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Old 09-12-2015, 08:14   #91
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

The biggest safety issue that I see is the interchanging / confusion of LiFe with other Lithium technology. Huge difference and it is difficult to tell whether some posters are using / referring to different types in their posts out of misunderstanding, mistyping, carelessness or pushing an agenda.

A lot of stored electrical energy has a similar possibility for havoc no matter the source. A poor job of designing and wiring on either one is a safety issue. I don't think that with the LiFe technology the safety aspect is any worse than lead acid. I heard a lead acid explode in a shop and saw the immediate aftermath and it was not pretty. And that was just one car start battery, not an 800 amp bank. At least LiFe doesn't have that issue and I would contend that LiFe is ultimately safer because of that difference.

The main issue for me is $$$. If I thought I would own my current boat for at least another 10 years I may have dug deep and tried to follow MaineSail's foot steps. I would take a lot of cycles to recover the added initial investment. Still knowing I was taking a financial risk because of my learning curve and the current unknowns about house bank use of LiFe batteries. Not to mention the possibility of quality control issues and a big one for me: Replacement of a bad battery. If a LiFe battery goes bad in my bank how long will it take to get a replacement up and running? I can get a 6 volt golf cart battery anywhere they have golf courses and I would be back in business.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:05   #92
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

I don't have the funds and backing that Nigel Calder and others have to experiment with new technologies on my own boat. I seem to have plenty to do with just the basics in every other category. I do try to watch the new developments but have put lithium (of any flavor and chemistry) and carbon batteries in the "too early and too risky" pile in my mind. However, things happen and I am redoing my entire battery system on my newly acquired old boat and dealing with issues such as placement, weight, wire runs, ancillary systems (charging/inverting/etc). I have had very good luck with my own AGMs (remarkable luck it seems but I have always been very anal when it comes to TLC for batteries). My AGMs are dated 2008 and I don't have enough experience with them yet to really know how good they are. I don't have the equipment/time to do a real capacity test on them but I'll figure it out when I get to use the boat more on longer trips out.

Our plan is to go blue water cruising again to remote places and boat maintenance is always something I keep in the front of my mind when installing equipment on my boat. I don't want to have to spend a fortune to get some critical bit, or wait for weeks, even months, to get it. Even in Mexico simple things we take for granted in the US can be very difficult to get and expensive. Lithium batteries seem to be in that category. I don't want to be, and can't afford to be, a technology bleeding edge sailor.

However, the LiFeP batteries seem to be coming along. My plan now is to design, install, and rewire the best I can so that adopting the new batteries would be a "drop in" in the future. I say "drop in" in the sense that ALL the supporting equipment is there that is needed for the new batteries. E.g. I now have a Balmar 125A small frame alternator that would not last long with LiFeP batteries of the same Ah as I have now. But it looks like I would need only a fraction of the Ah of current tech versus the new. But I can plan for that and wire for that now. It does not cost that much more to put in 2/0 wire instead of 1 gauge if it is all new and it is DIY.

I am now reading as much as I can on the subject, including the many fine contributions on CF here and elsewhere. Special thanks to MaineSail for his write-ups of what he has found and tested. My biggest question right now is how the heck to really size the battery bank. It certainly seems like, on an Ah basis as currently defined, that I could get by with half the "Ah" rating with LiFeP batteries as I would go with AGM/LA. I need to do some paper and pencil and get my head wrapped around this issue. I think I will play "a week in the life of a battery" game and do the math. It really does take an entirely new approach from previous experience and "rules". I may share some of this so you guys can pick it apart.

Cost is certainly a major consideration as well, not only for the batteries, but for the charging equipment, BMS, sensors/displays, etc. If I can afford it one of the new Balmar small frame AT alternators, e.g. 165A, would be needed for the new tech and would also be good for my AGMs should I decide to stay with them. (I will wait until I detect my older AGMs need replacing before going to anything else anyway, and the tech will be either better proven or disproven by then, and hopefully the costs will have come down.) One thing is absolutely clear - you can't just "drop in" the new batteries in a boat that was designed and built for LA tech. At all. I can use my current inverter/charger but some other bits will have to change. I need to dig in deeper to my Outback solar charger to see if I can tweek it to suit the new tech. The whole battery management regimen will be entirely different though.

So - thank you to all who are exploring this and posting. I'll be lurking. I promise not to laugh if anyone gets burned by going down the wrong rabbit hole. Just don't burn up your boats or alternators along the way, unless you can afford to do that.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:18   #93
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

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I didn't say that, now you are just making things up.
it's highly unlikely that a refrigerator will burn down your boat.
So can battery chargers, bad battery wiring, shore power cords, electric heaters, corroded shore plugs...........
So should we forgo any electricity?

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Old 09-12-2015, 13:58   #94
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
So can battery chargers, bad battery wiring, shore power cords, electric heaters, corroded shore plugs...........
So should we forgo any electricity?

You know I was going to go there but .....

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Old 09-12-2015, 14:11   #95
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
So can battery chargers, bad battery wiring, shore power cords, electric heaters, corroded shore plugs...........
So should we forgo any electricity?

Didn't say that either, did I ? on the other hand we don't let kids play with matches do we ?
Perhaps you do fall into that category.
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Old 09-12-2015, 17:48   #96
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

It sure seems like you just like to argue with anyone who will talk to you.

We have LiFePo4 (12 volt 200 aH) on the boat and (24 volt 700 aH) with a grid tie in the home's back up system.
All installed by me with home's system PSE permits where necessary.

No fire, no problem anywhere.

I hope you can see your way to be less abrasive to others here.

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Old 10-12-2015, 04:53   #97
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

I think what I have gotten from this thread, after over 4k views and nearly 100 posts and other than a lesson in how to properly use the verb "seem", is that as with any new technology, there are practically no "experts" and those that are most knowledgeable are those that have gotten over there "fear" that so many spread about the unknown, and actually built a system using this new technology. I was merely asking if there was such an advancement that companies were selling "drop in" systems.
I guess if I needed a new system right now, I would overcome my fear of the unknown and "go for it"

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Old 10-12-2015, 06:20   #98
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
It sure seems like you just like to argue with anyone who will talk to you.

We have LiFePo4 (12 volt 200 aH) on the boat and (24 volt 700 aH) with a grid tie in the home's back up system.
All installed by me with home's system PSE permits where necessary.

No fire, no problem anywhere.

I hope you can see your way to be less abrasive to others here.

I made a perfectly reasoned comment that people that don't understand this very complex technology should not have it in their boats and provided a photo of a dangerous installation done by such a person. Now if you disagree with that, fine. Instead of stating a reasoned disagreement, two posters started sniping at me. Did they really think I wouldn't snipe back ?
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:01   #99
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
It sure seems like you just like to argue with anyone who will talk to you.

We have LiFePo4 (12 volt 200 aH) on the boat and (24 volt 700 aH) with a grid tie in the home's back up system.
All installed by me with home's system PSE permits where necessary.

No fire, no problem anywhere.

I hope you can see your way to be less abrasive to others here.

Just to know...What brand of alternator's battery charger you have on your boat to fit the LiFePo4 battery?

Thanks
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Old 10-12-2015, 14:11   #100
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

80 amp Leese Neville with a single Gates V belt.
The original adjustable regulator worked fine, but could not be adjusted below 14.3 volts, so I replaced it.
I added a Balmar adjustable single stage alternator and set it at 13.8 volts.
It rarely gets much excercise though as the solar pretty much keeps the battery full.
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Old 10-12-2015, 19:49   #101
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Re: IS Lithium IRON phosphate the future of marine batteries?

Lithium batteries are not complex technology. Their use is well understood and a lot has been written about them. Maine Sail has the best article about them. If you want a hands off, plug and play battery bank they may not be for you. If you want all the advantages of light weight, long lasting, and quickly charged bank they might be worth the trouble. They can extend cruising range by being able to charge very fast resulting in less engine use. The fuel, wear and tear on the engine savings can make them worthwhile. There are pros and cons of a BMS. Manual monitoring can make sense if you are willing to spare a few minutes a day.
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