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Old 15-06-2024, 10:57   #1
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Change to lithium

Hi all! I have a bavaria sailboat from 2007 and the batteries have died on me. I am thinking of changing to lithium. I currently have 3 lead acid batteries x 140amps each and the plan is to get 2 x 200 amps. I am also installing 2 solar panels x 200 watts each. The generator on the Volvo d2 75 is the standard one from 2007 with 14v 115 amps. The battery charger is the standard Quick which was very common in all Bavarias.

The seller of the solar panels and batteries says that i can keep the same generator and charger, connected to the steering battery (lead acid) and simply add a dc to dc convertor between the lead acid starting battery and the new lithiums.

Has anyone done this? Will the old battery charger and generator work ok and safely with just the addition of the dc to dc convertor?

Thanks for any info!
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Old 15-06-2024, 12:04   #2
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Re: Change to lithium

Yes, I have done this on my Volvo D2-40 with (probably) the same 115A alternator. But the benefit of LIFEP04 largely centers around the ability of that battery chemistry to take charge much more rapidly / efficiently than lead acid. SO if you you are going LIFEP04, I would recommend re aiming your bulk charging sources directly to your lithium bank and then have that bank charge your start batteries. If you charge the Lithium (which has big pipes) through the cocktail straw bottleneck of the lead acid, you largely undo the point of the new batteries. However, if you go that directly you now need a new battery charger for lithium, and a LiFeP04>FLA capable DC to DC charger. Also, regarding the alternator, The ability for the LIFEP04 to absorb high amperage charging for a long time can burn up your stock alternator (ask me how I know)....particularly at <2500 ish RPM where the alternators built in fan (which is a function of RPM for cooling) doesn't cool it well. You need to do one of three things:

1. Get something like a honda 2000 generator and charge the LiFeP04 from that if you need bulk charge and save the alternator charging for keeping the batteries topped off whilst motoring but (see #2).

2. Put a lot of cooling directly on the alternator via 12v blower fan and run it while the engine is running and the alternator charging your bank. You should do this even if you do items 1 or 3...

3. Get a Balmar or competing high amperage alternator (they are reportedly able to take higher temperatures than stock) , externally regulated alternator charge profiled for LIFEP04 and retrofit your engine with new serpentine belt and pulleys. *MAKE SURE* you have priced and sourced the pulleys and wider serpentine belt *THAT ARE CORRECT FOR YOUR ENGINE** if going with the larger (200A+) alternators as the extra traction is needed to put more horse power into the bigger alternator. The stock volvo one slips. Balmar will happily sell you an alternator "for your engine" knowing they don't have a pulley system for it and don't know where to send you to find one (= custom machining @$$$$$$). If you can't upgrade your pulleys the belt slips and you have to deregulate you big fancy alternator down to about the stock alternator's output and undo everything just to make it run....

Unless you have plenty of cash, I would look at options 1 and definitely do 2.
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Old 15-06-2024, 12:51   #3
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Re: Change to lithium

Hi, I am also just finishing up the same project on my 2007 Hunter. I went with 2x 200AH LiFOs. I have the alternator charging the starting battery. And added a Victron Orion XS 50 dc-to-dc to charge the LiFO's if needed.



I am leaving the generator directly charging the LiFOs, as well as my solar panels. Seems to be working well.


If you go with the Victron dc-to-dc chargers, just be aware that the older version, the TS 30, is not very efficient and generates a LOT of waste heat. The newer XS 50 is much better, even if you don't need 50 amps of charging.
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Old 15-06-2024, 13:29   #4
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Re: Change to lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorboyjo View Post
Hi all! I have a bavaria sailboat from 2007 and the batteries have died on me. I am thinking of changing to lithium. I currently have 3 lead acid batteries x 140amps each and the plan is to get 2 x 200 amps. I am also installing 2 solar panels x 200 watts each. The generator on the Volvo d2 75 is the standard one from 2007 with 14v 115 amps. The battery charger is the standard Quick which was very common in all Bavarias.

The seller of the solar panels and batteries says that i can keep the same generator and charger, connected to the steering battery (lead acid) and simply add a dc to dc convertor between the lead acid starting battery and the new lithiums.

Has anyone done this? Will the old battery charger and generator work ok and safely with just the addition of the dc to dc convertor?

Thanks for any info!
i do this before 8-9 year. lead out lifepo4 in ,no bms only strong balancer,but today you have good strong bms with balancer.i only use boat from april to end december.
on any charger only need change setup no equalizer of switch setup to agm-gel
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Old 15-06-2024, 13:34   #5
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Re: Change to lithium

Your plan with the DCDC charger is fine. Except, you need to do an energy audit. Your goal is to have enough solar to rarely if ever need to charge from the Alternator and most certainly you shouldn't need to rely on some Honda generator.
More solar panels are cheaper than upgrading your alternator or buying a Honda generator. So put all your money into solar until there is absolutely no way of adding more do to space. You didn't say how large your sailboat is, but a small sailboat can fit 600W-800W minimum, and a large sailboat 2000W or more. The 400W you are planning might not be enough.
If you can't get enough solar to meet your needs, then you will need to charge from an Alternator or Generator. And then it makes sense to be able to charge from those as quickly as possible, and expensive upgrades to the Alternator/Regulator might be in order.
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Old 15-06-2024, 13:53   #6
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Re: Change to lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorboyjo View Post
I am also installing 2 solar panels x 200 watts each.
Thanks for any info!
also i make mistake for 2x200w solar panel,this now 14 month chinese fake solar panel i put in garbage. i now search for premium chinese brand or EU size is 340W(2x 445w) 170 cm x 100 cm this easy stay on bavaria 36 and up.
search solar panel high effiency 445w size 170x 100 +-cm
like this
https://shop.volt-on.de/Hi-MO-6-Explorer-LR5-54HTH-440W

https://shop.volt-on.de/trina-solar-...g9r28-vertex-s
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Old 15-06-2024, 14:12   #7
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Re: Change to lithium

It is really important to be clear about the battery chemistry. Your original post just says "lithium". Responses have rightly mentioned LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) as being an appropriate choice.

I say this because using Li-Ion (lithium ion) or LiPo (lithium polymer), while cheaper and more space efficient, is NOT suitable for a marine environment. I won't go into the "why" of this because I'm sure someone will come along and say it is fine because they did it and haven't had any issues. And, I'll have to follow up with a detailed explanation anyway.

Generally, for marine usage on recreational vessels, LiFePO4 is the preferred choice, balancing cost, safety and performance. If price were no object, I might consider LTO and it would likely be the last battery I ever bought. I wouldn't consider any other chemistry for my boat. (NCA and NMC are probably fine, in terms of safety, but don't offer enough net advantages over NiFePO4 or LTO for me to consider them.)
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Old 15-06-2024, 14:35   #8
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Re: Change to lithium

Always charge the LFP first.
Then a DC DC to the starter.
The result will be that the starter is always 100% charged and you will have a warm beer cause the fridge is not working, BUT the engine will start. And that good news :-)

I have no solution for Volvo yet. But i hope in next year I will have.
https://youtube.com/shorts/05jGQ2Flb6U
Charging only 370 Amp when idling
Peak 513 Amp at 1500 rpm
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Old 15-06-2024, 16:04   #9
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Re: Change to lithium

I did something similar on my Bene 42, except I also changed the start battery to a Dakota LiFePo dual-purpose. This eliminates the problem of charging different chemistries and lets me use the start battery as the bow thruster and windlass battery as well. I upgraded the alternator to a Balmar with an external regulator. Have been cruising on this setup for a year and it works great.
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Old 15-06-2024, 18:04   #10
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Re: Change to lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Kimblad View Post
Always charge the LFP first.
Then a DC DC to the starter.
The result will be that the starter is always 100% charged and you will have a warm beer cause the fridge is not working, BUT the engine will start. And that good news :-)

I have no solution for Volvo yet. But i hope in next year I will have.
https://youtube.com/shorts/05jGQ2Flb6U
Charging only 370 Amp when idling
Peak 513 Amp at 1500 rpm
Charging the LFP first only works if you have built your system to include an expensive Alternator and External regulator, and either have BMS control of the Alternator or add an Alternator Protection device.
Charging the Lead first and the LFP with the DCDC protects the alternator and is a simple low cost solution, and is appropriate if you have enough solar to not need high charge rates from the Alternator.
No one solution works for everyone, but I always suggest getting as much solar as money will allow and to try and never need to charge from the engine.
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Old 15-06-2024, 18:58   #11
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Re: Change to lithium

We installed Blue Heron three years ago including the starter bank. Excellent technical assistance and planning from Hank George. Shipped to Trinidad where I installed them. All software upgrades for my devices, dongles, patch cords included.

hank@starboardlanding.com
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Old 15-06-2024, 23:53   #12
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Re: Change to lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorboyjo View Post
Hi all! I have a bavaria sailboat from 2007 and the batteries have died on me. I am thinking of changing to lithium. I currently have 3 lead acid batteries x 140amps each and the plan is to get 2 x 200 amps. I am also installing 2 solar panels x 200 watts each. The generator on the Volvo d2 75 is the standard one from 2007 with 14v 115 amps. The battery charger is the standard Quick which was very common in all Bavarias.

The seller of the solar panels and batteries says that i can keep the same generator and charger, connected to the steering battery (lead acid) and simply add a dc to dc convertor between the lead acid starting battery and the new lithiums.

Has anyone done this? Will the old battery charger and generator work ok and safely with just the addition of the dc to dc convertor?

Thanks for any info!
I own a Bavaria Match 35 2007. The electrical equipment must be the same as yours. I will write the shortest solution and will not go into too much detail.

If you want details, I recommend you scan past posts. Connect a high efficiency 50A dcdc charger to the Battery Isolator output and continue using your new Service and existing LA starting battery & alternator setup without any modification. Focus on scaling up your solar power system to make your system more efficient.
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Old 23-06-2024, 06:20   #13
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Re: Change to lithium

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. ���� Perhaps not everyone agrees as to which is the best way of skinning the proverbial cat����, but all very interesting and helpful nonetheless. For info, at this stage, my preferred option mainly for least risk, least complications and least cost is the DC to DC charger between the starting battery (Lead Acid) and the lithiums (yes, lifepo4)
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Old 23-06-2024, 08:30   #14
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Re: Change to lithium

So much bad information on this post.
You need to do nothing other than add a DC/DC charger and ensure things like your windlass and bowthruster run from the engine battery not the leasure battery.
A Victron XS 50A DC/DC charger would be a good choice.
This will charge at a constant 50A as long as your engine is running, hour after hour. Way more charge output to lithium that you would see on your old lead battery install since any high alternator output to lead would be very short lived before the alternator cut back to less than 20A.
Lots of solar, charging the lithium would help a lot.
You don't need to any more than this and you will have a far better set up than the current lead setup.
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Old 27-06-2024, 03:47   #15
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Re: Change to lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailorboyjo View Post
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. ���� Perhaps not everyone agrees as to which is the best way of skinning the proverbial cat����, but all very interesting and helpful nonetheless. For info, at this stage, my preferred option mainly for least risk, least complications and least cost is the DC to DC charger between the starting battery (Lead Acid) and the lithiums (yes, lifepo4)
There is a wealth of information on lithium versus lead and how to upgrade properly and safely at Attainable Adventure Cruising (www.morganscloud.com). Probably one of the best and most complete resources I have seen on electrical systems on offshore sailboats. John Harries is a known authority on offshore cruising and passage making.

Good Luck.
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