Switching to lithium

garfield28

Active Member
Jun 28, 2021
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G'day everyone, yet me again :)

I am looking at switching to Lithium from AGM and need help from those in the know.

I currently have a 100AH deep cycle batter that was meant to temporarily replace a 120AH AGM that got killed when I didn't know my charger had become disconnected from the PowerPoint on the van. Rather than replacing with another AGM I have decided I am going to go lithium as Kings have a 200AH on special at the moment for $800 with a 2 year warranty, so figured why not, I'll get practically 200ah to use and would open up the use of running a inverter to take some luxury uses of appliances to make our stay at free camps or unpowered site s more enjoyable through being able to prep meals or make hot beverages quicker and easier.

I want to pretty much be able to run low watt draw appliances like a 2 piece toaster, say a milk frother and or a small coffee machine, and if possible also a induction cooktop. Hopefully with that size battery it should be equipped to do so but I am still studying that, I think it should be OK I have started to learn about how may watts it can take on start up and also max discharge amps which the Kings battery is 150amps and from what I can tell so far would be totally acceptable for the items I have mentioned except maybe the induction cooktop.

What I really need help with is what would be the best type and size solar controller I should get to pair with it as the specs say it has a max recharge current of 150amps so looking for the best type and also wondering if I should go higher than a 40amp solar controller or if that size would be Ok? Also wondering the ideal amp size battery charger to charge it with when back at home also please.

Any advice and tips would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Geoff
 

Drover

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You will need to do a lot of reading of posts on here and in general so you get fully informed as you are certainly starting from scratch...
Suffice to say the amount of storage you would require to try and power those devices would be more than normally in a van...... and 40 amp of solar would require more roof space than normally on a van... The items you want to use happen to be the most power hungry of them all, just missing the hair dryer......

I have a coffee pod machine and it makes my 2kva genny give a groan when I fire it up same as a microwave so you really would need more than just a 200ah battery, the important thing is what you take out, you must be able to replace during the day with panels on roof being most able between 1030 and 1330, if you look at the tables available the time and power needed to recharge can be quite daunting......

An old mate of mine runs a full blown coffee machine and a micro wave, he has a 3500w invertor driven by 700ah of lithiums with 700w of solar on the roof, its a squeeze and a big van as well, he was in the game so didn't pay as much for it as you and I, a very expensive set up to be sure just to have some coffee.... So I would be looking at a piggy bank of a few grand for starters..... and if you need to ask these type of questions , which by the way isn't silly at all, you probably need to have it fitted as panels, cabling, batteries, controller must all work together and an Invertor not fitted correctly will use more power than needed and isn't a plug and play affair really, do it wrong and it could zap you .................................

Milk frother off grid means you need to carry extra milk, extra water as well as it needs cleaning, uses a lot of power like a toaster..... most of us use a toast rack which you put over a gas burner or camp fire to cook toast, an induction cook top would suck the batteries dry in minutes not to mention the extra weight of it all...... I think in a lot of cases lots of stuff gets carried around with little use.

Try Off Grid camping before you shop, you will find the electric items from home should stay there, trying to bring 240v to the camp site is very expensive and most items are replaced by 12v or old style things like camp ovens, plunger or percolator coffee done on stove or fire, which is what off grid is all about ........

A good question and you will undoubtably get a number of informative replies.
 
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garfield28

Active Member
Jun 28, 2021
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Thanks Drover.

Doing heaps of reading and watching videos, which makes me believe it should be feasible to achieve as there are a few guys running 240v items on 120AH batteries? I don't understand it all and still scratching the surface but I don't want a full kitchen running setup I'd just love to be able to turn on the inverter a d cook say 8 pcs of toast, boil a jug to make a few cups of tea and hot Milo, then switch on a frother at the very least to do my milk as I am very happy with coffee done in my mokapot just need the frothy milk for it.

The kings 200Ah battery I am looking at has a max discharge rate of 150ah so even if I do those items all seperate and use say 15amps (I have no idea what they'd use, just a guess) then with a 200ah bank I reckon I could still be at a place for say 9 - 10 days without worrying too much about solar? To be honest I am not even looking at staying anywhere for that length of time more so say 2 to 3 days for the short term, so you think that is doable? If my guess on usage is correct I think I could, and if I wanted to stay longer I'd probably have the trusty butane gas stove with me anyway and I still plan to do all of our cooking on the BBQ.
 

millers

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I would be heading for the spreadsheet. Listing all of the items you want to use and for how long, including any items that you cannot turn off. Then you need to add the charging capacity to make sure that you can charge it all up.

When doing this also factor in an efficiency factor 1 Amp Hr of charge doesn't equate to 1 Amp Hr of storage.

Going from 120AHr AGM to 200AHr Lithium increases storage capacity (60AHr to 180AHr say), but now you need to "design" a system that will be able to deliver the energy that you use.

If you cannot replace the energy then you are limited by storage. So understand how long and what conditions are needed to charge the system from flat and also how many days you can last with no charge. This may account for overcast days etc.

Personally I like to avoid 240V appliances and have gas, fire of 12V options.
 

mfexpanda

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Apr 1, 2011
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hi
we have 2 x 120 ahr lithium batteries through a 2000w inverter and our coffee pod machine runs fine
we also run a kettle and a toaster . we only run one at a time
 
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garfield28

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Jun 28, 2021
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Personally I like to avoid 240V appliances and have gas, fire of 12V options.

I don't mind gas and fire but so many places won't allow a fire this time of year and after the weekends effort trying to cook toast on both the butane stove and the stove in the van, on top of a bit of boiling water it took forever. Would be nice to have the convenience of doing it on 240v so. Many doing way now days, some more rediculas than others, I don't wanna have every creature comfort I have at home but if I can know over a bit of breaky with a cuppa quicker than I do now I'll be happy.
hi
we have 2 x 120 ahr lithium batteries through a 2000w inverter and our coffee pod machine runs fine
we also run a kettle and a toaster . we only run one at a time

Cheers mfexpanda.

So conflicting, so many sating it cannot be done then I see vids on YouTube where it has been, and then others like yourself doing it.

As I said I don't want it all just some appliances for breaky and a cuppa for the morning and through the night
 
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Drover

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hi
we have 2 x 120 ahr lithium batteries through a 2000w inverter and our coffee pod machine runs fine
we also run a kettle and a toaster . we only run one at a time


Your such a yuppie .......................... :behindsofa:




Of course its all entirely possible, you could run the whole show on 240v really just depends on how much you want to shell out ....
 
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jazzeddie1234

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Just bear in mind the kings is specified to150 amps discharge so that is roughly 1.5kw out of an inverter and a cook top may draw over that. I also limit high power inverter usage to short use appliances - like a microwave for 10mins rather than a electric fry pan for 40 mins. Mainly because it takes me around 10x the discharge time to recharge the batteries on solar
 

garfield28

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Jun 28, 2021
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Your such a yuppie .......................... :behindsofa:




Of course its all entirely possible, you could run the whole show on 240v really just depends on how much you want to shell out ....

I don't wanna spend that much Drover


Just bear in mind the kings is specified to150 amps discharge so that is roughly 1.5kw out of an inverter and a cook top may draw over that. I also limit high power inverter usage to short use appliances - like a microwave for 10mins rather than a electric fry pan for 40 mins. Mainly because it takes me around 10x the discharge time to recharge the batteries on solar

I can do without the induction cooktop and by most comments it seems to be the thing that doesn't seem to make it achievable. If I can run it for about 10 or so mins for each appliance and draw say around 10amps I'd be happy because I can cover losing those amps and if no sun not putting charge back in, as for my intended stay at places at present would be no more than 2 to 3 days, and down the track if I wanted extended long stays with 240v appliances being used more I know I would have to spend the big bucks.
 
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Drover

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Just take it a step at a time and you will see where your going, note though if an appliance dwan X amps to run then via an invertor that will be more from the battery, you dont get something for nothing, like a taxi an invertor has a flag fall and never leave it turned on, its like a leach if you do ...if your drag 20 amps out of the battery at 1600 you wont get any of that back till near 1100 the next day, so drawdown takes time to replace, just like home solar flicking the switches between 1000 and 1300 means you should be drawing from the panels not the grid/battery....
But I reckon your good, just go out camp, look at others set up, before you shell out..

A toaster for use on a gas stove is more efficient than a toaster.
I have used one if these for decades... Simple and quick. BCF_316520_hi-res.jpg
 

garfield28

Active Member
Jun 28, 2021
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A toaster for use on a gas stove is more efficient than a toaster.
I have used one if these for decades... Simple and quick.View attachment 68716

HaHa that toaster is one of the main reasons I want to go lithium and a inverter... I spent forever on my butane gas burner and the stove inside the van trying to toast 8 slices for myself the wife and 2 kids. Add to that boiling a jug to make a few cups of milo etc

I just looked at some of the main items I would really just like to be able to use and these are the watts they state they draw.

Milk frother - 575w

2 slice toaster from kmart - 750w

sandwich press - 750w

Now just trying to find a jug to suit the size inverter I am looking at too
 

Drover

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With your Toast Rack the toast should be on the bars, so the mesh gets red and cooks the toast in about 30 sec............

The secret of boiling water is the lid must be on, that applies if in a kettle, billy or a pot, gas, electric or fire and that includes flippy caps on spouts for whistle, leave it open and it will take forever no matter what the power source, its simple physics.

So in the beginning we used this with the tribe ...............
1669147864229.png



........ only 2 of us now so we downgraded to this model..
.. ............. fire, gas stove or barbie,
1669147896432.png
 

mikerezny

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Back in my old days in Maryborough, we had over 20 pubs. Plenty of competition to get the afternoon rush of workers grabbing a beer or three on their way home from work. Blokes were pretty fussy who they drank with and especially where they drank.
Saying was that a bloke couldn't choose who he worked with but he could damn well choose who he drank with!
Glasses had to be clean, cold if possible, and beer had to have just the right amount of head: too little and it was either flat beer or dirty pipes. Too much and you were not getting your money's worth. It took a lot of experience to set up a keg and poor a beer to get just the right amount of head without having to overfill the glass and waste beer. Many a publican came to grief trying to avoid wasting any beer and not filling the glasses. Way before the days of the plimsoll line.

I clearly remember one quaint way barmaids were told that the beer had too much head:
"Hey luv, can you put a dash of sars in my beer?"
"Sure mate, no worries!"
"Then there is more room for beer, then."
 

poor but proud

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HaHa that toaster is one of the main reasons I want to go lithium and a inverter... I spent forever on my butane gas burner and the stove inside the van trying to toast 8 slices for myself the wife and 2 kids. Add to that boiling a jug to make a few cups of milo etc

I just looked at some of the main items I would really just like to be able to use and these are the watts they state they draw.

Milk frother - 575w

2 slice toaster from kmart - 750w

sandwich press - 750w

Now just trying to find a jug to suit the size inverter I am looking at too
You always know who is having toast for brekky when the smoke detectors start going off all around the place