Monthly Archives: September 2015

Lithium Batteries with CAN bus Smart Monitoring

off-road-caravan-touch-screen-CAN-bus-Lithium-batteriesIf you are contemplating upgrading your caravan batteries to Lithium Batteries, there are a few more things to consider before you rule a line under this option.Amazing-Lithium-Batteries-Guide-front-cover-resized-600

Lithium batteries need compatible chargers both 240V, solar and vehicle DC to DC chargers. However, the most important item needed is a Smart Capacity Monitoring and Display system.

Why is this so important?

To get your money’s worth out of Lithium batteries you can work their capacity much harder than the old AGM’s. Lithium batteries can comfortably discharge to 10-20% without a significant impact on their life in cycles. However, it isn’t just “knowing this level” that is important, it is knowing the replenishment potential from Solar and the typical inverter usage that is important.

Smart Monitoring System Information for Lithium Batteries

As well as setting the capacity and alarm levels on page 1, here is the detailed information on Lithium Batteries:

  • CEF: Coefficient of charge or efficiency of charge which is 99%
  • No of charging cycles (this can be reset for a specific period)
  • No of deep discharges past the cycles depth that you set (shown here at 70%)
  • AVG Discharge Rate as a percentage of the battery capacity
  • Peukert factor: this is the adjustment for capacity reduction based on discharge rate.


The old technology with AGM batteries had a single shunt battery “state of charge” display. This is fine for the AGM batteries but with the big investment with Lithium Batteries, you really want to see much more. For example, you will want to understand how much solar power is coming in  and how much power you are using on the inverter and/or the rest of the 12V appliances.

With the detailed information of solar energy per day you can judge if you will increase or decrease the inverter usage based on this solar level. It doesn’t take much for you to become and expert in tweaking these activities to get the most out of the batteries.

Running 2.2kW Airconditioning from Lithium Batteries

You may find yourself in a Kimberley Karavan or Kruiser in Kakadu on a sticky and steamy night and want to drop the air temperature inside by a few degrees (no generators at the remote Kakadu campsites). If you have the larger inverter and at least 480 Ahrs of Lithium Batteries, then you can do this. When it starts up, the Lithium Batteries deliver 440Amps but within 30 seconds or so, it is down to less than 100 Amps. You may think that the amount of time you can run the air conditioning for is determined by the battery size. Well not quite. It is really determined by the solar replenishment capacity to be sustainable. To know exactly what that is, you need a Smart Monitoring System.

In the example below: 25A of power is flowing from the solar controller Superlight Solar panels .

17A is going to charge the batteries, 4.6 Amps is being used by the 12VDC devices (the fridge) and 3A is used by the inverter (phone charge for demonstration purposes). Normally the phone charger would be plugged into one of the USB ports on board.

A Smart Monitoring system shows you the break up of these components while still giving you a simple “state of charge” display. With these monitoring systems, you will understand the solar capacity you are getting on a daily basis without any pencil or paper and simply decide whether to run that bread maker a little more or not. You are in total control.

CAN bus technology now in Caravans and Camper Trailers

At Kimberley we supply this as part of the “one stop shop” of batteries, chargers and smart monitoring systems. What is more, we are using automotive CAN bus technology.

Kimberley Models with CAN bus Smart Monitoring and Lithium Batteries as Standard can be found here:

Kimberley Karavan Range of compact “no canvas” off road caravans

Kimberley Kruiser Range of Lightweight single axle full size off road caravans

Kimberley Kruiser Lightweight Tandem Axle full size off road caravans 

Kimberley CAN bus and Smart Monitoring is installed in the

Kimberley Kamper Platinum Model Off road Camper trailer


37 Different CAN bus devices on a typical German Car

CAN bus is a vehicle standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other without a host computer.  Development of the CAN bus started in 1983 at Robert Bosch. The 1988 BMW 8 Series was the first production vehicle to feature a CAN-based system. This is 27 years ago and the technology now is very mature.

Kimberley have shipped over 250 CAN bus systems with Smart Touch Displays.
Users just touch the display in the same way you operate a smart phone. For lithium battery users there is the benefit of seeing how many “cycles” the batteries have completed and if there have been any deep discharge cycles. You set the depth of discharge for both.

High Performance Energy Systems for Caravans and Camper Trailers


A 38 Page eBook containing many chapters, here are a few of them:

  • The Future in High Performance Energy Systems
    1. Operating a full power Air-conditioner on Batteries
    2. Why are we using more power? a 20 year trend.
    3. Performance is measured by Power to Weight
    4. Examples of Low weight Solar panels
    5. Designing a Lithium System to avoid danger
    6. Generating Power with Solar
    7. A Quick Lesson in Solar Performance?
    8. MMPT Solar Controllers are a Must!
    9. Storing the electrical energy in Batteries
    10. Design of Lithium Systems
    11. Design of Charging systems for Lithium Batteries
    12. Storing the electrical energy in Methanol – Fuel Cells
    13. Easy to use charging systems
    14. A summary of this eBook
    15. Addendum for high end Camera Users