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Old 07-27-2022, 12:55 PM   #1
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Lithium Battery in Original Outside Location

I have a 2018.5 Grayhawk 29MVP that has the battery storage in a sliding driver's side outside storage bay. I don't want to be bothered with relocation, rewiring, etc. so I'm going to get a "self-heating" Battle Born Lithium 100amp battery and place it in the same spot as the original battery. (I know most folks relocate the lithium battery to protect it from cold weather, but I'm not planning to do this. Although I will mostly be camping in warm weather, I do want the flexibility to visit the snow every now and then and not have to worry about not being able to charge the lithium battery because of the cold weather limitations.

My question is specifically addressed to anyone who has upgraded to a lithium battery AND placed it in the same location as the old battery. How has the battery performed (hopefully you have a self-heating battery)? Also, I'm planning to install a Victron battery monitor and was wondering where folks have installed the "shunt"? Any pictures you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-27-2022, 03:07 PM   #2
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Not exactly. I drilled a hole in the floor behind the tongue where the original battery mount was and simply pulled the Jayco battery wires up under the bed. It is inside, but an unheated area. Like you, no plans to camp below freezing but even then it is only charging below 32 degrees that would harm it and my Renogy has a temp sensor on the MPPT so it should be fine.
Alternatively, my son's popup did not have room anywhere handy and he just left his on the tongue. Nothing special done as he does not have solar. The battery is to carry them over a three day weekend on one charge for furnace and lights. So far on three trips there have been no problems.
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Old 07-27-2022, 04:10 PM   #3
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My question is specifically addressed to anyone who has upgraded to a lithium battery AND placed it in the same location as the old battery. How has the battery performed (hopefully you have a self-heating battery)? Also, I'm planning to install a Victron battery monitor and was wondering where folks have installed the "shunt"? Any pictures you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Upgraded in my 5th wheel, plenty of room, 300AH, home made heat pads with thermostat. No problems.

A shunt usually goes on the negative cable nearest the battery as you can get.
If you don't already, know that in a MH you should probably use a DC to DC converter as 100AH lithium batteries can draw 100 amps of charge current. Your alternator might not like that for very long.
A DC to DC charger is the most reliable way to protect your alternator. A switch to disable chassis and house combining is the cheapest.
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Old 07-28-2022, 08:34 AM   #4
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On my 2020 29MV, the battery was located beneath the entry step, open to the air below. I replaced the original FLA with two Renogy 100AH SmartLithiums. They are not heated but have been performing great for the last two years. Although I don't seek out cold weather, I also don't avoid it during our travels in the colder seasons. We've camped in temps well below freezing, generally recovering to above freezing during the day but not always. The batteries will provide plenty of power during cold temps, they just won't charge below freezing. That's not an issue when we're plugged in since the converter can provide all the 12V power needed and the batteries don't discharge/charge. If I know freezing temps are expected, I try to get them fully charged beforehand. Anyway, the batteries have performed great as replacement for original. You will need a DC-DC charger to protect your alternator if you want to charge while driving. You should also look at your converter to make sure it will charge the Lithium fully. My PD9260C won't automatically enter boost mode (14.4V) so the battery won't ever reach 100% SOC. I added the PD Charge Wizard remote pendant (about $15 on Amazon) so I can manually put it into the correct charging mode.
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Old 08-01-2022, 11:54 PM   #5
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On my 2020 29MV, the battery was located beneath the entry step, open to the air below. I replaced the original FLA with two Renogy 100AH SmartLithiums. They are not heated but have been performing great for the last two years. Although I don't seek out cold weather, I also don't avoid it during our travels in the colder seasons. We've camped in temps well below freezing, generally recovering to above freezing during the day but not always. The batteries will provide plenty of power during cold temps, they just won't charge below freezing. That's not an issue when we're plugged in since the converter can provide all the 12V power needed and the batteries don't discharge/charge. If I know freezing temps are expected, I try to get them fully charged beforehand. Anyway, the batteries have performed great as replacement for original. You will need a DC-DC charger to protect your alternator if you want to charge while driving. You should also look at your converter to make sure it will charge the Lithium fully. My PD9260C won't automatically enter boost mode (14.4V) so the battery won't ever reach 100% SOC. I added the PD Charge Wizard remote pendant (about $15 on Amazon) so I can manually put it into the correct charging mode.
Thanks for the detailed response. It's just what I was looking for.

I'm leaning toward a Renogy lithium battery is well; however, I'm looking at the self-heated model. I'm also looking at getting the PD charge wizard that you spoke about. I have the same converter charger as well. When you put it in the boost mode how long does it take to get a full charge on the battery? Also, re you using the Renogy corded battery monitor? If so, how do you like it?

Can you further explain the possible need for a DC to DC charger. We both have grayhawk and I had not planned on getting that device. Thanks again!
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Old 08-02-2022, 05:54 AM   #6
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Can you further explain the possible need for a DC to DC charger. We both have grayhawk and I had not planned on getting that device. Thanks again!
Lithium batteries have different charging characteristics.

1-100AH lithium battery can draw 100 amps of charge current from discharged to nearly fully charged. Lead acid batteries will not demand such high amps when charging depending it's on state of charge (usually above 50 percent). So, for example, 300AH of lithium could draw 300 Amps until nearly fully charged. An alternator in a MH is generally connected directly to the house batteries, so there is a very good chance your (150 to 240 amp) alternator will be overloaded, shortening it's life.
A DC to DC charger will not allow full alternator output amps to charge your lithium batteries. Using one is the most reliable way to protect your alternator.

If towing a trailer, the tow vehicle's wiring limits the amperage to the trailer's battery to around 8 amps. so a DC to DC charger isn't required on a trailer unless you would like a faster charge rate for your lithium battery.
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Old 08-02-2022, 10:44 AM   #7
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I'm leaning toward a Renogy lithium battery is well; however, I'm looking at the self-heated model. I'm also looking at getting the PD charge wizard that you spoke about. I have the same converter charger as well. When you put it in the boost mode how long does it take to get a full charge on the battery? Also, re you using the Renogy corded battery monitor? If so, how do you like it?

Can you further explain the possible need for a DC to DC charger. We both have grayhawk and I had not planned on getting that device. Thanks again!
If I were doing it today, I'd probably get the heated model also. Those weren't available yet when I did the upgrade and it hasn't been an issue for me. When I put the charge wizard in boost mode, I get 60 amps of charging current and can recharge my 200 AH of capacity in 3-4 hours. In reality, they rarely get that low. When I'm boondocking I typically run the generator for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and that's been enough to keep up with our 12V needs. I have the Renogy battery monitor and it works great for us. No shunt, so no calibration issues and very easy to install. A network cable plugs into the Renogy communications port and connects to the monitor. It gives me voltage, amps of charge or discharge, hours to fully discharged, SOC%, and any errors or warnings. This all comes direct from the BMS and has been plenty accurate for my needs.

My 2019 Ford E-450 chassis has a 120 amp alternator and it charges the coach batteries through a 4 ga wire. I think the Lithiums could easily draw 80-100 amps through it and cause alternator overheat/failure pretty quickly. So the DC-DC charger limits the charging amps and prevents that. I also added the Bluetooth module so I can look at it's output on my iPhone and change the charging parameters easily. When we're driving, I set the max charging current to the minimum that will bring the batteries to 100% SOC by the end of our planned drive. That's usually a pretty small current (10-20 amps). There are lots of threads on here about this topic so a search will give you plenty of reading.
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Old 08-04-2022, 01:21 AM   #8
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If I were doing it today, I'd probably get the heated model also. Those weren't available yet when I did the upgrade and it hasn't been an issue for me. When I put the charge wizard in boost mode, I get 60 amps of charging current and can recharge my 200 AH of capacity in 3-4 hours. In reality, they rarely get that low. When I'm boondocking I typically run the generator for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and that's been enough to keep up with our 12V needs. I have the Renogy battery monitor and it works great for us. No shunt, so no calibration issues and very easy to install. A network cable plugs into the Renogy communications port and connects to the monitor. It gives me voltage, amps of charge or discharge, hours to fully discharged, SOC%, and any errors or warnings. This all comes direct from the BMS and has been plenty accurate for my needs.

My 2019 Ford E-450 chassis has a 120 amp alternator and it charges the coach batteries through a 4 ga wire. I think the Lithiums could easily draw 80-100 amps through it and cause alternator overheat/failure pretty quickly. So the DC-DC charger limits the charging amps and prevents that. I also added the Bluetooth module so I can look at it's output on my iPhone and change the charging parameters easily. When we're driving, I set the max charging current to the minimum that will bring the batteries to 100% SOC by the end of our planned drive. That's usually a pretty small current (10-20 amps). There are lots of threads on here about this topic so a search will give you plenty of reading.
Thanks for the response. I believe I got the same plug in battery monitor. My battery compartment is located on the driver's in the OEM slideout battery compartment. I'm planning to locate the new battery in the same spot.

How did you run the monitor cable into the rv? Also, are you saying that I can't connect the battery without the DC-DC charger? If so, how and where is it connected? Did you do it yourself? Can you send pictures of the setup for both the DC-DC and charger and the battery monitor? (Hope I'm not getting in over my head).
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Old 08-04-2022, 02:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for the response. I believe I got the same plug in battery monitor. My battery compartment is located on the driver's in the OEM slideout battery compartment. I'm planning to locate the new battery in the same spot.

How did you run the monitor cable into the rv? Also, are you saying that I can't connect the battery without the DC-DC charger? If so, how and where is it connected? Did you do it yourself? Can you send pictures of the setup for both the DC-DC and charger and the battery monitor? (Hope I'm not getting in over my head).
Here are a couple of photos of my battery monitor. My batteries are also beneath the entry step so it was really easy to run the monitor cable. I mounted the battery monitor on the wall just to the left of the entry steps. There's a cabinet on the back side of that wall so I took out all of the drawers and drilled a hole through the floor. Then I could easily run the cable from the battery compartment through that hole and up the back side of that wall. I cut a hole to fit the monitor with a jigsaw (template was included with the monitor). I included another picture of the back of the monitor. Very easy to do!
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I'm not sure if you HAVE to do a DC-DC charger if you're only putting in one battery, but I was nervous enough that I put it in. There are plenty of threads on here with varying opinions, so you can make up your own mind. I've included a picture of my installation. I put it in the outside storage compartment just behind the entry door so it's very close to the batteries. I mounted the charger and circuit breakers for input and output on a board, then wired it all together before I put it into the compartment. Fastened up to the most forward wall with bolts through the wood and compartment. Then I drilled a hole for wiring access. The wire from the aux start solenoid leading to the battery gets re-routed to the input of the DC-DC charger. On mine, that was a black 4 gauge wire attached to the positive battery terminal. It's easy to ID as it's the one that has 13-14V only when the engine is running. Output from the charger goes through another circuit breaker then attaches to the positive battery terminal. You'll need to make up those new cables, or buy them pre-made. If you do it the way that I did, the aux start solenoid will no longer be functional to use your coach batteries to start the engine if chassis battery is dead. That's OK with me, I just replaced that function with one of those jump start boxes instead.
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So not silly simple, but pretty easy to do. Let me know if you have more questions.
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:07 AM   #10
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Here are a couple of photos of my battery monitor. My batteries are also beneath the entry step so it was really easy to run the monitor cable. I mounted the battery monitor on the wall just to the left of the entry steps. There's a cabinet on the back side of that wall so I took out all of the drawers and drilled a hole through the floor. Then I could easily run the cable from the battery compartment through that hole and up the back side of that wall. I cut a hole to fit the monitor with a jigsaw (template was included with the monitor). I included another picture of the back of the monitor. Very easy to do!
Attachment 83188Attachment 83189

I'm not sure if you HAVE to do a DC-DC charger if you're only putting in one battery, but I was nervous enough that I put it in. There are plenty of threads on here with varying opinions, so you can make up your own mind. I've included a picture of my installation. I put it in the outside storage compartment just behind the entry door so it's very close to the batteries. I mounted the charger and circuit breakers for input and output on a board, then wired it all together before I put it into the compartment. Fastened up to the most forward wall with bolts through the wood and compartment. Then I drilled a hole for wiring access. The wire from the aux start solenoid leading to the battery gets re-routed to the input of the DC-DC charger. On mine, that was a black 4 gauge wire attached to the positive battery terminal. It's easy to ID as it's the one that has 13-14V only when the engine is running. Output from the charger goes through another circuit breaker then attaches to the positive battery terminal. You'll need to make up those new cables, or buy them pre-made. If you do it the way that I did, the aux start solenoid will no longer be functional to use your coach batteries to start the engine if chassis battery is dead. That's OK with me, I just replaced that function with one of those jump start boxes instead.
Attachment 83187

So not silly simple, but pretty easy to do. Let me know if you have more questions.

dvpsl,

Thanks for the guidance and pictures. As I mentioned earlier, my battery box is on a slide compartment on the driver's side of the RV (next to the 30-amp cord). I think I would feel safer including at least a 20-amp dc to dc charger. However, I'm not proficient in installing myself, so I'll have to find someone to do it for me.

One other thing, have you seen anyway to mount the monitor without having to cutout a section of the wall? I don't know how I would mount it since the battery is on the driver's side of the rig.

Again, thanks!
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Old 08-13-2022, 03:38 PM   #11
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lithium battery

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I have a 2018.5 Grayhawk 29MVP that has the battery storage in a sliding driver's side outside storage bay. I don't want to be bothered with relocation, rewiring, etc. so I'm going to get a "self-heating" Battle Born Lithium 100amp battery and place it in the same spot as the original battery. (I know most folks relocate the lithium battery to protect it from cold weather, but I'm not planning to do this. Although I will mostly be camping in warm weather, I do want the flexibility to visit the snow every now and then and not have to worry about not being able to charge the lithium battery because of the cold weather limitations.

My question is specifically addressed to anyone who has upgraded to a lithium battery AND placed it in the same location as the old battery. How has the battery performed (hopefully you have a self-heating battery)? Also, I'm planning to install a Victron battery monitor and was wondering where folks have installed the "shunt"? Any pictures you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
I looked at lithium batteries to eventually replace my 2 6-volt golf cart (Trojan). However, I was told that the Lithium batteries could not support being used as a backup starting battery for my C. That was a "non-starter" for me. My Trojans are 10 years old. They have been run to zero charge a number of times and still function well. Does anyone know if what I was told is correct?
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Old 08-13-2022, 03:53 PM   #12
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However, I was told that the Lithium batteries could not support being used as a backup starting battery for my C. That was a "non-starter" for me. My Trojans are 10 years old. They have been run to zero charge a number of times and still function well. Does anyone know if what I was told is correct?
The lithiums probably won't provide as much cranking amperage as your Trojans do, especially when it's cold. Their output current is typically limited by the BMS. If they're connected through a DC-DC charger, as mine are, then the aux start solenoid becomes non-functional so they definitely can't be used as a backup starting battery. But the other features of lithium were worth it to me, so I just bought one of those small jump start packs to replace that function. It's been handy for occasional cell phone and computer charging as well as backup for engine starts.
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Old 08-13-2022, 06:11 PM   #13
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I have seen adds for lithium batteries for motorcycles and other small craft. May indicate it would work. Won't hurt it to try. The BMS should prevent excess amp draw.
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Old 08-13-2022, 07:08 PM   #14
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The lithiums probably won't provide as much cranking amperage as your Trojans do, especially when it's cold. Their output current is typically limited by the BMS..

X2, usually a 100AH lithium will be limited to a 100 amp draw before it is disconnected by it's BMS.

BUT, I have drawn 275 amps from my 3-100 A lithium batteries connected in parallel. If you had enough connected in parallel for the amperage needed I'd think they could handle the draw.
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Old 08-13-2022, 07:50 PM   #15
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I have seen adds for lithium batteries for motorcycles and other small craft. May indicate it would work. Won't hurt it to try. The BMS should prevent excess amp draw.
Just FYI, depending on the battery, it will (can) definitely hurt to attempt to pull more amps through a LifePo4 battery than it is rated for. Fortunately for me, I purchased quiet a few damaged LifePo4 batteries and repaired them. Most are 50a and a few 100a, and 1 is 130ah. In any case, almost everyone one of the damaged batteries had blown transistors due to an overload, and some had blown internal fuses (easy to solder in a replacement). In any case, the BMS is designed to shut off the power, but it is a race between whether the BMS can shut down the current fast enough and before the BMS transistors are damaged.

BTW, there are LifePo4's that are designed for higher outputs such as for starting purposes, the 130a battery I have can handle 300a output, most 100a batteries are only rated for 100a output, however on those, even 100a constant load is too much imo after seeing that the transistors are not all that large in them.

One other thought, even if a LifePo4 battery doesn't not have the starting capacity for the big engine, they do have the capacity to charge a lead acid chassis starting battery. So if you have coach LifePo4's and a dead chassis battery, simply hold the aux start button in for about 5~10 minutes before trying to start the engine which will charge the chassis's lead acid battery enough for it to start the engine without pulling too many amps at one time. I suspect the time needed could be more or less though depending on conditions. ~CA
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:55 AM   #16
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dvpsl,

One other thing, have you seen anyway to mount the monitor without having to cutout a section of the wall? I don't know how I would mount it since the battery is on the driver's side of the rig.
Sorry, I skipped over this part the first time! I can't think of any way to mount it other than cutting a hole in a wall unless it was possibly to build out away from the wall. The monitor is designed to mount through a panel with the wire attaching to the back side perpendicular to the screen. I think you could probably still easily mount it just inside the entry door, even with the battery on the driver's side. The monitor wire is just a CAT 6 ethernet cable. You can get one long enough to reach to the other side and route it underneath the coach then up behind that entry wall. That location still seems the most convenient to me.
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Old 08-15-2022, 10:51 AM   #17
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With regards to the battery monitor, the Victron SmartShunt monitor https://www.victronenergy.com/batter...-battery-shunt is a nice piece of hardware. It uses a bluetooth connection to your phone for the display, so you can mount it wherever it is most convenient to connect to the battery. The shunt monitors current in both directions and will report the net inflow or outflow, which comes in handy if you have solar connected.
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Old 08-15-2022, 11:17 AM   #18
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I forgot to mention that in my 2018 29MV, I installed the Victron shunt inside the compartment that is just aft of the battery tray. I just screwed it to the side wall nearest the battery and then drilled a 1-1/4" hole in the back wall of the compartment to route the battery cables in and out. I used a 3' #2AWG cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MWHDT1...t_details&th=1 to go from the battery negative to the shunt, then connected the original battery negative cable and the negative from the solar controller to the other side of the shunt. Be sure to clearly mark the existing battery negative cable, since all the cables are black and once everything is disconnected, its easy to mix things up (wonder how I know ).
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Old 08-15-2022, 02:44 PM   #19
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I have a 2017 29MV. Several years ago I upgraded to a 100 AH Battleborn Lithium battery placed in the slide tray where the original battery had been. I quickly discovered, while dry camping, that the battery won't fully charge with the original converter. I ordered a lithium profile converter and now everything works great. At that point I had 200 W of solar on the roof.
Last spring I decided to up my battery capacity to 200 AH and my solar to 400 W. The solar was easy, I just added 2 more panels on the roof. Additional battery placement was a dilemma until I decided to convert a storage compartment and use half of it for the new battery. I have a Bluetooth Victron. I mounted the shunt in the storage compartment and the monitor in the compartment where the electric cable is.
I used waterproof electrical connectors to run cables into the compartment and a buss for all the positive cables.
I don't have heaters on the batteries, haven't needed them yet.
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Old 08-29-2022, 10:36 AM   #20
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I have a '17 24L with the external single battery drawer next to the steps and replaced the lead acid battery with a Renogy heated 100AH lithium model. I also had to replace the converter to get proper lithium charging when on shore or generator power.
It will pull around 50 amps from the alternator at normal battery charge (25 to 100%) but once I let it die to zero (left the power main switch on in storage) and the engine would not charge the battery because the amps spike to over 60 when the house battery is dead which the BMS then cuts off. I had to hook up to shore power to get the battery charging after a 20 minute drive home from storage. Solar panels currently take care of such maintenance, and I avoid letting the battery get below 10% and try to charge it using the generator and/or 100w portable solar panel.
When my battery needs a charge in the cold winter and it is in the 20s F it takes a good 45 minutes of running the generator for the self-heating feature to get it warm enough to take a charge. Solar power on the roof or in my case always hooked up in storage solves this problem, provided there isn't too much snow build-up.
I just use my phone and the bluetooth module on the battery to monitor it. My stock battery monitor reads 100%, even when it's at 10%.

As to how it performs? so much better than each of the two LA batteries before it. Lithium batteries put out top notch power so the big slide is quick and doesn't sound like it's struggling (I would often fire up the generator to put out/in the slide before the upgrade). I don't worry about using only 50% of the battery.
I have a Victron DC to DC charger I need figure out how to install to keep the starter support feature - for which I charge the starter battery by holding the button for a few minutes and/or start the generator and then hold that button to get the engine started if the chassis battery is dead due to the intermittent parasitic draw problem I have. (If stored for more than a week I pull the negative terminal near the gas pedal).

Renogy also has a new DC to DC charger that is bi-directional that I need to look into more. Essentially it will use the alternator to charge the house or use the solar to charge the chassis - a great concept but I only trust Renogy to implement new ideas quickly and then let their consumers figure out how to support themselves.
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