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 > Lithium for dummies: need advice in simple terms

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vermilye

Oswego, NY, USA

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Posted: 12/06/22 08:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I made the change to lithium 4 years ago and have been pleased with the change. While it is getting a bit dated, here is the documentation of the change, although prices have come down, particularly if you look at sources other than Battleborn. I currently winter camp, but it is at Quartzsite, AZ with temperatures rarely going below freezing, and daytime temperatures in the 50's or above.

That said, I have followed your adventures, and you do enough cold weather camping that I'd be concerned about charging. While the lithium battery will be OK discharging down to -4*F or so, as others have pointed out they should not be charged below 32°F. Heated batteries are a solution, but you still need to find the energy to heat them.

You mentioned days only going up to 30°F with 10° nights - it may be tough to carry enough solar to bring the battery up to charging temperatures after a 10°F night. Unless you carry a generator, a couple of cloudy days may leave you unable to catch up.


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Housted

Los Angeles, CA

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Posted: 12/06/22 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is a presentation I made to our ralley a couple of years ago.

Housted

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9swvc6jpcf4flzo/Solar%20PowerPoint.pdf?dl=0


2019 Forrest River Forrester 3051S 2014 Honda CRV toad.
1000 W Solar, converted to 50 amp
400 Amps of LiFePO4,3000 Watt Inverter, Refer converted with JC refrigeration unit, Sofa replaced with 2 swivel chairs, over cab bed converted to TV mount and storage


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/06/22 10:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tom/Barb wrote:

I converted to lithium batteries 4 years ago, Our battery compartment is not heated.
We have seen temps as low as 19 degrees f.

no issues


Many battery users are unaware that consumer-grade lithium-ion batteries cannot be charged below 0°C (32°F). Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium occurs on the anode during a sub-freezing charge that leads to a permanent degradation in performance and safety. Batteries with lithium plating are more vulnerable to failure if exposed to vibration or other stressful conditions. Advanced chargers (Cadex) prevent charging Li-ion below freezing."

https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu........10-charging-at-high-and-low-temperatures

My record low temperature is -37 C (-34 f). You can see why Li are not a good fit for me.

* This post was edited 12/06/22 10:25am by pianotuna *


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 12/06/22 11:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:


Many battery users are unaware that consumer-grade lithium-ion batteries cannot be charged below 0°C (32°F). Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium occurs on the anode during a sub-freezing charge that leads to a permanent degradation in performance and safety.

You are more aware of battery chemistry than I, so hopefully you can answer this question. I am aware if the cod charging issue, but can you store or discharge LiFePO4 batteries below freezing ? How far below ?

vermilye

Oswego, NY, USA

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Posted: 12/06/22 01:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

pianotuna wrote:


Many battery users are unaware that consumer-grade lithium-ion batteries cannot be charged below 0°C (32°F). Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium occurs on the anode during a sub-freezing charge that leads to a permanent degradation in performance and safety.

You are more aware of battery chemistry than I, so hopefully you can answer this question. I am aware if the cod charging issue, but can you store or discharge LiFePO4 batteries below freezing ? How far below ?
It may be different for other manufacturers, but my Battleborn batteries can be discharged down to -4°F. They can be stored well below freezing, preferable at 80% SOC, and they suggest not traveling with them below -15°F because the internal supports may fracture due to the cold & vibrations.

2oldman

NM

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Posted: 12/06/22 04:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

I am aware if the cod charging issue, but can you store or discharge LiFePO4 batteries below freezing ? How far below ?
I would hope your batteries would be in a heated or semi-heated space so that's not a big issue.

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 12/06/22 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So many great posts -- thanks!!!

A few thoughts -- first, here is a link to Housted's great Power Point:

Solar 101

Second, it sounds like I will have to replace my old WFCO converter/charger, right? That's probably a good idea, anyway, given that WFCO units don't have a great reputation.

Third, it is true that most of my charging is from my solar panel (120 watts). Most of our snow camping tends to be in Utah and the Sierra, so we usually get lots of sun. But assuming that I go with lithium batteries, I will want to make sure that the software in the battery prevents charging when it is below 32 degrees.

Fourth, someone mentioned that most folks have their batteries in warm environments. Right now, I don't -- my lead acid units are on the tongue of the trailer, inside waterproof plastic boxes. Very cold!

So I would have to heat the boxes and insulate them. That sounds like a fun project! Maybe put the batteries inside a YETI cooler??

There is no way I can put the batteries inside -- the interior of our trailer measures 11 feet by 7 feet (77 square feet), and that includes the bathroom, the sink, the stove, the fridge, all cabinets, the table and the bed (which are the same thing).

Plus me and my wife. Thank heavens she is both short and slender, because I am neither.

It's sure cozy in there. But I don't even have room for a AAA battery, never mind a LiFePo!! [emoticon]


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
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pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/06/22 06:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

pianotuna wrote:


Many battery users are unaware that consumer-grade lithium-ion batteries cannot be charged below 0°C (32°F). Although the pack appears to be charging normally, plating of metallic lithium occurs on the anode during a sub-freezing charge that leads to a permanent degradation in performance and safety.

You are more aware of battery chemistry than I, so hopefully you can answer this question. I am aware if the cod charging issue, but can you store or discharge LiFePO4 batteries below freezing ? How far below ?


Hi,

Yes they can be stored well below freezing. They can be discharged until the threshold of -4 f. Just no efficient way to charge them. Charge rate at -4 f is 0.02 C. Assuming a 100 amp jar, that's 2 amps.

There is one Li that can be charged at -40. It is Lithium Titinate. It costs an arm and a leg and your first born son.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/06/22 07:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:


Second, it sounds like I will have to replace my old WFCO converter/charger, right?


I would try it first.

mordecai81

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Posted: 12/06/22 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our LiFePo4 is in a Century Plastics box with an Ultraheat heating wrap around the batt and then some closed cell foam top and bottom of box. I think the temp sensor allows power from the batt to flow to the wrap when the sensor hits 38F and turns off at 45F. We've been down into the teens overnight and the heater keeps the internal batt temp within that range. The power draw is about 1 amp/hr so you have to budget for that.
We've had this system for 3 seasons and it's worked well for us. If you end up with a lithium without an internal heater go to the Ultraheat site and call the number provided. The gentleman was very helpful.

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