If you’re an adventurer who enjoys exploring extreme environments, whether it’s the sweltering hot Arizona summer or the chilly winter of Minnesota, you know that reliable power is a necessity. Lithium batteries are a great option for providing power in these types of environments as much as they’re great RV and camper van batteries in normal weather locations, but it’s important to understand how to use them properly to ensure they perform optimally. Here are some best practices for using lithium batteries in extreme weather locations:

Choosing the Right Battery & Storage Space for the Climate

The first step to ensuring your battery will work in extreme weather is choosing the right battery. Not all lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the same. From chemical makeup to build in features, certain batteries are designed to be compatible to work in extreme environments. Generic batteries are likely to not function well in extreme environments (Add link to Xantrex vs Generic) as many of these budget batteries are designed to meet the minimum safety standards and have not undergone tests to verify their ability to function well in extreme environments.

On top of chemical makeup and intended design, some batteries have built-in features that allow them to operate in extreme climates such as built-in heating, external heating blanket or a cooling fan.

If you’re the hands-on type, you may also choose to customize the insulation and ventilation in the battery compartment to achieve better temperature control. However, it’s best to consult with the RV and battery manufacturers to ensure that your modifications are effective and safe.

Charge Management and Monitoring

In addition to temperature management, it’s important to manage the charge of your lithium batteries in extreme environments. Charging a lithium battery in extremely cold or hot temperatures can be harmful to the battery’s performance and longevity. If you need to charge your battery in these types of conditions, be sure to use a charger specifically designed for extreme environments. Additionally, avoid overcharging or undercharging your battery, as this can also lead to decreased performance and a shorter lifespan.

To ensure your battery remains within safe temperature and charge limits, consider linking it to a battery monitor or app that alerts you when the temperature is approaching recommended limits. This way, you can take action to prevent any potential issues before they become a problem. At Xantrex, all of our batteries have built in battery monitoring systems (BMS) and can be connected to your smartphone through Bluetooth connection, allowing you to monitor and receive alerts on the status of your batteries throughout your trip.  

Final Thoughts

Using lithium batteries in extreme weather locations can be a great way to power your adventures, but it requires careful planning and management. By choosing the right RV Lithium battery, having the right setup and managing temperature + charge, you can ensure that your lithium batteries will perform optimally and provide reliable power no matter where your travels take you.

What is Boondocking?

If you follow different outdoor enthusiasts, RVer or Van lifer, you may have heard of the term boondocking, the practice of camping in remote, undeveloped areas without hookups or connections to public utilities like water, electricity, or sewer. Boondocking can be a liberating experience, offering a sense of independence, freedom, and adventure for those who want to make the most of their outing trips. One of the most significant advantages of boondocking is that it allows you to camp in beautiful and remote locations without needing to make reservations, pay for a spot, or worry about overcrowding. However, those who desire to go boondocking will need to be aware of the challenges it comes with, especially when it comes to power supply.

Lithium Batteries for Boondocking

Thankfully there are lithium batteries! Recent advances in lithium batteries are making it easier for outdoor enthusiasts to go boondocking as it offers their RV or camper van a power source that is reliable, efficient, and long-lasting. Unlike traditional lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries are lightweight, compact, and can provide as much as twice the power within the same footprint. (When you’re living off grid in a small van, every inch of space matters!) Unlike having a generator, they are also safer and more eco-friendly, with no toxic materials or gas emissions.

 One of the biggest advantages of lithium batteries is their ability to deep cycle, which means you can use a battery to a low level without damaging them. Conventional lead acid batteries only allow you to discharge up to 50% and with a high frequency of charge drain cycling, you may have to replace them after a few hundred cycles. This is not the case with lithium batteries as it allows you to cycle deep and cycle 10 times more meaning you won’t have to switch it out for some time.

 Another advantage of lithium batteries is their fast charging and discharging rate, which means you can recharge them quickly and use them for longer periods. This is especially useful for boondocking with solar panels, where you want to fully charge up your batteries before the sun goes down. This flexibility and versatility make lithium batteries a smart investment for anyone who desires to go boondocking or off-grid camping.

Choose High Quality Lithium Batteries with Xantrex

At Xantrex, we specialize in providing high-quality lithium battery solutions for RVs, campers, and boats. Our lithium batteries are designed to withstand harsh environments, extreme temperatures, and heavy usage, ensuring that you always have enough power for your adventures. We offer a wide range of lithium battery systems, from small and portable to high capacity and large batteries, to fit your specific needs and requirements.

Whether you’re a seasoned boondocker or a beginner, our team of experts can help you find the right lithium battery system for your setup and budget. We offer custom solutions, installation services, and ongoing support through our network of installer partners to ensure that your next outing adventure can be enjoyable with an effective lithium battery system.

In conclusion, if you’re planning to go boondocking, investing in a lithium battery system is a wise decision. Lithium batteries offer numerous benefits over traditional lead-acid batteries, including higher power density, faster charging and discharging, and longer lifespan. With a lithium battery system, you can enjoy the freedom and adventure of boondocking without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Visit our dealer page to see where you can install a lithium battery solution and start your boondocking journey with confidence.

RV Batteries 101

Are you new to the world of RVing and feeling a little overwhelmed by all the technical aspects of RV batteries and power output?  This is an article for you!

In this guide we will get you up to speed on the two types of batteries in an RV, give you a quick intro to understand the units of battery power including volts, amp hours and watts as well as give you a quick exercise to determine your RV’s power draw so you know how big of a battery system you would need.

When your RV is not plugged into the grid, your battery is the primary source of power for all the appliances on it. It’s important to understand that your RV may have different types of batteries, depending on the size and age of your rig.

The Two Types of RV Batteries

When you think of RV batteries, the first thing that comes to your mind may be car batteries. These are one kind of batteries but when it comes to RVs, there are two main types of RV batteries: deep cycle and starter batteries. Starter batteries are your car batteries that give a high burst of power to start your engine. They’re not designed to be deeply discharged thus not recommended for the RV’s appliance load. Deep cycle or house batteries, on the other hand, are designed to be discharged deeply and recharged frequently. These are the batteries you want powering your RV’s appliances.

Understanding the Units of Battery Power

To determine how much power you need, there are two important technical terms you need to understand: volts and amps.

Volts (or V) refer to the amount of electrical pressure in the battery. RV batteries typically have 12 volts, although some may have 6 or 24 volts.

Amperage (or A) is the measure of electrical current flowing through a circuit. In simpler terms, voltage is what makes the electricity flow, while amperage is how much of it is flowing.

Amp-hours (or Ah), is the measure of the battery’s capacity. It tells you how much energy your battery can store and how long it can run before it needs to be recharged. For example, a 100 Ah battery can theoretically provide 5 amps of power for 20 hours (100 Ah ÷ 5 A = 20 hours).

Keep in mind that appliances take in different amperage to run and you will have to add it all together to know the average power draw. However appliances display their power draw in the form of watts (W) which you can convert to Amp using the following formula:

Amps = Watts/Volts.    A = W / V

For example, if an appliance has a power draw of 600 watts and your RV battery is 12 volts, you would need 50 amps to power that appliance (600 watts / 12 volts = 50 amps). With a 105 Ah battery, you can power it for a little over 2 hours.

How to Determine Your RV Appliances’ Power Draw

Now that you know the basics of RV batteries and appliance power draw, how do you determine how much power you need for your specific RV setup? First, make a list of all the appliances and electronics you plan to use, along with their wattage. Then, calculate the total amp hours needed per day by adding up the amp hours for each appliance and factoring in how long you plan to use them as well as which ones will be running simultaneously. Keep in mind that you’ll need to add some extra amp hours for things like lights, fans, and other miscellaneous items.

Once you have an idea of how many amp hours you need, you can choose a RV battery and RV inverter that meets your requirements. It’s always a good idea to choose a battery with a little extra capacity, just in case.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding RV batteries may seem intimidating, but it’s not as complicated as it may seem. Remember the basics of volts and amp hours, and use the watts-to-amps formula to calculate how much power you need for your appliances. By following these tips, you’ll be able to choose the right battery for your RV and enjoy a worry-free adventure on the road.

Why Solar for RV Life?

Class B Motorhome RV and the Scenic Sea Front Sunset. Road Trip Camping. Recreation Vehicle Theme.

If you’ve ever spent the night in a public campground, you probably had the following experience. 

You pull into your campsite, recognizing the novelty of adventure, the great outdoors, and the little pocket of simplicity meant to be your retreat from the world for the evening (or longer). You begin to make camp (whatever that looks like for you) and settle in. You uncover your cooler, crack open a cold one, unfold your camp chair, and then you hear it—the dreaded generator.

That invasive sound is the aural opposite of your goal. It’s a reminder of what you came here to escape. It is neither peaceful nor natural.

Enter solar. Solar offers all the benefits of the “traditional” generator route—but without the fuss. You don’t have to change the oil on your solar system. Your solar system will never startle wildlife or annoy your neighbors. Your solar system does not require ongoing maintenance costs to keep it going. You don’t have to “refill” your solar system. Solar is a set-it-and-forget-it solution for all your power needs while out on the road.

Cozy lighting, charging for personal electronics, paddleboard pumping, refrigerator cooling, blender powering, coffee grinding—any of the small electric luxuries you want with you on your adventure, solar powers them all. Working from the road? Your solar setup can power your Starlink or hotspot, laptop, cameras, and any other tech needs that keep you creating and collaborating.

Wherever your journey takes you, your RV solar panels independently does its job as your silent road trip companion. As you wind through mountain passes, take in desert canyon vistas, or enjoy the sea breeze on a coastal highway, your solar system is effortlessly recharging, storing, and powering the modern creature comforts within your home on wheels.

Our lightweight, adaptable, intelligently designed systems are engineered to make the journey the focus, with no hold ups or setbacks for upkeep. The main components for your solar system will vary somewhat depending on your needs, and these necessary elements are compact, quiet, and efficient enough that you may even forget they’re on board.

Your panels convert sunlight into electrical energy, your lithium battery stores that sun power, your RV inverter converts some or all of that energy to power your priorities, and your charge controller lets you know how all of these elements are performing their jobs.

Whether you are a savvy DIYer or a solar enthusiast (but not executor), our team will help you find the right combination of features and functions for your needs. Do you have limited roof space? A unique panel mounting situation? Reluctant to give up internal “real estate” for battery space? Whatever questions you have, we have the answers.

We can custom-tailor a system ready for home driveway installation to your rig of choice, or we can connect you with the right folks to get your system installed, operational, and road-ready while you focus on your destination wish list.

Wherever the road takes you, our solar systems are along for your adventure.

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