All You Need to Know About RV Lithium Battery Conversion (2024 Guide)
Are you tired of constantly replacing your RV’s lead-acid batteries and dealing with their limitations? Want to go camping in your RV and not worry about whether you have enough power or tired of having to shut down devices because you want to conserve the battery?
It’s time to consider upgrading to lithium batteries, which offer a plethora of advantages.
In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of switching your batteries to lithium, assess your RV’s power needs and provide you with practical guidance on upgrading your RV’s electrical system.
If you are thinking about replacing your RV battery bank, consider the long term value that upgrading to RV lithium batteries offers.
- Lithium batteries offer RVers increased safety, reliability and efficiency with a longer lifespan and greater overall value
- Assessing power needs and selecting the right battery size are essential steps for successful integration into an RV’s electrical system.
- Solar charging solutions and battery monitoring systems help maintain optimal performance of lithium batteries in RVs.
Why Choose Lithium Batteries for Your RV?
Lithium batteries have been gaining popularity among RV enthusiasts, and for good reason. They offer increased safety, reliability, and more usable power compared to traditional lead-acid batteries and other kinds of 12v batteries.
Imagine enjoying a longer lifespan for your RV battery, increased efficiency and a lighter weight that can improve overall battery power.
Benefits of A Lithium Battery Upgrade
Safety and reliability rank among the key advantages of lithium batteries. A lithium LiFePo4 battery RV will have a minimum lifespan of 10 years, whereas lead-acid batteries typically last for approximately 3-5 years under perfect maintenance.
Additionally, lithium batteries are equipped with a built-in battery management system (BMS) that ensures equal charge distribution and prevents overcharging, providing you with peace of mind. The battery management system will ensure that the batteries shut down before they or any appliances connected to them are damaged.
Lithium batteries, including lithium ion, not only guarantee a longer lifespan but also boast a 50% higher usable power capacity unlike lead acid batteries. They have a depth of discharge equal to up to 100% of their capacity, meaning that you can discharge them down to 0% and not worry about causing harm to the battery.
This means you can enjoy sustained full power output during discharge, enabling you to make the most of your RV’s electrical system with a lithium battery upgrade. Stop spending time worrying about how much power is left in your RV house battery bank and use all the power you want to fuel your adventure!
Other Benefits of LiFePo4 Batteries
There are many more advantages that lithium batteries have over their lead acid battery counterparts when it comes to RV batteries.
- Lightweight - Enduro Power Batteries are more than half the weight less than a comparable lead acid battery. Less weight in an RV is always a good thing.
- Smaller Case Size - Our batteries have a smaller case size so they take up less space than another battery type
- Maintenance Free - Escape the maintenance that lead acid house batteries require to ensure the battery acid does not pose danger or that you have to deal with corroded battery terminals
- Steady Battery Voltage Discharge - A lithium RV battery will discharge steady voltage so there is no impact on sensitive electronics throughout your camper
- More Charging Cycles - Lithium batteries will experience more cycles between recharges for extended periods than other batteries.
- Faster Charging - LiFePo4 batteries have built-in technology that allows them to recharge faster than a comparable lead acid battery
Read More → Check out our post on all of the advantages that lithium batteries offer!
Assessing Your RV's Power Needs
Assessing your RV’s power needs is a vital step before upgrading to lithium batteries. To ensure optimal performance, you’ll need to calculate battery capacity and select the right battery size based on your usage requirements.
In this section, we will guide you through the process of determining your RV’s power needs, so you can make an informed decision when upgrading to lithium batteries.
Calculating Battery Capacity
Start calculating your RV’s battery capacity by following these steps:
- List all the items you need to power. Check for their power consumption in either amp hours or watt hours. You will need to convert all power draws into either Amp Hours or Watt Hours and do this with the battery capacity as well.
- Sum up the total power demand in either Amp Hour or Watt Hours
- Divide the total electrical load in amps or watts by the usable battery capacity in amp-hours, or watt hours to estimate battery duration.
Taking into account your RV’s unique electrical requirements and choosing a battery with enough capacity to meet these needs is a mandatory step.
Related: Need help converting between Amp Hours and Watt Hours? Be sure to read this post.
Selecting the Right Battery Size
With a solid understanding of your RV’s power needs, you can now proceed to select the appropriate size battery. When selecting a lithium battery for your RV, consider both the power requirements and the available space in the battery bay.
Additionally, most recreational vehicles feature 12V or 24V systems, so choosing a 12V battery (or batteries) is typically the most suitable option. Be sure to know whether your RV power system is 12V or 24V.
When connecting multiple lithium batteries, it’s important to use thick-gauge red and black battery wires and connect the batteries in parallel or series configurations based on your RV’s power needs and voltage requirements. This will ensure the optimal performance of your lithium battery system.
Related: Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of wiring your batteries in parallel vs series.
Upgrading Your RV's Electrical System for Lithium Batteries
After determining your RV’s power needs and selecting suitable lithium batteries, the next step is to enhance your RV’s electrical system. This may involve adjusting voltage settings and potentially replacing or modifying the converter to accommodate your new lithium batteries.
In this section, we will discuss the necessary modifications you need to make and provide practical tips to make sure you have a smooth upgrade process.
Adjusting voltage settings figures among the initial steps in amending your RV’s electrical system for lithium batteries. It’s essential to ensure that your RV’s electrical system is compatible with lithium batteries by adjusting voltage settings as needed.
The optimal voltage level for charging lithium batteries is 14.4 volts. But for lead acid batteries it is under 13 volts. Thus this is a necessary adjustment to make.
If your existing converter is not compatible with lithium batteries, you can potentially adjust the voltage and amperage settings to align with the voltage and amperage of your lithium batteries. This will help you avoid potential issues and ensure the proper functioning of your RV’s electrical system.
Replacing or Modifying the Converter
Another important step in upgrading your RV’s electrical system is replacing or modifying the converter. The voltage and charging time supplied by your existing converter may not be sufficient to fully charge your lithium batteries.
In such cases, it’s necessary to replace the converter section in the power distribution center or substitute it with a converter that provides enough voltage and charging time to completely charge your lithium batteries.
It is important to note that if you do not replace your converter with one compatible with lithium batteries, the converter will still charge your batteries. However, because lithium batteries charge to a higher voltage than lead acid batteries, the converter will limit the capacity of the lithium batteries to the maximum allowable voltage set for the lead acid batteries.
By taking these steps to upgrade your RV’s electrical system, you’ll ensure a seamless transition to lithium batteries and enjoy the numerous benefits they offer, including a significant battery upgrade.
SHOP NOW: Check out this lithium power converter to fully charge your new batteries!
Installation Process and Tips
Optimal performance relies heavily on the correct installation of lithium batteries in your RV. In this section, we will discuss how to prepare the battery bay and connect batteries in parallel or series configurations.
These tips will help you ensure a successful installation and enjoy the full potential of your new lithium batteries.
Preparing the Battery Bay
Cleaning and inspecting the battery bay form an important step after installing your lithium batteries. Here are some steps to follow:
- Remove any debris and check for signs of damage or corrosion on the wires. Your lithium RV batteries should not experience terminal corrosion. However, it is important to clean any corrosion leftover from previous lead acid batteries.
- To ensure a secure fit, reinforce the storage box or compartment with additional supports or brackets.
- Consider storing your batteries in a temperature-controlled compartment to ensure optimal performance.
Connecting Batteries in Parallel or Series
As mentioned earlier, connecting lithium batteries in parallel or series configurations is essential for optimal performance. A parallel configuration enhances the amp-hours and power capacity of the battery bank while keeping the voltage consistent, whereas a series configuration increases the voltage while maintaining the same amp-hours and power capacity.
For most 30-amp RVs, a parallel configuration is recommended to maximize battery capacity and ensure a consistent voltage. By following these installation guidelines, you’ll enjoy a more robust and efficient power system for your RV.
Related: Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of wiring your batteries in parallel vs series.
Charging and Maintaining Your Lithium Batteries
Longevity and performance of your lithium batteries hinges upon their proper charging and maintenance. In this section, we will explore charging solutions and battery monitoring systems that can help you keep your lithium batteries in top condition.
Some popular solar charging solutions for lifepo4 batteries in RVs include:
- Shore Power
- Vehicle Engine’s Alternator / DC-DC Charger
- Solar Panel System
Learn More: Check out this post on best practices for how to charge an RV battery.
Solar Panel Charging Solutions
Solar charging solutions can be a great way to keep your lithium RV batteries charged and extend their lifespan. In addition to solar panels, a solar charge controller can optimize the transfer of energy produced by the solar panels to the battery, improving battery performance.
Learn More: To learn more about how to set up a solar power system in your RV be sure to check out this post.
Battery Monitoring Systems
Battery monitoring systems enable you to track the performance of your lithium batteries and ensure they are functioning optimally. It does not make sense for you to have to guess how much power you have used or how much power may still be stored in your house batteries.
Battery monitors are an essential part of any RV power system and are reasonably affordable. They are fairly simple to install and worth the peace of mind to always know your RV batteries current state of charge.
By utilizing a battery monitor, you can gain real-time information on the performance of your batteries, such as voltage and current draw. This will help you avoid potential issues and extend the life of your lithium batteries.
SHOP NOW: This battery monitor is by far the best on the market.
Upgrading to lithium batteries in your RV offers numerous benefits, including increased safety, reliability, and environmental friendliness. By properly assessing your RV’s power needs, upgrading its electrical system, and implementing effective charging and maintenance practices, you can enjoy a more efficient and reliable power solution for your RV adventures.
We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and practical guidance for upgrading to lithium batteries in your RV. May your road ahead be filled with smooth travels and endless energy!