[Author Note… If you haven’t read the previous information, you should. It will help. This document starts with us leaving and continuing our normal lifestyle. We will live as normally as possible with our usual combination of boondocking and campgrounds. As such, the next step is a major field test under “real” conditions.]
We’ve had these lithium ion batteries in here for over a month but during that time, I’m sorry there’s nothing exciting to report but that’s totally because of our lifestyle. We spent the first couple of weeks plugged in at the Monaco Pre-Rally rally and at the FMCA in Perry, GA where we were vendors and presented our seminars as we normally do. During this time, we didn’t really use the batteries at all.
After that two weeks, we had a week to get to New Orleans and had planned to boondock most of that trip (our first real test). It just didn’t work out. We ended up boondocking a couple of nights, in a campground a couple of nights, and boondocked again for a couple of nights. Certainly, not much testing was going on. Following that, we joined an RV Caravan for two weeks and traveled the Natchez Trace from New Orleans to Nashville. There was three nights of boondocking over a two-week period but that didn’t amount to anything.
The good news is that the chassis battery is operating perfectly with good, clean, almost instant “starts” in a variety of temperatures (but nothing extreme—38°–80° F (3°–27° C). My coach was always an easy start and this is continuing. Also, the manual starts of my generator has been good. Note that my generator cranks from my chassis battery.
[Author Note… Our “testing” must be real—that is, a reflection of our true RV lifestyle—or I wouldn’t be messing with it. My goal is to find a battery that works well for us since we boondock a lot.]
I can report that I wasn’t getting much life out of the new coach battery and we were trying to determine why. It was finally decided that we needed to ensure that my Magnum Inverter (mine is an MS2812, pure-sine wave model) was doing what it was supposed to do with these batteries.
Earlier, I said we had contacted the Magnum people for settings information when the battery was first installed and they were very helpful. Ultimately we pulled into White House, Tennessee to a company called Inverter Service Center.
Communication between the battery manufacturer, us, and the inverter company was excellent. We parked next to their building and could plug into their 50 amp if needed. While there, three things were determined and fixed including…
- they found certain battery cables were a bit too small and these were replaced.
- it was determined that the controller needed heavier internal wiring (as mentioned before, this control box was mounted externally, as a “just in case’). That was a good decision. So, Lithionics built a totally new controller and shipped it to us. The new box was literally a “heavy-duty” version of the one we had.
- a Battery Monitoring Kit (BMK) was added to our Magnum inverter. This add-on feature displays exact State of Charge (SOC) in percentages. This is a great feature to help you know exactly what your battery is doing.
We were parked beside of the Inverter Service Center but were functioning on generator only for battery charging. We were not using their shore power at all (not plugged in).
A Definite Gain
With these changes, we immediately got extended life out of the coach battery.
[Author Note… For those of you on the edge of your seat, sorry, I’m not going to mention battery times here. They wouldn’t mean anything—yet. It would be like discussing your vehicle’s lifetime fuel mileage based on what you got for the last fill-up.]
My real testing will be done over the next few months as we are finished with commitments and are meandering now.
[Author Note… Contact me anytime.
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