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Old 06-05-2020, 10:42 AM   #1
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BattleBorn LiFePO4 Install

Since my other thread was started for the old Trojan battery install I figured I'd start a new one specifically about our LiFePO4 system, especially since there's a lot of questions out there about them now.

This is a small and simple system because that's how we camp, we typically only average around 10Ah of energy usage per 24 hrs when dry camping since we are typically outside most of the time. We really only use a few lights, USB charging, water pump and the little bit of power for the fridge on propane and the LP detector. I've installed switches for the stereo standby mode, refrigerator door heater, etc. so we have total control over everything in the trailer, our resting (parasitic) amp draw is zero with everything turned off, although the only time the LP detector is off is during transit (propane tanks are always turned off while traveling), so with the detector on our parasitic draw is 0.1A per our Victron BMV-712.

I installed two 100Ah batteries in a rear storage cabinet right next to the converter to minimize charge wire length. All power wiring between the batteries and shunt/rear power post are 1/0 Copper. The 12V positive/negative wires serving the converter originate from the factory negative bus and Blue Sea power post located behind the converter. I used 1/0 to connect the factory negative bus to the chassis. The 1/0 is attached to the factory bus bar with large screw-on lugs. I used short (approx. 16") dual 6AWG cables to connect to the fuse block terminals. This was the largest wire that I could cleanly route through the fuse panel area. I backfed the trailer with the factory 8AWG charge wire from the power post with a dedicated 40A Blue Sea breaker. I reused the factory front battery isolation switch as a terminal post on one side for powering the tongue jack, break-away controller and TPMS booster. The former front battery box now serves as a great place to store levelers and wheel chocks.

The factory WFCO 55A converter was replaced with a PD4655L Wildkat converter, which allowed me to reuse the factory breaker/fuse panel. When set in Li mode the converter charges at a constant 14.6V. I typically keep the batteries charged to 90% SOC and disconnected via a Blue Sea 300A master disconnect switch while connected to shore power at home or at campsites with hook-ups. I only turn the batteries on during transit to power the emergency break-away brake controller. If we are going to dry camp I charge the batteries to 100% SOC prior to leaving home, which takes maybe 15 minutes. It's typically recommended to not keep the batteries stored at 100% SOC if they're not going to be used for a while. It's also not recommended to keep a bulk charge on the batteries for more than 2-3 weeks. It's OK to keep a float charge of 13.6V max on them, but this converter doesn't have that mode while in Li mode and it's not really needed. I could run it in normal mode and force it into float mode via the remote pendant, but that's too much trouble with no real benefit for us. WFCO does now make a Li charger that has bulk and float modes and Progressive stated that they have one in the works, but I see no real need for it personally. When initially charging the converter is able to push 56 amps into the batteries and slowly tapers to almost 0 amps once the batteries reach 14.6V.

I also installed a disconnect switch up front that controls whether I allow the truck to charge the batteries or not via the alternator. Since the resting voltage for the batteries is 13.4V at 100% SOC, I don't want the truck drawing the trailer batteries down. We don't do trips with multiple dry camping locations and long drives between and there's zero amp draw on our batteries while in transit, there's no real need for a DC-DC charger.

For solar we have a 200W Renogy Eclipse solar suitcase with the two 100W panels wired in series. We use a Victron MPPT SolarSmart 75/15 controller that's mounted inside the front pass-thru. I mounted the controller up front because we used to have two Trojan T-105's on the tongue. When the batteries were up front I ran a dedicated 1/0 Copper cable between the batteries and converter in the back of the trailer, so when I relocated the new batteries to the rear I repurposed the 1/0 as the connection between the solar controller and batteries. Since we use the factory SAE solar plug on the front side of the trailer everything works out good, I did rewire between the SAE plug and controller with 10AWG wire. This solar system is relatively small for two 100Ah batteries, but since we have no plans to ever run an inverter and want to stay with a suitcase style solar system it all works out for us. Plus recharging 10-15Ah with LiFePO4 is pretty fast with decent sun. I think with our use we can leave our generator at home now when we do 10 day dry camping trips, which is the ultimate goal for Fall/Winter/Early Spring camping.

So this isn't an ideal system for folks who are heavy energy users, but it should be very solid for our use.















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Old 06-06-2020, 12:05 AM   #2
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Nice work! We used 2 BattleBorn batteries for 2 years and then upgraded to a 3rd last year. We use a lot of juice but only have 300W of solar so far. I'll probably up our solar to 600W next year.


Thanks for sharing all the details, I'm sure many will find it helpful.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:38 AM   #3
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I boondock 1 week two times a year and my generator a couple of hours/day works great to keep the two Trojan T-105's happy. The price of BattleBorn is simply not something I'm ready to do. Could I afford it Yes, but I'm darn well not going to do it. I am a radio ham and one of those battery's could pay for a couple of nice radios. We each have our passions, right?
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Old 06-06-2020, 08:18 AM   #4
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I boondock 1 week two times a year and my generator a couple of hours/day works great to keep the two Trojan T-105's happy. The price of BattleBorn is simply not something I'm ready to do. Could I afford it Yes, but I'm darn well not going to do it. I am a radio ham and one of those battery's could pay for a couple of nice radios. We each have our passions, right?
That's very true, the trailer has become my hobby for both using and upgrading.

Switching to these reduced our tongue weight by about 120 lbs and this trailer is TW heavy. It also gave me a place to store dirty levelers and wheel chocks instead of having to wipe them off every time I put them away in the front pass thru. Between those two reasons and the fact that I don't have to worry about keeping up with water level and with the rate that they charge I can easily justify the purchase.

These batteries will switch from trailer to trailer with us in the future.

I mean, if you really want to start counting dollars.......when you see the RV dealership just keep on driving, just like the boat dealership, new car dealership, HAM radio website, fly fishing shop, mountain bike shop,......
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Old 06-11-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
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That's very true, the trailer has become my hobby for both using and upgrading.

Switching to these reduced our tongue weight by about 120 lbs and this trailer is TW heavy. It also gave me a place to store dirty levelers and wheel chocks instead of having to wipe them off every time I put them away in the front pass thru. Between those two reasons and the fact that I don't have to worry about keeping up with water level and with the rate that they charge I can easily justify the purchase.

These batteries will switch from trailer to trailer with us in the future.

I mean, if you really want to start counting dollars.......when you see the RV dealership just keep on driving, just like the boat dealership, new car dealership, HAM radio website, fly fishing shop, mountain bike shop,......
At 44 I'm still searching for a cheap hobby. Definately isn't the ham radio hobby.

I'm looking at lithium to drop 80lbs (currently (2)GC2 on the tongue).
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Old 06-12-2020, 11:17 AM   #6
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At 44 I'm still searching for a cheap hobby. Definately isn't the ham radio hobby.

I'm looking at lithium to drop 80lbs (currently (2)GC2 on the tongue).
Our tongue weight before going to Li and moving them to the back was 780 lbs.

Just measured again today -

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Old 06-13-2020, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote"
BattleBorn LiFePO4 Install
Since my other thread was started for the old Trojan battery install I figured I'd start a new one specifically about our LiFePO4 system, especially since there's a lot of questions out there about them now.

This is a small and simple system because that's how we camp, we typically only average around 10Ah of energy usage per 24 hrs when dry camping since we are typically outside most of the time. We really only use a few lights, USB charging, water pump and the little bit of power for the fridge on propane and the LP detector. I've installed switches for the stereo standby mode, refrigerator door heater, etc. so we have total control over everything in the trailer, our resting (parasitic) amp draw is zero with everything turned off, although the only time the LP detector is off is during transit (propane tanks are always turned off while traveling), so with the detector on our parasitic draw is 0.1A per our Victron BMV-712.

I installed two 100Ah batteries in a rear storage cabinet"

Since you say you only use 10 ah a day why 2 B-B batteries? seems like a waste of $1000.00
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Old 06-14-2020, 11:25 AM   #8
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Since you say you only use 10 ah a day why 2 B-B batteries? seems like a waste of $1000.00
Because I wanted to.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:00 AM   #9
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Because I wanted to.
And we like having the option of not having to depend on solar to recharge every day since it rains at least one day a week around here.

So basically we wanted more reserve capacity in case we choose to use more power or solar isn't an option for a couple days.

Since it's recommended by the manufacture that the batteries be no more than two years apart in age and we're planning to do more dry camping/boondocking we decided to go ahead and get the second battery now so they would be the same age.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 01tundra View Post
Since my other thread was started for the old Trojan battery install I figured I'd start a new one specifically about our LiFePO4 system, especially since there's a lot of questions out there about them now.

This is a small and simple system because that's how we camp, we typically only average around 10Ah of energy usage per 24 hrs when dry camping since we are typically outside most of the time. We really only use a few lights, USB charging, water pump and the little bit of power for the fridge on propane and the LP detector. I've installed switches for the stereo standby mode, refrigerator door heater, etc. so we have total control over everything in the trailer, our resting (parasitic) amp draw is zero with everything turned off, although the only time the LP detector is off is during transit (propane tanks are always turned off while traveling), so with the detector on our parasitic draw is 0.1A per our Victron BMV-712.

I installed two 100Ah batteries in a rear storage cabinet right next to the converter to minimize charge wire length. All power wiring between the batteries and shunt/rear power post are 1/0 Copper. The 12V positive/negative wires serving the converter originate from the factory negative bus and Blue Sea power post located behind the converter. I used 1/0 to connect the factory negative bus to the chassis. The 1/0 is attached to the factory bus bar with large screw-on lugs. I used short (approx. 16") dual 6AWG cables to connect to the fuse block terminals. This was the largest wire that I could cleanly route through the fuse panel area. I backfed the trailer with the factory 8AWG charge wire from the power post with a dedicated 40A Blue Sea breaker. I reused the factory front battery isolation switch as a terminal post on one side for powering the tongue jack, break-away controller and TPMS booster. The former front battery box now serves as a great place to store levelers and wheel chocks.

The factory WFCO 55A converter was replaced with a PD4655L Wildkat converter, which allowed me to reuse the factory breaker/fuse panel. When set in Li mode the converter charges at a constant 14.6V. I typically keep the batteries charged to 90% SOC and disconnected via a Blue Sea 300A master disconnect switch while connected to shore power at home or at campsites with hook-ups. I only turn the batteries on during transit to power the emergency break-away brake controller. If we are going to dry camp I charge the batteries to 100% SOC prior to leaving home, which takes maybe 15 minutes. It's typically recommended to not keep the batteries stored at 100% SOC if they're not going to be used for a while. It's also not recommended to keep a bulk charge on the batteries for more than 2-3 weeks. It's OK to keep a float charge of 13.6V max on them, but this converter doesn't have that mode while in Li mode and it's not really needed. I could run it in normal mode and force it into float mode via the remote pendant, but that's too much trouble with no real benefit for us. WFCO does now make a Li charger that has bulk and float modes and Progressive stated that they have one in the works, but I see no real need for it personally. When initially charging the converter is able to push 56 amps into the batteries and slowly tapers to almost 0 amps once the batteries reach 14.6V.

I also installed a disconnect switch up front that controls whether I allow the truck to charge the batteries or not via the alternator. Since the resting voltage for the batteries is 13.4V at 100% SOC, I don't want the truck drawing the trailer batteries down. We don't do trips with multiple dry camping locations and long drives between and there's zero amp draw on our batteries while in transit, there's no real need for a DC-DC charger.

For solar we have a 200W Renogy Eclipse solar suitcase with the two 100W panels wired in series. We use a Victron MPPT SolarSmart 75/15 controller that's mounted inside the front pass-thru. I mounted the controller up front because we used to have two Trojan T-105's on the tongue. When the batteries were up front I ran a dedicated 1/0 Copper cable between the batteries and converter in the back of the trailer, so when I relocated the new batteries to the rear I repurposed the 1/0 as the connection between the solar controller and batteries. Since we use the factory SAE solar plug on the front side of the trailer everything works out good, I did rewire between the SAE plug and controller with 10AWG wire. This solar system is relatively small for two 100Ah batteries, but since we have no plans to ever run an inverter and want to stay with a suitcase style solar system it all works out for us. Plus recharging 10-15Ah with LiFePO4 is pretty fast with decent sun. I think with our use we can leave our generator at home now when we do 10 day dry camping trips, which is the ultimate goal for Fall/Winter/Early Spring camping.

So this isn't an ideal system for folks who are heavy energy users, but it should be very solid for our use.
]
Thanks for the report. Nice system. Iím planning for a similar system but will use prismatic cells to keep price down. My reasons is to power a 2000W inverter.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:49 AM   #11
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Ended up running 4 AWG +/- from one of our truck's batteries back to an Anderson power plug mounted on the receiver hitch. Installed a Victron Orion 12/12-18 DC-DC charger up front in the pass thru next to the water heater and used the 1/0 solar circuit that goes directly back to the batteries for the charger output.

After hooking it up I was getting way more than the specified 280W max (was actually getting 346W), so I had to go back and upgrade both the 25A circuit breakers....

The charger is controlled with a manual battery switch up front.











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Old 08-06-2020, 05:51 AM   #12
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Also parted out our 100W Renogy solar suitcase and built a 200W suitcase with two Renogy Eclipse 100W panels wired in series.











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Old 08-06-2020, 07:24 AM   #13
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My latest power wiring schematic -



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Old 08-06-2020, 07:29 AM   #14
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Since I upgraded the solar suitcase I went back and replaced the 4 AWG jumpers from the solar controller with 1/0 and replaced the 25A rear solar breaker with a 50A to accommodate the DC-DC charger.



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Old 08-06-2020, 08:22 AM   #15
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Ended up running 4 AWG +/- from one of our truck's batteries back to an Anderson power plug mounted on the receiver hitch. Installed a Victron Orion 12/12-18 DC-DC charger up front in the pass thru next to the water heater and used the 1/0 solar circuit that goes directly back to the batteries for the charger output.

After hooking it up I was getting way more than the specified 280W max (was actually getting 346W), so I had to go back and upgrade both the 25A circuit breakers....

The charger is controlled with a manual battery switch up front.
The DC-DC charger is a nice addition for sure. I used 2 awg on the truck side and 6 awg on the trailer side as that was the largest wire the Victron 12/12 30 would accept. With the truck running and both umbilicals connected I am seeing just under 40 amps. Attached is the view of that from the BMV-712 monitor. Also did the home-made 200 watt portable solar with Renogy panels in series and a Victron 100/20 MPPT. It fits upright in the front pass-thru. The DW made a fleece cover as well.
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:34 AM   #16
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The DC-DC charger is a nice addition for sure. I used 2 awg on the truck side and 6 awg on the trailer side as that was the largest wire the Victron 12/12 30 would accept. With the truck running and both umbilicals connected I am seeing just under 40 amps. Attached is the view of that from the BMV-712 monitor. Also did the home-made 200 watt portable solar with Renogy panels in series and a Victron 100/20 MPPT. It fits upright in the front pass-thru. The DW made a fleece cover as well.
Nice! Great minds think alike .

The 12/12-18 is listed at 18A output nominal and 25A max, so I originally bought a 25A breaker for up front to match the 25A in the rear. After firing it up I've never seen it under 25A at max charging, so ended up having to upsize both breakers.....I was getting output amperage up in the 28A range. The max continuous output is specified as 280W......

After talking to a few people with the 30A chargers I found that they were getting more amperage than specified as well so I called Victron. They stated that their engineers have slightly underrated the output on them, that's a great problem to have.....but it would've been nice to know before hand.

I used 4AWG to the disconnect switch and negative post next to the charger and then stepped down to very short sections on 6 AWG. On the output I have maybe 6" of 6AWG between the charger and power posts and then it's all 1/0 back to the batteries and to the chassis ground.

Since we are light users and will have decent drive distances I opted for the 18A option. Last trip when we left the house the batteries were at 90% SOC, about 30 minutes later they were already at 100% SOC, before we even got through town. I simply switched the charger off via the Victron app on the phone.

I wish our panels would fit in the pass thru, but we have plenty of bed space in the truck so it's all good. That's one reason I spent more and went with the Eclipse version, they are a little taller and narrower than their standard 100w panels. Figured I could always let them ride on the bed in the trailer with a strap if the truck bed was ever loaded down.

By the way - ORV is next up for us down the road, they've already made it to Arkansas so they're coming our way finally

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