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  • Writer's pictureKylie F. Kearns

Upgrading the Lotus to Lithium

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Looking to wander off grid for 3-4 days at a time with power to run household appliances, Graeme bought his 2018, 20'6" Lotus Freelander Caravan in for an upgrade to a custom designed and built RV Lithium System.

Graeme also wished to run all 12 volt appliances, a coffee machine & CPAP Machine (for Sleep Apnea) off grid for 3 to 4 days without having to use the generator.

The Lotus' original setup included:

  • A Voltech PWM Solar Controller (not lithium compatible)

  • 2 x 120AH AGM Batteries

  • 2 x 150W Solar Panels

  • A Projecta 25A 240V Charger (not lithium compatible)

  • A 3-way fridge – Dometic 160L RMDX21

  • A 1450W Microwave

  • A basic Nespresso Coffee Machine

  • An Oyster Vision III Auto Satellite Dish & TV

  • A Washing Machine

  • CPAP Machine

After removing the Solar Controller, Charger & Batteries, we built a 280Ah battery to the required size as one battery, employing one Battery Control Unit (BCU) to oversee.

This sets our Systems apart by significantly reducing the risk of catastrophic battery damage caused by the failure of any one BCU in batteries run in parallel.

We then designed and built a custom drop in 280Ah RV Lithium Systems Battery pack, featuring a Victron 2000VA Multiplus Compact Inverter with built-in 80A Charger and VE.Bus Bluetooth Dongle / Temperature & Battery Sensor.

In an overhead cupboard we mounted Victron's BMV712 Bluetooth Battery Monitor, Van Power and Inverter Remote Switches.

The new system also features a 30A Victron Bluetooth Solar Controller linked to four new Victron 115W Solar Panels on the roof, along with fresh new wiring and a 20A Victron Bluetooth Solar Controller linked to the existing two 150W panels, increasing total Solar capacity to 760W.

To accommodate an external portable Solar Panel and Vehicle charging, we installed a 30A Victron bluetooth Solar and RV Lithium Systems DC charger combination via a yellow Anderson plug in an enclosure on the side of the van for Solar input and a red Anderson on the drawbar for vehicle charging.

For clever charging all Solar, DC and 240V chargers are linked together wirelessly via Victron's synchronised charging. This means each charger knows what the other is doing and accurate battery voltage and temperature readings come directly from the batteries.

We also rewired the 3-way fridge to a new grey Anderson plug on the drawbar so the fridge receives vehicle power whilst driving.

Now Graeme's breathing easier off grid!

For a custom Lithium Solution designed to suit how you like to travel, contact us!


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