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LITHIUM RV BATTERIES? AGM? FLOODED? RVgeeks Speak at the 2019 Xscapers Annual Bash!

LITHIUM RV BATTERIES? AGM? FLOODED? RVgeeks Speak at the 2019 Xscapers Annual Bash!

As featured speakers at the 2019 Xscapers Annual Bash in Lake Havasu City, AZ, our presentation was all about RV Batteries – Flooded vs. AGM vs Lithium. Thanks to Xscapers for inviting us to speak their biggest convergence of the year. We hope this information helps fellow RVers understand the pros and cons of each type of RV house battery, and make wise choices about what might work best for them.

You can download a PDF of the important slides here:

Check out Escapees and Xscapers for info about these awesome convergences and more!


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Jim

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

Thanks, for the fast response much appreciated

Jim Miller

Tuesday 19th of March 2019

Hello I enjoy your videos, I am just a part timer for now I have a 2012 Fleetwood Discovery with filled batteries. I want to upgrade so I remove the maintenance aspect. I am up in Michigan and in the winter when the RV is in storage it can get below 0 for periods of time. Due to this I think lithium batteries are out. What would you suggest AGM? If so what do you find as the best brands

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

Hi Jim! Thanks for the note! And from a battery perspective... as a part-timer, we'd agree that, right now, upgrading to Lithium wouldn't likely be a smart move for you. Between the sub-freezing temperature issue... and not getting as much use out of them as a seasonal/full-time RVer might... you likely wouldn't recoup the cost, or get to maximize the benefits lithium offers.

So AGMs definitely sound like the best move forward for you. And we can reinforce that removing the maintenance issue of flooded lead acid batteries was well worth the added cost. We LOVED our AGMs for the entire time we had them. As for brand, we had Lifeline AGMs for our house batteries, and they served us well. They are on the higher end of the spectrum, so may be a bit pricier than others, but they are definitely a quality product.

When we upgraded to our Xantrex e-GEN lithium battery, we wanted to eliminate our maintenance free chassis (starting) batteries so that there wouldn't be any outgassing/corrosion in that compartment. When we started researching to find AGMs that could provide the Cold Cranking Amps needed for our Cummins diesel engine, we came across Fullriver batteries. We're using batteries their Full Throttle series, which are AGM but are designed to have the oomph to start a big engine (i.e. more of a starting battery than a deep cycle one for RV house loads). But you may want to look at their DC Series, which are deep cycle batteries that are appropriate for use in RVs. They come in 6V and 12V models that compare favorably to the same size Lifeline batteries.

Hope this helps!

Brian Barton

Friday 8th of February 2019

Hi, I just found your channel on YouTube. I’m hoping to be RV’ing in less than a year or so, trying learn & plan now. Can you tell us the best (price) way to purchase the XGen lithium battery system? Everyone I listen to about RV’ing say buying from RV stores is like buying beer at the ballgame. Do you have information on the best price of the system & best places to buy? I want to go lithium & really like the seemingly high quality convenience but also don’t want to vastly overpay for my budget. I am going to convert a brand new cargo trailer into an RV & plan on boondocking most of my time with solar. Thank’s for the info & I have subscribed to your YouTube channel.

TheRVgeeks

Friday 8th of February 2019

Hi Brian! And welcome. Great to have you here. As far as our e-GEN system, Xantrex is in the process of signing up authorized installers. There are a couple of things about this system that likely make it the current height of lithium tech. First, it's got more capacity packed into a smaller space than any system we know of. Our 600Ah (90% / 540Ah usable) fits into about the same footprint as 400Ah of usable capacity from Battleborn, for example. Also, it's the only system we know of that's self-heating, so not subject to the issue of others that can't be charged below freezing. Xantrex does not consider this a consumer-intallable product at this time, and will not sell directly to the public, at least not yet. That means that not only are you getting a Cadillac product, with the associated cost, but you can't install it yourself, thereby incurring the added cost of professional installation. We love this battery, but it is right at the highest end of the lithium spectrum right now, so we expect that it's not a budget-oriented product, but rather the pinnacle of what can be done at this time. They haven't released retail pricing yet, but we expect it will be at the higher end of available lithium systems, and not for the bridget-minded. Best of luck in your preparations for your RV conversion. Sounds like a great project!

Kathy Tole

Wednesday 6th of February 2019

Loved the presentation. Went back and watched all the videos on the LifePo upgrades. Thanks (again) for helping us understand the nuances. I am a bit confused on one thing (actually, more than one, but for now...). If the LifePo batteries are brought to below freezing temperatures are they destroyed or are they just unable to charge until they return to above freezing temps?

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 6th of February 2019

Hi Kathy! Thanks! The freezing issue with Lithium batteries is that they cannot be CHARGED when the battery itself (not just the ambient temperature) drops below freezing. Any good lithium battery will have a BMS that is monitoring that, and should prevent the battery from attempting to charge if the temperature drops. But that may not do you any good if you're in sub-freezing temperatures and NEED to charge the battery.

If the BMS didn't protect the battery and allowed it to charge when it was below freezing, it would absolutely destroy the battery (now, there are nuances... as the temperature drops, you can charge a lithium battery SLOWLY... but that would require a level of coordination between the battery's BMS and the charger that just isn't there yet). The lithium in the individual cells inside the battery will crystallize... which pierces the barriers between the cells themselves and makes the battery useless.

Hence the need to either (1) heat them to keep them above freezing, (2) keep the batteries in a more temperature-controlled enclosure to prevent them from being exposed to too cold of temperatures, or (3) allow the BMS to disengage the battery from being charged (which may or may not be OK with you if you are in a spot where the temperatures never get high enough to allow the battery to recharge again).

Hope this is more clear!

Roger B

Sunday 3rd of February 2019

Great presentation. I really enjoy the technical aspects of your presentations and I always learn something I didn't know and I took photos of your charts for my reference. Thank you.

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 3rd of February 2019

Thanks so much, Roger! Always great to hear we've been helpful. If you'd like an actual printout of the charts, we've added them into the post above. You can also get them by clicking here.

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