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Replacing the PowerTron Lead Acid Wet Cell Batteries


Frank C
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The original PowerTron lead acid wet cell batteries on our Elite II have worked well for 4 years of camping now, and still take and hold a charge well, but I’m considering an upgrade.  The 4 batteries in parallel give about 100 amp-hours of usable capacity (I never go below about a 60% level when discharging).  We have no solar and no inverter.   The batteries are used only for powering the 12 volt DC items such as lights, water pump, MaxxAir ceiling fan and bathroom exhaust fan, USB ports to charge phones, etc. (fridge on propane).  I’m not looking to run the air conditioner or microwave from the batteries.  We just need the basics when we do overnight Harvest Host/boondocking stops with no hookups on the way to our destination campgrounds.  As a replacement for the old PowerTrons, I am considering upgrading to a Lithium battery, looking at the BattleBorn 270 amp-hour battery pictured below.  Still not planning to add an inverter or solar.  Just looking to gain some significant amp-hour capacity, eliminate the (minimal) maintenance of checking and adding water, and shed about 150 pounds of weight as well!  Anyone have any experience with this particular BattleBorn?

https://battlebornbatteries.com/product/battleborn-270ah-12v-lihtium-deep-cycle-8d-battery/

 

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250 SuperCab 4x4, 6.2L Flex-Fuel engine 

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

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I don’t have experience with that particular battery but I did replace my four AGMs with three 100Ah Battle Borns.  If you only do one or two nights without electricity 270Ah will be plenty.  We generally go down to 90% overnight with our batteries.  We do have solar, so we’re back up to 100% late morning with normal sun.  The weight savings is significant.  We are happy with our BB batteries.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

ALAZARCACOFLGAIDILKSKYLAMDMSMOMTNENVNMNYNCNDOHOKSCSDTNTXUTVAWVWYsm.jpgALAZARCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMS

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Making the switch to LifePO4 batteries can be stressful because of the initial cost and because they are so new.  It was for me, I can't comment on the Battle Born battery you are looking at as I have no experience with them.  I have always liked that they are made in the USA and they have come down in price considerably in the last two years. 

I don't know that the particular model you are looking at would be your best choice though.  You would probably be just as pleased with two of the 100 ah Battle Born batteries as they are over $600 less expensive than the single 270 ah model and because they are the same size as your current batteries (Group 27), you know they will fit in your battery tray exactly like your current batteries.  You will still have considerably more usable capacity than you currently have with your flooded batteries and they weigh about 20 lbs less than the single large 270 ah Battle Born.  Also, if one battery ever fails while boondocking due to a bad BMS, you still have one good battery.

Do you plan to do the conversion yourself?  If so, then it may be easier as well to go with the two 100 ah Battle Born alternative (like Mike and Carol) and since the battery posts are in similar locations so you probably can use your existing cables.  The larger Battle Born appears to have the posts at one end which may require lengthening or shortening your existing battery cables.  I do note that the Battle Born batteries don't have typical battery posts so you will likely need to re-terminate your existing cables to work with the Battle Born batteries in any case.  Minor in the scheme of things.

I wanted the lithium option when I ordered my LE II but Oliver didn't offer it so I changed out my 4 flooded batteries for LifePO4 as soon as I got back from Hohenwald over two years ago.  Being particularly cost conscious after paying for our Ollie, I went with 4 Lion Energy UT1300 105 ah batteries I bought through Costco (420 ah total for $2800).  They are Group 24 size and took less than two hours to change out and the cables only required one minor modification.  It should have taken less than an hour, but I had to run to NAPA and get a new battery post clamp as for some reason the Lion Energy batteries came with both posts sized as negative posts (in typical flooded batteries the positive post is slightly larger in diameter than the negative post).  They may have fixed that by now.

I have been using the Lion Energy batteries extensively for over two years now with no problems whatsoever (they do have an outstanding warranty).  Costco only carries them a few times each year as a special event.  They have an event going on now that expires tomorrow (Sept. 11). 

Steve

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Steve and Lornie

LE II Standard  Hull #657  2004 4Runner 4.7 L V8

Oregon

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I originally installed 2 Battleborn 100’s, which worked great.  Two or three of these 100’s fit nicely in the tray.  Last year someone posted about a blemish sale on the 100’s for $699, with full 10 year warranty.   I called Battleborn to ask about it, and the guy said “Nobody ever complains to us about having too much power”.   Good sales pitch, I bought it.   That blemished battery sale came to me in perfect condition, no blemishes.   So far 300 Ah has been overkill for our needs, we were doing just fine on 200Ah.  We have solar, but no inverter, microwave, cell or WiFi boosters.  I haven’t really measured it, but my guess is we use less than 50 Ah/day.  If I were to do it over again, I’d probably go with the 270 Gamechanger.  That would be more than enough power for us, maybe  ~5 days with no sun.   If you carry a generator, you can always charge up.   The terminals use 5/16” SS bolts,  fewer  cables and connectors, a clean install.   I like Battleborn because they are US made, excellent reputation, a good value, and 10 year warranty.   If you ever need tech or customer service, they are a pleasure to deal with.  

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250

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Thanks to all for the input.  Just double checked the dimensions of the slide out battery tray on our Oliver and neither of the BattleBorn 270 amp-hour batteries will fit in the existing battery tray.  Just a bit too long.  And I don’t want to get into changing or modifying the battery tray.  Looks like 2 of the 100 amp-hour BattleBorn batteries will be the way to go, and still give us plenty of capacity.  

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250 SuperCab 4x4, 6.2L Flex-Fuel engine 

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

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For those that made the switch from wet lead acid or AGM to lithium, did you disconnect the 12v charge wire from the 7 pin connector?    Oliver does not connect that wire on trailers with the lithium package because tow vehicle alternators cannot provide the higher charge voltage required by lithium batteries.   I plan to just open the 20 amp breaker on that line (see diagram) if I can find it.  I’ve searched all through the compartments under the dinette but haven’t found it yet.

image.thumb.jpeg.8096e06053aa5f93fc3db214362d653e.jpeg

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250 SuperCab 4x4, 6.2L Flex-Fuel engine 

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

visited-united-states-map.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Frank C said:

For those that made the switch from wet lead acid or AGM to lithium, did you disconnect the 12v charge wire from the 7 pin connector?    Oliver does not connect that wire on trailers with the lithium package because tow vehicle alternators cannot provide the higher charge voltage required by lithium batteries.   I plan to just open the 20 amp breaker on that line (see diagram) if I can find it.  I’ve searched all through the compartments under the dinette but haven’t found it yet.

On Hull 218 that breaker was a $3 automotive self resetting breaker, located on the 12 volt DC bus under the street side bed.

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I think it would be very unwise to risk damage to your truck alternator. Either disconnect that wire (and cap it) or install a DC to DC charger and enjoy the extra “juice”. This unit gives 11 amps continuously, and requires no changes to the tow vehicle, unless you have a “smart” alternator, then you would have to run a small gauge “voltage sense” wire up to the truck battery, which turns the charger on and off. I did not have to do that for my 2013 Toyota.

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https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/5270-how-to-redarc-dc-to-dc-11-amp-output-trailer-charger-installation/

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, Safari snorkel.

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41 minutes ago, Frank C said:

For those that made the switch from wet lead acid or AGM to lithium, did you disconnect the 12v charge wire from the 7 pin connector?    Oliver does not connect that wire on trailers with the lithium package because tow vehicle alternators cannot provide the higher charge voltage required by lithium batteries.   I plan to just open the 20 amp breaker on that line (see diagram) if I can find it.  I’ve searched all through the compartments under the dinette but haven’t found it yet.

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I haven’t done anything to stop charging from my truck to the trailer.  It’s been almost 2 years and a lot of miles since we replaced AGMs with lithiums.  Has there been any reported issues actually happening or is this just a wise precaution?  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | Elite II #135 | Ram 2500 6.7L

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39 minutes ago, Frank C said:

For those that made the switch from wet lead acid or AGM to lithium, did you disconnect the 12v charge wire from the 7 pin connector?

Yes I did, I capped and sealed it.   On hull #797, it was a resettable breaker just like on @John Davies.   I sent Jason Essary an email, because I wasn’t sure where the wire was located.    See the following…..

Q:  Is the 7 Pin tow connector plug charge wire connected to the batteries?  If so, where exactly  is that connection made?    I've been advised that OTT disconnects the charge wire  on the lithium solar options, but don't know that is a fact, or if it is also not connected on the standard solar packages. 
 

A:  If you ordered the camper with AGM batteries then the charge wire is connected to the auto resettable breaker under the street side bed access panel. It is the breaker to the right of the Optifuse and has a red rubber cap. One connection should be a pink wire for the safety breakaway and the black wire should be the 7-pin charge wire. If you are installing lithium then we do recommend to disconnect the charge wire but they may be dependent on the lithium batteries you get. I have had one lithium battery manufacturer tell me that they were okay leaving it connected.

In the photo attached, the breaker and terminal are shown as it came from the factory.   The breaker you are looking for is the lower one in the photo.  The upper one is the auto-reset breaker from the Zamp solar controller, which you won’t have.   FWIW I have on my future mod list the Redarc DC-DC converter that JD reported on.   So far I haven’t needed it, but I may some day.  

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250

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36 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Has there been any reported issues actually happening or is this just a wise precaution?

Good question Mike, I have not heard of any problems related to keeping the charge wire connected.    I called Battleborn during my install and asked that question.   They said they had not heard of any problems either.  I disconnected mine as a precaution, pending more information.  There is a motto amongst some Engineers  “In God We Trust, all others bring data”  😀

Attached are some quick notes I made for myself, as I quickly forget my own research.   Disclaimer to All: I am NOT an electrical expert, so please forgive any technical errors.   If you are a legitimate electrical expert, please enlighten us all with details.  

 

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250

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Watch this video: … FAQ: Can I charge my batteries using the alternator? l Battle Born Batteries

https://battlebornbatteries.com/charging-lithium-batteries-the-basics/

I personally want the TRAILER to be idiot proof and to be completely independent of any big wires or special isolation devices on the TV. Otherwise, changing TVs, such as Frank’s backup Armada (including selling the Ollie to a new owner) might end catastrophically. If you are going to the trouble to add isolators and such to your TV, you might as well string great big 4AWG cables under the truck and through the trailer and use a great big DC to DC smart lithium charger located inside the trailer. IMHO. Those are the reasons I installed the Redarc. It is a stand alone solution (except as noted above for smart alternators).

I also think that using the existing charge wire “as is” or major alterations to an in-warranty truck electrical system might result in a claim denial. Especially if they find out your trailer has lithium batteries, which they might ask….But that didn’t affect my decision at all. 

The fact that Oliver doesn’t leave that wire hooked up should serve as a big warning. How is your risk aversion level.? “Do you feel lucky punk?”  Are you willing to risk an engine bay fire?

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, Safari snorkel.

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On 9/11/2022 at 10:23 AM, Hokieman said:

I originally installed 2 Battleborn 100’s, which worked great.  Two or three of these 100’s fit nicely in the tray.  Last year someone posted about a blemish sale on the 100’s for $699, with full 10 year warranty.   I called Battleborn to ask about it, and the guy said “Nobody ever complains to us about having too much power”.   Good sales pitch, I bought it.   That blemished battery sale came to me in perfect condition, no blemishes.   So far 300 Ah has been overkill for our needs, we were doing just fine on 200Ah.  We have solar, but no inverter, microwave, cell or WiFi boosters.  I haven’t really measured it, but my guess is we use less than 50 Ah/day.  If I were to do it over again, I’d probably go with the 270 Gamechanger.  That would be more than enough power for us, maybe  ~5 days with no sun.   If you carry a generator, you can always charge up.   The terminals use 5/16” SS bolts,  fewer  cables and connectors, a clean install.   I like Battleborn because they are US made, excellent reputation, a good value, and 10 year warranty.   If you ever need tech or customer service, they are a pleasure to deal with.  

313B2AC4-19A9-4C30-879F-4A48447A898C.jpeg

Hokieman, where did you get the little blue cushioning pads that are shown under your battery buckles/straps?

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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250 SuperCab 4x4, 6.2L Flex-Fuel engine 

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

visited-united-states-map.jpg

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