Double Checking my Research

Early last month, we purchased a 2015 [email protected] and spent a fair amount of time at home testing different systems and such, and I have been toying with switching to LiFePo and would appreciate some input from those with more knowledge than I. After spending some time searching through here, and elsewhere, regarding replacing the deep cycle battery with a LiFePo battery, I think I have pieced together the following.

Ideally, I would also replace the converter/charge system with one specifically designed for LiFePo batteries. However, I can just switch out the batteries with no changes to that with the following caveats:

Plugged into shore power, the battery will only charge to approximately 80%. I would need to use solar panels to bump it up to 100%.

While my 2015 [email protected] does have solar ports in the tongue box, it has no solar charge controller, so I'd need to get and install one of those.

And beyond that, the battery box I have will not likely be large enough for a 100ah LiFePo, so I would need a new box and would need to secure that, or go with a smaller battery.

Aside from not charging beyond 80%, does keeping the existing converter/charge system cause any damage to, or shorten the life span of, the LiFePo in any other way?

Am I missing anything important?

Dennis
Indiana
2015 [email protected]

Comments

  • SueBHunnySueBHunny Member Posts: 125

    I recently swapped out my battery for a 100ah LiFePo. I just did a straight out swap. My solar suitcase has a built-in solar charge controller. So far so good. And I was able to fit it into the tongue box. I had to install a larger battery box, but was able to get it all in on a bit of an angle. I used a block of wood in the frame that held the old battery box and connected the new box to the wood with screws. It's all jammed in there pretty tight and it's not going anywhere. I'm unplugged 95% of the time when I camp, so the swap really eases my mind about using the Norcold and the ceiling fan. It was the right call for me.

    Sue
    State College, PA
    2015 [email protected] Max
    2012 Subaru Outback

  • MrGGBrownMrGGBrown Member Posts: 37
    edited May 4

    Not sure if you've seen my post. I installed a Lion Energy LiFePo battery and have had a slightly different experience that others. I suspect differences in the battery controllers (built into the batteries) are different enough that they don't all act the same way.

    https://teardrop-trailers.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/1369/lion-energy-ut-1300-lifepo-battery-install#latest

    I am able to get my battery to 100% on shore power most of the time, with the original non-Lithium-aware [email protected] built-in charge controller. There are times it won't charge fully, and I have a hypothesis it might be related to the voltage level of the electrical service, but that's really only a guess. I also have had times when the TV wouldn't fully charge it, but recently discovered the alternator was getting weak in the TV and that might have been why. My Renogy 100-watt solar suitcase always gets it to 100%, and charges at over 6 amps in full sun.

    The Lion Energy battery fits in the original group 24 battery box, which eliminates the need to install a bigger box. People have commented recently that the newer Renogy batteries will also fit in the group 24 sized box.

    It's an expensive upgrade for sure, but after you get past the cost, it's an awesome upgrade. You'll have so much more usable battery capacity, and so few less worries about running the battery too low. And another side benefit - no need for trickle chargers over the winter. My battery loses almost no charge over several months of sitting, even with temperatures in the 30's.

    To your bottom-line question -- I can't say definitively, but I don't believe any damage is done to the battery by keeping the original charge controller. The LiFePo batteries are rated for so many charge cycles that I expect my battery is likely to outlive my trailer.

    Greg Brown
    Bellevue, WA
    2016 PVTT [email protected]

  • MrGneissGuyMrGneissGuy Member Posts: 9

    Thank you both. Very helpful.

    Dennis
    Indiana
    2015 [email protected]

  • MrGneissGuyMrGneissGuy Member Posts: 9

    Well, I've placed the order and Renogy battery, bluetooth module, and solar charge controller should be delivered tomorrow and Wednesday.

    I spent some time this weekend building/attaching parts to mount the new battery in front of the tongue box, giving me more room in the tongue box for storing other things. Using an empty Group 27 battery box to test it out, it feels good and secure (I pulled and pushed and shook, etc. quite a bit and it stayed put). But I ultimately ended up getting nervous about that (and the battery manual says not to leave it in direct sunlight) and will be putting it in the tongue box. Now I have a mount for a small storage box I'll attach where I was going to put the battery.

    I've pulled the old battery and done similar work in there to what others have documented. So when it gets delivered, it will be a simple drop in and connect. I'll be connecting the solar charge controller directly to my solar panels, at least initially. I'm thinking of mounting a flexible panel to the [email protected] top, and if I do that, I'll move the controller to the tongue box then.

    I also bought a battery disconnect switch that I plan to connect as well.

    Dennis
    Indiana
    2015 [email protected]

  • zgfiredudezgfiredude Member Posts: 152

    Nice......photos will be necessary of course. :D

    One idea I have had for "increased" space in the tongue box is to recess the battery down partially or mostly through the floor in the box. Maybe use a battery box and drop it down as you'd at least have the thickness of the frame before anything hung low......just a thought.

    '21 [email protected] 5w Boondock, 2014 Jeep JKUR B)

  • JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 504

    My camping with my Renogy 100 Ah LiFePo battery is very often in desert hot summer camping. No issues regarding temp. I have no high temp concerns with my battery in a group 27 box in my front tongue box. Recharge with 100 watt Renogy suitcase.

    Just got back from a five day outting in desert north of Yuma (99+ degrees) with Norcold running 31 degrees, recharging of phones, cameras, usb fans and some Fantastic Fan. Returned home with 60% on my Renogy 100 Ah LiFePo battery. After returning home and plugging into shore power for 24 hours with battery switch on and Norcold running, I am currently at 97%.

    Yes my 2018 older original converter can charge lithium without any issues.

    Don't worry, be happy.

    ____________________


  • Hwy395_bumHwy395_bum Member Posts: 8

    I have the self heating Renogy, 4000ft in the Sierra's gets cold and I am too old to pull it out. This is our bugout trailer, already had to get out of town with the Airport fire in February, Part of our check list when we get home from camping to to refresh, reload, and prep.

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