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Old 15-04-2018, 12:40   #1
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Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Can someone tell me what all the excitement is about using lithium ion batteries as house batteries?

Every time I look at converting from my TPPL AGMs to LFP (or any other Li ion formulation) I come away disappointed.

I am still going strong on my 7 year old AGM bank commuter cruising tropical Mexico with no ill effects due to PSOC cycling, so longevity is not an argument.

We run a boat with extreme battery power consumption (all electrical cooking oven/stove/microwave, air conditioning and heating, dinghy propulsion, water makers, etc. etc.). So tough load handling is not an argument.

We can return a 24 hour daily load (250Ah/12V) in an hour of engine charging (twin 150A alternators) without the need for solar, wind, etc. so high charge acceptance rate is not an argument.

But the biggest disappointment is that there is no space savings. If there were a significant one, I would switch in a heartbeat. Here's my show stopper calculation that I keep bumping into showing Li ion is actually slightly MORE space consuming.

I have used our 860Ah battery bank versus a 720Ah LFP MasterVolt bank as a comparison, and have observed best practices as compiled from the manufacturers data and anecdotal advice from users.

We operate our 860Ah AGM bank from 90-30% state of charge which gives a usable 516 Ah. The bank occupies 5,750 cubic inches.

A 720Ah LFP bank operated from 90-20% state of charge gives a usable 504Ah. The bank occupies 6,496 cubic inches.


So given our cruising style, the only rationale for going to Li Ion is saving half the weight?


Thanks in advance for any reasoned counter arguments!
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Old 15-04-2018, 14:04   #2
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Our lithiums are just over half the size of the AGMs they replaced.
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Old 15-04-2018, 14:20   #3
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

And only a little bit more than half the weight .
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Old 15-04-2018, 14:59   #4
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

44 & Senor,

Can you two post the AGM-to-LFE "before and after" installations with the battery manufacturer model numbers and number of batteries?

Thanks!
Jman
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Old 15-04-2018, 15:23   #5
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
We run a boat with extreme battery power consumption (all electrical cooking oven/stove/microwave, air conditioning and heating, dinghy propulsion, water makers, etc. etc.). So tough load handling is not an argument.

We can return a 24 hour daily load (250Ah/12V) in an hour of engine charging (twin 150A alternators) without the need for solar, wind, etc. so high charge acceptance rate is not an argument.
Damn.. I don't care about batteries.. I REALLY NEED TO KNOW, how are your running all that on 250Ah.. By my calculations, AC alone would draw more than 250Ah in just 6 hours (making assumptions of course). 250Ah/24 period is NOT really considered "high draw".

So back to the batteries.
1. LFP bank would be 1/2 the size.
2. LFP bank would be 1/2 to 1/3 the weight.
3. Voltage sag, what is the voltage on your AGMs when you run your induction burner? LFP sag very little
4. Charge efficiency.. 100Ah out, 100Ah in.. (arguable, AGM is pretty close).
5. No need to get to %100, EVER.

However.. If none of that matters to you... Then you are correct... Why change from AGM.

Hell.. I know someone who has had all three types over the last 12 years (sold his LFP bank with the boat). He argues why AGM over Lead Acid. After owning all three, he swears by 6V golf cart batts now (or floor washer batts if you can get them).
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Old 15-04-2018, 15:35   #6
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

.
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Old 15-04-2018, 16:33   #7
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Damn.. I don't care about batteries.. I REALLY NEED TO KNOW, how are your running all that on 250Ah.. By my calculations, AC alone would draw more than 250Ah in just 6 hours (making assumptions of course). 250Ah/24 period is NOT really considered "high draw".

So back to the batteries.
1. LFP bank would be 1/2 the size.
2. LFP bank would be 1/2 to 1/3 the weight.
3. Voltage sag, what is the voltage on your AGMs when you run your induction burner? LFP sag very little
4. Charge efficiency.. 100Ah out, 100Ah in.. (arguable, AGM is pretty close).
5. No need to get to %100, EVER.

However.. If none of that matters to you... Then you are correct... Why change from AGM.

Hell.. I know someone who has had all three types over the last 12 years (sold his LFP bank with the boat). He argues why AGM over Lead Acid. After owning all three, he swears by 6V golf cart batts now (or floor washer batts if you can get them).


Hey Traveller,

Thanks for engaging.

For a 37 foot boat 250Ah is wanton luxury. Agreed that power-needs scale exponentially for larger boats.

Here's a sample power profile:

UNDERWAY (amps at 12V/duty cycle over 24 hours)
Steering (when sailing Hydrovane, motoring autopilot, so no drain)=0Ah
Refer 6A/40%=58Ah
Nav electronics 2.5A/80%=48Ah
Radar 3A/50%=36Ah
Microwave 100A/1.5%=36Ah
Kettle 100A/1%=24Ah
Lights 3A/30%=22Ah
Water maker 18A/4%=18Ah
iPad & iPhones & PC 8A/4%=8Ah
Aircon (when sailing no need/motoring all you want with no drain)=0Ah

Total underway daily 250Ah

AT ANCHOR
Steering=0Ah
Refer 6A/40%=58Ah
Nav electronics 2.5A/80% (not on)=0Ah
Radar 3A/50% (not on)=0Ah
Microwave 100A/1.5%=36Ah
Kettle 100A/1%=24Ah
Lights 1A/30%=7Ah
Water maker 18A/4%=18Ah
iPad & iPhones & PC 8A/4%=8Ah
Torqeedo charging 10A/8%=20Ah
Aircon 140A/2.5% (3 hours a day with peak heat at 20% duty cycle) =80Ah

Total at anchor daily 250Ah

Yes, voltage sags during air con and convection oven use, but not enough to trip the inverter and matter.

105% charge every 7-10 days to Float as required by battery manufacturer happens all too easily during periods of long motoring on windless days. Can honestly say we don't run the engine to charge the batteries since its a consequence of the hour it takes to make daily hot water, and our active cruising agenda.

OK, your turn....
Give me a before-and-after battery installation example with manufacturer model numbers that demonstrates Li Ion provides any kind of space saving. My data says that's a myth.


Thanks for batting this around with me!
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Old 15-04-2018, 17:31   #8
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
44 & Senor,

Can you two post the AGM-to-LFE "before and after" installations with the battery manufacturer model numbers and number of batteries?

Thanks!
Jman
There was 600 ah of AGM, now 400 ah of Winston lithiums.

The compartment which the AGMs filled, now houses the lithiums, as well as some tools and spare water, oil and fuel filters. And there's still empty space.
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Old 15-04-2018, 22:51   #9
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

I am in the process of importing lithium batteries, I can get you 5 200 amp batteries that weigh close to half of the AGM, and takes up less space than the AGM as well. 5000 cycles and you still have 70% capacity, 3000 cycles and you got 80% capacity, two years warranty. Cost about $6000.00 plus custom that I estimated to be around $300.00. Delivery time to Los Angeles port from China 4-6 weeks, plus the cost of local shipping. the batteries consist of four cells that are each 3.2 VDC. tied together with end bracket and four side straps. You can remove the braces and just keep them in a box and just order one extra cell as a spare in case one goes bad when you are out and sailing so you don't have to disconnect the whole battery but just p[ull out the bad cell. I will use the same batteries for my boat and the price is about $7k-$8k less for these compared to the competition out there for a 1000 amp bank.
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Old 16-04-2018, 10:30   #10
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

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Originally Posted by Hans Etter View Post
I am in the process of importing lithium batteries, I can get you 5 200 amp batteries that weigh close to half of the AGM, and takes up less space than the AGM as well. 5000 cycles and you still have 70% capacity, 3000 cycles and you got 80% capacity, two years warranty. Cost about $6000.00 plus custom that I estimated to be around $300.00. Delivery time to Los Angeles port from China 4-6 weeks, plus the cost of local shipping. the batteries consist of four cells that are each 3.2 VDC. tied together with end bracket and four side straps. You can remove the braces and just keep them in a box and just order one extra cell as a spare in case one goes bad when you are out and sailing so you don't have to disconnect the whole battery but just p[ull out the bad cell. I will use the same batteries for my boat and the price is about $7k-$8k less for these compared to the competition out there for a 1000 amp bank.
At $7-8K I can replace my flooded lead acid bank six times over. They last at least 5 years so that is 30 years worth of batteries. My present set is eight years old and still going strong. To go Lithium I would need to replace my charge regulators. The weight and space savings are irrevelent on a 12 ton monohull. Why would I want to convert? Perhaps in the future when costs go down and the technology improves but at this point there is no reason to switch.

PS. Air conditioning while under way? Induction cooking? Open the hatches and shade the deck. Cook with propane. A 20 lb tank lasts months.
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Old 16-04-2018, 10:55   #11
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Slightly off topic but what induction stove do you use and how much power does it draw?

I boil water using electric as my propane tank is tiny (6lbs) and have thought about switching to an electric hob as I have a 400AH lithium bank.
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Old 16-04-2018, 12:55   #12
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

Lithium batteries are superior to AGM, you can discharge them 100% and do that 3000-5000 times before they go down to 70%-80% capacity.
They take half the space and half the weight compared to AGM batteries. It is not just the number of years your AGM last you if you never discharge them enough times. The most you can do without damaging an AGM is 50% and 400-500 cycles before you lose a significant capacity.
If one cell goes bad in a lithium bank you can pull that one out and put in a spare cell, compared that to an AGM if it is your starting battery, you would have to replace the whole battery.
The price I am getting the Lithium batteries is around $6000.00 plus custom for a bank of 1000 amp and that 5 batteries.
I quoted 7000-8000 for the difference in lithium batteries on the same amps that you would save compared to the competition in Lithium, not AGM.
Where would you get the same batteries six times over in AGM when you are cruising and the hassle of replacing them has to be considered as well.
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Old 16-04-2018, 13:00   #13
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

If you have a modern regulator where you can adjust the bulk charge, absorption charge and float charge there is no problem with changing over, the only thing you can not do is equalizing lithium batteries because that destroys them.
the following is for lithium batteries when you change the charging profile on your system.

Inverter Charger / Solar Controller: Most inverter
> chargers have a remote that can program the charging system
> to either lead acid, gel or AGM batteries. They will
> typically have a custom setting as well. Simply set the
> custom 3 stage charging as follows:
> >(If you do not have a custom setting choose the profile
> as close to this as possible without going over 15V)
> >
> >Bulk 14.4V
> >Absorb 14.6V
> >Float 13.6V
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Old 16-04-2018, 13:15   #14
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

If a cruising boat uses his electric autopilot a lot and does not have sails trimmed well he will use a lot of currents and wear out his autopilot. Not everyone is good at load management and watches what they spend on electricity so you have to build a system that has the capacity and is resilient to abuse. All the modern gadgets have standby power that draws a lot if you add it all up plus modern inverter is now in the 3kw range to run all kind of things on a boat. I have seen several modern charge controllers out there that are very promising and you can find them on youtube as well. Sterling is one besides Balmar and most boaters should look into upgrading their alternators at the same time, that goes with belts, pullies, brackets, cables, fuses and all the other stuff that makes a complete system.
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Old 16-04-2018, 13:34   #15
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Re: Lithium ion house battery bank disappointment

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Loud Music,

I did the calculations with ReLion vs our AGMs for same usable capacity per volume occupied. ReLion LFE have only 14% more usable energy density. Not 100%. And the footprint they occupy takes up 16% more cabin sole space. Also, the AGMs are in a military spec case for vibration and heat.

So LFE has no meaningful space saving advantage over our AGMs. Which is the issue I keep confronting. Bummer.

Jman
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