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Goldenmate batteries ??????

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I've been on the fence about upgrading to lithium batteries, i saw the goldenmate batteries and was wondering if anyone else got these batteries and is satisfied with their performance?? Cheaper isn't always better!! Look forward to hearing your comments thank you

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I went to my normal trusted review sites, and none have reviewed Goldenmate.  I looked at other reviews, but few were "technical".  A couple things I found, is that it has a lower capability BMS.  For example, it can only be charged at 50 Amps, Maximum.  That not a real problem.  But there are conflicting reports on temperature shutdown.  Some say it has a temp sensor, but it seems (I can't verify) that it may only work on high temps.  Being from Colorado, when I built my batteries, I made sure the BMS I selected had full cold temp sensing and shutdown, both on charging and discharging.  If you never, ever expect the battery to be exposed to below 32°F (0°C) then this may not be a concern.  Note that low temperature can actually destroy LiFePO4 batteries (no, they don't explode, they just quit working).  It's rated at Max discharge rate of 100 Amps, which yields a max power of 1250 Watts.  Some reviewer were pleased that they were able to draw as much as 150 Amps out of the battery, but, to me, that just shows the BMS has failed to shut it down on Over Current discharge - not good.  Makes me wonder if the other parameters are actually protected by this battery.

One of the main deficiencies of this battery is there is no way to "see" what is going on within the battery box.  Remember, a battery is simply a collection of individual cells, interconnects, and a controller we call a BMS (Battery Management System).  Higher end batteries also incorporate a USB or Bluetooth or both, connection which allows you to view the actual cells, how they are balanced, the actual current, the depth of discharge, etc.  This is often built into the BMS circuit board.  In some cases, you can actually program parameters of the cells and control limits via this connection (although I've never seen a commercially produced battery that allows the user to make any changes).  If you are the type that like to monitor your systems, this is a big deal.  On the other hand, if you don't care about how things work, just that they do, then this might not be a deal breaker.

I think you'll find you'll need two of these, connected in parallel, to provide enough to run your inverter at nominal load.  I'm not talking how long, but that 1250 watts out of the battery is more like 1100 watts out of the inverter after all the losses and inefficiencies (educated guess) are accounted for.  This will not run your microwave, even though most don't suggest running the microwave off the inverter.  My point is if you have a 2500 - 3000 Watt Inverter, or even just a 2000 Watt, you'll want batteries that will allow it to operate at it's rated output, even if you never intend to use it a full power.  

When researching this, I was amazed to find so many lower priced LiFePO4 batteries.  There were several on Amazon for just under $200 (100 A-Hr).  One of these is almost the same as 4 Trojan T-105 6-volt batteries, which yield a rated 225 A-Hr at 12 Volts, but you can only use about one-half that if you want maximum life (112.5 A-Hr).  As of today, the best price on T-105 (some consider the "gold standard" of Flooded Lead Acid batteries) is $151.49.  So four would be $605.06 or $2.69 per usable Amp Hourr.  As of today the Goldenmate is $228.99 on Amazon.  So two of these would be $457.98 or $2.29 per usable Amp Hour.  

While the weigh difference is not important to us, since the coach has already been designed and built to handle the FLA batteries, and dropping 50% of the battery weight is negligible compared to the total weight of the coach, there are a couple other considerations.  First, even if this low-priced LiFePO4 doesn't last it's rated 8,000 life cycles, it will likely last longer then FLA batteries.  But I can guarantee that it will charge much faster. This feature alone makes LiFePO4 batteries the choice for dry-camping (boondocking).  Your generator run time will be cut in less than one-half due to the fast charging that LiFePO4 batteries can accept that would boil and destroy FLA unless carefully monitored.  It also allows for faster charging from solar too.  This is because they can take full rated charge (or the max charge you have available) right up to 99% (SOC).  The FLA, AGM, and such stop full current and taper off over many hours to max.  

I can't say these Goldenmate are any better or worse than others in the $200 - $250 price range, but, from the limited reviews I've found, I'd certainly say there were likely worth the price.

  -Rick N.

Personally, I am a convert, a believer that LiFePO4 should be considered by all, no matter if you are a boondocker or simply travel "power post to power post".  But there are a couple caveats.  First, you need to check that your current inverter/charger can be set to charge LiFePO4 batteries.  If it can't, that need serious consideration.  Also, you need to be aware that it is inadvisable to charge LiFePO4 from engine alternators.  It can accept charging current so high that it can burn out an alternator.  So, often a DC-DC charger is needed.  Also, the charging parameters set for LiFePO4 batteries is not ideal for charging the chassis battery.  So, you need to make changes there too. 

But, as I mentioned above, if you current inverter/charger can be set to charge LiFePO4 batteries (or close, as AGM2 in the Magnum is very close).  Also, CC/CV (Constant Current/Constant Voltage) is what LiFePO4 batteries need (the LiFePO4 setting is just a custom setting of CC/CV) so if your inverter has CC/CV, you are good to go.  Given this, and the fact that LiFePO4 batteries can be less expensive than FLA or AGM, that is no longer a valid argument against LiFePO4.

As an aside, I mention LiFePO4 which is the designation (and chemical formula) for Lithium Lead Phosphate which is totally different from LI (Lithium Ion) batteries, which are the ones you have read about exploding or catching fire (cell phone, laptop and Tesla).  LiFePO4 are very safe and won't explode even in a crash.  

  -Rick N. 

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The Lithium batteries are the last item that you select after you have selected all of your other components for your Lithium conversion such as a Lithium compatible inverter/charger, DC to DC chargers, solar charge controllers, etc.

The primary criteria for Lithium batteries is your use case which will drive which features that you need.  Most Lithium batteries don't have low temperature cutoffs which can result in Lithium battery destruction if charging is attempted under freeze conditions:

  • Do you, under any circumstances, use or store your RV in temperatures under 34 degrees farenheit?

Secondly, what is the rated and the maximum "peak" surge output of your inverter?  Most Lithium batteries will "shutdown" in a short time if you exceed their "C" rating which is typically 0.5C or 1.0C, so its critical that you buy Lithium batteies that can accomodate the rated capacity of your inverter for continous operation and accomodate the surge capacity of your inverter for short periods.  

  • For example, two (2) 100Ah Lithium batteries rated at 0.5C discharge wired in parallel will output a maximum of 100Amps continuously. So if your inverter rated output uses 1800 Watts, the Lithium batteries in this example will only deliver 1200 watts continuous power.  
  • Rick @waterskier_1 also mentioned charge capacity which is also a "C" rating.  For example, two (2) 100Ah Lithium batteries rated at 0.5C charge wired in parallel may only be charged at a maximum of 100Amps continuously. So if your inverter has a rated output charge output of 200 amps, then you can only use 50% of your inverters rated charge output which will result in a 50% slower charge of your Lithium batteries.

In summary, please answer the following questions so that the forum can provide the right recommendation for your Lithium battery project:

  • What is the make and model number of your proposed solar charge controller, if you want solar?
  • What is the make and Model number of your proposed Lithium compatible inverter?
  • How many standard sized 12V house batteries can your RV accomodate?
Edited by CAT Stephen
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