Originally Posted by Maine Sail
The most reputable and widely used prismatics I know of are:
Winston (also sold as Voltronix)
There are thousands of hits on these brands and lots and lots of real world users.
Some of the other smaller prismatic players are no longer producing cells. A google search on Benergy yields almost all hits from "Benergy" themselves. I was unable to find anyone or any postings or real world use of Benergy cells even an image search turned up empty..
To me that would be a flag, to others perhaps not.
BTW I have been running some testing on my 2009 Thundersky cells and at 750+ cycles & 7 years they have really remained virtually unchanged in Ah capacity. In the next few weeks I plan to use an intervalometer to make a movie of a discharge test.
I've documented my search in several quotes in the last couple of weeks. But I'll just recap.
- no longer made or available
- no distributors in Canada
(that I have found) and none in the US. Winston in China
is responsive but will only sell and deliver at their factory dock
. You are required to find a shipper and manage shipping
through the shipper. I won't do that.
- one distributor in Utah - but he can't get stock in and, for some reason, is concerned about getting future shipments from Sinopoly. He has orders on hold. Sinopoly in China is responsive and will ship direct if you want - I don't as I don't trust the shipping
process for small orders and without regular knowledge of importing. A Canadian vendor just got a Sinopoly shipment in but is not sure when they will order any more. You have to order with them for what you need as they don't stock the cells. Pay up front, two month delivery
- have decided to not go with CALBs as I am concerned about their suitability for cruisers - noted in my posts (right or wrong). They are the only ones which are, allegedly, available from current
inventory in the US (ironically).
- some cruisers have them. I have read reviews
noting the extremely poor construction and materials used on their terminals, but one cruiser who has them indicated he likes them and has had not problem with them. They require special open-ended battery
cable connectors only available from GBS. I won't use them because of this.
- no track record
that I can find (as you note). The company was very responsive to my initial inquiry but I am waiting on the followup. Unless I can get some credible reviews
I will pass on them.
- The US Sinopoly distributor previously provided another brand of LFP cells but has had bad luck with them and will not longer recommend them (he says not to use them). At least one CF contributor has them and gives them a high recommendation but I won't touch something the vendor won't recommend.
I have asked about CALBs before and got no response on this thread - that was not a good sign in my view. I would reconsider if I could get more, i.e. any, favorable reports. They seem to be widely used for automotive EV and might be good for sailboats but I am risk adverse on this having seen reports of their design and construction is not suitable for my use (noted on this thread previously by another poster who seems to be knowledgeable on the subject).
So - Sinopoly would be my first choice. I will get them if they become available, but I may have to wait awhile. Winston would be great if I could get them in North America. No on GBS unless they change their proprietary terminal design. No on CALB unless I can get referrals and more information.
I am sold on the technology. I have a good design and have purchased all the supporting gear
I need, especially that required to protect the cells from over or under voltages. My charging systems are robust and have suitable regulation. I only need the cells, but given all the noise
about the various vendors, middlemen, and manufacturers I am going to wait for my first choice.
The LA market and technology provides a good contrast as it is a very robust, mature, market with well-known and tested technologies. There are reliable vendors and good supply chains. The best quality brands and types are well known (even if there are strong individual preferences for specific types and brands among users). You can make an informed choice and then readily get what you want. Specific brands/types may be harder to get in some remote
locations but that is common to all kinds of specific and generic boat parts
. The more cruisers who go the DIY LFP route (or even the complete battery
systems sold by Victron, Mastervolt, and Ocean Planet) the more information there will be on brands and supply chains.
I know there are more users out there who have installed successful LFP systems who are either not on CF or just choose to not post about their experiences. The more posts we get on the good, the bad, and the ugly, the more informed we will all be. It is excellent that folks like Maine
Sail, OceanSeaSpray, Seniormechanico, evm1024, Anjin, Ocean Planet, toddegger, Martin on Entropy, and many others are contributing to the discussion. I am envious of those who have got their cells and using their systems. I will be soon, just not as fast as I would like.