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Old 31-01-2014, 22:19   #1
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Monitoring LiFePO4 Lithium Batteries

I know there's already a long thread on lithium batteries. One thing that there seems to be a lot of variance on is what people use to monitor their batteries. I have tried googling monitoring LiFePO4 batteries with no success. And I'm interested in real life experience. Exact models,functions. Including Hvc Lvc Hv Lv alarms and price would be greatly appreciated thanks Joe
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:35   #2
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

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Old 01-02-2014, 06:46   #3
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Thanks GordMay for the quick response. It seems to be the consensus that an automatic battery balancer is not required and maybe an extra unnecessary expense. I'm basically looking for monitoring my amp hours and protecting my batteries. But I bookmarked the site.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:54   #4
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

After this thread was posted, I went to Panbo to have a look-see (awesome site for boat electronics), and he mentions a Victron display/monitor which he is very impressed with. Mind you, it looks bigger in the picture than it really is. It is 130mm x120mm

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Victron Color Control GX, more than a power display

Read what he has to say to it, and also read through the comments.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:06   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caracal View Post
After this thread was posted, I went to Panbo to have a look-see (awesome site for boat electronics), and he mentions a Victron display/monitor which he is very impressed with. Mind you, it looks bigger in the picture than it really is. It is 130mm x120mm

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Victron Color Control GX, more than a power display

Read what he has to say to it, and also read through the comments.
But can it make me breakfast. Wow. My brain is still a little sore from reading the complete lithium post. So its going to take me awhile to understand this thing. But the $680 price puts it out of my league
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Old 01-02-2014, 16:38   #6
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

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Originally Posted by sparrowhawk1 View Post
But can it make me breakfast. Wow. My brain is still a little sore from reading the complete lithium post. So its going to take me awhile to understand this thing. But the $680 price puts it out of my league
It's also limited to victron Ve bus devices

Dave
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Old 01-02-2014, 16:42   #7
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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

It's also limited to victron Ve bus devices

Dave
Ah. I'm pretty sure I don't have any of those. Thanks Dave
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Old 01-02-2014, 16:49   #8
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
It's also limited to victron Ve bus devices

Dave
I don't recall that that was what Panbo wrote. In fact, quite the opposite.

It even has ethernet and nmea2000, and a whole lot of other connections.
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Old 01-02-2014, 17:05   #9
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

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Originally Posted by Caracal View Post
I don't recall that that was what Panbo wrote. In fact, quite the opposite.

It even has ethernet and nmea2000, and a whole lot of other connections.
Yes it can do NMEA 2k via convertors. But it's primarily setup to do Ve bus device monitoring. It's not a shunt based battery monitor more a victron system controller. Though they claim to be considering open sourcing it

Dave
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Old 01-02-2014, 17:30   #10
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

Well, as Panbo mentions, it works, and there wasn't even a manual out at the time he wrote it. They are also considering WiFi and a slew of other things. So consider it for what it is: A brand new product that has just hit the market, but already shows a whole lot of potential.

In any case, it was just a suggestion, since properly monitoring LifePo4 batteries, from an alternator, from the dock, solar, and wind, while simultaneously powering lights, electronics, radio, stereo, inverters, and whatnot quickly becomes rather involved with old, simple monitors:

I'm not sure a shunt battery monitor is actually the best for something like a LiFePo4 battery, which needs to monitor each cell, and not the average (i.e. and therefore good LifePo4 batteries have inbuilt monitoring (but you need something to tap into it, and control that)).


That "converter" you talk of is merely a plug adaptor if I recall correctly.

and yeah, I like me a bit of tech.
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Old 01-02-2014, 17:41   #11
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monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caracal View Post
Well, as Panbo mentions, it works, and there wasn't even a manual out at the time he wrote it. They are also considering WiFi and a slew of other things. So consider it for what it is: A brand new product that has just hit the market, but already shows a whole lot of potential.

In any case, it was just a suggestion, since properly monitoring LifePo4 batteries, from an alternator, from the dock, solar, and wind, while simultaneously powering lights, electronics, radio, stereo, inverters, and whatnot quickly becomes rather involved with old, simple monitors:

I'm not sure a shunt battery monitor is actually the best for something like a LiFePo4 battery, which needs to monitor each cell, and not the average (i.e. and therefore good LifePo4 batteries have inbuilt monitoring (but you need something to tap into it, and control that)).


That "converter" you talk of is merely a plug adaptor if I recall correctly.

and yeah, I like me a bit of tech.
My own impressions were based on a discussion on the victron stand at METS so I can only repeat what I was told. Thats its primarily at this moment a ve bus device, I think they have all sorts of plans for the device , but right how ......, we,ll see

Not sure what you mean re " good batteries have inbuilt monitoring " actually it's always useful to measure current , for example I've used amp counting to determine when to end the CV charge cycle. Also amp counting to know when to restart charging.

In reality a simple cell level monitor is all you need for lifepo4 , common as chips and as cheap , an amp counter is useful as a fuel gauge. Cause the voltage really can't be used in the middle of the curve.

Dave
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Old 01-02-2014, 18:18   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post

My own impressions were based on a discussion on the victron stand at METS so I can only repeat what I was told. Thats its primarily at this moment a ve bus device, I think they have all sorts of plans for the device , but right how ......, we,ll see

Not sure what you mean re " good batteries have inbuilt monitoring " actually it's always useful to measure current , for example I've used amp counting to determine when to end the CV charge cycle. Also amp counting to know when to restart charging.

In reality a simple cell level monitor is all you need for lifepo4 , common as chips and as cheap , an amp counter is useful as a fuel gauge. Cause the voltage really can't be used in the middle of the curve.

Dave
Please recommend an amp hour meter. Preferably one that monitors high and low voltage and has cut offs Thanks
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:27   #13
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
My own impressions were based on a discussion on the victron stand at METS so I can only repeat what I was told. Thats its primarily at this moment a ve bus device, I think they have all sorts of plans for the device , but right how ......, we,ll see
Please read what Panbo writes. He had the time to try things, and not just listen to sales speak.

Quote:
Not sure what you mean re " good batteries have inbuilt monitoring " actually it's always useful to measure current , for example I've used amp counting to determine when to end the CV charge cycle. Also amp counting to know when to restart charging.
I meant that good LiFePo batteries, say, a 12V LiFePo4, has current/voltage monitoring on the individual cells within the battery. A nominal 12V LiFePo4 battery consists of 4 cells in series (and more in parallel, depending on the Ah).

Quote:
In reality a simple cell level monitor is all you need for lifepo4 ,
Yes, and as a 12V LiFePo4 consists of at least 4 cells, you can't use the two Lead Acid-style terminals to do that. You need something inside the battery to do that job (that, or build something where each individual cell is exposed).

Quote:
common as chips and as cheap , an amp counter is useful as a fuel gauge. Cause the voltage really can't be used in the middle of the curve.
Of course you want some way of telling how many amps you are using and have been using. But LiFePo4 and even Li-Ion has an almost flat curve, so when it comes to voltage, things aren't as simple as with Lead Acid amp and volt meters. This is one of the reasons you need this to be automatic to a higher degree than an analogue voltmeter and ampmeter.

I just posted the victron product because I found it interesting and worth at least a read. AND because I find Panbo knows a whole lot more about boat electronics than most people (me included, obviously).

In any case, my point is, that if you want to use LiFePo4 batteries, you had better get some proper digital monitoring and control of it, in order for the expensive batteries last as long as possible, and in order for you to be able to tell as precisely as possible how many Ah is left. You can't rely on a simple voltmeter.
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Old 02-02-2014, 22:11   #14
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Where is the reset button on this thing. I appreciate all knowledge. But I would really like this thread to be only about charge controllers / monitors. And only what you personally are using or questions about them. Thanks Joe
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:54   #15
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Re: monitoring LiFePO4 lithium batteries

Sparrow I couldn't agree with you more.
I know how to set up a bank of LiFePo4s.
I know how to balnace the set before Hooking them up.
I know how set them up below and above the min/max charge levels.
I know that my system is going to be different than yours. ie. charger, bats, and such.
I know I don't want an automatic "balancing" system.

What I don't feel comfortable with or know is how to set up and wire a HVC and LVC relay system and where to learn about this!
Telling me I need to go read 5billion posts and all the white papers on the net before experimenting on a (in my case) $10,000 bank of bats doesn't help. Honestly I would be glad to pay a guy to come and hold my hand for however long it takes but I tried that 3 times and spent a lot of money to find out I knew more about my system than they did. I get the feeling that this is a simple area (to me) of the whole system and maybe that's the reason we can't get the simple answer.
I'm sure most of us don't want anything on our boats that we don't understand. I want to fix anything I have on board if I'm away from the dock so don't want just the solution but also the why and am happy to go read what ever there is on the subject but damn at least point me in a direction.
Hopefully we can look here for just that, direction.

Steve in Solomons MD
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