RVers Put Lithium Ion Batteries to Test

Recently we farmdocked on a friend’s property in Minnesota while visiting family. While filming for RV Nomads the movie in Wellington TX in May of 2018, we installed six (6) Battle Born GC2 12 volt lithium ion batteries for a total of 600 amp hours. We recently put them to their first good test and here’s our product review…

Weather in Minnesota during the month of October is supposed to be fairly mild, slightly cooler temps with minimal precipitation. We expected sunny days with crisp evening temperatures.

Unfortunately, we were in for a rude awakening. Our time in Minnesota encompassed about twenty-four days; eighteen of which were disappointingly cloudy and/or rainy days. Our average daytime temperatures were below 60 degrees with overnight lows around 38 degrees.

Our lithium ion batteries really got their workout and proved their worth ten times over.  With minimal quality solar days, we were still able to maintain a state of charge with little to no recharge effort.

Battle Born, Boondocker Tested…

Unlike lead-acid batteries, Battle Born’s lithium ion batteries can be discharged to a 10% state of charge. They do not need to be recharged to 100% state of charge to get maximum voltage out of them. The energy stored in these lithium ion batteries is almost all completely usable.  No more worrying about getting below a 50% state of charge like with lead-acid batteries.

Our test started the morning post-arrival waking at 80% state of charge. This was after powering our residential refrigerator and a CPAP device overnight. Pretty normal numbers for our fifth wheel. Even though the next day was cloudy and our 1000 watts of solar panels only generating about 9 amps per hour, we were still able to maintain an 80% state of charge all day.

After retiring for the evening, we’d wake the next day to find the batteries at a 60% state of charge. We literally did a happy dance!  Even with another cloudy semi rainy day, we still were able to maintain the 60% state of charge until evening came. Awaking the third morning to yet, again, a minimal solar harvest left our batteries at about a 30% state of charge at the end of the day; a lower than normal state of charge for lead acid batteries.

How we accomplished it…

At this point, we’ve begrudgingly accepted that mother nature was not going to cooperate and provide enough sunshine to recharge from solar alone. So we hooked up one of our two 2000 watt inverter generators to recharge our batteries.  That’s right! We went into the fourth day of usage with almost zero solar harvest before we decided it was time to recharge the batteries manually.

Our generator ran for about four (4) hours pumping 70 amps into our lithium ion batteries through our Magnum 3012 hybrid inverter charger. The batteries recharged to a 96% state of charge and we were ready for the next usage period.

By the way, during our four days of daily usage, we powered our residential refrigerator, CPAP device, furnace, water pump, all 12 volt lights and recharged two laptop computers, two tablets and two cellular phones. We also used our Air Fryer one evening for an hour to cook dinner and watched about one to two hours of television per evening.

Our assessment…

We are super excited at how much energy we can use from the batteries and the extended amount of time between needed recharges. The next few days, we had decent solar absorption. The batteries were able to quickly recharge our solar panels. Oh, and another feature of the Battle Born lithium ion batteries is their ability to provide a more consistent voltage throughout the discharge process.  We found this most evident when powering the CPAP device which is extremely voltage sensitive.

These batteries are simply amazing. The peace of mind we’ve gained from being able to draw them down to state of charge below 50% is immeasurable. Our ability to be able to use 90% of the 100 amp hour battery is incredibly relieving especially being we work remotely and depend on electric to power our electronics.

The recharge time is less than lead-acid batteries as the Battle Born Lithium Ion batteries can be bulk charged to 98%.  Most of the time we don’t even concern ourselves with getting to a 100% state of charge. The last 2% is irrelevant and not important to the overall health of the batteries. The lithium Ion batteries are happy beginning their discharge cycle at 96% charge and so are we. The Battle Born GC2 12 volt batteries are also lightweight; each weighing in at 29 pounds. All this energy in the same footprint of a standard GC2 lead acid battery at half the weight.

Why Battle Born’s Lithium Ion Batteries ROCK!

So our first big test with the Battle Born GC2 lithium ion batteries in a hostile solar environment was a resounding thumbs-up success!  Our lithium ions simply out perform every other battery on the market today and have made life on the road, transits and successful boondocking so much easier.

For more info on Battle Born lithium ion batteries…

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