box) temperature.

But I sure would like to know what the Ollie system is like before I commit!

Thanks.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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

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The LifeBlue batteries that Oliver uses do have a built in heating system.  But according to at least one post here by someone who’s spoken with Oliver, they’re disabling that feature due to overheating and are instead installing a heat mat. 

The temperature limit appears to be an advantage of the Battleborn batteries, since they allow charging at an internal temperature of as low as 24 F.  Why the difference? No idea. Perhaps they’re just less conservative or maybe they use a different type of cell. I do suspect that Victron’s 41 F degree limit (5 C) is probably due to their typical conservatism. The typical limit seems to be ‘don’t charge below freezing’, but my guess is that’s just a convenient reference since there’s nothing special about the freezing point of water that should be relevant to the battery. 

So what’s the real limit and does it vary among batteries or is it universal to all LFPs?  I assume that since Battleborn’s limit is very specific that they’ve tested it - I can’t see them pulling 24 degrees (-4.44 C) out of a hat. 

Another point worth mentioning is that I don’t think that the Victron BMS will cut off charging at low temperatures, like the Battleborn will. I haven’t read the full Victron manual, but from their description and spec sheet, that seems the case. So it’s really up to the user to make sure that they don’t kill their batteries. From what I understand, all it takes is once, since what happens is that the anode doesn’t soak in the lithium ions at cold temperatures and as a result gets plated with lithium, rendering it useless. 

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John, they are using a 12V heating mat of some sort.  You may want to consider 12V instead of inverted 120V.  I can see it is directly hooked to the battery terminals and the switch is sitting on top of the batteries.  I don't know what brand but I can ask my sales guy tomorrow for you (I'd have to take the batteries out to see the mat).  I'd like to know the brand anyhow.  I know the mat has a thermostat, so on cold camping adventures, I'd likely just switch it on and leave it on for the duration.  I prefer this over the automated version even though it's something additional to remember when it gets cold.  I'll have a temp monitor in the battery bay and am also planning on insulating.  The monitor can send me an alert when the temp gets down to whatever I set it for, so no big deal.

 

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Here's the verbiage that came from LifeBlue on the new thermal approach:

New State: All of the blue tooth and other specifications of the new battery will remain the same with the exception of the internal heating feature. When a charge cycle is desired on the LifeBlue LB12200D lithium battery and the temperature outside the trailer is above freezing (approximately more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit) then no action is needed. If the temperature outside the trailer is below freezing then check the core temperature of the battery (blue tooth app.). If the core temperature is above freezing, then no action is needed. If the battery’s core temperature is below freezing, then access the battery compartment and switch on the battery thermal blanket (the switch will be an in-line on/off switch located on the battery harness on top of batteries). Close the battery compartment door. When the batteries core temperature is above freezing then the battery will accept charge. Note: the colder the core is the longer it will take to warm up to above freezing. The battery’s thermal blanket is thermostatically controlled between 35 degrees Fahrenheit and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If single charge is desired then switch off the battery’s thermal blanket when charging is complete. If camper is being used in a cold environment then leave thermal blanket switch on for the duration of trip and switch off when trip is over.

Edited by NCeagle
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After spending three weeks without the bathroom furnace vent connected, and not being able to tell a lick of difference, I’m thinking that instead of trying to reroute that vent back to the bath like I’d planned, that I’ll just run it to the battery box.

I have one of those seed mats and while it does get slightly warm to the touch it doesn’t seem like it would have much capacity to warm anything that it isn’t touching directly. Maybe that’s just my particular mat, but I’d worry that if you’re trying to warm the air in the battery box to heat the batteries, that it might be a losing battle between the mat and the cold door, even with insulation. 

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18 minutes ago, NCeagle said:

I'll have a temp monitor in the battery bay and am also planning on insulating.  The monitor can send me an alert when the temp gets down to whatever I set it for, so no big deal.

Does the LifeBlue app tell you the battery temp?

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8 minutes ago, Overland said:

After spending three weeks without the bathroom furnace vent connected, and not being able to tell a lick of difference, I’m thinking that instead of trying to reroute that vent back to the bath like I’d planned, that I’ll just run it to the battery box.

I have one of those seed mats and while it does get slightly warm to the touch it doesn’t seem like it would have much capacity to warm anything that it isn’t touching directly. Maybe that’s just my particular mat, but I’d worry that if you’re trying to warm the air in the battery box to heat the batteries, that it might be a losing battle between the mat and the cold door, even with insulation. 

That gives me another idea...  rerouting that vent might also be a GREAT way to heat that troublesome street - side basement at the same time!  I've been thinking of a good way to do that and it involves cutting holes for new vents with PC fans sucking warm air from the cabin.  I just really wish the Dometic had a "fan only" mode so I could use electric heat in the cabin and move that around if running low on propane.

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All, I have had two Battle Born batteries for a year and a half now and have had no problems with the batteries getting cold.

I did plug the four holes on the door, insulate the door with the bubble insulation and a seal around the edge of the door.  The fiberglass plugs, insulation and the seal came from Oliver.

We routinely camp, where night time temperatures are near or below freezing.  During our last trip it was 34 to 36 degrees at night and the lowest temp at the battery terminal was 59 degrees. 

The lowest battery terminal temperature I have seen was 49 degrees, when it was 16 degrees and windy overnight.

I honestly don't think most would need battery heaters.

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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2 hours ago, NCeagle said:

I'll have a temp monitor in the battery bay

NCeagle, what brand temperature monitor have you installed?  Does it also have sensors for outside and inside temperatures?  Thanks!

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NCeagle, did you retrofit lithium into your 2020 or did they offer it when you first purchased? I was hopeful they would stop venting lithium builds and add insulation similar to the basement door.

2019 Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull #748

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Thanks for all the comments, I was not sure a mat would be needed because I don't ski or winter camp. The Victron Connect app will monitor battery temperature as long as you install the accessory probe ($20) between the batteries and the smart bus. It needs that info to talk to the MPPT solar controller and any other smart devices in the Victron wireless virtual network. It does show individual cell temps in that sub-menu but I don't know why that isn't enough for the bus to use.... I was under the impression that the Victron Smart Bus would not allow charging below 41 degrees F battery temp, but I can't locate that info. There are high and low temp ALARMS that can be set and adjusted as needed, I jus don't know if that controls actual charging.

I just want to make sure that if I wake up and the air temp is super cold, I can charge them without damage if the sun comes out. If the box stays well above freezing, or I have shore power, that most likely will never happen.

NCeagle, I would really like to know the part number of the heating mat/ thermostat that Oliver installs, that sounds like a very good option, since the mat can be laid directly underneath the battery housings. (I am assuming that!) If you insulated the BOTTOM of the slide out tray, that would reduce convective heat loss in that direction and save some energy.

Door insulation - I would appreciate recommendations for an aftermarket product that will look OK and hold up well.

Thanks,

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"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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13 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

NCeagle, I would really like to know the part number of the heating mat/ thermostat that Oliver installs

I've sent a request to my sales rep for the model and part number.  Will let you know as soon as I hear back.

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1 hour ago, Fritz said:

NCeagle, what brand temperature monitor have you installed?  Does it also have sensors for outside and inside temperatures?  Thanks!

Hi Fritz, I use SensorPush Wireless Thermometer/Hygrometer for iPhone/Android - Humidity & Temperature Smart Sensor with Alerts. Developed and Supported in The USA.  Have used them for years in many other applications.  Love them.  They can be calibrated if needed and if you have a wifi hotspot in your Ollie, for example, you can monitor them remotely as well.  I'm using velcro to secure them in different places around the inside of the Oliver.  I put one outside when camping or when parked in my RV garage, but they are not waterproof, so you can put it anywhere it's protected from rain, but can't really have one on the outside while driving or anything.

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1 hour ago, Jairon said:

NCeagle, did you retrofit lithium into your 2020 or did they offer it when you first purchased? I was hopeful they would stop venting lithium builds and add insulation similar to the basement door.

Hi Jairon, these are factory installed Lithiums.  Just picked up on the 18th this month. 

As far as insulating, I'd recommend just buying a roll of Reflectix BP48010 Double Pack Insulation, 48 in. x 10 ft.  It's twice as thick as what Oliver uses and I've already added an additional layer of this Reflectix on top of what Oliver installed on the basement door, so in essence I tripled the insulation - I removed the factory piece of reflectix and used it as a template.  I'm doing that where ever I can reach on the outer hull in the basements too.

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14 minutes ago, NCeagle said:

As far as insulating, I'd recommend just buying a roll of Reflectix BP48010 Double Pack Insulation, 48 in. x 10 ft.  It's twice as thick as what Oliver uses and I've already added an additional layer of this Reflectix on top of what Oliver installed on the basement door, so in essence I tripled the insulation - I removed the factory piece of reflectix and used it as a template.  I'm doing that where ever I can reach on the outer hull in the basements too.

I already have some that I use for window covers in the truck. I was hoping for something more durable with a self adhesive backing so I do not have to use glue. What is the difference between all these variations? Are they all the same thickness/ R value?

 

Refectix.thumb.png.fbe25faaec0930cbf5bc2e0ae81dbfca.png

 

Thanks,

John Davies

Spokane WA

"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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4 minutes ago, John E Davies said:

I already have some that I use for window covers in the truck. I was hoping for something more durable with a self adhesive backing so I do not have to use glue. What is the difference between all these variations? Are they all the same thickness/ R value?

 

Refectix.thumb.png.fbe25faaec0930cbf5bc2e0ae81dbfca.png

 

Thanks,

John Davies

Spokane WA

Not sure about all the variations shown on Amazon, but Reflectix has a bunch of different kinds - one sided aluminum, two sided aluminum, bigger bubbles, etc.  This particular one looks like it's 2x thicker than what Oliver installed on my 2020 and it's 2 sided whereas Oliver used 1 sided.  I really bought it a while ago to insulate my truck windows when sleeping in the truck like you said.  Don't remember how I landed on this particular version of reflectix.  Just using what I have left and will likely get more of the same since it's working.  I'm using a little bit of contact cement to attach.

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1 hour ago, NCeagle said:

As far as insulating, I'd recommend just buying a roll of Reflectix BP48010 Double Pack Insulation, 48 in. x 10 ft.

Thanks! I'll be doing something similar so I appreciate the material suggestion. I'm guessing the 2021 models are left without insulation.

Somewhat related, has anyone ever attempted to insulate the bottom of their Ollie? The spacing between the aluminum cross-members seem ideal for some type of foam board. Something with a polypropylene backing would be even better. I have no idea if this would help to keep water lines from freezing but I'd love to hear from someone more knowledgeable in thermal engineering. It could be worthless and a huge waste of time 😁

Edited by Jairon
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2019 Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Oliver Elite II, Hull #748

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In regards to simply doubling the layers of Reflectix, I am not sure you are gaining much other than maybe sealing air leaks. From their home page:

853665FF-FCD1-43B2-9AD9-8118A15F7556.thumb.jpeg.9ec2c5f7f4b47b04d9d5e2a7ffc3b7dd.jpeg

Which is an odd statement, since the numbers indicate it doubles...? I was thinking of using a high density acoustic pad against the door surface, with a layer of Reflectix on the inside (visible surface when open). Something like this stuff:

 

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Anything will help, if the door seal is working well and the inside of the battery compartment is wide open to the cabin. But you really need to have air transfer, so that the box and cabin are at nearly equal temperatures. I even contemplated (very briefly) sealing the outside door permanently and instead having an inside the cabin access door, below the pantry, with the slide moving the batteries in the opposite direction. Lithiums really should be inside.

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"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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On 11/29/2020 at 1:51 PM, John E Davies said:

NCeagle, I would really like to know the part number of the heating mat/ thermostat that Oliver installs, that sounds like a very good option, since the mat can be laid directly underneath the battery housings. (I am assuming that!) If you insulated the BOTTOM of the slide out tray, that would reduce convective heat loss in that direction and save some energy.

Jason replied that the pad is custom made for Oliver by Annod Industries.  He noted they have used their products in the past.  Unfortunately, he's not aware of a part number.  He did know that the mat draws 3.1 amps when on, so that's good to know.  Probably best to reach out to OTT through sales and see what they would charge you for one.  

 

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We’ve got the new Lithium batteries and heat pad set up. As we’ve spent several nights in areas where temperatures have been mid to low 30s I’ve been watching our battery temps on the Lifeblue App with interest. Despite the low night time temps, as well as days in the 40s, low 50s, the batteries say they are quite warm... mid 50s to 60s. In fact, when I opened the battery box one morning it was quite warm in there..

Dont know where the heat is coming from.. much warmer in that compartment than the basement.. 

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Mark & Deb..2020 Elite II..Dearie..Hull #685..2016 Tundra

 

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52 minutes ago, Mcb said:

We’ve got the new Lithium batteries and heat pad set up. As we’ve spent several nights in areas where temperatures have been mid to low 30s I’ve been watching our battery temps on the Lifeblue App with interest. Despite the low night time temps, as well as days in the 40s, low 50s, the batteries say they are quite warm... mid 50s to 60s. In fact, when I opened the battery box one morning it was quite warm in there..

Dont know where the heat is coming from.. much warmer in that compartment than the basement.. 

Mcb, great call out!  I have also noticed that the battery compartment is warm on it's own.  I've had my Ollie set up in simulated boondocking mode (using furnace only) and last night was our first sort of cold night.  The temp right now outside is 28F.  As I collect more data I can give more detail about how temps are changing relative to each other (which will be very important), but for now here are some averages I've collected for the past 24 hours:

Outside: 41.2F, Inside Cabin: 65.9F, Street-side Basement: 55.2F, Curb-side Basement: 63.1F, Battery Compartment: 62.7

So it looks like my Lithiums are staying kinda warm too - and I HAVE NOT sealed the vents and insulated the outside panel yet!  

Disclaimer:  I know all Olivers are going to be different, especially year to year, so your mileage may vary.  😏

 

Edited by NCeagle
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I've read that the lithiums will produce a bit of heat on their own, but I think that's only while they're being used.  I suspect though that most of the heat in the box that you're seeing is coming from the rest of the trailer.  To test, I just went out and checked some temps in and around my unoccupied trailer with an infrared thermometer and every reading inside and out was within a half of a degree (34.2° - 34.7°), with the exception of one positive terminal on one of the batteries, which was 2.5° higher for some reason (37.2° - the terminal the trailer is connected to).  The sun hasn't hit the trailer or panels yet, but the display is showing just a few watts from the solar from ambient light.

I think the main issue with charging while cold isn't while the trailer is in use, but rather while in storage.  I don't think that you'd want to plug in a trailer with lithiums in freezing temps when it's empty and the heat is off.  Same for letting the panels charge in full sun.  Of course, with Battleborns or the LifeBlue, the batteries should prevent that charge from happening even if you did inadvertently try to charge them.  I'd love to see some confirmation that the Victrons will do the same.  

edit - actually, will the LifeBlue batteries stop a charge, or are they dependent on the (Oliver inactivated) heating system to keep them in a chargeable state?

Edited by Overland
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26 minutes ago, Overland said:

actually, will the LifeBlue batteries stop a charge, or are they dependent on the (Oliver inactivated) heating system to keep them in a chargeable state

This is pretty important to know for owners of the new Oliver system.  It could make for a bad camping trip if heating pad ever failed and the batteries get charged when they are cold.  Hopefully the internal BMS will prevent this from occurring.

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That's a great question (again) because the situation has changed.  In a past post with @LiFeBlueBattery(Larry), the design was that when the internal battery temp was below 32F the current coming in was redirected to the heating pads.  Meanwhile, the battery BMS keeps "cycling" until the temp is high enough and then it starts accepting charge.  With the auto-warming now disabled and the manual heating pad, I'm not sure where any charge current would go.  Hopefully the battery has an internal cutoff.  I'll send an email to LifeBlue Larry and ask.  I want to know now.

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1 hour ago, NCeagle said:

That's a great question (again) because the situation has changed.  In a past post with @LiFeBlueBattery(Larry), the design was that when the internal battery temp was below 32F the current coming in was redirected to the heating pads.  Meanwhile, the battery BMS keeps "cycling" until the temp is high enough and then it starts accepting charge.  With the auto-warming now disabled and the manual heating pad, I'm not sure where any charge current would go.  Hopefully the battery has an internal cutoff.  I'll send an email to LifeBlue Larry and ask.  I want to know now.

Hi John and Anita,

All LiFeBlue Battery models have low temperature charge protection. Oliver is currently using our Standard battery. If the cell temperature is below the protection temperature threshold, the BMS will do one of two things: 1) If the charge current entering the battery is 0.05C or less,  the BMS will pass current to the cells. For the 200AH batteries, that is 10 Amps per battery. This low current is not harmful. 2) If the current exceeds 0.05C, charge current is blocked until the release temperature is reached. 

Any charge or discharge current will produce some heat in the battery, primarily from the FET's on the BMS.

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Larry Crutcher, GM
LiFeBlue Battery

sales@lifebluebattery.com

(920) LiFePO4
(920) 543-3764

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