It’s almost October 2012. We crossed the US/Canadian border southbound on the 1st of September after spending 96 days north of the border in Canada and Alaska.
I haven’t had much to write about this summer except that I gave the batteries what I consider to be their toughest test so far. I crossed the US/Canadian border late May and crossed back again the last day of August. My goal was to boondock as much as possible and as it turned out, we boondocked 48 nights out of 96 nights north of the border. This is, of course, 33% ADDITIONAL boondocking nights (and battery-time used) from our normal lifestyle.
The good news is that everything worked as it should. I’m getting about 10-14 hours of battery time when we stop, of course, with a full charge. That is fine and normal for our electrical usage. Keep in mind that this amount of usage does not apply or relate to anyone else as their usage and electrical requirements is guaranteed to be different.
As summer progressed, I was concerned about the dirt accumulating on the batteries from driving through construction. I had a thick layer of fine dirt literally coating everything in both battery compartments (they are not sealed). I did use a high-pressure spray to clean the batteries and compartments at one point. My concern was that the dirt may be detrimental to the battery efficiency. However, I could not detect any difference or change in usage whatsoever before and after cleaning them. But they certainly look better!
Granted, this battery looks like a mess and normally, I would never let it get in this condition. But driving to Alaska and with the highway construction through Canada and parts of Alaska, dust was a factor that we could not avoid. So, the batteries got dirty.
To date, we have had our lithium ion batteries installed for 19 months and since we are fulltime RVers, they were used continuously for that 19 months. During that time, we have put VERY close to 30,000 miles on this coach since the lithium batteries were installed.
What is important about this period of time (19 months) is this is equal to the amount of time our second set of AGM (8-D) batteries lasted. In my online discussion entitled, “A Discussion of Batteries,” I wrote the following (repeated here, verbatim)…
[Author Note… The recharging is, we believe, was what wore out our AGM batteries. We boondock an average of 12 nights per month. If the generator ran (recharged the batteries) an average of 3 times in 24 hours, for us that would be 684 recharge cycles during the 19 months our second set of AGMs lasted. I was told by Lifeline that the AGM GPL-8D batteries (like I had) have a recharge cycle of 1,000 times. Mine certainly did not last that long.]
BUT (this is a big “but”), if those AGM batteries had provided more power to my coach and DID NOT need a recharge three times in 24 hours, then the total recharge cycles would be even less. For example, since that was 228 boondocking nights in 19 months. Recharging twice per day (instead of three times) would mean that the batteries failed with approximately 456 recharge cycles—less than half of what Lifeline promotes.
We have boondocked a total of 156 days since the lithium ion batteries were originally installed in March 2011. Our overnight stays (boondocking) range from single overnight stays to nine (9) continuous nights.
A. I have no idea how to estimate total hours solely on battery since we have three unknowns… we sometimes arrive in the afternoon, spend the night, and depart mid-morning (and this translates into about 12 hours on battery), or
B. we boondock several days in a row and may get one generator run in about 24 hrs (and this translates into about 19/20 hours on battery), and
C. every time we stop such as lunch (and that’s every day we drive), we are living on battery for a short period (I estimate about 1 hour on battery).
I’ve often thought that some type of “hour meter” showing actual cumulative time on battery would be valuable data. I’m not sure they exist.
I am still very happy with the solar input to the batteries. With “normal” sun, I am always showing “Solar Charging Amps” in the mid-20-amp range on the Solar Monitor we have installed.
I have not had a single glitch with the chassis or coach battery. While this is great news, because of this (no glitches), I really have nothing to write about. It is difficult to report on nothing when nothing out of the ordinary happens! This must be similar to being a weatherman in Hawaii!