Lithium Battery Pros and Cons

This discussion was created from comments split from: TAB400 battery options.

Comments

  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    @pthomas745 I disagree with your assessment of Lithium,   A battery with twice the usable Capacity, built in battery management,  half the weight and 10 times the life expectancy.   Seems like a no brainer to me regardless of how much you use your trailer. 

    An interstate 100amp hour agm,  is 69 pounds and a usable capacity of 50 amp hours for a cost of $337 and a three year prorated warranty.

    A pair of Interstate 6 volt 225 amp hour batterys,  61 pounds each for 122 pounds total, 113 usable amp hours and $161 each  or $320 for the pair and a 12 month warranty. 

    Intestate info from their website based on my location.

    A battleborn liFe is 100 amp hours,  31 pounds and a usable capacity of 100 amp hours for a cost of $950 and a 10 year warranty.   

    The added benefit from the lithium is the integrated Battery management system,   It simply wont let you damage the battery.  It will turn the battery off in case of a short circuit, over or under temperature, over under voltage conditions.  

    I have about a month of use on the Battleborn and I am very pleased so far.
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • TabneroTabnero Member Posts: 128
    we love our battle born battery as well, keep it at 80% with exsisting WFCO charger and then fully charge it with 160 watt solar panel direct to terminal with aligator clips when we need full charge
  • JEBJEB Member Posts: 266
    Cbusguy said:
    @pthomas745 I disagree with your assessment of Lithium,   A battery with twice the usable Capacity, built in battery management,  half the weight and 10 times the life expectancy.   Seems like a no brainer to me regardless of how much you use your trailer. 

    An interstate 100amp hour agm,  is 69 pounds and a usable capacity of 50 amp hours for a cost of $337 and a three year prorated warranty.

    A pair of Interstate 6 volt 225 amp hour batterys,  61 pounds each for 122 pounds total, 113 usable amp hours and $161 each  or $320 for the pair and a 12 month warranty. 

    Intestate info from their website based on my location.

    A battleborn liFe is 100 amp hours,  31 pounds and a usable capacity of 100 amp hours for a cost of $950 and a 10 year warranty.   

    The added benefit from the lithium is the integrated Battery management system,   It simply wont let you damage the battery.  It will turn the battery off in case of a short circuit, over or under temperature, over under voltage conditions.  

    I have about a month of use on the Battleborn and I am very pleased so far.
    In all fairness, you should mention at least some of the drawbacks. These batteries are temperature sensitive.  For those of us who live in colder climates, Lithium batteries will not accept a charge when temps are 24 degrees or below.  So, if you take your trailer out of cold storage and want to go for a quick boondocking trip in winter, these batteries are not ideal. 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado Z71 Duramax
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    @jeb You shouldn't charge lead acid below freezing as well.   As the temp drops all battery chemistry's suffer.  Try not to represent it as a Lithium only problem.  

    I have always pulled my batterys from motorcycles, boats and trailers and stored them indoors over the winter.    I will charge them to capacity just before I bring them in,  I don't use a battery tender.   I will treat lithium the same way.


    @greenjacket you can take it to most of the autoparts stores and locally the interstate battery will test the battery for you.   Just make sure it is fully charged.  


    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • JEBJEB Member Posts: 266
    edited August 2019
    Cbusguy said:
    @jeb You shouldn't charge lead acid below freezing as well.   As the temp drops all battery chemistry's suffer.  Try not to represent it as a Lithium only problem.  

    I have always pulled my batterys from motorcycles, boats and trailers and stored them indoors over the winter.    I will charge them to capacity just before I bring them in,  I don't use a battery tender.   I will treat lithium the same way.


    @greenjacket you can take it to most of the autoparts stores and locally the interstate battery will test the battery for you.   Just make sure it is fully charged.  


    Try not to overstate your case, either, sir.  Lead acid batteries that are stored charged do not tend to freeze. They can accept a charge at very low temperatures without damage.  Otherwise, your car would be screwed in below freezing temperatures. And guess what, alternators charge lead acid car batteries in freezing temperatures all the time. So, your argument is unpersuasive. 

    There is another penalty to lithium that you also have not mentioned. Lead acid batteries are the single most recycled product in the entire world. They are over 99% recyclable.  By contrast, when lithium batteries are used up, they go into the landfill.  So, there is an environmental impact as well.

    I am not trying to disparage lithium.  I am merely taking issue with your statement that going to lithium is a “no brainer.”  I disagree.  There is always a penalty and a well informed consumer ought to know what those penalties are. 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado Z71 Duramax
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,139
    Some of the FT Rvers who have used lithium have indicated that their batteries were no on track to meet projected life expectancies. Fire is also still a concern. With lithium and there is not a lot of room to mess with fire in a [email protected]

    I am glad we have some early adopters working out the problems.  I will wait until the bugs are worked out more and the ROI is better. I am very happy with choice for 2 6v AGM batteries until these solutions are more off the self ready 

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 64 | Total nights in a [email protected] 274 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 900
    jkjenn said:
    Some of the FT Rvers who have used lithium have indicated that their batteries were no on track to meet projected life expectancies. 
    The projected life expectancies are one of my biggest concerns when crunching numbers on these. I really, really doubt that 10 years will turn out to be the real world experience under anything other than ideal conditions.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (NOT recommended)
    2020 Subaru Outback XT
    Pacific NW—stuck at home this season
  • ScottGScottG Moderator Posts: 3,857
    I guess if you can afford a [email protected] economics don't factor in too heavily. $1,000 for a battery that might last ten years? While my $100 wet-cell may not deliver the same performance per pound, it has done what it needs to do for four years and counting. So let's see... a thousand clams for a possible ten years, or a very predictable forty years? I think "no brainer" is a little subjective...  ;-)
    Ultimately the best choice is what works for your own individual circumstance, and that is not going to be the same for everybody.
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,139
    Trojan lead acid battery users regularly report 5-7 years. I agree no-brainer for that individual, probably more thought and consideration for others.

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 64 | Total nights in a [email protected] 274 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

  • JohnDanielsCPAJohnDanielsCPA Member Posts: 222
    The cost is my biggest constraint.  There seems to be much more value in getting the six volt batteries, whether they are wet cell or AGM.  If I full-timed, the lithium might be the way to go.  But taking it out 1/2 dozen or so times year - the ROI of a lithium battery doesn’t pencil out.
    2017 [email protected] Max S
    2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
  • JEBJEB Member Posts: 266
    ScottG said:
    I guess if you can afford a [email protected] economics don't factor in too heavily. $1,000 for a battery that might last ten years? While my $100 wet-cell may not deliver the same performance per pound, it has done what it needs to do for four years and counting. So let's see... a thousand clams for a possible ten years, or a very predictable forty years? I think "no brainer" is a little subjective...  ;-)
    Ultimately the best choice is what works for your own individual circumstance, and that is not going to be the same for everybody.
    You have touched on the critical pivot point for me:  dollars per amp-hour.  Lead acid is indeed a proven and highly predictable technology.  There’s a reason it has been around for over a century.  Even Tesla includes a lead acid battery in the electrical system to provide power when lithium can’t.  And it’s cheap.  But weight has always been a problem with lead acid and it is weight that has primarily driven the move to other technologies.  But holding weight constant, it’s much harder to justify other technologies like lithium in terms of dollars per amp-hour.  The development of performance additives to lead acid electrolyte solutions has made the technology even better in terms of life cycle, recharge time, maintenance etc.  But there’s nothing you can do about the weight and weight concerns could make the move a reasonable one even if the economics otherwise do not. Since I can handle the weight of two AGMs, and the amp-hour capacity is otherwise adequate for my needs, lithium doesn’t make a lot of economic sense.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado Z71 Duramax
  • klengerklenger Member Posts: 292
    ^^  Agreed with the above, but for me I could get the same usable energy (~100 AH) in one 30# lithium battery as 120# worth of lead acid or AGM batteries.  Given the size reduction and weight of the lithium, and the limited availability of both in a [email protected] 320, I opted to spend the money on the lithium.  One of the additional cost factors to really benefit from lithium is the cost (~$130 plus labor if necessary) to upgrade to a lithium compatible converter (~14.4 constant charge cycle).
  • ckjsckjs Member Posts: 26
    edited August 2019
    I replaced the cheap 65AH battery that came with our 320 with lithium specifically to reduce the tongue weight. Now we have 80AH or more of usable capacity so that our Subaru with a wet tongue under just under 200 pounds. The victron solar controller and flexible panels keep it happy. 
    Here’s to hoping that it lasts as long as we are [email protected]
    Charles & Judy, Santa Cruz, CA
    2018 [email protected] 320 CS-S; 4 cyl 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT
  • JEBJEB Member Posts: 266
    It would seem that 320 owners could benefit more from the switch to lithium than us 400 owners because the batteries on 320s are on the tongue.  Because the AGMs in a 400 are behind the axel, switching to lighter lithium batteries might actually exacerbate our tongue weight problems.  Further evidence that you have to consider the application carefully in making a selection. 
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2019 Chevy Colorado Z71 Duramax
  • ajordanajordan Member Posts: 2
    Has anyone moved a lithium battery inside of a 320s? 
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    I decided to switch the existing tongue box for a truck bed box instead.    The benefits of moving are climate control, security and voltage drop over the wire run.    the risk of fire, trailer sway because of reduced tongue weight.

    I made my decision based on my style of camping,  I never intend to intentionally spend long periods of time boondocking in conditions below 32 degrees nor do I expect long periods of boondocking in temps over 110 degrees.       Below freezing is simple enough to deal with using 12v auto thermostat low wattage tank heaters and a sheet of foam board.   

     If you use a name brand lithium Iron battery the fire danger is overstated,  Battleborn, Lion, Renogy, Victron.   If you buy a no name brand off ebay, allibia or amazon,  you are taking your chances.



    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • webers3webers3 Member Posts: 190
    Unless you are mostly camping in sub-freezing temps or need an engine starting battery, lithium (LiFePO4) is no brainer; in terms of cost, performance and safety.



    2017 [email protected] 320S   2019 Jeep Cherokee - Southern Connecticut
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Member Posts: 375
    edited January 30
    For RV use it is definitely not a 'no brainer'.  For those that have large power requirements - running a big inverter and several 120V appliances, it might be.  But you aren't using your batteries every day - most of us camp on weekends in the summer time with maybe a few longer trips here and there.

    In these situations lead acid batteries are a perfect storage solution at minimal cost, and one that will last many years.  My dual 6V lead acid batteries cost me $240 and have between 1000-1500 charge cycles.  I camp an average of 64 days per year and if I estimate one full charge cycle per day, my batteries would last over 15 years at only 1000 charge cycles.  And that is only IF I use a full charge cycle every day that I camp!  Just so you know... I don't.  I use about 25 amps per day out of 115 amps available (230 amps total).

    For the cost of one Battle Born battery ($949) that has between 3000 and 5000 cycles I could buy eight 6V batteries which would last me 62 years!  Optimal conditions, of course, but that You Tube video posted by @webers3 is based on "paper datasheet info" and not real world performance, so the comparison is valid.

    When the pricing for these lithium ion solutions come down they will definitely be a better option for sure.  For now they are just too pricey for small RV systems.  There are other considerations (like weight), though, and those are perfectly valid.  If you are a heavy user, maybe full time it in your RV, lithium ion is the way to go.  Choose what works best for you!

    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • mrericmreric Member Posts: 151
    if cold weather is concern,  maybe the battery can be move to the inside below the seat and move some stuff to the outside to make space.  

    also battleborn is not the only one in the market anymore,  there is many other brand with pretty good reviews that are about $600-$700.     you can even build your own for about $550 bucks.  

    but i think if you use it a lot,  the first thing to get is a good battery monitor so you know how much you truly need before you invest in the lithium.  
  • Michael49Michael49 Member Posts: 135
    We plan to do some long term traveling in our 400 in the near future and I plan to upgrade to  to a Battleborn in the spring (still deciding on 200 vs 400 ah.
    2018 [email protected] 400. 2019 Honda Ridgeline.
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    edited February 3
    @Michael49 keep in mind that you need to recharge 400 ah once discharged.   which is a tall order.  a 100 watt panel would take roughly 40 hours of very good sunlight  to recharge it with out any other loads.

    The battleborn warranty is for 10 years,   I would expect much longer life because of the design.

    I have seen some forum members posting about other Youtube RVer's having issues with them holding up.   Please post some links to articles or videos  I would like to see them,  


    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • rbrtmrbrtm Member Posts: 29
    Interesting to note is that lead batts want be be charged to 100% or loose capacity over time. Lifepo will not. They can be cycled around a partial charge with no damage.
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 2,012
    If you need extra power, a 200 amp Lithium battery will provide almost the same total power as a 400 amp AGM/Lead Acid battery, so look at the cost,per useable Al Holston of power.  Upgrading from 200AH AGM to a 200AH Lithium seems more expensive, but now you have 2X the available battery energy.  The next question, is do you need 200AH of energy.  So far we are not needing more than 100AH of battery energy.  

    If you want to run the AC off an inverter/battery solar setup, then you need at least 400AH.  It all boils down to how much batterympowermyoumactualmuse and need.
    cheers

    2018 TaB400 Boondock, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast.
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