How to Upgrade Your RV to Lithium Batteries?
Lithium batteries have gained considerable popularity in recent years, not just because it introduces a new technology in the market but due to the reason that this new technology comes with tremendous unmatchable advantages and a longer lifespan.
You must have heard many conversations on lithium-ion batteries vs. lead-acid batteries! And you must want to know more about why everyone is talking about it? Are these lithium-ion batteries worth it?
So, whether you’re a new RVer or have been RVing for a long time and want to convert from Lead Acid Batteries to Lithium-ion Batteries, in this article, you will get all the answers to your questions - Are RV Lithium Batteries Worth the Upgrade? How to Upgrade Your RV’s Electrical System for Lithium Batteries? And will the upgrade work for you?
So, let's dive into the detailed analysis of lithium batteries for RVs.
RV Lithium Batteries- What’s Different?
Considering an upgrade means that you’re looking for something new, something extraordinary, and something advanced that is more efficient, more reliable, safer, less complicated, and of course, long-lasting. So yes, that’s what RV lithium batteries offer you!
And these are some of the significant differences between RV lithium batteries and lead-acid batteries.
Batteries are one of the most critical features of RVs as the electrical system that consists of various appliances in the RVs is mainly dependent on it, so it must be jam-packed with power and should have a high capacity. So you may not run out of power at any time. So let Aolithium give you some significant insights on how these differences come in hand, making your motor home or RV performance better and how they dominate over lead-acid batteries. Below is a list you must look upon:
Say goodbye to your lead-acid batteries, which charged slowly and couldn't store enough charge to last the cloudy days. LiFePO4 batteries are the most efficient option available in the market for quick charging and utilizing 100% of the battery capacity. The lithium phosphate chemistry in these batteries allows them to eliminate the need for the absorption phase and gain maximum amps in the given time.
There are no comparisons between lead-acid batteries and LiFePO4 batteries when storing power for extended periods without major losses. As per the experts, LiFePO4 batteries can charge at an efficiency of 100%, which is still a dream for lead-acid users. This advantage is especially useful when charging from solar systems, and clouds can't wait to cover it all.
Easy to Handle/Store
If you are concerned about the maintenance and storage of your battery, LiFePO4 batteries were invented for you. Not just that, these batteries don't need much maintenance. On the contrary, you can store these power solutions almost anywhere with minor safety considerations. Speaking science, these batteries have a 'balancing process,' which keeps the charge equally divided into the battery cells and eliminates the need to check the cells/electrolyte periodically.
If sources were to be considered, a good quality LiFePo4 battery could give over tens of thousands of charge cycles. But we will play it safe here. As per the laboratory reports and our user experience, a standard quality Aolithium 12V 100Ah LiFePo4 battery gives 4000+ charge/discharge deep cycles at a 1C charging rate. These cycles are affected by the depth of discharge, charging rate, and quality of battery cells. On the other hand, no lead-acid battery will give you more than 1000 charge/discharge cycles. The difference is mammoth.
Lithium batteries are a very eco-friendly power solution. The fact that lithium batteries contain less toxic metals such as cadmium etc. as compared to the lead-acid alternatives, these batteries are considered to be non-hazardous waste once they achieve their useful life. Moreover, those lithium-ion batteries that are contained in electronic devices can also be recycled at certified battery electronic recyclers rather than disposed of them.
Why Choose RV Lithium Batteries Over Lead Acid Batteries?
Substantially Constant Voltage
Lithium batteries, unlike lead-acid batteries, provide full power throughout their discharge time. In that way, they maintain a constant voltage supply irrespective of the peak RV load they are connected to.
Battery Management System (BMS)
Another important advantage of choosing an RV lithium battery over a lead-acid battery is its battery management system (BMS). In simple words, it is the charge regulatory system of a lithium battery that maintains equal charge throughout the cells of the battery and prevents overcharging of the battery. BMS cannot just reduce the chances of possible damages due to overcharging but also increase the battery’s useful life.
Aolithium RV lithium batteries provide charging and discharging protection, low temperature charging cut-off protection, high temperature charging or discharging cut-off. over charging and discharging protection, over current and short circuit protection and battery cells auto balance.
Will Prowse is a DIY solar expert on Youtube, he disassembled and tested the Aolithium 12V100Ah RV battery, let's see how did he reviewed the Aolithium battery?
High Charging and Discharging Efficiency
The ratio between the energy a battery draws from the source to the energy it loses to the discharge is called the charging/discharging efficiency of a battery. The typical lead-acid batteries experience a loss of 20-25% energy in charging (75-80% Efficiency), while a Lithium battery only loses 5%, which makes it 95% efficient in charging/discharging, which is enormous.
Does the lithium battery have cons?
If Lithium batteries are so amazing and offer all the above features, why haven’t they taken over the lead-acid battery industry already? Cost the answer. The biggest downside or rather difficulty in choosing a lithium battery over a lead-acid one is its cost. Lithium batteries are usually considerably more expensive than any other power solution when purchased up-front.
But while making your final decision, you should also keep in mind that their cost is justified by their longer lifespans. Even though lithium batteries would cost you higher, they will serve you for an extended period and therefore will prove to be more cost-effective in the longer run.
Upgrading Your RV Electrical System With Lithium Batteries- Some Important Consideration
Now, suppose you've already done the research and have finally decided to upgrade your RV electrical system with lithium batteries. In that case, there are some important things you need to know before you order your new RV lithium battery.
Battery capacity is one of the main features to look upon when choosing a battery. If you're on a full-time journey, you must have to look for a good storage capacity, so your battery may not run out of power in the middle of the day. But if you're a weekender or some occasional traveler, and you’re your RV is standing alone most of the time, your storage capacity will be different in that case. So, first deciding your usage capacity and then choosing the lithium battery will make your upgrade more effective in the long term.
Here are some important considerations you must know for an effective upgrade:
Calculate Your Total Daily Consumption
First thing first, get a calculator and a pen and calculate the total daily consumption of your house in watt-hours by estimating how many hours you use every appliance and how many watts it draws. Make sure to get a battery that offers at least 20-30% more capacity than your total consumption. For example, if your daily electricity demand is 900Wh, get a battery that offers 1100Wh.
Decide the Amount of Max Current Draw for All the Appliances
The second thing you need to keep a check on is the amount of maximum current for everything you are going to operate. This will help you choose the size of wires and battery components, especially when you are creating your battery pack. Exceeding the maximum current limit can cause your BMS to trip and cause damage to your battery components.
The Place You Decide to Install Them
Batteries do not entertain extreme temperatures, and it's an open secret. Your temperature sensor will automatically cut off the charge/discharge supply when the temperature shoots above a particular point. Similarly, your battery cells would be unstable when the temp goes below subzero. That is why it is best to install your battery in a location that can be regularized temperature-wise.
Upgrading the Charger
Charging lithium batteries on standard chargers is not a great idea. It will use the lesser capacity of the battery and reduce its charge/discharge cycles. Therefore, it is recommended to select a charger that matches the charging profile of your battery. The most preferred chargers for LiFePO4 batteries include DC-DC- chargers, solar Chargers, and Shorepower Chargers.
Other Component You May Want to Upgrade
The appropriate charger is a must-have thing. But there are other components of your LiFePO4 batteries that can prove to be a good addition. These components include battery monitors to measure voltages, wires, fuses & breakers to handle the rate of consumption, and inverters to help you utilize upgraded capacity. Aolithium RV lithium battery built-in smart Bluetooth modules, you can monitor battery data from your phone at any time, no need to buy additional monitor.
Components That Compatible with Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries are eco-friendly, and that is precisely the reason a lot of people these days are switching them with their alternatives. These batteries eliminate the need for many fossil fuel-powered appliances. For example, a LiFePO4 battery is capable of providing power supply to your electric water heater, electric cooking equipment, Gasoline/diesel heater, and Air conditioning system.
Appliances That Does Not Work with Lithium Batteries
A little bad news at the end. Technically a LiFePO4 battery should be able to power an electric heater, but it does not. The reason is that, unlike all other appliances, electric heaters are used at night when there is no sun replenishing your battery, and the rate of consumption is already high. So, now, you will have to stop and think twice before running your electric heater on a LiFePO4 battery.
How to Upgrade Your RV's Electrical System for Lithium Batteries?
If you want to utilize the upscaled performance of Lithium batteries at their best, you need to make specific changes to your RV. Here are a few particular pointers that can upgrade your RV's Electrical system to attain the most out of your lithium batteries.
Adjust Its Voltage
These batteries are customized with the latest phosphate technology. The best voltage level for your charger, as per recent research, is 14.4 volts. It packs the power that ensures your batteries provide better and quicker results.
Change Your Charger
Among the options available, you have a lead-acid charger. Lead-acid chargers don't charge at the desired voltage level of 14.4 volts. This lack of volt means that your batteries will take more time to charge completely and even then, fail to reach the batteries' full capacity.
Some chargers such as AGM and SLA are available variants to charge your batteries, but they are not as effective as a specific Lithium charger. It says and means "I'm full" when it is completely charged.
If you can use other ways to charge your batteries, perhaps with an off-shore power resource, such as solar panels, you could use a solar charge controller to upgrade your battery's performance. The specified lithium settings in the controller will optimize the transfer of energy produced by the solar panels to your battery!
You can also use your engine's alternator to charge your batteries. A DC-DC charger with adjusted settings could help you protect your engine and batteries from suffering any damage as it utilizes the electricity generated by the engine. It's a quick and efficient way to charge your batteries smoothly.
So knowing the changes needed is a lithium battery upgrade still worth it?
Most definitely yes!!
Here’s 9 reason’s why a Aolithium battery upgrade provides the greatest lifetime value
1. Built-in Smart Bluetooth modules monitoring from your phone, so you can know exactly what your battery data is at any time.
2. 5 year warranty and maintenance free with a 4000-8000 cycles life span @ 90%DOD
3. Built-in smart battery management system (BMS).
4. Low temperature charging cut-off, high temperature charging or discharging cut-off.
5. Over charging and discharging protection.
6. Over current and short circuit protection.
7. Battery cells auto balance.
8. 24/7 customer service
9. 100% reliable batteries: certified with UL/CE/UKCA/UN38.3/Bluetooth BQB Listing/FCC ID/CE RED. Meets all US & International regulations for air, ground, and train transport.