update 03/03/19 : welcome our little blog ! After you read the info below batteries, take a look at the other stuff we have written about.
posts about adding solar
how to improve your RV’s water
better cellular connectivity when you are in the middle of nowhere and need to work
why we chose lithium batteries and why we love them
lots of other upgrades we have done to our travel trailer
ok… on to the battery show :
Well, the final “big ticket” purchase for the Solar setup was to upgrade our batteries. This is a very expensive (and probably long-term) proposition, so we want to get it right. So much so, that I’d say I’m consumed with my battery decision currently.
Eddie had suggested two of these Group L16 6Volt batteries
These look like awesome batteries in a lot of ways.
- these are AGM batteries that are sealed and do not off-gas. this means we could put them inside the camper
- we currently have about 225 amp hours, this would give us 2x that at 415 amp hours (not sure exactly how far we can run these down past 50% SOC)
- 7 year warranty
However… they are H U G E. check the size… almost 17″ high by 11″ length by 7″ width. The sizing will fit our storage bins though . The other thing… they weigh 123.5 lbs EACH. To make a 12 V battery, we’ll need two of these in series. Thats 247 lbs of batteries. Likely of course, this weight would be on one side of the camper (we’ll want these batteries INSIDE if possible as they are over $500 each).
Voltage 6 Volts
Amp-hour Capacity 415 @ 20 hour rate
Group Size L16
Terminal Type DT (Dual AP & Stud)
Total Height 16.69″ (424 mm)
Height 15.91″ (404 mm)
Width 7.05″ (179 mm)
Length 11.61″ (295 mm)
Weight 123.5 lbs (56 kg)
Case Type ABS Plastic – Flame Res Rating UL94-HB
Warranty 7 Years
Eddie currently uses Trojan deep cycle flooded acid batteries in his setup, but he recommends AGM batteries as well. He chose these for their deep cycle properties, and the relative stability and good track record of AGM batteries. Full River seems to get good reviews from what I can find online.
While calling to inquire about pricing on the Full River batteries, I end up speaking to James Hall, a systems Engineer at Northern Arizona Wind & Sun. James was telling me about the LiFePO4 batteries from Battle Born. James had good things to say about these batteries and has had quite a few happy customers using them.
I had found this Airstream Forum specifically with user information about the Battle Born, along with several forum posts from Battle Born staff themselves.
- Usable Capacity: 100 Amp-hours
- Voltage: 12 Volts
- Continuous Output: 100 Amps
- Maximum Output: 200 Amps for 30 seconds
- Lifetime Capacity: 300,000 Amp-hours
- Lifetime Cycles: 3000- 5000 Cycles
- Dimensions: (L x W xH): 12.75″ x 6.875″ x 9.0″
- Weight: 29 pounds
- Cell Type: LiFeP04
- Warranty: 3 years
I had emailed Battle Born directly to inquire about compatibility here was the thread :
Im interested in getting the following battery for my small 21′ travel trailer
(probably 2 of them or the equivalent of 200ah)
Im replacing a new but not so effective 2 x 6v GC2 flooded batteries
Can you verify that your battery would be compatible with the charge controller and converter below ?
i have 400 watts of solar with the following charge controller :
Morningstar TriStar 45 Amp 12/24/48 Volt Solar Charge Controller
and this is my Converter :
Progressive Dynamics (PD9270V) 70 Amp Power Converter with Charge Wizard
>> All of that looks great however you will not need the charge wizard.
>> PWM won’t be a problem just needs to be programmed.
>> The p200 series Converter from progressive dynamics has a boost mode that will bring the batteries voltage up to 14.4 which is ideal.
last question, not sure how “fair” it is… but I have also been recommended this battery:
obv. this is a “package” so its a bit more cost, but… how do you feel in comparison to the batteries from Elite Power Systems ?
I read your helpful responses here :
>> Good question.
>> We only use cylindrical cells not the prismatic cells offered by Elite Power Solutions. What does this mean to you? Cylindrical cells have a higher cycle life and also stay in balance better overtime, ensuring long life span of the battery bank.
>> This due to a larger number of cells in the battery and the ability of the cylindrical cells to dissipate heat better than prismatic cells.
I also found the following info on their blog :
how to set up the Bogart Trimetric with their batteries
how to set up the Morningstar PWM controller with their batteries
https://battlebornbatteries.com/set-tristar-ts-45-ts-60-pwm-charge-controller-used-lifepo4-battle-born-battery/ << UPDATE : this page no longer exists (due to that page being incorrect, more to come on that in a later post)
OK… so far so good… these Battle Born batteries appear to be compatible with all of our existing (or to-be-installed gear). As you can see, these batteries weigh only 29 pounds each ! that 58 pounds instead of 247 lbs of AGM battery.
Also… these batteries have a few unique properties, some good, some bad. Namely :
- you cannot charge these batteries when they are below 32F (charging range :32F to 113F)
- you cannot discharge power from these batteries outside of this range : -4F to 140F
- each of these batteries has its own Battery Monitoring System (BMS). This should act like a little brain that automatically shuts the battery off at temperature extremes as well as when the incoming voltage is too great. (James at NAWS suggests that you cannot really kill these things because of the BMS that is built in)
- you can pull power from them all the way down to about 20% discharged. At a low State of Charge, the BMS should shut off the battery so they don’t discharge below a healthy level. this is kind of a big deal… because… as we know Lead Acid batteries can only safely be used to about 50% (without some damage)… that means, we get at least 30% more discharge per amp hour with LiFePO4?
- the size and weight is a fraction of Lead or AGM
- they have about 300000 Amp Hours lifetime vs 15,000 on a lead acid (this is according to Battle born, info below)
Sounds like a pretty good deal long term… obviously the cost is insane.
One small issue : Eddie feels like there are too many mysteries, gaps in long term performance, and just generally “too new” of a battery technology to “get behind” them as a known solid performer. Eddie, for good reason, wants the best performance and reliability for his batteries. Without batteries that function properly, you can have 100 solar panels, but you wont be using that power.