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Simple AGM to Lithium Conversion question(s)


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Hull #069 - 2015 Elite II with BlueSky Solar and IPN Remote ... am considering changing over to Lithium ... Seems to be a lot of postings regarding this topic, but can't find an answer to my basic question.  Question: if I were to simply install some combination of Lithium batteries, is there anything else I would need to do or consider (I'm hoping for a simple swap-out & only minor configuration changes) ... note that I had replaced a faulty converter/charger 2 yrs ago and ensured the new one was Li capable - I can easily slide the switch from "LA" to "LI" ... I suspect I'll need to make some changes to the charging profile via the IPN Remote? (any advice on this would be appreciated).  Importantly, I just want to make sure there'll be no additional cost and/or complexity than that - I don't want to have to replace my entire Solar system, or change the Inverter, or add wiring circuits, or add "Shunts", or anything else.  My (4) AGMs are definitely gone, so I'll need to either 1) go for the upgrade to Lithium, or 2) simply replace the (4) AGMs ... thoughts? Note that I'm happy with the AGMs, but thinking now would be a good time to make the switch to Lithium (for all the reasons others have indicated in all the other posts regarding this topic). Thank you all, in advance. Cheers! -Dan

Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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If you presently have 6V batteries then they should be wired in a series and parallel configuration.  I don't remember an offerings for 6V lithium batteries so you new 12V  batteries will probably only require a parallel wiring configuration.  That should be a consideration when choosing your batteries in order to reuse the existing battery cables if they are 4/0.  I do not have any working experience the BlueSky charge controller, but I have heard great things about their technical support or perhaps someone will comment on that.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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These are the settings that Battle Born sent me to be used for the Blue Sky IPN Pro. The settings are based on my installation which consists of  3 batteries and are directly based on the Blue Sky setup procedure in the Blue Sky manual. Note the per battery settings.IMG_1606.thumb.jpeg.f5963fccc333a208111f2aa7f2c5d949.jpeg

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34 minutes ago, mountainoliver said:

These are the settings that Battle Born sent me to be used for the Blue Sky IPN Pro. The settings are based on my installation which consists of  3 batteries and are directly based on the Blue Sky setup procedure in the Blue Sky manual. Note the per battery settings.IMG_1606.thumb.jpeg.f5963fccc333a208111f2aa7f2c5d949.jpeg

These are the same settings I used when we replaced our 4 AGMs with three Battleborns, thanks to Ken!

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My original battery setup was four 6 volt batteries. When I changed my batteries to 3 Battle Born 12 volt batteries several years ago, I basically connected the batteries in parallel in order to maintain 12 volts and provide 300 amps. I did have to make two new jumper cables between batteries using 4/0 welding cable. I also used the existing 4/0 Oliver installed cable that runs between the batteries and inside the camper. I also moved the #6 cables from the batteries to inside the camper to clean up the battery box, but this is not at all necessary for changing from lead acid batteries to lithium batteries. The only other change required (besides the previously mentioned Blue Sky setup) is to make sure the PD 4045 (shore power) charger is either switched to the lithium setting or as I had to do, replaced with a charger module that is lithium capable. My setup has been working flawlessly for about four years. I almost never turn on the PD4045 charger and depend on the solar setup to keep the batteries charged. We have a compressor type fridge which is used 24/7 and the batteries are able to keep up just fine. We are careful with power consumption but use what we need. Typically when boondocking we still make coffee every morning, cook breakfast in an electric frying pan, my wife dries her hair in the morning, we watch tv at night, occasionally use the microwave, charge cell phones and laptops occasionally, and in the winter the furnace is used. Again, we are careful with our power consumption so the above list of appliances used varies greatly based on current conditions and predicted conditions. Typically while traveling in the winter in the south west the batteries are fully charged by between noon and one o’clock. I carry a 100 watt folding solar panel and a small propane powered generator just in case and have used these once or twice due to extended overcast days. 

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Thanks Fellas - exactly the kind of info I'm looking for!

I'm leaning toward a single Epoch 12v 460Ah (https://www.epochbatteries.com/products/12v-460ah-lifepo4-battery-ip67-heated-bluetooth-victron-comms ) ... a single unit so no series/parallel wiring needed - should be a straight switch of the Neg/Pos from the dual 6V series/parallel to the single Neg/Pos poles of the new Epoch (am I missing something on this?). So, no new cable should be needed and, in fact, I can do away with all of the series/parallel interconnects - will certainly make the battery compartment much neater. I can easily switch the shore power charger to LI and I'll connect with the BlueSky folks to confirm the settings (might be a bit different than with you aforementioned (3) BattleBorns?). 

Getting really excited, too, about the economics of this. 

  • (4) Trojan t-105 6V AGMs = around $1200 - $1400 for 
  • (1) Epoch 460Ah = around $2000
  • So, for me the add'l cost to upgrade to Lithium amounts to only $600 to $800 ... makes the upgrade very palatable!

One other item I've uncovered is that Charging the Lithium from the Tow Vehicle is questionable in this arrangement ... anyone with thoughts? ... worst case scenario I can disable the tow vehicle charging (remove/cut the specific wire from th7-pin?) and, in emergency, recharge using a generator?

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Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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On 1/25/2024 at 12:57 PM, drfaux said:

Thanks Fellas - exactly the kind of info I'm looking for!

One other item I've uncovered is that Charging the Lithium from the Tow Vehicle is questionable in this arrangement ... anyone with thoughts? ... worst case scenario I can disable the tow vehicle charging (remove/cut the specific wire from th7-pin?) and, in emergency, recharge using a generator?

I added a toggle switch to the charge line.  This makes it available for future use if needed.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Keep in mind that if one big battery fails you’ll be out of luck. If one or even two batteries in a three battery system fails, you can still camp with a single battery, something to consider. Also, I disconnected the charge line from my tow vehicle so have never charged the batteries while driving. Another thing I didn’t mention before is that lithium batteries like to be in a comfortable temperature range. The Battle Born batteries will work down to the low 30’s or upper 20’s degrees F and into something around 100 or so. Check out their specs. However at the extremes they will not charge. Again check out their specifications. I insulated the battery compartment door with 1/2 inch closed cell foam. Typically the battery compartment temperature is very close to the basement temperature. 

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1 hour ago, mountainoliver said:

Another thing I didn’t mention before is that lithium batteries like to be in a comfortable temperature range.

The Lithionics batteries Oliver installs have either internal self-heaters, or an external heating mat, to keep the batteries above freezing.   AGM/lead acid batteries don't need this protection.  It appears that the Epoch 460Ah battery has an internal heater, which makes it a solid value.

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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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2 hours ago, drfaux said:
  • (4) Trojan t-105 6V AGMs = around $1200 - $1400 for 
  • (1) Epoch 460Ah = around $2000

The Epoch LiFePO4 battery is a better long-term value than the Trojan AGMs.  AGM/lead acid life span is 4-7 years from date of manufacture, period.  LiFePO4 life span is more like 10 years, depending on number of discharge/recharge cycles and proper maintenance.  You should get at least twice the life from a LiFePO4 battery than from a new set of AGMs.

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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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The Battle Born batteries can also be purchased with an integrated heater. Not at all trying to sell Battle Born batteries but just as a point of reference. Of course all batteries with an integrated heater depend on the battery itself for the power necessary to run the heater. We were in the Texas blizzard three years ago (5 degrees overnight mid 20’s during the day with constant 10-15 mph winds) the battery compartment never got below 40. Of course if the camper is not occupied it will eventually get to ambient temperature. 

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mossemi -  "added a toggle switch to the charge line.  This makes in available for future use if needed "

           ... this is a great idea ... how/where did you install it? (in the tow vehicle? the camper? what type of switch - part# perhaps)

mountainoliver - "if one big battery fails you’ll be out of luck"

          ... great point - I hadn't thought about that  ... a single point of failure ... I'll have to think that thru a bit ... I would assume I could use my generator for emergency power eve if the LI battery fails ... thoughts?

mountainoliver  - "lithium batteries like to be in a comfortable temperature range" -

          ... the Epoch comes with heating.  However, I want to confirm the specs on this with the supplier - wondering if the heater work automatically (thermostat?), or if there are other considerations (I live in Pittsburgh where it gets quite chilly in the winters)

 

Thanks, again, everyone ... what a great community we have!  Cheers, -Dan

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Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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13 minutes ago, drfaux said:

mossemi -  "added a toggle switch to the charge line.  This makes in available for future use if needed "

           ... this is a great idea ... how/where did you install it? (in the tow vehicle? the camper? what type of switch - part# perhaps)

Now it's time for true confessions, dang it.  On the way to Lake Guntersville for the 2022 OTTO's rally, we stopped for groceries about 30 minutes from the campground.  While Krunch went shopping I walked around the Ollie checking tire temperatures and the Andersen WD hitch chains and noticed that the 7 pin connector was laying on the ground.  Apparently I hadn't plugged the connector in properly when hooking up the Ollie that morning.  The cord had fallen out and the outer sheathing and well as the sheathing 6 of the 7 wires inside had worn down to bare copper.  We proceeded to the campground after a tape repair job on the wires and cable.  I reached out to the Oliver Service Department while at the rally and they had service personnel scheduled to be on site and they were able to deliver a new cable to me.  I did another temporary field repair to hold me over until I reached home.  I added an outdoor rated junction box attached to the frame in the propane box and made a splice repair there, so that is where I added this toggle switch.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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mossemi - "Now it's time for true confessions, dang it ..."

     ... so, in the process of solving a failure/problem, you were able to add an improvement (the Elon Musk philosophy of rocketry!) ... I assume the switch, then, is for the TV charging circuit only, correct? (NOT for all circuits in the 7-pin) ... Assuming so, the only reason to make it "available for future use" would be if you switched your batteries back to AGMs - correct? ... I can't imagine you'd ever want to do that?

Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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And ... now ... my head is hurting again ... I'm probably overthinking things ... but  ... looking more closely and the options from Epoch

I could do either

OR ... 

... any thoughts or opinions on this?

... the 2nd option might be a bit overkill for boondocking needs with the Ollie, but would alleviate the "single-point-of-failure" issue mentioned by MountainOliver above.

Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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It is a pretty simple modification to add a DC/DC charger to a lithium battery setup, and it can be done any time in the future when it's convenient to do a one day project. 

It wires directly between the tow vehicle battery and the Lithium battery on the camper via relatively heavy wiring depending on your current settings on the charger. It does add an additional tether connection at the back of the TV from the camper. Many have added this and it provides safe and fast charging of the lithium batteries while driving. 

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4 minutes ago, drfaux said:

And ... now ... my head is hurting again ... I'm probably overthinking things ... but  ... looking more closely and the options from Epoch

I could do either

OR ... 

... any thoughts or opinions on this?

... the 2nd option might be a bit overkill for boondocking needs with the Ollie, but would alleviate the "single-point-of-failure" issue mentioned by MountainOliver above.

I personally like the simplicity of the single battery option. The odds of a single battery failure in a multiple lithium system seems unlikely. If you do something wrong that will destroy a battery, both will be effected the same. 

Besides as you said, the generator is a satisfactory backup. I like simple when it's possible. 

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What's today?............. the most frequently asked question as a retiree 🙄

Chris and Stacie Neuhaus Greenfield, Indiana

2021 Ford F350 7.3L Tremor (Redzilla)

LE2 #1373 - Ordered 10/21/22 - Delivered 05/10/23

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1 hour ago, drfaux said:

And ... now ... my head is hurting again ... I'm probably overthinking things ... but  ... looking more closely and the options from Epoch

I could do either

OR ... 

... any thoughts or opinions on this?

... the 2nd option might be a bit overkill for boondocking needs with the Ollie, but would alleviate the "single-point-of-failure" issue mentioned by MountainOliver above.

Epoch recently had the 460ah battery at $1700 and it appears they have sales on them fairly often. One advantage of the 460 model IMO is the included external battery gauge and on/off switch. If you’re looking to keep the rest of the equipment the same in your trailer the extras might be beneficial. 
 

Having said that, with the current pricing I might be tempted to buy just one 300ah battery.  It will likely provide more usable power than your current setup and is a very economical option. Many on here have gone with 3 100ah BB units and find that capacity works great. 

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3 hours ago, drfaux said:

Assuming so, the only reason to make it "available for future use" would be if you switched your batteries back to AGMs - correct? ... I can't imagine you'd ever want to do that?

As Ollie-Haus implied, the "future use" would be addition of a DC/DC charger, which enables you to take advantage of the otherwise wasted power spun off by your tow vehicle alternator.  With a DC/DC charger, you eliminate the risk that you will burn out the tow vehicle alternator (which can happen with LiFePO4 batteries, because they can pull so much power).

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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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3 hours ago, drfaux said:

mossemi - "Now it's time for true confessions, dang it ..."

     ... so, in the process of solving a failure/problem, you were able to add an improvement (the Elon Musk philosophy of rocketry!) ... I assume the switch, then, is for the TV charging circuit only, correct? (NOT for all circuits in the 7-pin) ... Assuming so, the only reason to make it "available for future use" would be if you switched your batteries back to AGMs - correct? ... I can't imagine you'd ever want to do that?

For $10 dollars, it was a no brainer!  After all, who knows what the future holds.  And you are correct, the toggle switch does disconnect only the charge wire from the tow vehicle.

Mossey

Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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17 hours ago, drfaux said:

... the 2nd option might be a bit overkill for boondocking needs with the Ollie, but would alleviate the "single-point-of-failure" issue mentioned by MountainOliver above.

I read the second option was coming. If it is now available, and two 300AH units fit in the Oliver battery bay, CERTAINLY purchase your option #2. You have the redundancy mentioned by @mountainoliver AND 600AH OMG, for only $200 more! Spend another $200 on $2000, 10% more and you can likely boondock through a WEEK of RAIN!

I'll upgrade to this Epoch solution in 1-2 years. Please continue to post along the way until you are finished. We have the same Blue Sky, since our hulls are of similar vintage. I too hope there is not much additional investment. Thanks, and best wishes, JD

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1 hour ago, jd1923 said:

If it is now available, and two 300AH units fit in the Oliver battery bay, CERTAINLY purchase your option #2.

Since 2022 Oliver has offered the Lithium Platinum Package, which provides 630 Ah of LiFePO4 battery capacity.  Some who regularly post on this forum have made that choice, and seem happy with it.

In your shoes, I would also choose to spend the extra $200 to install 600 Ah of LiFePO4 battery capacity.  I would also install a compatible 3KW inverter/charger.

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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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UPDATE: So ... I pulled the trigger today - ordered (2) Epoch 12v 300Ah batteries ... scheduled to ship on 2/15 ... all in, including PA state sales tax and shipping came to $2206 ... confirmed my current PD PD4045 Power Control Center is Li capable (will need to flip the switch), my BlueSky solar with IPN remote will work fine as it can be reconfigured for the Li (confirmed all the necessary settings) ... still need to determine the best way to disable the Tow Vehicle charging - hoping there's a fuse somewhere that'll take care of it.  Rivernerd mentioned a 3 KW inverter/charger - that would be nice but the trailer already has a Cotek 2000 watt inverter that I think will be sufficient (no need to spend the additional $)

I'll return here in late Feb to provide and update on progress and outcomes ... thanks, everyone, for your thoughts, insights, and advice.  Talk soon ...

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Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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The tow vehicle charge wire (the black wire) is attached to an automatic reset circuit breaker. This circuit breaker is located under the pantry side bed close to the battery box. At least that’s where it’s located on my 2017 hull 208. Just remove the black wire and insulate the ring terminal. I used heat shrink to insulate it. Double check that this is correct by checking for voltage at the trailer plug. Checking the correct terminal on the plug there should not be any voltage after you have disconnected the wire from the circuit breaker. Caution: do not remove the lavender or purple wire from the circuit breaker. That wire supplies voltage to the brakes through the emergency disconnect switch located at the tongue. Don’t be tempted to move the purple wire to the other terminal, you don’t want emergency brake power going through a circuit breaker!61411625760__1A700A22-2EA0-4091-9314-A19C62B9C802.thumb.jpeg.4d8cd4e021275997986f28c2b696fb73.jpeg

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Wow! ... mountainoliver - thanks for this ... I'll take a look for it tomorrow morning ... hoping mine is similar as it will make disabling TV charger very simple.  Cheers, -Dan

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Danno and Donna | Pittsburgh, PA | Hull# 069 - 2015 Ollie Elite II | 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 

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