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Starting a Lithium Upgrade


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I'm starting a Lithium upgrade on a 2019 Elite II Hull 505 - I've reviewed many other posts and projects (thanks for your postings) and decided to start this one to document my project to install new Lithionics batteries.  Comments from those of you with experience very welcome:

Overview:  Lithium Upgrade Project:  

Reason I'm upgrading:

My 4 AGM's finally died this spring.
I've got some time now to do this project now before a 9 month road trip later this year.

 

There are three ways that batteries get charged in hull 505:  
1) From Alternator/7PIN
2) From AC Shore Power
3) From Solar:

image.thumb.png.5db9817dcd740c64871243f3ae898d30.png

1) Alternator or DC/DC CHARGING: 
    Our Oliver's batteries get charged through the 7 pin connector while driving.  
    This is considered Alternator Charging or DC/DC charging.
    For Lead Acid Chemistry this charging method works fine as the amount of current drawn by AGM's or WET Lead Acid's is relatively low because they have higher internal resistance.
    Many of you know that you can't rely on that 7 pin connection to fully re-charge your batteries but they can keep them from declining.
    Hull 505 was built with a 20A breaker in this 7 Pin line to protect the wiring and Tow Vehicle alternator.
    For Lithium batteries with very low internal impedance this current draw can be many time higher, and result in overloading the tow vehicle alternator or cause wiring overloads. 
    To make charging more consistent and protect the alternator a DC/DC charger is the preferred choice for LI batteries.
    My Plan:  I will be adding a Victron DC/DC 30A Charger on board the Oliver.

 Installation Research and feedback from Oliver Service says that I need to:

  • Carefully inspect the existing 7 pin wiring and do load calculations.  
  • Worst case I'll be running a new pair of dedicated 6 AWB charging wires from engine bay of Truck all the way back to the DC/DC charger.
  • Figure out my location to mount for the Victron DC/DC charger. Must be near the batteries and have some cooling space and dissipation plate under the charger.
  • Run new 6AWG wires from my Truck Engine Bay all the way back to an Anderson Connector on the Rear Bumper of my truck.
  • On the Oliver, run 6AWG wires back into the same bay as the DC/DC charger.

 

2) AC Shore Power Charging - Upgrade to Xantrex XC 2000 Pro Inverter/Charger - provides 100A Battery Charging

    In my specific hull 505 I have a Progressive Dynamics 4000 load center.  This houses the AC Breakers, DC Fuses and a converter section for battery charging.
    In my PD4000 there is a PD 4065 Converter section (65A) with Lithium Jumper for Battery Charging. 
    In normal operation that charger is set to WIZ (or Lead Acid) position and it follows a profile that's perfect for lead acid batteries and AGM's.
    If I move the switch (or jumper) to the LI position, it now has a constant output at 14.6V which is OK for Lithium but not optimum for the Lithionics batteries.
    Lithionics prefers that I use another charger with a programmable LI profile.
    My Plan: I'm upgrading my current PD converter charger and separate Prosine 2000W inverter to an integrate  Xantrex XC2000 Pro  Charger/Inverter.
                   Note: I don't plan on running my AC off the batteries so the 2000W inverter is plenty for my needs. In the Platinum Package Oliver installs the XC3000.

 

 Installation Research and feedback from Oliver Service says that I need to

  • Disconnect the existing PD4065  converter charging leads that go to the batteries and tape them up.  
  • Leave the charger block in the PD4000 load center cage  - just in case I need to downgrade later back to AGM's.
  • Remove the existing 2000W Inverter and Auto Transfer switch.
    (The load and AC wires go back into the new XC2000 along with the 4/0 B+ and GND leads)
    • Mounting issue: I'll need to figure out how to attach the new inverter to the same spot under the street side bed. 


3) Solar Charging  - No Change at this time

   In my Hull 505, I have a Zamp 30A PWM Solar Controller.  
   This controller isn't as efficient as an MPPT controller, but it is already installed and works.  
   In keeping this first install simple, I'm leaving that in place.
   My Plan:  I'll be leaving Zamp 30A Charger in place for now, and will upgrade to a higher power MPPT controller in the future along with more solar panels.

 Installation Research and feedback from Lithionics says that I need to:

  • Install a breaker on the solar + line so I can Isolate from batteries.

 

4) Decluttering the battery box -
    It looks like many of you have moved all the loads and negatives to common bus bars as a way to declutter the battery box area.
    I want to do the same...I've read the posts so far but wonder what's been the most difficult part of those change overs?
    I plan to wire in a cutoff switche for the main B+ power (Big Red Knob) and a breaker for the Solar Inputs so I can cut all power for winter LI battery storage.

 

Comments welcome before I get to the start line.

 

Craig

Hull 505

 

Edited by Galway Girl
Updated Diagram
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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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Posted (edited)

Galway Girl, I  split your post to a new topic, so that you get your own comments.

Good luck with the upgrade. We'll look forward to your progress !

Edited by SeaDawg
Typo

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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We bought our 2020 Elite II with LifeBlue Lithiums, so I can't comment on an upgrade, but I can comment on things I've learned that you may want to consider in your "design". 

1.  Temperature control:  the Lithiums like to be at room temperature (+/- 20F).  OTT installs a heating mat custom made for super-cold conditions.  I know a lot of owners with Lithium, including myself, have sealed off the battery box vents and insulated the door.  Conditioned air is also something to consider.  @John E Davieshas vented and installed a computer fan to help with temperatures in his battery box.  I took a different approach and decided to keep the battery box air tight and tie it in directly with the cabin conditioned air using a dedicated 4" smart fan and ducts.  

2.  A charger that has either software control or an easy to access cutoff between the charger and the batteries.  Lithiums don't like to be topped off and kept at 100%, so I have found that I do a lot of shorter charge cycles like from 50% to 85% or so.  Turning the charger off / on may be something you find you would like to do more often than you have in the past, so easy access is very nice to have.  

Good luck - I'm sure you will get lots of great advice and help from other members that have just done the actual upgrade!

John

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John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

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

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, NCeagle said:

Lithiums don't like to be topped off and kept at 100%

John -- So  having the ability to turn on or off the charger is useful...and that I should let the lithiums drain down further before recharging.
Does that mean while connected to shore power I should turn off the Xantrex 2000XC Pro charger until the batteries are down to 50% ?

FYI: 

The batteries I'm using come from Lithionics and are internally heated with embedded wireless BT monitors.
They also have integrated ON/OFF switch for cutoff of power for safety and storage.
They are now being offered by Oliver as part of their new Lithium Platinum Package.
Attached is the full data sheet on the Lithionics GTX 315A battery.

Two of these batteries will perfectly fit into the existing Battery Tray.
Based on the dimensions, and Oliver testing they have ~1/2" space each side for spacer blocks to keep batteries tightly secured along with the strap system.
Once I get the batteries in hand I'll be doing a set of schematic drawings. 
I'll be taking pictures of tear out, and reinstall and any other mods I need to make along the way.

I'll also be adding a Xantrex XC 2000 Pro - Inverter Charger with BT Monitor/control panel.

 

1339944375_ScreenShot2021-03-30at10_36_46AM.thumb.png.41538243e9cc1ef84a4f8cb9a9283e47.png

 

 

**********   Picture and text below from the Oliver Website including the picture of batteries in the existing tray *****************

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/travel-trailers/legacy-elite-2/upgrades-add-ons/

The 2022 Oliver Lithium Platinum Package includes... 
- 630 AH Lithium Batteries Package (2 Lithionics GTX315A)
- 340 Watt Solar Package with Charge Controller (Zamp PWM Controller)
- 3000 Watt Inverter - Xantrex XC 3000 Pro
- Micro-Air soft start capacitor for the A/C

 

 

 

GTX12V315A-E2107-CS200-R7.pdf

 

 

 

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Edited by Galway Girl
removed duplicate image
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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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May I recommend the Victron MultiPlus over the Xantrex?  It's less than $300 more and will give you a true hybrid inverter/charger, 3000 watts, and would cover the biggest expense in creating a full Victron network, with all the bells and whistles that entails.  

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Snowball • The world's only spherical Ollie

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Galway Girl said:

I've read the posts so far but wonder what's been the most difficult part of those change overs?

Just getting everything in your head so you're not drowning in a sea of wiring connections.  

Q: Are you buying the batteries directly from Lithionics or through Oliver?  I didn't think that Lithionics would sell to the public.  May I ask how much?

Edited by Overland

Snowball • The world's only spherical Ollie

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Posted (edited)

I'm working with Oliver and Lithionics.  
Lithionics doesn't sell direct to consumers.
Xantrex is used because that's what Oliver Factory is using and supported by Lithionics.
 

Edited by Galway Girl

2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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2 hours ago, Galway Girl said:

John -- So  having the ability to turn on or off the charger is useful...and that I should let the lithiums drain down further before recharging.
Does that mean while connected to shore power I should turn off the Xantrex 2000XC Pro charger until the batteries are down to 50% ?

Yes, when connected to shore power, that's exactly what I do - I turn off the charger at 80% or so and back on at 50% - which is several days since there's primarily lights and fans draining the batteries slowly.  I figured out how to use the Xantrex 3000 software to turn the charger off and on.  I know the BMS protects the batteries from overcharge, but being full all the time does stress the cells as well.  If I know I'll be dry camping, I will top the batteries off, but I'll not keep the charger on (including solar) when they get back to 100%.  I'm not sure if any of this will increase the longevity of the batteries significantly, but I don't mind doing it so far.  Time will tell.

 

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John and Anita

2020 Oliver Elite II, Hull 688

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

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/30/2021 at 4:14 PM, NCeagle said:

Yes, when connected to shore power, that's exactly what I do - I turn off the charger at 80% or so and back on at 50% - which is several days since there's primarily lights and fans draining the batteries slowly.  I figured out how to use the Xantrex 3000 software to turn the charger off and on.  I know the BMS protects the batteries from overcharge, but being full all the time does stress the cells as well.  If I know I'll be dry camping, I will top the batteries off, but I'll not keep the charger on (including solar) when they get back to 100%.  I'm not sure if any of this will increase the longevity of the batteries significantly, but I don't mind doing it so far.  Time will tell.

 

NCeagle

I like the idea of turning off the charger while still being on shore power. Could you share how you used the Xantrex software to turn the charger off and on. I have the 3000 watt inverter/charger with the Lithionics batteries. I downloaded the Xantrex app today, but did not see anything obvious in the settings to turn the charger off. Thank you

Alan & Judy

Strawberry Plains, TN

2021 Oliver Elite II 

2021 GMC 1500 3.0 Diesel

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Posted (edited)

Alan,

NCEagle (John)  found a slick use of a SW feature and sent this to me earlier in a PM when I asked that same question:

 

"... I use the software switch called "Charger Ignition Control".  If "auto-on" the charger won't work without a car ignition - which the Ollie doesn't have so the charger is off when that switch is on.  Conversely, when the ignition control switch is set to "off" the charger will charge the battery whenever it has the power to do so."

 

 

Craig

 

Edited by Galway Girl
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2019 Elite II (Hull 505 - Galway Girl - August 7, 2019 Delivery) 
Tow Vehicle: 2021 F350 King Ranch, FX4, MaxTow Package, 10 Speed, 3.55 Rear Axle
BLOG:  https://4-ever-hitched.com

 

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Craig,

I had noticed this setting in the app, John's repurpose does offer a great feature. I will give it a try in the morning.

Thank you,

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Alan & Judy

Strawberry Plains, TN

2021 Oliver Elite II 

2021 GMC 1500 3.0 Diesel

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