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Old 12-18-2019, 02:48 AM   #1
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Lithium batteries

Sorry to bring this to your attention.
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens...balt-1.5399492
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Old 12-18-2019, 07:31 AM   #2
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Sorry to bring this to your attention.
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens...balt-1.5399492
Were you aware that Cobalt is used to remove Sulphur from fuel in the refining process. I tried researching it a little the other day and the web is a little stingy on information. Go figure.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:09 AM   #3
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I agree that artisanal mining of all sorts of metals used in our modern world is unacceptable.

A quick look at the description of the different types of lithium batteries at the Battery University site says that the LiFePO4 batteries have phosphate doped cathodes (hence the PO4) instead of cobalt. All the other types have or may have cobalt in them.

Somebody with more knowledge than me chime in on this?

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...of_lithium_ion
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Old 12-18-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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I agree that artisanal mining of all sorts of metals used in our modern world is unacceptable.

A quick look at the description of the different types of lithium batteries at the Battery University site says that the LiFePO4 batteries have phosphate doped cathodes (hence the PO4) instead of cobalt. All the other types have or may have cobalt in them.

Somebody with more knowledge than me chime in on this?

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/...of_lithium_ion



So based on this, it seems that the original post applies more to those of us who use cell phones/tablets/laptops, and other electronic devices with lithium batteries (and who doesn't these days?), than to those of us who have them for our RVs.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:37 PM   #5
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There is nothing about cobalt mining that makes it any worse than diamond, gold, coal, iron, etc., etc. mining, and its sad we affluent persons with fancy trailers and TVs and other modern technology, talk about it and say how awful it is then continue on our merry way. Our world as we know it is going to undergo a drastic change due to our greed and negligence, so enjoy it while you can and hope there will be something left for our grandchildren.
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Old 12-18-2019, 04:23 PM   #6
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I wish them well in their endeavors to improve working conditions in those mines but even for Cobalt it isn't just batteries, it is an alloy used to make hardened cutting tools so if you have machined metal parts, or items built in factories that use equipment built using cobalt cutting tools or cobalt alloy to harden wear surfaces it touches your life.

This isn't surprising where human labor is the cheapest commodity and poverty is high exploitive labor practices would be expected to be common, kids labor is cheaper than adult labor. Our own child labor laws took a good while to get enacted and that is with a representative form of government. Voting fathers that couldn't get work because kids were cheaper had some influence on that situation. A little checking into child labor during and following the industrial revolution would show the similarities.

Mining is dangerous and even in our country with well developed legal framework we have mine accidents where safety violations had piled up or been common. Even without any overt malice a mine or factory can be dangerous. The stories in National Geographic on people living on the mine tailings looking for small gems missed by the industrial equipment is full of deadly accidents. One has limited knowledge when one purchases a piece of jewelry of the conditions of the workers who mined the gems.

We had the New York shirtwaist factory fire that triggered fire codes being implemented. Pakistan produces much of the worlds garments and have had similar incidents sparking public outcry. Eventually things may improve as people hold others responsible for their actions. Meanwhile do people boycott the products? That I would think causes the workers harm also.

One would hope that eventually other countries would rise up to the higher standards of the more developed countries. Maybe this lawsuit will move things along. But with so many things made in all parts of the world and the tension between race to the bottom competition and raising standards not at all resolved I think using or owning things that may have content that currently relies on substandard working conditions it is an unavoidable aspect of life.

Interesting topic but fairly tangential to FGRV's I would think. Hopefully it can avoid becoming a bunch of angry or politically charged posts.

How common are Lithium batteries as house batteries in RV's as opposed to the devices we might bring from home? I thought a few were using some of the gel batteries but thought Lithium was still pretty uncommon.

Does anyone know if the cobalt is an element recycled when you drop old tool batteries in those return bins at the big box hardware and tool stores?
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Old 12-19-2019, 07:45 AM   #7
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As far as I know, no molded manufacturer has yet offered lithium as factory equipment, but Ive seen several aftermarket conversions, including one by Jon Vermilye.

The Class B community is adopting lithium in a fairly big way, but with the average new unit approaching $150K and space at a premium, it makes more sense. Current lithium set-ups seem to be proprietary and not interchangeable. As RV lithium technology becomes standardized, drop-in ready, and the cost comes down, I think it will eventually trickle down.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
As far as I know, no molded manufacturer has yet offered lithium as factory equipment, but Ive seen several aftermarket conversions, including one by Jon Vermilye.

The Class B community is adopting lithium in a fairly big way, but with the average new unit approaching $150K and space at a premium, it makes more sense. As RV lithium technology becomes standardized and the cost comes down, I think it will eventually trickle down.
The tech was only available in the high end portable electric tools at one point, and the battery power density was low. A 12 volt Li cordless drill was a whole lot of money. Then it was 16 volt and the price was a bit better. On to where now 18 and 20 volt are common and prices while not cheap have come down despite having more power.

Some could be manufacturers dropping prices as market saturation takes place in order to reach a less motivated segment. Professional to Semi-Pro to Hobbyist to Anyone who wants a drill. Often see it in tech such as cars or computers. The totally new is only in the top of the line, or a very expensive option, moves down the price points until it is standard on the budget model. Radios, Air Conditioning, Disk Brakes, Radial tires come to mind for autos.

I would guess the same sort of thing will happen with RV's in a way it already is with solar. I think it is offered now on more models by the manufacturer and I expect price is coming down for that option.
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Old 12-19-2019, 12:32 PM   #9
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A bit of rambling on my conversion to lithium.

The LiFePO4 technology used by Battleborn & other RV replacement batteries is not the same as the lithium technology used by laptops, phones, hand tools, etc. It is less energy dense, but less prone to charging problems (such as spontaneous combustion).

They are still a big improvement over any of the lead acid technologies, with the exception of cost. Lighter (a 100 amp hour 12V Battleborn battery weighs 31 pounds), produces over 12V all the way down to 10% capacity, can be repeatedly discharged to 10%, and you can expect 3000 charge/discharge (to 10%) cycles when charging at C/2 - 50 amps for a 100 amp hour battery). If you are willing to cut down to an expected 1000 cycles, they can be charged at C. Charging at less than C/2 charging can increase the life to 6000 cycles or better.

That said, they do have disadvantages. You cannot discharge them below 0F, or charge them below 32F or above 113F. You cannot pull more than 100 amps per battery for more than 30 seconds. Battleborn, as does many built-for-replacement lithium batteries includes a BMS (Battery Management System) that prevents charging/discharging under temperature extremes, as well as a balancing system to keep the individual cells in the battery equal.

You may need a different converter & solar controller. While Battleborn states you can use your stock controller, it may not fully charge them. Bulk charging voltage should be 14.4V - 14.6V, float 13.6V. Ideal absorption time at 14.4V for Battleborn batteries is 1/2 hour per 100 amp hours, and equalization off or at 14.4V.

In my conversion (described here) I have 2 12V 100 amp hour Battleborn GC2 batteries. While the GC2 batteries are a bit more expensive than their standard 12V 100 amp hour replacement battery, they fit the dual 6V battery box in my Escape 21. My batteries are inside the trailer so generally they are well above freezing.

They have been very practical for dry camping & using lots of amp hours. I average 50 amp hours per day, hitting a high so far of 67 amp hours. I found that when I had lead acid batteries I often was unable to run my microwave in the morning after a night of microwaving dinner & lots furnace time because, while there was still battery capacity, the voltage dropped enough trying to pull 140 amps that the inverter shut down due to low voltage.

This does not happen with the lithium batteries. They have very low internal resistance, and hold over 12V even with a 140 amp load when down 50 amp hours. Because they can be safely pulled down to 10%, the 200 amp hours I have is the equivalent of 400 amp hours of lead acid batteries.

The fast charging capability is very useful if you charge with a generator or solar. Since there is no or little absorption phase, where, with lead acid batteries the full capacity of your panels or converter is not possible to use, the lithium batteries stay in bulk charging mode until close to 95% full. It was frustrating to see my solar controller drop down to just a couple of amps output when my older lead acid batteries reached 80% full and the controller switched to the absorption mode, knowing that the panels were capable of producing far more than that. Again, with the lithium batteries, the full output of the solar controller goes into the batteries until they are 95% full.

Overall, with the exception of price, I've been very happy with the conversion.
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:55 PM   #10
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My experience with the Battleborn lithium b. parallels Jon's, except that I replaced two flooded cell batteries with one lithium, for the reasons he mentions. My old batteries were in two vented boxes, one on each side, inside the trailer. I took the opportunity to put the lithium in the box on the side of the trailer which had less weight on the axle, therefore tending to equalize the trailer weight a bit, left versus right.


I quickly found out that the Pr. Dynamics 9245 converter could not provide enough charging voltage, especially with a seemingly defective dongle, so I replaced it with the lithium model, problem solved. I use either one or two dissimilar solar panels and modified one and replaced the other solar controller with lithium spec ones. Again, problem solved and charging is fast.



Apart from the excessive cost it has worked out very well and I'll be thankful to be able to ignore the whole installation for years to come.
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:28 PM   #11
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CBC.....I trust them about the same as CNN or NYT. I run 400 amps of lithium in my Casita...How many lead batteries would that take every 3 years to have that much capacity?
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:33 PM   #12
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CBC.....I trust them about the same as CNN or NYT. I run 400 amps of lithium in my Casita...How many lead batteries would that take every 3 years to have that much capacity?

Made you think.
That must have been an experience.
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:05 PM   #13
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Oh really, I guess your overseas now helping out. Probably the first snowflake they have seen with all the global warming.
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Old 12-28-2019, 04:49 PM   #14
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It appears that commercial mining operations may soon start again in Cobalt Ontario.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalt,_Ontario
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Old 12-28-2019, 05:54 PM   #15
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Oh really, I guess your overseas now helping out. Probably the first snowflake they have seen with all the global warming.

You're, not "your".
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