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Lithium Upgrade by the Numbers


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Hi everyone, I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Brian McCord.  My wife and I just purchased #215.  Super excited to be officially in the mix!

 

One of our first agenda points is to remove the mostly non-functional AGMs, and to get a basic LiFePo equivalent system underway. I've read through the other threads, and feel like I'm ready to take this on...

 

Thinking to outfit as follows:

Batteries:  2) 100AH Battleborn, with the likelihood of a third in the next year or so.

Solar: MPPT Zamp upgrade from original 2017 unit

Charger (DC):  Remove/bypass existing charger, use Xantrex 2000 watt inverter/charger (to replace original inverter already installed)

Monitor: Victron Smart shunt, possible expansion in future

 

Am I missing anything?  Guidance and wisdom most greatly appreciated!

 

Kind Regards from Southeast Tennessee!

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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on finding #215. Looks like a really nice unit!

If you search the phrases "lithium upgrade" and "lithium install", you'll find a lot of info, which will in turn trigger lots more questions,  I'm sure! So many people have swapped out to lithium in the past few years. I'm not yet one of them, as our agms probably have another year or to of life. (I hope.)

Here's one thread to start with:

Are the agms in the 2017 not holding a charge? 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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1 hour ago, River Rat said:

...Solar: MPPT Zamp upgrade from original 2017...

i agree that you should swap to a MPPT controller but I don’t believe Zamp makes one. All I’ve ever seen from them are PWM’s. 

We have a Blue Sky system with the IPN-Pro display. It will tell you far more information than you will likely ever need. It has worked flawlessly for us in The Outlaw Oliver for over 8 years. 
 

 

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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I have upgraded to 4) 100AH Battleborn, and also added Victron Smart shunt. I kept all other factory installed charging components only switching them to LiFePo. 

 We had spent the last two weeks of April in Utah and Colorado with out ever being hooked up to shore power. We had to use the furnace every night and used inverter for coffee pot every morning and some use of microwave. I was happy to see that my batteries were always at 100 percent after a short time of solar charge. So at this point I am not planing on up grading my charging components, time will tell. 

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35 minutes ago, ScubaRx said:

i agree that you should swap to a MPPT controller but I don’t believe Zamp makes one. All I’ve ever seen from them are PWM’s.

@ScubaRx, yes you're right... I looked at the Zamp units, and see they include a setting for Lithium, but are in fact PWM units.  My mistake.  Am I then best served to remove the Zamp display from 215?  A pretty big hole to fill if I do.  Hopefully not a necessary step to take.  Thoughts/comments welcomed here.

 

I appreciate the feedback on your BlueSea unit.  I'll also check them out!

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39 minutes ago, Minnesota Oli said:

I kept all other factory installed charging components only switching them to LiFePo.

Hey Minnesota Oli, thanks for this!

 

You mean to say I don't NEED to change my inverter?  Somehow I presumed i had to go w/ pure sine wave when converting.... can't explain the rationale that made me arrive at this conclusion, but this is, indeed, great news for my dusty wallet:)

1 hour ago, SeaDawg said:

Are the agms in the 2017 not holding a charge? 

@SeaDawg, these poor AGMs are badly swolen, and no longer keep a charge for >15 minutes or so. Yikes!

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If  truly after a basic upgrade, I'd skip the solar controller and inverter upgrades for now. Just remove the Progressive converter section and wire in something like a Victron 30 amp Blue Smart charger that has a true Li-ion charging algorithm.  You'll save a lot of wiring and needless equipment replacement and may find your requirements will change.   

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13 minutes ago, River Rat said:

Hey Minnesota Oli, thanks for this!

 

You mean to say I don't NEED to change my inverter?  Somehow I presumed i had to go w/ pure sine wave when converting.... can't explain the rationale that made me arrive at this conclusion, but this is, indeed, great news for my dusty wallet:)

@SeaDawg, these poor AGMs are badly swolen, and no longer keep a charge for >15 minutes or so. Yikes!

I have all the stock charge controllers, the Zamp ZS-30A solar charger does have as selectable battery type on the display panel with LiFePO4 as a option. Battle Born did advised me to disconnect the temperature probe from the Zamp solar controller. The Progressive Dynamics Power Center charger has a selectable jumper on the board that needs to be put LiFePO4. The stock inverter only takes DC and converts to AC nothing to do with charging.

Paul

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Your early hull requires a new board if you want to use your Progressive Dynamics converter, unless a previous owner already replaced it with a “lithium capable” one.

I really like the Victron MPPT solar units because they are smart and will network with the Smart Shunt, so you can see both on the same great app. While the temp probe is not used for charging, it is indeed very useful for keeping track of the temperature inside the battery box. Yes you will have a big hole above the radio when you remove the Zamp, I mounted an iPad Mini there.

E9F3C6D3-A54E-43BB-BD4F-01C7222AD034.jpeg.ba5422bdb1b238db7140c05e996a5e02.jpeg

Keep the 2000 watt inverter you already have, it will work fine as long as you have another source for charging, using the PD unit. I dislike having all your eggs in one basket - with an inverter/ charger, if it fails you lose your shore power charging AND your inverter capability. My experience with the inverter in my trailer is that they are not very robust.

When you change to lithiums you lose the ability to get a complete charge from the tow vehicle, some truck makes are worse than others. If this matters to you (and it should IMHO) then you must install something like a Redarc DC to DC 11 amp Charger inside the Ollie, or make expensive mods to the TV itself. Some modern trucks with smart alternators and or hybrid assist have issues with current draining back into the truck when parked, and they need a device to isolate the two systems.

Look at my solar threads if you haven't already.

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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If your agms are swollen, you may want to replace the charger, anyway. Or, at least check that the settings are correct. Sounds like those batteries may have been overcharged. 

I personally wouldn't go to the expense and trouble of a redarc, for two batteries. Your solar should keep them charged, while driving, if you have any kind of decent weather. (Really nice for a bigger installation, but would add a lot of cost and time to your "simple" upgrade .

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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2 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

I personally wouldn't go to the expense and trouble of a redarc, for two batteries. Your solar should keep them charged, while driving, if you have any kind of decent weather.

Agree. Just disable the 7-way charge line like Oliver does.

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28 minutes ago, bhncb said:

Agree. Just disable the 7-way charge line like Oliver does.

IMHO that is a really lame solution from the factory, it dodges the "charging while towing" issue entirely. Do they even tell the new owners this when they take delivery of their new $80,000 trailer? My guess is, probably not.... especially since they will no longer give you any wiring diagrams, just thirteen BLANK pages! It is also NOT mentioned in the lithium section of the Owners Manual!

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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Not criticizing your choice, John. You did a beautiful and innovative install, btw.

Just trying to keep it simple. With two batteries, and 340 watts of solar, which should normally charge the batteries on the road, a b2b charger is simply not necessary,  imo. We had an issue with charging from the tow vehicle for at least a couple years, til we got around to fixing it. We found it to be completely unnecessary, even with agms and 200 watts of solar.

You are much more skilled than the average Oliver owner. Not everyone can, or wants to, tackle the b2b, for minimal gain, in a small battery bank situation. 

Our solar charges our batteries on the road. And,  it's already there. KISS.

Also, not criticizing Oliver's choice to simply disable the circuit. It's probably sensible,  with today's various smart alternators.

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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5 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

Also, not criticizing Oliver's choice to simply disable the circuit. It's probably sensible,  with today's various smart alternators.

 

It’s very sensible. Without doing this, there is a (small) risk that the smart alternator (alternator{s} for those of us with heavy duty trucks) might be damaged due to constant high output along with any number of related electrical/computerized components.
 

All of us that have made switch to LiFePo’s have done this. For anyone who has not or did not know to, pull the fuse in your truck’s trailer charging system. Another issue (at least with GM trucks) is they don’t have an isolation circuit. If we don’t unplug the trailer at night the truck will spend several hours sucking juice from the trailer batteries in an effort to equalize the two sets. Anyone with a Zamp system that has not added a shunt based monitor will have never noticed the electrons escaping to the North. This may be why your battery's voltage seems lower than expected some mornings.
 

Having solar, I’ve never really seen the need for tow vehicle charging of the trailer batteries.

 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

      ALAKAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMA       ABBCMBNSYTsm.jpg

 

 

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I will add- until last month I didn't have any vehicle charge going through to the Oliver.  The fuse was bad and I didn't know until I installed a DC plug in the bed area for my ARB. So I ran around on just solar charges all last summer- if not for ever. Never had an issue.  yes it charged when on shore power. So I reckon it ain't all that bad if disconnected 

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
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In my research for the someday upgrade to lithium on the boat, (much larger battery bank than our Elite),  I  ran across this video from Victron. It tests two types of alternators charging lithium, and possible consequences. And, a short explanation of solutions, including addition of a b2b charger, as John did, at the end.

Watching that alternator smoke is a very clear visual explanation of why Oliver disconnects that charging circuit.

 

 

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Will Prowse posted this youtube this morning,  reviewing Renogy mppt controller/b2b charger.

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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