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Battery & wiring

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Psychokitsune View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Psychokitsune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Battery & wiring
    Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 9:35am
Alright, so I've got 2 lithium-ion batteries hooked up to the supplied wires on a 179 pod. The problem is either their wired to run in series instead of parallel or one set of the wires doesn't work. Dont think it's the latter because both are getting charged.

And suggestions on how to go about re-wiring the system so that both batteries get used at the same time (in parallel)? Because once one battery does get fully drained it does not start to pull power from the second. The entire system is just dead, cant use anything unless I switch the wires on the battery terminals.
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Colt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 9:45am

Post some good pictures showing how you wired the batteries.  Lithium-x batteries have a battery management system built-in to prevent damage/fires.  That may be affecting your discharge. 
What is each battery's voltage? 
This is a parallel connection, to be used with two 12V batteries, in an R-Pod.



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'16 RPod 180
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Psychokitsune View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Psychokitsune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 10:02am
Im having trouble posting pictures right now. But that's not how I have it wired. Each wire set (+/-) goes to it's own battery. That's how it came with the trailer.

So if I put both sets on a single battery then added some extra 14gage wire between the 2 batteries, would that make it a parallel setup?
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 10:56am
So you have 2 pairs of wires going to the batteries? If your trailer has standard wiring then one of those sets goes to your solar port and won't feed your loads, so that battery will never discharge.

Some questions:

Please confirm the batteries are 12V not 6V.
How do you know both batteries are getting charged? 
Who wired up your lithium batteries?
Do you have a multimeter?  If not, get one so you have the basic tools needed to sort this out. Try to buy one with a dc (not just ac) clamp on current measurement function, that would be best. 

And no, do NOT use 14 gauge wire to connect batteries, that is waaay too small. You need your wiring to be at least 6 gauge. Don't rewire anything yet until you understand what you have there now.

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Colt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 4:26pm
Yeah, I'd go heavier than 6 ga. even.

I have 2 sets of wires going to my battery, one for the "house" and one for the tongue jack.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Psychokitsune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 4:32pm


I believe it is the standard wiring, thank you for explaining about the discharge. To answer your questions:

1. Yes they are both 12v
2. Because I put both on at under 70% and both have charged to 90%
3. I bought the batteries as is. Might have mis-spoke when I talked about wiring there.
4. I have a volt meter that does dc and ac . I also have higher gage wire
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 7:18pm
Originally posted by Psychokitsune



I believe it is the standard wiring, thank you for explaining about the discharge. To answer your questions:

1. Yes they are both 12v
2. Because I put both on at under 70% and both have charged to 90%
3. I bought the batteries as is. Might have mis-spoke when I talked about wiring there.
4. I have a volt meter that does dc and ac . I also have higher gage wire

So if you have the standard rpod wiring then the mystery is how did the battery connected to the solar port get charged? Do you have a solar kit connected? If not then it shouldn't be getting charged or discharged, because there should not be anything connected to those wires. Where are you seeing the 90% state of charge reading?

I should have maybe been more clear on the multimeter. Pretty much all multimeters will measure both ac and dc voltage. I was talking about measuring dc current,which is more unusual. That would tell you how much charging and discharging you are getting. 

In any case, you have the meter you have. The two smaller gauge wires are the ones that go to the solar port. Assuming there is no solar connected, disconnect them from that battery and measure the dc voltage on them. Should be zero. If so set them aside. 

Get two battery cables, one red and one black. Minimum gauge should be 6, 2 gauge or 1/0 is better. Connect + to + and - to - of your two batteries. 

Then connect the heavier gauge - cable on the rPod to the - of one battery and the + to the + of the other battery. Verify with your meter first which is + and which is - before connecting. You can plug in the rPod and turn on the charger to be sure, but then shut it down again while connecting.

The reason for attaching + to one battery and - to the other is to better balance current flow between them.

One last question, the standard WFCO charger in the rPod is not designed for lithium batteries. If you overcharge Li batteries you can start a fire. So, you need to be sure that you have a safe system there, either by changing the standard WFCO for a LI charger or being sure that the batteries themselves are internally protected from overcharging.  

Also, you will not be able to effectively charge Li batteries from your tow vehicle without additional equipment. There really is a lot to converting a trailer to lithium batts and you need to understand all of that or it will at best be ineffective and at worst can be very dangerous.


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Psychokitsune View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Psychokitsune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2020 at 7:24pm
Thank you very much! That was all very helpful. And yes, I do have a solar rig set up. I will get back to you tomorrow with the results.

Also, my batteries have a built in voltmeter, on/off switch, and LED screen so that's how I'm able to tell. It makes life a lot easier.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2020 at 7:31am
Ah, mystery solved!  So one of your new batteries was getting slowly charged from solar and never getting discharged, the other was getting charged from the rPod charger and getting discharged by the trailer loads. Its only a coincidence that they both wound up at 90%.

So, you can connect the two smaller gauge wires from the solar kit to the same two battery terminals as the larger wires which lead to the charger/panel.  Again, be sure of your polarity buy using your voltmeter first. That plus the two parallel battery connectors should get you going. 

Next question: 

All three charging sources: solar, rPod charger, and tow vehicle charging (if you want to be able to do that while driving or boondocking) need to be configured for charging Li batteries. This is very important to be sure you are getting proper charging but most importantly, keep you safe from fires and explosions. Have you looked into that yet?

And one last thing, never attempt to charge Li batteries when they are below freezing. That can also cause severe damage or fires. For that reason many folks, depending on what your climate and camping patterns are like, mount their Li batteries in the heated space rather than the standard battery location. 
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Psychokitsune View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Psychokitsune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2020 at 3:53pm
Everything is working! Thank you for the informative answers. Looks like it was me just being dumb for the wiring.

Also, I mainly boondock in temperate climates so I dont normally have to deal with frozen batteries. I have also configured the charge controller set for lithium batteries.
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