The most complete FAQ about RV batteries

A collection of questions that are asked again and again. Surely there are some beginner’s questions from people without any background knowledge. But we don’t expect that either – after all, most of our customers just want electricity. And the fact that the topic of electricity is a closed book for many, that’s the way it is. Therefore, here are the simplest possible answers:

Which battery is best for my RV and me?

Lithium iron phosphate batteries is ideal, as large as possible if money is not an issue. If we should proceed a little more economically and sensibly, then only one thing will help: an individual consultation. Because as different as motorhome travelers travel, so are the requirements, wishes and budget.

How good/bad are lithium batteries for the environment?

One could go very far here. The (not entirely wrong) argument of the critics of lithium batteries is: there is a sophisticated and functioning recycling system for 12v deep cycle battery, but not for lithium batteries. In addition, the mining of lithium is associated with high environmental pollution. That’s true, but it’s not quite so black and white. Recycling systems for lithium are under construction. Unfortunately, capitalism works better in our world than environmental protection, which is why the recycling of lithium batteries of all kinds is developing slowly.

In addition, a lithium battery lasts significantly longer than a lead battery. And many lead-acid batteries just end up in the trash. And not a few are shipped to Africa, where they are dismantled without any protection for recycling. Depending on the deposit, several tons of ore are needed to mine one kilo of lithium. And washing the lithium out of the ore requires a lot of water, which is then also contaminated. The problem is not that there are no environmentally friendly extraction processes – but that they are expensive. And that’s where the greed for profit strikes – also among the responsible politicians in some regions. So there are possibilities, especially in Europe some ore mines are being planned for lithium mining.

Woman with RV camper beach

Can I install any lithium battery in the motorhome?

You can install any lithium battery in the motorhome. Making sure that a battery has at least a CE mark is not a mistake. This is not the case, especially with cheap products from the Far East. Just as little as with self-construction lithium batteries. Actually, an E-approval should also be available. The E-mark is the approval for road traffic. Most manufacturers do not have this test mark.

Are lithium batteries harmful to health?

RV battery do not gas or explode. Both are more beneficial to health.

Lithium battery “Made in Germany” or “Made in China”?

It is not decisive for the quality where exactly a battery is assembled. Many well-known manufacturers and brands have their products produced in the Far East, according to their ideas and QM guidelines. It is crucial that this also happens. Of course we think it would be better if lithium batteries were built in Europe. But most importantly, the importer/manufacturer must provide a decent German/European service. The battery must be able to be repaired or replaced in a timely manner, communication in German must work and the application of German law regarding the warranty must be guaranteed.

Build a cheap LiFePO4 for the RV yourself or buy it ready-made?

Anyone who is toying with the idea of building their own lithium battery should be aware: it is possible, but it is no longer really cheaper than buying a ready-made system. In addition, you should really know your way around. It is clear that there are no test marks and that in the event of an “incident” you may find yourself in need of explanations to the insurance company

Which LiFePO4 for RV or camper vans?

Same answer: It depends. On the daily power requirement, the travel destination, whether you change places daily, weekly or even monthly. And how much space is there. In many vehicles, the battery only fits under the driver’s seat, then the space determines the maximum possible battery capacity.

When asked about the system or which manufacturer, the answer is a bit longer. Where find battery discharge curve? Renogy is the established manufacturer of lithium batteries, they have been running for years, including in our RV. The first choice for long-distance travel vehicles, also because of the worldwide availability of replacement components, in case something breaks down. This also applies to other power components. Lithium batteries from Renogy or BullTron are a complete system, with integrated Bluetooth, BMS and battery computer. They are the easiest to install and also less expensive. But only relatively fresh on the market. It will only be possible to say in a few years to what extent they will prove themselves. As long as they hold up we’ll sell them – so far things are looking good. And the fact that the manufacturers sometimes grant a 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee also speaks for them.

Who installs lithium batteries in my RV?

 Sorry we don’t do that Our online shop is aimed at anyone who would like to install components purchased from us themselves. Of course, it depends on what you trust yourself to do. Replacing a lead acid battery with a lithium battery is not a problem thanks to the complete systems from Renogy and BullTron. If you have any questions or uncertainties, please feel free to contact us. Of course, this also applies if you have a workshop that installs our components for you. It’s better to ask too much than it doesn’t work afterwards! More complex installations require a little more electricity know-how, because here you should know what you are doing. You can learn it if you want to deal with it intensively.

Which LiFePO4 battery is the best?

 The SMART system from Renogy is the lithium battery that has definitely proven itself in the RV. Victron is also constantly developing its product range. And so the LiFePOs have become more and more compact and lighter in recent years. Which is very good, especially for installation in motorhomes, where weight and payload play a major role. But the Victron system is also the most expensive. The complete systems from Renogy and BullTron are more attractive in price.

RV with solar panels

Which battery for solar in the RV?

12 volt lithium battery are the perfect batteries for the solar system. Especially if you want to camp independently of electricity in the long term. With GEL batteries in the motorhome you have to drive to an outlet again and again to fully charge the batteries in order to guarantee the absorption charging time – this is simply not possible with solar.

Lithium or AGM battery for the RV?

In principle, three battery systems are used in RV: GEL, AGM and LITHIUM. What is an agm battery? In my shop you can no longer buy AGM batteries, only GEL and LITHIUM. In recent years I have simply experienced that AGM batteries have sometimes died out quite quickly. The number of complaints from AGM batteries was significantly higher than for GEL batteries, where we have almost no problems at all. What is it exactly? I dont know. But if a lot of AGM batteries fail, a lot more than GEL batteries, then it’s clear what I want to recommend and sell to my customers. That’s why I like selling lithium batteries so much: you hardly break them. Provided they are properly installed.

What is the absorption voltage?

First a battery is fully charged, with solar power, shore power, the alternator. Then the absorption charging voltage occurs. In the case of lead-acid batteries, this prevents sulphation. A regular, suitable charging voltage over several hours is required here – otherwise the battery is threatened with premature death. With lithium batteries this is not an issue.

Is lithium dangerous?

We see images of spectacularly burning electric cars, and of smartphones blowing up in the ears of their users. Lithium ION batteries are installed in it. However, we use lithium IRON PHOSPHATE batteries in the RV. These will not explode or burn. There is a nice video on Youtube about it.

Which battery for caravan movers?

There is a special, small lithium battery from Renogy for the mover: the PeakPowerPack. This is a portable lithium battery with an integrated charger, so it can be taken with you and recharged using shore power (or solar power). You can also take them to the beach for the cool box.

How many batteries does an RV need?

A question that can actually be answered by an individual consultation. If you haven’t gotten that far yet, try our motorhome solar calculator, which helps calculate the required power from the solar system and the battery capacity (GEL or lithium) based on daily electricity consumption.

Lithium battery for an off grid system?

Garden house, off-grid holiday home, nuclear shelter – a permanently installed solar system, i.e. an island system, of course also needs a battery. Suppose we all know how to live off the grid with off-grid solar panel and solar lithium battery installation. A lithium battery is usually not very economical here. Because the real advantage of the lithium battery is the space and weight savings compared to lead batteries. And their long service life, especially with regular use. But yes, of course, a lithium battery also works very well with an island system.

Which battery do you need for an inverter?

It depends on the power that the pure sine wave inverter wants to draw from the battery. The maximum discharge currents that can be drawn from a battery are specified in “C”. So 0.2C or 2C. 0.5C means, for example, that a battery with 100Ah can be loaded with a maximum of 50A. 50A x 12V = 600 watts. The inverter should therefore not suck more than 600 watts from the battery. By the way, lithium batteries have much higher values than lead batteries.