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Old 21-07-2014, 19:52   #31
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Sometimes someone who's just learning about things can point out things without getting too technical. 1. There are many different types of batteries with the name lithium in them but they are very different. 2.liFePO. Batteries are very safe.( there are videos on YouTube were they short circuit several in series and all they do is steam. now the steam maybe toxic but they don't catch on fire )3. I don't mind paying a lot more for the batteries considering you need a smaller battery bank to do the same thing. theoretically you will get many more cycles. Voltage is consistent throughout the" state of charge" and they will take 100 percent of the amprage my solar can put out until they're fully charged 4. the real problem for me is learning how to modify my controllers: and what systems to add to keep the voltage from going too high and too low and how to add them. that and the fact that it adds a LOT to the cost is pretty much the deal breaker for me for now. Edit: the batteries that I read about catching fire in : planes, electric cars, computers, are not LiFePo
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Old 21-07-2014, 20:15   #32
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
While the science of LI batteries is sound, the application engineering is a bit shaky still.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
I'm pretty sure Tesla will be using every battery coming off their assembly line in two years. Supply price will drop for them, less so for the end user
Musk has stated, and acted via release of his battery patents into the public domain, that he is going to work side by side anyone that wants to start building out a battery business. As he sees it, and I agree, Tesla's limitations are not the competition from other car companies but a lithium battery supply problem.

So, by releasing his patents, and by basically providing a viable business blue print, complete with engineering schematics, he is putting within the reach of almost any business the ability to build Lithium batteries without the research over head, which we know is the most costly component of new developments. So while Tesla may be using all their batteries, China, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico are all planning new plants within his development framework. It will take about two years to bring all those plants online, but expect that the market will soon be flooded by Lithium batteries... within 5 years.

Here is a company that is expecting to sell $100 MILLION of batteries in the this year. They only produce about 300 MEGAwatts of power. Tesla is planning on production of 35 GIGAwatts of power a year starting in year 5 of operation. That's a huge order of magnitude for production... just from one plant!

Battery Maker Boston-Power Raising $250M To Compete With Elon Musk - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
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Old 21-07-2014, 22:59   #33
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
a64-
"So my bank is toast, the four Wally World ...I'm a weekend / day sailor ...
If you were me, what would you do?"

As the man said, just replace them for now. Or put in something similar, economical, bearing in mind bigger batteries often can't be manhandled by the average man although 6V golf cart bats can be.

<snip>

But then you might want to add the solar panels first, since you're weekending and given five days with nothing to do, they'll put a nice charge on the batteries AND it will be a full charge, which gives you much longer battery life. Assuming you've got a good controller, at which point you may as well go MPPT if it can be done without breaking the bank.

<snip>
+1

If you wanna get a jump start on system upgrades - start with solar. You get an immediate benefit and a system that can likely survive a "battery type" change in the future.

And remember no matter what you buy the technology is gonna move on...
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Old 22-07-2014, 01:47   #34
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

Surely it is easier to develop alternator regulators and battery management systems than batteries!? Surely it wont take 20 + years to develop the charging and management system? Dont we already have that? Whats holding lithium back? noob questions but its a bit confusing to me.
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Old 22-07-2014, 06:00   #35
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
a64-
"So my bank is toast, the four Wally World ...I'm a weekend / day sailor ...
If you were me, what would you do?"

As the man said, just replace them for now. Or put in something similar, economical, bearing in mind bigger batteries often can't be manhandled by the average man although 6V golf cart bats can be.

The 55A alternator might be good for 30A continuous duty, if it has dual fans and gets good cooling air, both cheap things to look at giving it. If you find the need for faster recharges, by all means look for a bigger continuous duty alternator rated for about 25% of the bank size you install.

But then you might want to add the solar panels first, since you're weekending and given five days with nothing to do, they'll put a nice charge on the batteries AND it will be a full charge, which gives you much longer battery life. Assuming you've got a good controller, at which point you may as well go MPPT if it can be done without breaking the bank.

Three years from now, if you want to make big changes, you may well have to replace all the batteries (in order to get one matched bank) but the alternative is to spend double now, and still have "older" batteries then. I'd just use the smaller bank for now, use it up without feeling guilty (cycle as deeply as you need to) and replace it when and if the time comes. At which point you'd definitely want the big alternator, big regulator, and who knows what else.

Maybe Bed Bath & Beyond will have a good sale on Mr. Fusion by then.

It has evolved no to replace the existing batteries with as decent batteries I can find a good price on, unfortunately golf carts batts are out for now as my current battery box has a 10.5" height limitation
But I will go with Solar first. I want to start with two large panels on the davits and an MPPT with the idea of two more panels in the future.

Anyone have a source, maybe a vendor who can supply me with panels and an MPPT, and decent support with a stupid question or two? I can handle the support structure of the panels.
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Old 22-07-2014, 06:02   #36
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Surely it is easier to develop alternator regulators and battery management systems than batteries!? Surely it wont take 20 + years to develop the charging and management system? Dont we already have that? Whats holding lithium back? noob questions but its a bit confusing to me.
Gotta be a lack of demand, whether perceived or real, but I believe if the demand and therefore profit were there, we would already have the systems in place, really all that is missing is a good BMS / charger.
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Old 22-07-2014, 06:48   #37
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Surely it is easier to develop alternator regulators and battery management systems than batteries!? Surely it wont take 20 + years to develop the charging and management system? Dont we already have that? Whats holding lithium back? noob questions but its a bit confusing to me.
Many technologies we take for granted today took many more years to become mainstream than people remember (or ever knew). For example, 3G & LTE were first proposed almost 20 years ago. The hold back was infrastructure costs and government regulators along with lack of cheap labor. Also, many technologies require massive investment and don't always get widely adopted (anybody remember WiMAX? Intel probably would like to forget). So the market size has to be massive to attract investment to justify the risks.

Then there are the risks the OP has raised. Many believe battery technology is moving rapidly and therefore what seems perfect today will be obsolete tomorrow. There is no consensus on which technology can survive for the decades it would take to recover the original investment.

LI has a public perception problem that is both genuine and overblown. The supposed fire hazard is widely mentioned by lay people everywhere. This is not going to go away because a few people keep reminding us "but LiFePo is different". The only way around this problem is if someone can figure out how to delete Lithium Ion from the name.

In boating there isn't enough market demand to drive an entirely new technology to low price points. Marine product developers rely heavily on other industries to drive costs down. Look around your boat and try to find even one electrical device that is solely used on a recreational boat. If you find one it will likely have cost 10 times what it would if there were similar devices in regular consumer demand. If lead acid batteries were only used in boats most of us would not be able to afford them and regulators would ban them on environmental grounds.

There are no doubt other reasons but the slow ramp up of big LI batteries is not a huge mystery.
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Old 22-07-2014, 08:48   #38
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

Well this thread has been so well and truly hijacked that I don't feel bad about posting this link. It might bring some light to the Lithium battery issue.
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Old 22-07-2014, 08:52   #39
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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There are no doubt other reasons but the slow ramp up of big LI batteries is not a huge mystery.
I knew it...Income Inequality, Big Oil, and The Lead Industrial Complex strikes again...
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Old 22-07-2014, 09:08   #40
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

Hey,
I'm still waiting on that 100 MPG carburetor I was promised in 1973
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Old 22-07-2014, 09:59   #41
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

Oh agreed that Lifepo is safer then LICO. But a LIfepo cell only has ~35% of the capacity of a LICO cell. That is why, folks like Boeing and Tesla are using LICO. At the charge and discharge current ratings of Lifepo, LiCo are also pretty safe.

I'm not sure LI, Either LICO, or LiFePo are really suitable for cruising boats. Like AGM they really like/need to be completely recharged. Which is tricky to do while cruising with solar. That they can take higher charge currents is also meaningless on a boat with 10 to 30 amps of solar in a 360 amp bank. Their higher discharge currents are also not needed, unless you have an electric boat.

Yes they weight less, but unless your racing, who cares of you save 100 pounds or so. Oh Folks with Cat's maybe. Mono sailors, its just a bit more ballast.

They can discharge to 80% which is cool, but you still need enough solar to recharge them in 6 hours. That they can take a ~1000 amps recharging is nice, but your going to have a maximum 200 amps and most only 100 amps which falls within FLA range anyway and maybe 30 amps on solar.

Yes they have advantages, but most doesn't matter to a cruising sailor.
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Old 22-07-2014, 10:40   #42
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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Another Wow. I am amazed.
I guess it's my turn for a "wow." I point out the fact that, for more than a decade now, people have been making the very same claims that you are making today. And instead of explaining why things might be different now, the only response you can come up with is to say "wow."

Uh... Yeah. That's a really convincing argument you got there buddy. SHEESH!
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Old 22-07-2014, 10:56   #43
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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I'm not sure LI, Either LICO, or LiFePo are really suitable for cruising boats. Like AGM they really like/need to be completely recharged.
Would you like to rethink that?
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Old 22-07-2014, 10:59   #44
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

Of course the main reason that LI is slow to penetrate the marine industry is price. A 100 amp LI battery is 10 times the cost of a FLA and 5 times of AGM. Add in a battery charge controller with cell balancing and the price gets higher still.

Now you only need three LI to four FLA or AGM. But from an engineering standpoint it's not cost effective.

So the price drops by 50% in five years. It's still pretty darn pricey. Like I said maybe in 15 years when the price point drops, but at the moment it's still spendy, and not available in 3rd world areas either.
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Old 22-07-2014, 11:00   #45
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Re: Upgrading your Battery Banks and Alternator in 2014 is a Waste of Money.

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They can discharge to 80% which is cool, but you still need enough solar to recharge them in 6 hours.
Really? Where does this stuff come from?
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