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Old 30-01-2023, 08:40   #1
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Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

I believe I have trashed my 3yr old Lifeline 210 AHr group 4D AGM batteries through a series of deep discharges. They don’t really charge to the full voltage and rapidly discharge.

To replace these like for like is going to be around $1,600 or so. I can find quite a selection of similar AHr 4D LiFePO batteries for the same or slightly more $ on Amazon and other sources.

What’s the catch here?

Are they really the right technology or the technology they claim to be?
Are they a really a drop in replacement for my AGM batteries?
Do they really provide the capacity they claim?

If so, being able to go below 50% SOC is a huge benefit for me.

Thoughts? Recommendations for approach or products?

(On the hook in the Key West area trying to avoid getting a slip)
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Old 30-01-2023, 12:26   #2
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
I believe I have trashed my 3yr old Lifeline 210 AHr group 4D AGM batteries through a series of deep discharges. They donít really charge to the full voltage and rapidly discharge.

To replace these like for like is going to be around $1,600 or so. I can find quite a selection of similar AHr 4D LiFePO batteries for the same or slightly more $ on Amazon and other sources.

Whatís the catch here?
The catch is that they arenít really a drop-in.
  • Cheap ones tend to have a lousy BMS, which means they canít handle a lot of current. This affects both charging and discharging.
    Theyíre almost certainly not going to meet the recently released ABYC standards for what thatís worth.
    The build quality of the cheap drop-ins is suspect at best, dangerous at worst.
    Your charging sources (solar, charger, alternator) need to be reworked to work with lithium properly.

On my boat, I wound up building my own LFP setup using an off the shelf BMS. But in doing so, I completely rebuilt the electrical system on the boat. I went for the fully integrated route, but I also recognize thatís probably overkill for a lot of folks.
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Old 30-01-2023, 14:12   #3
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
I believe I have trashed my 3yr old Lifeline 210 AHr group 4D AGM batteries through a series of deep discharges. They donít really charge to the full voltage and rapidly discharge.

Did you try Lifeline's equalizing (conditioning) routine?

-Chris
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Old 30-01-2023, 14:38   #4
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
I believe I have trashed my 3yr old Lifeline 210 AHr group 4D AGM batteries through a series of deep discharges. They donít really charge to the full voltage and rapidly discharge.

To replace these like for like is going to be around $1,600 or so. I can find quite a selection of similar AHr 4D LiFePO batteries for the same or slightly more $ on Amazon and other sources.

Whatís the catch here?

Are they really the right technology or the technology they claim to be?
Are they a really a drop in replacement for my AGM batteries?
Do they really provide the capacity they claim?

If so, being able to go below 50% SOC is a huge benefit for me.

Thoughts? Recommendations for approach or products?

(On the hook in the Key West area trying to avoid getting a slip)
Heck you aren't a good shopper. I looked 2 days ago and there were 200AH drop in LFP batteries around $600/ea.

I can not speak to the the 200ah ones, but got 4 100ah Power Queen drop ins off Amazon last month and they have been working great!
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Old 30-01-2023, 14:46   #5
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

In my experience many people get substandard results from LA batteries because of ignorance, abuse, or neglect. (and 3 years is VERY short for Lifelines)

They then spend a lot of money for Li batteries, and discover than they also die early deaths from ignorance, abuse, or neglect. It's just much more expensive.

Those with a history of getting good results from LA somehow also manage to get good results from Li.
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Old 30-01-2023, 16:14   #6
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger58sb View Post
Did you try Lifeline's equalizing (conditioning) routine?

-Chris
Have not. Link? I do have an equalization function on my master volt 12/50-3 charger but need shore power or to resurrect my generator and run it for hours and hours
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Old 30-01-2023, 16:34   #7
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by hjohnson View Post
The catch is that they arenít really a drop-in.
  • Cheap ones tend to have a lousy BMS, which means they canít handle a lot of current. This affects both charging and discharging.
    Theyíre almost certainly not going to meet the recently released ABYC standards for what thatís worth.
    The build quality of the cheap drop-ins is suspect at best, dangerous at worst.
    Your charging sources (solar, charger, alternator) need to be reworked to work with lithium properly.

On my boat, I wound up building my own LFP setup using an off the shelf BMS. But in doing so, I completely rebuilt the electrical system on the boat. I went for the fully integrated route, but I also recognize thatís probably overkill for a lot of folks.
If I was at home with plenty of time/tools/access Iíd
Consider a full up redesign/rebuild but Iím on the hook and trying to spend another 3-4 months cruising. Also this is a boat I will likely sell in a couple years and donít want to drop too much $ that Iíll likely not recover. Although I also donít want to do something shabby and nonfunctional. I do care about the quality of my work lol

Hence my interest in simply increasing useable AHr without massive investment

Related equipment includes new Epever 60a mppt solar controller, master volt 12/50-3 charger and a big standard internally regulated 80a alternator
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Old 30-01-2023, 16:38   #8
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Heck you aren't a good shopper. I looked 2 days ago and there were 200AH drop in LFP batteries around $600/ea.

I can not speak to the the 200ah ones, but got 4 100ah Power Queen drop ins off Amazon last month and they have been working great!
200ahr for 6-800 are the ones I’m talking about. 2x750 or so plus some shipping is about $1,600.

In any case those are the
Ones I’m talking about. What’s the real diff between a $700 200 AHr lifepo and a $2,300 200 AHr lifepo and perhaps more importantly do that difference matter in this situation?
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Old 30-01-2023, 16:38   #9
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Stay Calm...Remember your training....
Look at Will Prowse on Youtube. He has done lots of reviews of good and not so good LiFePo4s by buying them and opening them up. As far as ABYC the new standard is the same as the tech sheet. Basically you want a BMS you can talk to in some way. Blue tooth and a smart phone meets that requirement.

Bare cells and you wire in your BMS is still marginally cheaper than drop ins but not by much these days.

You will have to adjust or change your charge regulation to take full advantage of LiFePo4 batteries. Yes you can run them to 20% SOC regularly and still get 5 years out of them. Most better ones you could do this and get 10 years with loosing maybe 10% capacity.

The AGM profiles are close to LiFePo4 but don't charge over 14.4V for most drop ins. The BMS will shut you out.

You may want to use a separate starting battery if you have a large electric windlass that you like to lug. Most drop ins will pop the BMS and cut off over 100 to 200 amps. Having said that lots of people have no problem running the windlass directly off a LiFePo4 house bank.

I changed from AGM to LiFePo4 and don't regret it at all.
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Old 30-01-2023, 16:47   #10
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

https://www.amazon.com/reBel-Batteri...s%2C109&sr=8-4

These reviewed well if I recall and have Bluetooth individual cell monitoring.
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Old 30-01-2023, 17:17   #11
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
If I was at home with plenty of time/tools/access Iíd
Consider a full up redesign/rebuild but Iím on the hook and trying to spend another 3-4 months cruising. Also this is a boat I will likely sell in a couple years and donít want to drop too much $ that Iíll likely not recover. Although I also donít want to do something shabby and nonfunctional. I do care about the quality of my work lol

Hence my interest in simply increasing useable AHr without massive investment

Related equipment includes new Epever 60a mppt solar controller, master volt 12/50-3 charger and a big standard internally regulated 80a alternator
The alternator needs to be regulated by temperature. You can not run a standard internally regulated 80A alternator to charge LFP and not have it fry. Most people put in a temp sensor to limit the current and deregulate the output via an external regulator. Or you can charge from your start battery to the LFP house bank by using a DC to DC charger. The "problem" with LFP is they can accept a LOT more than your alternator was designed to put out. You'll cook it quick if you try it stock to charge a 400AH LFP house bank. Ideally one would use a K frame or large frame , dual fan, high output alternator. I run a 170 amp dual fan derated to about 100 amp output.



If your solar controller has a LFP setting go for it. If it doesn't and you can't limit the voltage to 14.4V or less you need to toss it and get a LFT capable one.

The Mastervolt I don't know but you could go to a DC to DC setup off the start battery.
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Old 30-01-2023, 17:49   #12
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
Have not. Link? I do have an equalization function on my master volt 12/50-3 charger but need shore power or to resurrect my generator and run it for hours and hours
Nvm found in their manual. Not a special procedure, pretty standard. Will try if able but not something Iíve had much luck with in the past with other deeply discharged batteries.
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Old 30-01-2023, 17:57   #13
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubaseas View Post
Stay Calm...Remember your training....
Look at Will Prowse on Youtube. He has done lots of reviews of good and not so good LiFePo4s by buying them and opening them up. As far as ABYC the new standard is the same as the tech sheet. Basically you want a BMS you can talk to in some way. Blue tooth and a smart phone meets that requirement.

Bare cells and you wire in your BMS is still marginally cheaper than drop ins but not by much these days.

You will have to adjust or change your charge regulation to take full advantage of LiFePo4 batteries. Yes you can run them to 20% SOC regularly and still get 5 years out of them. Most better ones you could do this and get 10 years with loosing maybe 10% capacity.

The AGM profiles are close to LiFePo4 but don't charge over 14.4V for most drop ins. The BMS will shut you out.

You may want to use a separate starting battery if you have a large electric windlass that you like to lug. Most drop ins will pop the BMS and cut off over 100 to 200 amps. Having said that lots of people have no problem running the windlass directly off a LiFePo4 house bank.

I changed from AGM to LiFePo4 and don't regret it at all.
lol thanks

I do have the ability to modify the charge protocol on the solar controller and possibly on the shore power charger. The alternator unfortunately not. I have the capability but not really the time or stomach for build your own batteries hence exploring drop in. I have a separate start battery (newish and heathy) that also runs my windlass. I donít tow the boat with the windlass, I motor/sail up to the anchor so the windlass only pulls up 10-30 foot of chain and a 55lb anchor.

It sounds a lot like the bms not the cells is the main diff. I do see some bms rated at much higher emperages than others. Is that a good indicator?
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Old 30-01-2023, 17:59   #14
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubaseas View Post
https://www.amazon.com/reBel-Batteri...s%2C109&sr=8-4

These reviewed well if I recall and have Bluetooth individual cell monitoring.
Thanks. Those were actually one of the brands I was looking at. I think there is probably only a few manufacturers and lots of different labels but thanks
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Old 30-01-2023, 18:02   #15
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Re: Cheap group 4D LiFePO drop in replacement batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubaseas View Post
The alternator needs to be regulated by temperature. You can not run a standard internally regulated 80A alternator to charge LFP and not have it fry. Most people put in a temp sensor to limit the current and deregulate the output via an external regulator. Or you can charge from your start battery to the LFP house bank by using a DC to DC charger. The "problem" with LFP is they can accept a LOT more than your alternator was designed to put out. You'll cook it quick if you try it stock to charge a 400AH LFP house bank. Ideally one would use a K frame or large frame , dual fan, high output alternator. I run a 170 amp dual fan derated to about 100 amp output.



If your solar controller has a LFP setting go for it. If it doesn't and you can't limit the voltage to 14.4V or less you need to toss it and get a LFT capable one.

The Mastervolt I don't know but you could go to a DC to DC setup off the start battery.
I think this might be the route to go. ďNormallyĒ (ie when my generator hasnít gone tango uniform) I donít deliberately use the alternator to charge but my parallel charge circuit cuts in automatically, however I can disable it. A dc-dc and an acr like the blue sea is inexpensive and functional
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