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Old 08-11-2017, 11:16 PM   #1
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Lithium build pictures/locations for batteries

I have done quite a bit of research on lithium build for our project due to get off the ground early September 2017. As part of that, I made an extensive parts list, very specific, on what would be required. Specific battery, invertor, external regulator, external BMS, etc. Based in part on a lot of great advice and information from forum members.

SMB West has told me they won't build a custom system for me. That kind of set me back on my heels a bit, I did not expect that. I'll be down in Fresno the 1st week in September to discuss this further, but at this point unsure exactly what that means. Part of this is push-back on the requirement to store batteries internal to the van. This will require an enclosed battery box vented to the outside. That takes up quite a bit of room. I understand this completely as this is a requirement on boats, which I have a lot of experience in, even for sealed batteries.

That is the background to this thread. The question is for anyone who has a lithium set-up or is to the point where they know where the batteries, invertor, etc. are to be stored/located. Attached is a schematic of our current lay-out. I had thought we'd move the water tank over a bit and store underneath the aft settee/couch with the invertor. SMB West is telling me the batteries won't fit there.

Pictures of an actual battery box inside the van with batteries would be a huge plus, if anyone has that out there.
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:34 AM   #2
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The problem with choosing your own components like that is that it doesn't account for various nuances in design. Since SMB warranties their work, so they won't install something that is way above and beyond their norm if they're not sure what the outcome will be.

Unless you have specific reasons for where your utilities will go, I'd just spec the battery size (in AH), internal vs external BMS (though not sure why'd you go external), and let them handle the rest. They'll either tell you it'll fit, or it won't fit.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:01 PM   #3
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Wrinklepants, I talked to a couple lithionics suppliers. The battery I want to use is the new 5D. I wanted to use two of them to provide 600 Ah in total. They recommended one external BMS for the two.

I'll work with SMB to see what they come up with. I'm used to researching materials and methods on my own, so maybe I should just let them run with it. We'll see, I do like to be hands on. A little OCD... SMB has done a few of these so there must be a set method for them. I'll see when I visit Fresno on Sep 6th to get things going.

I'd be just as happy with two 8D AGM batteries stored outside if they could supply the parameter of 2-3 hours rooftop a/C run time w/o the engine running. That is what we figure any in-town stop with dogs in the vehicle will be. That is about 350 lbs of battery though and fit may be an issue. As it stands now the build has two 4D AGM's.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:27 PM   #4
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Ah ok. SMB likely hasn't done a Lithionics with the external BMS, but more and more folks are asking for that brand of battery. Nations Alternator supplies SMB with the Lithionics battery, alternator, and regulator. I'm also not seeing a need for the 3kw inverter as you don't really need hybrid functionality. And the 2800w is more than adequate to run the A/C. So, that decreases the research time that SMB has to put in for figuring out a hybrid inverter. You have an empty chair, so it seems you should be able to figure out something.

You should be able to fit two batteries inside, but you may need to install one in a cabinet somewhere rather than under the dinette. Everything is a trade off, though. I'd start by letting SMB know your goal is at least 400 AH for lithium as that will give you 3 hours of A/C runtime. If you can do the 400 Ah with a built-in BMS, that really simplifies things. Nations can help SMB with the design and wiring specs if you go with two batteries and a single BMS.
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