Lithium-ion vs. Deep Cycle Lead Acid for Truck Campers

Joe Friday is a fictional character of the Los Angeles Police Department in the TV series Dragnet. The story lines weeks after weeks were quickly forgotten however, one line of his dialog was constant week after week:

“Just the facts mam, just the facts “.

Thus, in keeping with Joe’s dialog when discussing truck camper’s chose/options of lithium-ion or deep cycle lead acid batteries –Justice scales “Just the facts”.

 

Weight

Truck camper’s lithium-ion batteries are typically 30% lighter (Battle Born LiFePO4 -31 lbs.  https://battlebornbatteries.com/shop/12v-lifepo4-deep-cycle-battery/) than deep cycle lead acid batteries (Interstate Group 27 – 50 lbs  https://www.interstatebatteries.com/recreation-vehicles/marine-batteries/deep-cycle).

Truck Camper’s Cycles

Truck camper’s cycles refers to the number of charges and discharges with one cycle being one time you fully discharge a fully charged battery. Lithium-ion batteries can last an average of 3,000 to 5,000 cycles while the average cycle for deep cycle lead acid batteries is 400 to 1,500.Drawing showing battery charge

DISCHARGE

The discharge curve of lithium batteries is essentially flat, meaning that a lithium battery at 20% will be providing nearly the same output voltage as it would at 80%. Chart showing voltageWhile the deep cycle lead acid batteries have a constantly sloping voltage discharge.

 

Cost

Truck camper deep cycle lead acid batteries are less expensive than Lithium-ion batteries. Example: Interstate Deep Cycle Group 27 Battery, 80 Ah (amp hours), 12 volts, number of deep cycles not provided, cost per battery as of 5/15/20- $127.95.Chart showing cost vs value

Battle Born LiFePO4 (Lithium-ion) Deep Cycle Battery – 100 Ah (amp hours), 12 volts with build in BMS (Battery Management System), 3,000 – 5000 deep cycles, cost per battery as of 5/15/20 – $949.00.

Smart Battery’s Lithium Battery Deep Cycle Model SB100 – 108 Ah (amp hours https://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/products/product/12v-100ah-lithium-ion-battery.php), 12 volts with build in BPS (Battery Protection System), 5000 deep cycles, cost per battery as of 5/21/19 – $1,249.99.

Chart showing cost vs.speed

 

Charging of a Truck Camper Battery

When charging a lead acid battery, you can lose between 15-30% of the energy from your charging unit to the battery due to heat loss. Chart showing % of battery chargeLithium-ion batteries is 99% efficient and will accept nearly 100% of the power from your charger or solar panel(s).

Lithium-ion batteries have a 10 times faster recharging time in as little as 1 hour from a completely dead battery.  This circuity is custom made for the battery thus increases its already expensive cost. If you have a 100 AH lead acid battery and a 100-amp charger, it will take 1 hour to fully charge. Yet this type of battery cannot handle being, over voltage, over charged and its discharge.

Battle Born or Smart Battery

One company, Battle Born LiFePO4 (Lithium-ion) Deep Cycle Battery protection circuity is BMS (Battery Management System). Another manufacturer, Smart Battery http://smartbattery.com, features an automatic built in battery protection system (BPS) that keeps the battery running at peak performance and prevent over charging.