Archive for March, 2017

Lahontan 2017

The SNU rally at the Lahontan Nevada State Park Beach 7 in March 2017 was a nice weekend given usual Nevada spring weather. The big event was watching the lake level rise as water was held to allow spillway maintenance. That put the kibosh on the campfire after the first morning as the fire pit was drowned.

See the rally page and the destination page for more about the event and the place. Some of the new or updated photo galleries include Lahontan Scenery -|- Lahontan water levels 2012 and 2017 -|- The Disappearing fire pit -|- Lahontan Review 1996 to 2017.

Lahontan Rising

Here’s the view towards the lake. The water is part of an inlet with the major part of the lake over the berm in the upper part of the picture. 

The lake is a reservoir fed by the Carson River and the Truckee river via the Newlands Project. It is used to irrigate farmland near Fallon. The excess goes into the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge and there has been work done on US 50 and US 95 to provide culverts and other preparations anticipating a record runoff from this year’s snowpack in the Sierras.

Comments off

Batteries slowly moving to a new era

The previous post referred to a battery upgrade that included a switch from a lead acid to a lithium battery. It appears (good data on this is sketchy) that this produced four times the capacity for size and weight versus a ten times increase in capital outlay. Lithionics is one company that is pushing lithium batteries and its website has some useful information.

Battery life is always one issue. Their FAQ page on this provides a graph of cycles versus depth of discharge but does not mention any other age factors. With 90% DoD, 2400 cycles can be expected while at 10% DoD you might get 35,000 cycles. These are at a 1C discharge rate which is a one hour rate. The usual rating for a lead acid battery is a 20 hour rate and they may provide a range of 500 to 2000 cycles for a similar DoD range.

Lead acid batteries are popular because they are cheap and will take a lot of abuse. Not so lithium. This is why Lithonics pushes its NeverDie® Battery Management System (BMS) to protect the battery from common abuse scenarios. One of the issues it handles is cell equalizing. For RV’s with lead acid batteries that is usually handled by overcharging. Storage will do this with a good battery maintainer but some go for the old style bulk charge while monitoring specific gravity style described on Trojan Battery’s website. The BMS is using modern technology for balance charging cells using cell by cell voltage monitoring as lithium batteries don’t use a liquid electrolyte. This type of charging is also popular for those into remote control hobbies like drones and scale model vehicles that run on lithium batteries.

As for cost, BattleBorn lists an LiFePO4 100 ah 12v LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery for $899.00 – Powerstream has a 12v 22AH for $295 so 100 AH of these would cost nearly $1500 – for comparison, Walmart sells a group 29 lead acid RV battery with about this 100 AH 12v capacity at around $100. This is the 1000 watt hour battery capacity level. 

The Journal of the Electrochemical Society has a paper on Calendar Aging of Lithium-Ion Batteries. The abstract concludes “To maximize battery life, high storage SoCs corresponding to low anode potential should be avoided.” Here are some other highlights:

Calendar aging comprises all aging processes that lead to a degradation of a battery cell independent of charge-discharge cycling. It is an important factor in many applications of lithium-ion batteries where the operation periods are substantially shorter than the idle intervals, such as in electric vehicles. Furthermore, the degradation owing to calendar aging can also be predominant in cycle aging studies, especially when cycle depths and current rates are low.

This is particularly important in RV’s and is why cycle life isn’t even much of an issue with lead acid batteries.

Basically, both the evolution of passivation layers and transition-metal dissolution are promoted by a high state of charge (SoC) and temperature

This is similar to what happens in lead acid batteries where the passivation layers is called sulfation. The difference is that lead acid batteries do better with a full state of charge (SoC) while lithium batteries suffer if stored this way.

Battery University has a page on how to Prolong Lithium Based Batteries

Lithium-ion has not yet fully matured and is still improving. Notable advancements have been made in longevity and safety while the capacity is increasing incrementally. Today, Li-ion meets the expectations of most consumer devices but applications for the EV need further development before this power source will become the accepted norm.

That means you need to be careful when evaluating lithium battery specifications and advertising claims. There isn’t a history, things are changing rapidly, and effective measurement standards are not well established.

Environmental conditions, not cycling alone, govern the longevity of lithium-ion batteries. The worst situation is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. Battery packs do not die suddenly, but the runtime gradually shortens as the capacity fades.

Batteries are electrochemical devices and suffer much the same issues no matter the chemistry. Lithium batteries have advantages in terms of cycle life, high discharge rates, and short charge times. This might get you a 4x capability improvement for a 10x price premium. Here’s where that might be worth considering.

  • If you want to run your RV air conditioner for a few hours or other heavy loads for more than a few minutes, 
  • If your lifestyle frequently cycles battery charge in a consistent pattern that doesn’t show significant variation or have need for deep reserves.
  • If you have an ability to charge the battery at 1C rates (100 amps for 100 AH battery)
  • If weight is a significant factor for your battery bank.
  • If you don’t have to worry about temperature extremes (below 40F or above 90F)

Otherwise?

Comments off

Fit RV blog – check it out.

A fitness educator and an aerospace engineer whose starter RV was to avoid the Porta-Potty line at the start of bicycle races. They are currently in a Winnebago Travato class B built on a ProMaster van. They run a YouTube channel and a website with the major headers being BLOG, FIT TIPS, WORKOUTS, RECIPES, 5K CHALLENGE!, RV TIPS, RV REVIEWS, RV PARK REVIEWS, and ABOUT US.

One item of current interest is the description of how they dumped the genset and went to a big (420 AH) LiFe battery, auxiliary engine alternator, upgraded solar system, and 3 kW inverter.  The battery looks to be an 8D sized at 125 pounds for 5 kwH energy capacity and an internal battery management system. The source, Lithionics, talks about Lithium Ion but the voltages specified make it clear that it is Lithium Iron. A lead acid 8D weighs about 130 lb and stores about 2200 Wh. The company’s assertion that its Lithium batteries provide a 4:1 capacity weight advantage does sound about right.

The ideas about fitness are also a good source for feeling healthy on the road. 

It is Well written and produced with good information and an interesting presentation. Check it out: both the YouTube channel and the website.

Comments off

Spring breakout rally: Lahontan 23-26 March

It’s time to get that rig road ready! 

No doubt about it, it’s going to be a great weekend for the first SNU rally of 2017. Looks like the weather is going to be typical for March in Northern Nevada. Dealing with a little rain, a little sun, a little wind or whatever won’t inhibit us from enjoying our rally. Weatherwise, be prepared for anything and everything, Plan to join us at the campground at Beach 7 at Lahontan. If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit, whatever fits your schedule. 

The rally will be a good, low risk, test of all systems so you can gain confidence that your rig is ready for any trips you plan for this year and that you have it stocked with what you need to be able to enjoy the experience. Sanitize, flush, then fill the water system. Check the tire pressures and the TPMS sensors. Check the supplies inventory. Inspect for winter damage and make sure all the wear parts are wearing properly have the proper preventive maintenance.Keep in mind batteries and tires are good for 5 to 7 years but only if properly maintained. If they are getting up in age pay particular attention in looking for potential problems. Are your propane tanks filled? Is everything outside, like the awning, well secured for road travel? 

Some links: USGS water level reportsstate park Facebook page – Wikipedia on the dam and the reservoirNSP Lahontan home pageDepartment of WildlifeSierra Nevada Airstreams Lahontan page

Comments off

What a wet winter means for western deserts

There’s likely to be a lot of color in the desert this spring: This desert in the Southwest is experiencing a wildflower ‘superbloom’

A wildflower superbloom is underway in the desert Southwest in March after seven inches of winter rain. Anza-Borrego State Park in California hasn’t experienced a bloom so prolific since at least 1999 according to park officials.

The Washington Post story has a lot of pictures, too. Maybe it’s time to get out there, grab your walking shoes and a camera, and go see for yourself!

Also keep in mind that there’s going to be water in places you might not expect. This means a possibility of soft ground in some campgrounds that might present problems for a heavy RV or reduced access to some areas due to flooding. Erosion and washouts, like the SNU encountered at Sweetwater Summit last year might also be a problem. Then there’s the bugs and critters …

take care.

Comments off

SNU March 2017

SNU Folks,

The March 2017 Newsletter has been posted — Links to photo galleries and additional information mentioned in articles in this newsletter can also be found there.

Topics in the March newsletter: February lunch review -|- March Rally at Lahontan -|- Welcome to Susie Brown -|- Rally changes -|- Expanding the Experience -|- Nevada State Parks -|- The SNU – A Personal Story -|- SNU membership -|- Solar Eclipse -|- SNU Rally page -|- Region 12 Newsletter

March Rally at Lahontan — Thursday March 23 to Sunday March 26, 2017 are the dates for the rally at Lahontan beach 7 structured campground. Turn right at the end of the paved road to get to the campground. The campground itself has nice paved roads and parking sites. We are planning on a Pizza Party for Thursday dinner.  Bring wood for campfires RSVP’s appreciated and helpful. phone: 775 972 9392 or Email: hq@sierranevadaairstreams.org.

If you can’t come for the whole rally, come for a day or come for a visit whatever fits your schedule.

For more information and pictures check the website

Keep Informed about the SNU

— 

SNU HQ 

Comments off