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What’s new with Mattie Ross?

By Jenn

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It’s that time of year.

No, not when we see the orange cones popping up along the highway, although it’s time for that, too.

The time of year when I take my T@b, Mattie Ross, for her first annual “well visit” to the nuCamp service center.

Austin Jones is used to my annual email with a grocery list of upgrades.

And even though I loved Mattie Ross as she was, I had all winter to contemplate how to take her to the next level.

Sunset at nuCamp

Here’s what I did:

Mentioned in this video


Spring is also a great time to do maintenance. I had the bearing maintenance done at nuCamp but will need to follow up on the rest of items that I forgot to have done last week.

Here is a list of things I like to do:

  • Inspect and replace caulking – anywhere you have caulking, including under the step and the taillights.
  • Bearing maintenance – I put enough miles on Mattie to replace the seals and repack the bearings, annually.
  • General safety inspection – chains, lights, tires, brakes
  • Look for rust or other signs of wear and tear
Rocky LOVES nuCamp and gets the zoomies whenever we visit

Lion Energy Lithium Battery Installation

The moment I dropped Mattie Ross off at the nuCamp service center, Austin and Mark from the service center began discussing how they might approach the lithium installation. Mark quickly ruled out the driver side bench area, as it has a lot of wires and pipes as well as the converter, Progressive EMS, and soalr controller for the rooftop olar panel already in that area.

However, we were all thrilled to learn that the tow 105ah Lion Energy Safari batteries I purchased would easily fit into the space between the Air8 air conditioner and the front of the cabinet under the rear passenger bench. Mark did a nice job building a box around them and completed a really clean installation. The battery disconnect switch was relocated to this area and also the new solar controller for my portable panel was also installed in that area.

Setting up my Victron BMV and MPPT controllers, I learned that for both the BMV and the solar controllers, I needed to set the battery charge data to 13.9. The additional instructions from Victron states:

“This is where things differ a bit from other Lithium Ion battery manufacturer’s batteries. Due to the nature of the (very good) battery management system (BMS) in the Lion Safari UT batteries, the state of charge (SOC) measured by the Victron BMV battery monitor can get out of sync with the actual SOC of the battery causing the displayed battery percentage to drop slowly over time. To avoid this the Charged voltage is set to 13.9 volts. 

A word about the Wil Prowse videos

Yes, I have seen the Wil Prowse videos.

Wil points out things he thinks that could go wrong with Lion Energy batteries. I could not find an actual case of any of his criticisms actually happening, however. (Yes, I looked.)

In one case he criticizes the battery case, implying it wasn’t strong enough to withstand RV wear and tear. When looking for evidence of poor construction, instead of issues, I found a YouTube video where people had dropped Lion Energy batteries from a ladder. The batteries were fine. The pavers where they landed were not as fine. Strength doesn’t always mean thick and I think Wil missed the boat on that and other criticisms, honestly.

When I looked at actual real life usage reviews, I could find no complaints for Lion Energy batteries.

Early battery testing

Early testing of the batteries has been very promising, but there is a caveat.

The caveat is that the weather has been chilly, today, for example, is forty-three degrees, and completely overcast since I returned home. This means that the fridge isn’t working as hard as it would in the hot summer heat.

But, I am encouraged with the results. I disconnected from the campground electric at lunch time on Wednesday and relocated to a parking lot to work for the afternoon. I ran the fan at the thirty percent level for about three hours and the fridge ran the entire time. My batteries dropped some during that time although they also received a little boost from the rooftop solar and also from my tow vehicle during the two- and half-hour drive home.

Since returning home, the batteries have been on as has the fridge. I should have documented my state of charge when I returned home, but I forgot. However, at approximately forty-eight hours after returning home and disconnecting from anything but rooftop solar, my batteries are still at seventy-two percent. That is pretty impressive.

I hope to do additional testing and test with my portable solar panel in the future, but the next couple of weeks appears to hold colder and rainy weather in the forecast.

Nimisila Reservoir

This small campground may very well be one of the best kept secrets in Ohio.

Owned by the state of Ohio, but administrated by the summit County Metro Parks, Nimisila Reservoir is right up my alley. It’s a small campground with spacious sites, lined with mature pine trees. Many of the sites have access directly to the reservoir. There are just a few electric sites, and the shade makes solar a challenge. Generators are not permitted at any time. No potable water is available but there are grey water receptacles throughout the campground, pit toilets, and a dump station.

Nimisila Reservoir is located near Green, Ohio, which lies west of Akron, Ohio. Grocery, gas, and food are all located within about a fifteen-minute drive of the campground and DoorDash does deliver to the campground.

I was joined by my friends Steve and Karen and my new friend Andrew Chwalik
who is the brand ambassador for the nuCamp T@g trailer

What’s on your radar?

Do you have a spring “honey-do” list for your RV? Are you thinking about installing lithium? I’d love to hear what’s on your radar this spring, so share those in the comments.