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 0įF, or charge them below 32įF or above 113įF. 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
. 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.