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Old 02-02-2014, 19:18   #46
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Have a close read of the instruction leaflet. It's seems a little simplistic to me. All it is is a voltage convertor. It doesn't provide any cell monitoring or proper LVC or HVC protection.

I don't know .....

Dave

I understand, and you would still need a BSM with LVC and HVC protection, but it may allow us to reuse our chargers without spending the extra for a full programmable solar/shore charger.
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Old 02-02-2014, 19:20   #47
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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I understand, and you would still need a BSM with LVC and HVC protection, but it may allow us to reuse our chargers without spending the extra for a full programmable solar/shore charger.
Yes on the face of it, it would seem to be capable of that. sterling has developed some high power DC to DC technology and they are seemingly making quite a few products from it.

Dave
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Old 02-02-2014, 19:28   #48
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Mainsail-

This is the first I have seen the Sterling Battery Chemistry Module. After just scratching the surface of it's abilities, I see it has a setting already programmed for LiFePO4. Wouldn't I then be able to put this between my older Promariner charger....heck, even my BlueSky 3024i Solar and just set the Sterling to LiFePO4 and get down to the voltage needed?

Seems like a plug and play way to use our older equipment already onboard. You're using to charge a LA start battery, but it sound like a solution to sub-60a charge sources.
The BCM will only boosts voltage thus you set your charger for the lowest voltage bank you need to charge. In my case the Li bank charges with a custom setting at 13.8V. The BCM boosts the voltage to my AGM reserve bank to 14.6V so I don't chronically undercharge it at 13.8V.... It will not drop the voltage of your charger.. If you want 14.1 out of the BCM but yoru main charger is set for 14.4V you will get 14.4V out of the BCM.

We should be very leery of any company slapping a Li charge profile on their equipment. Much of this is done without a clue of which Li chemistry or brand you are charging. Based on some of the profiles I've seen I assume these are decided on by the marketing departments not the actual engineers.

I have yet to see one I would use on my own boat, not one. This means a charger, controller or regulator, that is fully programmable is almost always necessary. Usually they are never close to a good voltage for safe Li charging for house bank use. For example Charlie has the BCM set for 14.6V then a 14.4V float.. There is no "float" with Li and especially not at 14.4V /3.6VPC...

You could not pay me to charge my Li pack at anywhere near those voltages because it is absolutely not necessary and only puts you closer to the danger zone. For a house bank there is no need to push into the knee ranges voltage wise. The BCM on Charlies Li setting won't even work with a House Power BMS as the HVC triggers at 14.2V.

These days it seems to be the "cool thing" to have a Li setting but it is usually PURE GARBAGE and nothing more than a label to make people think it works with Li... Buyer beware.....

That said the BCM is a great little tool to boost charge voltage to a second LA bank when charging a Li bank at 13.8V - 14.0V...... It also works well when you have a GEL house bank and an AGM or flooded starting bank that need more than 14.1V.

The BCM is only designed to work on an unused output of a battery charger and the charger signals it on.. This output needs to be diode isolated for the BCM to work correctly.
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Old 02-02-2014, 19:42   #49
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Hi Guys and Gals,

When I saw this thread I thought great now something maybe I could understand. But then people become people and something for me gets lost. Oh well.
Now if the people who do understand these batteries can help people like me it would be great. I like the OP waded throuigh the other threads and became confused. So what about these LIPO4 batteries that are supposedly pre-made for boating and other uses, stating that you can just hook them up to an existing system.

12V 200AH Lithium ION Battery Solar Deep Cycle Caravan Marine 3yr Warranty | eBay

Are these in fact able to do it reliably as I feel they dont seem to have taken into account all the stuff I read on the other LiPo4 threads?

If you think they are good then it might help the OP

Derek
Here is their website. Fusion AGM Batteries > Products > Product List

As with other high end solutions for drop in replacement for lead batteries, they have incorporated a built in BMS. It is plug and play for a price and it still doesn't address the charge acceptance rate and the end user will still need to de-rate his alternator's output.

Pricey for just the convenience of a built in BMS. Making this battery by purchasing the cells will cost $956, so their charging $1844 for the BMS and packaging.
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Old 02-02-2014, 19:44   #50
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Thanks Mainsail. Everyone streaming the Superbowl here has killed my bandwidth and I just finally downloaded the BCM's manual. Here are the voltage specs for the LiFePO4 setting:


9) LiFePO4 14.6 14.4 14.4

Just like you said. Oh well, thought I may have chance to not scrap working equipment.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 02-02-2014, 20:01   #51
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Here is their website. Fusion AGM Batteries > Products > Product List

As with other high end solutions for drop in replacement for lead batteries, they have incorporated a built in BMS. It is plug and play for a price and it still doesn't address the charge acceptance rate and the end user will still need to de-rate his alternator's output.

Pricey for just the convenience of a built in BMS. Making this battery by purchasing the cells will cost $956, so their charging $1844 for the BMS and packaging.
Consider that with this type of BMS it almost always an all or nothing cut. You go out on low voltage you lose everything even the ability to charge. You go out on high voltage and you also lose everything including the ability to use loads. It is also pretty difficult to monitor the health of you bank via individual cell voltages because the batteries are fully sealed and all you get is a pack voltage. What if the cells drift after the warranty? You have a potential of 2000 cycles yet if the cells go out you could destroy the bank a lot sooner. Nice to be able to monitor individual cell voltages.

You also lose the ability to properly tap into the BMS to cut an alternator in a safe manner unless you add more external equipment. Cut the charging from inside the battery box without dropping the regulator first and you've just toasted your alternator.... These are not always as "drop in" as they make them seem.

I prefer to be able to use my loads if an HVC occurs to bring the bank voltage down to a safe level, after all the bank has now likely exceeded the full point... I also like to be able to charge when or if the bilge pump sucks the bank to disconnect voltage..... This type of internal BMS gives you very little in the way of options. Also pretty pricey for a 200Ah battery...

Just consider all the options....
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Old 02-02-2014, 21:44   #52
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Here is an idea for folks that want to test the waters with just their toe. Buy (4) small 100 a-hr cells for less than $450 and use this puny little 30 lb battery to replace your tired 6 volt golf cart batteries or 8Ds in your house bank and just use them for awhile. Being that small, your alternator will charge them at full tilt fast enough before the regulator rolls output back due to heat. Just buy an inexpensive cell logger to watch cell voltages (about $10) and keep the battery away from the discharge knees. If solar doesn't keep up with usage, run the alternator and shut down the charging before the charge knee.

Chances are good that you will like the performance of LiFePO4 so much that you'll spend the money for a bigger bank and all the bells and whistles that allow you to set it up and almost forget it. The fact that on a small 30 lb bank you can run large inverter loads is amazing, and after you scale up, you can use the small bank for the Nav station or up forward as a windlass battery, or as I do with a lightweight 2000 watt inverter for power away from outlets.

Just buy the small cells, charge them in a series string, reconnect all cells in parallel and let sit for a couple of days, reconnect again in series and use it. I remember my voltage sag at 100 amps draw on (8) 225 a-hr golf cart batteries (total of 900 a-hr @ 12 volts) and I can guarantee you a little 100 a-hr LiFePO4 bank will have much less sag than that 900 a-hr of lead.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:36   #53
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Regarding so called "drop in" LFP replacement batteries:
If more capacity is required than the "drop in" provides, multiple units must be paralleled to increase the Ahr capacity, just as we do with LA batteries.

However; the bank will then be comprised of series first than parallel batteries rather than the technically superior method of paralleling cells for capacity and then placing the parallel strings in series for voltage.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:17   #54
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

So for charging LiFePO4's you just want a constant current/constant voltage until the current drops to close to 0 then shut off the charger?
So other than that there is nothing special about a LiFePO4 charger? You could have the HVC & LVC control the charger by relays?
So in my case I'm using a Housepower BMS and 14.2 is the alarm voltage. So my target charge voltage should be max 14.0?
tnd-battery.com says they can build a charger at 120v input 14.0vdc (or whatever voltage I need) with 2KW output and ship it for $413. Would this charger adequately charge my 1000 amp hour 12v bank?
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:23   #55
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

One thing that is easy to mentally slide past is that the bms sensing should be at the cell level and should trigger HVC and LVC independently of normal control functions. If your charging systems and current using systems are functioning properly the bms should just sit there. If a failure occurs in one of the other systems this should save the expensive batteries. At current prices I would have close to $4000 tied up in my dream battery bank. Losing one cell would be irritating. Losing the whole bank would cause much weeping and nashing of the teeth. Not to mention the bad words.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:56   #56
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Guys,

You may not be getting the answers you want because some of us believe you either:

A) Do your homework, study, read the white papers, research the products, design your system, draw a wiring diagram/schematic and install it yourself with a far better understanding than if one of us holds your hand and does everything for you.

Personally I will not post wiring diagrams or get into the minutia because I believe there is a level of responsibility that goes along with a Li system design that needs to be done by you, and not by others. Perhaps someone will hand-hold to the minutia level for you, but it can't be me. I simply find that irresponsible when dealing with LiFePO4.

I will post guidelines & share knowledge, and answer specific questions but I will not build your system for you and give you a detailed shopping list with part numbers, schematics etc... Sorry...

Building this list and researching what you need will yield a FAR BETTER and FAR MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE owner than handing you a recipe with all the secret ingredients.

If you don't have the capability to do any of this then please use option B...

B) Buy a pre-made factory system from the likes of Genasun or Mastervolt.


I'm sorry but I simply can not, with a good conscience, hand out all the short cuts to LiFePO4 as I simply do not feel this is safe nor is it prudent....

I have shown at length how I charge my system, what voltages are used, why I do that etc.. Heck I even posted my Balmar reg settings which I really was hoping owners could figure out on their own from reading the tread. Other owners have done the same.

There is enough information in the original thread to figure out everything you need to do. I believe that thread, as well as MUCH more research, are the bare minimum 101 level courses.

Yes it is tough to wade through but there is great info in there that really should be read. I spent a full two years doing research before jumping in, but a lot of that thread was not there when I was doing mine, so it is far easier now. Every day I continue to learn, read and research Li. I also continue to experiment to give myself even more understanding of the behavior.

Just my .02 and I hope you can understand where I sit on this.......

Actually i don't.

I have already read the 126 pages and got a headache. Now 128 pages at my last look.

LiFeP04 are no more dangerous than any other battery system and yes i know about the exploding lipo batteries as i fly RC planes.

I had assumed that we all were here to help one another, seems strange to me that there are limits on that......having looked at your web pages i find this reply decidedly odd and strange.

I have no doubt i can build a 'good' LiFeP04 system - BUT like i said previously i hate reinventing the wheel - to my mind life is too short for that.

I truly and totally don't understand that reply BUT hey your life your choices, myself i am quite willing to share all and anything i know about any topic with A N Other who asks for my help.

I am going to go through the long thread and copy all the posts, i have already copied almost 100 of them, and once i have them all i will review them and then cut out the too technical info and try and get back to basics in a nice condensed version of that thread.

For sure without any more assistance from yourself i will get there, I just don't understand that mindset - where is the difficulty in specifying a typical basic set up and then one with all the bells and whistles. You have done your research but will only share it in ways that meet your needs not actually others needs. Just think you could save many many people hours and hours of reading day weeks of research but somehow you think they need to follow you down the research it yourself route......suggesting incorrectly of course is that this is the only way they will 'better' understand their system.

The mind boggles!!!
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:10   #57
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
Regarding so called "drop in" LFP replacement batteries:
If more capacity is required than the "drop in" provides, multiple units must be paralleled to increase the Ahr capacity, just as we do with LA batteries.

However; the bank will then be comprised of series first than parallel batteries rather than the technically superior method of paralleling cells for capacity and then placing the parallel strings in series for voltage.
Excellent point Charlie, I forgot to mention that one....
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:12   #58
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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David,

Can you fit 10.7" cells (plus terminal bolts) in you battery space? If they won't fit the 200 a-hr cells aren't that much more in cost.

(12) 200 a-hr is $2772, so about $600 more for a cell that fits standing upright and has 5 a-hr more per cell.
MORE

OKIDOKI.


A few issues rather unsurprisingly.


One we have 11.25” of height available BUT only around 24” x 24” of footprint.


Looking at the 195Ah 3.2V 10C Power Style, LiFePO4 Lithium Prismatic Batteries, HiPower LiFePO4 Li-Ion EV Battery, 7.2L * 2.8W * 10.7H in


We don’t have a big issue with the height BUT if I wanted to set them out as follows.
FOUR Banks of 195Ah connected in parallel to give me 780 Ah. I cant connect them physically as left to right groups of four cells
[] [] [] [] [] cells 1-4......[] [] [] [] cells 5-8.....
[] [] [] [] cells 9-12......[] [] [] [] cells13 -16
AND have the parallel to series interconnection in the middle of each four cell group as that would need almost 12” by 30”


[ c1 ] [ c5 ] [ c9 ] [ c13 ]
[ c2 ] [ c6 ] [ c10 ] [ c14 ]
[ c3 ] [ c7 ] [ c11 ] [ c15 ]
[ c4 ] [ c8 ] [ c12 ] [ c16 ]



NOW IF I have going from left to right two groups of eight cells BUT still with only four cells interconnected in a parallel way.


Can I have OR does any one see issues with the following configuration?.


[] [] [] [] cells 1-4 G1......and to the right [] [] [] [] cells 5-8 G2.....
and below
[] [] [] [] cells 13-16 G4......and to the right [] [] [] [] cells 9 -12 G3



[ c1 ] [ c5 ]
[ c2 ] [ c6 ]
[ c3 ] [ c7 ]
[ c4 ] [ c8 ]

[ c13 ] [ c9 ]
[ c14 ] [ c10]
[ c15 ] [ c11]
[ c16 ] [ c12]



Group one is connected to group two with a mid cell interconnection and group two is connected to group three from bottom the cell to the top cell and group three is connected middle cell to group four, the POSITIVE is off group one and NEGATIVE is off group four to give me my 12+volts.


That seems to be a possible way of getting the 195Ah cells into the space I have.

I do have the identical space on the other side of the boat so could I split the battery physically into two six volt parts one on the port side one on the starboard side. BUT would the 6 to 8 feet interconnection cables screw up the whole thing?


Of course I can or could use 100Ah cells and then I don't have any issues at all (apart from the cost ones) as they are much thinner and not as tall I could even get 32 x 100 Ah cells in to give me 800Ah as they are only 6” x 2.75” x 8.25” so they would fit in in that first described as above - logical physical arrangement quite easily. However if I was going to be happy with 500Ah I could have only 20 cells 600 Ah 24 cells or even 700Ah with 28 cells. At the moment in the morning we are never down more than 60Ah assuming we cook more using the electrical devices and do that in the evening and not have a hot lunch when we are running off of the solar I cant see how we would be more than 200 Ah down even if we used the inverter to heat our hot water tank for hot showers (that we could do during the day(sun up time) on a timer when the solar was 'finished charging the batteries) . So really as LiFeP04 will give me more usable amps vis a vis a FLA/GEL/AGM battery bank of the same capacity 500/600Ah could be more available Ah than we would ever need based on current usage. Of course having more available Ah means we can do more from the solar/wind/LiFeP04/inverter system maybe an A/C watermaker


Question One. One is told that one should not mix FLA Gel and AGM batteries of various ages..........does this also apply to LiFeP04 batteries? This is quite critical as if we can, we could start with a lower Ah system and grow it as we find we need to, OR do we need to plan for the future and grow into an initially bigger Ah Battery.


Question Two, LiFeP04 Battery retention. It seems that these batteries need restrained on their long edge to stop them bulging under charge. How critical is this? Is this related to charge rates? Would a custom fit say 1/4” thick GRP Battery Box be 'enough' or would I need to put strengthening 'stiffening' ribs in/on it? and of course I would want to add a lid to protect all these many cell interconnections from an accidental short.


Question Three, What about a small say 40/60 Ah system for engine start?


Question Four. I have already downloaded 90+ pages of the 236 page thread and intend to download all of them ….. then I will filter out all the stuff that I don’t want. Would it be acceptable to create my own mini edited 'short' version of replies that I feel are important and create some sort of composite document {with acknowledgements of course} of what I see as important and valuable posts/information and then post here as an attachment?


Enough for now methinks
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:12   #59
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

David,

Sorry your thread took the direction that it did. A Mod came along and removed some nasty posts and this is what is left.

I wish I was in a position to help but I'm not using my LiFePO4 cells as a house bank. T1 Terry and Maine Sail have covered in great detail all the components and settings, just have to dig out those posts from the 1000's on that thread.

My post #52 suggests a way to learn as you go for a minimal initial investment. For a person that got 13 years of service from Gel cells, you sure know how to treat batteries.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:17   #60
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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David,

Sorry your thread took the direction that it did. A Mod came along and removed some nasty posts and this is what is left.

I wish I was in a position to help but I'm not using my LiFePO4 cells as a house bank. T1 Terry and Maine Sail have covered in great detail all the components and settings, just have to dig out those posts from the 1000's on that thread.

My post #52 suggests a way to learn as you go for a minimal initial investment. For a person that got 13 years of service from Gel cells, you sure know how to treat batteries.

GOSH i missed all of the excitement OWELL

I CAN work this out just I hate reinventing the wheel

thanks for all your input
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