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Changing over to Lithium

When transitioning your camper or caravan from lead-acid to lithium batteries, it’s important to securely fasten, correctly charge the lithium batteries and if applicable protect the batteries from freezing temperatures if using a non heated battery.

Charging Procedures

The charging process for lithium batteries differs significantly from that of lead-acid batteries. Many older chargers, whether solar or mains, may not be compatible. To verify the compatibility of your solar charge controller or mains charger, refer to the manufacturer’s user guide. Look for either a lithium mode or a user-programmable mode.

If your charger offers a user-programmable mode, it allows you to establish the proper charging voltages and disable battery equalization. Lithium batteries necessitate a constant current at a predetermined voltage for charging. Generally, the absorption voltage is set between 14.4 to 14.6 volts, while the float charge is adjusted to 13.8 volts. The equalization process is not required.

If your charger is equipped with a lithium mode, the default lithium profile can often be used. Depending on your batteries’ charging requirements, you might need to adjust this profile slightly.

If your charger is not compatible, you will require a DC-DC charger such as the Victron Non-Isolated DC-DC charger.

These chargers which are smart alternator compatible, not only protect the lithium battery, they also separate the batteries from each other when the vehicle is turned off. 

Victron Non Isolated DC-DC Charger

Vehicle Charging

Our comprehensive knowledge base includes an article detailing the necessity of a DC-DC charger for charging lithium batteries from an alternator. You can find this article here (https://sokbattery.co.nz/knowledge-base/charging-lithium-batteries-in-vehicles-considerations-and-safeguards/).

If you possess a large battery pack or require rapid charging, you can directly charge a lithium battery pack from an alternator equipped with a Belmar regulator. This setup is occasionally used in boats or yachts where engine run-time is limited and quick charging is crucial. For more information on this setup, feel free to contact us.

Temperature Considerations

AGM batteries have the advantage of being more tolerant of cold temperatures than lithium batteries. Lithium batteries will not charge below freezing and should be kept in a temperature-controlled environment (for example, inside your van or in an insulated enclosure), unless they have an inbuilt heating element.

The SOK BMS ensures that the battery is not charged below 0 degrees to prevent any potential internal damage due to such situations.

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