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Old 24-08-2020, 06:39   #1
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why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

Hi Guys,

Why did you chose the batteries you have? Two things I seek if you wish to share your experiences?

I know their is many thread on this topic. I just seek the reasons why cruisers have choose the type of battery they have and the decision considerations?

How the specific battery bank has preformed with the use of an inverter higher than 3kw and the size and type of battery bank you use this with.

I am at this stage of doing and am lost with choice as in my head I personally have;

1 - lead crystal batteries,
Great capacity and depth of discharge but very difficult to charge correctly with set particular needs of high amps to maintain capacity otherwise the battery is damaged, can swell or generally die.

2 - Agm - Gel, the tried and tested but with a high power inverter running my hot water (this is an experiment) they wont put out enough initial sustaining amps without the system being huge and limited in its capacity to use a good dod.

3 - Lithium - I have seen the video of what happens to these when lithium contacts salt water, not pleasant at all and most likely to happen in a time of distress when other things should be dealt with if salt water is that high inside the boat....

4 - lead carbon - sounds super great but can't find specific charge requirements and first hand feed back about these batteries

You personal experiences would be appreciated so one can learn from those who have gone before.

Thanking you in advance
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Old 24-08-2020, 07:30   #2
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

I used and been a fan of GC2 gold cart batteries. For the price and use you can not beat the price! I got almost 4 years out of the last set while being a full time liveaboard cruiser and once going 11 months without plugging in.

But I am replacing them with a set of FireFly carbon foam batteries. The only things I hope from them is:
1 - they don't need to be fully charged all the time as they claim. My hope is that allows me to stop thinking about batteries so much
2 - they last long enough to justify the 4x the $$$ over the T105s. But if they last twice as long but accomplish #1 I will call it a success

I was going to go LFP and even had ordered a set. But the overcharging etc. just didn't make me comfortable so I feel the FireFly does the same claims without as much dangers.
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Old 24-08-2020, 10:28   #3
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

I have a set of 4 Lifeline 6V 220AH AGM batteries as my house bank. I chose those because the boat was going to be on a mooring and the AGM's had very little self discharge. I also liked the fact that they didn't require any maintenance and didn't outgas.

They have been great for that purpose but they are now 12 years old and I'm also living aboard so circumstances have changed. The batteries are obviously on their last legs and as a result, they seem to lose voltage much faster than before, for the same load.

So, like SailorBoy, I'm also considering new batteries. The tried and true T-105's (or possibly T-125's for just a bit more) are definitely an option. The installation is very simple since my Lifelines are also 6-volt. Since I'm now living aboard, the self-discharge of the FLA's is no factor, and that maintanance isn't as big of an issue (in theory anyway). So those are a possibility, with the price being the biggest draw.

I'm also strongly considering carbon foam batteries. They would require a little re-wiring but nothing substantial. Obviously they're more expensive but it seems that they are really forgiving. Main Sail (a frequent poster here who is an expert on on-board battery systems) has said that his customers that have had carbon foam batteries for several years still report good results. If you do a google search on this site you will find some of his posts on the subject. Obviously the big obstacle there is price, but if they last a lot longer then your "$/lifetime amp-hour" goes down. At this point, I think (but could be wrong) that traditional flooded led-acid batters are still the best $/lifetime AH, but if it looks like the lifetime cost is even comparable to FLA's then that would be good enough for me to buy the carbon foams because it would mean one or more fewer times I would have to install batteries.

I'm not considering lithium at the moment since I still have a very good 2KW inverter/charger that I would have to replace or add another charger to the system and I don't really want to do that yet.
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Old 24-08-2020, 10:48   #4
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

LiFePo4 600 amp hours with victron 3000/12/120 inverter charger.
Runs the electric galley well. I have a 2 plate induction cooktop and 30l electric oven and a microwave.

You cannot run 3000watts on any other batteries without a serious voltage drop. LiFePo4 handles 280 amps draws for 30 mins with a 0,5v drop in voltage
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Old 25-08-2020, 04:51   #5
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMagoo2 View Post
I am at this stage of doing and am lost with choice as in my head I personally have;

1 - lead crystal batteries,
Great capacity and depth of discharge but very difficult to charge correctly with set particular needs of high amps to maintain capacity otherwise the battery is damaged, can swell or generally die.

2 - Agm - Gel, the tried and tested but with a high power inverter running my hot water (this is an experiment) they wont put out enough initial sustaining amps without the system being huge and limited in its capacity to use a good dod.

3 - Lithium - I have seen the video of what happens to these when lithium contacts salt water, not pleasant at all and most likely to happen in a time of distress when other things should be dealt with if salt water is that high inside the boat....

4 - lead carbon - sounds super great but can't find specific charge requirements and first hand feed back about these batteries

You personal experiences would be appreciated so one can learn from those who have gone before.

I dunno anything about lead crystal, and not much about lithium.

AGM and Gel are not the same thing.

I've used AGMs with good success. Odyssey, and Lifeline. Lifelines on the inverter, but the Odysseys would have been fine, too. Never tried to heat water with the inverter though; it was always easy to start the genset.

When you say lead carbon, do you mean AGM Carbon Foam, i.e., Firefly Oasis batteries? If so, they seem to be growing a good reputation. If not, what's lead carbon?

-Chris
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Old 25-08-2020, 09:27   #6
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

We use cheap golf cart batteries, about 1100 a/h. The system loss is about 5~7% per day. After 3 or 4 days we run the generator for 3 or 4 hours to top up the bank and make water.

We have 4 solar panels and if we added 2 more it would probably be at 100% every afternoon.

We have fridge and freezer plus all the other goodies used while live aboard cruising.

The bank is 5 years old, it's been abused, it sat for 18 months with any charge and still bounced back.

The batteries have been easy to maintain, we water every other month and keep them clean. All in all, simple, cheap and reliable.
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Old 25-08-2020, 10:34   #7
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

In terms of inverters, I installed a full sine wave 2000watt unit. Unfortunately it wouldn't power up my 1100watt microwave, so had to drag it out and replace with a 3000watt unit. Microwave works well now.
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Old 25-08-2020, 10:45   #8
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

I am still with FLA's, big high quality 6v ones. Rational is cost, I don't believe and nor do I find relevant the argument that over a 30yr cycle Lithium will work out cheaper. I also understand the tech which is simple, robust and well proven. I would maybe make a different choice if I used the boat differently, say being resident in a marina and just weekend sailing but for cruising remote areas the availability of service/spares for more complex systems is an issue.
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Old 25-08-2020, 11:47   #9
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

800ah at 12V of Firefly G31s with Victron 3000/120/12. Changed from 450ah of GC2s for PSOC, maintenance free, and high charge acceptance rate.

Cheers, RickG
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Old 26-08-2020, 07:10   #10
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

Thanks guys for the insights.

Here in Australia we have a product marketed as carbon lead batteries. Looking at their specifications and weight they seem to be the same a these lead foam batteries from firefly maybe something to do with patents. This sound like the best way to go for running an inverter. I think with SLA I would need too big a battery bank. For Lithium I will need more in the bank!
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Old 26-08-2020, 09:56   #11
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMagoo2 View Post
Hi Guys,

Why did you chose the batteries you have? Two things I seek if you wish to share your experiences?

I know their is many thread on this topic. I just seek the reasons why cruisers have choose the type of battery they have and the decision considerations?

How the specific battery bank has preformed with the use of an inverter higher than 3kw and the size and type of battery bank you use this with.

I am at this stage of doing and am lost with choice as in my head I personally have;

1 - lead crystal batteries,
Great capacity and depth of discharge but very difficult to charge correctly with set particular needs of high amps to maintain capacity otherwise the battery is damaged, can swell or generally die.

2 - Agm - Gel, the tried and tested but with a high power inverter running my hot water (this is an experiment) they wont put out enough initial sustaining amps without the system being huge and limited in its capacity to use a good dod.

3 - Lithium - I have seen the video of what happens to these when lithium contacts salt water, not pleasant at all and most likely to happen in a time of distress when other things should be dealt with if salt water is that high inside the boat....

4 - lead carbon - sounds super great but can't find specific charge requirements and first hand feed back about these batteries

You personal experiences would be appreciated so one can learn from those who have gone before.

Thanking you in advance
1. Lead Crystal looks way too new to me. Not a mature technology for offshore marine applications. Ask again in 5yr or so. Also I can't find pricing. https://greenrhino-energy.com/crystal-batteries/ Unless you meant Flooded Lead Acid in which case see #5. below.

2. AGM and Gel are not the same.
-AGMs are great for highload uses, sealed battery so no maintenance and is fine in high vibration environments. The flip side of sealed is that you CAN't maintain them. They are moderately expensive. Cruising boats are generally not high vibration environments unless you mount the batteries right on the engine or right next to them, both of which are bad ideas just anyway so let's say this isn't really. AGMs don't do well if they aren't regularly brought to full, like 5 of 7d per week, that means you need plenty of solar panels to make sure you get there regularly. AGMs need to be charged at high amps (0.2-0.4C) when in bulk charging, so that means you need to run a generator or the main engine with a high output alternator almost daily for an hour or so. That means an alternator upgrade from whatever is stock for your boat, plus you will need to install a serpentine belt to drive the alternator. even if you don't upgrade the alternator and belts you need to upgrade the regulator so it's current limited and the battery doesn't try to pull so much load the alternator is fried.
-Gels are Sealed and are relatively long lived compared to other lead acid batteries. Again the flip side of sealed is that you CAN't maintain them. They are moderately expensive. They don't like heavy discharge loads, they prefer slower energy withdrawal. They are touchy about their recharging voltage and are slightly slower to recharge.

3. Lithium is super light for it's capacity, it has a lot of cycle life, can generate HUGE current, is very efficient in terms of energy out vs energy in, can accept lots of current when charging and a very large percent of capacity is available for use (80ish%) and prefers not being fully charged regularly. They are still a maturing technology for marine applications. Generally the batteries are not plug and play, so if you go this route you need to become a lot better educated on their use. VERY expensive.

4. By lead carbon I assume you mean Carbon Foam (CF). Carbon foam is great for high current draws, a larger percentage of capacity is usable, it has a lot of cycle life in it, it is fairly tolerant of Partial State of Charge use. They are pretty expensive.

5. Flooded lead acid (FLA) batteries, are relatively cheap, require occasional watering, can have relatively long lives if taken care of and true deep-cycle batteries are sourced to begin with. They can be found around the world. The technology is very mature, and generally charging sources default to FLA settings. They don't like being charged very hard (typical is 0.10-0.15C)



I have 2 12v FLA golfcart batteries in my boat. I chose 12v because I only have room for 2 batteries in my boat and if one fails I still have some capacity whereas with 6v batteries if one fails I got nothing. I chose FLA for price and ability to tolerate a slow charge. I run electric propulsion daysailing on my boat unless I need to go long distances then I swap in a gas outboard. I toss a 30w panel on deck and the batteries are fully charged by the next weekend.



When I get a larger boat, and believe me I really want a larger boat, the type of batteries I get will depend on particulars of that boat. Here are my observations about where I would use each type of battery.

Lithium would be considered if I had a LOT of money available and the boat was very weight sensitive like a trimaran or a sled such as an Olson or Santa Cruz racing boat pressed into service as a cruising boat or it I was going to go with electric propulsion where a LOT of capacity needs to be installed and that kind of weight may become an issue for even for a less weight sensitive boat.

I would use AGMs for electric propulsion on a dinghy, but wouldn't use them in any other capacity.

If I had a normal boat with an inboard and money was an issue, I would go with either golfcart FLAs or golfcart Gels. If the battery location was hard to access and therefore water and I wasn't going off to exotic lands, I would go with the Gels. If the access was reasonable or I was going to exotic lands, I would go with the FLAs.

If I was going to install electric propulsion and money was an issue I would go with Carbon Foam for PSoC operation, deep discharge ability, and long term cost. While they cost more up front per available W-hr than FLA the much longer cycle life makes them cheaper over the long-term and gives better range for weight.

If I was going to install an electric galley my first inclination is to install a larger FLA or CF battery bank; electric cooking (and water heating) needs relatively short periods of very high current use. Total energy draw is moderate, but the short term loads are very large so with any lead acid battery a large bank is an plus. For a boat with an inboard and an FLA bank I would up the bank to 600-800Ahr at 12v. For an electric drive boat I would up the CF bank to 200Ahr at 48v (or 200-300Ahr at 36v, but that voltage is not terribly common for propulsion).

If you have Lithium, as long as the bank isn't miniscule, it should handle an electric galley just fine.

The thing with batteries is that you can't just look at the chemistries, you also need to look at charging resources on boards, where you are going to be sailing and what kind of sailing you intend to do.

If you are on a power boat, there is a whole different set of issues.
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Old 27-08-2020, 04:41   #12
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Re: why did you choose? Batteries and inverters greater than 3kw

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMagoo2 View Post
Thanks guys for the insights.

Here in Australia we have a product marketed as carbon lead batteries. Looking at their specifications and weight they seem to be the same a these lead foam batteries from firefly maybe something to do with patents. This sound like the best way to go for running an inverter.

There's a couple of other current threads ongoing here, a group of Aussies looking to make a bulk purchase/import of Firefly Oasis batteries, and/or maybe entice somebody to become the distributor in Oz.

-Chris
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