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Old 29-01-2014, 01:38   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Madison Wisconsin
Boat: Beneteau First 38
Posts: 2
Simple LiFePo4 Battery Installation

I am the proud new owner of a 1983 Beneteau First 38.

Im upgrading my batteries to a LiFiPo4 dual bank. This season I will not have shore power (I have a Xantrex Truecharge 40, if I run into shore power somewhere) and the solar will not go in until spring of 15. So, we will be weekend cruising and charging off of the alternator only. Well, I might get a small solar panel to top things of for the week or two between uses. The goal is to use the boat and refit over the next two years then depart for extended cruising spring of 16.

House Bank: 4 of 400 Ah Winston cell connected in series
Start Battery: 1 of 12v 40Ah Winston

Charging: Existing 90 amp internally regulated alternator and adding a Sterling Power Pro-Reg D. I am going with the Sterling so that I can get temperature sensing at the alternator. I also want to be able to upgrade the alternator (may get sick of running the engine 1-2 hours a day) and use the same regulator in the future. This season energy use will be very low only lighting (mostly LED), VHF, speed and depth instruments and anchor windlass. No refrigeration, no autopilot, no chartplotter, no radar, no watermaker.

I dislike the 1/off/2/all switch. I am going to replace it with an on/off for the house and an on/off/parallel for the start battery, with a Blue Sea ACR charge relay.

Monitoring: Xantrex Linklite battery monitor and a Junsi cell logger for the house bank, and 2 Blue Sea LVD low voltage disconnects. Everything will be over current protected.

BMS or no? A better way than the ACR to integrate? Thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 29-01-2014, 03:06   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Boat: Swanson 42
Posts: 6,117
Re: Simple LiFePo4 Battery Installation

I will be watching the responses here with interest as you describe similar setup to that I am considering, with the difference that we will have around 300 watts of solar plus our Aerogen 6.

My concern with what you describe is that I can't see how you will get adequate charge TIME but I don't yet really understand this battery chemistry so I will be keen to see what those that do have to say.

Count-down has commenced.
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Old 29-01-2014, 11:36   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Boat: Gulfstar Long Range Trawler; 53'; BearBoat
Posts: 1,003
Re: Simple LiFePo4 Battery Installation

It is my design philosophy to:
1. Use the organic controls in the various charging sources to limit and control charging of an LFP bank.
2. Use a BMS with cell voltage as well as bank voltage as a back up and to ensure that an HVC and LVC are managed should they occur.
3. There is no doubt that, at some time, cell (parallel string) balancing will be required. At that time having a BMS installed makes this operation very straight forward.
4. The cost of a BMS is so small, that it makes no sense, to me, to not install one.
Charlie Johnson
ABYC Master Technician
JTB Marine Corporation
"The Devil is in the details and so is salvation."
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battery, installation, lifepo4

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