Are you thinking about replacing your lead acid RV battery with a lithium battery? Why might it be a better battery option for your RV than your current one? Would it really be worth your money? How long will a lithium RV battery last?
That requires a long discussion if you want to understand the whole thing. But in short, it will last on average about three to five thousand cycles, depending on a few factors. These include: the battery cycle, maintenance, effective usage, etc.
Many people think lithium batteries outlast AGM and Lead-Acids. Do they really? Are they capable of running that long? Here is a complete discussion on this topic to conclude all your questions.
- How long do lithium RV batteries usually last?
- How is the battery cycle counted?
- How can I extend the life of lithium RV batteries?
- Advantages of RV Lithium Batteries
- Disadvantages of RV Lithium Batteries
- Frequently asked questions about lithium batteries
How long do lithium RV batteries usually last?
Motorhome batteries are very popular with caravan or motorhome owners. They tend to last longer than SLA batteries.
How long will a lithium motorhome battery last? That depends on the number of battery cycles. So you need to understand that first:
How is the battery cycle counted?
A battery cycle consists of bringing the battery up to full charge, then fully discharging it, and then fully charge it again.
Now, the life of a lithium battery depends on the charge and discharge cycle it goes through during its life. But typically a lithium battery will last for 3000 to 5000 battery cycles. Whereas a Lead-Acid battery might last for 300 to 400 cycles.
How can I extend the life of lithium RV batteries?
These expensive lithium batteries are usually rated for 3000 to 5000 cycles. But that also depends on a few factors.
- They are recharged as soon as they are dead.
- Keeping them on a trickle charger to slowly charge the battery and keep it from being damaged by deep discharge.
- Applying a *periodic equalization charge
- Remove the battery for extended storage or during winter storage.
- Avoid storage at temperatures around freezing, as batteries will freeze faster if left discharged.
- Fully charge them before storing them.
- Store them in a cool, dry place.
**An equalization charge is a calculated overcharge to remove sulfate crystal buildup from the plates.
Advantages of RV Lithium Batteries
- Last much longer than SLA batteries, up to 30 years with proper maintenance.
- Weigh less.
- Contain more power.
- Can be recharged multiple times.
- Require the least maintenance.
- Charge faster and more efficiently.
- Can discharge deeply.
- Have a low self-discharge rate, 2% to 4% per month.
- Cheaper than SLA, when service life is considered.
- They are equipped with a BMS or Battery Management System that helps regulate charge and discharge factors.
Disadvantages of RV Lithium Batteries
There is a downside to everything. Here are 3 disadvantages that can occur when using an RV lithium battery.
- Cannot be regulated in sub-zero temperatures. Charging in below freezing temperatures can cause damage. However, there are some companies that will heat the battery before charging to regulate it in cold temperatures.
- Since they are sensitive, they need protection circuits to function safely.
- Reactive lithium can react when it comes in contact with liquid. Dried electrolyte can be a hazard if the metal plates collide.
- Lithium RV Battery
Frequently asked questions about lithium batteries
What is a Lithium Battery?
Lithium batteries have a higher energy density than others with up to 150 watt hours/kg. They are a powerful alternative to Deep Cycle and SLA batteries. There are no materials inside lithium batteries that are prone to corrosion. Therefore, they can be safely discharged to 2% deep, which equates to a DoD of 98%.
Why choose an RV lithium battery over a SLA battery?
Most car and RV owners still prefer deep-cycle batteries SLA because of their low price, inexpensive elements, and reliable performance with effective use. Lithium batteries can retain up to 90% of their charge when operated for more than a year without a trickle charger. Although the SLA batteries have a cheaper price compared to the RV lithium batteries, there are some positive aspects that make the Lithium-Ion battery a victory over them despite its high price.
How fast will my lithium battery charge?
This varies from battery to battery and depends on the overall Ampere Hour (AH) rate of a battery and the current discharge rate. Let us say a 100 Ah lithium battery connected to a 50 amp charger takes 2 hours to fully charge. That is, 100 AH divided by 50 AH equals 2 hours. And the fuller the battery gets, the more time it takes to fill 1% of the cell. Also, the charge current is gradually reduced towards the end of the charge. Therefore, the complete charging time may vary, but again, it would be more or less 2 hours.
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