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Old 05-26-2016, 06:59 AM   #81
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But these carbon batteries aren't any better than Lithiums are they?

Do they recharge quicker? - No
Do they last longer - probably not, maybe about the same
Can they take deeper DOD than Lithium? - No
Are they lighter weight than Lithium? - No
Are they cheaper than Lithium? - probably about the same

So where is the advantage? It's easy to compare with flooded wet cells, yes they're much better. But so are Lithiums - and they are proven technology, coming down in price as their use increases in automotive applications and Mr Musks new Gigafactory comes online. I think you're all looking in the wrong direction...
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:05 AM   #82
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Thanks, CMS. Your long reply a few posts back was very helpful.

It seems to me that the fundamental characteristics of CF batteries are the same as AGMs except for their greater immunity to sulfation. And you of course have emphasized the importance of this feature for many cruisers. Many (perhaps most) batteries don't wear out - they get trashed by their usage pattern.

You have also emphasized the importance of matching the battery to the boat and planned usage. I couldn't agree more.

Regarding AGMs, how often would you say they need to be returned to full charge to prevent sulfation? I'm thinking once a week? For many trawler owners, e.g. this forum, I think that happens reliably. Your batteries will return to full charge if you:

1) Plug into shore power overnight, or

2) Motor during the day long enough to fully recharge.

This of course assumes you have good charging equipment that can accomplish the recharge. But if you don't, I'd argue the problem is your charging, not your batteries.

I expect it's very rare for a motor cruiser to be at anchor without getting underway for more than a week, and that's the only time I see batteries experiencing sustained PSOC.

I can definitely see how on a sailing boat extended PSOC can and will occur since they are much less likely to get a full recharge while underway like a motor cruiser will. For them, the FF batteries sound like a worthwhile premium. And if a motor cruiser's engine alternator system can't fully recharge the batteries over the course of a typical session underway, and you don't return to shore power at least once a week, then they probably make sense in that application too.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:14 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Trundlebug View Post
But these carbon batteries aren't any better than Lithiums are they?

Do they recharge quicker? - No
Do they last longer - probably not, maybe about the same
Can they take deeper DOD than Lithium? - No
Are they lighter weight than Lithium? - No
Are they cheaper than Lithium? - probably about the same

So where is the advantage? It's easy to compare with flooded wet cells, yes they're much better. But so are Lithiums - and they are proven technology, coming down in price as their use increases in automotive applications and Mr Musks new Gigafactory comes online. I think you're all looking in the wrong direction...
Lots of work going into magnesium batteries, and have had some breakthroughs, just not yet there. I think it will happen. Lots more magnesium around than Lithium.
Magnesium To Replace Lithium-ion Batteries Soon | OilPrice.com

When and if they get it, Lithium demand will plummet, but consumers of DC power will be very happy.

Researchers at Toyota have discovered a new electrode for magnesium batteries
http://www.electrochem.org/redcat-bl...ium-batteries/

Toyota is of course an innovative car company, so their goal is to use magnesium not lithium batteries. Lithium supplies are limited.

http://techxplore.com/news/2016-05-t...r-smarter.html
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:15 AM   #84
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Interesting the max of 14.4volts.
Question is, what is the max volts coming from an engine alternator?
I have seen a big range over the years, and seem to recall mine is 14.4 to 14.7
Would engine run time with the alternator putting out too high the volts be a cause for concern?
My float voltage from the charger is set to 13.7 for my flooded cells. I can adjust it higher or lower.
Standard automotive type regulation (fixed voltage or thermistor manipulated) is simply a poor fit for any GEL or AGM battery not just Firefly. If moving to GEL or AGM the best solution is to design it as a system which includes the ability to program the correct absorption & float voltages, proper absorption duration, alternator temp compensation, proper belts to drive the loads, battery temp compensation from all charge sources, move the batteries out of the engine room etc..

Flooded batteries are such a value that abusing them does not cost you much and you can always add water if by chance you continued charging at 14.4V to 14.6V in a 130F engine bay. The batts are still damaged from this, and the life shortened, but they are cheap enough, and you can top them up with water, that designing a system around them is not worth the expense.

Incorrect charging & incomplete charging is but one part of the reason so many boaters complain of short life from typical AGM batteries. Nearly every AGM battery has different charge requirements so a so-called "smart" charges with three "dip-switch" settings is often a huge fail for many AGM or GEL batteries.

My rule of thumb with charge equipment for AGM or GEL is that unless I can fully custom manipulate/program charge voltages, absorption time etc. and it offers an on-battery temp sensor, it really has no place charging AGM or GEL batteries and the owner might as well stick with good old flooded batteries..

Buying AGM or GEL batteries and tossing them into a stock charging system is like buying a Ferrari then running a set of antique bias ply tires on it. You're simply not going to realize the performance you expect or paid for out of the batteries. Kind of like feeding a new common rail diesel through an 80 micron filter with dirty fuel... Might work for a short time but eventually it's going to cost you $$$.

Most AGM makers simply want to sell you lead so they could care less that you are improperly charging their batteries. Other than Lifeline and a few others most make you dig deep for proper charging protocols.

For example not a single one of my customers who has installed Odyssey TPPL AGM batteries, without consulting with me, knew or understood that Odyssey stipulates a minimum charge current of .4C (40% of Ah capacity) & an absorption voltage of 14.7V for "optimal cycle life". I have seen these batteries murdered in 1 year by stock Hitachi alternators feeding them .12C and barely ever breaking 14V. I have other Odyssey AGM's that I have installed as a system still performing well at 8+ years.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:20 AM   #85
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But these carbon batteries aren't any better than Lithiums are they?

Do they recharge quicker? - No
Do they last longer - probably not, maybe about the same
Can they take deeper DOD than Lithium? - No
Are they lighter weight than Lithium? - No
Are they cheaper than Lithium? - probably about the same

So where is the advantage? It's easy to compare with flooded wet cells, yes they're much better. But so are Lithiums - and they are proven technology, coming down in price as their use increases in automotive applications and Mr Musks new Gigafactory comes online. I think you're all looking in the wrong direction...
I think the big advantage is that the CF batteries can work with existing charging and inverting systems, i.e. they are more or less drop in replacements. That makes market adoption MUCH easier and faster.

LiFePO batteries require a bunch of battery management apparatus around them if used with existing chargers and inverters, and ideally chargers that a designed specifically for LiFePO. These battery management systems (BMS) are coming along, but it's still way too immature and home brew for any large scale adoption. So market penetration will be much slower.

The Musk battery pack has gotten lots of attention, but integrating it into a boat would be a major undertaking and require all new inverters and charging systems. Why? Because it's something like a 100-200V battery pack, so you need charging devices and inverters that operate at those voltages. They exist for industrial applications, but are very expensive and not installed in anyone's boat except maybe something way bigger than any of us own.

None of this means these new technologies can't make it to the main stream. It just means that it will take time, and the benefits will have to justify the effort that's required for the infrastructure change over. CF batteries appear to have one distinct advantage, but are easy to deploy. LiFePO has numerous advantages, but is distinctly harder to deploy.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:30 AM   #86
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But these carbon batteries aren't any better than Lithiums are they?

Do they recharge quicker? - No
Do they last longer - probably not, maybe about the same
Can they take deeper DOD than Lithium? - No
Are they lighter weight than Lithium? - No
Are they cheaper than Lithium? - probably about the same

So where is the advantage? It's easy to compare with flooded wet cells, yes they're much better. But so are Lithiums - and they are proven technology, coming down in price as their use increases in automotive applications and Mr Musks new Gigafactory comes online. I think you're all looking in the wrong direction...
Firefly's I consider a stepping stone or bridge step between traditional lead and LFP. No they can't compete with LFP in many areas because they are still lead acid batteries.

An installed LFP (LiFePO4) system, done correctly & safely, is significantly more costly than a Firefly bank and they are considerably more finicky than lead for poor charging practices. Just ask the guy who's 10K LFP battery is sitting on my bench right now ready to be recycled due to improper charging (charged at 3.65VPC per the manufacturers suggestions and destroyed).......

Yes AGM & GEL should be installed as a system but this system is still considerably less complex and far less costly than a safely & correctly installed LFP installation with BMS, charge & loads bus etc. etc..

I run LFP on my own vessel but I am also the first to admit this technology is not prime-time ready unless you have deep pockets and can pay for a quality factory engineered system and then also pay for all the correct equipment that is going to be compatible with it. The vast majority of lead acid charge source equipment out there is simply not compatible with LFP and they stuff that can be tweaked and made (quasi) compatible is expensive....
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:20 AM   #87
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Lots of work going into magnesium batteries, and have had some breakthroughs, just not yet there. I think it will happen. Lots more magnesium around than Lithium.
Magnesium To Replace Lithium-ion Batteries Soon | OilPrice.com

When and if they get it, Lithium demand will plummet, but consumers of DC power will be very happy.

Researchers at Toyota have discovered a new electrode for magnesium batteries
Breakthrough in Magnesium Batteries - ECS

Toyota is of course an innovative car company, so their goal is to use magnesium not lithium batteries. Lithium supplies are limited.

Toyota scientists make breakthrough on safer, smarter batteries

I take the points above regarding charging system compatibility, and from that I can see why carbon foam batts are of interest.

Two points though, Magnesium batteries could still be 20 years away - as stated in one of the links in your post.

Also, Lithium supplies aren't limited at all. There's lots of it in sea water. Therefore salt flats are an ideal source, where sea water salts have been concentrated. Production facilities may be limited currently, but Lithium certainly isn't in short supply.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:39 AM   #88
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I think one thing to keep in mind when talking battery technologies is how slow the changes occur. How little has really changed in the last 50 years in terms of basic automobile batteries. We find lead, build batteries, salvage old batteries, reclaim the lead through smelters, and start it all over again. That is all in spite of huge amounts spent on research and development. Therefore, when there's a slightly better mouse trap it's worth following, whether GEL or AGM or Carbon Foam. However, if one is looking for something revolutionary rather than evolutionary, battery technology is not the place they are likely to find it.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:49 AM   #89
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Actually there is about 0.18 parts per million by weight lithium in seawater. If you evaporate 1 million gallons of seawater you will get about 1.4 pounds of lithium assuming you can effectively separate it from the other salts.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:52 PM   #90
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Need to buy something!

Is this a dead thread? Hope not. Need to buy new batteries on my new boat. Have a weird mix. House bank totally fried comprised of a mix of types and sizes, 6 4D lead acid 1 4D AGM and 1 8D AGM. 8D AGM was once the main engine start battery and the 4D AGM is just loose in the engine room and blocking access to various things so I want it out. I want to revert to having a dedicated engine start battery so that leaves just the 6 4Ds for the house bank. But wait, those 6 4 Ds are split into three isolatable pairs and 4 of them are in 8D sized boxes. I'm told that mixing 4 8Ds and 2 4Ds would be a no no so, if that's true, seems like my best choices are, 1; 6 new AGM 4Ds, 2; 6 new Oasis G31 fireflys, I guess that should be fireflies?, or 3; mix 4 8D and 2 6D commodity lead acid batteries knowing it isn't a great install but they are cheap. Chargers are old, a generator or shore power supplies Trace inverter/charger, a 240 volt 50 Hertz Charles shore power euro-charger, and a 130 amp alternator on main engine. Two chargers have AGM settings but may not be customizable enough for the carbon foam batts. I am embarrassed to admit I have no idea how the current and voltage from the main engine alternator to the batteries is regulated. Anticipate that boat will be away from shore power and at anchor or mooring for extended periods of time. I won't want to be running generator enough to top up batteries and do not expect to be running main enough daily, or even weekly, to get batteries from 80% SOC to 100%. That argues for greater bank capacity but also suggests that Firefly may be more forgiving of abuse. Given all I have read I think same sized AGMs might be worst choice for me. What do you think? And thanks in advance for wading through all the details. dave
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:03 AM   #91
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Lots of options.

First thing I would look at is your budget. One of the "best" options would be to simply replace your charger/inverter, upgrade your engine alternator, and invest in a new set of fireflies. That certainly wouldn't fit my budget.

Second thing to ask yourself is whether you have the access and temperament to take care of wet cells. If so, consider replacing the house bank with golf carts. That is typically one of your cheapest options for $/ah. Plus, your older chargers should be able to handle those just fine.

In addition of course, I would look at solar options for keeping your batteries up.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:12 AM   #92
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Is this a dead thread?
On life support. There are so many options and this is clearly one that hasn't caught on at this time. Still could be right for you, but so many factors and information that none of us have here regarding your use and your needs.

Has your current set up not been satisfactory? If not, then I'd evaluate options vs. how well they'll solve what you currently find unsatisfactory.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:47 AM   #93
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Thanks for the reply. Good points. To Dave's, yes there are "better" money-no-object solutions. Trying to work with what I got, when it's time for a total redesign seems like lithium might be the answer. Not in my budget this time. While I am fine with battery maintenance, that won't happen when the boat is unattended, possibly two or three months at a stretch. That's what has me wondering if generic flooded cell batts, abuse them and consider them replaceable, might be a sensible choice. Please understand that this approach does not feel good to me, contrary to my nature, but may make the most economic sense. Solar is something I look forward to but, like replacing chargers, not in my budget now. I'm not even willing to buy new battery boxes! Working with what I got! Bigger boxes won't fit anyway. For BandB, my experience with this setup is limited, really nil, as all batteries, with one possible exception, are fried. Just got the boat and discovering new issues daily. So I guess I am really shooting in the dark. Bottom line is that fully charged batts collapse in about three hours with no load except fridge and freezer powered through inverter. I don't want to invest in a smaller bank of expensive carbon foam batteries only to find I need more capacity. Maybe I should invest instead in replacing the fridge and freezer with 12 volt units.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:29 AM   #94
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As dhays says, flooded LA batts are the less cost option, and provide good value for $. Solar is a good dhays idea too, as it seems the boat will be away from a power source for extended periods, but batts being solar charged can use some water, so something with caps that recapture the water is indicated.
Without knowing what your fridge and freezer draw it could be a big ask to run them on solar. You mention switching them to 12v units, are they currently 110 fed via an inverter? Current Danfoss 12v Waeco/Dometic or Engels may be less demanding.
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:38 AM   #95
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You don't mention your generator. Addressing the refrigerator and freezer you'll likely use it more than you're thinking, but may find yourself doing so for A/C as well. Most Nordhavn's I know in the 46 or 47 range use their generators quite extensively. Now their cruising climate may be different than yours. Did you purchase from an individual, a broker, or through one of the Nordhavn brokers? Nordhavn is likely very familiar with the boat and would be very willing to talk this through with you. They're a great resource and I'd definitely use them.

At this point in your learning curve regarding this boat, I wouldn't go to a new technology. I'd tend toward the same setup the boat has had or something only slightly different. Since you don't have experience with the boat, I'd assume that the electrical system was good for the previous owner, unless Nordhavn or someone with direct knowledge said otherwise.

The time you're away from the boat how will it be stored?
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Old 07-25-2016, 06:18 AM   #96
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House bank totally fried comprised of a mix of types and sizes, 6 4D lead acid 1 4D AGM and 1 8D AGM. 8D AGM was once the main engine start battery and the 4D AGM is just loose in the engine room and blocking access to various things so I want it out.

I want to revert to having a dedicated engine start battery so that leaves just the 6 4Ds for the house bank. But wait, those 6 4 Ds are split into three isolatable pairs and 4 of them are in 8D sized boxes.

I'm told that mixing 4 8Ds and 2 4Ds would be a no no so, if that's true, seems like my best choices are, 1; 6 new AGM 4Ds, 2; 6 new Oasis G31 fireflys, I guess that should be fireflies?, or 3; mix 4 8D and 2 6D commodity lead acid batteries knowing it isn't a great install but they are cheap.
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That's what has me wondering if generic flooded cell batts, abuse them and consider them replaceable, might be a sensible choice. Please understand that this approach does not feel good to me, contrary to my nature, but may make the most economic sense.

One choice you didn't mention for house bank replacement (I think) is a suite of 6V golf cart battery pairs, wired in series/parallel to suit your 12V system. I think 3 GCs will fit into an 8D box, something like that... so 6 GCs installed in two 8D boxes could be maybe doable, maybe even easy. (OTOH, purpose-built two- and four-banger GC boxes wouldn't cost an arm or a leg. See NOCO, I think.)

Each pair would give you about 220 Ah. Two pairs is about 440 Ah, three pairs... etc etc etc. GCs are said to be built as true deep cycle batteries, thicker plates, stuff like that. There are also even taller versions, if you have space, to increase Ah even more.

Lifeline makes AGM versions ($$$), and Trojan T-105s ($) are routinely recommended flooded versions. If you have decent access, servicing the flooded option probably wouldn't be too onerous, and another choice is a watering system.

If you stay with 12V dual-purpose batteries, an individual G31 is much easier to lift and shift than a 4D or especially an 8D. Certainly the Firefly ($$$$) looks promising, but at fairly hefty expense. Less expensive but still very good are the Odyssey ($$$) and Lifeline AGMs ($$$). And then there are other G31 AGMs ($$), too...

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Old 07-25-2016, 07:17 AM   #97
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The many suggestions here are well placed, and, it is probably good idea to call Nordhaven for their input... maybe even get original schematics too. In your position I'd spend the couple hundred $$ to have a reputable marine electrician come aboard the boat and really suss out what you have going on as well as to write-up a full diagram as to what he/she believes would be best alternatives. Then I would feel more secure in what I will spend some time and bucks on being choices that can pan out for years of efficient electrical usage. Couple hundred bucks for a marine electrician might save you a boat buck or two!

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Old 07-25-2016, 07:51 AM   #98
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Adding a couple of hundred watts of solar would keep your batteries charged when the boat isn't in use. 200 watts of solar and a suitable MPPT controller shouldn't set you back more than $500 or so. Well worth the expense IMHO.
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:52 AM   #99
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Daveo

Fortunately the answer for your questions are an email or two away. As suggested by Art, contact, PAE at Dana Point and they will provide solid input based upon dozens if not hundreds of Nordhavn installs and retrofits.

This thread is a gold mine of information, both general and specific. But specifics for your N46, equipped as yours currently is and your cruising plans can all be boiled down by Jim Leishman and cohorts. This gold mine thread presents a myriad of accurate and conflicting information as befits the subject. Going to PAE cuts to the chase.

On a different note, it was mentioned earlier that LA batteries have seen few changes during the past 50 years. Actually just the reverse is the case and speaks to why LAs remain as the best comparison for all others in marine and golf cart applications. A trip to the LAs design and fabrication studio will reveal that continual evolution occurs in plate design, separation tolerances, metallurgy, casing construction and efficiency.

Ripping apart an AGM, CF or gel cell will reveal plenty of Pb in an H+ medium. Kinda like arguing which beer, wine or whisky recharges the best and leaves fewer after effects.
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:56 AM   #100
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"While I am fine with battery maintenance, that won't happen when the boat is unattended, possibly two or three months at a stretch."

We leave LUCY unattended for basically 6 months every year.

We have a single 85W solar and a Trace 12A charge controller.

By simply setting the charge settings lower the batts do not run out of water.

The charger is set for 13.4 which is reached in about the first 30 min of sunshine then

12.8 is the fully charged float setting , which does not use very much water.

No big deal.
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