How to Prepare Your Lithium RV Battery Bank for Solar Power in Cloudy, Winter Weather
Camping off grid in your recreational vehicle is a pleasure not everyone gets to experience; it gives one the feeling of total freedom, independence, and is a great way to get back in touch with nature in an adventurous way. However, winter weather and thick clouds can have a dramatic impact on battery lifespan and capacity with your solar setup. But it doesn’t have to. With the best lithium RV batteries for a custom bank configured to serve your lifestyle off the grid, you can enjoy full power, non-stop, despite the challenging weather. When one embraces correct storage practices, maintenance, and depth of discharge, they can prep any lithium RV battery bank for winter weather and prolong battery life and capacity.
Proper Storage of Lithium RV Batteries Protects them from Cold Weather
For the most part, batteries are rated at 77°F with an ideal temperature for operational uses being between 50°F and 85°F. Keep in mind that batteries lose capacity for every 15°F to 20°F below 80°F. The chemistry within the battery slows, and resistance grows as the charge capacity tanks. Even though the capacity reduction is only temporary, a real problem can surface because most solar systems offer shorter days and higher loads in winter when capacity is less.
The best way to protect your lithium RV batteries is to store them in a well-insulated thermal container where direct sunlight can’t shine on the batteries. It is best to store the batteries in a temperature-controlled compartment for best performance but not required. However, if the batteries are flooded, they should be kept in a well-ventilated box that’s locked, and kept in your garage, boathouse, or shed. You can refer to the National Electrical Code. Article 490.9(A) for more details on safety storage. It is recommended to create air gaps measuring ½-in to guarantee the right temperature. If you live in a challenging environment or have limited resources making proper battery storage in low temperatures impossible, then you will want to consult with Enduro Power battery experts and learn how to invest in a larger battery bank to compensate for capacity loss.
Preparing Lithium RV Batteries to Be Used in a Bank for Winter
Some people don't use their lithium RV batteries for the regular season. For example, some people enjoy living off the grid in the wintertime where they can ice fish, or they may require living off the grid in winter months for work, but not use their batteries in the summertime. If you fall into this category, then you need to know how to prepare your lithium batteries for winter. It is worth knowing that certain systems have an automatic generator start mode in the event you have to deal with snow-covered solar panels. If this option is not relevant to your situation, then shut off the charger or inverter/charger along with all the DC loads and leave the charge controller in the on position. For lengthy storage be sure to discharge your lithium RV batteries to roughly 60-80 percent of their capacity and keep them in a controlled environment between 41°F and 85°F. You should also read through the battery manual for specific details that may range from one manufacturer to another.
What You Need to Know About Using Lithium RV Battery Monitors and Management Systems
Another way to protect batteries from challenging temperatures is to embrace technology that provides early warning alerts if the temperature drops below the manufacturer’s recommended levels. In addition, there are certain solar charge controllers that automatically adjust the voltage based on the temperature of the battery.
A battery equipped with a battery management system (BMS) is absolutely something you should invest in. This will ensure your battery is kept within the specs of the battery and prevent overcharging or discharging, high/ low temp, short circuit and much more while reducing the risk of lithium batteries creating a thermal runaway event. Essentially, a BMS will protect your investment by making sure the battery cells stay within their specified ranges to offer a long life.
Ready to Maximize the Power of Your Battery Bank? Call Enduro Power for the Right Lithium RV Batteries Today!
Building the right battery bank for winter conditions can be challenging, as there are many factors that go into selecting the right equipment. Enduro Power offers a wide range of lithium batteries that outlast other leading name brand batteries, and ours are lighter in weight and smaller, meaning you have far more options when it comes to customizing the perfect battery bank. Call today and let us help you make all the right preparations for living off the grid in the winter season, or when cloud-filled skies are the norm.