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Old 17-04-2013, 22:45   #61
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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Originally Posted by K_V_B View Post
Drop-in replacements for LA batteries exist. They are expensive though:

http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...3%20-%20EN.pdf

So the wait is for the manufacturers to have milked the early adopters enough so that the price can go down, and "the rest of us" can afford them too...
Such a system is massively more complicated (and thus more expensive) than a LA system. But I would not consider it a "drop-in" replacement for a LA battery. In my view that is an over simplification. For example, the BMS (required in addition to the battery that itself has internal electronics) does not permit the negative house power bus to be connected to "ground". The BMS design appears to require the minus bus be floated off ground. This feature alone will drive most boat owners "mad". That's why they require the isolated switching power supply to supply loads that must be referenced to "ground" (e.g. SSB and VHF radios). And they have not addressed one of Maine Sail's points about alternator over heating and belt strain which any LI system worth its salt will surely cause. And it does not appear to be compatible with typical LA battery charging systems found on most boats. Other than those minor differences it's exactly like a LA system...

The OP has a great question. How can "the rest of us" enjoy the benefits of LI? I respectfully submit that the Victron system is not the answer. However, Victron by all accounts makes good products and I applaud them for trying.

Mastervolt makes good equipment and has something similar on offer and probably just as complicated. I would guess it is massively expensive compared to LA.

Going out on a limb a bit I will submit that so long as LI batteries need individual cell regulators (aka BMS) they will not displace LA in mainstream cruising. Using them at reduced capacity and "hoping" that the BMS is not needed does not improve that picture much if at all.
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Old 18-04-2013, 03:46   #62
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Going out on a limb a bit I will submit that so long as LI batteries need individual cell regulators (aka BMS) they will not displace LA in mainstream cruising. Using them at reduced capacity and "hoping" that the BMS is not needed does not improve that picture much if at all.
They don't need cell regulators, but they do need cell voltage monitoring. It's not quite plug and play yet, but there are some simple and inexpensive options like the Cell Log 8 and HouseBMS.

But you are correct, that's just the first problem. Then all the rest of the issues remain. No matter whose system you purchase.
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Old 18-04-2013, 05:37   #63
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

Somehow i got lost in this thread, the costs 4x $ ??? in Aus the cost of a 800amp hour 6 volt li is $2590 + shipping they weigh 59KG Therefore 2X $2590 = $5180 + shipping and 118 kg for 800amphours at 12 volt, now compare that to Agm i need around 7x 150 amp hour to have the same useable ah they cost around $500 each and weigh 70 kg each. = $3500 and 490 kg

What am i missing here?
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Old 18-04-2013, 05:58   #64
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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What am i missing here?

What you are missing is that there are other options other than AGM. My last set of 460AH 6V golf cart batteries were $410. So if I double to match your bank that is $820, which is 1/4 the cost.
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Old 18-04-2013, 06:41   #65
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

Having electric propulsion and using two battery banks 12 volt house and a 10 kw 48 volt propulsion bank. I appreciate the work Maine Sailor and others are doing by being early adopters of this technology. Though I am not yet going to jump on them yet. Partly because of cost (including changing charging systems) and partly because the life cycle has not yet been proven. I recently read that one of the claimed advantage of Lithium batteries high current charging also reduces life cycle life according to some in the Electric Vehicle community who have been using these batteries for a while.
I'm about to start my sixth season with electric propulsion using AGM batteries for propulsion and Gels for the house bank. Both seem to be holding up very well though as Maine Sailor points out I don't abuse either bank to extremes and have regulated grid, solar and wind charging systems. It's working for me and if it ain't broke I'm not going to fix it until Lithium has a longer track record and I can justify the conversion costs.
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Old 18-04-2013, 06:55   #66
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Originally Posted by ebaugh View Post

They don't need cell regulators, but they do need cell voltage monitoring. It's not quite plug and play yet, but there are some simple and inexpensive options like the Cell Log 8 and HouseBMS.

But you are correct, that's just the first problem. Then all the rest of the issues remain. No matter whose system you purchase.
After further review the Victron kit shows the "BMS" as a big box which seems to be more than a simple volt meter. Somewhere there must be some big relays or transistors for interrupting the charge source and cutting off the load to protect the battery cells from damage. It no doubt uses some kind of signal processing with programmable set points. If my boat is struck by lightning I would not be pleased to find that I have no power for the bilge pumps or radios because an integrated circuit fused and turned off the DC.

Please don't take my posts as a curmudgeon or Luddite. LA batteries need to be retired. But the replacement needs to have more advantages than just less weight and more efficient recharging. It also should be more reliable, lower cost, less complicated, environmentally friendly with replacements widely available in the remote ports of call we hope to find ourselves.
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Old 18-04-2013, 07:14   #67
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

The most reliable would be to use no electronics anywhere in your system. I don't see that happening. So, let's say your lightening strike takes out everything, including that BMS (I don't know either what's inside of it), depending on your setup, you should still be able to use the bilge pumps, unless wiring to and from that was fried too, if by no other means, then by plugging them to the battery directly.

I don't see that Lifepo4 has bigger problems in a lightning strike than lead acids. In fact, I think I'll prefer a lifepo4 bank being scattered rather than a lead acid bank.

I can sort of see both points of view. On the one hand, there are people like me who has to temper the want for new tech a bit (i.e. getting all lustful at the thought of tech), and on the other hand, there are the, in my opinion, ultra conservatives who will not use anything they consider "new" (i.e. newer than several decades or even a century) because in their opinion it's still "untested", regardless of actual testing. I have even seen people argue that carbon fibre/epoxy is unsafe and not well understood, which is funny as hell to me. Anyway, I digress.

What I wanted to say, that obviously some are more willing than others to try out "new" things. Most of early adopters of anything know full well what they're getting into, but view it as a learning experience, even if it will cost them some money. But some times it won't cost them a lot of money, and they hit gold, so to speak.

Conservatism is all fine and well, but it's a battery, noone is suggesting something like a single layer of 200gms kevlar mat for your hull or something to that end. You could even carry a lead acid as a back up at first if you're afraid of not being able to feed your bilge pumps or chartplotter (and such).

In the end, it's only money. You can switch back if you want to. But if you're not willing to risk "investing", I think it's perfectly okay to not do so.
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Old 18-04-2013, 07:43   #68
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Quote:

Please don't take my posts as a curmudgeon or Luddite. LA batteries need to be retired. But the replacement needs to have more advantages than just less weight and more efficient recharging. It also should be more reliable, lower cost, less complicated, environmentally friendly with replacements widely available in the remote ports of call we hope to find ourselves.
Actually Li Ferrous meets the vast majority of those criteria today,

* easier to charge , different then LA yes, but actually technically easier

* environmentally friendly , yes way better then lead and acid

* reliable Li is demonstrably more reliable then LA , we do have well over 5 years of Li experience

* lighter , smaller , non spill, etc

* technically superior , that's clear from all discussions

* less complicated , yes it is . It just we have grown used to LA systems, that are actually quite complex

Li is not a panacea, but it is better technically then LA , way better , costs are a different matter and a different discussion

Dave
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Old 18-04-2013, 07:51   #69
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
I recently read that one of the claimed advantage of Lithium batteries high current charging also reduces life cycle life according to some in the Electric Vehicle community who have been using these batteries for a while.
The big differnce is that on a boat I highly doubt we'd ever get to a point where we would consider "fast charging" a Li bank. For my bank charging a 3C is 1200A even charging at just 1C is 400A which is just not doable easily on any sailboat....... I will be charging at about .3C and that is with a 160A rated alternator..


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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
I'm about to start my sixth season with electric propulsion using AGM batteries for propulsion and Gels for the house bank. Both seem to be holding up very well though as Maine Sailor points out I don't abuse either bank to extremes and have regulated grid, solar and wind charging systems. It's working for me and if it ain't broke I'm not going to fix it until Lithium has a longer track record and I can justify the conversion costs.
If it works, stick with it until it does not..... For me the ability to use 80% of my bank is a huge improvement over 30-35% of my bank. I also don't need to worry when I leave the boat on the mooring that the bank is not at "full" charge to avoid sulfation. In fact the solar panel will actually be OFF when I am not there as I have no need for getting back to 100% SOC after each use. I can replace 120-140Ah's per hour of engine run. I am even considering throwing in a 200A hairpin wound alternator for even less engine run time.
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Old 18-04-2013, 08:00   #70
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Would we be having this discussion if Li ferrous was as cheap as cheap LA. of course not , so a bit like the women who when asked "would you sleep with me for 50 bucks , of course not , would , you do it for 5,00000 , sure. , we therefore know what you are , its just the costs were haggling over"

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Old 18-04-2013, 08:13   #71
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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I can replace 120-140Ah's per hour of engine run. I am even considering throwing in a 200A hairpin wound alternator for even less engine run time.
I have seen 270a and 300A alternators. Is there a particular reason you're saying 200a (something you know will fit on your engine, perhaps)?, or something completely different?
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:01   #72
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

"Would we be having this discussion if Li ferrous was as cheap as cheap LA. of course not ,"
It isn't just a matter of price, Dave. To push the analogy, it is also apparently a question of "Good girls don't." Or in this case, the US domestic market simply doesn't do lithium. AFAIK there's nothing "lithium-anything" from JCI, or Deka/East Penn, or Interstate, or any other large player on the US market. Rolls, Odyssey, Lifeline...the "high priced" top-name smaller players all the same.

There are all sorts of companies and all sorts of promises (A123 went bankrupt, didn't they?) but the only vendors selling lithium batteries in the US, seem to be Chinese companies who repeatedly demonstrate that they have no grasp of the US market other than "I sell it cheap! I have only technology that work!" and quaintly, document their products in broken ynglitch.

You ask any domestic vendor about whether lithium is ready for the consumer market, and they all say "Oh! Good girls don't do that!"

Maybe they're stuck in the 1950's, I don't know. Maybe they're just gun-shy after seeing how well Optima (radical new technically, AGM and spiral wound) has worked out for JCI.
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:55   #73
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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...
The OP has a great question. How can "the rest of us" enjoy the benefits of LI? I respectfully submit that the Victron system is not the answer. However, Victron by all accounts makes good products and I applaud them for trying.

Mastervolt makes good equipment and has something similar on offer and probably just as complicated. I would guess it is massively expensive compared to LA.
...
Iím about to undertake an inverter replacement project and looked at both Victron and Mastervolt for support of my future LI battery bank. Victron gets high marks with me for having fully configurable charge parameters and auxiliary contacts for a non-Victron BMS on their Multi and Quattro units.

The question came up on the other thread about how to manage an inverter/charger through LVC and HVC events. Well, Victron has explicit support for this through those auxiliary contacts. Close one pair to stop charging, close the other to stop inverting.

http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...1%20-%20EN.pdf
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Old 18-04-2013, 13:00   #74
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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Iím about to undertake an inverter replacement project and looked at both Victron and Mastervolt for support of my future LI battery bank. Victron gets high marks with me for having fully configurable charge parameters and auxiliary contacts for a non-Victron BMS on their Multi and Quattro units.
I think this is a key point in this discussion. Many of us will need to replace or augment some parts of our electrical system (alternator, regulator, inverter, mains charger, solar, wind, etc.) as they age. A much smaller group will switch over to LI entirely. So it would seem a manufacturer that actually has hooks for LI in their equipment would have an advantage. Is there any way to specify and select these components so they are actually useful in a LI (or whatever technology wins) world? It seems clear that LA will be diminishing in our cruising lifetime. I would really appreciate a list of specific features we should be looking for in various components to allow reuse in a non LA boat.
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Old 18-04-2013, 13:31   #75
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Re: Lithium batteries (for the rest of us)

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"Would we be having this discussion if Li ferrous was as cheap as cheap LA. of course not ,"
It isn't just a matter of price, Dave. To push the analogy, it is also apparently a question of "Good girls don't." Or in this case, the US domestic market simply doesn't do lithium. AFAIK there's nothing "lithium-anything" from JCI, or Deka/East Penn, or Interstate, or any other large player on the US market. Rolls, Odyssey, Lifeline...the "high priced" top-name smaller players all the same.

There are all sorts of companies and all sorts of promises (A123 went bankrupt, didn't they?) but the only vendors selling lithium batteries in the US, seem to be Chinese companies who repeatedly demonstrate that they have no grasp of the US market other than "I sell it cheap! I have only technology that work!" and quaintly, document their products in broken ynglitch.

You ask any domestic vendor about whether lithium is ready for the consumer market, and they all say "Oh! Good girls don't do that!"

Maybe they're stuck in the 1950's, I don't know. Maybe they're just gun-shy after seeing how well Optima (radical new technically, AGM and spiral wound) has worked out for JCI.
I dont think this is a correct rationalisation

* Small format LI /Li polymer is everywhere and widely available in the US, ( and a lot of it is made in china.

* Large prismatic LiFe is an new industry, and the only producers , because of patent issues are in China and because of the support the government there gave to battery companies, Everyone expected the EV to be huge, but it has been lacklustre, especially the electric only end, so there is no market at the moment for these types of batteries, hence the difficulty in staying in business.

* Outside of the EV market , there are few applications that at the current pricing , would benefit from the advantages of such technology. This will change , assuming a few manufacturers can actually stay in business. ( a similar situation is happening in the solar market)

Its , a bit like Lasers, once described as "a product looking for a market".

Dave
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