DIY Lithium Battery – 2b

This is one of a series of articles, describing my journey of assembling and installing Lithium battery cells, as part of my van conversion. I will likely make mistakes and may not even reach my goal of a cheap, yet large Lithium battery bank.
This is the continuation of Part Two of my journey.

Top Balancing

I used a small 12V Lab power supply to top balance the battery cells. I connected all the positives with bus bars and separately, all the negative ones. My LiFePo cells accept a max. of 3.65V and that’s how I set the power supply. Then set the amperage to maximum (<1C) and I let them charge until the charging amps showed <0.1A. Actually I disconnected the power supply a bit early, when the cell terminal voltages rose above 3.65V

Battery Boxes

Two simple battery boxes will hold four cells each, making a 12V configuration, each with their own 120A charge/discharge BMS. Together they can handle 240A max (240A * 12.8V = 3072W max. output). Charging will probably be limited to 60-80A.

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Building A DIY Lithium Battery

With the Van Build coming to an end, several important projects need some attention. Today I’ll start working on the battery bank of my solar system. Originally, and that was at the beginning of the van build, I installed two 6V Golf cart batteries. This netted me only ~100Ah at 12V nominal. Sufficient for only the most basic usage. At the time also more than sufficient, with only a minimal number of trips planned.


The main reason however, was that only 3-4 years ago, Lithium battery technology was hardly existent and very expensive. As I look back now, much has changed. We know now, that charging a Lithium battery at below freezing temperatures, is a big No-No, cell balancing must be part of the setup and many more issues are better understood. The development of low priced BMS’s (Battery Management Systems) has also made the DIY setup a possibility.

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Mobile DVR Installation

Hiding The Front-Facing Camera

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Integration of a mobile DVR in a conversion van or RV can be quite complicated, with many parts that have to work together.

From DVR, display, cameras, wires and a multitude of connectors, sometimes it is overwhelming. Today I started with the front camera, a process that is fairly simple on its own.

The vehicle will be equipped with a DVR system that will substitute the common dash cam and add cameras to both sides of the van and a second camera at the rear. I searched for an affordable 1080p system but the HD cameras are still too big or expensive and I ended up with a 720p system (700tvl cameras).
I see multiple uses for such a system: Continue reading Mobile DVR Installation

Front Parking Sensor

Removal of the front bumper is the biggest drawback while installing this parking aide. The previously installed backup parking sensor, had a quickly removable rear bumper; the front bumper involves dozens of screws, bolts, clips and clasps.

The firewall is another unexpected hassle, together with the power source and switch location. The backup parking is only activated when the van is in reverse, while the sensor in the front needs a manual on/off switch. The 12V power can be drawn from a number of different sources, all in close proximity of the switch.

I did it all in about six hours, but with an extra set of hands you can finish this project much faster.

As always, I have detailed every step on the Project’s Page, and added lots of pictures, a video and a project guide, free for you to download.

Mod: Front Parking Sensor

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