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Old 05-11-2013, 12:18 PM   #21
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skidgear,

And as a kid you were the hall monitor, right? I don't know of anyone using any other lithium battery for a house bank other than the perfectly safe LiFePO4 chemistry. We give up some energy density with these cells over lithium ion, but have no thermal issues. Yet you felt it was your duty to cast doubt over all lithium battery installations? Politicians use scare tactics for their agenda, what is your agenda?
No need for the offensive wise guy antics. My discussions with them were specifically about LifePo4 battery technology. My agenda is safety.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:27 PM   #22
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I'm not being a wise guy. You are just what the insurance companies love, a reason to not pay a claim. Should I or any of my friends have a claim unrelated to our house batteries, you have just provided a means of claim denial. For what reason have you spent a week doing this? Did you even bother to research all the safety tests preformed on LiFePO4 cells? Or are you just an alarmists that gets excited easily by Boeing's issues with their lithium batteries which BTW are NOT LiFePO4 cells?
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:29 PM   #23
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I think you guys may be overly optimistic on the power draw calculations, especially for AC. If you run the AC 24x7 then once the boat is cooled down you might be able to keep it cool with a 50% duty cycle 24 hrs a day. If you only run it 10hrs per day, I think you will get more like 100% duty cycle as it works to cool the boat down. Also, 12k BTU doesn't seem like much AC for a 54' boat. If you take a look at your AC units you should be able to see what they collectively draw, and from your current use perhaps you can get a sense of the duty cycle.

In general AC is a brutal load on solar/batteries. Electric cook tops are too, but they tend to only run for 15-30 minutes or something in that range (no pun intended), but AC is relentless. Your fridge and other loads should be manageable with solar, especially if you get yourself changed over to LED lighting.

There are tables where you can look up the equivalent number of hours of full sun light for different parts of the country. For DE, I'd guess it's around 5 hrs. That number takes into account weather patterns and expected shading over the course of a year. You could get weeks of clear skies, but you could also get weeks of overcast. The 5hrs is what it all averages out to. If you are only powering in the summer, then you will get bteer numbers since the 5hrs also accounts for seasonal variation.

Anyway, with 5hrs of equivalent full sun a day, that means that 2kW worth of panels will produce 10kW-hrs of energy per day. But that assumes you can capture 100% of that energy, and you usually can't. As batteries become charged they accept a slower and slower charge which means available power is being forfeited. I'd probably de-rate everything by 80%, yielding 8kW-hrs produced per day. That's still pretty good power, but I think you are going to be hard pressed to get very satisfactory AC performance out of it. Maybe if all you cool is your stateroom at night? That's probably what DeckOfficer is envisioning.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:36 PM   #24
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I'm not being a wise guy. You are just what the insurance companies love, a reason to not pay a claim. Should I or any of my friends have a claim unrelated to our house batteries, you have just provided a means of claim denial. For what reason have you spent a week doing this? Did you even bother to research all the safety tests preformed on LiFePO4 cells? Or are you just an alarmists that gets excited easily by Boeing's issues with their lithium batteries which BTW are NOT LiFePO4 cells?
More attacks. I am very aware of the differences in chemistry, as were the insurance companies, ABYC, and the Coast Guard. They don't share your enthusiasm in the safety area.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:47 PM   #25
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twistedtree,

Good points. As to A/C usage, go the zone approach where during the day only the main cabin is cooled, at night if needed, berths only. Reuben cools his entire cat trawler in Florida from his solar array. The charge acceptance of LiFePO4 is much greater than lead acid, so with a MPPT solar controller you will harvest most all of the solar energy produced if feeding a LiFePO4 bank. Many of us are doing that now, because of the large price drops of these cells this last year. Just on the Cruiser's Forum I know of 8 boaters that have switch from LA to LiFePO4 when Balqon had their clearance sale. They all are amazed at the difference in a-hr rating, low voltage sag under heavy inverter load, nil Peukert effect, and charge acceptance. The biggest one of course is a 400 a-hr LiFePO4 bank is giving more usable a-hr than the 800 a-hr lead bank that was replaced. As to cycle life, even the early adopters haven't reached any where near the advertised life, though they have passed the life of the best LA's they have ever had by a factor of 3.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:50 PM   #26
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More attacks. I am very aware of the differences in chemistry, as were the insurance companies, ABYC, and the Coast Guard.
So, what was their response to LiFePO4 cells? Since you stated they have concerns, combined with the fact all the boaters I know that switched from LA to lithium chose LiFePO4, it still begs the question, why were they concerned at all?
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:56 PM   #27
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I spent much of this week speaking with the technical staff of several large insurance companies about the confusing and potentially dangerous situation that is developing for Lithium batteries amongst do-it-yourself boaters. Every one of them is extremely concerned with the "wild west" (their words) information scenario that is developing in the marine community... primarily via boating web sites. ABYC is in the loop and I suggested that they step up their efforts to clarify design, component certification, installation, monitoring, maintenance, and inspection criteria for a minimum acceptable system. I have also alerted the Coast Guard Engineering and Boating Safety offices to the potential safety scenario that is clearly developing. I specifically requested that both ABYC and the Coast Guard conduct a serious engineering assessment of the Greenline boats that are being imported. Awards in the categories of design innovation and eco-friendly are nice, but the important categories are performance, safety, and quality. Greenline might set the example for the industry...good or bad. Information in these threads is heavy on performance potential and light on safety. The word cavalier comes to mind.
The problem is no one in the alphabet soup you mentioned has much practical experience with lithium phosphate in marine applications. Really no one does yet. Genasun, Mastervolt and Victron have products, but the installed base is small. The collective DIY installed base is probably even smaller. If you know of incidents related to marine LFP installs please share them, and we can worry about the safety together. Boeing's problems and the earlier laptop fires were for cells with significantly different characteristics than what is being used for marine. Don't take my word for it, read this:

http://www.electrochem.org/dl/interf...2_p037_044.pdf

It's clearly stated there that LiFePO4 cells are the safest available. That does not mean some unique precautions are not justified, but I don't think it's a looming safety crisis. If you do some homework, and I have. Have you?
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:59 PM   #28
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An informed man of reason, Ebaugh thank you.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #29
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Politicians use scare tactics for their agenda, what is your agenda?
It all depends on whose ox is getting gored.

For many years I was involved with providing fuel in the nuclear fuel cycle. A big concern is/was spent fuel. Harry Reid lobbied correctly (IMHO of course) and hard for building a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mtn Nevada. However once he saw the light of Senate leadership, political correctness and the Democrat party platform he flip flopped and this wonderful now built facility is shut down. Guess which State's leaders told Harry to tow the line, hint it is known as the left coast

When it comes to energy, everybody has an opinion and fewer still have the facts whether for Li batteries, coal or nuclear. On a different thread I had mentioned CA has not recently allowed any power plants to be built, I left out the word coal - lucky for me I guess as coal burning emits CO2, as do I. So instead CA builds gas plants emitting ---??? But, CA is quite content to import gas from elsewhere while letting its economic savior, the oil and gas rich Monterrey Basin, lie largely untouched due to "concerns."

So Bob, welcome to "not everyone loves my mode of energy" debate.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:13 PM   #30
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We will get to the point of understanding that the sun provides all the energy we need for our modern lives, hopefully sooner than later. Full time cruising is a perfect example to bring this point home, as it is the sun that creates the winds for propulsion, and the electricity for all our needs. Even hydro is really solar, think about it. Future historians will remember this era as the fossil fuel era, providing we make the switch away from fossil fuel so that there is a future.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #31
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These LiFePO4 cells sound interesting. Time to start researching.

Saying they "might" not be safe because we haven't used them enough is both circular logic and a sure way to block progress. The world moves forward because people try new things, find problems, solve them, then repeat. It's beautiful thing, and allegedly the "American Way".
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:28 PM   #32
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Future historians will remember this era as the fossil fuel era, providing we make the switch away from fossil fuel so that there is a future.
Fortunately for us, man has been using fossil fuels for about 50,000 years now. To see a really neat use of fossil fuels, visit a lead or lithium mine and a plastic manufacturing facility - the backbone of batteries.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:30 PM   #33
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The problem is no one in the alphabet soup you mentioned has much practical experience with lithium phosphate in marine applications. Really no one does yet. Genasun, Mastervolt and Victron have products, but the installed base is small. The collective DIY installed base is probably even smaller. If you know of incidents related to marine LFP installs please share them, and we can worry about the safety together. Boeing's problems and the earlier laptop fires were for cells with significantly different characteristics than what is being used for marine. Don't take my word for it, read this:

http://www.electrochem.org/dl/interf...2_p037_044.pdf


It's clearly stated there that LiFePO4 cells are the safest available. That does not mean some unique precautions are not justified, but I don't think it's a looming safety crisis. If you do some homework, and I have. Have you?
Don't jump to the conclusion that I'm opposed to LifePo4 technology. Quite the opposite. I am, however, concerned that it be introduced in a safe and orderly manner. Simple as that. And yes I did a great deal of homework.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:33 PM   #34
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These LiFePO4 cells sound interesting. Time to start researching.
Mainly lighter, slightly smaller, and theoretically proven in the lab to last for far more cycles than FLA. Can charge at full rate all the way to 100%. But don't plan to do much air conditioning on solar unless you can fit lots of panels. Just my aft cabin at night would draw an average load of about 50A at 12V at night, and probably 75A in the daytime. That's a lot, especially after you power everything else. I like LiFePO4, but believe A/C for more than an hour or two calls for a genset.

Here is a comparison I just saw the other day, from a sales brochure without quoting the research to back the claims, but it's not inconsistent with some of the papers I've seen looking at somewhat similar scenarios.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:48 PM   #35
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Don't jump to the conclusion that I'm opposed to LifePo4 technology. Quite the opposite. I am, however, concerned that it be introduced in a safe and orderly manner. Simple as that. And yes I did a great deal of homework.
We are on the same page there. But our approach is different. I'd prefer to accept responsibility as opposed to having big brother dictate. So I wrote an article/paper outlining my opinions on the options available and the safety considerations required for everyone to see, including links to lots of additional research. Perhaps you can share some of your homework, or feel free to critique mine:

LiFePO4 Lithium Battery Installation
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:50 PM   #36
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Many years ago I ran a 12500 btu A/C for 3 hours in the Sea of Cortez for a bridge game with other cruisers using a Trace 2012 inverter (one of their first) and (8) 6 volt 220 a-hr golf cart batteries. My guests were amazed, A/C comfort and no running of a gen set. This was back in late 80's, so not many cruisers had large inverters. Of course after that bridge game when everyone went back to their boats, the A/C was turned off and it took a number of frugal power usage days for my modest solar array to charge the house bank back up. Back then we didn't have LiFePO4 cells, and my cell phone was called a transportable, being in a fabric bag with the main unit, hand set, rubber duck antenna and a sealed lead acid battery, about 12 lbs if I remember right.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:06 PM   #37
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Lithium vs AGM

Read this comparation, to save a little money you have to invest massive money. AND you need to keep your boat many years to make this profit OR you only loose money.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:15 PM   #38
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We are on the same page there. But our approach is different. I'd prefer to accept responsibility as opposed to having big brother dictate. So I wrote an article/paper outlining my opinions on the options available and the safety considerations required for everyone to see, including links to lots of additional research. Perhaps you can share some of your homework, or feel free to critique mine:

LiFePO4 Lithium Battery Installation
Many boaters do not accept personal responsibility and only a limited number of boaters are likely to read your excellent paper. I'd urge you to send it to ABYC where it can be incorporated into a document that receives much wider distribution than this web site. While I'm not a fan of government oversight or even organizations like ABYC, they have their place.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:16 PM   #39
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Lithium vs AGM

Read this comparation, to save a little money you have to invest massive money. AND you need to keep your boat many years to make this profit OR you only loose money.
The AGM vs. FLA comparison would be argued by the AGM companies. But it is supported by several marine technicians on other forums. LFP can be implemented for only slightly more cost than AGM for those who wish sealed batteries or must save the weight or like myself, spend 50% of my time off grid at anchor. Most trawlers don't meet any of those criteria, and for that majority FLA is undoubtably the most cost effective solution.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:25 PM   #40
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The AGM vs. FLA comparison would be argued by the AGM companies. But it is supported by several marine technicians on other forums. LFP can be implemented for only slightly more cost than AGM for those who wish sealed batteries or must save the weight or like myself, spend 50% of my time off grid at anchor. Most trawlers don't meet any of those criteria, and for that majority FLA is undoubtably the most cost effective solution.
:-) How many times you crossed an ocean with sail propulsion only, pls. sailors don't know how to work efficient with their energy??

BTW. I crossed the Atlantic 7 times. I know how to balance my needs and what the elements give to me, this means AGM and rude charging.

In Europe we make a calculation about our energy balance, see my speadsheet.
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