How to winterize Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries

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Well, after springing (our clocks) forward on Sunday night, any smidge of sunshine that gets things up into the 50’s on the Front Range of Colorado has got us thinking about CAMPING !

With that in mind, I thought I’d write up my experience winterizing our Battle Born Batteries in our 2017 Rockwood MiniLite 2014S.

Right around the time I was hitting up Eddie Glonek  for some advice about how to shut down the electrical system for the winter, I found the following video on the Battle Born website about how to winterize their batteries.

The BB video is very short and basically states the following :

  1. charge your batteries to (at least) 14.4 volts
  2. disconnect the batteries from your system (so nothing can draw power from them)
  3. bring them inside OR… don’t bring them inside (it doesn’t matter either way is fine [this is what they stated in their video])

Sounds simple enough right ?

So, with the advice of Eddie, I did the following :

  1. disconnected the solar panels from the system.  In the picture below, that is the big grey box (its like a breaker box you’d use on an A/C unit).  This breaker has a giant “plug style” breaker, all you have to do is pull it out, flip it upside down, and re-insert.  This kills all power coming in to the solar controller (and to the batteries)
  2. turn off the breaker for the solar controller.  Just in case, this kills the outgoing power from the solar controller to the batteries (this is to ensure that no charging will happen)
  3. turn off the Trimetric Battery monitor.  There is no disconnect, so we are removing this tiny little fuse that is inline on the trimetric wire (see below)
  4. turn the big red system switch to off (this means nothing in the “house” can draw on the batteries) this off position is 0 or OFF

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its hard to see without jamming my camera against the wall, but here you can see the inline housing for the fuse
trimetric_install_kit_3
here is a tiny picture of the wire as it comes from Bogart, but its easier to see what Im talking about
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this picture (from the August install) shows the Big Red disconnect knob (top left)

Eddie wasn’t precisely sure how much draw the Bogart Trimetric battery monitor would have on the system (he guessed maybe less than .5amps) , but… since Battle Born suggested removing ALL draw on the batteries, thats what we did.

Side Note :  each of these batteries has its own BMS (battery monitor system) that should automatically stop any charging or discharging if the temperature is too low (or too high) to safely do so.  Even so, we took the manufacturers recommendation.

So… how are the batteries doing so far ?  Well, I forgot to write down the charge when I did the disconnect on January 9th 2018, but I guess it was somewhere around 13.3 V (based on what my system thinks was full : note: I still had my custom settings (based on info that I was previously given by BB, which has the batteries set lower than 14.4)

Side note : since I killed the power to the Morningstar Tristar 45A PWM, my custom settings will be lost, and I will reconfigure to the (new) Battle Born recommended dip switch settings for my solar controller .  The handy thing about dip switch settings on my Tristar, power outages / disconnects will not affect our controller going forward.

Here is a little chart to show the progress of the batteries over 2 months

January 9, 2018 full charge
February 1, 2018 13.3 V
February 20, 2018 13.3 V
March 12, 2018 13.3 V

As you can see, there has been no power loss on these batteries whatsoever.  Amazing really !

If these were lead acid batteries, I would have had to trickle charge them, as well as be sure to top off water etc.

So far so good Battle Born !

Update :  I have updated the dip switches in the Morningstar TS-45 PWM to match the recommendations from Battle Born. You can see the dip switches in the view below. (ON is up, OFF is down)

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Note : Eddie marked the dips with a sharpie so its easer to see whats going on.

Here are Battle Born’s recommendations in chart form below :

dip # OFF ON
1  x
2  x
3  X
4  x
5  X
6  x
7  x
8  X

 

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3 thoughts on “How to winterize Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries

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