Lithium Ion Power Converter

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by Dean Hendry, Nov 22, 2021.

  1. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    As others have said, many things can be run off the 12v system. It takes a bit to change thinking from plugging into a house outlet for everything to realizing there are often 12v options. In our popup, we installed a 12v "cigarette lighter" outlet, which allowed us to charge cell phones and Kindles with a USB adapter. We also have a 12v Endless Breeze fan, which uses the 12v outlet, and we have a 12v extension cord to add flexibility in placement. We did eventually go to using a free-standing storage battery for charging the small electronics, we could take it fully charged and it lasted for our use. (More on that routine below.)
    Some newer campers have USB outlets in them, and they can be added. We actually disconnected the ones on our current travel trailer though, because a) they are in about as unhandy a place a they could be, b) we never did get an answer whether they were a phantom power draw when not in use, since they step down the voltage from 12v, and c) I saw enough reports on them going bad here and on the owners groups for our Retro that we just found a substitute for dry camping (which is what we do most of the time).
    We have yet to switch to lithium. We change to dual 6v "golf cart" batteries our first full season ('15) with the Retro, and from 60 watts of Goal Zero solar panels to a Zamp 160. So far, so good, where we camp, since solar works well, and we're used to conserving. We still use the 60 watt panels, to keep a Goal Zero Yeti 150 charged I may switch to a lithium version when the battery in this one wears out. That is used to charge small electronics, and run my sound machine at night. We can use it for the fan, etc., anywhere in the campground we wish, which can be very handy. We changed out the ceiling (bathroom) fan last year to a Fantastic one, adding a pwm controller, at the suggestion of someone here. We can run it on a low to medium speed while dry camping, which certainly helps keep the air moving in warmer weather.
    There is at least one good thread on making coffee without shore power, all depends, apparently on the style of coffee one prefers. (we don't drink it, never have, but I might remember how to make it in a percolator, which is how my folks made it, lo those many years ago)
     
  2. Dean Hendry

    Dean Hendry New Member

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    With my current converter, my batteries charge up to 40%. We ran out of power on night 1 this weekend (I forgot to switch the fridge to gas from 12v). The second night, we had power all night.
     
  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    If you’re only getting to 40% charge either you’re not charging long enough or you have other problems. Even just charging at 13.6 volts you should get close to 100% after about 20 hours of charging. But at that level it won’t properly balance the cells, which requires some time at 14.4 to 14.6 volts. You should ask Lion about that.

    I suggest you skip the new converter for now and install at least 200 watts of solar with a charge controller designed for LiFePo batteries, or get a stand alone charger designed for LiFePO batteries that has a display system that will let you monitor what it’s doing.
     
  4. Dean Hendry

    Dean Hendry New Member

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    I had the camper plugged in for a week prior to the trip. The batteries only got up to 40% on their power display. I talked to Lion Energy about it this morning and they said "We recommend checking to see what is charging those batteries, and checking to see if they have a lithium option. You'll likely need to upgrade that, so it can charge the batteries at the correct voltage.".
     
  5. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Here is a summary of what others have told you and some from me.
    The camper charger is designed for lead acid batteries.
    Lion of LiFepo have their own charging characteristics. You won't do them justice with an improper charger.
    When you said you wanted to power all AC with an inverter, to me that means 120 Volts @ 30 Amps. That's a 3600 Watt inverter. With losses you would need to supply over 325 Amps to get that from your battery. That's "0000" ga. wire. It would feel like working with a 1/2 inch solid copper bar. The inverter will need to be within two feet of the battery and should have a fusible link feed wire. You wouldn't get more than a few minutes out of the battery at full load.
    Since you can't power "everything" from a battery you would be better served just using a lead acid battery and leaving things as they are. Just my two cents
     
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  6. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Not anymore. My PD has switchable charging characteristics and is designed for Lithium if you switch that mode on.
     
  7. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    True. Does the WFCO WF-8735-P. that he has do that?
     
  8. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    No idea. I've already given my thoughts on WFCO lol
     
  9. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    You have. But I don't see the relevance to this issue.
     
  10. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    I think you missed the part where he agrees his current converter is inadequate and needs to upgrade it. I suggested Progressive Dynamics as a much better product for about the same price.
     
  11. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I was summarizing based on what he has now. You corrected me based on what you have not what he has.
     
  12. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    No only the LiS models do.
     
  13. Dean Hendry

    Dean Hendry New Member

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    so, I have two lithium batteries. My main question was what power converter I need to switch to so I'm providing them the adequate charge you mentioned in your summary.
    The secondary part of my original question was about planning for future. I'd like to be able to provide power to my outlets from my batteries, but it sounds like that's not a good idea based on everything said here.
     
  14. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    You need a converter/charger that can charge your batteries. I don't have any recommendations.
     
  15. TSQ

    TSQ Active Member

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    A "converter" is really three things - an AC distribution center (typically breakers), a battery charger, and a DC distribution center (typically fuses).

    All you need to replace is the battery charger portion.

    Every battery charger I have seen integrated into a "converter" is at best mediocre (in terms of charge profile/features - build quality varies).

    IMHO there is no point in swapping out your whole "converter" to upgrade from a very junky battery charger to a slightly less junky battery charger. This is just a waste of time and money, especially when the other two parts of the "converter" - the AC distribution and DC distribution parts - work fine and are already integrated into your trailer.

    My recommendation would be to disable the battery charger in your existing "converter" and install a decent external one such as the Victron Energy Blue Smart IP22 30A charger.

    See my post here: https://www.popupportal.com/threads/solar-system-design-install.136499/#post-1425824 (the whole thread may interest you).

    As long as you are realistic you can use an inverter to provide 120V, especially with 200Ah of batteries. Don't start thinking you are going to be able to run AirCon or electric heat.

    As others have pointed out, try and run as much as possible off 12V to maximize efficiency.

    You could run your Keurig machine no problem. I don't drink coffee myself but this page may be of interest: https://theboatgalley.com/keurig/. It claims the small units only take 1Ah per cup but that seems a little low to me.

    See my post here: https://www.popupportal.com/threads...read-lithium-solar.134726/page-2#post-1427877 (again, the whole thread may interest you).

    It takes me ~8Ah to boil 1 litre of water so a 250ml cup should take ~2Ah. Maybe a Keurig machine doesn't bring it to a full boil? Regardless, you could make quite a few cups with a 200Ah battery bank.

    If you do decide to install an inverter I'd recommend an inverter/charger with integrated transfer switch (so in that case disregard the charger I recommended in my answer to your first question).

    edit: formatting
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021

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