Just Browsing Problems with Lithium Batteries in Van

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
993
857
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#4
21 mins bit long for me, is there a mini tube version.....
Unfortunately no @Drover! However, it is worth the time to view the complete version as it covers what he and the suppliers did on their own testing. Fortunately for the owner, the suppliers provided a FULL refund because they were one of the parties that told him that lithium batteries would do the job on simple change-over. Also, this guy had the funds to upgrade all his charging systems to meet the suppliers conditions and still they failed.

If you or anyone is thinking of using lithium batteries in their van, even if you think you have all bases covered for charging and discharging, you need to watch this and make up your own mind.

If using lithium batteries at present, your comments and own experiences would be interesting to compare with these results. Although this guy has all the latest electrical equipment to monitor his electrical system, he still thinks he can run down 2 X 100ah AGMs (connected in parallel - total 200ah ) to 50% (use 100ah all the time before recharginging!) and get full recharge power. Perhaps possible with lithium but not with AGMs or Gel!!

And as you say @Drover, the "KISS" principal does not cause as much problem and is far, far cheaper. Tread your own path on this report. Cheers.
 
Last edited:

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,823
14,857
113
QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#5
Now you have me intrigued so will have to find time in my busy retirement schedule .........

OKay, I watched it @Boots in Action poor bustard spending all that money to find that out, bit concerning that he still believes he can run his batteries down so far, I much prefer panic at 50% and try to stray around 75% then things a happier I reckon, no matter what the blurb says...........................I've never dug into lithiums too deep myself as way beyond my piggy bank, certainly an eye opener about the charging regime though.
.
I have an old mate who has been into batteries for donkeys and now retired has loaded his rig up with 740w of panels to fire up his 700ah of lithiums to run his 3500w (might be bigger) inverter as he's a coffee nut and has a few other 240v thingys, it has run perfectly for quite a few years now, I do know I took one look at the wiring and knew there was no way I could afford the cable let alone batteries, he reckons they just tick over but then he is the expert so didn't have to rely on others............. I might have to catch up with him and see how things are with his power station.
 
Last edited:

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
993
857
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#6
Now you have me intrigued so will have to find time in my busy retirement schedule .........

OKay, I watched it @Boots in Action poor bustard spending all that money to find that out, bit concerning that he still believes he can run his batteries down so far, I much prefer panic at 50% and try to stray around 75% then things a happier I reckon, no matter what the blurb says...........................I've never dug into lithiums too deep myself as way beyond my piggy bank, certainly an eye opener about the charging regime though.
.
I have an old mate who has been into batteries for donkeys and now retired has loaded his rig up with 740w of panels to fire up his 700ah of lithiums to run his 3500w (might be bigger) inverter as he's a coffee nut and has a few other 240v thingys, it has run perfectly for quite a few years now, I do know I took one look at the wiring and knew there was no way I could afford the cable let alone batteries, he reckons they just tick over but then he is the expert so didn't have to rely on others............. I might have to catch up with him and see how things are with his power station.
Glad you found the time to read the complete story @Drover. I am with you on your first paragraph. It makes me wonder what or why this guy had so much problem when he had all the "experts in the world" breathing down his neck to see what was going on - and also to save their own necks too probably! And he did spend a lot of money, probably at the suggestions of the "experts".
If your mate did NOT have problems (yes, he was a real " tech head" obviously!!) but he was in complete control of the electrics in his rig and knew how to use it - not mis-use it!!. Perhaps this guy in the video did not have the have the "smarts" to comprehend the very complicated arrangements and limitations? Did he just do his "own thing" with the system and disregard any advice provided to him? All he could do then was provide readings he did not understand and complain about his failures. Who knows the real story??
 
Likes: Drover

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
1,027
1,681
113
66
Mount Waverley, VIC
#7
Hi,
with regard to discharging AGM / GEL batteries.

According to the data sheet for my Ritar RA12-100DG 89Ah GEL battery.
If discharged to 50%, you can expect the battery to be down to 60% of its rated capacity (54Ah for this case) after about 1,100 charge / discharge cycles.
If this is done on a daily basis the battery is ok for about 3 years.

If discharged to only 70%, you get about 1,800 cycles which is about 5 years, if cycled on a daily basis.

The design life of the battery if kept continuously on float is 12 years. But that would most probably be at 25C and without vibration.

cheers
Mike
 
Jan 12, 2015
50
68
18
44
Sydney
#8
Just under 2 years ago I replaced 2 x 130ah AGM batteries with a 300AH lithium pack from EV Works, also upgraded all charging and added additional solar.
For those interested the specs are as follows,
300Ah pack
500W solar wired in series
Victron 150/35 MMPT
Enerdrive 1800 Epro Combi inverter/charger
Enerdrive DC2DC charger

I have tested the car connected providing 35amps, the solar providing 28 amps and the Combi providing 60amps for total of 123amps concurrent charge with the battery taking all of it no problem. Tested microwave drawing 140amps with minimal voltage drop for 8 minutes operation.

when camping running everything from tv, lights, compressor fridge, chargers etc the lowest state of charge was 69% in the morning and just after lunch with sun the battery is 100% again.

no lead batteries will do that. Do it right and not with cheap products/components and it can’t be beat for performance

edit: I sourced all the components and self installed, including wiring etc if that helps
 

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
1,027
1,681
113
66
Mount Waverley, VIC
#9
That is an impressive installation. Do you happen to remember what it cost for each of the major items?

300Ah pack
500W solar wired in series
Victron 150/35 MMPT
Enerdrive 1800 Epro Combi inverter/charger
Enerdrive DC2DC charger

cheers
Mike
 
Jan 12, 2015
50
68
18
44
Sydney
#10
Hi Mike,

Cant remember exact figures,

Battery $2100
Solar is 5x100 watt panels $140 each
solar Reg $450
Inverter / charger $2000
DC2DC $ 400
Cable, fuses etc $600

havent got a current photo, attached is one when build was close to complete with a smaller 100/30 instead of the 150/35
 

Attachments

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
1,027
1,681
113
66
Mount Waverley, VIC
#11
Just had a closer look. Is it correct that you have a 24V system. It seems like a UPS with a 24V battery with solar and car chargers. If so, how do you power any 12V devices in your van?

cheers
Mike
 

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
1,027
1,681
113
66
Mount Waverley, VIC
#13
It’s all 12v mate, you must be looking at the wrong specs.
Too late at night. I looked at the specs for the Enerdrive 1800 Epro Combi inverter/charger and came to the conclusion that it was for 24V and that it was the 1600 that was for 12V. Then I looked at two lithium batteries in series and assumed each was 12V.

I have a mate living permanently off grid and I just sent him the Enerdrive link.

cheers
Mike
 

Boots in Action

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2017
993
857
93
Ferny Grove, Queensland
#15
Just under 2 years ago I replaced 2 x 130ah AGM batteries with a 300AH lithium pack from EV Works, also upgraded all charging and added additional solar.
For those interested the specs are as follows,
300Ah pack
500W solar wired in series
Victron 150/35 MMPT
Enerdrive 1800 Epro Combi inverter/charger
Enerdrive DC2DC charger

I have tested the car connected providing 35amps, the solar providing 28 amps and the Combi providing 60amps for total of 123amps concurrent charge with the battery taking all of it no problem. Tested microwave drawing 140amps with minimal voltage drop for 8 minutes operation.

when camping running everything from tv, lights, compressor fridge, chargers etc the lowest state of charge was 69% in the morning and just after lunch with sun the battery is 100% again.

no lead batteries will do that. Do it right and not with cheap products/components and it can’t be beat for performance

edit: I sourced all the components and self installed, including wiring etc if that helps
Thanks @stucati for all that info. More like the results I would expect too. Although this guy states that he had all the right gear, maybe the connections were not optimum. Or more likely, he pushed the boundaries of the system beyond its capacity. ANY system will fail if pushed (misused?) far enough!!
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
5,438
11,534
113
Mentone, VIC
#16
Hi Mike,

Cant remember exact figures,

Battery $2100
Solar is 5x100 watt panels $140 each
solar Reg $450
Inverter / charger $2000
DC2DC $ 400
Cable, fuses etc $600

havent got a current photo, attached is one when build was close to complete with a smaller 100/30 instead of the 150/35
Im guessing your an enthusiast with the lithium battery field. Those prices would make my toes curl. Ive got 2 x 120agms, 600w cheap chinese panels on the roof, and a couple of cheap blankets, chinese 2.5kW inverter ... plus a generator. We've never run out of power off grid, and i just couldnt justify that kind of cost to provide the same outcome ... maybe way way down the track some time.
 
Jan 12, 2015
50
68
18
44
Sydney
#17
Im guessing your an enthusiast with the lithium battery field. Those prices would make my toes curl. Ive got 2 x 120agms, 600w cheap chinese panels on the roof, and a couple of cheap blankets, chinese 2.5kW inverter ... plus a generator. We've never run out of power off grid, and i just couldnt justify that kind of cost to provide the same outcome ... maybe way way down the track some time.
‘it’s like comparing a hyundai to a bmw, they both get you from A to B, but in different ways. i Don’t carry a generator as we don’t need it.

the attached photo is at at 9.00am this morning, 45 mins later we were at 100% state of charge. Won’t do that with lead
 

Attachments

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
5,438
11,534
113
Mentone, VIC
#18
‘it’s like comparing a hyundai to a bmw, they both get you from A to B, but in different ways. i Don’t carry a generator as we don’t need it.

the attached photo is at at 9.00am this morning, 45 mins later we were at 100% state of charge. Won’t do that with lead
Caravaning is a compromise in almost every aspect, space, water, fridge, heating, cooking and the list goes on. The Hyundai/BMW analogy is kinda my point, and we're all kinda just driving either car to get some milk and the vehicle performance is largely irrelevant ... the outcome is identical and on that basis could be argued the Hyundai is the more appropriate choice for most people. The BMW is arguable a better drive, but its capability is largely wasted.

Its all about weight and unit capacity and i can certainly see the benefit but the cost is prohibitive and the outcomes insignifucant at this point for most people. I would expect we are pretty typical freecampers and the old system is still more than we require. We originally travelled for more than a year with a single 150w panel on the van, only struggling twice for a total of a handful of days. We are what i would describe as power hogs, we have satellite tv, xbox and a host of 12v devices but the single 150w served us very well, so the 600w i now have is a massive overkill

Interesting point on the panel output. I have a Victron MPPT reg so why would that output not go into my AGM batteries.
 
Jan 12, 2015
50
68
18
44
Sydney
#19
i don’t disagree, my point is if you have the means lithium systems are fantastic. We consume power heavily also and I had the means to install the system I have. Is it for everybody no, it’s a large investment and requires good technical knowledge or you will pay even more for a good reliable system.

My point about about solar input is we can stay in bulk until the battery is full, it’s doesn’t take hours of absorption of reach 100%. My previous AGM batteries would take all day to reach 100% due to the charging nature of that chemistry.

My setup never gets below 70% state of charge, so it’s overkill off course, but why not it’s the Australian way!
 

mikerezny

Well-Known Member
Sep 11, 2016
1,027
1,681
113
66
Mount Waverley, VIC
#20
Actually, compared to the total cost of a van and vehicle, the lithium system is not a large percentage. It is not hard to spend upwards of $100k, so $6k is not that much extra. Actually less since it would cost around $2k for an AGM equivalent. So only $4k extra. (very rough estimates).

Given that, currently, managing power for off-grid camping can be quite problematic, spending that sort of money to get a very reliable and light system would certainly improve the camping experience for many.

Our setup is $20k for car and $22k for the Penguin, total $42k. However, I still think that one day I "might" toss the three-way fridge and replace it with a compressor fridge and solar/batteries to feed it. So, I have found this discussion to be very interesting.

cheers
Mike