RV Lithium Battery Conversion

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A lot of complications and false information regarding installing lithium batteries in an RV obscure certain obvious realities.

While some people could benefit from converting their RV to lithium, others would not.

Our explanation on how to install lithium batteries can enlighten you, whether you’re considering switching or just want the facts.

You’ll discover the advantages lithium batteries provide, the ideal location to install lithium-ion RV batteries, and the additional materials required to finish the process.

Additionally, we’ll demonstrate how people with 30-amp RVs may switch to lithium batteries without damaging their electrical system.

We’ll talk about several electrical metrics including amps, amp-hours, volts, and watts in our discussion.

Why You Should Switch To Lithium Batteries For Your RV

You may first be unsure about the benefits of switching to RELiON lithium batteries over other types.

Let’s elaborate! Everything you need to maintain living off the grid and while traveling is provided by RELiON lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.

Because of the inherent security and portability of our batteries, you’ll not only travel more effectively but also leave a smaller environmental impact without compromising on strength, efficiency, or dependability.

What advantages can lithium batteries offer?

More useable battery capacity – This means that, regardless of the rate of discharge, our lithium RV batteries enable you to utilise 100% of their capacity.

Even while boondocking, you still have enough fuel to operate all your devices.

Zero upkeep — Unlike lead-acid batteries, you don’t need to water your batteries!

No voltage sags and constant power

Our standard-sized BCI casings make them simple to change and allow for drop-in replacement.

Longer life: After 2,000 cycles, our batteries still provide 80% of their rated capacity, up to 10 times longer than lead-acid batteries‘ lifespan.

State of Charge: Partial Tolerant – partial charging is the main factor in lead acid battery failure since it has no negative effects on performance or battery life.

10 Facts relating to Lithium Batteries for RVs

There are a few straightforward facts we want to share that demonstrate lithium batteries are ideal for RVs before we begin discussing the installation procedure.

There is a ton of information out there, and there are many different lithium-ion battery models available.

Unfortunately, a lot of people find it impossible to discuss these batteries without also bringing up RV solar panel installations.

Let’s clarify a few things, then:

1. Lithium-ion batteries are ideal for use with RV solar systems, but you may also utilize lithium batteries without solar panels.

Similar to the lead-acid batteries you now use, your motorhome’s alternator, tow vehicle’s umbilical cable, or RV generator may charge them.

2. The proper sort of lithium battery does not include dangerous cobalt; instead, it employs lithium iron phosphate-oxide.

They are referred to in the battery business by the chemical acronym LiFePO4.

3. Not your vehicle starting battery, but your housing batteries, may have lithium batteries installed.

Although Group 27 batteries are the most common, certain RVs may also utilize Group 24, Group 29, or other sizes.

Labeling your home batteries is a good idea.

If not, see your owner’s handbook or get in touch with an RV manufacturer or dealer.

4. Any RV that takes house batteries may have lithium batteries installed.

They attach using the same mechanisms as lead-acid batteries.

Additionally, the dimensions of LiFePO4 batteries for RVs are the same as those of lead-acid batteries.

5. Lithium batteries may be installed inside your RV without ventilation, upside-down, or sideways thanks to the gelatinous material.

Because lead-acid batteries contain water, they need ventilation to disperse dangerous gases.

6. When lithium batteries are installed, they may be used in temperatures ranging from -4° to 135° Fahrenheit (lead-acid batteries lose their capacity at 113°F).

LiFePO4 batteries may be charged above freezing but not below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recommended reading: What is Trickle Charge RV Battery?

7. Lead-acid batteries weigh twice as much as lithium batteries.

The typical weight of house batteries for RVs is 65 pounds.

So, if your RV contains two 12-volt lead-acid batteries, you may add four 12-volt lithium batteries to improve your power capacity without tipping the scales.

8. Lithium batteries are more expensive at the moment of sale, but they represent a superior overall investment.

Lead-acid batteries typically last five years on average.

LiFePO4 batteries have a long lifespan.

Lithium-ion batteries are 30 cents cheaper every [recharge] cycle compared to lead-acid counterparts,” according to Sean Nichols, COO of Battleborn Batteries.

9. Lithium battery installation is often “plug-and-play” in nature.

A built-in battery management system (BMS) is a feature that many batteries include.

In other words, they govern themselves in the majority of situations.

Nevertheless, we still advise having a visual check-in once each month.

10. Lead-acid batteries should generally be charged after they have used up 50% of their energy.

Batteries made with lithium-ion may limbo lower.

Some businesses may mark their batteries with a specified amp-hour rating, but they have a larger capacity and a safety buffer that prevents total power loss.

I Need A Lithium Battery For My Travel Trailer, What Size Do I Need?

To choose the right size lithium battery for your motorhome or travel trailer, you need to be aware of a few additional uncomplicated facts.

Today’s majority of RVs on the road utilize Group 27 batteries.

Group 24, Group 29, or Group 31 variations may be found in certain Classic Era (1971–1989) or older versions.

The house battery was one of the few parts that had been standardized in the RV industry by the 20th century’s end.

Typically, RVers choose 100 amp-hour batteries to make things simple for two reasons:

  • It makes figuring out their overall energy storage easy.
  • There are more produced by the battery business.

There are variations of lithium-ion batteries with 12, 24, and 48 volts.

They range in capacity from 50 to 500 Ah.

You may find two 12-volt batteries in the house battery compartment of 50-amp RVs (those with the 4-prong shoreline).

Two 6-volt batteries are used in 30-amp travel trailers and RVs (3-prong electrical cables).

Though many 30-amp RVers may be unconcerned about adding lithium batteries, others with greater amperages would disagree.

Can Lithium Batteries Be Used In 30-AMP RVs?

YES, lithium batteries can be used in 30-amp RVs.

As a safety measure, RV manufacturers add two 6-volt batteries.

Another is available in case the first one fails.

Installing a lithium battery rated at 12 volts is equivalent to installing two 6-volt batteries electrically.

Relying on a single LiFePO4 battery is a safe idea since lithium-ion batteries are a very durable technology.

The BMS, which serves as a monitor, is located within the casing of the finest lithium-ion batteries.

The device will turn off the battery for safety if it gets too cold or runs out of electricity.

How Can I Increase The Battery Capacity In My RV?

The majority of RVers are interested in learning how to enhance their batteries‘ capacity.

The RV boom during the Remote Period of the Modern Era (2020- Present) has made it difficult to locate a campground.

With its benefits for RV living, dry camping has replaced campgrounds.

Long periods of boondocking might be more pleasant with electric power.

Your requirement for more power for longer periods of time grows when you install lithium batteries in several sets.

You need to be able to connect the batteries appropriately in order to complete this task successfully.

There are two methods to achieve this: simultaneously or sequentially.

The improper configuration might seriously harm the RV’s electrical system, necessitating the replacement of all necessary parts.

Parallel Configuration

When lithium batteries are installed in an RV in a parallel arrangement, the positive and negative poles remain segregated.

Accordingly, you connect positive to positive using the red battery connections and negatives using the black battery wires.

This setup is required for 30-amp RVs in order to maintain the 12-volt power level.

The increase in amp-hours is a benefit of a parallel configuration.

Your RV now has a 400 Ah power capacity if you have four LiFePO4 batteries and each battery has a 100 Ah capacity.

You won’t have to get by on the barest minimal since you’ll have more power to use more electronics or camp further between recharges.

Configuration Of Series

When installing their lithium batteries, 50-amp RVs with powerful electronics may discover that a series layout is advantageous.

The voltage output is increased when the positive pole is connected to the negative pole and vice versa.

For instance, if you connect two lithium batteries with a voltage of 12 volts in series, the voltage is now 24 volts.

An electrical equipment that typically requires 30 amps at 12 volts might thus utilize 15 amps at 24 volts with the right safety measures.

Energy may be saved by reducing the amperage of a high-amp device.

If you wish to do this, find out if it is feasible on your RV by consulting a licensed electrician and the owner’s handbook for the electrical item.

Due of its lesser danger, RVers typically choose the parallel setup.

How Many Lithium-ion Batteries Do I Need?

You must consider your electrical requirements in order to figure out how many lithium-ion batteries you need for your RV.

Each electrical gadget needs a certain number of watts or amp-hours.

One 100Ah battery could be sufficient for a camper with just the minimal necessities.

If you don’t want to count your watts, a boondocking family towing a 43-foot fifth-wheel may require eight so they can avoid starting their generator.

Here is a simple chart to help you start the discussion about how many lithium-ion batteries you will need for your RV and to give you some context.

# 100Ah Batteries NeededElectrical NeedsRV Size
1Charge mobile devices, Coffee maker, LED lights, Radio, Small fan10-14 ft.
1Charge mobile devices, Charge tools, Fans, LED lights, Radio, Small cooking device, Small electric cooler 10-14 ft.
2Charge mobile devices, Coffee maker, Cooking device, Electric stove, Fans, LED lights, Medical device, Medium electric cooler/small fridge, Radio 15-20 ft.
2Charge mobile devices, Coffee maker, Cooking device, Electric stove, Fans, Large electric cooler/small fridge, LED lights, Medical device, Radio, Small TV 21-30 ft.
2-4Charge/use mobile devices, Coffee maker, Cooking device, Electric stove, Large Fans, Large LED TV, LED lights, Medical device, Medium fridge, Radio31-40 ft.
4-8Air conditioning (400Ah+), Coffee maker, Cooking devices, Electric stove & oven, Large fridge, Large LED TVs, LED lights, Radio, Use mobile devices40+ ft.

Can I Use Lithium Batteries In My RV Without Changing My Converter?

If your RV was constructed in the Modern Era, there is no need to upgrade your converter to accommodate lithium batteries.

It didn’t take long for the battery and related sectors to adapt their technology to the new power storage innovation after Yet-Ming Chiang and his M.I.T. researchers discovered the LiFePO4 chemical in 2004.

The programming of current RV converters may be changed from a lead-acid to a lithium-ion paradigm using some kind of switch.

A lead-acid battery charger with an automated adjuster ensures that many batteries charge equally in certain AC to DC converters.

Before inserting lithium batteries, replace the converter if the auto equalization feature cannot be turned off.

Make careful to maintain the converter’s amp level at the same level as the old one while replacing it.

Consider buying a new 55-amp RV converter with a lithium battery setting if your old one is only capable of 55 amps.

Battery Cables

You’ll want the heavy gauge red and black battery cables if you’re connecting numerous lithium batteries.

For a variety of needs, these copper wires are available in different diameters.

The cables will be used to connect the batteries and other parts.

Ordering spools of red and black cable, a hydraulic wire cutter, a hydraulic crimper tool, crimp ring terminals, and heat shrink tubing covering the connections is the first method.

Kits for the tools and crimp rings are available, but make sure they are the right gauge (AWG) for your needs.

Another option is to visit your neighborhood auto parts shop and ask the staff to cut the wire you need from their stock behind the counter.

Naturally, you’ll need to crimp the rings on by hand, but pliers work just as well, and electrical tape neatly hides the connections.

You may be able to save some money and stop worrying about all the additional cable banging around in your storage area.

For backup reasons, we do advise having one or two more wires cut.

Obtain red and black as well.

The positive (red) and the negative must be distinguished (black).

RV Inverter

You have undoubtedly utilized your gas generator when boondocking if your RV requires AC electricity.

If you live in California, you may have heard about the current news-making California Generator Ban Act.

If it is approved, it will be illegal to use an onboard RV generator or a portable gas generator in the state beginning in 2028.

The AC electricity from your shore power cable is changed by RV converters into DC power.

Your RV’s house batteries receive the DC power, which powers your DC equipment.

Your slide-outs, internal lighting, a motorized awning, and other things are among these things.

For many of your required conveniences and personal comforts, an RV inverter converts DC power from the house batteries to AC electric.

This includes the water pump, TV, appliances, air conditioners, and a host of other amenities.

Select the RV inverter that is the next level up after you have totaled up all the watts of the necessary electrical equipment.

The additional watts will act as a “cushion” to prevent your inverter from overheating.

For instance, if your overall power output is 1,500 watts, choose the 2,000-watt appliance.

Shunt Battery Monitor

While installing lithium batteries with integrated battery management systems has been advised, a shunt battery monitor is still required.

A Smart Shunt, such as Victron’s Lithium Battery System, provides information that a BMS does not and simply displays it where you need it.

The voltage and current draw performance of your lithium batteries are continuously monitored by a shunt monitor.

It makes use of this data to demonstrate the state of your batteries.

You may discover:

  • How much battery juice is still in your bank
  • The amount of electricity the RV is now using
  • A forecast of the electricity that would still be available at your current rate of energy usage

There is further information shown.

The shunt battery monitor considers the whole system, while the BMS just provides you with basic data about each battery.

You may connect to your mobile device via a Smart Shunt so that you can see everything more clearly.

Victron’s display is a straightforward digital gadget that displays each reading separately.

On your phone or tablet, you can see how everything integrates.

Smart BMS 12/200

Is It Possible To Add Solar Panels To My Current RV Electrical System?

Solar panels may be added to your current system after lithium batteries and the necessary accessories have been installed in your RV.

We can say that the lithium battery installation we guided you through prepares you for an RV solar system, albeit that is a topic for another time.

How Are My Lithium RV Batteries Charged?

Be careful while charging LiFePO4 batteries not to use a charger designed for other lithium-ion chemistries since these chargers are sometimes set to a greater voltage than LiFePO4 batteries need.

If the voltage settings are within the ranges of the LiFePO4 batteries, a lead-acid battery charger may be used.

LiFePO4 batteries do not need charging after each usage if they are not completely drained.

As previously stated, LiFePO4 batteries remain safe when kept in a partially charged condition (PSOC).

After every usage or after they have been drained to 80% DOD (20% SOC), LiFePO4 batteries may be recharged.

Please be aware that to reduce irreversible capacity loss, we advise keeping batteries at 50% state of charge (SOC).

A voltage-based gasoline gauge made for lead-acid batteries will not reliably indicate the status of charge if you use one (SOC).

Please swap out your current-measuring gasoline gauge with one that monitors voltage.

Victron or Magnum LiFePO4 battery chargers are often recommended by our tech specialists, who can also answer any other queries you may have.

Recommended Videos from Youtube about RV Lithium Battery Conversion

RV BATTERY UPGRADE | RV Renogy Lithium Batteries – lifererouted
UPGRADE! Convert your RV to Lithium Batteries!! – AveRage Joe
How to Convert to Lithium Batteries – Upgrade for RV’s and Travel Trailers – Timeusb – DoItYourselfDad
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Ryan is a RV product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing RV products.

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