Jumping into LiFePO4
By Jessie Quale, Dakota Lithium Customer and RV owner
My 8+year old Lifeline 300AH batteries were in their last days. I decided to get with the times and go with Lithium Iron Phosphate RV batteries for our 2012 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH Motorhome. I looked all over the internet for a suitable replacement. It was very confusing. Heated or not. Charging systems. Battery size. Rewiring the motorhome. I could not find what I was looking for.
I finally ran across Dakota Lithium and their DL+ 280AH battery. It self heats for cold weather. It has a LOT of power in a small size. It can charge off the motorhome alternator. Since I was replacing 8 Lifeline 300AH batteries I knew there would be some rewiring but I decided to go ahead.
I had to figure out how to integrate alternator charging, generator charging, shore power charging, and solar charging. I have 1100W of solar on the roof to charge the batteries. I have a Magnum MS2812 pure sine wave inverter to turn the battery power into AC power, which is the same power in your home. So I can plug anything from home into my home on wheels.
I replaced the Magnum remote inside the coach. I replaced it with the latest Magnum ME-ARC50. It was easy. 4 screws and a communications cable. The new remote has a ton of options to set up charging parameters including a lithium one.
What Solar Charge Controller is Needed for Lithium?
I replaced my 2 Blue Sky solar charge controllers with 3024IL MPPT solar charge controllers that accept lithium.
I added a magnum BMK kit to monitor the batteries using the Magnum remote inside. I installed a Victron 500A smart shunt with Bluetooth as an additional monitor.
How Much Weight Did I Save by Upgrading to Lithium?
What came out. 720lb of lead.
What when in? 130 lbs of Dakota Lithium
Total weight savings: 590 lbs.
The load center
The red positive busbar on top. 2-40A fuses and circuit shutoff switches for the solar. Bottom left are 2-500A shunts. On the left is the Victron Bluetooth shunt. On the right is the Magnum BMK shunt.
Load center installed. Basic wiring installed The vertical panel on the right is the original motorhome panel. It has the DC master shutoff and a 300A fuse.
Wiring completed. Note the black module on the wall on the left. It is the brain for the Magnum Battery Monitor Kit. Plenty of room if I want to add another battery.
Closeup of the shunt and the BMK module
Busbar, solar fuses and switches. I used copper bars to connect things to keep the size down.
300A safety fuse on each battery positive terminal
With the help of Magnum and the support staff at Dakota Lithium I believe I have the programming correct. All that’s left is to get it out of the garage and on the road.