Advice on Lithium or just some different Lead Acid Batteries?

OP
Z

zac

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 19, 2013
1,437
499
Hampshire
Funster No
29,076
MH
Rapido A CLass 10000 DFH
Exp
since 2013
Yes you are basically correct OK Gel’s can be taken down to 80% but at the expense of ultimate life cycle expectancy so not really recommended, and yes twice the solar would good but still bank on getting nothing on a grey day.

And whatever you do you still need to understand what you are taking out vs what you put back in.

Martin
Wouldn't that mppt and b2b control what goes back in (my basic understanding). I don't want to continually be watching and trying to control how much is going back in i will become obsessed lol
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
3,193
1,419
West Midlands
Funster No
17,624
MH
A-Class Fiat
On the better units each battery has its own BMS (Battery Management System)
That's where I start to get confused.
Over time, each of those separate banks may acquire different characteristics, so I'd expect another layer of management to keep them 'in trim'.
 

hilldweller

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 5, 2008
32,089
32,470
Macclesfield
Funster No
5,089
MH
Swift Sundance 620FB
Exp
From Aug 2007
And whatever you do you still need to understand what you are taking out vs what you put back in.

Martin
And that is the most important line in this whole thread.

If you can't put back in at least as much as you take out then you can have Kryptonite-Unobtainium Gigawatt batteries and you will still come to grief.

Question 1: How much electricity do I use ?
Question 2: Where do I get this from ?
Question 3: How do I store enough for when I have no supply ?
 
OP
Z

zac

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 19, 2013
1,437
499
Hampshire
Funster No
29,076
MH
Rapido A CLass 10000 DFH
Exp
since 2013
How do you control what goes back in so you don't over charge it as such, as all i do is just plug it in when at home and that can then stay plugged in for months at a time. Is this going to damage the batteries?
 

Zigisla

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 24, 2015
2,228
2,496
Fareham, Hants
Funster No
39,738
MH
Sunlight A72
Exp
Getting better month by month.
How do you control what goes back in so you don't over charge it as such, as all i do is just plug it in when at home and that can then stay plugged in for months at a time. Is this going to damage the batteries?
I believe the EHU charger is disconnected from the Leisure set up - If I understood why my battery fuse was removed @nickvanbitz ? My 150W Victron MPPT solar set up deals with the battery when Sunny and the B2B deals with the battery when driving. All set up to do so on installation. Lithium doesn't suffer from standing losses like LA do so if you are stationary for a long time without Sun, you will still have a full battery when ready for use. It is a fit and forget (ish) system, but you still have to treat it like a LA set up with regards to what am I using to what have i left and how will I repalce that loss. I declined the Monitor as this would probably take over my life and get paranoid as well. I am bad enough with the Bluetooth dongle attached to the Solar Controller. If, like you said in your first post, you have never run out of power using LA batteries, keep using as you are and you will never run out of Lithium. If you stay in one place for a few days in the Winter, you will need to look at how much you use closer though, but a quick wizz round and the B2B will have done its job and you will be back up to full. Wouldn't recommend idling - DPF and CATs don't particularly like that, but once in a while - I couldn't say.
 
Jul 29, 2017
639
554
South Leicestershire
Funster No
49,691
MH
Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 1985
It seems the o p expressed concern about on board panel showing hab batteries at 12volt and whether to replace now and what with. I can offer no valid opinion ref lithium v lead acid or whatever. What I would suggest before replacing any battery is to use a decent quality multi meter. At the moment my panel shows hab batteries at 12.4 volts but multi meter 13.1 volts in %age discharged terms a big difference and an indication of batteries being in better condition than panel indicates. Not definitive but in my opinion a good starting point.
 
Feb 9, 2008
5,383
6,700
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
I have the Exude 650 fitted and they are performing as expected but are new so impossible to provide actual data usage. However at 27 kg of lead per battery that's a big chunk of lead and rated at over 350 cycles at 50 % DOD. Plus made by Exide and not Chineese
 
Jun 6, 2012
656
480
Leeds
Funster No
21,344
MH
A class
Exp
Since 2012
With the Victron Smart Solar MPPT or their Multiplus they can be programmed which allows you to create and save different charging characteristics. Depending on the desired operating mode, I can choose one of the charging characteristics.

I have 3 characteristics I have put together:
  • Full performance (100% SOC)
  • Summer operation (about 80-90% SOC)
  • Storage mode (50% SOC)
So for Full performance the Victron settings I created are:
  • Constant voltage: 14.2v
  • Maximum constant voltage duration: 6 hours
  • Maintenance voltage: 13.5v
  • Compensation voltage: 0v
  • Automatic cell balancing: Disabled
Here the battery is charged according to Victron’s recommended charging curve. For normal operation this is ok, if always the full capacity is needed. When I see bad weather looming, I can activate this profile the day before so I have full capacity for the bad weather.

For Summer operation I lower the constant voltage and maintenance voltage slightly. For this I activate the cell balance for every 30 days with 14.4v. This setting corresponds to about 90% charge level. However whether 90% is reached depends how empty the batteries were. Due to the low constant voltage, the maximum charging current breaks down sooner and takes some time to get to 90%.
  • Constant voltage: 13.6-14v
  • Maximum constant voltage duration: 6 hours
  • Maintenance voltage: 13.4v
  • Compensation voltage: 14.2v
  • Automatic cell balancing: every 30 days
For storage mode these settings allows the Lithium’s to be much more relaxed:
  • Constant voltage: 13.15-13.35v
  • Maximum constant voltage duration: 6 hours
  • Maintenance voltage: 13.15-13.35v
  • Compensation voltage: 14.2v
  • Automatic cell balancing: Disabled
I can change to any of the charging characteristics via my phone.

Hope this helps explain a little better.
 
Jul 18, 2009
2,903
1,900
Javea, Spain/Manchester UK
Funster No
7,543
MH
HYMER B644
Exp
2004
Hi,

I’ve lost count of how many batteries we have purchased during the 15 years and 4 motor homes we have had. Not just the motorhome but car batteries to, they just don’t seem to last.

But, the best I have had so far, still got them. Trojan gel. Far outlasted anything else.

I also have a Trojan wet lead acid. Had it 12 years and that never fails. That’s on an old car.
 
Feb 9, 2008
5,383
6,700
Corby, Northants
Funster No
1,455
MH
Coach Built
Exp
Since 2007
L
In our MH we have 2 x 100ah banner batteries which have worked for the last 18 months with no issues, recently i have been paying more attention to the voltage via the control panel (which i know may not be accurate). I have seen the voltage go down to 12v a lot of the time which i understand means the battery is then discharged to 25% (seen that on another thread). We have never lost power as such and everything still seems to work but i think that may just be luck rather than anything else as if that low then it must be on the brink of going caput.

Now i have been speaking to the very helpful Nick@Vanbitz and some of the suggestions are to consider Lithium batteries. Now this would be ok but the cost of these are astronomical compared to the lead acid (different tech of course but huge difference). Currently i have agreed to get a B2B charger fitted along with a Victron BMV702 battery monitor but the batteries are still undecided. If i had no worry around money then of course Lithium but that is a lot of money to spend out. I had a look online and there was an article by aandcaravan something or another testing a load of batteries and they rated the exide 650 115ah battery to be a good heavy duty one and these are quite cheap £120 each but will this solve my problem? I know a lot depends on usage and we do have an 1800w pure sine inverter that is used sometimes for a few minutes(nothing really longer). We have never not had a fully charged battery when the sun has gone down

In approx 3 years time we are looking at doing some long term touring so if this would be the basis of my decision then the lithium would probably be better but the damn cost again.

I know this is a minefield having read a lot of threads on here around the same issue, it is totally baffling for myself not having any technical back ground around this at all.

So i suppose what I am trying to find out is

1.Does anyone use the exide 650's and have they found them better than the banner's which look as though they have a bad reputation?
2.Is lithium really the way to go and why are they so damn expensive?
3.Is there any other batteries i should be considering? there gels but the article i mentioned earlier suggests these are not a good match if using an inverter.

Any help appreciated.
Lol, I bet you regret asking that question now. Happens every time a member asks a question on batteries, solar panels and there regulators etc., Every man and his dog jumps in with their recommendation and it turns into confused.com. Best of luck with that. As for me, stick with lead acid, you know what your dealing with and your system is probably set up for it rather than Gel, Agm or even @hilldweller recommendation which sounds good to me. Best of luck
 
Apr 30, 2018
80
71
Taunton, Somerset
Funster No
53,652
MH
The Dark Side!!!!
Exp
Since 2001
Thank you @dpsuk999 for saving me some typing time (y), the MPPT charge profile gets adjusted this end when the Lithium is fitted. As there is a BMS fitted to each Lithium Battery, cell balancing is all taken care of and monitored through it's own BMS.
The B2B charger has a unique Li charge profile, which is also temperature monitored. As pointed out, the B2B gets charge safely and quickly to the Li's again with the BMS of the Li's taking care of themselves and monitoring themselves. This keeps the Li's charging at a steady constant 14.4v, then staging off as you continue to drive/batteries getting to a sensible charge rate. As for running the vehicle on idle for a small duration of time (Even with DPF/AdBlue etc), this doesn't do any harm as it is a short duration. When we have been low on power and Clair has checked that there isn't enough juice to dry her hair (I certainly don't need the hair dryer :D), she will start the engine and leave on idle, fire up the inverter and then use her hair dryer as the B2B provides some of the power consumed by the Inverter, whilst sending the extra to the leisure battery bank. @Zigisla you are right that the factory split-charge part of the EHU is isolated, as standard split-charge circuits only transfer a small amount of current but the output voltage (especially Euro 6 engines with Re-Gen) fluctuate massively, where Li's max input voltage is 14.6v before the BMS disconnects for safety reasons.

As for monitoring, standard display panels/multi-meters will not give an accurate capacity of the batteries, as measuring the voltage is no good with the Li always reading the same voltage till the capacity of the battery is used (stays 12.8v nominal).
Now I may loose some of you when it comes to monitoring the Li, but we use the Victron BMV 702/712 Monitors for the purpose of measuring Li, as the device calculates what it called middle range voltage and has the capability of calculating percentage capacity. As @Zigisla pointed out, this can rule some people's lives as they may want to watch this with much interest, but the BMV does calculate % capacity and AH available (along with Watts/Amps going in an out) of the Li's.

@zac as the Li's monitor themselves, balance themselves and stay at a constant 12.8V output, the only thing you are having to worry about is what is available capacity wise for you to use. This is available from the BMV you have requested us to fit (giving you the available AH and % capacity). Everything else is taken care of by the internal BMS in each Li battery, the engine charge from the B2B, the MPPT from the solar and the Mains charger when on hook up. At any point the Li's feel they are compromised/overheating/over-volts/being over-charged, the BMS simply shuts down, tests and resets once the parameters are within specification. This was the main reason we went for these particular Li's, they constantly keep a check on themselves giving you peace of mind. The only thing you are doing yourself is monitoring your consumption, then assessing whether your solar is doing enough, or you need to start the engine a run it a bit or knowing that you will be doing a 2-3 hour drive etc as to how quick you replenish the capacity in the Li's.
 
May 23, 2012
3,102
4,746
North West Norfolk
Funster No
21,175
MH
Coachbuilt
Exp
Since Feb 2012
What ever the product being sold I think price and length of time something lasts is important. If something is twice the price but lasts twice as long you have to think what will be happening in X years time. Might not even have a van then or have traded it in etc. So it might be worth buying twice over X years rather than just the once, but if money is no object and it’s what you want go for it.
 
Jan 13, 2014
799
734
UK-Spain
Funster No
29,678
MH
A Class
Exp
30
38735C46-1FD8-4BA7-912D-08A555606469.jpeg 8BC8BC8B-C265-465A-9415-4C538B72D90A.jpeg I believe I am pretty much doing what the OP is intending to do, I’ve been on with it for a while but it took me the best part of two months to get the Batteries as I’m based in Spain and it took an age to get them here from the UK.
They are to be fitted to a N+B Ducato based MH.


I am replacing the Varta ones that perform very well but we are heavy users and spend lots of time off grid.
I also have an Efoy system fitted that almost manages itself when we get little Solar and are static.

We have 380w of Solar.

I have fitted a Votronic MPP 430 Solar Regulator

As you can see it the bottom RH corner it appears to be a simple matter of setting the little slider to LifePo, I believe this will mean the system will then take care of itself? Particularly as it as an internal management within the Batteries themselves.

There is fitted a Votronic 1800 inverter that we use frequently.

I think I have covered everything but do need a little guidance regarding the Batteries being earthed! I believe the current set up is negative but have read that Lithium is better being Positive?
Any guidance on this point would be appreciated.
 

two

Aug 4, 2011
3,193
1,419
West Midlands
Funster No
17,624
MH
A-Class Fiat
Interesting that the charger should be disconnected and not replaced with one that understands Lithium.
When EHU is provided for no additional charge, I'd rather top up the batteries with that rather than use an inefficient ICE burning expensive fuel or waiting for solar.
 

eddievanbitz

Trader - Funster
Oct 4, 2007
5,428
17,514
Taunton Somerset
Funster No
540
MH
RV
Exp
since 1989
Interesting that the charger should be disconnected and not replaced with one that understands Lithium.
When EHU is provided for no additional charge, I'd rather top up the batteries with that rather than use an inefficient ICE burning expensive fuel or waiting for solar.
Why do you think that the mains charger should be disconnected?(n)
 

eddievanbitz

Trader - Funster
Oct 4, 2007
5,428
17,514
Taunton Somerset
Funster No
540
MH
RV
Exp
since 1989
View attachment 277557 View attachment 277556 I believe I am pretty much doing what the OP is intending to do, I’ve been on with it for a while but it took me the best part of two months to get the Batteries as I’m based in Spain and it took an age to get them here from the UK.
They are to be fitted to a N+B Ducato based MH.


I am replacing the Varta ones that perform very well but we are heavy users and spend lots of time off grid.
I also have an Efoy system fitted that almost manages itself when we get little Solar and are static.

We have 380w of Solar.

I have fitted a Votronic MPP 430 Solar Regulator

As you can see it the bottom RH corner it appears to be a simple matter of setting the little slider to LifePo, I believe this will mean the system will then take care of itself? Particularly as it as an internal management within the Batteries themselves.

There is fitted a Votronic 1800 inverter that we use frequently.

I think I have covered everything but do need a little guidance regarding the Batteries being earthed! I believe the current set up is negative but have read that Lithium is better being Positive?
Any guidance on this point would be appreciated.
What do you have installed to charge the batteries when the engine is running?

Also, what do you mean regarding earthing? you have confused us in the office a bit with that statement o_O
 
Apr 30, 2018
80
71
Taunton, Somerset
Funster No
53,652
MH
The Dark Side!!!!
Exp
Since 2001
View attachment 277557 View attachment 277556 I believe I am pretty much doing what the OP is intending to do, I’ve been on with it for a while but it took me the best part of two months to get the Batteries as I’m based in Spain and it took an age to get them here from the UK.
They are to be fitted to a N+B Ducato based MH.


I am replacing the Varta ones that perform very well but we are heavy users and spend lots of time off grid.
I also have an Efoy system fitted that almost manages itself when we get little Solar and are static.

We have 380w of Solar.

I have fitted a Votronic MPP 430 Solar Regulator

As you can see it the bottom RH corner it appears to be a simple matter of setting the little slider to LifePo, I believe this will mean the system will then take care of itself? Particularly as it as an internal management within the Batteries themselves.

There is fitted a Votronic 1800 inverter that we use frequently.

I think I have covered everything but do need a little guidance regarding the Batteries being earthed! I believe the current set up is negative but have read that Lithium is better being Positive?
Any guidance on this point would be appreciated.
Unless already installed, you will need to change the split-charge system to a DC-DC or B2B charger when the engine is running, as your current split-charge system will not be up to the task. This is clearly marked in the instructions of the batteries you have been supplied with (looking at the pictures you have posted).

As for connecting to ground, the batteries are Negative earthed so I don't understand where you are coming from there??? My concerns at this point is your DC charging when the engine is running. This is vital and has to be correct for Li installation.
 
Jan 13, 2014
799
734
UK-Spain
Funster No
29,678
MH
A Class
Exp
30
What do you have installed to charge the batteries when the engine is running?

Also, what do you mean regarding earthing? you have confused us in the office a bit with that statement o_O
Unless already installed, you will need to change the split-charge system to a DC-DC or B2B charger when the engine is running, as your current split-charge system will not be up to the task. This is clearly marked in the instructions of the batteries you have been supplied with (looking at the pictures you have posted).

As for connecting to ground, the batteries are Negative earthed so I don't understand where you are coming from there??? My concerns at this point is your DC charging when the engine is running. This is vital and has to be correct for Li installation.
Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I presume the Multiplus unit takes care of charging?
The Euro 6 smart alternator is what’s confused me I’m finding it difficult to get my head around.

8986D300-6CA4-4913-B027-602737D058F0.jpeg
 
Jun 6, 2012
656
480
Leeds
Funster No
21,344
MH
A class
Exp
Since 2012
Interesting that the charger should be disconnected and not replaced with one that understands Lithium.
When EHU is provided for no additional charge, I'd rather top up the batteries with that rather than use an inefficient ICE burning expensive fuel or waiting for solar.
That’s the beauty of the Victron Multiplus it acts as a charger AND inverter and you can programme it for all sorts (which I have done(y))
 
Apr 30, 2018
80
71
Taunton, Somerset
Funster No
53,652
MH
The Dark Side!!!!
Exp
Since 2001
Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I presume the Multiplus unit takes care of charging?
The Euro 6 smart alternator is what’s confused me I’m finding it difficult to get my head around.

View attachment 277570
The unit you have photographed is fine for mains hook up, but doesn't take care of the engine charging aspect which is why you will require DC-DC/B2B charging. This is advised in the paperwork you would have received with the batteries. It also says on the side of the batteries what is required for when the engine is charging the li Batteries.
 
Jun 6, 2012
656
480
Leeds
Funster No
21,344
MH
A class
Exp
Since 2012
Thank you for taking the time to advise me, I presume the Multiplus unit takes care of charging?
The Euro 6 smart alternator is what’s confused me I’m finding it difficult to get my head around.

View attachment 277570
Yes that’s exactly what I have. I also have a Schaudt B2B which takes care of charging whilst driving and was developed specifically taking into account Lithium’s and Euro 6 smart alternators (y)
 

Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
18,850
18,920
E Yorks
Funster No
149
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Since 1996
As for monitoring, standard display panels/multi-meters will not give an accurate capacity of the batteries
... we've found discrepancies between the on-board monitor, multi-meter and a little one that we stick in a ciggy socket, consequently we never really know which to trust so always err on the side of caution and go with the lowest figure, however it would be nice to have one that accurately reflects the remaining capacity of our battery bank ... what would you suggest without spending a fortune?

Also, with a Euro 6 (2017 or 2018 build) Fiat Ducato based PVC what benefit would having a B2B give that the existing split charging system doesn't? I've got another thread running about our power needs and looking at getting a genny, but obviously if there are other things that will help I'm willing to investigate further!

https://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/help-me-generate-power-mechanically.189780/#post-3158464
 
Feb 21, 2018
933
547
Funster No
52,506
... we've found discrepancies between the on-board monitor, multi-meter and a little one that we stick in a ciggy socket, consequently we never really know which to trust so always err on the side of caution and go with the lowest figure, however it would be nice to have one that accurately reflects the remaining capacity of our battery bank ... what would you suggest without spending a fortune?

Also, with a Euro 6 (2017 or 2018 build) Fiat Ducato based PVC what benefit would having a B2B give that the existing split charging system doesn't? I've got another thread running about our power needs and looking at getting a genny, but obviously if there are other things that will help I'm willing to investigate further!

https://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/help-me-generate-power-mechanically.189780/#post-3158464
Don’t listen to anyone that says running your Fiat on tickover won’t end in tears !
Even for short periods of time
We know from our own experience and several others it’s just not worth doing.
 
OP
Z

zac

LIFE MEMBER
Nov 19, 2013
1,437
499
Hampshire
Funster No
29,076
MH
Rapido A CLass 10000 DFH
Exp
since 2013
Don’t listen to anyone that says running your Fiat on tickover won’t end in tears !
Even for short periods of time
We know from our own experience and several others it’s just not worth doing.
Interested in this as i thought this is something that would come in handy if staying somewhere where we don't have ehu. I am starting to think my 150w solar is not going to be enough when staying places longer. We spent 3 weeks abroad at Xmas with 10 of them in succession in the Algarve without ehu but it was sunny every single day so always had a full battery when the sun went down. This may not be the case when not sunny and i want to try and accommodate for as many options as i can without spending an absolute fortune. The lithium seemed to answer some of those questions although i am confused on how i should be managing them. I regularly keep an eye on the voltage but it will become more of a priority if we can get away more for longer as we will use more battery.
 
Jun 30, 2011
3,327
3,436
Durham
Funster No
17,128
MH
Concorde Concerto A class
Exp
Since 2011
Well forget Lithium then as you said you want to try and avoid spending a fortune.
 
SMC Motorhomes Newark
RoadPro
Johns Cross
Safeguard Motorhome Insurance
Rhino Installs
Friendly professional service from qualified technicians
Free Club Stickers
Dave Newell Leisure Vehicle Services
Top