Heated Lithium / LifePo4 House batteries in Northern (cold) climates

Bear in NM

Adventurer
Great thread. Much like the OP, I did this same investigation last winter. My van sits in the driveway all winter, other than in town running around occasionally. Winters here in northern NM sound much like his. Months of freezing nights, some nights well below zero. In April, I redesigned my Van inside battery box/charging station to accommodate two battle Born heated batteries. Full on Victron upgrade to all charging/monitoring gear. I dropped my two AGM's in until I was ready to order the BB. Never pulled the trigger on the BB's this summer, as my AGM's are running strong, still. It's nice to have the solar on the roof of the van running all winter taking care of keeping my AGM's in great shape, even with the cold nights (and days). Pretty much just brush the snow of the panels occasionally, and not worry about the system at all.

My research (and experience with Lithium batteries in other uses) pretty much mirrored what has been noted here. For my climate and use, go heated Lithium, with a brand that has the ability to turn off heating, and plan to just power everything down during the winter. The lithium would be fine just sitting in the van during the winter, with all solar and loads powered off. Just a couple of years ago we were discussing the options here on EP, and it was mostly around heating sources like pads and blankets . A couple of years has yielded pretty nice advances in Lithium use. definitely going to drop the BB's (or perhaps what may evolve this winter from the MFG side) next spring. The system will take a little more fiddling than my current AGM system, but nothing too terribly complicated.

As an aside, I did build a Victron 100ah lithium battery box, in a Pelican case. Also full on victron gear inside the box. It sits in my house, nice and toasty, ready to roll. Can plug in solar, shore power etc. I note this, as with the significant weight reduction with lithium, one can actually design a basic drop in battery "cell package" that is weight manageable to store in a temp stable environment, then carry it out and plunk it into the vehicle for a trip. 100 ah would be easy, as mine is. 200 a bit closer to the limits of portable, but not crazy heavy. Just a thought.

Craig
 

DirtWhiskey

Western Dirt Rat
Great thread. Much like the OP, I did this same investigation last winter. My van sits in the driveway all winter, other than in town running around occasionally. Winters here in northern NM sound much like his. Months of freezing nights, some nights well below zero. In April, I redesigned my Van inside battery box/charging station to accommodate two battle Born heated batteries. Full on Victron upgrade to all charging/monitoring gear. I dropped my two AGM's in until I was ready to order the BB. Never pulled the trigger on the BB's this summer, as my AGM's are running strong, still. It's nice to have the solar on the roof of the van running all winter taking care of keeping my AGM's in great shape, even with the cold nights (and days). Pretty much just brush the snow of the panels occasionally, and not worry about the system at all.

My research (and experience with Lithium batteries in other uses) pretty much mirrored what has been noted here. For my climate and use, go heated Lithium, with a brand that has the ability to turn off heating, and plan to just power everything down during the winter. The lithium would be fine just sitting in the van during the winter, with all solar and loads powered off. Just a couple of years ago we were discussing the options here on EP, and it was mostly around heating sources like pads and blankets . A couple of years has yielded pretty nice advances in Lithium use. definitely going to drop the BB's (or perhaps what may evolve this winter from the MFG side) next spring. The system will take a little more fiddling than my current AGM system, but nothing too terribly complicated.

As an aside, I did build a Victron 100ah lithium battery box, in a Pelican case. Also full on victron gear inside the box. It sits in my house, nice and toasty, ready to roll. Can plug in solar, shore power etc. I note this, as with the significant weight reduction with lithium, one can actually design a basic drop in battery "cell package" that is weight manageable to store in a temp stable environment, then carry it out and plunk it into the vehicle for a trip. 100 ah would be easy, as mine is. 200 a bit closer to the limits of portable, but not crazy heavy. Just a thought.

Craig
Thanks for this. Been looking at some of the 200ah pelican deals on AliExpress. A few of them have hundreds of reviews, generally positive. Another advantage is the ability to toss it in your boat and troll electric only lakes.
 

Bear in NM

Adventurer
DW,

I did not want to derail the thread into a discussion of "generators" per se, but the two considerable advantages of lithium lower weight and the fact that they can live perfectly happy in cold climate without a trickle charge means that we have a few more options than we would have with AGM or lead.
 

broncobowsher

Adventurer
No. I would like to see it in the charge controller. Not internal to a proprietary battery. I don't want to see the battery heating itself. I want the heat applied from the charge source. The battery can still be discharged at fairly low temperatures, just not recharged. Zero point in expending the battery charge cycle to heat itself if there is no charge source around.

A temperature switch, shifts charge power (solar or DC-DC) to a heating element. If there is no charge source, no energy is being wasted heating the battery, the battery is not draining itself so it can be charged with a non-existing charge source. Once the sun comes out or the engine is fired up, now there is power. Goes straight to the heater. Bring the batteries up to temp.

Now if you want to argue that you are missing charge time by not having the battery warmed up when the charge first starts. You are not thinking. The battery will already be at a higher state of charge since it didn't waste its charge to preheat itself. Thus also less battery cycling as well.

Yes, something can be rigged. But it is still rigged. Usually so much nicer being built into the controller. The selection of non-heated batteries is also much larger. And the DIY build your own packs as well.
 

Red90

Adventurer
You don’t understand how the heating works. It does not use battery power to heat. The heat is only when the charging source is high enough and it won’t let the battery charge until it is warm enough. It helps to understand how something works.
 

iggi

Ian
Interesting thread. Living in Alberta and being an ice climber & backcountry skier I've also been faced with the challenge of how to deal with cold temps. (-35C isn't frequent but it's not uncommon).

You might find this an interesting read: https://nordkyndesign.com/electrical-design-for-a-marine-lithium-battery-bank/

PS and I'm in the middle of building my own battery heating system. Wanted more control than any of the commercially available units offer.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
178,275
Messages
2,781,346
Members
213,087
Latest member
WV T@Bartlett
Top