It’s all the rage….LiFePO4 batteries have not only proven themselves as reliable power sources, but their price points are finally reaching a level where it’s hard to justify using other battery tech. I picked up a pair of GoldenMate 12v 100AH LifePO4 Lithium batteries for our 2015 Sprinter van conversion, and put them thru some real-use testing.
First, the product specs:
- Nominal Voltage: 12.8V
- Nominal Capacity: 100Ah (0.2C, 77*F)
- Energy: 1280Wh
- Charge Voltage: 14.4V (14.6V Max)
- Standard Charge Current: 20A
- Max Charge Current: 50A
- Dimensions: 12.91×6.77×8.35
- Weight: 28.7 pounds
- Amazon –> GoldenMate (Discount code: WO63BJF7)
Now the install….I’ve got a full Victron setup in our motorhome, but opted for a Renogy setup with the Sprinter. Renogy offered a “two in one” DCC50S which has both MPPT charging and DC-to-DC. It also allows the MPPT to charge the chassis battery. The bluetooth monitor lets me keep track of some vitals with my cell phone. Tack on a Renogy 700w pure sine inverter and a Renogy 500a monitor/shunt and the system is perfect for the small confines of a van build. We already had a pair of 90w solar panels on the roof of the van, and will rely on portable panels to boost solar to the suggested 400w. (Rule of thumb, solar wattage should be 2x battery Ah)
Our first test? Christmas in the Midwest! We drove the Sprinter across the country to see family in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and while the 2023 season was fairly mild, our dogs definitely appreciated the 500w 120v ceramic heater as the evenings wore on. The monitor/shunt allowed us to track the battery consumption and visually see how many hours the heater could run with the available 200Ah of total battery capacity. (remember, one of the big advantages to LiFePO4 is it retains the nominal voltage throughout discharge) The batteries easily kept up for 4-5 hours of evening heating, and then had no issues recharging the next day with the combined solar charging and dc-to-dc that would occur as we ran errands.
Our next main power pull is from Starlink. I haven’t done the DC conversion for our setup (and likely won’t with our Gen2 system) but the ability handle Starlink’s continuous power draw means having sufficient battery capacity. Starlink peaks at 75W, but will “cruise” in the 30-45W range. After Starlink ran it’s updates, I allowed it to run for another 24 hours and still had 65% of battery capacity remaining. Plenty of capacity remaining for multiple days off the main grid.
Definitely include GoldenMate on your short list of LiFePO4 battery options as you work on your standalone power setups. Light weight, easy to package, and full power capabilities make them perfect for your off grid build project.