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Old 05-13-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
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My LiFePO4 Solar Project

Solar project complete:

2 of the 100 Amp Hour Battleborn Li-Ion Deep Cycle Batteries from Dragonfly Energy.
Battery Specs:
LiFePO4 Chemistry
3000 + Charging Cycles
100 Amp Continuous Current
200 Amp Surge Current (30 Seconds)
12.8V Operating Voltage
14.4V Charging Voltage
0.25" Thick Brass Terminal Blades
200 mA Balancing Current
Operating Temp Range -4F – 160F
Dimensions (L x W x H) 13 x 6.75 x 9.75
33 lbs

300 Watts of Solar (2 of the 150W Sunbee panels)
Blue Sky SB 3000i Charge Controller

AIMS Power 3000 Watt Pure Sine Inverter Charger.



Quite impressed with this setup. I had no trouble running the Coleman Mach 13,500 BTU air conditioner for an hour yesterday (rated at 13.5 - 16.25 AMPS). Going to do some further testing this weekend.
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #2
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Here’s the rooftop with my two 150W Sunbee panels.



I've done quite a bit of testing and there's nothing this setup hasn't handled so far. Hair drier, Keurig coffee maker, blender, microwave, A/C, etc. are all working fine. Things get a little stressed when you try to run 2 major appliances together, but the system seems to be pretty robust. Looking forward to our first trip during the Memorial Day weekend.
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:24 AM   #3
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Wow - looks awesome
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:01 AM   #4
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That looks like a really nice system. What capacity were your batteries down to after running your AC for an hour?

Assuming they are using 13.5 amps while running on 110 volts that is 1485 Watts. Converting that back to 12 volts is 124 amps being pulled from your batteries. That is assuming no losses at all so you are probably pulling 130-140 amps while running your AC.

Run that for 1 hour and you have pulled 130 Ah from your 200Ah battery bank so you should be down to around 35%. If you had sun while doing it your panels were probably providing a little power. 14-15 amps? So your battery had to supply 115Ah.

Those batteries are impressive if they hold up to that long term. Sure would be nice to be able to run AC even for a short period of time off your batteries. 4 of those would be an awesome battery bank!

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:47 AM   #5
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That looks like a really nice system. What capacity were your batteries down to after running your AC for an hour?

Assuming they are using 13.5 amps while running on 110 volts that is 1485 Watts. Converting that back to 12 volts is 124 amps being pulled from your batteries. That is assuming no losses at all so you are probably pulling 130-140 amps while running your AC.

Run that for 1 hour and you have pulled 130 Ah from your 200Ah battery bank so you should be down to around 35%. If you had sun while doing it your panels were probably providing a little power. 14-15 amps? So your battery had to supply 115Ah.

Those batteries are impressive if they hold up to that long term. Sure would be nice to be able to run AC even for a short period of time off your batteries. 4 of those would be an awesome battery bank!

Thanks for sharing.
Cheers
Your numbers are pretty much spot on. Roughly 30-35% after an hour. We rarely use the AC, however, there were a few hot afternoons when we came back to camp and I would turn it on for 15-20 minutes while making lunch inside.

We camped about 35 days total this summer and it was nice to leave the generator at home. I'm going to add 1 portable solar panel to the system, sometimes you end up in a sight with full tree coverage and that limits the rooftop panels.

We really like the convenience this has added to our trips. Using the electric coffee maker, blending a smoothie, running the 4G cellular booster, etc. without worrying about power is great. Most of our trips are 4 day weekends, if we were full timing, I would add 2 more batteries.
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:50 AM   #6
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Nice Setup!!!

As Subaru297 mentioned....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subaru297 View Post
Assuming they are using 13.5 amps while running on 110 volts that is 1485 Watts. Converting that back to 12 volts is 124 amps being pulled from your batteries. That is assuming no losses at all so you are probably pulling 130-140 amps while running your AC.

Run that for 1 hour and you have pulled 130 Ah from your 200Ah.....
You have 300 watts of SOLAR on your roof. Nice, but 300 watts will only give you around 125 Ah of payback for your battery each FULL SOLAR day. If you do the math, 300 watts / 12Volts (battery voltage) = 25Amps * 5 (daily hours of PRIME sunshine for your flat roof) = 125Ah.

Based on the AC draw and no other loads calculated in to the equation, you are breaking even or losing 5Ah a day. Not noticeable on short outings with lots of sun, but you put in a few days of overcast sky, rainy days or partly sunny days, or Fall and Winter angled sun and that 125 Ah now becomes 25 - 75Ah back to the batteries. I would recommend adding at least 1 more panel, but would go with 2 for a total of 600 Watts (50Amps) and a possible 250Ah back into the batteries, and I would also recommend increasing your batteries to 400Ah as that will double your Ah and Lifecycles. Using the AC will really shorten the life of your batteries, and at that price, you would like them to last for as long as possible.

I like the setup... to costly for me at this time

Don
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post
Nice Setup!!!

As Subaru297 mentioned....



You have 300 watts of SOLAR on your roof. Nice, but 300 watts will only give you around 125 Ah of payback for your battery each FULL SOLAR day. If you do the math, 300 watts / 12Volts (battery voltage) = 25Amps * 5 (daily hours of PRIME sunshine for your flat roof) = 125Ah.

Based on the AC draw and no other loads calculated in to the equation, you are breaking even or losing 5Ah a day. Not noticeable on short outings with lots of sun, but you put in a few days of overcast sky, rainy days or partly sunny days, or Fall and Winter angled sun and that 125 Ah now becomes 25 - 75Ah back to the batteries. I would recommend adding at least 1 more panel, but would go with 2 for a total of 600 Watts (50Amps) and a possible 250Ah back into the batteries, and I would also recommend increasing your batteries to 400Ah as that will double your Ah and Lifecycles. Using the AC will really shorten the life of your batteries, and at that price, you would like them to last for as long as possible.

I like the setup... to costly for me at this time

Don
Fantastic feedback, thanks for that.

I'm going to add one more 150W portable panel for better sun positioning at shady camp sights and a little more power.

If/When we go full time, (and my savings account recovers) I would like to add more to the system. We primarily camp in the Sierra's, so the nights are always cool with no need for AC use.

What is this "rain" you speak of the droughts here in the west are terrible, but they sure do help us solar folks.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:34 PM   #8
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We were out this summer on a two week trip which we did without any plug in sites. We were moving every two to 4 days.
At one site we had lots of sun and took advantage of it to cook dinner with the crock pot. This wasn't a huge draw but after 6 hours of simmering it adds up. I don't remember what that took our batteries (220Ah) down to but probably around 60%. We then went to another campsite that was far more shaded and we were making headway getting back to 100% but we never quite made it. By the time we got to our next campsite 3 days later we were back to 95% but had complete shade for the 5 days we were there. I think I saw 0.9 amps going into our battery at one point but it was usually around 0.5 amps.

Anyway the short version is that with just the 300Watts of panels that we have it took us 1.5 weeks to recover from our crock pot dinner. This was entirely due to the shaded campsites we got into but you could just as easily have a week of poor weather.

My wife and I have agreed to add another 150W panel in the spring so that we recover a bit faster. And I will install it at the opposite end of the trailer relative to the existing panels in the hopes of getting more sun in shaded sites.

My wife wants a portable panel but I think that is just too much of a hassle considering how large they are. I would rather have extra panels mounted on the roof than a portable one on the ground. I did see a lot of portable panels this summer though. It was pretty surprising how common this is becoming.

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Old 10-12-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Are your panels connected in series or parallel? Also does that charge controller have any LiFePO4 specific programming or do you just adjust the charge voltage for the LiFe battery?
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Old 01-21-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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Sorry Subaru297, I missed seeing your question. Each panel is connected directly to the charge controller, I put the charge controller on the 2 stage mode instead of 3 stage. A quick call to Blue Sky and they will walk you through it.
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Old 01-21-2017, 01:55 PM   #11
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Just a quick follow up on the batteries. There’s a 10% off + free shipping offer running in January, which makes these a little more affordable. Coupon Code is CC0117
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:15 AM   #12
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Thanks just sent this to the GF she has a new Redhawk coming this week and wants to put solar on it but it has limited battery space..
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:39 PM   #13
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Just a quick follow up on the batteries. There’s a 10% off + free shipping offer running in January, which makes these a little more affordable. Coupon Code is CC0117
Battle Born will keep the 10% off coupon running for this season. Discount is good on batteries purchased from their website.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:47 PM   #14
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Battle Born will keep the 10% off coupon running for this season. Discount is good on batteries purchased from their website.
900 dollars (pre discount) for 100 amp hours????

Oh my... that's all I had to see. I love watching others play with the new battery tech though.
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:57 PM   #15
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900 dollars (pre discount) for 100 amp hours????

Oh my... that's all I had to see. I love watching others play with the new battery tech though.
100 amp hours of LiFePO = 200 amp hours of Lead Acid
29 lbs vs 140 lbs for 200 amp hours Lead Acid
Lifetime Capacity = 300,000 Amp Hours vs 30,000 Amp Hours
Cost Per Amp hour = $0.30 cents vs $1.50

The initial investment is hard to swallow, but the return on investment far exceeds Lead Acid.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:09 PM   #16
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100 amp hours of LiFePO = 200 amp hours of Lead Acid
29 lbs vs 140 lbs for 200 amp hours Lead Acid
Lifetime Capacity = 300,000 Amp Hours vs 30,000 Amp Hours
Cost Per Amp hour = $0.30 cents vs $1.50

The initial investment is hard to swallow, but the return on investment far exceeds Lead Acid.
I know they are better... no doubt. I think your numbers are all way off though. Please correct me otherwise.

I know you can discharge them further than a lead acid. So 100 amp hours in a lifepo gets you closer to 80 amp hours of actual use. I didn't understand why you said the lfepo is worth 200 amp hours when it's only a 100 amp battery and you can only use 80% of that.

A 100 amp hour lead acid battery, taken down to half charge - gets you 50 usable amp hours per cycle... The real world difference then is 30 amp hours, not 100. Am I missing something with respect to the 100 amps of lead acid equals 200 amps of lifepo? I'm not an expert, but amps is amps.

"29 lbs vs 140 lbs for 200 amp hours Lead Acid"

A 100 amp hour LiFePO4 weighs 29 lbs. This is correct.
A 100 amp hour lead acid battery weighs no where near 140 lbs. How did you get that number and where is the 200 amp hour lead acid coming from?


LiFePO4 batteries last 1,000 to 3,000 charge and discharge cycles, compared to similarly sized lead-acid batteries, which can range from 200 - 1000 cycles Your math above assumes the lifepo will last 10 times longer than the lead acid, it's much closer to 3 though, so most of the numbers are off quite a bit, especially if those upstream numbers are how you calculated cost per amp.. Anyways, seriously not trying to bust your chops, what am I missing?

They weigh less, last longer, can be discharged more and cost somewhere around 9 times the price. If I had the money to burn, and they lasted 9 times longer, instead of maybe triple the time, this upgrade would be on my to do list somewhere, and more power to anyone that can do it. I do like the battery advances and the opportunities they open up.

Enjoying the thread... just pointing out some issues with the math given based on standard data out there on LiFePO4 specs and logic. I'll probably duck out of this thread at this point, but thanks for sharing your project.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:13 PM   #17
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I know they are better... no doubt. I think your numbers are all way off though. Please correct me otherwise.

I know you can discharge them further than a lead acid. So 100 amp hours in a lifepo gets you closer to 80 amp hours of actual use. I didn't understand why you said the lfepo is worth 200 amp hours when it's only a 100 amp battery and you can only use 80% of that.

A 100 amp hour lead acid battery, taken down to half charge - gets you 50 usable amp hours per cycle... The real world difference then is 30 amp hours, not 100. Am I missing something with respect to the 100 amps of lead acid equals 200 amps of lifepo? I'm not an expert, but amps is amps.

"29 lbs vs 140 lbs for 200 amp hours Lead Acid"

A 100 amp hour LiFePO4 weighs 29 lbs. This is correct.
A 100 amp hour lead acid battery weighs no where near 140 lbs. How did you get that number and where is the 200 amp hour lead acid coming from?


LiFePO4 batteries last 1,000 to 3,000 charge and discharge cycles, compared to similarly sized lead-acid batteries, which can range from 200 - 1000 cycles Your math above assumes the lifepo will last 10 times longer than the lead acid, it's much closer to 3 though, so most of the numbers are off quite a bit, especially if those upstream numbers are how you calculated cost per amp.. Anyways, seriously not trying to bust your chops, what am I missing?

They weigh less, last longer, can be discharged more and cost somewhere around 9 times the price. If I had the money to burn, and they lasted 9 times longer, instead of maybe triple the time, this upgrade would be on my to do list somewhere, and more power to anyone that can do it. I do like the battery advances and the opportunities they open up.

Enjoying the thread... just pointing out some issues with the math given based on standard data out there on LiFePO4 specs and logic. I'll probably duck out of this thread at this point, but thanks for sharing your project.
I'm not a battery expert and I can't speak to the variation in numbers between manufacturers. I ran my camper on lead acid for a year and then switched to LiFePO4. It appears to me that a single 100 amp hour LiFePO4 delivers about double what a single 100 amp hour lead acid delivers. From what I was told, you can run the LiFePO4 all the way down to 1% so you are getting 99 amp hours out of a single battery. Based on the 50% rule with lead acid, you need two 100 amp hour batteries to get 100 usable amp hours. So that equals about 140 lbs (2 batteries)

I certainly won't argue that they're darned expensive, but I think the total ownership cost is lower as they will outlast the lead acid by a long shot. The Battle Born ones I purchased are rated for 3000 cycles and they will still hold about 75% of their power after 3000 cycles.

You say they cost 9 times the price, but a decent 12V 100 Amp-Hour Deep Cycle AGM Sealed Lead Acid Battery goes for roughly $175~$200 so I think it's closer to 4 to 5 times the price, not 9. In my case I was using Trojan 31 AGM and those were $275.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:11 AM   #18
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I did a little math too when I saw the price. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised at the $900 price as that is the first time I have seen them below $1000 I think.

So for LiFePO4 batteries:
$899 for 80Ah = $11.23 per Ah

Yes you can run them down to 1% or so but they will suffer as well. It is usually recommended to not go below 20% charge. So I'm going to say they have 80Ah useable.

For Lead acid:
$175 for a T-105 giving 225Ah or 112Ah useable and we need two of them for $350
This gives $3.11 per Ah

So if a lithium battery lasts 3.6 times as long as a lead acid then you break even. However lithium batteries are more efficient than lead acid so if you are on solar you will reap the benefits there in quicker charge times. They also can supply more amps with less voltage drop which for a big inverter is a big benefit as well.

As for the number of cycles I think that is under lab conditions. One pioneer of lithium batteries noticed their capacity go way down before they reach the amount of cycles they expected. They attributed this to the temperature of the batteries. High temperatures reduces the lifespan of the batteries dramatically. I think it was the Technomadia crew.

Lithium Ion Batteries for RV Motorhome House System - LFP / LiFePO4 | Technomadia

I would love to try them out one day when the cost come down a bit more.

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Old 03-10-2017, 09:35 AM   #19
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Here is the specific page. A really good read.

Living the Lithium Lifestyle – 3.5 Year Lithium RV Battery Update | Technomadia

Quote from above....

"But while brainstorming potential causes for our diminished capacity recently, Elite let me know that in their experience heat has a huge impact – even within that operating range.

They have observed that a 10C (18F) temperature increase over a baseline room temperature of ~23C (74F) results in the number of lifetime cycles being cut in half.

This means at 33C (91F) usable battery life will be cut in half, and presumably to a quarter at 43C (109F). This is VERY substantial.

I am disappointed that the impact of temperature on GBS cells does not seem to be documented and published online anywhere (though I don’t feel it was intentionally hid either) – especially considering 110F is actually a rather common summer temperature in Phoenix Arizona where Elite is located!"
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:13 PM   #20
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Just noticed an article linked to from this site.

Lithium Ion Batteries Give You More Power in your RV - RV Life

They are indeed claiming they can be discharged 100% and it sounds like they still achieve 3000 cycles. If that is true it is a no brainer.
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