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Old 01-08-2021, 15:26   #1
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Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

For those who have gone through direct strikes or EMPs, has anyone had experience with their lithium banks and perhaps the BMS being taken out?
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Old 01-08-2021, 15:55   #2
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

Lightning does not read the rules, each strike is different and does not follow the science that some experts will tell you about. I have worked around boats and marinas my entire life, have been on vessels that took direct hit with no problems and seen a boat at the dock catch fire and burn both neighbor boats to the waterline. Have seen vessels hit where it took out entire wiring system, or melted cables at breakers, or where a strike just took out the AM channel on their stereo! Met an old golfer in Orlando who had been hit several times and survived,,,,,he would always tell about his experiences with lightning strikes while on the 19th green and people would always buy him drinks. Of course he died a few years later when his luck ran out.
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Old 01-08-2021, 16:56   #3
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

Lightning, like everything else the atmosphere makes, comes in sizes. Wind, hail, snow, rainfall, etc... I had a friend who was hit in the wrist, and all was well. Other strikes have melted a hole in 1/4" steel plate.
Electronics, in general, is sensitive to high energy events. Sometimes, just voltage of the wrong polarity. ESD damage is more rare these days, but lightning takes it to a new level. I won't have an offshore boat with electronic engines.

EMP; sites that are lightning hardened are still not ready for EMP hits. EMP is treated as having 3 phases (different frequency components and amplitude and duration); one phase is considered as bad as a close lightning strike.
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Old 01-08-2021, 18:41   #4
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

Nothing short of a farady cage was the original line of thought regarding EMP strikes, but there is an article here https://www.eurekamagazine.co.uk/des...0Sir%20Michael. that suggests they might have a better solution .... I've never tried it so it's up to you how much faith you put in it .....
as far as protecting equipment from a lightening strike creating savage voltage surges, a carefully selected fuse choice in both the positive and negative leads that is just high enough to avoid false fuse failure but low enough to actually do the job it was intended to do, fail before the equipment it was intended to protect suffered fatal voltage surges. Fuse both the negative and positive cable of the battery with high voltage fuses that will provide enough of an air gap or a material to block an arc from overcoming the fuses protection. Circuit breakers will not offer this protection because the air gap between the contacts is not enough to prevent a high voltage arc ...

It gets to the point of doing a risk assessment and determining just what needs this level of protection and the level of risk in the first place.

A power cord connected to shore power without a galvanic isolator in the system offers a perfect path for any lightening strike, no matter what other protection you use ......

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Old 01-08-2021, 19:46   #5
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

If there is an EMP your batteries and your boat are the least of your worries.
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Old 02-08-2021, 02:22   #6
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

Quote:
Originally Posted by T1 Terry View Post
Nothing short of a farady cage was the original line of thought regarding EMP strikes, but there is an article here https://www.eurekamagazine.co.uk/design-engineering-features/technology/how-the-faraday-cage-effect-may-finally-have-been-overcome/57000/#:~:text=The%20'Faraday%20Cage'%20effect%20has,by% 20the%20eponymous%20Sir%20Michael. that suggests they might have a better solution .... I've never tried it so it's up to you how much faith you put in it ...
The abovementioned 'Fluxor' technology has nothing to do with replacing the Faraday cage, for lightning protection/mitigation.
That Eureka article is, more or less a cut & paste of the TTP press release.
https://www.ttp.com/news/fluxor-technology
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Old 02-08-2021, 11:50   #7
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

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If there is an EMP your batteries and your boat are the least of your worries.


Unless the boat is ur bail out plan.
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Old 02-08-2021, 12:47   #8
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

I was involved in refitting a 52' boat about 8 Years ago, where we installed 3 sets of Lifepo4 Battery's. 12V, 24V & 48V. About a year after the refit was finished the boat took a direct hit by Lightning in the Bahamas which took out everything that had any electronics in it.
All three battery banks were destroyed with damaged cells and BMS's, and had to be replaced.
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Old 02-08-2021, 15:09   #9
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

I just walked out of Advance Auto parts and the entire computer system, server, everything was fried. Storm just passed by an hour ago.

I think this is a very serious consideration for those contemplating worldwide or remote cruising. LiFePO are wonderful but no where near as robust as dumb ole FLA. except possibly with a metal boat, which is a floating faraday cage.
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Old 02-08-2021, 15:49   #10
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

No direct experience but a sail buddy had a severe adjacent strike, even igniting diesel vapours in steel fuel tanks, bending the shaft, rupturing Engine liners, most electronics gone except transducers and LFP battery s.
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Old 02-08-2021, 16:00   #11
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

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No direct experience but a sail buddy had a severe adjacent strike, even igniting diesel vapours in steel fuel tanks, bending the shaft, rupturing Engine liners, most electronics gone except transducers and LFP battery s.

Ouch. That bolt had nowhere to go except thru the engine.
We have been getting numerous strikes within a couple miles lately. I own one of the highest points around, and am busy ordering material that will carry the current down the stays and into salt water. Without engines and plastic hulls in the way. Still, some amount of luck is needed.
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Old 02-08-2021, 16:35   #12
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

With more and more boat owners installing Lithium based battery systems with BMS and specialized smart charge controllers we can expect over the next few years more reports of failures in these devices, due to lightning, or EMP's, as well as simple electronics failures.

One of the biggest worries will be diagnosis of a failure in the system.

When we have multiple battery cells, multiple BMS, multiple battery temperature sensors, multiple NPPT controllers and multiple charge controllers, to say nothing of battery combiners, ACRs, and other bits of electronics, all connected into a system on which our electrical supply is dependent it becomes a massive headache to figure out what isn't working when a failure becomes evident. (like I said before, your granddaughter says, "Pops, my phone won't charge") .

A lightning strike may kill everything or just some things. They are unpredictable. So how will you know what is fried and what is not?

I have many years experience on my own simple boat (two banks of lead acid batteries, one alternator, one regulator, one LED monitoring device, one inverter charger, and four analog meters) and there have been several occasions when I have had a problem on my boat or helped other boaters with their equally basic systems when they have had a problem when diagnosing even a simple system such as this has been quite difficult.

People are so enthused about the wonderful technology that they are keen to install that they are refusing to even consider that there will be failures and that diagnosing them and fixing them could be really hard. Imagine you are up the river in Guyana or in Papua New Guinea, or even the San Blas Islands and your system get blasted. Who are you going to call?

In that case you better have lots of spares and a good head for electronics.
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Old 02-08-2021, 16:59   #13
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Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

I suspect it may come down to: what do i absolutely, positively , want highly reliable. On that short list will be my mechanical diesels, started by FLA batts, an epirb, a hh vhf and a hh gps.
Those all have a shot of surviving a very close hit. I think. Maybe. But first, the hull must survive. It will be sad, but not catastrophic to lose the Li bank and everything on that circuit.
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:07   #14
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

As mentioned, lightning strikes and nearby strikes are vastly different in the amount of damage they cause on a boat. A strong direct hit can take out everything, no matter what chemistry your batts are made of.
Most "hits" are merely nearby but can cause havoc, esp. with radios, but also with your BMS, for sure.

Coming to think of it, a set of LA's as starter batts does make sense as they don't need a BMS yet might survive a strike to the point that they can still crank your engine over, unless you're all electrical...

It comes down to how common such "total failures" really are to make the decision against electric and pro diesel engine one day.
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Old 03-08-2021, 03:34   #15
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Re: Lightning strikes or EMP taking out lithium bank

I have asked Victron, but no reply. The eight LiFePo4 cells in my boat all have individual Bluetooth comms so that could help figuring out what's lost. After installing the whole LiFePo4 system, and programming it, I have reason to doubt that these things ar suitable for marine applications.
Disconnecting cables when lightning is around is good practice (for what it's worth) and all electronics you can store in your oven have a fair chance of surviving.
Do connect your mast to a keel bolt and get starter cables for shrouds and stays (Swan boats have heavy cables from these to the keel), which you deploy when lightning is around. The next most effective thing to do is Pray and wait.
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