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Lithionics Winter Storage


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If the batteries (Lithionics) are turned off during long-term storage can they be left out in the cold (freezing) or should they be kept warm? Obviously the heating pad won’t work with the batteries off. Sounds like they don’t tolerate charging in cold weather. Also what do people do with solar panels? Is it possible to disable/disconnect them? Is that what the Blue Seas switch is for? 

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The Lithionics manual is in Oliver University and contains instructions for winter storage. Make sure you're referencing the correct model batteries. The larger batteries have internal heaters and different winter storage procedures. 

Current model trailers have a solar panel cutoff switch. Don't know about the older models.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

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On 10/14/2022 at 5:53 PM, aaronorange said:

Obviously the heating pad won’t work with the batteries off.

Since you apparently have an external heating pad, I infer that you have the Lithium Pro Package in your Elite II with three Lithionics 130Ah G31 batteries.

If you had the Platinum package (with internal battery heaters), you could  leave the batteries on if connected to shore power.  See the Lithionics Storage Procedure document attached below:

 But, according to that Storage Procedure, the only "safe harbor" for Lithionics batteries without the internal heater is to remove the batteries from the trailer so you can place them in a temperature-controlled environment, and follow the protocols for charge/discharge cycles, per the Storage Procedure.

Edit added on November 25, 2022:  But, Oliver is installing external battery heaters with the Lithium Pro package; it was included with ours.  And, Mike Sharpe from Oliver service has advised that "per Lithionics", where the external battery heater is installed, and turned on, you can leave the batteries in the trailer, connected to shore power, just like the batteries with internal heaters covered by the Rev. 7 storage procedure attached below.

 

Lithionics Storage Procedure Rev.7.pdf

Edited by Rivernerd
Updated information
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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

Tow Vehicle:  2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

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Thank you! That is correct ThanPro Package with three Lithionics 130Ah G31 batteries. I have shore power so I might leave a space heater inside the E2. I could also put a 120V heat pad in the battery compartment. I was told when I picked up the Oliver that all power including shore power goes through the batteries and inverter. I haven't tried running on shore power with the batteries turned off yet that's tomorrows test

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1 hour ago, aaronorange said:

I haven't tried running on shore power with the batteries turned off yet that's tomorrows test

I will be keenly interested in the results of your test.  My wife and I take delivery of our Elite II with the Lithium Pro Package on November 10.  We plan to winterize and store it in an outbuilding when we get back to Idaho in late November.

Like you, we have shore power available in the storage shed.  I would love to be able to do what the Lithionics Rev. 7 Storage Procedure instructs for their batteries with internal heaters:  leave the trailer connected to shore power and walk away for the winter.  I do not yet know if that is recommended for Lithionics batteries with external battery heaters.  If so, why does Lithionics limit their Rev. 7 winterizing instructions to batteries with internal  heaters?

For what it's worth, this is what Oliver says about the external battery heater in the Knowledge Base under the topic Electrical Systems:

"The heating pad is powered by the on board battery bank in the camper. It is controlled by the lighted switch and an ambient temperature sensor which measures the internal temperature of the battery box, not the batteries. When the switch is turned on and the internal ambient temperature falls to 35 degrees the heating pad will come on and heat up to 135 degrees until the ambient temperature reaches 45 degrees and then the pad will shut off.  Once the switch is turned on the light should come on to let you know the system is on. The power passes through the switch and into the temperature sensor that then controls when the heating pad turns on and off."

I infer from this language that the external battery heater is 12V, since it is powered by the "on board battery bank."  It is my understanding (and someone please correct me if I am wrong), that the Xantrex inverter/charger transforms incoming 120V shore power (or solar power) to the proper voltage to charge the batteries, depending on what the battery "needs" at the time--something in the 13-14+V range.   It seems intuitive to me that in cold weather, the shore power connection should keep the batteries charged if they are left on, so the batteries, in turn, can power the external battery heater, which should keep the Lithionics G31 batteries above freezing, enabling them to receive a charge.  Logically, that should be how the Lithionics 315 Ah batteries with internal heaters are kept safe, per the Lithionics Rev.7 Storage Procedure.

But, I know just enough about electrical systems, particularly the combined 120V/12V systems in an RV, to be dangerous.  So, I hope one or more of the electrically-savvy Oliver owners out there will weigh in, and correct what I have said here if I am wrong. 

I offer one other significant datum.  I emailed Lithionics yesterday asking if the external battery heater Oliver installs with the Lithium Pro Package will enable me to safely leave the three G31 batteries in the Elite II battery box connected to shore power over the winter.  Reuben, the helpful gentleman from Lithionics who called me in response to my email message, was not sure.  But he did advise that one of the KF series chargers Lithionics sells would keep the G31 batteries safe over the winter, in conjunction with the external battery heater installed by Oliver.   He recommended the KF12V20DL, which is a 20A, 12V Lithium battery charger.

I would really like to avoid removing the batteries from the trailer every year, storing them in a temperature-controlled building and running periodic charge/discharge cycles while the trailer is in winter storage.  If just connecting the trailer to shore power is not recommended, then I may buy a KF series charger from Lithionics so I can avoid having to follow the protocol detailed in the Lithionics Rev. 7 Storage Procedure.
 

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

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I’m interested in this as well, we too would prefer not to remove the batteries and just stay connected to shore power with the battery heater on. I don’t understand why you would need an external charger if you can connect to shore power. Why is staying connected to shore power not recommended? If you can plug into shore power you don’t need an external charger. 
Last winter the previous owner had the Oliver stored outside not connected to shore power with battery heater on, I’m guessing the solar kept the battery heater charged? 
There has been so many different answers about this including from lithionics I’m not sure what to do. 
It’s unsettling that the person from lithionics you spoke to didn’t know if keeping it plugged into shore power was ok but then tried to sell you a portable lithium charger! Wouldn’t shore  power charge it just the same? 
 

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4 minutes ago, Katjo said:

Wouldn’t shore  power charge it just the same? 

That is my impression as well, but it may not be that simple.  Reuben from Lithionics asked if the external battery heater runs through the inverter.  If it runs through the inverter, you would have to leave the inverter on all winter.  That could prematurely wear it out, and it's expensive to replace.  The right battery charger would be much cheaper in the long run.

When I told him I don't know how the the external battery heater is wired, he suggested asking Oliver.  I did so by submitting a service ticket.  An Oliver service tech left a voice message for me late yesterday, which I plan to return on Monday.  I will report what I learn.

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

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I would doubt that the battery heater is run via the inverter - but  - I really don't know.

Don't forget that there are other considerations such as state of charge to be concerned with.

Bill

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12 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

Don't forget that there are other considerations such as state of charge to be concerned with.

Understood.  But, Lithionics advises in its Rev. 7 Storage Procedure that their batteries with internal heaters will be fine (with no State-of-Charge concerns) if left connected to shore power during winter storage.

The Rev. 7 Storage Procedure document states:  "If your battery has the Lithionics Internal Heater, and you are subject to winter conditions, keep the battery ON, solar ON and plugged into shore power...This will keep the heater running and protect your battery. Doing this will eliminate the procedures below."   The "procedures below" include the discharge/recharge protocol, which is required when the batteries with internal heaters are removed for storage, but not when left connected to shore power.

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

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I would think that the Internal heater is not just wired through the inverter based on the storage procedure document stating “keep the battery on, solar on and plugged into shore power.” Also if I’m understanding it correctly you don’t need to discharge the batteries to 50% unless you are removing them. 

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I would contact lifeblue, if I were you. Every manufacturer seems to offer different protocols, but noone seems to  recommend constant charging for lifepo4 batteries. @Katjo

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On 10/15/2022 at 10:08 AM, Rivernerd said:

I will report what I learn.

I spoke with Mike from Oliver Service this morning.  He advised that, "according to Lithionics," the storage procedure for Lithionics batteries warmed by the external heating pad Oliver installs with the Lithium Pro Package is the same as for Lithionics batteries with internal heaters.  So, you CAN leave Lithionics G31 batteries in an Oliver connected to shore power during winter storage, so long as the red toggle switch that controls the external battery heating pad (mounted on top of one of the batteries) is left "On." 

I recommended that the Oliver Service Department publish a storage procedure for the Lithium Pro Package which addresses this issue.  I suggested it could forestall service tickets from folks who have the Lithium Pro Package and live in colder climates.

I am pleased that Lithionics has approved the simple procedure of leaving trailers with Oliver-installed external battery heaters connected to shore power during winter storage, without pulling the batteries.  But, given the nearly universal recommendation from lithium battery manufacturers to conduct a discharge/recharge cycle at least every 6 months to preserve battery life, I plan to do so once mid-winter, with the batteries still in the battery box, protected by the heating pad.  Per the Lithionics Rev. 7 Storage Procedure, I plan to fully discharge the batteries, then fully recharge, then discharge back down to about 50% State of Charge, then reconnect shore power, which will return the batteries to full charge for the balance of the winter.

If any of you electrically-savvy engineer types out there recommend a different approach, I would love to hear it.

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

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2 minutes ago, Rivernerd said:

I spoke with Mike from Oliver Service this morning.  He advised that, "according to Lithionics," the storage procedure for Lithionics batteries warmed by the external heating pad Oliver installs with the Lithium Pro Package is the same as for Lithionics batteries with internal heaters.  So, you CAN leave Lithionics G31 batteries in an Oliver connected to shore power during winter storage, so long as the red toggle switch that controls the external battery heating pad (mounted on top of one of the batteries) is left "On." 

I recommended that the Oliver Service Department publish a storage procedure for the Lithium Pro Package which addresses this issue.  I suggested it could forestall service tickets from folks who have the Lithium Pro Package and live in colder climates.

I am pleased that Lithionics has approved the simple procedure of leaving trailers with Oliver-installed external battery heaters connected to shore power during winter storage, without pulling the batteries.  But, given the nearly universal recommendation from lithium battery manufacturers to conduct a discharge/recharge cycle at least every 6 months to preserve battery life, I plan to do so once mid-winter, with the batteries still in the battery box, protected by the heating pad.  Per the Lithionics Rev. 7 Storage Procedure, I plan to fully discharge the batteries, then fully recharge, then discharge back down to about 50% State of Charge, then reconnect shore power, which will return the batteries to full charge for the balance of the winter.

If any of you electrically-savvy engineer types out there recommend a different approach, I would love to hear it.

Thank you so much for this clarification update!! 
 It would be incredibly helpful if Oliver published a winter storage guide for the lithium pro package. It definitely was unsettling to get so many different answers. 

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On 10/17/2022 at 11:49 AM, Rivernerd said:

I spoke with Mike from Oliver Service this morning.  He advised that, "according to Lithionics," the storage procedure for Lithionics batteries warmed by the external heating pad Oliver installs with the Lithium Pro Package is the same as for Lithionics batteries with internal heaters.  So, you CAN leave Lithionics G31 batteries in an Oliver connected to shore power during winter storage, so long as the red toggle switch that controls the external battery heating pad (mounted on top of one of the batteries) is left "On." 

I recommended that the Oliver Service Department publish a storage procedure for the Lithium Pro Package which addresses this issue.  I suggested it could forestall service tickets from folks who have the Lithium Pro Package and live in colder climates.

I am pleased that Lithionics has approved the simple procedure of leaving trailers with Oliver-installed external battery heaters connected to shore power during winter storage, without pulling the batteries.  But, given the nearly universal recommendation from lithium battery manufacturers to conduct a discharge/recharge cycle at least every 6 months to preserve battery life, I plan to do so once mid-winter, with the batteries still in the battery box, protected by the heating pad.  Per the Lithionics Rev. 7 Storage Procedure, I plan to fully discharge the batteries, then fully recharge, then discharge back down to about 50% State of Charge, then reconnect shore power, which will return the batteries to full charge for the balance of the winter.

If any of you electrically-savvy engineer types out there recommend a different approach, I would love to hear it.

This is really helpful information for those of us storing our Ollies with Pro package in cold environments. I was planning to remove my batteries for winter but am relieved that with shore power and the heating pad on, they can be left in place.

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26 minutes ago, DaveAndBecky_NorthernMI said:

I was planning to remove my batteries for winter but am relieved that with shore power and the heating pad on, they can be left in place.

Another option is to disconnect the solar panel current and turn off your batteries.   LiFePOH batteries can be stored for relatively long periods if put to sleep.  Consult your battery manufacturer to confirm reasonable time periods and temperature extremes.   I believe most if not all later trailer models have a solar cutoff switch  installed, and Lithionics batteries can be turned off.  I’m not sure about LifeBlue batteries.   Many of us who have upgraded to Battleborn batteries have installed battery disconnect switches.   I stored mine for 4 months last winter with temps dipping into mid 20’s, with no significant battery SOC loss.   I discussed with Battleborn Tech Support and they advised this was no problem.   The following snip is from current Battleborn owners manual…

”How to Properly Store Batteries
We recommend bringing the Battle Born batteries to a 100% state of charge. Then, disconnect the battery from any loads by removing the negative cable from one battery. On average, the batteries lose approximately 2-3% capacity per month. This is subject to increasing if stored in extreme environmental conditions.”

 

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

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Answer to my test (I haven't tried running on shore power with the batteries turned off yet that's tomorrow's test) The 12 Volt lights including the external battery heating pad stay on with the batteries turned off when connected to shore power. On another note, I have been struggling with my inverter tripping out and error code message 20. I finally figured out how to turn off the inverter. I wish the manuals  would have stated, to turn off the inverter the on/off button should be out (not pushed in) on both the inverter and remote panels. To turn it back on you only need to push in on one of the panels. Its a bit confusing because when your hooked to shore power the inverter panels are always iluminating and battreies charging. As of now, I'm planning on leaving the batteries onboard and turned on. I will make sure the battery heater is on during freezing temperatures.  

 

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Jason recommends in his 2021 walk through video to turn off the inverter when not in use.  Maybe leaving it on will wear it out sooner?

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Hull #1291

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II

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I don't have lithium batteries but I don't think that has anything to do with leaving the inverter on or off.

As a matter of course - I simply turn on my inverter on the rare occasion when I need 110 volts and turn it back off when I'm done.  I've just never seen a reason to leave it on since it does burn energy (not much) just sitting there waiting to do its inverter thing.

Bill 

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On 10/15/2022 at 1:15 AM, Rivernerd said:

Reuben, the helpful gentleman from Lithionics who called me in response to my email message, was not sure.  But he did advise that one of the KF series chargers Lithionics sells would keep the G31 batteries safe over the winter, in conjunction with the external battery heater installed by Oliver.   He recommended the KF12V20DL, which is a 20A, 12V Lithium battery charger.

I opened a case with Oliver parts asking if they carry the Lithionics KF12V20DL charger. Ryder told me they do not list this as a part that they carry. I also have sent an email to Lithionics asking about it, no response yet. Their website does list a number of "where to buy" websites. The only price I saw is $299.

2021 Elite II Twin #850 "Mojo", 2020 F250 Lariat 7.3L

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1 hour ago, MobileJoy said:

I opened a case with Oliver parts asking if they carry the Lithionics KF12V20DL charger. Ryder told me they do not list this as a part that they carry. I also have sent an email to Lithionics asking about it, no response yet. Their website does list a number of "where to buy" websites. The only price I saw is $299.

There is no need to spend $300 (!!!) on a Lithionics charger, any name brand lithium capable one will do, I personally would steer well clear of any $50 no-name Chinese clone. I would pick this

EA76B82C-E8CB-4C14-9BB5-88F6736AB274.thumb.jpeg.0f7d8c2ebf745eb13d3eb486b7e8a357.jpeg

Guide: …. Blue Smart Charger

 

John Davies

Spokane WA

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