Unless you’ve been travelling out of signal range recently (lucky you!), it would’ve been hard to miss notice of Samsung’s Note 7 Smartphone and its spontaneously combusting Lithium-Ion Battery.
Images of angry burned skin and melted phones graced our screens and airlines refused to carry said phones on any flights.
In fact many years ago Install A Gadget was on the receiving end of an exploding Lithium-Ion battery from a cordless drill, which resulted in small trailer fire, but fortunately no injuries!
Whilst many everyday electronic products are powered by Lithium batteries, there are actually numerous types of Lithium batteries which use different chemistries to operate.
The more commonly known are Lithium-Ion as mentioned previously, Lithium Polymer for items requiring a battery that’s much thinner and lighter, and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) which is an extremely stable type of Lithium battery and what Install A Gadget would install in your RV.
The chemistry of an RVLSA LiFePO4 battery is so stable that even if you managed to puncture it with say, a nail or screw, drop it, over discharge, over charge, bake, freeze, crush or pierce it with a steel rod, it will still not explode or catch on fire.
An RVLSA LiFePO4 battery is also guarded by its own Control System which protects the battery from over charging and over discharging, PLUS Install A Gadget always installs additional safeguards to protect the battery before its own control system needs to.
So if your RV is on fire, you can guarantee it’s NOT due to your incredibly light weight, efficient, powerful and long lasting new RV Lithium Battery System installed by Install A Gadget...
...now quick, get the hose and call 000!
We’ll use a 100AH AGM battery to make the comparison...
To replace a 100AH AGM with the equivalent LiFePO4, you would only need to purchase a 60AH LiFePO4 to get the same usable energy, or if you like, “bang for your buck” to run your appliances.
If you replace a 100AH AGM with an RVLSA 100AH LiFePO4, it’s the same as having a 160AH AGM battery - heaps more “bang”
“Cycles” is how many times the battery charges and discharges before it reaches the end of its life.
You’ll get about 500 cycles out of an AGM.
You’ll get 2000 PLUS cycles out of a LiFePO4 and even then it just drops its optimum output to about 80%.
Over the lifetime of one LiFePO4 battery, four AGM’s are disposed of - responsibly of course.
Specs at a glance:
60AH LiFePO4 = 100AH AGM Usable energy = 50AH
Area = 275x130x195mm Weighs 9.2kg Costs $725
100AH LifePO4 = 160AH AGM Usable energy = 80AH
Area = 275x130x275mm Weighs 12.6kg Costs $1125
A decent quality 100AH AGM Usable energy = 50AH
Area = 300x200x160mm Weighs 32kg Costs $400
If it costs $725 for a 60AH LiFePO4, weighing 9.2kg with 50AH usable energy and which cycles 2000 times, then your total cost is $725.
If it costs $400 for a 100AH AGM, weighing 32kg with 50AH of usable energy that only cycles 500 times, it would cost $1600 to achieve 2000 cycles.
In short, to get the same life out of an AGM system it costs more than twice than that of a LiFePO4!
Both types of batteries should use an external Low Volt Cut Out System to protect them against running too flat and damaging your investment.
An AGM Low Volt Cut Out = $100
A LiFePO4 Battery Control Unit (BCU) which actually has both Low and High Volt Cut Out = $150
So for a 60AH LiFePO4 and BCU that’ll give you the same “bang” as a 100AH AGM and at least 2000 cycles will cost $875.
To match the life of a LiFePO4 System with an AGM system will cost $1700!
Now for Chargers which is also a cost factor...
The good news is a quality AGM Charger will work with an RVLSA LiFePO4 battery.
There are a couple of things to be aware of though.
Your Charger must have the setting “AGM” or “GEL”, and “Equalisation” or “Recondition” Mode must NOT be turned on.
A Charger without “Equalisation” and “Recondition” modes is preferable.
Whilst a LiFePO4 Charger works best with LiFePO4, it’s not always required.
So summing up, there is still a very strong case for sticking with an AGM Battery System.
If you’ve got plenty of space, your RV is not suffering weight issues, you’re not running high current draw appliances, you don’t need the batteries to charge back up quickly and long battery life is not a concern (like you plan on selling the RV in less than 4 years), it makes perfect sense to stay with AGM.
The initial setup cost of an AGM System is also kinder on the bank balance and for RV-ers who tend to drive all day only to plug in to the grid at caravan parks overnight...you’d be wasting your money on anything but AGM.
But if you need a small, light, fast charging, long living, powerful battery system to meet the demands of high current draw appliances or maybe just so you can stay off the grid for longer (our kind of heaven) then an RVLSA LiFePO4 Battery System is an excellent investment.
The initial sting of the cost will quickly be forgotten when you have a slick running system with all the power you need to do exactly what you want.
This is a really great question and some information on this is important to know, especially because we have such hot summers in Australia.
Lithium Batteries actually perform better in the heat because the useable power is increased. Unlike an AGM battery, Lithium Batteries do not require what’s called a “temperature compensating charger” which slows charging in hot conditions.
HOWEVER, whilst the Lithium side of things is enjoying the heat, the electronics of the battery’s internal management system has to work harder and therefore may wear out faster when trying to cope with hot temperatures AND the heat produced from a motor and even a Turbo.
On a really hot day, the electronics in a Lithium Battery will cope perfectly fine if installed in something like a motorhome or caravan etc, away from any other heat source.
Install A Gadget DO NOT install Lithium batteries in the engine bay.
Lithium Batteries are more complex than AGM’s and manufacturers only give a Warranty on Lithium batteries installed professionally or with professional consultation.
Install A Gadget is happy to supply RVLSA product to DIY Installers, following consultation.
The DIY Installer must have achieved competency in electronics, understand the principles of electronics and be capable of using a Multimeter.
RVLSA LiFePO4 Batteries have a one year warranty if correctly self installed and a two year warranty with a professional installation by Install A Gadget.
If you don’t see the answer to your question here, please call Paul on 041 44 33 8 99 to discuss it.
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