What Size/Type Fuse?

I'll be installing an additional Lithionics 12V 130Ah lithium battery in an RV.  The battery specifications indicate that the max discharge current is 100A.  So, does that mean I should install a 100 amp fuse?  Something less to protect the battery?  Something more because it has an internal BMS already, and I should just worry about melted parts?

The wiring diagram indicates a 200 amp fuse in one of the circuits, but its difficult to tell if that is for one or both of the other two  batteries.

I'm I've been told to not worry about another fuse...just tap into the proper positive and negative bus bars.  I've also been told to fuse the new battery, and that the original two have their own fuses.  Safety would be to fuse the cable.  Ease of install would be to not fuse. 

I know I need a non-delay fuse.  What else should I consider?

FYI:  RV is a 2021 Winnebago Revel with two original Xantrex/Lithionics lithium batteries.



  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,804 admin
    Without the schematic showing the fuse(s), it is difficult to guess at what is intended/required.

    Going back to basics, fuses and circuit breakers (breakers are many times a better choice--Allows you to reset the circuit without having a bunch of expensive fuses on hand, and also very handy for an on/off switch when servicing your electrical system--And sometimes used to shutdown all the electrical loads when putting RV away for winter.

    And fuses/breakers are there to (mostly) protect your wiring from short circuits/overheating/starting fires. The first question is what is the AWG of the wiring you wish to protect. A couple of simplified charts:

    https://lugsdirect.com/WireCurrentAmpacitiesNEC-Table-301-16.htm (National electric code--Tends to be more "conservative")
    https://boathowto.com/wiresize/wiresize_tables_abyc.pdf (marine ABYC--Not in conduit)

    For example, if you have two "100 Amp rated" batteries (12 volts @ 100 Amps) in parallel, then you could draw 200 Amps (starting circut, large AC inverter, etc.). For a 200 Amp circuit, you look up the insulation type (temperature rating) and find the minimum AWG cable needed to support that current.

    If, however, you have 200 Amp supply, and 100 Amp wiring to your largest DC load (i.e., ~1,200 Watt AC inverter), then you could use smaller wire and smaller Fuse/Breaker to protect that circuit.

    From the Lithionics website:

    Use a 1000 watt inverter charger max. on a single battery. Use a 2000 watt inverter charger max. on a twin-battery set up. Consult Lithionics for conditions required for a 3000 watt inverter.
    Charging temperature range:
    32 to 113 Fahrenheit
    Charge voltage:
    14.4V Recommended (14.6V Max.)
    Recommended float charge voltage:
    Recommended charge current:
    Allowed max charge current:
    100A with starting temp of 77°F (25°C)
    Discharging temperature range:
    -4 to 131 Fahrenheit
    Output Voltage Range:
    Recommended discharge current:
    Max discharge current:
    100A with starting temp of 77°F (25°C)
    Pulse discharge current:
    <1000A for 1s max with starting temp of 77°F (25°C)
    Discharge cut-off voltage:
    https://lithionicsbattery.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/74-505-12V130-G31LRBM8-Battery-User-Guide-RE.pdf (user manual)
    Over Current Protection – The BMS will disable discharge or charge current if the amperage exceeds 125A for 2 minutes continuously. To restore normal operation, remove/address the source of the overload, then short-press the Power Button. ▪ Short

    Circuit Protection – The BMS will immediately disable discharge current if the current value exceeds 1200A. To restore normal operation, remove/address the source of the short circuit, then short-press the Power Button.

    NOTE - The lithium battery is capable of significant power output and may maintain the voltage level during a short circuit event, producing a very large current capable of melting or welding connection points and damaging cables and connectors. Even when the BMS detects the short circuit and tries to protect, the BMS may be damaged under such a large current. Make sure that the battery connection is always properly fused and does not rely on the BMS alone for short circuit protection!
    For an RV, generally, you have loads that run for hours, and don't do a lot of high discharge/short time frame current draw (maybe starting the RV motor/heating&starting a diesel engine, etc.)...

    Designing for 100 Amp draw would take a 130 AH battery to zero state of charge in a bit more than 1 hour... Normally, for "average" current draw, I would be looking at, for example (made up numbers, may or may not work for your needs):
    • use 70% of battery capacity
    • 12 volts @ 100 Amp * 2 batteries in parallel
    • say 5 hours per night, for 2 nights (no sun) operation or 10 hours total
    • 2 * 130 AH * 70% of battery capacity = 182 AH planned usage
    • 182 AH / 10 hours of use = 18.2 Amps of average current draw over 10 hours
    • Say 1,000 Watt AC inverter: 1,000 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter efficiency * 1/10.4 amps = 113 Amp max continuous draw (take your 2x batteries to near zero state of charge in ~2 hours at full load)
    Once you have figured out your loads (average/max/surge)... Then designed the wiring to support that. You can look at fuses/breakers. Here is a nice discussion about how to pick the proper fuse(s) and circuit breaker(s) for your DC power system:


    Note that "normal loads" rarely operate at 100% continuous current rating... Heaters, Gym Lighting circuits, etc. can. And charging a battery bank is another (charging battery bank @50 amps for ~4 hours in your case--possibly). Typical North American fuses & breakers are rated to blow at 100%+ rated current (may take minutes/hours). And not blow at 80% or less of rated current...

    So if you had a 50 Amp branch circuit running to some DC loads, then a 50 amps rated cable/fuse/breaker would be typical solution.

    However, if you where charging your battery bank at 50 Amps, the NEC continuous load derating of 80% would be suggested to avoid nuisance tripping of fuses/breaker (i.e., 50 amps trips after 2 hours of charging):
    • 50 amps * 1/0.80 NEC derating = 62.5 Amp minimum suggested rating for battery charging (round up to next standard size of wire+fuse) 
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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