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Old 05-02-2014, 10:24   #106
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Maybe in my ignorance I'm looking at this in a too simplistic way, but it seems to me that the really technical aspects is for the ancillary systems for cell protection and not the swap out of lead for lithium, and the only reason is to protect the investment in these cells. You don't see this level of protection for a lead bank, but it would benefit from this level of protection too.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:26   #107
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Wow! First I'm not a boater (bad back, vertigo, bad knees killed that dream years ago), I'm living full-time in my motorhome. I've been researching LiFePO4's for about 3 years and finally installed my 1000 amp hour 12Vdc system this winter. As has been said many times there is not only a lack of practical information but also much negative dis-information.
My system is working great. I'm reusing an older inverter/charger that (once my cell logger comes in) should be charging at where I want it to. I did install a Balmar MC-614 and am very grateful for the setup info on that posted by Maine Sail. That alone saved me many hours of experimentation.
Ultimately it was my decision to delve into LiFePO4's rather than replace my 6 8Ds with AGM's and I'm glad I did. But this new technology is very different than LA batteries and requires a different mindset. At this point I would not leave my wife in the motorhome for a week or more by herself. Sometime in the near future I hope to have things more automated but not there yet.
For anyone considering switching I say go for it but be prepared for frustration! If your existing equipment is not compatible it's not that easy to find the right equipment that will work like you want or need it to. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want replace my inverter/charger or just add a stand-alone charger. Either way which one? I've asked that question a couple times in this forum and others but haven't received any answer other than some people like a certain inverter brand........That's the problem, even the manufacturers of the cells and inverters and chargers don't understand how to make them work together. I feel they can work together but nobody is willing to stake their products reputation on that by saying "sure, go ahead".
Again I'm thankful for all of the help and info I've gleaned from this forum, and I did read the mega-post!
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:42   #108
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Right now I'm trying to decide if I want replace my inverter/charger or just add a stand-alone charger. Either way which one?
Seems like a lot of cruisers like these Victron MultiPlus Charger-Inverters, because they are programmable.

http://www.victronenergy.com/inverters-chargers/multiplus-12v-24v-48v-800va-3kva/
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:45   #109
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
My goal is to take that knowledge and the knowledge of others and somehow put it in a way that is accessible to the people that are trying to learn.
That is a great goal! I would love to as well but I only have so much time in a day. I have at least started bookmarking my posts here for future reference.

I do plan to begin working on a series of LiFePO4 articles and putting it up on my web site, but it is extremely time consuming work to do this well... probably 40-80 hours time..

So far here just off the top of my head I have:

Show how to top balance easily
Suggested the preferred equipment for top balancing
Discussed why to top balance
Run 238 cycles and shared that info
Conducted 4 capacity tests and shared that info
Built a battery case and shared that info & specifics
Shared which BMS I chose and why
Shared my charging voltages and why
Discussed Ah counters and how to keep them accurate
Shared my findings on the Smart gauge for Li
Show the build process of my BMS and listed all equipment
Gave out my Balmar regulator settings
Discussed LiFePO4 and alternators at lengths
Discussed use and charging at length
Discussed current taper at 13.8V charge levels
Shared actual capacity of the bank when charging to 13.8V
Shared my thoughts on shunt balancing vs. staying out of both knees
Shared my thoughts on top vs. bottom balancing for house banks
Shared information on comparisons between LA and Li in terms of cycle life
Shared that higher voltages and limited sag can lead to blown glow plugs
Have shared my thoughts that I don't feel Li is the right fit for everyone
Share my thoughts on products that have in-built temp compensation
Shared my thoughts on why you do not use temp compensation on Li
Shared my thoughts and findings on overcurrent protection
Shared my thoughts on why a load and charge bus
Shared my thoughts on proper voltage sensing
Shared info on programming solar controllers
Shared info on why a "Li" charge setting on equipment may not be good


The list goes on and on and on yet I guess it may still not be enough...
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:51   #110
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
David,


Oh and BTW my daughter has a snow day today and I have been able to begin working on a Cell Log 8S article for you guys, FOR FREE, still I suppose it will NEVER BE ENOUGH ..........
Maine,
I had some time this am and happened across an older Jack Riccard video about the cellog 8. It makes want to remind you to remind others that those very small voltage sense wires need to be fused! Sending virtually unlimited amps though +/- 20 ga wires and a very small moldex plug isn't pretty.

As for the other stuff, Geez, it's all here. Equipment, links, sources, theory and much advice. It's even been broken down into it's simplest forms.
Don't listen to it.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:30   #111
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

I agree with Maine Sail and others that enough information to get one started and build a working LiFePO4 system has been posted. Those of us that are engineers should be familiar with starting from a disciplined system design approach. The first question should be what will best meet MY needs for the way I will be using it and in many cases that won't be Li. Maine Sail has shared his thoughts on that, maybe reading that should be the staring point.

For me, right now, converting to LiFePO4 will take more time than I'm willing spend. As a retired electronics engineer I could, using the information posted here, design a working Li system that meets MY needs but I do want to do some sailing once the weather improves. So for me right now dropping in a couple of AGM's, several hours work at most, is the way to go. I'll continue posting here if I feel I can help and add something constructive.

So one final question that should keep arguments err..discussions going.

If you have LiFePO4 as a house battery bank what type of anchor should you use?

Have fun with that

Steve
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:13   #112
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by SteveSails View Post
So one final question that should keep arguments err..discussions going.

If you have LiFePO4 as a house battery bank what type of anchor should you use?
Any Concave Anchor will work good. May want to stay away from the Convex Plow anchors unless you do not like to sleep at night.

Anchors - Bigger is Better ?
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Old 05-02-2014, 13:38   #113
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Wow! First I'm not a boater (bad back, vertigo, bad knees killed that dream years ago), I'm living full-time in my motorhome. I've been researching LiFePO4's for about 3 years and finally installed my 1000 amp hour 12Vdc system this winter. As has been said many times there is not only a lack of practical information but also much negative dis-information.
My system is working great. I'm reusing an older inverter/charger that (once my cell logger comes in) should be charging at where I want it to. I did install a Balmar MC-614 and am very grateful for the setup info on that posted by Maine Sail. That alone saved me many hours of experimentation.
Ultimately it was my decision to delve into LiFePO4's rather than replace my 6 8Ds with AGM's and I'm glad I did. But this new technology is very different than LA batteries and requires a different mindset. At this point I would not leave my wife in the motorhome for a week or more by herself. Sometime in the near future I hope to have things more automated but not there yet.
For anyone considering switching I say go for it but be prepared for frustration! If your existing equipment is not compatible it's not that easy to find the right equipment that will work like you want or need it to. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want replace my inverter/charger or just add a stand-alone charger. Either way which one? I've asked that question a couple times in this forum and others but haven't received any answer other than some people like a certain inverter brand........That's the problem, even the manufacturers of the cells and inverters and chargers don't understand how to make them work together. I feel they can work together but nobody is willing to stake their products reputation on that by saying "sure, go ahead".
Again I'm thankful for all of the help and info I've gleaned from this forum, and I did read the mega-post!
Happy to hear things are working for you on your upgrade. What is the problem with your inverter/charger? Even my 30 year old Trace 2012 had dip switches for current and voltage on the charging side. Staying with the inverter/charger would be the easiest over going to a dedicated charger. If a dedicated charger is desired, I've had good service from this one....
KP-C(1200W) Charger [KP-C(1200W)] - $209.00 : EV Assemble, LiFePO4, Electric Bike Conversion Kit, EV Charger, BMS, EV Components, EV Parts, All for EV!

This site has many chargers to choose from.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:14   #114
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
That is a great goal! I would love to as well but I only have so much time in a day. I have at least started bookmarking my posts here for future reference.

I do plan to begin working on a series of LiFePO4 articles and putting it up on my web site, but it is extremely time consuming work to do this well... probably 40-80 hours time..

So far here just off the top of my head I have:

Show how to top balance easily
Suggested the preferred equipment for top balancing
Discussed why to top balance
Run 238 cycles and shared that info
Conducted 4 capacity tests and shared that info
Built a battery case and shared that info & specifics
Shared which BMS I chose and why
Shared my charging voltages and why
Discussed Ah counters and how to keep them accurate
Shared my findings on the Smart gauge for Li
Show the build process of my BMS and listed all equipment
Gave out my Balmar regulator settings
Discussed LiFePO4 and alternators at lengths
Discussed use and charging at length
Discussed current taper at 13.8V charge levels
Shared actual capacity of the bank when charging to 13.8V
Shared my thoughts on shunt balancing vs. staying out of both knees
Shared my thoughts on top vs. bottom balancing for house banks
Shared information on comparisons between LA and Li in terms of cycle life
Shared that higher voltages and limited sag can lead to blown glow plugs
Have shared my thoughts that I don't feel Li is the right fit for everyone
Share my thoughts on products that have in-built temp compensation
Shared my thoughts on why you do not use temp compensation on Li
Shared my thoughts and findings on overcurrent protection
Shared my thoughts on why a load and charge bus
Shared my thoughts on proper voltage sensing
Shared info on programming solar controllers
Shared info on why a "Li" charge setting on equipment may not be good


The list goes on and on and on yet I guess it may still not be enough...
Ya but you didn't give us the post number for each of those entries!

In all seriousness MainSail.. You da Man! I appreciate your efforts and hope your frustration level stays manageable .
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:43   #115
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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In all seriousness MainSail.. You da Man! I appreciate your efforts and hope your frustration level stays manageable .
+1. And between you and I, we are going to put to rest the claim of 2000 cycles to 80% DOD as a believable cycle life.

I'm on cycle #246, 1754 to go.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:45   #116
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Deckofficer the problem I'm having is not really with the inverter/charger but with the Housepower BMS alarming at 14.2v. Whenever the cell logger gets here I plan to use it for the alarm buzzer so I can set it a bit higher. I just feel that I could be getting a bit more capacity by letting the charge finish. When I shut off the charger I'm still at 35-40amps. I did contact your link and they can configure a charger like I want. Like everyone else this is only 1 project I'm currently working on.
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Old 05-02-2014, 14:56   #117
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

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Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Deckofficer the problem I'm having is not really with the inverter/charger but with the Housepower BMS alarming at 14.2v. Whenever the cell logger gets here I plan to use it for the alarm buzzer so I can set it a bit higher. I just feel that I could be getting a bit more capacity by letting the charge finish. When I shut off the charger I'm still at 35-40amps. I did contact your link and they can configure a charger like I want. Like everyone else this is only 1 project I'm currently working on.
OK, I get it now. My stand alone charger is set for 14.6 volts, so I would get the alarm too. For something that is on all the time when your plugged into a RV park (the charger side of the inverter), why don't you set its voltage to 13.8 Volts. That would be 3.45 volts per cell and since from all the posts the jury is still out on any float voltages, if staying on the grid for a long time, just turn off the inverter/charger.

Remember if you have that company configure a charger for a lower voltage output you might not get the rated amps out of it due to the voltage differential being less. It would defiantly taper output at an earlier stage, prolonging charge times.

Otherwise, have you had a chance to run on just the batteries for a 80% DOD and what do you think of the amount of no voltage sag energy that resides in these cells? For me it was like night and day difference from all the lead banks I have assembled over the years.
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Old 05-02-2014, 15:18   #118
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

That's why I haven't ordered a charger yet. Once I install the cell logger then I can see just how high my individual cell voltages get with a full cycle from the inverter/charger. That will give me much more information and then I can consider whether I want to float or not. Right now I'm shutting off the charger when the BMS alarms.
I've only gone 24 hours and used about 350 amps which would be all I could get from 6 8D AGMs. So if I need to I'm sure I could go 48 hours or more. Especially if I try to conserve. Right now it's nice to not even worry about battery power. Air conditioning is the only thing I don't have on batteries. That would take quite a bit of re-wiring for a/c.
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Old 05-02-2014, 15:45   #119
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Quote:
Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Deckofficer the problem I'm having is not really with the inverter/charger but with the Housepower BMS alarming at 14.2v. Whenever the cell logger gets here I plan to use it for the alarm buzzer so I can set it a bit higher. I just feel that I could be getting a bit more capacity by letting the charge finish. When I shut off the charger I'm still at 35-40amps. I did contact your link and they can configure a charger like I want. Like everyone else this is only 1 project I'm currently working on.
The HP BMS is alarming at 14.2V and is also HVC'ing at 14.2V because you simply do not need nor want to charge any higher than that. It is trying to tell you something and is specifically designed this way for good reason.

Set all charge sources at 14.0V or less and the HP BMS will work flawlessly. Most devices do not have the voltage stability to not poke into the 14.2V range if set at 14.1V so 14.0V max. If you set it too close to HVC this will simply keep dropping devices off and re-engaging them which over the long haul is not the best treatment for the charge sources..

You do have the HVC relays & LVC contactor wired in?? This should be a bare minimum with the HP BMS...

Many of the old inverters had a constant float setting that only allowed 13.5V to 13.8V depending upon the unit. It was sometimes called power supply mode. If yours does have this, set it at that. If not a Sterling ProCharge Ultra or Promariner ProNautic P battery charger can work well as they have a custom settings that you can program for 13.8V charge and float/drop of 13.1V. Otherwise you are into a Victron or Magnum inverter/charger that can be dialed in to proper LiFePO4 charging....

Sadly the new Xantrex remotes do not work with the older Trace or Heart stuff any longer.

Please don't depend on the Cell Log 8S for cell level accuracy. IMHO it is a good visual tool.. These are not very accurate even after careful calibration. I now have two of them and they are quite sloppy. Thought my first one was defective so grabbed another same deal.. They will get you close but not accurate.

In contrast the HP BMS is extremely accurate and the cell boards light up at exactly when my Fluke says they should and it HV cuts and LV cuts exactly and precisely when it should.

If you are close to not going over 14.2V you can insert a diode in the inverter + feed to the battery and it will drop it about 0.6V....

Edit just went down stairs to take these readings...

Fluke 179 - NIST Calibration
Cell #1 3.337
Cell #2 3.337
Cell #3 3.337
Cell #4 3.338

Cell Log 8S (after being calibrated multiple times to the Fluke in fact it was just re-calibrated two days ago and it tends to drift)

Cell #1 3.346
Cell #2 3.352
Cell #3 3.357
Cell #4 3.344

Nice little tool for the price but not one I trust for more than at a glance stuff. I can get it to match the Fluke but once current or loads are applied it drifts apart from the Fluke and over time gets worse. I am recalibrating both of these on a fairly regular basis and they are both about equally as sloppy..

If anyone knows a way to correct this drift in my Cell Log8S PLEASE let me know....
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Old 05-02-2014, 16:08   #120
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Re: LiFePo4 for DUMMIES

Maine Sail, you sure have a good memory for all the older stuff. I had assumed since my 30 year old Trace would allow the user, through dip switches behind the Plexiglas panel, to set charge voltages and currents, that modern inverters would allow total customization of parameters via laptop or at least keystrokes on the inverter's controls?

Am I wrong on this, that modern inverters aren't as user programmable as the ancient ones?? Which inverter manufacturer gives the end user the most flexibility for programming?
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