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Old 11-28-2015, 09:13 AM   #1
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Lithium battery pack from alibaba

Hello,

When I pick up my new trailer in a couple of months (28DSBH), I am planning to relocate the batteries from the tongue to inside the trailer. Just to be on the safe side I would use deep cycle AGMs, which are pretty expensive. Therefore, I started looking at lithium batteries. Generally, I am planning on boondocking most of the time and use only solar energy (no generator).

Do you have any experience / can recommend any sellers from alibaba.com? It appears that batteries offered over alibaba are significantly cheaper that these available in the US (even when adding freight / duty, etc.).

Thanks,

Artur
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Old 11-28-2015, 10:26 AM   #2
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Alibaba is the consortium of companies that make a lot of the products you see on shelves here. Other than the language barrier I see no problems with what they sell.
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Old 11-28-2015, 10:42 AM   #3
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I stopped dealing with alibaba last year, you never really know who you are dealing with, capacity is always overated, connections are not well made, and when you ask alibaba to take care of a problem, it takes for ever! I ordered battery pack for led light, capacity was 30% of what was stated, I got a refund 4 months later for 50% only. for something like batteries I would not buy from a web site half way around the world, but that's just me!
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Old 11-28-2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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Do a lot more reading about Lithium Ion batteries, first.
While they can supply very large amounts of power, and are much smaller/lighter, they can be abused very easily.

1. Accidentally running them too low, just once, usually means that they are ruined. That greatly increases the chances of:

2. Many, many instances of them causing catastrophic fires. Many airlines will not allow them to be shipped as cargo, and even have restrictions on small "spares" for laptops, etc. Airliners have been brought down due to spontaneous battery fires. Many homes burnt to the ground due to improper safety precautions. USPS will not allow them in the mail due to risk.

3. They need a very specialized charger, with built in safety monitoring features. Improper charging is a big cause of fires.

4. Because of the explosion/fire risk, they should never be charged in place, or in a vehicle/structure. They should be contained in a fireproof enclosure while being charged.

5. While they do not self discharge significantly over time, if not being used, even for a few weeks, they must be discharged to a specific level for "storage", or they will have significantly shorter life.

6. They do not come in standard voltages (6, 12, etc.), so must either be sold, or have added, a voltage regulator to control their output. At higher watt usage, regulators can become another pricey accessory to add on.

One variety (known as "LiFe", "Lithium Iron", or "A123") is significantly safer than the other chemistries, and while the risk of explosion/fire is much less, they still need the other care/feeding noted above.

And then there is the added risk of buying from an unknown asian manufacturer with unknown manufacturing standards just because they are less expensive. Might just die very quickly (many of the cheap smaller ones I have bought have done so), might just ignite on their own!

Add up the cost, including the secondary systems you need, and you'll quickly find that they are not cost effective for RV use - and require a serious maintenance commitment.

AGM or Golf Cart batteries are much, much safer, cheaper and easier to own!
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Old 11-28-2015, 01:12 PM   #5
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Search for Technomadia blog for info on Li batteries. If you get good ones they will cost you a lot more than flooded and more than AGM's. I used AGM's for my battery install as I didn't need to vent them then. I used Fullriver AGM's which were cheaper than Surette or Trojan's. Time will tell if they have the life span though. I have 4x 6v 225AH ones.
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Old 11-30-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
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"I am planning to relocate the batteries from the tongue to inside the trailer" You should also be aware that putting batteries inside a trailer and then charging them MAY release gases into the trailer that can be harmful if not vented properly. It is not recommended unless you have really good ventilation of the batteries at all times not just when charging.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:09 PM   #7
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Only flooded batteries will off gas while charging under normal charge levels. AGM will off gas if overcharged. Lithium batteries are sealed. All this is as far as I know from my research.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlayersZ28 View Post
Only flooded batteries will off gas while charging under normal charge levels. AGM will off gas if overcharged. Lithium batteries are sealed. All this is as far as I know from my research.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:50 PM   #9
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I want to second Flappers cautions about Lithium batteries.

I use LIPO batteries in my RC cars/planes and they are an amazing battery chemistry, but they are not with out risk. We have to use a specialized battery charger that has a separate monitoring connection that allows the cells to managed independently.

Secondly there are firm warnings everywhere I look the caution charging multiple battery packs in either series or parallel due to the management of the individual cells that is required. It's very common in RVs to run banks of batteries in either series of parallel depending on the cell voltage.

In the RC world there are separate onboard computers that also manage the battery discharge levels and shut off the battery when it reaches critical low voltage values. If a LIPO is discharged to far, even once, that battery pack is toast.

All of my batteries are charged outside the RC car/plane and in a fireproof container. They will explode and burn if something happens and they are overcharged or incorrectly charged.

Whenever we are done using the batteries they are put back on the charger to either be charged or discharged to the appropriate storage voltage.

The current at which a Li battery is charged is special to the battery as well. In the RC world we charge at "C" value which is different for each battery pack depending on the mAh rating.

I think lithium battery chemistry is phenomenal, but I don't think it is ready for the RV world. Everything currently using Li battery technology is full of computer intelligence to make the chemistry safe. I don't see that level of intelligence in RV converters.

If you convevert from flooded to lithium just make sure you do lots of research in the other components required, assess and mitigate the possible risks.
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Old 12-01-2015, 06:19 AM   #10
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Don't confuse LiPo with LiFePO4. The latter is what you would use in an RV, the former is in your phone, RC, etc. The LiFePO4 can handle deeper discharge, provides a flatter output curve and charges differently. Don't know if I can post links here but there's a fair bit of info on Li & RV out there. Google "technomadia" & "lithium" for one with lots of info and further reading.
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