Joan and I continue to extend our RV travels and many times we have the need for long, multi-state tows with breaks in the middle to stretch, have lunch, along with 30 minutes of downtime before we continue the trip. The tow and the stop requires power, 12V DC power for our residential fridge, lights, fans or furnace, even small appliances. We have gas and lithium powered generators, but that too adds time to hook up and replace adding time to our tow that’s already too long. It was time for a LANpwr Lithium Battery RV Upgrade replacing our limited lead acid golf cart batteries.
LANpwr 12V 300Ah LiFePO4 Battery
LANpwr contacted us and asked if we were interested in evaluating their Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. This was a perfect opportunity since we had plans to up grade our 5th wheel 12V system this year. We needed 300Ah to replace our existing batteries and chose to go with a single 300Ah, 3840Wh LANpwr Lithium Battery Model LFP12-300 versus 3 – 100Ah batteries to save space. The battery specifications for the Model LF12-300 is shown in the chart below.
Adding LiFePO4 batteries to your RV can be an expensive undertaking and to manage cost we select this model understanding the battery did not contain sensors to turn off battery charging in temperatures below 32F/0C and did not include internal heaters. We had a simple, yet inexpensive fix by adding a 12V heater pad to the cover we planned to build.
Installing the LANpwr Battery and Victron Smart Shunt
Removing the old batteries took about 15 minutes and installing the new LANpwr 12V 300Ah LiFePO4 batter took another 15 minutes. We chose to install the new battery in our main storage bay that is better insulated and has a heater duct to offer better protection.
We are expecting times when we will not be in the Montana, yet pedestal power will be available to keep the battery charged for our next trip. While this is a benefit, charging the battery during temperatures below 32F/0C will cause damage. The simple fix is adding a heater pad commonly found on RV water tanks to the plywood box we built to cover the battery, We used a Facon heater pad that also contains a built-in sensor that will turn on when temperatures drop to 45F and will turn of at 68F. The RV heating pad was not affixed to the battery and adhered to the top of the plywood battery box.
We did not have any method to monitor our battery performance or current state. We have a Victron solar charger that provides basic charging information, but we needed more data. We purchased a Victron 500A Smart Shunt and took extra time to improve the wiring distribution in the front of the 5th wheel. This took half a day and the results gave us a more manageable environment as we plan other upgrades in the future.
LANpwr Lithium Battery RV Upgrade Results
The battery performance exceeded our expectations. With the newly installed Victron Smart Shunt we were able to accurately track battery performance. To simulate a day when we experience a long multi-state tow and then spend the night, we disconnected from pedestal power operating the 5th wheel on the new LANpwr battery only. We chose to do the test on a heavily overcast day along with heavy rain to ensure we had no solar power. We first ran lights, TV and our residential fridge over 5 hours to simulate a stop for the evening. Then left the residential fridge running for another 19 hours as we would experience on a long two day day with an evening break. At the end of the 24 hours we only consumed 65% of the LANpwr Lithium battery.
In a worse case scenario, with no external power, and in a climate where air conditioning isn’t needed, we could easily operate the 5th wheel for at least 3 days and with reasonable solar charging from our 200 Watt panels, we could extend our time without the need to recharge from a gas generator. When comparing the new LANpwr battery to our previous lead acid golf cart batteries, the smaller configuration of the Lithium battery, a significant reduction in weight, and the added discharge capacity was a win win solution for this LANpwr Lithium Battery RV Upgrade.
We would like to thank LANpwr for providing their Lithium battery for review and have provided links below the video where you can purchase along with the other items mentioned in this blog and the video.
P.S.: This article and video are reposted from a YouTube channel, whose YouTube channel is "I Love RV Life" and Blog at: https://www.ilovervlife.com/lanpwr-lithium-battery-rv-upgrade/