Author Topic: What have you done for your Rig lately.  (Read 202103 times)

knightrider

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1755 on: August 06, 2019, 09:11:32 AM »
My first question is related to charging and discharging: I don't have much knowledge of LiFePo batteries, but I've heard a lot of horror stories about LiPo batteries, and have even seen first hand many fires caused by them (mostly remote controlled car batteries or motorcycle batteries that people are charging unobserved in their garages, which ultimately overcharge and start on fire). But a quick Google search seems to indicate that these are not the same technology and not nearly as prone to fires, but they still suffer from some of the same disadvantages as other lithium batteries. My question is: is there some kind of protection system in place to prevent the cells from over-charging or discharging too much? From what I am reading, they seem to be pretty sensitive to discharging below 2.5v, or charging above 3.5v, which seems like a very small range to work within. I would imagine the DC to DC charger handles the over-charging piece, but what about discharging too low? Does that damage the cells and make then unusable?

Joe, I'm surprised you have not done more research, this is not like you :D

LifePo4 batteries are the safest of the lithium batteries but also the least energy dense(still far better than lead acid), the safety factor along with the lower voltage than most other lithium technologies make them perfect for automotive 12v systems in a 4s(4 cells in series) configuration, this leads to a usable voltage between 14.4-14.6 to 10v.  Normal lead acid batteries(Flooded, AGM, Gel, Sealed) actually have a smaller usable voltage range, normally between 12.6-12.8v when full to 10.5v when completely discharged, and they are 6 cells in series. They are safer in the fact that they boil off water when overcharged but still have the risk of exploding if the hydrogen gas generated cannot vent.  normal cutoff for LifePo4 and lead acid is around 12v, this is 3v per cell (80% DoD)for lifePo4 and 2v per cell (50% DoD) lead acid.

As for charging/discharging, yes lithium does not like to go outside it's designed voltage limits, but really no battery technology does, over/under discharging any battery is bad. A BMS takes care of Over/Under voltage Over/Under discharge Amp and balances the cells  Lithium has the advantage that the voltage curve is very flat so current stays lower, you can also regularly discharge them down to 80% vs lead acid not liking less than 50% DoD.  This drastically improves the usable Ah of lithium over a lead acid battery.  Your Yellow top (37ah) has a usable capacity of ~19ah, while a lithium of the same size would have ~30ah of usable capacity, not to mention be much lighter and more compact :)  Lithium cells can be reconditioned just like lead acid if the voltage is allowed to go too low, but just like lead acid, they will not have the same capacity after such an event.

Which leads me to the second question: how is the power distributed from this aux setup to your accessories? I presume, since you are running the DC to DC charger, that the batteries themselves are completely isolated from the vehicle's main 12V circuit? If so, does that mean you can't ground any of the accessories connected to this circuit to the vehicle's body? Sorry if that sounds like a dumb question, but I've never really understood how a completely isolated aux power circuit works within a vehicle setup, as it's different than simply adding a separate battery and using a solenoid to make sure they run in parallel while the vehicle is on (and therefore both charge from the alternator), but are isolated when the car is off. I have a lot of lights and other accessories set up to run while the vehicle is either on or off, and I'm trying to determine if that means I'd have to re-run a lot of my wiring to this new setup if I go with something like this.

Isolated 12v systems only need to be separate on the positive side, ground is ground and can be shared.  You probably already have an isolated system and don't even realize it. DC-DC charging is no different than if you had a 2 batteries with a solenoid connecting them in parallel which is honestly never a good idea if those batteries are not exactly the same age, chemistry and location.  I'm glad DC-DC chargers are becoming more popular on this side of the pacific.  A DC-DC charger is basically the same thing as the solenoid, it has the advantage that it can properly charge the aux battery with appropriate voltage and maintenance charge.  If you have lights that are connected to your aux battery through an aux fuse panel, then you already have 2 isolated systems.  The solenoid just joins those 2 isolated systems when activated to charge the lower voltage battery somewhat.

Final question: how durable are the LiFePo batteries? Can they handle the abuse of off-roading (especially washboard roads) like the AGM stuff can? If so, these seem like an amazing solution for many automotive applications! I've gotten very lucky and gotten great service out of my little 37 amp hour Optima yellow top that I use as my second battery, but it's definitely not going to last forever, and I would LOVE to upgrade to something with this kind of capacity.

The biggest downside to lithium is the price, but that is becoming less and less of an issue.  The size, weight and cycle life are all big advantages over lead acid, not to mention depending on what type of lithium cell you use, you can make them fit different spaces.  LifePo4 batteries come in prismatic cells like above or they come in cylinder form like the popular 18650 or 21700, they also have larger 40150 cells that are 1.5" in diameter and over 6" long!


I see this topic getting some discussion so I may split it into another thread.
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knightrider

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1756 on: August 06, 2019, 09:13:18 AM »
Nworker, one thing i would change would be to run the 4ga ground to the body ground just behind the battery instead of directly to the negative terminal on the battery  That way the ECU will see the draw through the clamp that is on the negative battery cable and ramp up the voltage output of the alternator, replacing the factory negative cable through the clamp to the body ground is also a good idea with as big a cable as you can fit through the clamp.

also, I spoke with Renogy last week and they said they were very close to releasing a DC-DC charger with built in MPPT solar controller, I am waiting for that to do a similar LifePo4 setup.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 09:18:51 AM by knightrider »
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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1757 on: August 06, 2019, 12:17:49 PM »
You guys sure do know how to make me spend more money!  8) Thanks for the info knightrider. As you mentioned, it's not like me to have not done research, but I'll admit that I spent several hours last night googling and reading and learning tons. I honestly didn't even know what a BCM was, which I know, sounds dumb of me, but I still live in a simple world of two batteries connected in parallel that become isolated with a solenoid when the vehicle is off. I agree with you that I'm really asking for something to fail within my system as nothing is really matched/regulated/controlled, and I honestly didn't think it would last as long as it has. But I got the Optima battery for free, so the entire investment for me was just the cost of some 4 gauge wiring and a solenoid.

I definitely see one of these lithium setups on the horizon for me in the future. I've been contemplating a total re-work of the back of my rig, including a drawer/storage setup. My ultimate goal is to end up with onboard water and an improved secondary power (house battery) system than what I have now, while still having quick and easy access to basic supplies while wheeling and camping (like my air hose, which lives in my recovery box and always seems to be buried under all of the camping gear!). Trouble is, as the pipe dream grows, this project is rapidly getting more and more expensive!  lol

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1758 on: August 06, 2019, 04:53:00 PM »
Trouble is, as the pipe dream grows, this project is rapidly getting more and more expensive!  lol

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1759 on: August 07, 2019, 12:20:18 PM »
Isolated 12v systems only need to be separate on the positive side, ground is ground and can be shared.

Hmm... not so much. This is where the RV community and boating community have been partying for many years. An isolated system, in the context of what I am talking about is a separate grounds for each source. In this thread, which I found useful to respond to my son who advocates isolated or independent grounds, is relatively short and has a good overview:

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53082


DC-DC charging is no different than if you had a 2 batteries with a solenoid connecting them in parallel which is honestly never a good idea.

I don't agree. If the DC-DC charger is putting out a constant voltage it would be the same, I wouldn't go through the effort to purchase one of those opting for a three stage DC-DC charger. Here is a nice video on the subject (I run the video at 1.75x or 2x cuz I'm impatient):




A DC-DC charger is basically the same thing as the solenoid, it has the advantage that it can properly charge the aux battery with appropriate voltage and maintenance charge.  If you have lights that are connected to your aux battery through an aux fuse panel, then you already have 2 isolated systems.  The solenoid just joins those 2 isolated systems when activated to charge the lower voltage battery somewhat.

My first implementation using Odyssey AGMs used a Hellroaring BIC-95150B as the Battery Isolation/Combiner (hellroaring.com). To accommodate the desire to used both batteries when winching given the 150A limimitation of the BIC-95150B, I installed a Blue Sea M-Series Red Dual Battery Cut Off Isolator Switch, which is a manual solenoid (or a switch if you will). I was still ignorant of the trick of disconnecting the Hall Sensor from the Disabling the Variable Voltage Control System (VVCS) so my AGM batteries would not fully charge, which is a long background story to the LiFePO installation.

Next, I upgraded my alternator to the 270A Rugged Rocks to get a 'dumb' alternator. Again, if I had known how to defeat the VVCS, I could have skipped that purchase.

Oh and the problem with solenoids? They take a big chunk of energy to keep engaged. When the rig would sit, the battery would be drained by the solenoid used to turn the house circuit on and off. Using the ignition setting or the ACC setting had so many different issues, I wanted an independent method for the house not tied to the state of the engine. Are you kidding me! This is where my son designed a circuit to cut the ongoing drain from 240mA to 20mA when the solenoid is engaged.

My solution was to purchase a magnetic latch which does not use any energy once it is set. Blue Sea combined this design with smart battery isolation in the ML-ACR 12V DC 500A Automatic Charging Relay with Manual Control. Yeah, no more problems with the large current of the winch.

So I pulled out the Hellroaring and Blue Sea manual solenoid and the real solenoid controlling the house circuit. Still no joy, but by this time I had ruined the AGM battery. Time to rethink the entire project and move to version 2: LiFePO. The project you see here...


I see this topic getting some discussion so I may split it into another thread.

Sweet!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 01:04:43 PM by nworker »

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1760 on: August 07, 2019, 12:49:45 PM »
Nworker, one thing i would change would be to run the 4ga ground to the body ground just behind the battery instead of directly to the negative terminal on the battery  That way the ECU will see the draw through the clamp that is on the negative battery cable and ramp up the voltage output of the alternator, replacing the factory negative cable through the clamp to the body ground is also a good idea with as big a cable as you can fit through the clamp.

When I installed the 270A Rugged Rocks alternator, I used #2 wire to ground the battery to the chassis and block. It was a bear getting the cable through the Hall sensor for the VVCS, which is useless with a 'dumb' alternator. Great if you stick with the standard alternator. I did a lot of research and the solution really is to disengage the VVCS by removing the Hall sensor making the 'smart' alternator stay in the high voltage state.

I spoke with Renogy last week and they said they were very close to releasing a DC-DC charger with built in MPPT solar controller, I am waiting for that to do a similar LifePo4 setup.

That would be really good and eliminate one of the three devices in the trunk. Renology is good. The problem for me is that they have fixed charge profiles. I love the ability to change the charge profiles in the Victron. Right now, Renology has a 15% off sale. For my setup, I purchased the 40A version. Hey big is always good! Not necessarily. I recommend getting the 20A which saves $80. Oh and the manual has a typo regarding the dip switch settings as explained above.

I love the Victron app, which is so wonderful given their products have Bluetooth integrated. I talked to Victron about adding the ability to run the alternator/battery lead in (not that much different than a solar panel you know being DC and all). There response was, "we are not in that market". Nothing like a short sighted or mi-optic view of your product's market.

My dream solution is a system capable of taking AC shore power, DC alternator power, and Solar (or wind) power in one easy package. That is why I like the Redarc Manager 30:

https://www.4wheelparts.com/p/redarc-the-manager30-bms1230s2-na/_/R-RDARC-BMS1230S2-NA?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIveeI3r_x4wIV0Rx9Ch30fwxiEAQYAiABEgIoNvD_BwE&ecmp=s:google_1749763888_65275301221__pla-695537521874_Redarc_RAEBMS1230S2-NA_base_US&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping&emlprox=out&ppcfon=1&gp=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&sc_intid=RAEBMS1230S2-NA&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIveeI3r_x4wIV0Rx9Ch30fwxiEAQYAiABEgIoNvD_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!7836!3!340663032463!!!g!695537521874!&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SC%20Shopping%20-%20NTM%20Desktop&ecmp=s:google_1749763888_65275301221__pla-695537521874

But at $1,200 for the Redarc Manage 30, I think I came up with a reasonable three input system: AC/DC/Solar for my system using wasted space for less than the price of the Redarc Manage 30.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 01:12:32 PM by nworker »

knightrider

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1761 on: August 07, 2019, 04:56:39 PM »
Hmm... not so much. This is where the RV community and boating community have been partying for many years. An isolated system, in the context of what I am talking about is a separate grounds for each source. In this thread, which I found useful to respond to my son who advocates isolated or independent grounds, is relatively short and has a good overview:
Boats and RV's are a little bit different animal as they have various voltages and also AC and DC systems, you can definitely run into problems in that situation.   I have never seen any advantage to running separate grounds in a dual 12v system.

I don't agree. If the DC-DC charger is putting out a constant voltage it would be the same, I wouldn't go through the effort to purchase one of those opting for a three stage DC-DC charger. Here is a nice video on the subject (I run the video at 1.75x or 2x cuz I'm impatient):
I was speaking very simplified and more from a wiring layout perspective, trying to point out to Joe that a DC-DC charger could be implemented very easily in his setup with the DC-DC charger in a wiring diagram would take the place of the solenoid.

Jordan - K6XTE
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knightrider

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1762 on: August 07, 2019, 05:15:05 PM »
When I installed the 270A Rugged Rocks alternator, I used #2 wire to ground the battery to the chassis and block. It was a bear getting the cable through the Hall sensor for the VVCS, which is useless with a 'dumb' alternator. Great if you stick with the standard alternator. I did a lot of research and the solution really is to disengage the VVCS by removing the Hall sensor making the 'smart' alternator stay in the high voltage state.
I agree the hall sensor is a pain with #2 cable, and didn't realize you had the RR alternator.  disabling the variable voltage is a cheap fix, but i love my great fuel mileage :D  12mpg

That would be really good and eliminate one of the three devices in the trunk. Renogy is good. The problem for me is that they have fixed charge profiles. I love the ability to change the charge profiles in the Victron. Right now, Renogy has a 15% off sale. For my setup, I purchased the 40A version. Hey big is always good! Not necessarily. I recommend getting the 20A which saves $80. Oh and the manual has a typo regarding the dip switch settings as explained above.

I love the Victron app, which is so wonderful given their products have Bluetooth integrated. I talked to Victron about adding the ability to run the alternator/battery lead in (not that much different than a solar panel you know being DC and all). There response was, "we are not in that market". Nothing like a short sighted or mi-optic view of your product's market.

My dream solution is a system capable of taking AC shore power, DC alternator power, and Solar (or wind) power in one easy package. That is why I like the Redarc Manager 30:

https://www.4wheelparts.com/p/redarc-the-manager30-bms1230s2-na/_/R-RDARC-BMS1230S2-NA?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIveeI3r_x4wIV0Rx9Ch30fwxiEAQYAiABEgIoNvD_BwE&ecmp=s:google_1749763888_65275301221__pla-695537521874_Redarc_RAEBMS1230S2-NA_base_US&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping&emlprox=out&ppcfon=1&gp=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&sc_intid=RAEBMS1230S2-NA&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMIveeI3r_x4wIV0Rx9Ch30fwxiEAQYAiABEgIoNvD_BwE:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!7836!3!340663032463!!!g!695537521874!&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SC%20Shopping%20-%20NTM%20Desktop&ecmp=s:google_1749763888_65275301221__pla-695537521874

But at $1,200 for the Redarc Manage 30, I think I came up with a reasonable three input system: AC/DC/Solar for my system using wasted space for less than the price of the Redarc Manage 30.

I too wish there were more affordable options, i dislike that the renogy unit does not have a user setting like the victron units.  I also don't like that the renogy unit does not have a voltage sensing algorithm to automatically turn off/on, it requires 12v signal to turn on.  i think the DC-DC/solar unit might but the tech guys were not forthcoming with much info on it.  I got to play with the Ctek 250SA that I installed in Steve's truck and although it has fixed charge profiles, it has one to match the odyssey profile so it works well for his setup.  I also like that it will trickle charge the starting battery from solar when the house battery is full and floating but no lithium profile :( 

I would not use a MPPT solar controller for alternator input, very different output coming from the alternator than solar panels, the controller would probably not know what to do with an already regulated output from the alternator but i have also wondered how long it will take them to get into the all in one market like redarc.
Jordan - K6XTE
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nworker

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1763 on: August 07, 2019, 08:58:14 PM »
I got to play with the Ctek 250SA that I installed in Steve's truck and although it has fixed charge profiles, it has one to match the odyssey profile so it works well for his setup.  I also like that it will trickle charge the starting battery from solar when the house battery is full and floating but no lithium profile :( 



I looked at that setup and ruled it out as lithium isn't supported  >:(. I really like the cost (okay not overjoyed at $706 on Amazon) and functionality. It would seem easy to flash the firmware to support a lithium profile. I don't get it...

Oh and Ctek does not support shore power. WTF!?

I would not use a MPPT solar controller for alternator input, very different output coming from the alternator than solar panels, the controller would probably not know what to do with an already regulated output from the alternator but i have also wondered how long it will take them to get into the all in one market like redarc.

Yeah it wouldn't work out of the box. DC to DC is simpler than variable DC coming out of a solar panel into the MPPT so dumb down the MPPT or bypass the MPPT circuitry and feed directly into the charge controller circuitry. Not all that hard. Perhaps Victron will see the possibilities to expand their market place. I see Victron all over RVs, boats, and now autos which all have alternators.

All in all it is an exciting time for overland vehicles like the Xterra. I'm so happy with this solution even though it is still a bit Frankenstein.

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1764 on: August 09, 2019, 08:54:27 PM »
Shoved a deep cycle battery in there
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 10:26:55 AM by Syberia »

nworker

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1765 on: August 12, 2019, 11:31:56 AM »
Okay the LiFePO installation continues with refinements. This morning I mounted two 100W solar panels to the top of the Roof Top Tent.






I cleaned the back of the panels and roof top with alcohol. Then I prepped the surface with adhesive promoter:






To attach the panels to the roof, I chose Scotch Mount Moulding Tape:






I aligned and put down the panels. One the leading edge I used Flex Tape, I swear the stickiest stuff on the planet.




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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1767 on: August 12, 2019, 12:54:24 PM »
Okay the LiFePO installation continues with refinements. This morning I mounted two 100W solar panels to the top of the Roof Top Tent.






I cleaned the back of the panels and roof top with alcohol. Then I prepped the surface with adhesive promoter:






To attach the panels to the roof, I chose Scotch Mount Moulding Tape:






I aligned and put down the panels. One the leading edge I used Flex Tape, I swear the stickiest stuff on the planet.





DAMN  8)
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fourxfunk

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1768 on: August 12, 2019, 01:50:34 PM »
I'm thinking it needs some NASA stickers on top.  Looking good!

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Re: What have you done for your Rig lately.
« Reply #1769 on: August 13, 2019, 09:48:03 AM »
Damn, what a great use of that space!