Updated 2020

Lithium battery safety

Lithium battery safety in caravans is tainted by a fire-prone technology of differing kind. The LiFePO4s used in caravans are hence safer. Here’s why.

Lithium batteries pack a lot of energy in a small volume. As with weight lifters they release energy very fast. They may even set on fire. This demands you protect them in everyday use. And whilst transporting. Furthermore, you must never overcharge.

battery GENZ

GenZ 100 Ah LiFePO4 battery has full battery management inbuilt. Pic: Radlink Communications 

Ensuring lithium battery safety in caravans

LifePO4 lithium batteries in RVs are usually 12 volts. They have four series-connected (3.2 volt) cells). Unlike others, these batteries need a management system. It accordingly monitors each cell besides ensuring equally balance. It also ensures they never exceed maximum charge voltage. Furthermore, it ensures they do not discharge below 10% to 20% of remaining charge. Moreover, it protects against excess continuous current and excess heat.

This system is not always supplied. Unless sure of your needs, buy batteries with the system inbuilt, or supplied. Advise the vendor of the intended use. Moreover, obtain written assurance of suitability for that use.

To ensure your lithium batteries are safe, protect them against mechanical damage. In addition protect them  against piercing by sharp objects.

If you find this information of value, consider buying the author’s books in this area. They are the Caravan & Motorhome Book, The Camper Trailer Book, and Caravan & Motorhome Electrics. For solar: Solar That Really Works (for cabins and RVs) and Solar Success (for homes and property systems.

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(The author thanks Simon Chan, Chief Engineer, Radlink Communications.)