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How do you know what is the capacity of the lithium battery you need for your RV?

 

Enjoying time with family and friends while RV living is a great way to experience nature.  RV living is about being outdoors, but still having access to a kitchen, bathroom, lights, and charging devices. If you want, you can even watch a movie or two on the TV. It certainly cannot be beaten!  In order to have a pleasant RV living experience, you need a reliable power source.

What kind of battery and what capacity will be needed for your RV? It depends on a few things, such as your power needs, available space, and the budget. We'll begin by going over how to answer these questions for yourself and then we'll explore specific types of batteries that may be a good fit for your boondocking needs.

Which components make up your RV power system?

It is important to have a basic understanding of the power system of your RV. A RV can have either a DC/12V or an AC/120V electrical system. Houses generally have AC power, and batteries provide DC power. Listed below are a few examples of AC and DC powered devices:

AC powered applicant: Microwave, Coffee Maker, Blender, TV and video games, Computers, Space heaters, Hot water heater, Refrigerator. DC powered applicant: Interior and exterior lighting, Power awnings,  Slideouts, Landing gear and leveling systems, Water pump, Propane gas detector, RV Stereo, Electric vents and fans, Control panel, Battery monitors.

In an RV park, most of the electric devices in your RV will be powered by the AC power supplied by the park.  Through the use of a converter, any DC device will be powered by the battery, which is then recharged by the AC current. The only source of power for your RV when it is unplugged is the DC power from the batteries. There are a few key factors that must be considered when using your battery bank for your RV: The following aspects must be taken into consideration when powering your RV with your battery bank.

What is the recommended amount of power?

What is the capacity of our battery bank to store and use power?

DC power is converted to AC power in what way?

What is the recommended amount of power?

It is important to understand your power needs when choosing the right battery.

To determine what devices you will use on a daily basis, and for how long, you will need to use more than just the basics, such as lights and water pumps.

You can then determine how much power the device uses by checking its wattage or amps. Perfect if it tells you the amps that it uses, otherwise, you will need to convert the watts to amps.

Using the formula, Watts = Volts x Amps, you can easily know the consumption power of every device. Here is a common example:

Lighting uses 100W on AC/120V supply, so according to the formula, we can easily know 100/12 = 0.833 Amps, which means the lighting will consume 0.833amps per hour, as all the energy is from the 12V/DC battery, so that means the lighting will consume 8.33amps per hour on 12V/DC power. If you are using the lighting for 5 hours on average a day, you will need 5*8.33 = 41.65Ah just for using the lighting. Once you have an idea of how many devices you will need to use every day and with knowing what’s the power of every device, you can easily calculate the total power that will be needed in your RV every day, and then you will have a clear idea of how to build your own battery bank.

What is the definition of the battery bank?

The battery bank is consist of multiple batteries, they are connected through wires to create a bank to store energy. Generally, Batteries can be connected together in either “series” or “Parallel”. Series will increase the voltage and the Ah the same while parallel keeps the voltage the same and increases the Ah.

Based on which parameters to choose the battery for your RV?

After calculating all the power that will be needed in your RV and the battery bank you are going to build, you are ready to choose the batteries to make up your battery bank. Choosing the suitable batteries for your RV based on the parameters below:

1. Type of Battery

2. Voltage

3. Capacity( Ah )

 

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TYPES OF BATTERY

Choosing the suitable type of battery will be an important decision due to this will impact how many discharges the batteries can take, the capacity, the weight, and the space the battery bank takes up? In addition, we also need to know whether or not the batteries need to be in a vented area.  Generally, there are several types of batteries you can choose for your RV, flooded lead-acid batteries, sealed-AGM gel batteries, and lithium-ion. The difference between them is as below:

Lead-acid battery is the most common type of RV battery, and with the advantages of the most inexpensive, it is a good option for weekend campers who only plan on running a generator multiple times a day. But the disadvantage is also very obvious that it requires a consistent level of water to keep the plates submerged. What’s more, they are recommended to only be discharged to 45%, meaning if you have a 100 Ah battery, you can really only use about 45 Ah. In addition, flooded lead-acid batteries tend to be heavy and require ventilation.

Sealed lead-acid batteries are similar to flooded lead-acid batteries. They come in AGM or gel. The most significant advantage of sealed vs. flooded is that they discharge slightly better. It is recommended not to discharge more than 50-75%. As they don’t need maintenance like the flooded batteries, it is easier to manage compared to the flooded lead-acid battery.

While sealed batteries do have pros over flooded, they are higher in cost and are still just as heavy. The higher price point might not be worth the slight advantage.

Lithium-ion batteries are a new type of battery that quickly become the preferred battery type for several reasons. They are 2/3 lighter than the traditional batteries, and what’s more, thanks to the technology of LiFePO4, they are 4X longer than other batteries and you can discharge to 100%, the disadvantage is the lithium-ion battery cost a lot at the beginning, but in the long run, it’s safe to say they are totally worth it, lithium batteries last longer, proving more power, and make your life easier when you are enjoying the life in outdoors.

 

VOLTAGE

Generally, The RV DC runs on 12V, so choosing the 12V batteries for your RV is the most straightforward approach. Other options include 6V and 24V, it will take more space if using the 6V battery and you will need to convert the voltage to 12V while using the 24V battery.

 

CAPACITY

Capacity or Ah means the total energy it can provide to the device. Most the RV batteries are sized between 50 and 200Ah. To determine what type of battery bank you'll need if you're boondocking,  you'll have to figure out how much power you'll need.

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