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Batteries

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mjlrpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Batteries
    Posted: 22 Apr 2023 at 5:59pm
Hi Stephen, I don't have my pod anymore, Not sure if that unit works with my surveyor. If it did, what would you want for it? I really hate to get started down this path right now cause it would require new converter, new super expensive batts, and a new controller. Not sure what all that costs.

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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2023 at 7:00pm
It depends on your Surveyor. If it has a WFCO WF-8900 series power center, it is the proper unit. How old is your Surveyor? If it is new, you might have the unit like the Grey Wolf that is compatible with LiFePO4 batteries. If not, then we can discuss price in a direct message.

Considering that a LiFePO4 battery can last 10+ years, and can be drained below 50% without damaging it plus other advantages such as weight savings, the cost isn't as steep as you think. Yes, the battery costs more than the typical Pb-acid battery, but over the lifetime, you will likely need to replace the Pb-acid battery/batteries multiple times while you would still be using the LiFePO4 battery. LiFePO4 batteries also charge quicker. They don't need a float charge and the have a very slow self-discharge rate. 

The expenses other than the battery are the converter upgrade (if needed), and a DC to DC charger since your tow vehicle likely won't charge the battery as you are driving. This is because the newer "smart" alternator control circuits think the TV battery is charged and reduce the output to save gas. The trailer battery supplies what the TV needs so you arrive with the trailer battery partly discharged. I set up a separate charge circuit with a battery isolation solenoid for the TV that can feed a circuit connected to the DC to DC charger which then charges the LiFePO4 battery. The Grey Wolf came with solar, but it has a cheap PWM charge controller. I purchased a Renogy MPPT controller which will let me connect the TV power in addition to the solar panels. That means that I won't need the Renogy 20A DC to DC charger that I had been using in the RPod either. The last thing you would want would be useful even if you stayed with Pb-acid batteries. That is a way to monitor state of charge. The one I have mounts a shunt through which the negative terminal is connected. It drives a meter that shows voltage, amps in/out, and percentage of charge. It is much better than the "idiot" light gauge that was in the RPod. There is some wiring that will be needed, both for the TV and the trailer if you were to duplicate what I did. However, you may be able to skip the TV part and use the power from the 7-way if your TV cuts that power when the engine is off. You could disconnect the wire from the 7-way on the trailer end and connect up a wire to a DC to DC charger instead. You can't just connect the DC to DC charger into the trailer's existing wiring for supply because then it would be like trying to use the battery power to charge the battery. It just doesn't work.

I detailed the installation in my mods. I removed that equipment and the only things I will be using for the Grey Wolf are the 200 AH LiFePO4 battery and the monitor.

Anyway, I hope that is helpful.
StephenH
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mjlrpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 10:18am
Originally posted by StephenH

It depends on your Surveyor. If it has a WFCO WF-8900 series power center, it is the proper unit. How old is your Surveyor? If it is new, you might have the unit like the Grey Wolf that is compatible with LiFePO4 batteries. 


I feel kinda stupid now. No actually I feel very stupid. My surveyor already can support lithium batts. It's an auto detect system for whatever type of batt you install. I had no idea till I saw your comment, and I went and took a look. I would have thought my service guy might have mentioned that when I had a conversation about batts with him. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gpokluda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 10:32am
Originally posted by mjlrpod

Hey did you ever get your hughes autoformer installed in your new unit? I got mine done, but had to add a power watchdog to it so I could monitor the power thru bluetooth, My autoformer in behind my converter, under the fridge and unseeable. 

It’s all installed but all of our camping has been off grid. Have yet to connect to shore power to test it out
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 3:27pm
Originally posted by mjlrpod

I feel kinda stupid now. No actually I feel very stupid. My surveyor already can support lithium batts. It's an auto detect system for whatever type of batt you install. I had no idea till I saw your comment, and I went and took a look. I would have thought my service guy might have mentioned that when I had a conversation about batts with him. 
Don't feel stupid. The service guy might not have thought of it since LiFePO4 batteries in camping trailers is still a fairly new idea. I like that there was a label on the power center in the Grey Wolf that let me know that ours has the auto-sensing feature. In a few years, you will be ready to make the change when the GC-2 batteries reach the point of needing to be replaced.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 4:43pm
Going through battery expense so far after 12 years, I cannot justify the cost of lithium when looking at what has been spent so far with the old LA batteries, especially when looking at the expense of producing lithium and at the limited rare earth minerals needed to produce them.

3/2011  purchased 2 12v Interstate batteries (deep cycle) @ $ 50 each   total $ 100
8/2020 retired 1 original of the above and replaced with
           Trojan T-1275 which gives 165 AH (incl. core exchange)               total  $ 210

Grand total spent after 12 years service ($ 310.00) which figures out to a yearly expense after 12 years of $ 25.83/year.   I suppose I could add a gallon of distilled water but seeing that it came from my de-humidifier, cost on that was about nil, except for the electricity needed to pull it out of my damp basement. Also didn't include the yearly twice a year cost when they are given a 24 hour 2 amp trickle charge just before storing for winter.
 
      
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gpokluda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 6:27pm
Originally posted by jato

Going through battery expense so far after 12 years, I cannot justify the cost of lithium when looking at what has been spent so far with the old LA batteries, especially when looking at the expense of producing lithium and at the limited rare earth minerals needed to produce them.

3/2011  purchased 2 12v Interstate batteries (deep cycle) @ $ 50 each   total $ 100
8/2020 retired 1 original of the above and replaced with
           Trojan T-1275 which gives 165 AH (incl. core exchange)               total  $ 210
      
Where's Offgrid when you need him!

There is no disputing your good fortune, Jato. That charmed 12 year old LA battery is legendary. Maybe it should have its own Facebook page Tongue

Last I looked, the lead acid battery was not the poster child of the environmental movement. All that aside, however, while an LA battery is a good, economical alternative in some applications, the LI batteries wins the award for ease of use and overall performance across the board. Add to that the ever decreasing footprint for the same amp/hr output at less than 50% weight, and the ability to securely place the batteries in the coach and the LI battery is the hands down winner for versatility and value.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2023 at 8:10pm
Gopokluda,  I will not argue your point, it is obvious the LI battery is the hands down winner for versatility.  Value?  well I will still hold out on that one due to the above price/year on the current batteries owned.  We do camp in colder weather and the ability to recharge LI is somewhat limited there IMHO.  Also, since the FW tank is behind the axle (177) and is usually full or near so as we travel, the extra tongue weight is a necessity.  The Trojan T-1275 (85 lbs.) and Interstate (45 lbs.) gives me just over the 11% tongue weight needed to give me peace while traveling down the road.  Our tongue weight with batteries and both 20# propane tanks adds up to 340 lbs.  11% of the loaded 177 weight comes out to 323 lbs on the tongue.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2023 at 10:35am
I did not think LFP batteries use any "rare earths" at all. Further more , they don't impose any fire hazard, and I might argue that they are safer than SLA batteries. These days, they are cost competitive with SLA batteries. They are lighter than SLA batteries (watt per watt). Finally, they can probably handle at 3 or 4 times as many charge/discharge cycles than SLA batteries.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2023 at 12:47pm
I am going to go with Lifepo4 battery / batteries. I am not sure if it will be 1 or 2 of them, but 1 for sure. I am looking into the one I put the link below for. It's a LI Time 230 Ah lithium battery. Anybody have any idea if these are good / bad / or indifferent?? I think I might wait till black friday, since camp season is close enough to over.
    
https://www.litime.com/products/litime-12v-230ah-plus-lifepo4-battery-built-in-200a-bms-max-2944wh-energy?variant=43846095339740

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