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Old 02-10-2023, 08:36 AM   #1
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Solar and LIfepo batteries

I have a 2011 Pinnacle. It sits on a permanent spot and has shore power full time. I have wanted to dabble with solar, more as a hobby rather than trying to go full off grid with the rig. Maybe just produce enough to keep from paying the extra utility cost every year as we always go over the usage limit. Anyway I contacted Jayco and they flat said no to lithium batteries. I assume that is due to the internal charging system of the rig, it was not built to charge Lithium. Has anyone experimented with this and what it takes to make it work?
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Old 02-10-2023, 09:00 AM   #2
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You're not likely to save money by going solar. My 640 watts of solar has produced around 500kw of power over 2 years so far, about $80 worth of electricity. That hasn't even paid for 1 of my panels. It is convenient, not having to plug in your rv to keep batteries charged and things powered up. As a hobby, it's interesting. As far as jayco saying no lithium, I find that odd. My power converter's breaker is allways off, my solar charges the lithium bateries and runs all of my 12v loads. Get a panel and a controller and set up a portable system. That will give you the chance to get into it and if you decide it's not to your liking it should be easily sold.
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Old 02-10-2023, 09:10 AM   #3
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You're not likely to save money by going solar. My 640 watts of solar has produced around 500kw of power over 2 years so far, about $80 worth of electricity. That hasn't even paid for 1 of my panels. It is convenient, not having to plug in your rv to keep batteries charged and things powered up. As a hobby, it's interesting. As far as jayco saying no lithium, I find that odd. My power converter's breaker is allways off, my solar charges the lithium bateries and runs all of my 12v loads.
Thank you, I was planning on about double the panels as I have a buddy that will sell about 1200 watts worth fairly cheap. Jayco said "unfortunately Lithium batteries are not compatible with our units". I assume that the age of my rig has something to do with that. I know that Lithium batteries require specific Lithium battery charging systems which would not be on a 2011 model. I think Lithium will charge via regular charging but only to 80% and it is hard on the battery. Im very green at it all but would like to play a little.
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Old 02-10-2023, 09:19 AM   #4
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Actually a 80 percent charge on a lithium battery will extend it's lifetime and isn't harmful. They don't like being fully charged for extended periods. Only downside is you can't use 20 percent of battery capacity that you paid for. Even then, 80 percent useable is better than 50 percent useable with a lead acid battery.
1200 watts of solar would be plenty, possibly overkill depending on your needs. 640 watts works quite well with 300 ah of lithium for us.
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Old 02-10-2023, 12:18 PM   #5
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Thank you, I was planning on about double the panels as I have a buddy that will sell about 1200 watts worth fairly cheap. Jayco said "unfortunately Lithium batteries are not compatible with our units". I assume that the age of my rig has something to do with that. I know that Lithium batteries require specific Lithium battery charging systems which would not be on a 2011 model. I think Lithium will charge via regular charging but only to 80% and it is hard on the battery. Im very green at it all but would like to play a little.
You can use the camper to charge the battery to 80% and then solar to finish it off. There's no need to change out your converter.

The saving money thing is a tough one. In order to save money, you need to be able to run things off of battery power. The simplest is, turn off your converter and solely use solar to charge the battery. At best, this is 4-6 amps periodically saved.

But to really get into saving money, you'll need to invest in inverter power so you can run more off of the batteries. You'll need to manage the battery power and inverter on/off so that you're utilizing it. The inverter will draw the batteries down and the solar will recharge them.
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Old 02-10-2023, 12:33 PM   #6
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Thank you, I was planning on about double the panels as I have a buddy that will sell about 1200 watts worth fairly cheap. Jayco said "unfortunately Lithium batteries are not compatible with our units". I assume that the age of my rig has something to do with that. I know that Lithium batteries require specific Lithium battery charging systems which would not be on a 2011 model. I think Lithium will charge via regular charging but only to 80% and it is hard on the battery. Im very green at it all but would like to play a little.
1200 watts is more than the average rver would have on their rig. Whoever at jayco said lithium is not compatible doesnt know anything about lithium batteries. Yes your charger will not completely charge the battery but it would last longer and is not hard on the battery. You can now get a 100 a/h lithium battery for about $300
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