Lithium Battery Installation

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Wow, I honestly cannot believe that it is complete. After all the research and planning and it actually works!

Last week I finally decided to take the plunge and rewired and installed everything. After posting my planning diagram on FB a 2010 CS student say it and offered his expertise. Mark Barron was beyond helpful. He stopped by first to take a look at the board I had set up with all the components. We discussed how to proceed and then I got started measuring, cutting, crimping, heat shrinking and connecting. Once the components were all connected and I had the battery wires ready we set up a simulation of how it might work once installed. We could certainly check the components and the batteries.

board without inverter or battery connections

I was still waiting on the inverter (and the damaged solar panel) but it looked good so far.

System ready for testing

Thursday Stew and I worked on getting the board mounted on the cabinet wall and prepared the space so we could pull the batteries on Friday. Friday morning we went dark – pulled batteries and shut down everything. Luckily the inverter arrived so we could put that into place on the board.

Old batteries
New batteries wired and ready to test
Mark Barron – my hero

Friday afternoon Mark came over and we moved the new batteries (AGM started battery and the 2 100AH Lithium batteries) onto the ledge where the old batteries were. Mark did all the heavy lifting and the connecting of the batteries. He seemed to have a steadier hand! No apparent sparks that I saw thank goodness. I had actually had a few when I pulled the TrueCharge20 cables earlier in the day. That made me very afraid of it happening again.

Thankfully we finished just as dark set in, but we really didn’t have time to test much. Some friends stopped by just as we were finishing. But things seemed to work ok – most of the fuse board anyway.

Exhausted from our work but Mark and I managed to enjoy a quick beverage and visit with our friends!

Saturday and Sunday I worked on trying to figure out whether the Battery Isolator and the TrueCharge20 were really working correctly with the batteries… the Battery Monitor seemed to indicate they were not.

A call on Monday to Battle Born Batteries and more help from Mark we determined the problem. The negative connection that ran from the started to the lithium bank needed to be moved to connect the starter battery to the shunt (part of the battery monitor). The monitor was not seeing any of the charging either from shore power or from the alternator without this connection. Luckily Mark was there to move that negative wire!!

In addition, Mark brought a number of instruments so that we could be sure that all batteries were being charged from shore power (truecharge20) and from the isolator(engine alternator). We also made sure that the started was never being depleted by anything in the fuse box (lights, fans, refrigerator etc) or the inverter. These were the tests we should have run on Friday.

Monday we were supposed to actually leave Erie but with the electric still not tested I am glad we stayed and figured out what needed to be done. Stew also was able to hang the new replacement solar panel. So now those wires are ready to be run!

I just want to thank Mark so much for his help. I could NOT have done it without him!!

Extremely happy after all our tests showed the install was working correctly!

I look forward to our journey now and have complete confidence in our new electrical system (I think)…

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