By Mike Sokol
Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM.
Just a quick update on last week’s JAM Session about the problems associated with dropping in a Lithium battery without checking if your battery charger (be it part of your converter or inverter) can provide the higher charging voltage needed, and higher charging current possible, by Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. Reread that article HERE.
Overview on dropping in Lithium batteries
In a nutshell, installing a Lithium battery in an RV with an older charger won’t allow the battery to come up to full charge, topping out around 75%. So instead of 100 amp-hrs of storage, it can now provide only 75 amp-hrs of storage.
I’ve also discovered that some RV battery chargers have a desulfation cycle which creates pulsed voltages into a standard lead-acid battery. If that function is not permanently disabled it could destroy your expensive Lithium battery in short order. Yikes!!!
Yes, I’m being watched…
In addition to my normal readers, I also have a lot of manufacturers reading my articles. In fact, here’s a note I received from Briter Products about last week’s JAM Session. Note that while many Lithium battery manufacturers claim their products are “drop-in” or “plug-n-play”), Briter has never claimed their own batteries were “drop-in”.
Hello Mike, I liked your article from 12/13 regarding the “drop in replacement” topic with lithium batteries. We knew this was going to be a big problem because who really wants to know their fully functional chargers or inverters need to be replaced to get the advantages of lithium. Because of that Briter built in the state of charge display and has never claimed that the batteries were drop in replacements.
But wait, there’s more…
In addition to Briter Products, last week I also received a phone call from my contact at Progressive Dynamics who wants to collaborate with me on an article (and possibly a video) about how to tell if your RV converter or inverter is safe to use with your new Lithium battery, as well as guaranteeing that you’ll get all the storage capability you just paid for. Look for that article and video sometime in January.
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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