June '18

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56 • RV PRO • June 2018 rv-pro.com T oday, several RV manufacturers are pro- ducing RVs with lithium batteries and lithium converters factory installed, including Pleasure-Way, RoadTrek, Coachman, and Winnebago. Meanwhile, several other man- ufacturers also are prototyping lithium models. The advantages of a lithium battery system in RVs are many, and are further discussed below, based on questions from RV manufacturers and RV owners. Are the lithium battery systems presently available safe for RVs? To answer this question, you need to under- stand that there are several types of lithium-ion batteries based on the composition of the dif- ferent materials incorporated in their manufac- ture. These different compounds can provide additional power-per-kilogram (2.2 pounds) of battery weight. However, this additional power comes at an increased risk of a thermal event. Be assured that lithium-ion batteries are safe and that heat-related failures are rare. The battery manufacturers achieve this by adding three layers of protection: 1. Limiting the amount of active material 2. Inclusion of safety mechanisms within the cells 3. The addition of an electronic protection circuit in the battery, including a battery man- agement system By Dave Dykehouse Dave Dykehouse has been involved in battery charger design and sales for Progressive Dynamics since 1970. Since 2011, he has been working extensively with lithium battery manufacturers to help develop a full line of lithium converters for the RV industry. Anyone with questions about the information contained in this article can email Dykehouse at pdiwest1@aol.com. A F T E R M A R K E T A Lithium Battery Primer This column seeks to answer questions regarding lithium batteries, which are becoming more common in today's RVs. Table 1 Typical Specific Energy of Lead-, Nickel- and Lithium-Based Batteries Wh/kg 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Lead NiCd NiMH LTO LFP LMO NMC LCO NCA Acid 40 60 90 80 120 140 200 200 250 Note: Orange bars show power ratings for various types of lithium batteries. NMC, LCO and NCA lithium batteries contain Cobalt, a rare earth metal that helps provide extra power. Source: Battery University website: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/types_of_lithium_ion

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