Lithium Leisure Batteries for Campervans
When it comes to Lithium Leisure Batteries for Campervans, a question we get asked every day by customers is, “Can I drop-in replace my Lead Acid battery with a Fogstar Drift?”.
The very simple answer to this is - yes.
Our Fogstar Drift batteries are designed specifically to be a drop-in replacement for Lead Acid batteries.
When researching the market, we noticed it’s not just price that’s been a barrier for campervan owners looking to upgrade to Lithium, but people also think it’s outrageously complex too. It isn’t.
If you're thinking your van needs an entire electrical systems upgrade - hold that thought, and read this blog, you may be surprised...
When it comes to using Lithium leisure batteries for campervans, surely the Drift batteries work completely differently to Lead Acid?
Our batteries are designed as drop in replacements for Lead Acid batteries.
Simply put - Lithium leisure batteries have a terminal voltage very similar to that of other Lead Acid variants, such as Wet, Gel and AGM. All variants, from our 105ah to our 460ah are designed to charge to their full 14.4V capacity, the same output used by the charging systems of all 12V existing split-charge engine wiring circuits.
Is Solar charging any different?
When charging your Fogstar Drift leisure battery by Solar, existing 12V MPPT chargers can charge Wet, Gel and AGM batteries, and will therefore charge Fogstar Drift just as efficiently, in exactly the same way.
You’ll find most modern PWM or MPPT chargers have separate settings for Wet, Gel and AGM and Lithium batteries, enabling you to fine tune their charging efficiencies. However, if you don’t have a PWM or MPPT charger with these settings, just opt for the setting nearest to a 14.4V charge.
What about mains charging your Fogstar Drift Lithium leisure battery?
The existing mains charging/power supplies that were designed to charge existing Wet, Gel and AGM batteries will also charge Fogstar Drift batteries too and may have a setting to change between Wet, Gel and AGM and Lithium too. Where this is the case, select either Lithium or select the voltage output closest to 14.4V.
It’s probably worth mentioning that some very old chargers may have been designed with a ‘fast charge’ option, also known as ‘desulphurisation mode’ , or a ‘rejuvenation setting’ (we’re not sure how many names one setting needs). It is important to ensure these settings are never used when it comes to your beloved Fogstar Drift battery, over time this setting could cause damage to your battery.
For those looking to purchase mains chargers to accompany a new Lithium Leisure battery, there are plenty of options out there on the market. You'll find Victron stock a wide range of multi-stage mains chargers to help give your battery a boost when stationed at a hook-up or back at home.
What about 'split charging'?
Let’s take a quick look at split charging, aka: charging from the engine's alternator whilst driving.
Until recently, all vans were fitted with a relay which connects the leisure battery to the alternator when the engine is running. The alternator has a fixed voltage output of 14.4V, the perfect level to charge Fogstar Drift leisure batteries.
Since these have a low resistance, similar to that of a Lead Acid battery, you will find charging from the alternator extremely efficient because it will effectively be in the bulk charging stage.
Once fully charged, the terminal level will be brought up to and held at 14.4V as the journey concludes. This is also completely harmless within the parameters of normal lithium leisure battery use.
For newer vans, smart alternators are becoming more common in modern vehicles. However, these new variants of charger can be problematic as they often prioritise charging the starter battery before the leisure battery, which can result in incomplete charging of the leisure battery.
You can overcome this issue by either using a battery-to-battery (B2B) charger, OR installing a DC-DC charger, which is similar to a B2B charger, but also acts as a power converter. There are instances, dependent entirely upon your system, when a DC-DC or B2B charger is the sensible choice as part of your systems build.
So, can Lithium Leisure batteries just drop in and replace Lead Acid batteries?
Absolutely, yes. In most instances you won’t need any fancy new, or additional electrical upgrades when you switch your battery power source to Lithium.
When you use Fogstar Drift Lithium leisure batteries as a replacement for older Wet, Gel and AGM and Lithium deep cycle leisure batteries. There is no real requirement for you to change or modify your existing set-up.
In most instances, our batteries can be charged directly from the vehicle's existing standard fixed voltage lead 14.4V alternator with no problems.
Is it true that a LiFePO4 Leisure battery needs a battery to battery (B2B) charger?
Ah, that old myth! Our Lithium leisure batteries will not charge quicker, or any higher, with a battery to battery (B2B) charger.
Do I need to Float charge my LiFePO4 Leisure Battery?
The long debated, “Does a LiFePO4 leisure battery need a float?”. The Fogstar Drift Lithium leisure batteries do not necessarily need a float charge since they are extremely efficient and do not self-discharge in the way Lead Acid batteries do.
However, a float charge of around 13.8V will not harm your Drift, and sits within the acceptable charge parameters of the battery.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Is the Fogstar Drift Lithium Leisure Battery a good drop in replacement?
- If you’re looking for a drop-in replacement for your Lead Acid battery, the great news is Fogstar Drift batteries are designed to be a direct, drop-in replacement for lead acid batteries.
- They achieve this by having an inherently closely aligned terminal voltage to that of other Lead Acid variants of leisure battery including Wet, Gel and AGM.
- Fogstar Drift batteries will charge fully to their design capacity of 14.4V, also the output level of the charging circuits of all modern 12V existing split-charge engine wiring circuits.
- In some instances you may require a B2B or DC-DC charger to help protect your alternator and help condition your battery. This is entirely dependent upon your system set-up.
- When solar charging, existing 12V MPPT chargers can charge existing Wet, Gel and AGM batteries, and will therefore charge our Drift batteries just as efficiently. Any 12V PWM solar chargers are exactly the same, and if you cannot find a suitable Lithium setting, just opt for the setting closest to a 14.4V charge voltage.
- Do not use a mains charger with a ‘fast charge’ option, also known as ‘desulphurisation mode’ , or a ‘rejuvenation setting’ - this could seriously impact the performance of your battery.
Take a look at our range of Fogstar Drift leisure batteries, prices start at just £369 for our 12v 105ah Drift and comes complete with Grade A EVE cells, JBD BMS, Heating and Bluetooth.
Do you have a question for us? Get in touch with our team, we'll be more than happy to help!