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Old 25-05-2016, 11:10   #1
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LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

So the first LiFePO4 for House bank thread now has 5200 posts and almost 648k views. Wow.
There is obviously interest here.
5 years ago I decided I wasn't ready to jump into LiFePO4 yet and put in a LA bank. Now it is time to replace that bank and I think Im ready to make the leap. I know there are a lot more cruisers now who are also ready.
To benefit those of of us who are jumping in now lets start a new thread to document actual installations on boats (or RV's).
This shouldn't be the thread to debate the +'s and -'s of each approach, lets keep the posts limited to what has actually worked for you or clarification questions on somebody's setup. No need to get into any religious discussions here.. I would expect anyone who is moving to LiFePO4 to do their research and make their own decisions on the parts of each system that works for them.
Im sorry if this has been done here before, I searched and couldn't find it.

So what do you have:
1. Size of Bank, cell type and how its connected (3P4S or 4S4P etc)
2. How long have you had the system, what is your use and have you noticed any capacity loss.
3. BMS approach, LVD, HVD, Alarms, Cell Ballance or none of the above
4. If you do have a BMS with LVD and HVD how do you manage the alternator/wind gen spikes and what do you use for the relay's/contactors. Have you measured the parasitic loads for this gear? Does your HVD kill power to the boat? Does a HVD shunt high voltage to your house electrics.
5. How did you deal with the start battery and windlass/thruster battery now that ACR's, echo chargers etc are not usable.
6. How do you keep your charging equipment happy given the extra duty they now perform. What are the settings you use for this equipment especially if its meant for old school LA.
7. Other thoughts and considerations you feel are important to highlight in the system design?

If you have documentation elsewhere, include a link. In fact feel free to just ignore the questions above and post that. Ive run across a few excellent sites and will post them if those cruisers don't post first.

The more different setups the better!
Thanks
Gary
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Old 25-05-2016, 11:50   #2
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

I have a 20AH LiFeMnPO4 battery (Elite Power Solutions) with no battery management system. It powers anchor and nav lights, cabin lights, depth finder, VHF, tablet, cell phones. It is charged only with a 60W solar panel. The solar is switched off when battery is full. I have a Victron Energy BMV700 Precision Battery Monitor (Victron Energy BMV700 Amp Hour Meter for one battery bank) to monitor. I will be switching to a smaller and lighter 30W solar panel since the 60W panel was about triple the size needed. All lights are LED and I don't have refrigeration or autopilot so I use very little energy.
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Old 25-05-2016, 12:01   #3
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

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Originally Posted by kmacdonald View Post
I have a 20AH LiFeMnPO4 battery (Elite Power Solutions) with no battery management system. It powers anchor and nav lights, cabin lights, depth finder, VHF, tablet, cell phones. It is charged only with a 60W solar panel. The solar is switched off when battery is full. I have a Victron Energy BMV700 Precision Battery Monitor (Victron Energy BMV700 Amp Hour Meter for one battery bank) to monitor. I will be switching to a smaller and lighter 30W solar panel since the 60W panel was about triple the size needed. All lights are LED and I don't have refrigeration or autopilot so I use very little energy.
Simple system for a simple boat. I wish I had the problem of too much solar!
How does the solar switch off?
Thanks for the post.
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Old 25-05-2016, 12:26   #4
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

I switch off the solar manually with a simple on-off switch. The solar charge controller is a GV-5 | 65W 5A Solar Charge Controller with MPPT for Lithium Batteries. I have not had to re-balance the battery but do check about once a month. Real simple but does require turning off the solar if you want max life out of the battery. The entire system including battery is about 8 pounds.
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Old 25-05-2016, 14:42   #5
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Our system may be of interest to readers as it’s not a DIY job. As I don’t trust my electrical smarts for such an endeavour, for the most part its an off-the-shelf system. Yes, its more expensive but it comes with reliability, warranty and piece of mind for me. The MasterVolt system was procured and installed in Cape Town (C-Dynamics) in Jan 2016. We are livaboards and the system has performed as design without and issue or any loss of energy. Schematic is attached.

-2x MLI12V/5000 totalling 720Ahrs
-2x MPPT chargers, one each for the solar (3x E20-327W Sunpowers) and the hydrogenerator.
- Battery configuration, adjustment and monitoring (BMS) is via MVs EasyView or MVs Adjust software.

Of note is that my 2 alternators (we have a cat) are Switched. The existing Valeo 80A alts do not have separate voltage regulators to allow them to be adjusted for the bulk/float charges of the lithium. So rather than spend another large sum on new alternators, I elected to install a switch so that I can turn on/off when I want the engines to charge up the house batteries. I have to watch the clock and charge to ensure they don’t burn out but that’s manageable – typically I don’t let them run more than 2hrs at a time – and this is only when we need to (that’s not very often). The alternators do however charge the engine LCA batteries. And the emergency x-over remains.

The L450 is heavy consumer of voltage - the values change and I'm in the process of trying to make some components more efficient. But in general from sundown to 9-10am the next day we consume about 15-20% of the batts (SOC). Typically, the solar recharges to 100% within 4-5hrs of good sunlight. If I have to run the genset the 100A batt charger will pump them up in 2-3 hours (75-100%). The W&S hydrogenerator we use on passages where it ‘maintains’ our charge during night passages.

I've been real pleased with the setup, performance and the usable power the lithium’s provide.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Emerald Sea LifePO4 Schematic - DC Additions.pdf (128.8 KB, 345 views)
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Old 25-05-2016, 19:34   #6
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Sea View Post
Our system may be of interest to readers as itís not a DIY job. As I donít trust my electrical smarts for such an endeavour, for the most part its an off-the-shelf system. Yes, its more expensive but it comes with reliability, warranty and piece of mind for me. The MasterVolt system was procured and installed in Cape Town (C-Dynamics) in Jan 2016. We are livaboards and the system has performed as design without and issue or any loss of energy. Schematic is attached.

-2x MLI12V/5000 totalling 720Ahrs
-2x MPPT chargers, one each for the solar (3x E20-327W Sunpowers) and the hydrogenerator.
- Battery configuration, adjustment and monitoring (BMS) is via MVs EasyView or MVs Adjust software.

Of note is that my 2 alternators (we have a cat) are Switched. The existing Valeo 80A alts do not have separate voltage regulators to allow them to be adjusted for the bulk/float charges of the lithium. So rather than spend another large sum on new alternators, I elected to install a switch so that I can turn on/off when I want the engines to charge up the house batteries. I have to watch the clock and charge to ensure they donít burn out but thatís manageable Ė typically I donít let them run more than 2hrs at a time Ė and this is only when we need to (thatís not very often). The alternators do however charge the engine LCA batteries. And the emergency x-over remains.

The L450 is heavy consumer of voltage - the values change and I'm in the process of trying to make some components more efficient. But in general from sundown to 9-10am the next day we consume about 15-20% of the batts (SOC). Typically, the solar recharges to 100% within 4-5hrs of good sunlight. If I have to run the genset the 100A batt charger will pump them up in 2-3 hours (75-100%). The W&S hydrogenerator we use on passages where it Ďmaintainsí our charge during night passages.

I've been real pleased with the setup, performance and the usable power the lithiumís provide.
Very Nice system. Definitely something I would love to be able to have.
Based on your description and schematic I see you have your batteries configured as 2 banks. I assume the mastervolt BMS with each uses the Latching relays to disconnect when charged or discharged. Does the BMS alarm before these events? If there is a LVD do you have a way to override the system to allow for charging?
Thanks for sharing
Gary
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Old 26-05-2016, 18:55   #7
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

In 2013 we installed a LiFePo4 battery that I purchased directly from China. It came as a single steel case with four cells of 3.2V500AH in a 4S configuration that give us nominal 12.8V500AH and a PCM built in with Low Voltage Over Discharge and High Voltage Over Charge shutdowns. The steel case has two terminals on it and they lead to the distribution strips on board the boat. All the charging leads to the distribution strips as well.

We have three 120 Watt solar panels that feed a BlueSky Energy 3024i with IPN ProRemote that controls and displays battery information at the chart table.

I can also charge with my main engine 120 amp alternator and Balmar M614 smart charger that works better than the 3024i as far as bringing up my battery to a proper 100% SoC.

I haven't put up a new wind generator since the last one blew apart and destroyed one of the old solar panels and my old AGMs.

The inverter up until now has also charged the battery correctly from shore power.

The battery, despite not being what I had ordered has been very good and we have enjoyed the power from it. I have not noticed any degradation of power. We normally would use 50 - ~90 AH over night which brings our battery to ~50 - 85% SoC.
The solar panels on a good day will bring the battery to the 3024i's 100% with -00 AH used by noon which is the inconvenience that I mentioned above. I am still working on my settings to eliminate that problem.
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Old 26-05-2016, 19:04   #8
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

I recently fitted a 310 amp hours 4P 4S bank.


No BMS as such, but charging is by an Outback Flexmax 80 with max charge set to 14.2 volts, float at 14 volts, and (haven't done this yet) a low voltage disconnect relay controlled by the FM80, set to disconnect loads at 12.2 volts.
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Old 26-05-2016, 22:31   #9
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Peacock, You said you would post some sites worth looking at:

"If you have documentation elsewhere, include a link. In fact feel free to just ignore the questions above and post that. Ive run across a few excellent sites and will post them if those cruisers don't post first."

Please do. Am getting ready to do very large DYI install end of year, still much to learn, THANKS!
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Old 27-05-2016, 01:55   #10
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

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Originally Posted by Canuck Sailor View Post
In 2013 we installed a LiFePo4 battery that I purchased directly from China. ...
Would you be willing to share details? Online?
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Old 27-05-2016, 20:01   #11
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Here are two smaller cruisers forum threads that have some good info:
LiFePO4 for dummies

Monitoring LiFePO4 batteries

Here are three fantastic webpages that should be required reading:
Mainsails Page

Nordkyn Design's Page

Entropy's Page

If you know of others, post them here.
Thanks
Gary
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Old 27-05-2016, 20:04   #12
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
I recently fitted a 310 amp hours 4P 4S bank.
What batteries did you go with? 77.5 AH cells seems like a different number that what I've come across.
Thanks
Gary
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Old 27-05-2016, 20:07   #13
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Here is one more site:
Technomadia's Site
Thanks
Gary
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Old 28-05-2016, 04:32   #14
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

Here is another site that I thought showed a good system approach by Stan Honey.

http://honeynav.com/articles/LFP%20b...ey%20notes.pdf




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Old 28-05-2016, 08:32   #15
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Re: LiFePO4 for House bank final designs

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Originally Posted by gpeacock View Post
Thanks for linking our Blog - I was a bit too lazy to post new articles lately, but will do so in the near future.

Some answers to your initial questions:

Size of the bank: 400 Ah (4P4S 100 Ah Winston LiFePO4)

Bank/BMS completion: 09.2015

BMS: HousePower BMS with dedicated Low and High Voltage Cutoffs and a dedicated main contactor; LVC central, HVC "distributed" between charging sources. LVC warnings are generated by watching computed SoC. HVC should not happen normally.

Alternator protection: HVC indirectly cuts field current; B+ directly connected to battery. No wind/hydro generator, so no similar problem there.

Contactors/Relays: Tyco Kilovac EV2000 (LVC); 100 Amp rated relay for solar HVC; standard 12 V and 220 V relays for cutting alt field and charger shore power supply.

Standby consumption of the entire boat: around 2.3 A. (Will subsequently work on reducing this by building coil optimizers for the various always-on 12 V relays.)

Starter battery: traditional Lead Acid. Charged by DC/DC charger from house bank, charging triggers on one of the following events: ignition on, starter battery voltage lower than defined threshold, starter battery estimated SoC lower than defined threshold. Charging is maintained for at least 30 minutes after trigger disappears.
Dedicated small shore power charger, directly connected to starter battery to keep starter battery up without having to power up the house bank ("away from boat storage mode").

Charging settings: all charging sources set to values between 13.8 (Victron Inverter/Charger, Victron BluePower solar chargers) and 14.0 V (Balmar MC 614/Alternator) for absorption, 13.3 V for float.
MC 614 senses alternator temperature via thermo sensor, in addition belt manager dials down field current to 80 % (subject to more detailed adjustments).

Other thoughts: This design has been criticized for being too complex and I agree that it may be over the top for some people's needs.
However, I really had fun designing it, and being an EE I enjoy making things work the way I want them to. I am able to fix any problems myself and have spares and a plan B for almost any failure I could think of, hence no doubts about complexity in my camp.

I am currently working on adding some logic to keep SoC of the bank automatically in the 40 - 80 % range in what I call "lazy charging mode". This mode simulates HVC when reaching 80 % SoC and disables the simulated HVC event when reaching a predefined lower level (e. g. 40 %).

This "lazy mode" can be manually disabled for longer passages when extracting every single Joule from available charging sources becomes important.

Our portable battery packs (I built two 40 Ah LiFePo4 batteries complete with BMS in water resistant cases, normally driving the electric dinghy outboard or other 12 V loads such as pumps or soldering irons...) can be hooked to the load bus on a "battery pack recharging station" in the aft locker box.
(The nice thing is: when left switched on there, they effectively expand the capacity of the house bank by an additional 80 Ah - they absorb charge and deliver current to the system.)
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