Lion Energy UT1300 on sale at Costco for $750 (thru 7/5/20)

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
I haven't researched lithium batteries yet because the price was too high for me to justify. So I'll say up front, I have no idea how the Lion Energy batteries compare to others, I just saw these on sale today at Costco and checked out the specs. They look pretty good on paper:


You can download the UT1300 user manual from Lion Energy's site.

A thread here mentioned the following YouTube test of the previous model, the UT1200. The results were disappointing. Tests of two batteries showed that each supplied about 1,000 watts -- not the 1,200 watts advertised:

The *actual* real-world capacity of the UT1300 is something that I would want to clarify before dropping $1,500 on a pair of these.

The fact that Lion apparently "misled" customers about the capacity of the UT1200 concerns me.

In any case, I thought I'd mention the sale, FWIW. If anyone has any input regarding better options, etc, I'm all ears.
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
Here's another good video -- "Battle Born vs Lion Energy UT1300":


Looks like a case can be made for spending the extra $$ for the Battle Born.
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
Found it gltrimble, thanks!

One concern I have is that the terminals seem a bit weak. I have #4/0 cable between the batteries and an MS2000 inverter. It is welding cable, so it's flexible, but I'm still concerned the the terminals may not be able to handle the stress.

Also, as I posted above, the previous UT1200 only had an actual measured capacity of about 1,000 watt-hours. Do you happen to know the actual capacity of the UT1300?
 

JonnyBoats

Member
Does anyone know how the warranty claims are handled? Can they be exchanged and/or refunded at Costco if they fail after a couple of years of service or must one deal with Lion Energy directly?
 

borabora

Active member
At this price point why not go with the MightyMax LIFEPO4 battery which can be had for $699 at Amazon or from MightyMax direct. Few reviews on Amazon but the realistic ones aren't bad. I would think that one can get warranty service out of MightyMax if it came to it. Probably like pulling teeth (send it back to us in original box at your cost) but doable. Of course if Costco stands by the LionEnergy battery themselves (as they do for their car batteries) then I'd spend the extra $50. I am assuming that low-temp charging cut-off works on NO battery right now and that other BMS functions are pretty much all the same. I also would not discharge or charge at anything close to the max levels for any of the Chinese manufactured batteries. (As far as I know Battleborn is US made from Chinese cells). Which is fine by me.
I think (conjecture) that both Covid and tariffs have kept LIFEPO4 battery price up at an unusual level for at least 18 months. This may cease to be the case soon. At least that's what is keeping me from buying into LIFEPO4 right now.
 
One thing I know about Costco is if anyone has any problem whatsoever with any of their products, they will refund or replace without question. They don't even require much, if any, explanation why a product is being returned. Even if you don't still have the receipt, they have it on their records. Theirs is a business model we should all approve of.

If I hadn't just replaced my ten years old AGM storage batteries this past winter, I might have been tempted to consider their lithium ion option.

Next time!
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
I agree 100% about Costco JC. They are a great company to do business with. Decent prices, good merchandise, unlimited return period (ex. for electronics), double warranty (up to 2 years), free 'concierge' (tech support) service, etc. It's hard to go wrong, if they have what you want.
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
Thanks ECU!

I'm still concerned about the previous version -- the UT1200 -- only having a 1 kWh capacity, at least according to the YouTube video I linked to. I'd like to confirm that the UT1300 actually has at least a 1.3 kWh usable capacity. Is anyone aware of any testing that's been done?

I may contact Lion Energy and get their input. According to the other thread here, Lion did not dispute the findings of the UT1200 capacity test. The Sprinter-Source member who posted about it said they were very professional and (IIRC) gave him another battery as well as a deal on some solar panels. That's nice, but the fact remains that they made false claims about the UT1200. Since they buy the batteries from China and resell them, perhaps they were truly unaware, but it's still a concern.
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Found it gltrimble, thanks!

One concern I have is that the terminals seem a bit weak. I have #4/0 cable between the batteries and an MS2000 inverter. It is welding cable, so it's flexible, but I'm still concerned the the terminals may not be able to handle the stress.

Also, as I posted above, the previous UT1200 only had an actual measured capacity of about 1,000 watt-hours. Do you happen to know the actual capacity of the UT1300?
#4/0 cable is overkill in my opinion. I am using #2/0 welding cable in the pictures above. I also have a 3000 watt inverter with a 6000 watt surge capability. The terminals could be beefier but I don’t feel they will be an issue in my install. I have multiple 2/0 wires stacked on some of the terminals but they are all solid. The UT1300 is an excellent value, particularly when you consider the compact size and they only weigh 23 lbs each. I believe the capacity is 1343 watts. They are now an even better value at $700 each. I have multiple friends that purchased them at the $799 price and so far no issues. I pulled the trigger because I like the guarantee of Costco backing up the batteries. I returned one due to a slight rattle, probably a loose screw. I contacted Lion and they encouraged me to return to Costco and immediately order another before the“limited sale” ended.

Lion also has some good and fairly accurate information on their website regarding battery capacity testing.
 

marklg

Well-known member
#4/0 cable is overkill in my opinion. I am using #2/0 welding cable in the pictures above. I also have a 3000 watt inverter with a 6000 watt surge capability.
I'd still go with the biggest practical, which for me was 4/0 from the inverter to a junction and 1/0 to each of four batteries. I can run a 2kw load with low SOC on the LiFePO4 batteries and the voltage stays up with no complaint from the inverter.

That is partially the batteries but the previous install was only a single 1/0 cable to four AGM batteries and the inverter would trip out on low voltage with a similar load unless the batteries were almost fully charged. Hey, I don't want to tell the wife she has to wait to use the microwave while I run the toaster.

Regards,

Mark
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
I believe 2/0 cable should be capable of handling 3000 watts continuous. More for shorter periods. I tested mine by running my 1800+ watt microwave, 600 watt Nespresso machine, and the 600 watt Isotemp water heater. My run from batteries to inverter is relatively short. You might have a difficult time making multiple 4/0 connections even on a 3/8” battery terminal. I also use the same 2/0 welding cable as the feed for my 280 amp Nations alternator.
 

WinnieView1

2014 Winnebago View 24G
We are interested in upgrading our coach from a couple of Costco 6V GC2 batteries and a PD9245C converter but are not certain we would need to make any changes for when the MB alternator is charging.
 

borabora

Active member
We are interested in upgrading our coach from a couple of Costco 6V GC2 batteries and a PD9245C converter but are not certain we would need to make any changes for when the MB alternator is charging.
If 2GC2 batteries at about 160 ah (when configured in series for 12V) were enough for you then you would only need one of the Lion Energy LIFEPO4 batteries to get the same amount of usable watt-hours.
When it comes to your question you might get different answers from different people. Some of us are worried about the alternator more than others. Also an alternator may not fully charge the battery depending on the alternator voltage and the length of the connection. But not fully charging LIFEPO4 batteries can be good for them unless you need that extra storage.
For only one Lion Energy battery replacing the two GC2 batteries you'll probably be okay with a direct swap. If you want to parallel two of them for more storage then I'd recommend using a DC-DC charger. Others will tell you that you can do a direct swap without an extra charger even if you deploy 2 LIFEPO4s.
 

marklg

Well-known member
I believe 2/0 cable should be capable of handling 3000 watts continuous. More for shorter periods. I tested mine by running my 1800+ watt microwave, 600 watt Nespresso machine, and the 600 watt Isotemp water heater. My run from batteries to inverter is relatively short. You might have a difficult time making multiple 4/0 connections even on a 3/8” battery terminal. I also use the same 2/0 welding cable as the feed for my 280 amp Nations alternator.
Unfortunately, my batteries are where they fit, not all together, so there is only one or two max lugs with 1/0 cable on each. Some cables are pretty long, 10 ft or so. That all goes to Blue Sea Studs to combine and connect to the 4/0 going to the inverter.


Four lugs can go on each stud.

It all depends on length and wire size. The normal 3% voltage loss in the Blue Sea calculator is too much in my opinion, especially with AGM batteries. It will get down below 12 V on the inverter. LiFePO4s are more forgiving, but it is still wasted power heating up the wires. I also considered my time. Installing bigger wire takes the same time and the wire is not that much more. I already made the mistake of running too small a wire to the Sterling B-B such that it did not work well when my alternator went to low voltage. I had to go back under the van and run bigger wire.

Regards,

Mark
 

WinnieView1

2014 Winnebago View 24G
If 2GC2 batteries at about 160 ah (when configured in series for 12V) were enough for you then you would only need one of the Lion Energy LIFEPO4 batteries to get the same amount of usable watt-hours.
When it comes to your question you might get different answers from different people. Some of us are worried about the alternator more than others. Also an alternator may not fully charge the battery depending on the alternator voltage and the length of the connection. But not fully charging LIFEPO4 batteries can be good for them unless you need that extra storage.
For only one Lion Energy battery replacing the two GC2 batteries you'll probably be okay with a direct swap. If you want to parallel two of them for more storage then I'd recommend using a DC-DC charger. Others will tell you that you can do a direct swap without an extra charger even if you deploy 2 LIFEPO4s.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply to our post.
A primary concern is making any changes to the MB chassis' systems.
Most of our trips are close to home but we stay for days. We have 300 watts of solar and a generator but feel we don't have the storage capacity to hold it all for any reasonable length of time, so we would probably opt for two of the Lion batteries.
Do you think we need a DC-DC charger if we aren't really concerned with arriving at camp with all batteries fully charged?
 

borabora

Active member
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and reply to our post.
A primary concern is making any changes to the MB chassis' systems.
Most of our trips are close to home but we stay for days. We have 300 watts of solar and a generator but feel we don't have the storage capacity to hold it all for any reasonable length of time, so we would probably opt for two of the Lion batteries.
Do you think we need a DC-DC charger if we aren't really concerned with arriving at camp with all batteries fully charged?
With two batteries you would most definitely need a DC-DC charger in my opinion. If the batteries are nearly empty then they will pull up to 100 amps each. Your alternator cannot supply 200 amps unless it is a dedicated alternator spec'ed for that much which is unlikely.
Adding a DC-DC charger could be easy especially if you are content with a less powerful unit. More powerful units will require more cooling and heavier gauge wiring than you may have. It also depends on whether you have a one-way or two-way isolator in your current set up. A one-way isolator can stay in place even though you don't need it with the DC-DC charger. A two way isolator might need to be removed as the charger won't pass current from the house battery to the chassis batter (at least most won't).
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
#4/0 cable is overkill in my opinion. I am using #2/0 welding cable in the pictures above. I also have a 3000 watt inverter with a 6000 watt surge capability. The terminals could be beefier but I don’t feel they will be an issue in my install. I have multiple 2/0 wires stacked on some of the terminals but they are all solid. The UT1300 is an excellent value, particularly when you consider the compact size and they only weigh 23 lbs each. I believe the capacity is 1343 watts. They are now an even better value at $700 each. I have multiple friends that purchased them at the $799 price and so far no issues. I pulled the trigger because I like the guarantee of Costco backing up the batteries. I returned one due to a slight rattle, probably a loose screw. I contacted Lion and they encouraged me to return to Costco and immediately order another before the“limited sale” ended.

Lion also has some good and fairly accurate information on their website regarding battery capacity testing.
According to Magnum Energy, #4/0 is the bare minimum for a ten (10) foot run, which is what we have. Needless to say, I would prefer to have the inverter closer to the batteries, but their MS2000 is very large, and weighs almost 50 lbs. -- potential mounting locations were very limited. Actually 10' is right on the edge of needing 2 each pos and neg runs of #4/0 (4 cables total).

Magnum's recommendations tend to be larger than their competitors. While it's true that 'bigger is not always better', in this particular case, more/larger gauge cables never hurts. Lower voltage drop is always better. The drawbacks are cost and weight -- which is why I went with a single #4/0 cable for pos and neg -- that, and the fact that connecting the additional cables would be difficult (space is tight with two Crown CR-260 tall GC batteries).

I'm glad to hear the positive feedback.
 

sajohnson

'09 View/08 3500 chassis
I'd still go with the biggest practical, which for me was 4/0 from the inverter to a junction and 1/0 to each of four batteries. I can run a 2kw load with low SOC on the LiFePO4 batteries and the voltage stays up with no complaint from the inverter.

That is partially the batteries but the previous install was only a single 1/0 cable to four AGM batteries and the inverter would trip out on low voltage with a similar load unless the batteries were almost fully charged. Hey, I don't want to tell the wife she has to wait to use the microwave while I run the toaster.

Regards,

Mark
I like the buss bar idea Mark, thanks!

Yeah, the whole toaster vs microwave thing can be a serious issue. :cool:
 

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