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Old 04-23-2019, 08:25 PM   #1
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One Charger To Rule Them All!

Hey Folks, I am beginning to do some research into improvements on my van power system. The previous owner setup a solid foundation with AGM batteries, MPPT solar charge controller, and Blue Sea ACR to charge off the alternator when driving ...

My usage is not going to be typical and I am planning to upgrade the system to something .... beefier (more solar, lithium batteries for more usable AH with less weight, shore power, inverter/charger etc). My plan was to integrate/upgrade slowly to avoid a large multi thousand dollar investment at one time.

The first piece I am looking to add is the inverter/charger (or separate items depending on factors) and I am not finding anyone that does a programmable charger that will work for both the current lead-acid and the future lithium batteries. Before I give in and accept needing to buy two different chargers, does anyone know of a charger or inverter/charger that can be configured to the different charge profiles required by the different battery technology?
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:15 PM   #2
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Shameless plug here:

I have a GoPower IC2000 for sale here:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ale-23613.html

When I googled "GoPower IC2000 Lithium Batteries" I found this result on the Amazon page questions:

"Question: Is this inverter suitable for lithium iron phosphate (lifepo4 / lfp) batteries that need a 14+v charge? if not, which one would be?

Answer: Eric,
Thank you for your question. I should state that many Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries will state a voltage they want to be charged at. They will also have a voltage they would like to be held at (sometimes these are the same voltage. These voltages differ from one manufacturer to another. When the IC2000 is set to AGM battery charging it will give you 14.4 VDC for bulk and absorption and then drop to 13.5VDC for float. There is a setting on the remote to make the final stage of charge a float stage. This will offer the best results for charging lithium ion. Again, make sure to check these battery voltage set points with the battery manufacturer of the lithium Ion to ensure it will work with your specific battery."

For whatever it's worth, may be a stepping stone at a minimum?
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:23 PM   #3
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One Charger To Rule Them All!

I believe there are at least a few that will work with both types of batteries and will have a LiPo charge parameter option....I donít have LiPo, but hereís a few that come to mind that I believe cover the bases and are programmable.

Magnum Hybrid
Xantrex freedom XC (I have this one)
Samlex
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi View Post
Shameless plug here:

I have a GoPower IC2000 for sale here:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ale-23613.html
I saw that and its tempting for its efficiency but 800 plus shipping (I am not local to SF) puts me in the 1000 dollar range, that is not exactly a "stepping stone" range, sorry. If I cannot find an inverter/charger that is all in one and verified to support charging profiles for both Lead-Acid and Lithium then I will be doing a separate charger/converter and inverter setup to minimized the cost overlap. And nowhere in their documentation does GP affirm its intent to be programmable for both

My understanding is that the charge is about more than just the voltage but also how the unit detects and adjusts charge voltage for the two different types of batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REF View Post
I believe there are at least a few that will work with both types of batteries and will have a LiPo charge parameter option....I donít have LiPo, but hereís a few that come to mind that I believe cover the bases and are programmable.

Magnum Hybrid
Xantrex freedom XC (I have this one)
Samlex
I will look into the Xantrex and Magnum. The Samlex Evolution mentions both battery types for their 1200W unit (single AC input) but not on the 2200W unit. I will need to reach out to them to verify -- I was looking at the 2200W which is why I hadnt noticed even that mention.

Thanks for the pointer on the other two brands, gives me something to research at least :-)
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
I saw that and its tempting for its efficiency but 800 plus shipping (I am not local to SF) puts me in the 1000 dollar range, that is not exactly a "stepping stone" range, sorry. If I cannot find an inverter/charger that is all in one and verified to support charging profiles for both Lead-Acid and Lithium then I will be doing a separate charger/converter and inverter setup to minimized the cost overlap. And nowhere in their documentation does GP affirm its intent to be programmable for both
No worries at all. Just throwing it out there. Not sure where you are located, but I'll be roaming about Colorado in July. If you are out that way I could bring it with.

Good luck with the project!
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
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When looking for Lithium supportable chargers it is also best, to check and see what program-ability they have for that setting. A charger that says it supports LiFePO4 may only have one setting. Best to look for one that will let you program those settings to better match your battery. The same could be said for AGM also. Magnum Inverter/Chargers support a CC/CV mode that is usable for LiFePO4 charging, it also give the ability to program the CV between 12.0 -16.0 volts, and the maximum current.

There are various Solar Controllers that support LiFePO4 also, and again I would generally look for the same capability in a solar controller. If your current solar controller doesn't adequately support LiFePO4, a possible solution is the KISAE DMT-1250. The DMT-1250 supports 500 watts of solar panels and also is a DC to DC charger that will replace your current ACR. The DMT-1250 also supports LiFePO4 settings and is programmable. The DMT-1250 does a max 50 amp charge (DMT-1230 = 30 Amp)

The best option if planing a large LiFePO4 bank would be to run a second alternator with Balmar regulator that supports LiFePO4 settings.

There are also newer Carbon Foam AGM Batteries (FireFly) that give you some of the features of Lithium, longer cycle life , deeper discharge capabilities. They are cheaper but, unfortunately don't have the weight savings.

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Old 04-24-2019, 11:53 AM   #7
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When looking for Lithium supportable chargers it is also best, to check and see what program-ability they have for that setting. A charger that says it supports LiFePO4 may only have one setting. Best to look for one that will let you program those settings to better match your battery. The same could be said for AGM also. Magnum Inverter/Chargers support a CC/CV mode that is usable for LiFePO4 charging, it also give the ability to program the CV between 12.0 -16.0 volts, and the maximum current.

There are various Solar Controllers that support LiFePO4 also, and again I would generally look for the same capability in a solar controller. If your current solar controller doesn't adequately support LiFePO4, a possible solution is the KISAE DMT-1250. The DMT-1250 supports 500 watts of solar panels and also is a DC to DC charger that will replace your current ACR. The DMT-1250 also supports LiFePO4 settings and is programmable. The DMT-1250 does a max 50 amp charge (DMT-1230 = 30 Amp)

The best option if planing a large LiFePO4 bank would be to run a second alternator with Balmar regulator that supports LiFePO4 settings.

There are also newer Carbon Foam AGM Batteries (FireFly) that give you some of the features of Lithium, longer cycle life , deeper discharge capabilities. They are cheaper but, unfortunately don't have the weight savings.

-greg

Greg, this is great information thanks. My current setup is not at all lithium centric. My plan is to expand and upgrade each piece over the next year or so to be capable of working with both battery types allowing me to slow roll the upgrade vs having a 10k + dollar bill all at once.

My intent was to do the inverter/charger now as that is an immediate need for a trip I am taking in May

then add the second alternator (with the ability to customize or add the balmer regulator when the time for lithium comes) to reduce load on the main alternator even while charging the AGM battery bank

Then upgrade the solar panels (want 300W min but seeing those MPPT controllers you mention support up to 500W is a nice bit of wiggle room) and look into the charge controllers you mention as the integrated DC to DC charger is a nice feature -- on a related note is that necessary for lithium? I have seen some blogs debating ACR vs DC/DC chargers and I am not entirely clear if there is a time where the ACR becomes inadequate or if its more an objective analysis that while the ACR works its not as optimal as the DC/DC charger.

Once all of those are in place with the ability to select/define custom charging profiles I will save up the money for the lithium battery bank. I need 400AH usable and am probably going to lean toward 600AH just to be safe for any future use/growth and degradation of performance (event lithium do lose capacity over time).

The final stage (somewhat optional but adds peace of mind for me) is a small Onan style generator to feed the inverter/charger.

This system is to allow us to travel and pursue adventures with our handicapped son so I need plenty of redundancy to ensure power is available to run his oxygen concentrator, pulse-ox monitor, food pump, etc. My ultimate goal is to have a system with the ability to plug into shore, take power from a generator, solar, and second alternator.

To that end I really liked the Samlex inverter charger 2200 as it has 2 AC inputs to handle both shore feed and generator feed but I need to call them and ask about the customizable nature of their charge profiles.

Thanks for the pointers on the DC/DC integrated MPPT controller and the new Carbon Foam batteries. Weight is a factor but with a much broader useable AH range due to supporting deeper DOD percentages I wont need as many AGM batteries as I was previously thinking. I must say those are tempting and I will have to seriously consider if saving 220 pounds of weight (assuming 5 batteries to get 400AH useable with known losses and 80 - 100% DOD on both types -- Battle Born LiFePO4 come in at 31 pounds per for 150 pounds total and the FireFly Carbon Foam are 74 each for 370 pounds total) is really worth an extra 2k in cost on batteries alone. Then considering if I forego lithium batteries altogether that opens up the options for chargers, solar, alternator configs etc which might also provide certain cost savings.....

Sometimes I hate decisions :-p I am sympathetic toward the newer technology but at what cost? It was an easy decision when I was considering effectively having to buy 2 AGM for every 1 Lithium before - weight, space, usable power all pointed toward lithium being worth the investment, but this changes the equation quite significantly. You have given me a lot to think about Greg. Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:29 PM   #8
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On a bit of a tangent but related note, is there any product that has n+1 inputs (solar mppt controller, dc from alt, shore, and generator) and that manages all the charging based on the various inputs? I got the idea from the Samlex Evo line that takes in 1/2 AC sources and the output of a solar charge controller and offers very good configurability (depending on model, the 1 AC input supports 2,3 and 4 stage profiles that are all configurable so it supports lithium, but the 2 AC input models do not)

this got me thinking, does anyone make a batter charge controller that takes power sourced from the various means we have and outputs a single controlled charging profile? Seems like a good product for those that want robust redundancy... but then perhaps I am unique in that need :-p

At this point I am leaning toward the Samlex Evo-1212f. Its only 1200W but that is more than enough for me for now as we have no expectation of running any actual appliances off the inverter (fridge is 12v, we dont have a desire to run a water heater, AC, or microwave etc). I figure between that and the KISAE DMT-1250 I cover all my bases. DC input from the alternator and the solar panels go to the DMT-1250 which feeds into the evo-1212f along with the shore power connection and that manages the charging of the batteries from there. If I decide to add a generator to the equation then I will cross that bridge when I get there .... in theory the generator can plug into the shore power input on the evo-1212F and feed power that way.

or am I completely off base :-p
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:37 PM   #9
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After talking a rep at Samlex the entire EVO series is configurable within the stages I am looking at (2-stage for lithium with variable voltage settings and 3-stage for AGM). I intend to use the EVO-2212 from Samlex as its a good price to quality balance and it provides all the inputs I am looking for (along with the above mentioned combo of the DMT-1250 to handle the charge from solar/alternator into the EVO-2212).

Thanks all for your thoughts and help. As always it is much appreciated
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:10 AM   #10
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I don't personally use, nor have I installed any Samlex equipment, they have a generally good reputation. To be clear the Samlex EVO does not manage your solar charge, it will basically monitors the solar charge and adjust it's own output accordingly. I am not saying that is a bad feature, just that all the charge profile will be still coming from the Solar Charger you choose.

If your Samlex is set for 60 amp max charge in bulk, and your solar controller is putting out 20 amps, then the Samlex will reduce it's charge to 40 amps. You also want to be able to make sure that you can match the charge profiles absorbtion, float , and temp compensation.

-greg
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