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Old 16-04-2019, 23:32   #1
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LiFePO + MPPT solar + what else?

Been researching LiFePO and quite surprised to see how much prices have fallen.
I'm thinking of getting around 500w of solar, run through a MPPT charge controller that is compatible with lithium cells, and using a bank of 12v LiFePO batteries wired in parallel.

The question is- what else will I need in order to complete my setup?
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Old 17-04-2019, 00:40   #2
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Re: LiFePO + MPPT solar + what else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SY Kelpie View Post
Been researching LiFePO and quite surprised to see how much prices have fallen.
I'm thinking of getting around 500w of solar, run through a MPPT charge controller that is compatible with lithium cells, and using a bank of 12v LiFePO batteries wired in parallel.

The question is- what else will I need in order to complete my setup?
Hi,

I would say general understanding of the parameter settings, your electric system and your other charge sources. You may need a b2b charger to control your alternator power and voltage and also reconfigure your shore power charger.
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Old 17-04-2019, 11:32   #3
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Re: LiFePO + MPPT solar + what else?

I would go with several small MPPT controllers as a way to deal with shading rather than 1 big controller for all the panels.
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Old 18-04-2019, 14:24   #4
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Re: LiFePO + MPPT solar + what else?

Thanks. So it should all come down to how the new LiFePO battery bank interacts with the other systems (alternator, shore power, engine start battery)?

I'm asking the question because when I price up the batteries, MPPT controller, and panels, it comes to cost that seems almost affordable. But when I look at the price of a ready to go system it is hugely more expensive and includes things like BMS that I don't fully understand. Obviously people spend their money on this kit for a reason so I need to do more research on what the extra money is getting me.

FWIW, in ten years of boat ownership I have never once actually plugged in to shore power. Generally we are off-grid when cruising, and make do with solar and engine charging. Our new boat also has a wind gen, just to complicate matters!

My initial thoughts are to keep a bank of lead-acid batteries charged by the existing sources (engine, wind, small solar panel) and build a totally separate second bank for purely domestic use, charged by the new panels. However I expect that I would need to have a way of charging this bank from the engine and/or directly from the lead-acid bank.
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