RV Lithium/AGM Battery & Electrical System Upgrade – Part 2 – Battery Tray Expansion

TheRVgeeks Electrical, Great RV Products, Updates & Upgrades 11 Comments

In Part 2 of our battery & electrical upgrade project, we’ll be removing the battery tray, getting it cut in two and welded back together… just a little wider. While the Xantrex e-GEN lithium battery is over 100 lbs lighter than the four AGM house batteries it will replace, it’s about 3″ wider.

Newmar had the tray designed to fit the 6 batteries that came with our RV – two chassis (engine/start) batteries and four deep-cycle “house” batteries. Luckily for us, the opening into the battery compartment is wider than the tray. So we’ll be taking it to a welder to enlarge it as much as possible, filling the entire compartment.

Well, actually, we’ll be cutting off the end of the compartment itself, and enlarging that as well, to fill the entire opening. That will give us enough space to fit both the new Xantrex e-GEN lithium battery, the two Full Throttle batteries, made by Fullriver (which are the exact same size as the flooded lead-acid batteries they’re replacing) AND the BMS (battery monitoring system) for the e-GEN.

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HUGHES AUTOFORMER 10% DISCOUNT

Hughes Autoformers also offers RVgeeks viewers a special discount. SAVE 10% when you order either a 30-amp (Model #RV2130-SP) or 50-amp (Model #RV220-50-SP) factory-direct at HughesAutoformers.com. Use Coupon Code “RVGEEKS” at checkout to get 10% OFF!
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Thanks to all of the fine companies that are participating in this project for providing the expertise, equipment and service required to get this big job done.

Stay tuned as our exciting project unfolds!


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Comments 11

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  1. My apologies if I missed this or if someone else has already asked and you’ve answered… you mentioned in the first episode that the lithium batteries are insulated to protect from low temperatures. I have also heard that lithium batteries are sensitive to temps over 90F. Does the insulation help with that also? We have a class C and the battery compartment is in the stairwell which is inside the rig, so we’re hoping that this would help moderate the temps for our planned upgrade to lithium batteries. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hi Mary! Lithium batteries are indeed sensitive to high temperatures, but it takes a lot more than 90° to bother them (ours at least). In part four of the series you’ll see that we install special high temperature insulation, the type used under the hoods of race cars, in our battery compartment to protect it from the heat of the engine and the exhaust system. We have two ways of monitoring the temperature in the battery compartment. First there is a sensor mounted in the compartment itself that reports through the inverter. Second, there is a sensor inside the battery itself. Both of these are visible inside the RV so we can monitor them as we drive. So far, despite extended trips during somewhat warm weather and including mountain driving, we haven’t seen any temperatures nearly approaching the acceptable limits of the battery. As far as your setup, while having your batteries located in the steps may make it easier to insulate around them for a lithium upgrade, that does still need to be done, as those batteries are vented to the outside.

  2. great job. you guys are so handy with tools and ideas. one thing I wish to point out and that is while you cleaned the ends of the battery cables you should know and the readers should know that the corrosion doesn’t end at the ends you wired brushed. the corrosion can work it’s way into the strands of wire under the insulation of the cable and stop the flow electricity. I had this happen to me back in 1970. lucky for me I was in town and a friend of mine was the mechanic who came to my rescue. with in a hour he had me back on the road with a new cable installed.

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      Author

      Thanks, Pius! So sorry to hear about your experience with getting stuck, but thanks for pointing out the importance of inspecting your battery cables as well as the terminals! Corrosion can find its way into all sorts of places that can cause problems at some point down the road. Vigilance is key to ensuring it doesn’t strand you!

  3. Your diagram with color coding for positive and negative along with the battery placement number is very creative. Thanks for the video and making life easier.

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  4. Great looking job and what a great idea to use a pop rivet gun to secure the new side. Absolutely gorgeous looking. You always do everything so neat and clean.
    Pat

  5. What a nice clean looking job! The Fullriver’s add a certain ‘color flair’ to this phase too!! And a solid choice for hopefully long time starting duties:)!

    Looking forward to Part III,
    Smitty

    (One safety tip. I noted the size gage of your extension cord was appropriate for the load of the refrigerator. But since I’ve many times seen smaller gage extension cords being used for heavier loads then they should carry. i felt I should mention that 12GA will typically handle any 20A supply demands. Usually 14GA too. When I’m asked to help friends and other RV’er’s choose equipment to carry with them. I suggest a 75′ 12/3 Extension Cord. Having higher capacity is better then lower capacity! 50′ would usually get the job done, and 100′ can be a PITA to store. I’ve found 75′ is the sweet spot on useable length vs storage. (Twice in the last three years, we’ve had to run from the 20A Power Pole of a site next to us, to augment a weak 30A supply., even with Hughes Autoformer in the mix. Both of these times, and others, we were glad we bought the 75′!) (Smitty IMO, over!)

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      Author

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