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Old 09-29-2023, 06:57 PM   #1
Marshall
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Converter help

Hi everyone I own a 2005 Montana 31 ft with four slide outs three on the driver side one on a passenger side it has the iota idp-12 low voltage electrical distribution system I bought it used and in the drawer was a Iota DLS 55 that is just sitting in the cabinet drawer I know nothing about it whether it works or not

My problem is I'm trying to figure out is the converter built into the Iota IDP 12? In the front by the fifth wheel there is one battery and it is a regular car battery not even a battery that has amp hours so I'm trying to change that to a couple of lithium 100 amp hour batteries but I do not want to hook the lithium batteries up because I don't know if this system is lithium compatible

I don't know if the DLS 55 is supposed to be hooked up somewhere as well what I do know is that the car battery in the front is being charged somehow I looked everywhere I can and I do not see a converter like I did in my motorhome. Since I'm new to fifth wheels I don't know what I'm looking for or looking at..

Also in the 12 volt panel of the iota 12 I see a label that says conv I'm assuming that means converter so can I just turn off that breaker and then simply install my solar system so that it charges the batteries instead of the converter charging the batteries because then couldn't I just disconnect the car battery and replace it with the lithium battery and then run the solar system to keep the lithium batteries charged that way??

Can someone please help share some light to this problem thank you
 
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:32 PM   #2
Carl n Susan
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Welcome to the MOC!

You have an IOTA DLS 55 converter in a drawer? What is charging your batteries? Here is some history

Those year Montanas came with an IOTA DLS 45/55 converter. It is a separate, stand alone box and not part of the power distribution panel. It is a "stupid" converter in that it only has one charging mode (not good for any type of battery). It even has its own power outlet to feed it.

Where is it you ask? Well that depends. For most models in that year it is under the stairs up to the bedroom. You remove the passenger side, rear wall of the pass through compartment (easy peasy as there is only 4 or 6 crews) to access it.
BUT
It sounds like you have a 3400 model Montana. If so, the converter is behind the power panel in the bathroom. Pull out the power panel (no worries it has lots of slack cables) to find it.

IOTA offers a device called an IQ4 which plugs into the converter with a phone type plug. This makes the converter a "smarter" one with three state charging. Here is one on Amazom https://www.amazon.com/IOTA-Engineer...6033343&sr=8-2
It also turns out (which is news to be) IOTA offers a "Smart Charger" add-on for Lithium batteries. Which sound just like what you want. Look here to see one (lots of vendors out there apparently) https://www.donrowe.com/iota-iq-life.../iq-lifepo.htm
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:32 PM   #3
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I'm not familiar with that brand of converter/charger but from what I can find online, that model number doesn't say anything about being able to charge lithium. The DLS 55 show a charge voltage of 13.4 volts. Given the year of the converters I don't think they are lithium capable.



Lithium Ion batteries are charged with an absorption voltage of 14.25. If you're going to upgrade to lithium you will most likely need to upgrade the converter. You can use you're existing converter but you'll never get the batteries to a full charge. At least that's my understanding.



I have been wrong before And I should have just let Carl answer this...lol
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:39 PM   #4
Carl n Susan
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As I wrote above, IOTA now offers an IQ4 add on module that makes the IOTA DLS 55 a Smart Charger specifically for Lithium.
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:49 PM   #5
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I have a rear bedroom and going up the stairs will take you into the living room underneath the refrigerator is where the Iota 12 is which is the breakers for the 110v and the 12v there is nothing in the bathroom but a toilet and Cabinetry the shower is in the bedroom as well as the sink there is nothing underneath the stairs that go up to the living room

The lithium batteries came with its own charger that plugs into 110 so if the breaker in the 110 breaker box that says conv is for the converter technically I can turn that off and then use the 110 battery lithium charger to plug into an outlet and charge the battery that way.

Lifepo4 batteries
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Old 09-29-2023, 07:57 PM   #6
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The converter is not going to be very far from the power panel. I have never seen an early FL model but I am sure the converter has to be in the area under the refer alongside the power panel. Have you pulled the power panel out to see what is hiding back there.?
And what is with the IOTS DLS 55 in a drawer? It sure isn't charging your batteries. Could it be a spare? Or a broken one removed in favor of something else? Is that car battery even getting 12V?
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl n Susan View Post
The converter is not going to be very far from the power panel. I have never seen an early FL model but I am sure the converter has to be in the area under the refer alongside the power panel. Have you pulled the power panel out to see what is hiding back there.?
And what is with the IOTS DLS 55 in a drawer? It sure isn't charging your batteries. Could it be a spare? Or a broken one removed in favor of something else? Is that car battery even getting 12V?
Yes the car battery is getting a charge. When i looked at rv it was not plugged in and 12v lights were very dim. After about a hour of getting plugged in the lights were bright. It clearly is getting charged and i think the one in the drawer may be a spare but since i cant find the one installed i cant confirm that. I will pull the panel and see if it's back there as it is the only place i didn't look.
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:52 AM   #8
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https://www.bestconverter.com/Iota-D...IQ4_p_337.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl n Susan View Post
Welcome to the MOC!

You have an IOTA DLS 55 converter in a drawer? What is charging your batteries? Here is some history

Those year Montanas came with an IOTA DLS 45/55 converter. It is a separate, stand alone box and not part of the power distribution panel. It is a "stupid" converter in that it only has one charging mode (not good for any type of battery). It even has its own power outlet to feed it.

Where is it you ask? Well that depends. For most models in that year it is under the stairs up to the bedroom. You remove the passenger side, rear wall of the pass through compartment (easy peasy as there is only 4 or 6 crews) to access it.
BUT
It sounds like you have a 3400 model Montana. If so, the converter is behind the power panel in the bathroom. Pull out the power panel (no worries it has lots of slack cables) to find it.

IOTA offers a device called an IQ4 which plugs into the converter with a phone type plug. This makes the converter a "smarter" one with three state charging. Here is one on Amazom https://www.amazon.com/IOTA-Engineer...6033343&sr=8-2
It also turns out (which is news to be) IOTA offers a "Smart Charger" add-on for Lithium batteries. Which sound just like what you want. Look here to see one (lots of vendors out there apparently) https://www.donrowe.com/iota-iq-life.../iq-lifepo.htm
..

I pulled the breaker box and behind it was a DLS55 iq4 does that mean since its a smart do i still need to buy the IQ4? Or can i hookup the lithium batteries to it?
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Old 09-30-2023, 10:36 AM   #9
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https://www.bestconverter.com/Iota-D...IQ4_p_337.html

This is what i have
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Old 09-30-2023, 12:45 PM   #10
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It appears someone replaced the original IOTA converter (lilely the one in the drawer?) with a new model that incorporates the original IQ4 "smart" charger module. They could have bought the module itself for around $20 and plugged it in rather than buying a new converter, but that may be a good thing for you.

The original" IQ4 was a smart charger upgrade for FLA type batteries. Pretty much the same as today's onboard converters (before Lithium). Some have made the old style converter work with Lithium but you will need to understand the differences and how to overcome them. We can get into that later if you are interested.

I would use the IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller designed for Lithium batteries with a BMS. This is a fairly new offering. The bad news is it is incompatible with an IOTA DLS 55 converter with the built in IQ4 (old style) smart charger module.

The good news is you have an original IOTA DLS 55 converter in the drawer where the new IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller module *CAN* plug in. The question then is the old IOTA in a drawer still functional? Since it is a drawer and not a trash can, it might be?

Here is a link to one vendor selling the https://www.donrowe.com/iota-iq-life.../iq-lifepo.htm


Further info:
IQ4 LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller

2-Stage Smart Charge Controller for the IOTA DLS to Use With Lithium-Ion Batteries With BMS
By IOTA
  • Overview
  • Specifications



The IQ4 LIFEPO is tailored for use with todayís state-of-the-art LiFePO4 batteries that use a Battery Management System. The IQ-LIFEPO allows the DLS to deliver proper voltage to charge the larger 4-cell design of the battery and remains in a stand-by trickle mode ready to deliver a fresh BULK charge when needed.
Installation

The IQ4 LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller easily plugs into the Dual Voltage Jack of your IOTA DLS Battery Charger. Once plugged in, the IQ Smart Charge circuitry is automatically engaged and your IQ module will activate. Your DLS will now provide an automatic and trouble free charging profile to your batteries!
Note: External IOTA IQ Smart Charge Controllers are not compatible with DLS units with internal IQ charge controllers.

IQ4 LIFEPO Charge States

The IQ4 LIFEPO progresses through the following stages while charging your batteries:BulkThe Bulk State charges the battery at an optimal controlled output, reducing the time it takes to charge the battery.FloatOnce the battery has been fully charged, the charger remains in the Float State, monitoring the battery for drop in voltage.MaintenanceIf the battery has remained in the Float State for 15 days, the IQ automatically reinitiates a bulk charge to ensure the battery remains in a completely charged condition.
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Old 09-30-2023, 01:02 PM   #11
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Carl and Susan you guys are so helpful. So then with the one that I have that's currently installed the DLS 55 iq4 can I hook up the lithium batteries to it? If so I can at least start there I did order the additional module iq4 since it was only $25 on Amazon. I off grid solar powered my house as well as my yacht so I'm familiar with solar systems I just haven't done it to a RV yet and this would be my first time so yes any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated
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Old 09-30-2023, 01:32 PM   #12
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Yes, you can charge a Lithium with your existing IOTA DLS 55 with the builtin IQ4 charger. The charge profile will *NOT* fully charge the Lithium battery. I don't have Lithium so I am not familiar with all the specifics. But someone here uses the Progressive Dynamic (current maker of converters) ability to override the charging mode and put the converter into "BOAST" mode (?) which is 14.4V and close to normal Lithium charging. I doubt this capability exists with your IOTA, Consequently the most charge you will get is 13.6V. I seem to remember the guy who does that (here on the MOC) also has Solar, which does provide 14.4V and eventually does fully charge the Lithium batteries.

Do you mean you ordered the IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller module and *NOT* the old style IQ4 one? The IQ4 is of no value to you. You want the IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller module *IF* your converter in the drawer is still good. Otherwise, you should buy a new converter specific to Lithium.

I will try to find the previous discussions on charging a Lithium battery using an old style converter. I will post what I find.
On Edit: I found the Thread I was thinking of. Posts $7 and # 8 are similar to your situation. Scott in Post #8 implies he did not use the "Boast" mode button at all. That would be you as you lack the "button".

https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...ad.php?t=88836
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Old 09-30-2023, 01:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Carl n Susan View Post
Yes, you can charge a Lithium with your existing IOTA DLS 55 with the builtin IQ4 charger. The charge profile will *NOT* fully charge the Lithium battery. I don't have Lithium so I am not familiar with all the specifics. But someone here uses the Progressive Dynamic (current maker of converters) ability to override the charging mode and put the converter into "BOAST" mode (?) which is 14.4V and close to normal Lithium charging. I doubt this capability exists with your IOTA, Consequently the most charge you will get is 13.6V. I seem to remember the guy who does that (here on the MOC) also has Solar, which does provide 14.4V and eventually does fully charge the Lithium batteries.

Do you mean you ordered the IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller module and *NOT* the old style IQ4 one? The IQ4 is of no value to you. You want the IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller module *IF* your converter in the drawer is still good. Otherwise, you should buy a new converter specific to Lithium.

I will try to find the previous discussions on charging a Lithium battery using an old style converter. I will post what I find.
On Edit: I found the Thread I was thinking of. Posts $7 and # 8 are similar to your situation. Scott in Post #8 implies he did not use the "Boast" mode button at all. That would be you as you lack the "button".

https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...ad.php?t=88836
Yes i ordered the 1q4 and not the 55. Since I already have the 55 in the drawer
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:05 PM   #14
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The IOTA DLS 55 is the converter. It takes 120V and produces 12V to charge batteries and power 12V lights etc.

The IQ4 is a plugin module for the IOTA DLS 55 converter. The IQ4 allows the DLS Charger to operate as a multi-stage automatic "smart charger", providing the benefit of automatic Bulk, Absorption, and Float stage charging for FLA batteries. It looks like this:
Click image for larger version

Name:	IOTA IQ4 Module.jpg
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Your current IOTA DLS 55 converter has an integrated IQ4 builtin. No additional one is needed. You have effectively the same charger everybody else had before Lithium came along.

You could use the IOTA DLS 55 converter that is in the drawer and purchase an IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller. That plugs into your older IOTA DLS 55 (but not the one you are using with integrated IQ4 capabiity). The IQ-LIFEPO allows the DLS Charger to operate as an automatic "smart charger", providing the benefit of automatic Bulk, Float, and Maintenance cycles for Lithium batteries. It looks very similar to the IQ4 but is different in that it is for Lithium only.

Click image for larger version

Name:	IOTA IQ-LIFEPO Smart Charge Controller.png
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Old 09-30-2023, 06:34 PM   #15
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I installed the lithium battery and it seems to be charging.. i understand that it won't get to 14.4v but that's ok since I'm installing a solar system along with a 5000 watt pure sine inverter. As mentioned earlier, the solar system should make up the difference.. i will keep you updated so you can tell me what I'm doing wrong (humor)
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Old 10-10-2023, 09:22 PM   #16
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Marshall,
I would plug in the old style converter that was in the drawer and measure the DC voltage output. IF it is working, for $20-$25 I would get the IQ lifepo and you will have the ability to fully charge your Li-ion batteries off of shore power. You will be able to "top off" your Li-ion batteries using solar if you stay with the currently installed converter (assuming your solar controller is rated for Li-ion batteries) but you will be dependent on the sun to get the full value out of your batteries. The cost is minimal to upgrade the drawer converter to Li-ion capability
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