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Old 10-02-2010, 01:57   #1
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Mastervolt Lithium Ion Batteries

The house bank on our boat currently consists of four Trojan 6v golf cart AGM batteries and we are looking at adding another six of these batteries before going offshore to give us a total of 1,000 amp hours.

I was intrigued at the Seattle Boat Show by Nigel Calder's discussion of the efficiencies of Lithium Ion batteries compared with lead acid technology - almost 3X the same (useable) energy density, much higher charge acceptance and life span. It appears that Mastervolt will have 12v Lithium Ion batteries available this summer and prices will come down 20% (currently $5K for the 24v). Four 12v Mastervolts will probably fit in our existing battery box thus avoiding boat surgery and provide the same useful power as the ten AGMs.

Is anyone else considering this technology?
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Old 11-02-2010, 14:55   #2
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no not at thoese prices
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Old 14-02-2010, 11:14   #3
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Originally Posted by Namoian View Post
I was intrigued at the Seattle Boat Show by Nigel Calder's discussion of the efficiencies of Lithium Ion batteries compared with lead acid technology - almost 3X the same (useable) energy density, much higher charge acceptance and life span. It appears that Mastervolt will have 12v Lithium Ion batteries available this summer and prices will come down 20% (currently $5K for the 24v). Four 12v Mastervolts will probably fit in our existing battery box thus avoiding boat surgery and provide the same useful power as the ten AGMs.

Is anyone else considering this technology?
I'm looking at them, too. Mastervolt is charging way too much, though -- for $6k, you can get 1200Ah@12v worth of batteries direct from the factory. I started a thread on this today where I break out the numbers:

LiFePO4 Batteries - Okay Tear Me Apart ;-)
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Old 14-02-2010, 16:18   #4
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Very expensive, and I would need two (just in case one refuses to co-op). Very expensive, very expensive. Too expensive.

They look very promising on paper. Probably the thing of a (not so very remote) future. And of today, if you can afford today.

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Old 15-02-2010, 23:34   #5
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I just got new batteries: 6 Trojan L16's that give me 1300Ah @12V. Total cost $2k and last 5-6 years at least.

cheers,
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Old 16-02-2010, 00:03   #6
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Nick: As I understand it (and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing) from Nigel Calder's recent presentation, you can expect to use only about 30% of that 1,300 ah as you shouldn't deplete the batteries below 50% and it's hard to charge then above 80%. With the Li batteries you can expect to use 80% of the total ah so that a 500 ah Li bank would give about the same useful energy as a 1,300 ah lead acid bank. Still that 500 ah Li bank will cost 3X as much as yours but I got the impression that when you factor in the lower costs of charging Li batteries (in fuel and engine depreciation) and the greater number of battery cycles with Li batteries that they are actually cheaper in long term. Of course my stock broker has also spoken of the value of holding positions for the long term and that hasn't always worked.

Thanks for your input,
Ian
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Old 16-02-2010, 02:36   #7
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The idea is that yes they do cost 2 to 3 tymes as much but they also last 3 to 4 times as long so yes you will end up spending less in the long run as well as saving on fuel and geny maintence etc so it will be very cost efective but it will be pricy to start with. I use the same batterys in my schooter that I carry around to get around with because I can only go 10 to 12 miles using lead acid batterys but I get 35 miles with the Li ones and they last for longer too. I have been thinking about getting then for the boat too but I cant cover the expense yet so I will have to wait.
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Old 16-02-2010, 15:33   #8
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Slow down, they are 24 aren't they (?). Not all boats are 24, mine is 12. Step down?

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Old 16-02-2010, 15:53   #9
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Slow down, they are 24 aren't they (?). Not all boats are 24, mine is 12. Step down?
No need. You can build the bank out of individual ThunderSky (nominal) 3.3v cells to any voltage you want -- at much lower cost. My boat is 24, so 8 cells in series... You'd do 4 in series. See the link to the LiFePO4-thread at the top of this thread for way more information.
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Old 16-02-2010, 16:28   #10
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Mastervolt told me they are releasing a 12 volt LifePO4 battery this summer.
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Old 16-02-2010, 16:33   #11
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No need. You can build the bank out of individual ThunderSky (nominal) 3.3v cells to any voltage you want -- at much lower cost. My boat is 24, so 8 cells in series... You'd do 4 in series. See the link to the LiFePO4-thread at the top of this thread for way more information.
OK, but I was talking of the Mastervolt. BTW I would not like, say 2V cells to form a 12 V bank, or any such solution - should one cell die, I am at 10V only, which is too little, and then there is no way to add the missing cell.

My way on a 12V system is two 12V batteries, if one dies, chuck it overboard and go on with the other one. Simple, safe, cheap.

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Old 17-02-2010, 05:02   #12
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OK, but I was talking of the Mastervolt. BTW I would not like, say 2V cells to form a 12 V bank, or any such solution - should one cell die, I am at 10V only, which is too little, and then there is no way to add the missing cell.
Fair enough, but understand that due to the way that the chemistry works, all batteries -- regardless of manufacturer -- are composed of lower-voltage cells strung together in series; All of your 12v lead acid batteries are made up of 6 x ~2v cells that have been prewired this way and placed in a nice, plastic package. They look like one "thing", but in reality they are not... so the situation you describe above is equally possible with a "single" 12v battery.

Not to digress too much, but Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical & Electrical Manual is an excellent book that covers batteries (and how they're constructed) and much, much more. The $50 you spend on this book will pay for itself in spades.

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My way on a 12V system is two 12V batteries, if one dies, chuck it overboard and go on with the other one. Simple, safe, cheap.
I hope that you're being facetious and are actually disposing of your batteries properly -- they're packed with some pretty nasty chemicals.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:01   #13
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Fair enough, but understand that due to the way that the chemistry works, all batteries -- regardless of manufacturer -- are composed of lower-voltage cells strung together in series; All of your 12v lead acid batteries are made up of 6 x ~2v cells that have been prewired this way and placed in a nice, plastic package. They look like one "thing", but in reality they are not... so the situation you describe above is equally possible with a "single" 12v battery.
I agree with what you say about the principles, but not quite with your conclusions: please note that the 6 cells of a 12 Volt battery are:
1) manufactured at the same time,
2) stored in the same conditions,
3) charged and discharged in the same regimen.

Now, with a 12 Volt system build of 2 Volt batteries, if one of them fails, how do you substitute it? Because it is also a common knowledge (and confirmed in Calder's book) that we are not to mix new batteries with old ...

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I hope that you're being facetious and are actually disposing of your batteries properly -- they're packed with some pretty nasty chemicals.
Not as nasty as what we put into soil, air and ocean living an average life of a member of the s.c. civilized world. But this is an off thread so here I cut.

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Old 17-02-2010, 12:34   #14
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I agree with what you say about the principles, but not quite with your conclusions: please note that the 6 cells of a 12 Volt battery are:
1) manufactured at the same time,
2) stored in the same conditions,
3) charged and discharged in the same regimen.

Now, with a 12 Volt system build of 2 Volt batteries, if one of them fails, how do you substitute it? Because it is also a common knowledge (and confirmed in Calder's book) that we are not to mix new batteries with old ...


b.
So what happens when one of the cells in your 12v lead acid battery goes bad? There you have to pitch all the 'good' cells along with it.

I don't know if Nigel's dictum is as applicable with Li batteries as it is with lead-acid.

In any event, I can't swallow Mastervolt's markup. As jillum notes, the cells themselves are about $1/Ah plus about $20/cell for a battery management system. Now How much were those Mastervolts again?
I WILL admit it's really nice to have something all ready to go, if you have the $$$.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:35   #15
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"Now, with a 12 Volt system build of 2 Volt batteries, if one of them fails, how do you substitute it? "
With one new cell. This is in fact common and routine on electric fork lifts and other factory equipment that uses HUGE banks of 2v cells. If one cell goes bad, that cell alone is replaced. That's not ideal, compared to matched cells from the same assembly lot, but it is perfectly functional and adequate when the cells are of the same chemistry. (Different manufacturers use different chemistry.)

Mind you, that's one cell in one huge battery, and it is not the same thing as changing one of several batteries that typically have to "share" charging sources as in a boat. The one battery in a fork life is charged with one regulator, one voltage sensor, one battery at a time. Not at all the same as boats.
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