Let’s start with the basic sum of the parts list before we get into “taking the inside of Blue Streak apart to instal the Lithium System”. We already have existing 2x-100w solar panels on the roof of Blue Streak (and carry 160w suitcase kit when shade is a problem). So our instal is a simple “battery” replacement with minor existing component adjustments as listed below.
- Obviously we began with the batteries. We choose SOK 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery. We did this for several reasons.
- Cost – The price of ALL lithium batteries in Canada are based on the US Dollar which means you add 35%. (Example: a Battleborn is $1000US = $1350CDN). The SOK is $620US – we purchased two = $1695CDN landed/delivered.
- Design – Built-in Smart Battery Management System. 4000~8000 Cycles Life Span, Maintenance Free. Size 10.2″ 7.9″ 8.1″, 26 lbs. Detachable Cover, Replaceable BMS or Cells. Connect in series for 24V or 36V or 48V Battery Bank, or Connect in Parallel for Larger Capacity (2x100ah=200ah). 7 Years Warranty.
- Wire Size was our next consideration. Research tells us that the standard 6 gauge battery wire used by RV manufactures including Airstream falls short of requirement. We would be looking at a 10% power loss. Based on distance travelled and amperage the battery wire specification reach was 2 gauge for this installation ($80).
- Charger/Converter Upgrade. We have a IOTA multistage system at present. One of the unique design features with the IOTA system is the ability to upgrade (change out) the Smart Charge Controller unit from Lead Acid to Lithium ($35 upgrade).
- Safety Circuit Breaker. Baomain ANL-80A Electrical Protection on the positive battery cable between the positive terminal and the existing kill switch ($11).
- Miscellaneous. There will be the additional need for lugs, straps, screws, additional wiring, 1/2×1 framing etc. ($25+-) This will be determined once we dismantle the Lounge area in Blue Streak and finalise the instal plan …. stay tuned 😎
- What we will not be installing:
- Previously installed AiLi 350Amp Volt/Amp Battery Capacity Monitor + Shunt will be used to monitor the new instal.
- Previously installed system Kill Switch.
- A DC to DC charger from Red Dragon to Blue Streak. This is really not required as we will not be using our tow vehicle to charge the lithium batteries while we are driving. We have 200w of solar on the roof of Blue Streak which does the job. To protect our Tow Vehicle charge system we will simply pull the 30amp fuse.
- A built in Inverter. We have a 300w inverter that we “plug-in” as required to grind our coffee (can’t live with out a fresh grind 😍). We don’t run anything else to warrant a larger inverter. We also carry a Champion 3400 inverter generator which we run on LP should the need arise.
While we know of some folks who spent $16,000.00 to turn their Airstream into a “lithium system power plant”, our budget is $2000.00. Our goal is to simply modify the existing system we already have to accommodate the instal of two lithium batteries. Once we live with the new instal for a camping season, I figure this will tell us if we need to adjust/change out any of our existing components.😎