Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Moving LiFePo4, Rewire or run Long Extensions?

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    • #47705

      On my Bigfoot Camper my battery compartment is on the outside compartment of the camper. The door is just a lightweight metal door with vents in it (no insulation). There are no heater vents to the compartment either. On a recent camping trip in early Fall we were up near Lake Tahoe at high elevation. The temps at night got into the low 30s / high 20s. We had to run the heat all night to keep our twin babies warm (can’t smother then in blankets) and my 100ah Battle Born LiFePo4 couldn’t make it through the night running the furnace (another upgrade project). We had to run the truck in the early morning to start charging the battery and I noticed that it was charging really slowly at about 3 amps (I have a 20 amp DC to DC Renogy charger installed). It took me a while to realize the slow charging was because the BMS was likely limiting the current while the battery was so cold. Later it charged around 15 amps. Although we don’t camp in the off season often, it is something I would like to be prepared for. Moving the battery to keep the temperature maintained better seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

      I’m considering moving the battery inside the camper, under the dinette seat right next to the onboard charger / inverter. The conundrum I face is, I currently have appropriately sized wire for a 2000w inverter, my 20 amp charge controller, 200w (soon to be 400w) of solar plus my genset all wired to the current battery compartment. I can rerun all of these to the new compartment at extensive time and effort. It would shorten the run for the solar but lengthen the run for the inverter / genset.

      The alternative is to just run some heavy gauge wire to bridge between the old compartment and the new compartment. Less work overall but running thicker cable (thing 4awg or suggestions…) can be more difficult in the tight spaces. I will do the work if it really is necessary but I’m thinking about taking the easy route on this one.


    • #47717

      I have a Northern Lite 9.6 – might be a similar configuration. I upgraded to lithium, and installed the batteries and inverter under the dinette seat, leaving most of the wiring as-is in the original battery compartment. I had on hand some old #10 cable, 4 conductor, so I connected 2 of the four together each for power and ground and ran that from the new battery location to the original compartment. I used roughly 14 feet of cable. The biggest draw in my system is the inverter, which is mounted next to the new batteries. The biggest draw running through the old battery compartment would be the electric jacks, if I run all four at the same time, roughly 30 amps. I usually just operate two at a time.
      Incidentally, I also have the Renogy 20A DC-DC charger and I de-rated it to 10 amps. At 20 amps output it was drawing 30 amps through my truck wiring and umbilical. My to-do list includes upgrading my truck-side wiring to handle more current, then I can run the DC-DC at full power.

    • #47942

      You might consider this mod:

      Lithium Battery RV Heating System Mod


    • #48815

      On my Arctic Fox 1150 there wasn’t a good place to relocate the battery from the factory enclosed battery compartment accessed from an exterior door.

      My new lithium battery was too long for the OEM compartment. I used an oscillating tool to open up the OEM ABS battery box. I also created a new wood tray to stabilize the new battery.

      Opening up the OEM battery compartment not only provided room for the new lithium battery but also allowed for the new battery to now be on the warm side which keeps the battery from freezing while in use.

      This also allowed the inverter to be installed within the required distance from the battery. IIRC Xantrex required the inverter to be no more than five feet and it took exactly five feet of cable to reach the inverter.

      This also allowed me to use the existing DC cable to the DC fuse box thus avoiding a rewire for the DC power.

      Be sure to check, double check and check again to make sure you are using the proper size electrical cable for any of your required electrical runs. There are a number of online sites that have wiring calculators.

    • #48833

      One of the reasons why I’m leaning toward getting a LiFePo4 battery is that it can be inside with no serious venting issues needed, (unlike our FLA that are in the step up to the bed and need two vents that lets cold air into the same area as our watertank)

      But I’m also sort of weird about efficient wiring and I don’t want to loose any electrons I don’t have to, So I’m in the re-wire camp.

      And it’s what I’m going to do when we make the switch.
      But then I should/will have to update my 21 year old charge controller and the skinny wires from my solar panel to that antique charge controller.

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