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Old 27-04-2018, 12:50   #1
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LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

I just received an email from a lithium battery vendor, who shall remain nameless, who used to sell a BMS system suitable for custom LiFePO4 battery banks. He states:
Please know that ABYC is moving very, very quickly to ban the installation of these types of systems on sailboats. Insurance companies will likely deny a claim if the battery is not 3rd-party tested, as our is per the attached UL Mark. ABYC just voted, and passed, a proposal to require a form of or copy of the UL1973 test plan. Home-made battery systems have very high failure and fire rates on yachts.
I find his response to be very self-serving, as he'd like nothing better than to sell me a ridiculously priced integrated battery system. But, that aside, I was curious whether what he said is true.

The closest thing I could find using my mad Google-Foo skills was this post from almost 2 years ago, certainly not "just voted": https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2016...guidelines.asp

Any thoughts on his statement? And on the comment about insurance companies denying claims?

-David
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Old 27-04-2018, 12:55   #2
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

ABYC makes recommendations. They do not legislate.

Insurance is another matter entirely. They can refuse to cover a claim for any contractual minutiae.
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Old 27-04-2018, 14:14   #3
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

My understanding is Maine Sail has an inside track on this committee's workings, if he isn't a member himself.

Hopefully he'll be along shortly

And yes the impact will be via insurance.

My questions will be regarding portable packs and drop-ins, which are easy to move between RV, off-grid "cabin" and your boat.

If this measure eventually leads to us learning about a greater number of good open BMSs through their getting "certified" that would be wonderful.
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Old 29-04-2018, 05:42   #4
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

I doubt the BMS by itself will ever be certified. Only the whole package, LFP, BMS, charger and all attachment points. There are always stories to be found about home-built or jury-rigged Li batteries causing fire and mayhem. LiFePo will be caught by the regulations as well as other chemistries. Will marinas eventually ban docking without a certifying sticker next to the registration number?
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Old 29-04-2018, 06:06   #5
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

I don't see this as a bad thing. If there have been many cases of DYI installs going horrible, then there should be something to prod people to be safer. That is the AYBC's job, after all.

Besides, maybe this will spur someone to compete with MasterVolt and Victron. If MaineSail can build a completely safe system for a quarter of the cost, it tells me there is a lot of room for competition and innovation to drive the price of packaged units down. At the least, a standard to follow may allow MV/V to pair back their product to cut the cost.

Anything to get lithium as the standard!
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Old 29-04-2018, 06:48   #6
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Are there that many instances of LiFePO4 banks catching fire? I’ve heard of banks being ruined by improper management, but that’s just a costly mistake that does not burn the boat to the waterline. There are probably far more boat fires due to faulty propane systems, yet those are not restricted. Seems a strange double standard.
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Old 29-04-2018, 06:55   #7
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

I can tell you plainly, from the perspective of one of the major boat insurers, that what he says is false. They are following battery development, but LiFePO4 issues are quite small, and they have no plans to deny custom packs.
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Old 29-04-2018, 08:07   #8
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
ABYC makes recommendations. They do not legislate.

Insurance is another matter entirely. They can refuse to cover a claim for any contractual minutiae.
Yep....BUT what risk does an insurance company have to follow the recommendation of ABYC and when a Surveyor says the boat has a Non-ABYC approved Battery system....you insurance company will say Fix/Remove or lose coverage. It's the risk early adapters take and I knew that going in when I installed my LiFePO4 Battery bank 3.5yrs ago.

I'm actually in the process of swapping from a 400AH LiFePO4 bank to 400AH Carbon Foam Bank by Firefly. Most of the advantages of LiFePO4 without the risk or complicated controls and BMS systems. It was a fun experiment but I can get what I'm after with a simpler solution.....Firefly Carbon Foam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battery Salesman States View Post
Home-made battery systems have very high failure and fire rates on yachts.
Bogus....what LiFePO4 Fires...
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Old 29-04-2018, 10:30   #9
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zil View Post
There are always stories to be found about home-built or jury-rigged Li batteries causing fire and mayhem.
Perhaps some, not many.

Hobbyist types welding ex-laptop 18650s or repurposing salvaged EV packs are worth disparaging IMO.

But prismatic LFPs with proven OTS components can be made safer than commercial packaged systems.

Maine Sail has stated publicly that the coming ABYC standards will be based on functionality, not requiring packaged systems much less specifying brands.
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Old 29-04-2018, 12:10   #10
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Yep....BUT what risk does an insurance company have to follow the recommendation of ABYC and when a Surveyor says the boat has a Non-ABYC approved Battery system....you insurance company will say Fix/Remove or lose coverage. It's the risk early adapters take and I knew that going in when I installed my LiFePO4 Battery bank 3.5yrs ago.

I'm actually in the process of swapping from a 400AH LiFePO4 bank to 400AH Carbon Foam Bank by Firefly. Most of the advantages of LiFePO4 without the risk or complicated controls and BMS systems. It was a fun experiment but I can get what I'm after with a simpler solution.....Firefly Carbon Foam.



Bogus....what LiFePO4 Fires...
Really.. This surprises me.. You were a pretty big fanboy years ago..

I will look forward to hearing your experience. We know 3 boats down here running them and 2 of them are are "less than happy". One reported quality issues (leaking cases). The batteries were covered under warranty, but it was very painful to get the batteries down here. The other boat reported subpar performance. He claimed they were no better than a high quality AGM. No better charge performance.

Of course thats all just anecdotal through me. I look forward to some direct posts from people using them.

As to LiFePo4.. We decided to pull the trigger on them as they actually cost less then the Firefly (at least down here) and weigh WAY WAY less.
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Old 29-04-2018, 12:48   #11
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I just received an email from a lithium battery vendor, who shall remain nameless, who used to sell a BMS system suitable for custom LiFePO4 battery banks. He states:
Please know that ABYC is moving very, very quickly to ban the installation of these types of systems on sailboats. Insurance companies will likely deny a claim if the battery is not 3rd-party tested, as our is per the attached UL Mark. ABYC just voted, and passed, a proposal to require a form of or copy of the UL1973 test plan. Home-made battery systems have very high failure and fire rates on yachts.
I find his response to be very self-serving, as he'd like nothing better than to sell me a ridiculously priced integrated battery system. But, that aside, I was curious whether what he said is true.

The closest thing I could find using my mad Google-Foo skills was this post from almost 2 years ago, certainly not "just voted": https://www.boatus.com/magazine/2016...guidelines.asp

Any thoughts on his statement? And on the comment about insurance companies denying claims?

-David
I can tell just from the tone who wrote that..... Can't and won't say more than that...
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Old 29-04-2018, 13:12   #12
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

As Sailmonkey said. And ABYC at best only applies to commercial builders, there's no way they could instruct or ban private installations. The policies of various insurers are of course a roll of the dice. But when it comes to numerous fires and failures....Numerous? Really? And we haven't seen any posts about that, or anything on the Nooze? What, have Chinese lithium industry hackers been quickly deleting all those reports?

David, really, the author deserves to be named.

As to insurers...if you were smoking in bed, fell asleep, and the boat caught fire and burned to the waterline, would you be covered? Speaking of, did Boeing get paid off when that Dreamliner battery caught fire?
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Old 29-04-2018, 13:45   #13
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Have there actually been any boat fires caused by LIFePO4 batteries?
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Old 29-04-2018, 17:48   #14
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
I can tell just from the tone who wrote that..... Can't and won't say more than that...
Thank you, Maine Sail! I think your response says all it needs to. Glad that my response to receiving said email was not a complete overreaction. I’m all for vendors trying to make a buck, but there is a limit, and I don’t react well to my intelligence being insulted.

Regards,
David
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Old 29-04-2018, 18:04   #15
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Re: LiFePO4: ABYC considering "ban" on non-integrated installs?

Mannum by any chance?
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