Affordable RV Lithium Battery Upgrade - Unowix LiFePO4
If you watch videos of RVers upgrading to lithium batteries you may think you can never afford that. Many of these systems include a new inverter/converter and batteries that cost thousands of dollars. Well, I am a weekend/vacation camper and I too thought that. Lithium batteries are a worthwhile upgrade for the RV and the upgrade can certainly be affordable. I will outline three modifications I did to my RV without breaking the bank.
The most expensive item will undoubtedly be the lithium batteries, LiFePO4 for short. There are many brands out there ranging from just a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. Here is where your research is important. I do believe in the saying you get what you pay for but I also believe things can be overpriced. I also believe that I don't need the best and highest-priced item when making a purchase. There are plenty of good products out there at reasonable prices. I searched for a long time for the right LiFePO4 batteries that were affordable and of good quality. I ended up choosing Unowix Defender LiFePO4 100 amp hour batteries. They claim to have a battery management system that protects the battery from things like overcharging, low-temperature charging, short circuit, and more. I will leave the specification sheet below to view. What I liked most about Unowix was they have a ten-year warranty which only a few of the higher-end batteries that are available offer. The best part was the price which is about half the price of the expensive batteries on the market.
Now from everyone I spoke to, the current RVs converter/charger will not harm LiFePO4 batteries if it is not a lithium charger. However, it may not charge LiFePO4 batteries to their full capacity. Yes, all RVs have a converter/charger and this is different from an inverter. So why invest in lithium if you won't get the full benefits? Many newer converter/chargers can easily be upgraded to lithium by a switch or a jumper. Here again, research is important. I contacted the manufacturer of my RVs converter/charger and they were extremely helpful. I had an older model so unfortunately, I needed to upgrade. Typically standard converters run several hundred dollars. The important thing to note is to purchase one from an authorized dealer or any warranty issue may be denied. The manufacturer's website will usually list authorized dealers for their products and you can start there to price shop. I found the best price from bestconverter.com. I later learned they are a mom-and-pop shop located in Alabama and authorized dealers for many different brands. When I called I spoke to the owner himself, Randy. I have no affiliation with them other than the service was excellent and the price was far better than anything I could find.
The third item to complete the upgrade to lithium should include a battery monitor. The standard four-light system included in most RVs will be useless with lithium batteries. LiFePO4 batteries maintain the same voltage till near empty and the four-light system uses voltage to determine battery capacity. This is not a mandatory upgrade but knowing the capacity of the RV's battery bank is important. Here again, is where prices vary from inexpensive to ridiculous. Your needs will dictate your choice. There are no doubt some very nice features on the expensive monitors but I did not think it worth the money for my type of camping. I previously installed a monitor from AiLi/Qworks. The video is below and a separate article can be found here. It is very inexpensive and gives me all the information I need to stay informed on the health of the RV's battery bank. There is also a separate video and article on installing a lithium-compatible battery isolation manager that can be found here.
If you are comfortable with this type of work I think most can do these three upgrades, see the videos below. If you are not, and need to hire a technician then of course that needs to be included when determining overall costs. You will be dealing with electricity and the RV's 12v system and can harm yourself and the RV's electrical system. Overall, this was a rather easy and worthwhile upgrade. I always thought an RV LiFePO4 battery upgrade was just too cost-prohibitive but with a little research, I was happily mistaken. We look forward to the wider options for camping our new upgrade gives us.
Watch the introduction to the RV LiFePO4 upgrade
Watch the video below to see installing the AiLi Battery Monitor
Watch the video to see the RV Converter/Charger Upgrade Install
Watch the video to see the RV Lithium Battery Upgrade Install
Watch the installation of the Precision Circuits LI-BIM 225
Read, Print, or Download the Unowix Defender X100 LiFePO4 Battery Specification Sheet
See Unowix LiFePO4 100ah Battery on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Qmwbrj
See Qwork Battery Monitor on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3C46ZBC
See AiLi Battery Monitor on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3JQ2Inr
See RV Converter Chargers on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3PrNt58
See RV Lithium Batteries on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QocHmi
See Precision Circuits LI-BIM 225 on Amazon: https://amzn.to/44x4hjW
See Windy Nation 9-inch Battery cables on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HHTiue
You can learn more by going to the Unowix website at unowix.com
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