Which lithium system is best for you?
Consider the following as you make your selection:
How much Amp-hour capacity do you want?
This is usually limited by budget, space constraints and weight limits. Nobody complains about having too much lithium as long as it fits and isn’t making too much of a dent in the budget. AM Solar tech support can give you a recommendation if you need help.
A couple useful rules of thumb:
-Every 200Ah of lithium capacity will run an air conditioner for about 1 hour.
-An alternator charger will be able to add about 100Ah of energy per hour of drive time.
-It will take about 400W of solar to charge 100Ah of energy in one day.
How much current do you need?
You will need about 100A per 1000W of inverter capacity. In other words, a 3000W inverter may require three or four lithium batteries (depending on the model) to be able to supply its loads. Remember that parallel connected batteries can provide double the current of a single battery.
Will your target amp-hour rating and current limit fit in the battery bay?
We offer a variety of lithium battery brands that come in a variety of sizes. Look at the dimensions closely. Make measurements. Check tongue weight limits. Verify that the battery bank current matches what your inverter and loads will draw. The price estimates in the chart below assume that the batteries will fit with no modifications to your rig.
What kind of environment will your batteries be in?
Too cold: If you plan to use your rig in areas where the temperature could drop below freezing make sure you have batteries that have an automatic charge disconnect or a feature that will prevent them from freezing. Putting a charge on lithium batteries that do not have a cold charge disconnect system at temperatures below 0° C can damage the batteries.
Too hot: Heat can be an issue for some lithium batteries. If you camp in hot areas consider how warm your battery bay might get and think about ventilation.
Too dirty: Although batteries are dust and moisture resistant, consider that they are expensive and may last a decade. You might consider a custom battery box.
Do you want Bluetooth monitoring?
Some lithium batteries come with elaborate built-in Bluetooth monitoring systems that can show everything from temperature to state of charge. Other lithium batteries do not come with any form of Bluetooth monitoring, but can be paired with external monitors. Bluetooth monitoring is rarely a necessity, but it can make troubleshooting easier.
What kind of company do you want to buy from?
Lithium batteries are big investment and have the potential to outlast your rig. You may want to expand your system in the future, in which case you would need matching batteries. You may be worried about warranty replacements. You may be worried about obsolescence. You may want something that is the same brand as your other components in your system incase there is a problem and you don’t want tech support to point the finger at “the other guy.”
Does it fit the budget?
Perhaps your ideal lithium system ends up being $6,000 but you only have a budget for $2,000 of batteries. If so, let’s talk about AGM.
Detailed Battery Specifications
Lithium System Feature Explanation
Automatic low voltage load disconnect
Unlike lead-acid batteries, the voltage of a lithium battery bank doesn't change proportionally to the charge level. A sophisticated system needs to be in place in order to closely monitor the batteries and prevent them from being overly discharged. Without an automatic low voltage load disconnect, it would be easy to damage the batteries by accidentally "crashing" them or draining them too deeply.
Automatic high voltage charger disconnect
Similar to the low voltage disconnect, lithium batteries can be damaged by overcharging. A sophisticated system needs to be in place to closely monitor the batteries and prevent them from being overcharged.
Automatic low temp charger disconnect
Lithium batteries can be ruined when charged at temperatures below 0 degrees C. The more charging current and the lower the temperature, the more extensive the damage. Therefore, it is important to have a system in place that monitors battery temperature and disconnects all charging sources before the batteries freeze.
Automatic high temperature disconnect
Lithium batteries can absorb and discharge a tremendous amount of current compared to lead-acid batteries. This high current leads to heat, which can cause damage to the batteries. It is important to have a system that shuts off all loads and charging sources when the batteries get too hot.
Allow safe discharge during low temp disconnect
As mentioned above, it can be harmful to lithium batteries to charge when they are frozen. But, discharging is fine. High quality lithium battery systems are capable of separating charging and discharging sources to allow a safe use of loads when the batteries are frozen.
Automatic reset when conditions return to normal
Some early lithium battery systems require a manual reset after a high voltage, low voltage or low temperature disconnect. More sophisticated systems do this automatically.
Access individual cell status via Bluetooth
The ability to access data on the voltage and temperature of individual cells can be an important tool for monitoring and troubleshooting a lithium battery system.
Separate charge/discharge status Indicators
Being able to monitor the separate status of charging and discharging functions of a lithium battery system can be important for troubleshooting.
Custom BMS programming available
The AMS Lithium Control Module is a programmable circuit board designed by AM Solar. Many of its parameters can be customized by AM Solar to suit a variety of unique end-user needs.
Externally serviceable management system
Lithium battery systems are expensive and complicated. With the higher price tag comes superior performance and a longer lifespan. This high performance, mixed with high complexity, means that a lot can go wrong. With an externally serviceable management system, small components that malfunction can be cheaply replaced, whereas if something where to go wrong with an integrated battery management system, the entire expensive battery would have to be replaced.
Networked complete system communication
When the lithium batteries, charge controller system, inverter system, and battery management systems are all the same brand they function more seamlessly and there are a wider variety of user-friendly monitoring options.
Lithium batteries with external management systems can be very challenging for an end-user to install. Drop-in ready lithium battery systems are as easy to install as lead-acid batteries.