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Trace SW Inverters and Lithium Batteries


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We have an all Electric Monaco Executive with 2 Trace 2500SW Inverters with 400 watts of solar and 5 Qty 8D AGM batteries. We are thinking about converting to 6 LiFePO4 Battery 12V 400Ah batteries for Electrical backup for power outages, which are on the horizon.

I am knowledgeable and capable in the Electrical Field, but do not have manuals on the RV45-D in our Coach to show how to change settings, etc or what settings to changes in the Inverters for Lithium batteries. Battery supplier says it will be a custom mfg for the batteries and they will come with a charger. before we invest $7K in batteries I would like to know ho to hook up to our Silver Leaf. monitoring system. I will be contacting Silver Leaf Next Monday, since this is a Friday, which always happens.

My question is: Will the RV45-D work with lithium batteries and our TRACE 2500SW  inverters

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The biggest issue (in my opinion) is NOT the inverters or the SCC (solar charge controller), it is the alternator. Currently (if your rig is standard), the alternator will charge the lithiums whenever the engine is on. This can cause two problems. 
1. The batteries will take all the current your alternator will provide. This will cause the alternator to run at 100% until the battery is full or the alternator overheats and dies. 
2. Lithium’s do not like to be kept at 14.x (14.0 to 14.4volts) all the time. They like to be charged full, maybe an absorbing charge for a little while, then the charger turned off - or at least dropped to a float voltage of 13.5v.

There are a few ways of solving these two issues.

1. What I did was to break the connection between the alternator and house bank. Now the alternator no longer charges the lithium’s. I did add a 30a Victron Dc-Dc non-isolated charger. This will charge my lithium’s at 30 amps when the engine is running. That is pretty slow. If your 400a bank was down 210a (just over half down), that would take 7 hours of driving to recharge. 
 

2. There are some devices that will turn the alternator charging on and off so it gives the alternator time to cool down.   LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) is one I have heard good things about)

Depending on your rig, the engine battery gets topped off when there is excess current in the house battery (like when you are plugged in), you need to make sure this gets worked out if it gets disconnected when fixing the alternator issues.

Now once you solve the alternator issues…

The RV-45D solar charge controller, There may be settings that will “ kinda work” for the lithiums, but I would consider replacing it with a Victron MPPT 100/30. That will handle your 400w of solar. (Or maybe go more solar and get a bigger SCC).  (See below on temp compensation and equalization - they MUST be disabled. 
 

The same with the inverters- there may be a settings that will work - Gell might be close enough… but you MUST disable the temperature compensation and the equalization. Both can charge the lithium’s WAY too high of voltage. 
 

in my opinion you want the most common charging source for how you use your rig to treat the lithium’s exactly how they want to be charged. This could be as simple as disabling the charger part of the Trace’s, and adding a dedicated 120v lithium battery charger. 
 

My trace inverter was dying on me so I replaced it with a Victron Multiplus inverter/charger. Later when I put in the lithium’s- I just adjusted it to the lithium settings I wanted. 
 

Good Luck. (Sorry for such a long post).

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  • 2 weeks later...

The biggest issue (in my opinion) is NOT the inverters or the SCC (solar charge controller), it is the alternator. Currently (if your rig is standard), the alternator will charge the lithiums whenever the engine is on. This can cause two problems.
1. The batteries will take all the current your alternator will provide. This will cause the alternator to run at 100% until the battery is full or the alternator overheats and dies.
2. Lithium’s do not like to be kept at 14.x (14.0 to 14.4volts) all the time. They like to be charged full, maybe an absorbing charge for a little while, then the charger turned off - or at least dropped to a float voltage of 13.5v.

There are a few ways of solving these two issues.

1. What I did was to break the connection between the alternator and house bank. Now the alternator no longer charges the lithium’s. I did add a 30a Victron Dc-Dc non-isolated charger. This will charge my lithium’s at 30 amps when the engine is running. That is pretty slow. If your 400a bank was down 210a (just over half down), that would take 7 hours of driving to recharge.

2. There are some devices that will turn the alternator charging on and off so it gives the alternator time to cool down. LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager (BIM) is one I have heard good things about)

Depending on your rig, the engine battery gets topped off when there is excess current in the house battery (like when you are plugged in), you need to make sure this gets worked out if it gets disconnected when fixing the alternator issues.

Now once you solve the alternator issues…

The RV-45D solar charge controller, There may be settings that will “ kinda work” for the lithiums, but I would consider replacing it with a Victron MPPT 100/30. That will handle your 400w of solar. (Or maybe go more solar and get a bigger SCC). (See below on temp compensation and equalization - they MUST be disabled.

The same with the inverters- there may be a settings that will work - Gell might be close enough… but you MUST disable the temperature compensation and the equalization. Both can charge the lithium’s WAY too high of voltage.

in my opinion you want the most common charging source for how you use your rig to treat the lithium’s exactly how they want to be charged. This could be as simple as disabling the charger part of the Trace’s, and adding a dedicated 120v lithium battery charger.

My trace inverter was dying on me so I replaced it with a Victron Multiplus inverter/charger. Later when I put in the lithium’s- I just adjusted it to the lithium settings I wanted.,

Rocketman, thanks for the reply.Chargers

After much research and talking to a friend that use to be an engineer for Xantrex, back when the SW's were King (15 to 20 years ago)   So he told me some of what you are saying. So,  I'd already ordered the Controller and got them today.  Also I found out that if the Battery Management System (BMS) is working properly, it will not allow the batteries to overcharge., especially when the SW Inverters Chargers limit the charge to 150 amps each; combined 300. Since each battery has a 200 AMP BMS, there should be no issue, since all of the charging except for Solar, is done through the Inverters. I'm getting ready to order 4 AmpereTime 300AH batteries as they have setting that match what I was told to reset on my Inverters. I also am changing the Solar Panel System from 24V to 48V;  which will allow me to ad a lot more panels and use existing wiring, since we are stationary and living next to our daughter and son in-law until the Lord Jesus takes us home.  More Voltage equals less AMPS to push and the, however my wife says if it takes 2 tails I use 4.  So this is what I just rec's today : 

Renogy 60A 12V/24V/36V/48V DC Input MPPT Solar Charge Controller Auto Parameter Adjustable LCD Display Solar Panel Regulator fit for Gel Sealed Flooded and Lithium Battery, Rover 60A 

will handle all that I will ever ad and is said to pass more  Vs and Amps through that enter.  The engine batteries will be disconnected from the Charge Controller, because the R45 D has a separate connection for Solar to Charge those bats.
On older coaches, like our2004 Exec, that were before their time in Technology; today they are work-arounds, repairs and mods, just to try and catch up a little!
At 81, it keeps the ole mind from going completely  _ _ _ _ __ _ _ !    Ohhh Soooo  MAanyyy  projects and my daughter and dis-abled son in-law have a few for me too.
I will update with whatever happens in the coming months.
Have a Blessed day, and Thanks again
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