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Old 12-08-2018, 18:52   #1
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LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DUMMIES!

LiFePO4 Batteries: Discussion Thread for Those Using Them as House Banks - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

This has been a fascinating technical thread but at 6000 posts is it beyond most cruisers who are just now considering the battery change?

I will start a new thread:
"Lithium Ion for Dummies" and hopefully the fantastic gurus on here would advise the less specialist captains on here with a redesign solution for their own boat's needs?

My own boat is not unlike the Delos 24v system / 8 x 8D 12v batteries connected series- parallel who have just released a video of their electrical changes.

https://youtu.be/GvDCLtN22jY

It would be interesting to hear the critiques from the knowledgeable contributers on here

I will still follow this one, but maybe the Dummies one can answer more basic user questions
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:07   #2
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Re: LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DUMMIES!

I think Brian on Delos has a good technical base to use as a standard for asking basic questions.

1. With the same space available, is that 8D drop in solution recommended?

2. Sticking with Ah battery ratings (if we can) and an electrical hungry boat...(I have also just switched to induction stove) what is the optimum LiFeP04 capacity you should size to compared to your previous AGMs?
For example, my 8 x 8D 12v AGMs are sized @ 1040Ah @ 24v as it then only consumes about 10-12% SOC in 24hrs at anchor with 5 people

Do you recommend downsizing?
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:25   #3
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Just as an aside,

Brian's test comparing Gas with Induction stove for boiling water was flawed.
I don't think his old kettle was induction efficient!

This test is more accurate

https://youtu.be/2SDWkGx0ako
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:42   #4
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Re: LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DUMMIES!

I had a quick look at the kit they suggest and I can't see a BMS or relays anywhere on it - apparently, they are built into the battery? The battery website they got them from doesn't actually provide any info on how it works so I am suspicious, especially this bit

'Lithium cells are more picky about their voltages, so it is important to configure your charging system to the battery specs, in our case this means limiting the “bulk” charge to 14.4V . '

and this bit

'The Battle Born Battery also requires no new hardware to run in
your boat, RV, trailer, or golf cart. Just pull out that grungy old lead acid battery (use two hands, those suckers are heavy), drop in this elegant upgrade, and get yourself out there'

This kinda goes against the experience of most of the early adopters, where you'd have to reprogram your charge sources / relays to stop at voltages < 14v.

I have a homebrew 400AH lifepo4 bank using Sinopoly cells (8x200AH) with an Orion JR BMS and a couple external relays, took me a while to setup.
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:50   #5
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Re: LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DUMMIES!

I think Brian's video is very well thought out and illustrated for informing the basic's of Lifepo4. He said he will be doing part 2 so I hope he hits some finer points on BMS, management and do's and don'ts ect....

The how to page is awesome.
https://marinehowto.com/lifepo4-batteries-on-boats/
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Old 12-08-2018, 20:21   #6
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Even the thread title has me asking questions.
Lithium ION???
The posts are talking about LiFePo4. About which formula will this thread be?


Color me Wha? on Whidbey...
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:04   #7
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Another question for the hive mind on the LiFePo4 subject. When will more boat manufacturers offer them as a standard option. Most new boats that I have looked at do not and the only choice is to install them after market.

Gary
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Old 13-08-2018, 10:18   #8
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Pelagic, Some hard won experience worth considering. Lithium batteries do give great energy density. I installed a complete Victron system with 2 of the 24VDC, 180 AH power packs and they gave me something comparable to what 8 of the 8D Lead Acids gave me. Saying that I would never do it again as the system has been too unreliable. Worse then the unreliability is the lack of any support from the factory or knowledge of the product from people in the yards, including those listed as Factory authorized technicians. If you are going to actually travel as I do then you can expect to sit at distant ports for weeks on end trying to get these systems to work or find parts that pretty much do not exist in the distribution chain. Its really nuts. What we eventually did was to run an alternative feed harness that allows me to disconnect the lithium system completely and wire my panels directly to the engine battery bank. I needed to increase the size of the engine bank which reduced my weight savings from the Lithiums but it was absolutely necessary. Some of the new self contained Lithiums may be worth looking at once they have some history. The idea that I can swap back to an AGM in some distant port is priceless. Another technology that looks interesting is the Firefly carbon foam lead acids.

If you decide you must go Lithium, do a little experiment once you obtain a parts list from the company you have chosen. Get on the phone and see just how much support you can get on the products from there list of service centers and see how many of the parts are available to purchase immediately.

Best of luck in your endeavor.
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Old 13-08-2018, 13:34   #9
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

I was thinking after watching the Delos video about a self-contained induction stove build.

Would it be possible to put a Lithium battery, charge controller and induction stove-top all in place of the existing gas stove? i.e. in that space. And not change out the rest of the Lead Acid system.

Basically the lithium battery would just be for the stove.
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Old 13-08-2018, 15:04   #10
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

One area that was not discussed was the Alternator...

Lithium batteries can absorb many amps, which can lead to alternator overheating, which affects alternator output and longevity. An external alternator regulator is needed to control alternator output (voltage, amps, etc) and reduce problems.

Also, what happens when the Lithium batteries are fully charged and their built-in BMS disconnects them from charging sources, including alternator? Hopefully, the starting Lead Acid battery is present to absorb the current. Ideally, the alternator Field wire is used to turn Off alternator output.

There are many other issues with Lithium battery installations. Hopefully, one day soon Lithium batteries will be a simple drop-in replacement for Lead Acid batteries.
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Old 13-08-2018, 15:18   #11
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

I had asked Delos that exact question about the alternator. He mentioned a DC to DC converter is needed, and that's in the next video. Ha!
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Old 13-08-2018, 15:22   #12
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenFranklyn View Post
Pelagic, Some hard won experience worth considering. Lithium batteries do give great energy density. I installed a complete Victron system with 2 of the 24VDC, 180 AH power packs and they gave me something comparable to what 8 of the 8D Lead Acids gave me. Saying that I would never do it again as the system has been too unreliable. Worse then the unreliability is the lack of any support from the factory or knowledge of the product from people in the yards, including those listed as Factory authorized technicians. If you are going to actually travel as I do then you can expect to sit at distant ports for weeks on end trying to get these systems to work or find parts that pretty much do not exist in the distribution chain. Its really nuts. What we eventually did was to run an alternative feed harness that allows me to disconnect the lithium system completely and wire my panels directly to the engine battery bank. I needed to increase the size of the engine bank which reduced my weight savings from the Lithiums but it was absolutely necessary. Some of the new self contained Lithiums may be worth looking at once they have some history. The idea that I can swap back to an AGM in some distant port is priceless. Another technology that looks interesting is the Firefly carbon foam lead acids.

If you decide you must go Lithium, do a little experiment once you obtain a parts list from the company you have chosen. Get on the phone and see just how much support you can get on the products from there list of service centers and see how many of the parts are available to purchase immediately.

Best of luck in your endeavor.
Thanks for this.....you have just confirmed my gut feeling that Lithium on a cruising boat, while attractive, has too many risky downsides and little universal support from the suppliers.
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Old 13-08-2018, 15:23   #13
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

As long as this is an intro thread (and hopefully on that becomes very informative) my pet peeve is the spelling of LiFePO4.

This is the chemical formula for Lithium Iron Phosphate.

Li the symbol for Lithium
Fe the symbol for Iron
P the symbol for Phosphorus
O the symbol for Oxygen (there are 4 of them)

If you spell it LiFePo4 the you are dissing the oxygen....


LiFePO4 please.

OK rant mode off.
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Old 13-08-2018, 15:47   #14
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

Thanks for the clarification

Maybe the Mods can change my title to
"LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DUMMIES"
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Old 13-08-2018, 17:44   #15
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Re: LITHIUM ION FOR DUMMIES!

We have been happily existing on Lithium ion batteries for 6 months. It was interesting to talk to the local marine electricians, I noticed that they are eager to learn the new concepts, although the often drift back to the old lead acid analogies, which can be miss leading. We are on a catamaran which is weight sensitive so we never considered lead acid. Our maximum load is about 2,000 Kgs by the time you subtract fuel, water and food we had a small allowance left so the dilemma was how to balance batteries, booze and books. While we have large alternators on the engines we have never used them to charge the batteries other than in testing as the solar panels keep up with our requirements. It is 9:30 and we are at 81% soc.
Just a comment on the "Name", Lithium ion is a fine name as it is the ionic lithium that is transferring the charge. Indeed just using the term lithium imparts sufficient meaning to enable accurate communication after all we have been happy enough say lead acid or AGM without having to resort to the chemical compositions. My moto is to learn from the past but let it go and move on to the next exciting adventure.
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