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17MKE - Changing batteries from 80A Hr Deep Cycle to 2 x 100 A Hr Lithium

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  • 17MKE - Changing batteries from 80A Hr Deep Cycle to 2 x 100 A Hr Lithium

    In May I purchased a 2022 Imagine 17MKE with 165W solar package and 12V Furrion Refrigerator. As luck would have it, I had booked a week at a State Park with no hookups. My plan was to bring along a Honda EU3500 generator to recharge battery if the solar couldn't keep up. Well, with the dealer installed battery (80 amp hr), the refrigerator did not make it through the first day. Overnight, the fridge stopped due to battery depletion. Lost all of the perishable food in the refrigerator. After getting over my disappointment, I'm trying to find an EASY way to fix the problem. I spent the remainder of the week using a cooler and blocks of ice. Having a nice big empty fridge was not how I was hoping the week would go.

    I checked the solar controller (MPPT 25A Furrion) and it does have a Lithium battery option. (A) Can I just add two Lithium batteries to the tongue and move on ? (B) In reading here, it appears there is a second battery charger built into the power center ??? Do I have to replace or disconnect this battery charger?

    I'm not electrically experienced so I was hoping to avoid or minimize messing around with the wiring.

    Jack

    Southern MA
    2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
    2022 Grand Designs Imagine XLS 17MKE

  • #2
    There is a convert/charger that is built in to the power distribution center, it may or may not be lithium compatible probably not. It us a good idea to have a lithium capable converter so the lithium battery can be charged. There are a few threads here on that or you could add a stand alone unit.

    Brian
    Brian & Michelle
    2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
    2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K
    630 ah battery, Victron Multiplus 2, 800 watts solar

    Comment


    • #3
      Jack61

      We own a GD 2670MK (2021). It was prepped with solar wires, but not panels nor a controller. Therefore, I have limited knowledge regarding the 165w solar package upgrade. But I do have experience upgrading our single lead acid battery to dual LiFePO4 batteries. Also I have a suggestion for generator charging as well.

      The original converter provided with our unit was not lithium compatible. It was a simple replacement, but I had to upgrade from to WF-9855 to WF-9855LIS. The original converter would only achieve about 85% charge according to WFCO representative. You will need to verify the model of your converter to make sure it is lithium compatible in order to get a full charge.

      The solar controller only manages the power from the solar panels. It does not modulate or control the charging when connected to shore power or a generator. Your main power cord that is connected to either a campground pedestal or generator goes to your circuit breaker box and then to the convertor to charge your batteries (the solar controller is not involved). I am guessing that you plan to connect to the generator using your primary electrical cable for shore power with a 20 or 30 amp connector. If you use a 20 amp connector (household outlet) you will need a bonding plug for the generator. This little device ties the ground to the neutral .. blah blah blah. It simply plugs into the spare outlet on the generator with no wiring or further electrical knowledge required. Having this simple $20 device will save you a lot of grief.

      After destroying two Lead-Acid batteries on two separate occasions, due to complete discharging, I upgraded to two lithium batteries. I also moved the battery from the tongue to the pass-through storage so I don't worry about theft when storing trailer for extended periods. To keep cost at a minimum, I did not add solar panels or controller as part of this first step. I want to see if two batteries are adequate for our boondocking style. I plan to give our system a full tryout earlier this fall. But for now we are very, very happy with the battery upgrade. We do not worry about being fully discharged by the next morning. We can go about three days without recharging, your experience will be different, guaranteed.

      Good luck with your project. I hope this provided some useful information



      Click image for larger version  Name:	Bonding Plug.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	7.1 KB ID:	90177
      Al & Ann
      F150 with Max Tow Pkg.
      Imagine 2670MK (2021)

      Comment


      • #4
        I believe the very simplest (i.e., avoiding wiring...) is:
        1. Put your batteries on the tongue - you'll probably need a different battery tray, I don't think 2 will fit.
        2. Get a stand-along lithium charger that you can plug into your generator for charging, clamping its output to your battery posts.
        3. Set your solar to lithium.

        Next step up of complexity, which is not hard if you can find someone who has done it, is, as others mentioned, to replace the charging unit in your power distribution system with a lithium capable one. This will likely also require upsizing the automatically resetting circuit breaker under the rv, on the frame near the battery (most likely position). This is because the lithium batteries will/can take more charging current than the lead acid one.

        I had my 2 x 100 amp-hr lithium outside, unhooked to utilities, for 2 weeks with intermittent sunshine, temps between 60-90F, camper closed up and very warm inside during the day. 12v frig. Solar kept the batteries at or above 80%. I'm in MN at a latitude of about 46 degrees.

        More later...
        2022 Imagine 2500RL VIN 573TE3029N6637046
        2022 Ford F-150 Lariat, SuperCrew, long box, max tow

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by AlexPeterson View Post
          I believe the very simplest (i.e., avoiding wiring...) is:
          1. Put your batteries on the tongue - you'll probably need a different battery tray, I don't think 2 will fit.
          2. Get a stand-along lithium charger that you can plug into your generator for charging, clamping its output to your battery posts.
          3. Set your solar to lithium.

          Next step up of complexity, which is not hard if you can find someone who has done it, is, as others mentioned, to replace the charging unit in your power distribution system with a lithium capable one. This will likely also require upsizing the automatically resetting circuit breaker under the rv, on the frame near the battery (most likely position). This is because the lithium batteries will/can take more charging current than the lead acid one.

          I had my 2 x 100 amp-hr lithium outside, unhooked to utilities, for 2 weeks with intermittent sunshine, temps between 60-90F, camper closed up and very warm inside during the day. 12v frig. Solar kept the batteries at or above 80%. I'm in MN at a latitude of about 46 degrees.

          More later...
          I agree with Alex. Switch batteries to lithium, change solar charge controller to lithium, get a stand alone lithium charger. (make sure it is a 12v charger).

          I'm a Victron fan and have a couple of their chargers so my recommendation is the IP67 charger (I have one of these. Has performed flawlessly). It is a smart charger meaning you can "see" it, configure it and see data (real time and historical) through the VIctronconnect app on your phone. All you need to do is plug the charger into a 120v AC outlet (on your trailer or your generator), then attach the positive and negative ring terminals to the positive and negative battery posts. Done.

          It charges both lithium and lead acid. It will "recover" a fully discharged lithium battery, and it's waterproof and shock proof. It will keep charging up to 140 degree Fahrenheit (and adjust charging based on temperature) so it will perform in adverse climates.

          Just my opinion

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          Momentum 21G

          Comment


          • #6
            Some great advice here, and there are write ups on most of these approaches if you look hard enough. The search function on the forum is pretty bad, I recommend a google search with the term "site:gdrvowners.com" along with "lithium" and some other terms.

            acoleman43 I am a huge Victron fan as well, the only problem I have with those chargers is they are not very powerful. Last time I looked the biggest one was 25 amps. One of the advantages of Lithium is the amount of charge current they can take, which if he is running a generator to recharge them can really cut down on generator run time. With two lithiums I would be looking for at least 60A maybe even closer to 100A of converter.
            Neil Citro
            2018 Reflection 28bh
            2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by acoleman43 View Post

              I agree with Alex. Switch batteries to lithium, change solar charge controller to lithium, get a stand alone lithium charger. (make sure it is a 12v charger).

              I'm a Victron fan and have a couple of their chargers so my recommendation is the IP67 charger (I have one of these. Has performed flawlessly). It is a smart charger meaning you can "see" it, configure it and see data (real time and historical) through the VIctronconnect app on your phone. All you need to do is plug the charger into a 120v AC outlet (on your trailer or your generator), then attach the positive and negative ring terminals to the positive and negative battery posts. Done.

              It charges both lithium and lead acid. It will "recover" a fully discharged lithium battery, and it's waterproof and shock proof. It will keep charging up to 140 degree Fahrenheit (and adjust charging based on temperature) so it will perform in adverse climates.

              Just my opinion

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              OK I think I could easily add a second charger to the pass through storage area using the 110V outlet provided there. How do I disconnect or disable the charger that is in the power converter?

              Also, regarding the bonding plug ? I haven't had any issues with the generator powering the camper so far other than I depleted the battery so far that it really took some time to recharge (and I'm pretty sure it is compromised to some extent from depleting it to zero twice). Does this plug provide some protection for the camper or generator?

              Thank you all for the advice and help.

              Jack
              2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
              2022 Grand Designs Imagine XLS 17MKE

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jack61 View Post

                OK I think I could easily add a second charger to the pass through storage area using the 110V outlet provided there. How do I disconnect or disable the charger that is in the power converter?

                Also, regarding the bonding plug ? I haven't had any issues with the generator powering the camper so far other than I depleted the battery so far that it really took some time to recharge (and I'm pretty sure it is compromised to some extent from depleting it to zero twice). Does this plug provide some protection for the camper or generator?

                Thank you all for the advice and help.

                Jack
                The factory converter should be on a dedicated breaker you can turn off, or it will be plugged into an outlet in the power center, and you can simply unplug it.
                Neil Citro
                2018 Reflection 28bh
                2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ncitro View Post
                  Some great advice here, and there are write ups on most of these approaches if you look hard enough. The search function on the forum is pretty bad, I recommend a google search with the term "site:gdrvowners.com" along with "lithium" and some other terms.

                  acoleman43 I am a huge Victron fan as well, the only problem I have with those chargers is they are not very powerful. Last time I looked the biggest one was 25 amps. One of the advantages of Lithium is the amount of charge current they can take, which if he is running a generator to recharge them can really cut down on generator run time. With two lithiums I would be looking for at least 60A maybe even closer to 100A of converter.
                  Thats a good point Neil.

                  You can connect up to 10 Victron IP22 chargers in parallel. Maybe grab two 30 amp IP22 chargers and connect in parallel for 60 amps? I got one of those as well. I really like it as well.
                  Momentum 21G

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by acoleman43 View Post

                    Thats a good point Neil.

                    You can connect up to 10 Victron IP22 chargers in parallel. Maybe grab two 30 amp IP22 chargers and connect in parallel for 60 amps? I got one of those as well. I really like it as well.
                    That would certainly work, but starts to approach the cost of just buying a converter. No VictronConnect integration, but I find I see everything I need out of the charger from the BMV.
                    Neil Citro
                    2018 Reflection 28bh
                    2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ncitro View Post

                      The factory converter should be on a dedicated breaker you can turn off, or it will be plugged into an outlet in the power center, and you can simply unplug it.
                      I've had an MKE (2021) and a MLE (2022) and in both, the converter shares a breaker with either the GFCI circuit or the water heater but never alone and they are not plug-in but built-in. If he finds the converter shares the breaker with the water heater it's fine to just shut it off because you wouldn't want to use the water heater on electric when dry camping anyway. If it's sharing with the GFCI then it's easy to just swap it with the W/H.
                      Paul and Deb Cervone
                      2022 Imagine XLS 22MLE
                      2021 Imagine XLS 17MKE - SOLD; 2015 Reflection 337RLS - SOLD
                      2016 GMC Denali 3500 SRW

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My take on the great information you guys provided -

                        (a) Buy 2 100 Amp Hr Lithium batteries (Dakota Batteries $899 x 2)
                        (b) Purchase jumper cables to connect two batteries in parallel.
                        (c) Switch the solar panel controller to LITHIUM.
                        (d) Replace the WF-9855 with a WF-9855LIS ($267 Amazon)
                        (e) Wire switch to the WF-9855LIS connector to control lithium charging vs lead acid. (Thinking I could just add a jumper wire if the circuit needs to be closed for lithium charging)
                        (e) Mount the batteries in a new dual battery box.
                        (f) Return to boondocking

                        To save me searching, does anyone know on the 17MKE where the WF-9855 is installed? My first guess is somewhere near the circuit breaker panel but that's just guessing.

                        It would have been nice if the dealer had mentioned or offered these upgrades at the time of sale rather than waiting until I bombed out the deep cycle battery and spent a week going old school with blocks of ice and a cooler.

                        Thanks again everyone for sharing your knowledge !

                        Jack
                        2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali
                        2022 Grand Designs Imagine XLS 17MKE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jack61 View Post
                          My take on the great information you guys provided -

                          (a) Buy 2 100 Amp Hr Lithium batteries (Dakota Batteries $899 x 2)
                          (b) Purchase jumper cables to connect two batteries in parallel.
                          (c) Switch the solar panel controller to LITHIUM.
                          (d) Replace the WF-9855 with a WF-9855LIS ($267 Amazon)
                          (e) Wire switch to the WF-9855LIS connector to control lithium charging vs lead acid. (Thinking I could just add a jumper wire if the circuit needs to be closed for lithium charging)
                          (e) Mount the batteries in a new dual battery box.
                          (f) Return to boondocking

                          To save me searching, does anyone know on the 17MKE where the WF-9855 is installed? My first guess is somewhere near the circuit breaker panel but that's just guessing.

                          It would have been nice if the dealer had mentioned or offered these upgrades at the time of sale rather than waiting until I bombed out the deep cycle battery and spent a week going old school with blocks of ice and a cooler.

                          Thanks again everyone for sharing your knowledge !

                          Jack
                          Hi Jack. I got some bad news....the WF-8955 is the circuit breaker panel. You are talking about replacing the entire panel, If you do replace the entire panel, the 8955Lis comes with a lithium switch already.

                          I think it will be easier to just replace the charger/converter with the WF-8955-AD-MBA, That charger/converter automatically senses lithium or lead acid and changes the charging profile to match battery type.
                          Momentum 21G

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by acoleman43 View Post

                            Hi Jack. I got some bad news....the WF-8955 is the circuit breaker panel. You are talking about replacing the entire panel, If you do replace the entire panel, the 8955Lis comes with a lithium switch already.

                            I think it will be easier to just replace the charger/converter with the WF-8955-AD-MBA, That charger/converter automatically senses lithium or lead acid and changes the charging profile to match battery type.
                            I’m pretty sure if it’s the converter in the bottom of the panel it just slides out. That said I left mine and killed power to it (Paul corrected me above, but you can remove the wires feeding it from its breaker). I installed my backup converter (I mainly use my MultiPlus to charge) as close to the batteries as I could to reduce voltage drop on the DC side. Get a “deck mount” converter and you can maybe install it in the ceiling of the pass through or something.

                            Neil Citro
                            2018 Reflection 28bh
                            2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ncitro View Post

                              I’m pretty sure if it’s the converter in the bottom of the panel it just slides out. That said I left mine and killed power to it (Paul corrected me above, but you can remove the wires feeding it from its breaker). I installed my backup converter (I mainly use my MultiPlus to charge) as close to the batteries as I could to reduce voltage drop on the DC side. Get a “deck mount” converter and you can maybe install it in the ceiling of the pass through or something.
                              Yes, it looks like you just disconnect the +/- DC and the hot/neutral/ground AC wires then just slide it out. Not bad at all. No need to remove the entire distribution panel, no need to run new wires or find a place for another component - just replace the old one.
                              Momentum 21G

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