RV Power Management Systems Overview | Pure 3 Lithium, Volta, Ecotrek, Xantrex, Li3 Energy

RV Power Management Systems Overview | Pure 3 Lithium, Volta, Ecotrek, Xantrex, Li3 Energy

Do you really need lithium batteries and
how much capacity do you need? Will lead acid batteries serve your needs? We’re
going to explore those issues and more in today’s episode. We’re talking about
RV energy systems and we’re starting right now. Hi everyone
Neil Balthaser here and welcome to Ultra mobility reviews where I give you an
honest review of rv’s that you vote for so this week you switched it up on
me by a wide margin you voted for me to review not an RV but RV energy systems
sounds like fun so let’s jump right into it let’s start
off with the most basic system setup available today this is the setup that
you’ll find as stock on many RVs in this setup you’re likely to see at least two
12-volt 100 amp power lead acid batteries you’re also likely to see at
least a 1000 watt inverter so that you can power your basic AC appliances and
you’ll see a gas diesel or propane generator because your battery bank
isn’t big enough to run big appliances like your rooftop air conditioning unit
optionally you’ll see offered at least a hundred watts of solar as it’s going to
help you keep your batteries topped up this setup is ideal for people who don’t
use a lot of energy but also don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on big battery
packs and expensive electrical components your limiting factor here are
the lead acid batteries lead acid batteries don’t like to be discharged to
below a 50 percent charge state that means with two 100 amp hour batteries
you have something more like a hundred amp hours available now what can you do
with a hundred amp hours well let’s do some quick math if you have a compressor
refrigerator it draws around five amps and it’s on maybe 75% of the time so
that’s an average draw of about 4 amp hour
let’s say for convenience sake you like to leave the inverter on well the
inverter draws around three amp hours and then you have draws for all the
other stuff on like your smoke detector and your LED lights and your color
touchscreen panels etc so that’s probably around two F hours so that’s
around nine amp hours total and if you have a hundred amp hours to play with
that means that you can run off your batteries for a bit over ten hours
before they’re depleted and you need to recharge them in every setup the more
usage that you can offset from the batteries the longer that you can go on
battery power so let’s say you have a three-way propane refrigerator instead
of a compressor driven one that removes four amp hours from the total of nine
amp hours or around half your power consumption it means you can go about
twice as long on your batteries and it’s the reason why RV manufacturers use
3-way refrigerators we can also put energy back into our batteries with
solar so let’s say you have a hundred watt solar panel in good sunlight you
can expect it to contribute around 30 amp hours on a good day that’s about a
third of your power consumption now the benefits of this set up are its
simplicity and low cost anyone can use it and if there’s ever a problem you can
pretty much service it yourself since AGM batteries are readily
available at Walmart and even Amazon the disadvantages of this set up are you
can’t run your AC without being plugged into Shore power or running your
generator and you do have to think about and be conscientious of your power usage
moving up the energy ladder let’s talk about lithium lithium batteries replace
lead acid batteries and have the advantage that they discharge deeper and
can recharge more quickly by way of comparison while two twelve volt 100
our lead acid batteries effectively give you a hundred amp hours of power usage
to 100 amp our lithium batteries give you around one hundred and eighty amp
hours of power usage nearly double the lowest-cost lithium system you can get
into today is pleasure Waze eco ion lithium system it’s essentially the
basic set up we just talked about but with 200 amp our lithium batteries
replacing the 200 an hour lead acid batteries and a 2000 watt inverter
replacing the 1000 watt inverter it’s setup looks something like this
everything is standard except for the solar so what can you do with this
system well since you have nearly double the battery capacity you could
theoretically stay almost twice as long before you need to recharge as compared
to the lead acid setup we just talked about not only that because you have an
inverter that’s twice as big you can power your microwave off batteries but
you still can’t power your rooftop air conditioning off your batteries still
this setup will probably meet 90% of most people’s needs the benefits of this
setup are it’s simple to use and highly serviceable you can order replacement
lithium batteries from Amazon and pop them into the eco ion system and since
you have two individual batteries if one goes out you’re not stuck in the dark
you can continue to camp off your remaining lithium battery also eco ion
has a highly configurable and programmable remote start and recharging
system for its standard generator billed as a GS or automatic generator start you
can tell the generator and air conditioning to start when the coach
temperature or battery state of charge reach a certain level additionally you
can explicitly tell it when it can and can’t turn on so for example nighttime
and early morning hours are not permitted best of all the
Iko ion system is a standard feature across all pleasure-way products so
there’s no upgrade cost the biggest disadvantage is that you can’t run your
AC off the batteries and you’ll need to be plugged in to shore power or run your
generator and unfortunately the Eco ion battery management system doesn’t
prevent charging of the lithium batteries in below freezing temperatures
which are bad for lithium batteries so you’re going to have to do this yourself
via a manual disconnect switch next we’re moving on up the lithium ladder to
400 amp hours which is the entry level for the Eco trek system by Roadtrek eco
trek is a proprietary system and is composed of lithium battery banks that
range in size from 400 amp hours to 1,200 amp hours at 1,200 amp hours is
the largest available lithium battery bank that you can buy Eco Trek utilizes
a secondary alternator attached to the engine to act as a generator to recharge
the batteries this eliminates the need for a separate generator also volt start
is road treks proprietary remote start system that can be programmed to
automatically start the engine to recharge the batteries unlike the
pleasure-way system however volt start isn’t nearly as configurable and only
triggers off the voltage level of your lithium batteries which isn’t the most
accurate since lithium batteries discharge at an almost constant voltage
so it’s hard to gauge your actual battery charge level using voltage also
it’s not possible to restrict volt start from starting during certain times of
day one of the biggest challenges with volt start is its operational complexity
each battery bank needs to be individually switched on and off for
both discharging and charging this means that if you forget to turn on a battery
bank before running your AC on battery power at night your neighbors are likely
going to be awoken by volt start remotely starting your engine to
recharge also if you forget to turn unused batteries you run the risk of
draining them due to parasitic losses caused by the battery management system
but and this is a big but having the ability to individually control each
battery bank on eco Trek means that if one bank fails you’re not stranded
without power you can simply switch it off and continue using the other banks
this flexibility can’t be underestimated finally cost is a consideration with eco
Trek the 400 amp hour system is a $5,600 upgrade but you have to add in the
second alternator for 3200 and 1900 for remote start the biggest advantage of
the Eco Trek system is that it comes in varying battery capacities you can start
out with 400 amp hours which is more than enough to cover almost 99% of your
needs including running your AC off battery power for very limited periods
of time not overnight and all the way up to there warp core package which is 1200
amp hours more than enough to run your AC overnight without needing to recharge
your batteries continuing our climb up the lithium ladder we now arrive at the
600 a power level now this level of battery capacity is available from
coachman as their Li 3 option and from Midwest automotive designs both systems
are a rebranding of zan tracks freedom ijen integrated system unlike road treks
eco truck the freedom ijen system is not proprietary it’s built from standard
off-the-shelf components and the freedom ijen system is comprised of a 600 amp
power lithium battery a 3000 watt zan tracks pure sine wave inverter which can
deliver up to 25 amps of power and a 280 amp 12-volt secondary alternator and up
to 300 watts of solar but unlike Roadtrek and pleasure-way systems
there is no remote start the biggest advantage of the freedom ijen system is
that it isn’t proprietary it’s not as serviceable or simple as pleasure weighs
eco ion system but it’s much more serviceable than eco trek and it’s also
more simple to use because you don’t have to manage individual banks of
batteries a downside of this design however is that a failure with the
battery bank likely means you’re without power until zant racks can ship out a
new one it’s not going to be as simple as switching off the bad battery like
you can do with eco trek a biggest disadvantage of the freedom egin is its
cost in the case of coachmen it’s a twenty two thousand dollar upgrade but
you have to also take into account that the li3 option results in the deletion
of the 2000 watt inverter 300 amp hours of lead acid batteries the generator
start module and auto start as well as the Onan generator all of which you get
no credit for the actual li3 price is closer to twenty-seven thousand dollars
which is really excessively expensive if you’re finding this video useful
they give me a thumbs up subscribe and remember to hit that little belt to be
notified when new reviews like this drop the final stop on our climb up the
lithium ladder is the Volta system which powers Winnebagos pure lithium 3 system
found on its trovato l series like eco trek and zan treks freedom egin the
Volta system is comprised of a large lithium battery make a secondary
alternator and a powerful inverter the battery capacity is rated at 8700 watt
hours or around 800 amp hours at 12 volts larger than the zan Trek system
that’s smaller than the warp core package by Road Trek the alternator is
58 volts which means it can completely recharge a depleted battery pack in a
little under 2 hours of driving that’s faster than the 12-volt alternators used
by Road Trek and zan tracks finally the inverter is
3600 watts which is larger than both the zan tracks and eco Trek inverters and
the inverter provides 30 amps of power which is just like being plugged into
Shore power you’re able to run almost all your AC appliances without needing
to think about it one of the biggest advantages of the Volta system is that
it’s not proprietary it’s built from off-the-shelf components made by Volta
and other suppliers that should give you a measure of confidence that the system
is reliable and will perform well but there are disadvantages to the Volta
system the first is cost it’s roughly twenty five thousand dollars and because
the battery pack is sealed it’s not very serviceable if there’s a problem with
the battery you’re going to need to take it into the dealer so that they can ship
it back to Volta for diagnostics and repair during which time you’re not
going to have any power so what’s my final recommendation well I think it’s
important to know your needs for folks who want to boondock for a couple days
and are happy to run their air conditioning off the generator then go
for the basic lead acid battery setup it’s simple serviceable and won’t cost
you much money at all for people who want to boondock for maybe a week but
also want to use things like their microwave or coffeemaker without needing
to run their generator and who also don’t mind running their generator for
air conditioning then you should consider the Eco ion system from
pleasure-way it to a simple serviceable and it’s a standard feature across all
their models now we get into some murky territory I can’t recommend Coachman’s
li3 system because it’s just too expensive once you take into account all
the components they’ve removed in the upgrade but for which you don’t get any
credit you’re going to end up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty
seven thousand dollars six hundred amp hours is a lot but it’s not enough to
allow you to run your AC overnight and frankly for twenty seven thousand
dollars I expect to be able to run anything I
want anytime I want without needing to recharge
likewise I can’t really recommend the 400 amp our eco Trek upgrade from
Roadtrek you don’t really get enough battery capacity to run your AC off
batteries for more than a couple hours and most of the time you’re going to
have that second battery bank shut off that means you won’t be needing the
underhood generator or remote start and I just don’t see the need for paying
nine thousand dollars when you’re likely not going to use half the system most of
the time if you’ve got upwards of 20,000 to 30,000 to spare and you need to
boondock for really long periods of time or you need to run your AC off batteries
for more than six hours then your choices are limited to the Eco Trek
eight hundred and twelve hundred amp hour upgrades or the Winnebago pr3
system powered by Volta it’s really hard for me to recommend eco Trek here the
800 amp hour eco Trek option is almost the same price as a pure three system
but the pr3 system is powered by Volta a newer more capable efficient and
advanced system additionally Volta is not proprietary like eco Trek it’s built
by a company that has been building power systems for years using mainly
off-the-shelf components but the big win with the Volta system is its simplicity
over eco Trek you don’t have multiple battery banks to manage so that means
you can pretty much turn on the system and forget about it okay that wraps it
up we’ll see you again next week on all true mobility reviews where I give you
an honest review on the RVs and technologies that you vote on head on
over to my community tab and start voting the links in the video

93 thoughts on “RV Power Management Systems Overview | Pure 3 Lithium, Volta, Ecotrek, Xantrex, Li3 Energy”

  1. Neil, great video. I liked the drama-free, and what seems to be a fair, unbiased recommendation. As a new Travato GL owner with the Volta lithium system, and only 6 days experience with it, I can say the GL is worth every penny. The simplicity and freedom the Volta system provides exceeds my expectations thus far, and those were high expectations! Thx for researching and making the video. Power ON!

  2. Neil…I just can't say how good and informative your videos are enough! You make understanding how RV manufacturers put their vans together, the quality of them and the ins and outs if how they are manufactured. I can not imagine what people go through if they don't have a source like your videos to guide them. Thank you for being willing to wade through so much info and making it easy to understand! Please never stop putting these videos out. 🙂

  3. Best review ever on rv electrical power! This is a major concern for most people buying rvs and knowing what you need helps you make a decision. It’s easier to balance out between the rv look and rv electrical capacity. Thank you.

  4. Thank you Neil, this is the video I've been waiting for! For those of us that aren't electrical engineers all of this can be confusing and overwhelming. Thank you for putting it into terms I could understand. Have a great day!

  5. I'm just blown away by the quality of your presentation–the graphics and expert analysis are first class. Thanks so much for putting this into such a detailed and easily accessible format.

  6. Hi Neil. Fabulous comparison in the systems 👍 I particularly like that you mention proprietary issues and the extra cost for no credit on other systems not used in the building of the rig (even the home building industry does this). Now multiple your numbers by 30-50% for Canada, even though two of these rigs are made in Canada and you can see the problem Canadians having in affording these Class B’s esp as new. I have recently seen yt Nomads receiving these very expensive systems for free. Not having to pay for a $20,000+ system can surely change your perspective or objective evaluation. I am a person who requires ac for health conditions but not suited to crowded campgrounds with hookups. Seems like we’re not quite there yet for me. I am thinking you left Watt fuel cell for its own episode?

  7. Can you comment on what Winterized mean for Class-B RVs? What would happen if I drive a Pleasureway or a Roadtrek in cold climates? Will the water tanks freeze?

  8. another great video! Lets me make up my mind regarding lithium systems. I definitely think the extra money for lithium seems worth it. Thanks!

  9. 🎬 1 📽 🎞 🗣 🎙 🧐❤❤❤❤❤ 🚐 🔩 🔧 🛠⚙️⛓ Outstanding, thank you so much for sharing. 🚐 RV Journey 🚐 🗺 🌎🌍🌏 🚐 💯 🗞 📰 "RV Energy Management Systems" 💯 🗞 📰 Excellent Rv News Review Remember when you drive into sleep…you want to stay cool or warm! I have learned to use external devices for a good night sleep…🗞 📰 Ultramobility you are better than "Consumer Report" 💯 🗞 📰 Winner 🏆🥇🏆🥇🏆🥇🏆🥇🏆🥇🏆🥇🏆🥇

  10. Vote for the episodes you want me to work on. Look for polls in my Community Tab right here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHhAzHWdJpyWNHd1JuuofWw/community
    Find out how propane can help to offset the power draw on your batteries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TrIK6jvmTE
    See how a propane powered 3-way refrigerator helps to keep battery draw lower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfebcKW8gVw
    Consider supporting me on Patreon to help me continue to create videos like this: https://www.patreon.com/ultramobility

  11. I want enough battery power to run everything. But am I going to pay $25,000 for it, no, that's ridiculous. I can have solar power installed for my house for that price. The smaller the RV the more expensive it is for everything. It's gotten out of hand.

  12. Excellent and comprehensive information, well done! I know the parasitic drain of the BMS on the Eco-trek is fairly high as you mention. Any idea of what that draw is for the PW Eco-Ion system? Also I need to reread the PW info, I remember it as rather confusing (to me). Seems like they say the BMS protects the batteries (as it should) but at the same time, you need to disconnect the batteries in cold weather as you mention in the video.

  13. A better way would be to get the cheapest option (system) and then buy a separate battery generator. 2 key options are, goal zero and inergy. This way you can buy separate solar panels and put them out in the sun when Boondocking.
    This way you can charge up all your batteries in your camera, phone, laptop, flashlight, and all other battery powered portable electronics. You should be able to do this for about $2500.
    This would leave the rest your battery bank on your RV for the heavy stuff, which you would likely use less often.

  14. A lot of good information. I would just add real life use and whether some devices work as advertised is essential. My experience with Absorption refrigerators they should be avoided as they will not work in un-level situations and are extremely slow to get to temperature. The three AC systems I am familiar with or so loud you will turn them off and go outside and sit in the shade. Onan propane generators seem to have a lot of issues the worst of which is they will not even start if your propane tank is less than half full what good is a generator you cannot count on.

  15. Awesome video Neil!!
    So helpful and informative. This is the reason I come back to your channel every time. Thanks for all the great insight.

  16. This video is going to get a ton of hits, well done Neil. 👍. Something I’ve never quite understood, if you have your generator ON and your AC on as well, is the generator powering the AC directly or is it powering the batteries which then power the AC? Watts, Amps, Volts…..it’s all French to me.

  17. Best Comparison Review of Advanced Power Systems! Wow! Fantastic Job! (Now, how about your #1 recommended setup for retrofitting an older van to lithium?)

  18. Sure wish Pleasure Way would beef up their system some. Great review. Really makes it difficult to match the ideal coach to meet our needs with the ideal power system. Never really had that with the traditional AGM set ups.

  19. 👍 This is fantastic Neil! Thank you so much for this review. I'm very interested in this market. 🤓 I look for to updates as prices drop and Technology improves.✌️

  20. This is really great Neil. Very well done. Why did you skip 6 volt lead acid batteries? Don’t they offer an affordable upgrade before lithium.

  21. Niel, once again another excellent review as per all of the endorsements below. The one additional build that would personally be interesting would be how quickly PW and other manufacturers will be migrating to the watt or similar fuel cell system from UK as a quiet replacement to generators could eliminate much of the need for the substantial increases in lithium battery storage. As always your expertise is much appreciated.

  22. Hello, Neil, and thank you for helping me make sense of the batteries available. My main concern is keeping the 6 cubic feet refrigerator freezer running 24/7 while boondocking for a week. A/C is not a need where I am.

  23. I really enjoy your reviews. This one especially. I agree with you on another review you did with Leisure Travel. I like their products, but they are behind with their lithium, and boon docking capabilities! I have a big request. Would you travel to Germany, and do a review on the new 2019 electric sprinter van. My dream is to have an electric Sprinter, or other manufacturer's all electric vehicle. I know, big request.

  24. Neil, was wondering why any RV full timer would buy solar systems installed on a new purchase RV since they pay more at the dealer and don't get the 30% Fed Tax rebate as they do after purchase when it is their main home? This could be especially important for people entering RV full time who finance their RV to deduct interest as well

  25. love your channel but im confused,u state that a propane fridge on a basic 12 volt battery draws amp hours?,,,keep going love it

  26. Excellent Neil, a top notch return to form. A good, factual comparison between the available systems. A few things that might be of interest to viewers:

    These advanced energy systems may have hidden penalties associated with them.
    For example, the Pure3 system reduces the OCCC (occupant and cargo carrying capacity) of the Travatos by about 200 lbs (8%) and the fresh water by 4-5 gallons. Might crimp extended boondocking.

    A/C usage may be reduceable by the use of heavier body insulation, reflective window films, amd better windows.

    I doubt that I'd worry about total battery module failure on advanced systems like the Xantrex and Volta. Why would the manufacturers of these systems – who bank their reputations on system reliability – delete apparently prudent redundancy otherwise?

    Overall, the draw of the systems like the Volta and the Coachmen is convenience. Generators are noisy, smelly, annoying lawn mowers and require fairly intensive regular maintenance if not regularly used – just like lawn mowers. Removing a troublesome component of the total energy generation picture is a worthwhile plus to some buyers.

  27. Thanks Neil great review. My new motorhome I pick up in 3weeks has Lead acid your review confirms it will ok running lights and fridge thanks again a great review

  28. Did I miss something? What recharge time would it take to bring back a large lithium battery bank after overnight ac usage? And what source of power would that be? An alternator for how long a run time, or Solar charging of what size solar wattage and for how long? It seems to me ac on batteries is only a one time event….tell me I am wrong….. And boon docking is not usually a one day event.

  29. One point worth mentioning (Lead acid vs Lithium), the lifetime of the battery types are quite different. Over a 10 year lifetime you will have to replace Lead acid batteries about 3 times vs the Lithium lasting the entire period. So for half the capacity lead acid will cost about the same as Lithium. So your up front costs of lead acid is lower but over time, about the same.

  30. Thanks Neil; putting that together must have taken so much time. I am curious whether these drop in lithium batteries with built in battery management systems (BMS) from companies like Smart Battery, are a workable solution for switching out AGM batteries. It just sounds too easy, and not that crazy expensive.

  31. Enjoyable video on multiple levels. The neighbor photo bombing kept me entertained:) I’ve gone a different direction-a Sunset Park RV SunRay 109 for $8K new! Under 1100 pounds dry weight and easily under 1500 loaded. This thing is basic, but loaded in 12’ total! Off topic I know…

  32. hi Neal did you see the WAT fuel cell system or do you know any thing about it I would lo to know what you think of this new system

  33. And now there is "Watt Fuel Cell Tech System" from RoadTrek. Just saw a video from RV Lifesyle (https://youtu.be/9r7qQWhB-zY). Would love to see you do a UltraMobility review of the Watt System. Looks Interesting….. EDIT: Oops! I obviously missed that one. I see you posted a video 4 days ago… I watch it now…

  34. The Volta system is indeed sweet, although they don't use the more chemically stable Lithium Ferrous Phosphate batteries, they use actual Lithium Ion which is more explodey. But then again, so does Tesla in their cars, it's more energy dense so you get more power in a smaller battery footprint. However, it is possible to get comparable utility out of a battery system if you DIY and you can then cut quite a lot of the price. For instance, you can buy 1000 Ah worth of LIthium Iron batteries from China; Winston batteries kind of spring to mind. Such a pack is maybe $5-6000, and you need to add a few hundred bucks worth of BMS (battery management system), and of course make sure the rest of your equipment is Lithium friendly. It's not quite as slick as the Volta, but since you can get a system like that for probably half of what you pay for the Volta and get pretty much the same or at least very similar utility, well, for handy DIY:ers it may still be an option.

  35. Roadtrek updated this system as we speak. Keyword being "Watt." I was in Pomona for the show. With the Watt system, you don't manage anything. It takes care of everything power wise. Also, I heard a rumor that the Kodiak solar generator can take on all your air conditioner for 4 hours.

  36. Great presentation and information…well done. I do, however, feel you neglected an important concept, and I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion. I've done a lot of research and have a history with Lithium systems. Looking at the van market, I came away with a different perspective. I just don't have the time or inclination to do a comparison video of this quality.
    Pleasure Way and Road Trek have the cost advantage, no doubt, but Road Trek's manual system is at best hard to manage, and at worst, could cause damage for those who 'forget the switches'. Pleasure Way does not eliminate the clearly under-powered generator, so that's not a Li system as much as a Li battery. While capable low-cost options, either one couldn't be considered by me as a usable "explorer's system".
    As far as Coachmen and Winnebago, let me offer my perspective.
    I like both systems, but Winnebago uses Volta, which is a Lithium Cobalt (LiCoO2) battery. The independent folks at batteryuniversity.com rates this chemistry highly volatile, much more so than the Coachmen's Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), and LiCoO2 should not be stored at full-charge voltages (anyone with a drone, or even a Tesla can attest that when storing, these need to be discharged significantly before resting for even a couple of weeks). So, when extended camping on shore, or storing on shore, how do these systems ensure the battery discharges, and remains somewhat discharged? From my research, they don't – which will shorten the life of the battery. This lack of discharged storage leads me to conclude LiCoO2 is a non-starter. LiFePO4 is not as sensitive to full-voltage storage. That leaves The Coachmen system. The downside of the coachmen system is 1. no engine start (though the chassis is diesel, so that could be a whole other problem). 2. lack of integration with the lighting control panel. 3. cost. 4. limited size (I sure wish it was expandable). However, a 600Ah battery in the eGen should keep the ACs running all night except for those 100 degree nights where the AC cycles too often, or never shuts off. But these shortcomings are workable. But the final piece, most importantly for me, I like the eGen system for having the only UL listed battery in the lineup…That's important for safety-minded people.
    Again, thanks for the video. I came across this as a suggestion from a friend based on my research and will subscribe for more future content. Again – Well Done!

  37. Neil, you've made a good stab at the "goldilocks" queston – what is the correct size for a generator-replacement system, but it strikes me that there's a huge gap in the demand side that doesn't comport with buyer's desire to buy something bigger than a couple of AGM batteries but less than a full-on Pure3 or Xantrex system. How realistic is the desire for an $8-10K Li generatorless energy system?

  38. I really paid attention! lol This stuff is so foreign to me but I am learning. It's like a new language. Thanks for sorting so much out for me. Great info as usual.

  39. Neil, would very much appreciate a comprehensive review of the WATT propane generator and management system. Do you see this system as a game changer in regards to electrical generation and management in conjunction with solar & lithium banterry banks? Cost/benefit, ease of use & reliability. Will this be available exclusively on the Roadtrek line of will it be available to other coach builders? Very interested in this newer development. Thanks for a great job.

  40. I don't boondock. But the ability to run A/C on battery to keep my dogs cool is one of the key features that lead to my Hymer purchase. The reason is very simple: I don't feel comfortable running generator in any public parking lots, including National Parks' , regardless I always checked with park rangers first. That noise is just too obnoxious.

  41. Neil, thanks for the review it was very informative. My only disagreement is that non-generator electrical systems are not just for people that boondock for long periods. The analogy I am using to evaluate RVs is similar to when I bought my e-bike. I could have bought a lightweight premium bike and added an inexpensive gas powered motor to assist for the same price that I bought a heavy e-bike with an integrated electric motor and battery system. I understood that the battery alone was 1/3 of the cost of the e-bike. I use the electric assist constantly. However, if I went with gas-powered assist I would have rarely used it. Similarly, if I had an RV that had a generator I think I would rarely use it. For example, I would not be one to ask my Harvest Host if I could use the generator, but if I had an electric alternative to the generator I would not even have to think about asking the host.

  42. Quite an excellent presentation Neil. It all does boil down to what your needs are. I love the in depth look at each system. GREAT graphics. Your PW bias is showing though, LOL. But granted PW is the best built RV on the market with a 5 YEAR warranty which should make buyers sit up and notice what they offer. This is the best common sense look at electrical systems ANYONE has presented, and you do it very well. thank you.

  43. Now here's an irritating fact: automotive Lithium battery systems are 1/4 the cost of that available to the RV market and heading towards 1/5 the cost. Economies of scale…

  44. Neil, thanks for your video, it was very informative. Having watched your video and several others that review power systems, plus spending the past couple of days at the California RV show, I would like to say I am closer to deciding on what Class “B” RV to purchase. I’m not quite there yet. I love the build quality of Pleasure way, I love the openness of Winnebago Travato, I love the , “blah, blah, blah,” of other manufacturers. I would love to say money is no object,,,,but that is just not true. However, I don’t mind paying extra for what I need. This will be my first RV purchase so I can’t draw from past experience. I am retiring in a couple months and plan to travel the country with my dog. I suspect I will need to boondock every now and then for a few days and will need to leave the dog alone in the RV for 3-4 hours at a time. I believe I will likely be away from home for about 3 months at a time. Would love to hear your recommendations on power systems. I’m pretty sure AGM with generator is out of the game. Keep up the great videos,,,,!

  45. Have you seen the new WATT Fuel Cells from Roadtrek? Is it even available? And how will that play into this video about RV Power Management? Comments?

  46. Sorry for the delay in responding, I watched this when they're only 14 comments. You exceeded my expectations on the subject. Great how you reviewed each type of system in the current Class B per manufacturer. Love the graphics to help explain. I plan to watch it again and again until it's absorbed. By then they'll probably change it all hahaha. Thanks so much Neil this is just what I needed!

  47. That's a great breakdown Neil, thanks. I'm curious if the folks over at WATT fuel cell are looking into designing a 30 amp hour "generator" with an RV plug, could render this moot or at least change the game rules.On the surface it sounds weird, but I think the market would be there for a bunch of RV's that have the baseline AGM setup. The biggest thing being no quiet time issues.

  48. Hello Neil, I know you put a ton of time and energy into all the video's you do, as you can see by the comments…there is a great appreciation for your work, and you present it in an unbiased way. Have you ever considered doing a complete review of Motorhomes? I'm suggesting a grading system of class B's and B+s because that is your forte. I'm looking to purchase some type of guide on the quality of Motorhomes and Campers and so far I've only found one person that produces such information.

    You know a lot of the Presidents of RV Manufactures, you have an excellent Idea already of which companies are better than others, so a guide that rates Class B's would be something the consumer would appreciate through sales of such a rating guide. I hope you consider doing this, I can't think of anyone else I would like to buy a guide from.



  49. First time viewer. LOVE the information. Very well put together and I am definitely subscribing to your channel! Look forward to seeing more of your content. Again, great job! Very impressed my friend!!

  50. Excellent presentation, very informative. You really do provide a very valuable service.
    I also liked the photo-bomb with the guy in the upstairs window. Yea, I am a little strange 😉

  51. Pleasure Way seems to have the best, most well thought-out and reliable system. It does however leave you having to run a noisy generator from time to time. There are probably technical details lurking, but a relatively simple upgrade would seem to be to swap out the noisy generator for a near silent WATT catalytic converter. The WATT has a much smaller 25x12x12 footprint, weighs only 46 lbs, and seems to use the same electrical and propane hookups PW already has wired into the generator space. It would even seem possible to add a third lithium battery and still be less weight and space than the generator. The only drawback I can see is the WATT is 500 watts vs 2500 or more for the generator. But this disadvantage disappears when you realize its silent and much more efficient so can be used a lot more if needed. Four solar panels, one WATT, maybe one additional Li battery, it seems would be power aplenty for long boondocks in nearly all conditions. Interested to hear what you think. Very interested to know what Dean Rumpel thinks too!

  52. Very understandable and organized info. This is a topic you are going to have to revisit frequently, as it seems to be evolving quickly. It wasn't long ago that running A/C on solar was not an option.

  53. Thank you for this review. You did a great job describing what is available for RV owners. For me the higher voltage batteries really improve the efficiency of AC conversion giving you more of the energy in the battery.

  54. Great segment! Oh man. A lot to learn about power systems. Want to have as much power as possible as a standard feature on a van I purchase. Lexor FL, Wonder RTB, Paseo, or CrossFit. Then will want the ability to upgrade. Either during purchase or after market. For instance, adding an inverter, larger alternator, additional solar, and lithium. I will need to view this segment several times. Thank you for your insight!

  55. Awesome summary! Thank you! I’m considering getting into a class B rig in a year or two. I’ll be leaving apartment living completely, and solo full timing with my dog. The rig will be my “everything”. I’ll still be working where I’ll have to go into an office though. Here in the southeast, that’s a big deal. I’m going to keep an eye on the reliability of the new pure3 system used by Winnebago. It’s overkill for many people, but for me, it’ll be the only way to get into RVing a few years before retirement. I should probably wait a few years longer, but patience isn’t my middle name! Hahahaha!

  56. Thanks for a great review. Good to have a comparison of all options in one place. Been looking for something like this for a while. The graphs are great and the explanations are clear. Let’s me make a choice based on my style of RVing. Keep these reviews coming.

  57. Hi Neil – First I want to thank you for your amazing reviews. Best available on the internet and they have been an invaluable resource for me as I work towards a purchase decision. Second – I thought you might be interested in checking out an alternative type of AGM battery that not many people are aware of outside of the boating community. Firefly batteries are AGM lead acid batteries, but they feature a patented "carbon foam" plate. Basically without going into a bunch of technical stuff – these perform much closer to a lithium battery than a typical AGM. The manufacturer actually recommends that these can be discharged down to 20% of their total charge or lower (instead of the standard 50% recommendation ). In addition they charge faster than even the best AGMs like Lifeline. I have been using one in my offload teardrop camper and it's awesome. I'm absolutely not affiliated with the company or anyone in the RV industry btw. I just did a ton of research on batteries and came across these. They are expensive (around $500 for a group 31) but as you get almost double the amp hours they are a really nice alternative to lithium without going all the way up to that cost. Not as good as lithium, but a great in-between option.

  58. I'm trying to think of a new accolade or phrase of appreciation that I've not seen repeatedly all across your channel. Maybe that says exactly what we want to say. 🙂

  59. Excellent video Neil! So much great information!!! I really value what you have taken the time to share with us!!
    Sorry to see here how under appreciated you are for what obviously is a well researched vlog——over 10,000 views and just under 1000 people took the time to give you a thumbs up!!!!😳. Clearly people didn’t want to do the hard work themselves—- hang in there- 👍👍👍👍some of us really appreciate the effort you make!!!!🚐 Betsey P.

  60. Thanks for this information. If someone has an older RV with Lead Acid and an Onan Generator, etc, what companies offer upgrade / replacement packages to Lithium? It seems this review is for factory installed systems on new RV's. Have you heard of anyone buyng an upgrade package? The Coachmen system is ridiculously priced. Seems would make more sense to buy a van without it than look at installing a less expensive option. Thoughts?

    Second question: Why does anyone need a second alternator / generator? What do these components do, that the regular engine generator doesn't If the engine is going to start anyway to recharge the batteries, who cares which generator (main engine or additional add on) powers the recharge? Not sure what the functionality of adding the second alternator / generator is / does. Anyone know??

    Thanks in advance! Love your channel ! full of great info.

  61. RV lithium power systems are like buying a Tesla, I just can’t justify the cost/benefit scenario. I will continue to opt for Onan and AGM batteries…

  62. Hi Neal. Another great video. I haven’t seen this one before. You do such a great job of researching the subject of your videos. I own a Hymer Activ and since the bankruptcy other owners have done great research and contrary to what Roadtreck used to say found that all the components of the Ecotrek system are available. If you are interested check out the Facebook page “Hymer owners and wannabes” page.

  63. Thanks for another great video Neil. I think it's worth mentioning when a manufacturer is using flexible solar panels vs a rigid panel which tend to be more efficient, dependable, and durable. Manufacturers usually use them because they are easier, faster, and cheaper to install. Coachman, LTV, and Airstream are just a few that use the flexible panels. It's also something to consider when deciding on a pop top of some sort because it usually requires a flexible panel because of weight concerns. In the end, it's probably not a big deal because if and when it fails just replace it with a good rigid panel:)

  64. I think a key element to consider is even though you might not have the battery power to run the AC for long periods having a second alternator versus a gas/propane generator allows you to run AC at night in most cases because running your engine is not very loud and should not hurt your engine because of the high idle RPM's that they run at. The biggest consideration is the cost of gas. The way I understand running your engine alternator cost about the same as a 2.8 Kilowatt propane/gas generator.

  65. Wow no RV Manufactor could have made this video as simple. Holy grail video for power management for newbies. Amazingly well put with diagrams. I do wish you would include advanced RV which partnered with Volta with some modifications. They are usually on latest tech. Fantastic video like always!

  66. Thank you so much for this most awesome video! I have been leaning towards the winnebago system because i don’t want a generator and need to run a/c continuously. I knew other companies had other systems, so this Video really helped to sort it out. What I really want to do is build out my own basic van using this technology. Does that sound doable?

  67. Hi Neil, all good information. I just spent a week trying to get information about my Go Power display panel on my 2017 PW ascent. The panel showed that there was no power getting to my Lithium batteries from the solar panels. Turns out the fuse in the panel had blown basically reducing my solar panels to non functional. Can you help with any information for others as to what to look for as you are boon docking? What amp we should be seeing for an input into the batteries depending on the sun light available ? My panel shows one battery but I have 2 is the panel right or is this for another axillary battery? Thanks Dave Hollenback Ascent owner in Oregon

  68. Thank you for the text, it was so much easier to find what I was looking for; especially since we already bought a different lithium battery (Battery Born) and have a little class C. – We “Liked” it.

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