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Old 10-24-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
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A LifePO cold temp battery on the scene...

Was looking at the Transit forum and saw a mention of this lithium battery for use in colder climates - like mine. I recently sucked it up and got a Lifeline 4D AGM and it's nice to have. I would have looked into lithium batteries except I live at 7700' in CO and it gets cold here in the winter. Don't use the van much that time of year and since the prevailing info on lithium is that you can't charge them when it's cold, I passed on this upgrade. Now I find this brand with cold weather charging capabilities. Even has built in Blue tooth for using instead of a stand-alone battery monitor.

Might have to keep it in mind for the future. Battery gurus weigh in please.

Cold temp battery

https://www.lifebluebattery.com/rv-b...ies/index.html
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:06 PM   #2
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Well the battery chemistry isn't any different, the only difference is a "built in heating system". So I'm guessing the battery has an outer battery case which covers a built in heating blanket. I saw that the heater kicks on at 32 degrees F, but no mention of the current draw of the heater.




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Old 10-26-2019, 07:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
Well the battery chemistry isn't any different, the only difference is a "built in heating system". So I'm guessing the battery has an outer battery case which covers a built in heating blanket. I saw that the heater kicks on at 32 degrees F, but no mention of the current draw of the heater
Sheesh, that's cheating, no?

Battle Born and I think ReLion sell warmers as well. I would think they don't draw that much, and as I think you can effectively discharge at lower temps than recharge it might be worth it. https://battlebornbatteries.com/shop...d-for-bb10012/
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:47 PM   #4
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Interesting concept. I suppose if you have a charging source and the heat only came on when you were attempting to charge, it might be a good idea, but if you have to keep the heat on all the time, that's problematic.
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:26 AM   #5
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Battle Born's management system prevents charging when the battery is too cold, then starts charging when it gets warm enough. I expect that just driving will create enough heat to warm up a battery fairly quickly. You can still draw power when it is cold.
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:40 AM   #6
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Their battery management system will turn on the heaters when below temp and there is a charge available. When the temperature has warmed up enough, the battery management system will allow the charge to go to the batteries.

I have a possible installation of these in the future, if I get more data I will report out. As a side note these are carried by AM solar, and he has historically been pretty thorough in choosing equipment to sell.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:49 AM   #7
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I don't have BB lithium, but they are on my radar for when my agm needs replacing. I met Sean from BB at a trade show & discussed my setup. I live @ 7000 feet and the agm is mounted under the van. He felt that simply driving down the road would warm up batteries enough that heaters would not be needed. We'll see how things look once the agm finally needs replacing.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:31 AM   #8
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Since I first brought up BB, let me add a +1 for them.

There are lots of competitors out there now, and before buying call them for tech support...if you can. Unlike with lead acid most of the lithiums considered here have internal BMS systems and those are VERY critical, and not something you can tinker with. So quality matters perhaps more than even with good AGMs.

BB always returned my calls promptly, and were really helpful when I was setting up my Kisae with them. And a ten year warranty says a lot.

I got mine at Northern AZ Wind & Sun, https://www.solar-electric.com, since they had a sale on them. Great customer service there as well (UPS lost my first set and they sent me a new set before even sorting it with UPS).

The LFPs are SO much easier to deal with. I hate to say it, but I'm glad my AGMs went south...best upgrade to the van I've done in a long time.
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Old 10-27-2019, 04:43 PM   #9
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I've been investigating battery warmers for my homebrew Li setup (GBS LiFeMnPO4 100Ah / emus BMS). We park our van outdoors in our driveway; so even though the battery is mounted inside the van, it may see temperature extremes any time we're not driving it. Heating pads are a no-no due to uneven heating, so a battery warming blanket would be the natural choice. A common solution to the problem when one has access to shore power is to stick an incandescent work light in a box with the battery, which got me thinking.

I found a $10 PTC warmer attached to a small PC fan on Amazon, and my plan is to build a small foam-insulated box (or maybe repurpose a soft-sided cooler) and run this PTC heater/fan from the BMS' heater control output. Recirculating air inside the cooler, it shouldn't take much to keep the battery at a reasonable temp. The heater is labeled as 100W on Amazon, but at 12V with ~72F ambient in my house it only pulls enough current to equate to ~50W (as commonly mentioned in reviews). Current draw increases at higher voltages with a PTC, so the lithium setup will run 'hotter' albeit with cooler ambient temps--we'll see how it balances out once I have it set up.

"100W" 12V PTC Heater

I'm not sure how much this all really matters though, as I have a Webasto Air Top on its way from Russia. The battery is mounted inside the van, so the Webasto ought to keep the battery happy when we're actually using the van--which is when we actually need charging functionality anyhow. Really the only purpose this setup will serve is to allow the solar to charge the battery when the van is parked for an extended period without the Webasto running. Call me old-fashioned, but because of my upbringing I turn the lights off when I leave the room--so I shut off the van electrical if we won't be using it for a while, and Li will hold its charge quite well.

For $10 and a little time spent wiring, I figure it's a fun experiment though.

As a sidenote, if I were doing this all over again I would consider buying a Goal Zero Yeti Lithium with the 12V charger plugin so you can connect it to your vehicle's alternator. My setup has more capacity, flexibility, and bells and whistles, but at a cost of both money and space. With the GZ, you could just unplug it and carry it inside with you when not using the van. I was really kicking myself when GZ had a special on the 1000 Li w/ charger at Overland Expo West this spring, on our first trip after I had installed my setup. In my defense, GZ hadn't introduced the 12V charger when I started this whole thing.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:23 PM   #10
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I'd like to add another endorsement for the Battleborn Batteries lithiums. I installed a pair in December 2018 and like Rob said, it was one of the best improvements to the van that I've yet made, if not the best. The peace of mind that comes from not having to ever worry about battery voltages is very, very underrated.

And, just FYI, I made no changes to the charging system (just took out the old lead-acids and dropped in the new lithiums) and so far my alternator is holding out...

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