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Old 03-05-2015, 12:29 AM   #41
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LiFePO4. They are somewhat different from the cell phone batteries.

They are still very expensive. Over enough years they will more than balance out but the initial SYSTEM investment is high yet. They are not yet at the stage of a swap out. Treat them that way and the way many treat their wet cells, agms, and gel cells and with that level of misunderstanding and there is GOING to be trouble.

They are still at the bit fiddler stage meaning a dedicated owner who understands more than most of us about their use and care.

They need specialized chargers, alternators will need a specialized controller, and the monitoring has to be done at EACH cell for any developing cell imbalance.

Pound for pound they can outperform our current types, same capacity in a much smaller footprint, higher discharge/recharge rates, deeper discharge w/o damage.

It will come but more work needs to be done. You will find there is a lot more to it for a safe installation than just the batteries themselves.

Look at all the people even now who confuse and mistreat ,for substantially shorter life, our wetcells, agms, gels.

Read Edelweiss's posting for more info.

I was thinking, semi-seriously, about them as I will ,this spring, need to replace my now 12-13 years old gel cell set. Considering my gels lasted this long i don't think the change over , for me, will be worthwhile. But it got me looking at them, enough to figure out that they are still at the bit fiddler stage.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:26 AM   #42
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What I find amazing about all this, if I am reading it right, is not so much the weight advantage or the price disadvantage, it is the fact that these new batteries can be discharged to about 5% capacity.

I have just bought two new house AGM's, about 440 AH each, so that gives me 880 AH of house power right? However I am advised not to run them below 50% capacity if I want them to last. So really my existing two battery set up gives me 440AH of usable capacity, and even at this recommended usage they will last nowhere near as long as the new all singing and dancing batteries.

Once the new batteries reach a price ratio of two to one in regard to the old lead acid batteries, then I think it is game over for the old guys.

The question is when will that ratio be achieved?
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:17 PM   #43
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What I find amazing about all this, if I am reading it right, is not so much the weight advantage or the price disadvantage, it is the fact that these new batteries can be discharged to about 5% capacity.

I have just bought two new house AGM's, about 440 AH each, so that gives me 880 AH of house power right? However I am advised not to run them below 50% capacity if I want them to last. So really my existing two battery set up gives me 440AH of usable capacity, and even at this recommended usage they will last nowhere near as long as the new all singing and dancing batteries.

Once the new batteries reach a price ratio of two to one in regard to the old lead acid batteries, then I think it is game over for the old guys.

The question is when will that ratio be achieved?
Another item is long term safety. To me, that is top concern.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:26 PM   #44
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What I find amazing about all this, if I am reading it right, is not so much the weight advantage or the price disadvantage, it is the fact that these new batteries can be discharged to about 5% capacity.

I have just bought two new house AGM's, about 440 AH each, so that gives me 880 AH of house power right? However I am advised not to run them below 50% capacity if I want them to last. So really my existing two battery set up gives me 440AH of usable capacity, and even at this recommended usage they will last nowhere near as long as the new all singing and dancing batteries.

Once the new batteries reach a price ratio of two to one in regard to the old lead acid batteries, then I think it is game over for the old guys.

The question is when will that ratio be achieved?
What size are those 440 AH batteries? Are they 12V?
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:08 PM   #45
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What size are those 440 AH batteries? Are they 12V?
8D /12 volt
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:55 PM   #46
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A 440 ah 8D? Wow Andy, that raises the capacity, more than doubles the conventional 200ah 8D. What brand/source?
I was pleased at finding 54kg of 225ah lead acid flooded 8D (sitting in the garage waiting for me to complete a gym program so I can fit it), giving an extra 50ah total, but yours is a great find. The 50% limit also applies to conventional batts, so you still made headway.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:13 PM   #47
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I've never seen an 8D with that much capacity. What brand is the battery?
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:19 PM   #48
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A very good article on LiFePO4 batteries here:

LiFePO4 Batteries - Thoughts & Musings Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

Executive summary:
Not for the poor
Not for the less than very technically inclined
Not for the faint of heart
Not ready for prime time
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:58 PM   #49
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A very good article on LiFePO4 batteries here:

LiFePO4 Batteries - Thoughts & Musings Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

Executive summary:
Not for the poor
Not for the less than very technically inclined
Not for the faint of heart
Not ready for prime time
Wow - Quite the link! I'll stay with LA batts , Thanks!
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:24 AM   #50
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Reuben Trane, who infrequently posts on TF, is IMHO the go to boating guy on this subject. For those who seriously want to pursue the install and safety issues check out his website and contact him.

Given celectrics credentials and expertise I will be quite interested as he ruminates on replacing his gels vs going Li. What bothers me about the articles in the boating mags on going the Li route is separating the marketing hype and paid tester/expert hoopla from reality.
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:40 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by SteveD View Post
A very good article on LiFePO4 batteries here:

LiFePO4 Batteries - Thoughts & Musings Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

Executive summary:
Not for the poor
Not for the less than very technically inclined
Not for the faint of heart
Not ready for prime time
This is an interesting blog but it is totally a DIY project. Unfortunately his posts are not dated so not sure how it compares with the single Genasun 360AH single battery (113lbs) I looked at on the web. The Genasuns come with a control pack to manage the batteries that includes 2 latching relays, a custom power switch with cable, and a battery management system. Definitely not for the poor but not sure the other conclusions are called for. The blogger flat out states Genasun and Mastervolt make well engineered but costly systems for marine applications but seems like he wanted a DIY approach and then turns around and says don't do what I did. If the Genasun pricing were $1500 instead of $7000, they would be very tempting.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:31 PM   #52
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There is at least one very long thread on Cruising Forum about LiFePo batteries. The previous link is Mainsail's website and he knows his stuff. He is a marine electrician and is testing on a boat and I think in a "lab" how many cycles the batteries can take as well as other parameters so he can install LiFePos systems on his Customer's boats. It seems that once the controllers are correctly configured to handle LiFePo batteries, they will be the future of boating and maybe off grid PV installations. While LiFePo batteries are expensive, if you look at the life time cost of these things, they start to make money sense.

The chemistry is also very safe.

The problem with LiFePo batteries, besides the upfront cost, is that they are NOT a drop in replacement for lead acid batteries. The controllers have to be programed to handle the characteristics of the LiFePo batteries. It does not seem like rocket science, you just have to know what you are doing and the information is out there to do correctly if one wants to take on the job. One just canNOT buy LiFePo batteries and use them to replace lead acid batteries.

The LiFePo take a huge charge of power very quickly, something like 90% charged in an hour, and they can be taken to about 20-30% DOD without damage. LiFePo batteries also have much more use cycles over lead acid. I have seen 1,000 to 3,000 cycles documented depending on how far the batteries were drawn down. What it works out too, is one could replace about half of the power capacity in lead acid with LiFePo and LiFePo batteries are about half the weight of lead acid. Roughly the same power storage, that can be charged very quickly, for half the weight and space.

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Old 03-06-2015, 04:38 PM   #53
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One just can buy LiFePo batteries and use them to replace lead acid batteries.
I trust you meant you cannot use these as a drop-in replacement for LA batteries!

Currently the ideal application for these is on racing sailboats and the like where weight and speed of charge are critical. I can't see them making sense on a trawler until they become a lot less expensive.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:46 PM   #54
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I trust you meant you cannot use these as a drop-in replacement for LA batteries!

Currently the ideal application for these is on racing sailboats and the like where weight and speed of charge are critical. I can't see them making sense on a trawler until they become a lot less expensive.
Yes, a missing t or not rather changes what I meant to say. Thanks, I corrected the post.

From a weight perspective, I don't think a full displacement trawler cares about LiFePo. But, the faster charging time, saved space, discharge characteristics, and most importantly, life time, then LiFePo makes some sense. It really gets down to cost but I don't think the cost is as bad as they seem due to the longer life time of the LiFePo batteries vs lead acid.

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Old 03-06-2015, 10:34 PM   #55
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If LA batts are mistakenly left unattended while still having some sort of continued substantial draw for long period of time, with no recharge offered, to the point where they reach the point of being flat-dead, they will likely be ruined and need to be replaced. That occasionally happens.


Is it same with LiFePo batts... if same condition happened would they also be ruined and need replacement?




If so - the immediate need for undergoing that cost would become a BIG factor!
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:21 PM   #56
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...
If LA batts are mistakenly left unattended while still having some sort of continued substantial draw for long period of time, with no recharge offered, to the point where they reach the point of being flat-dead, they will likely be ruined and need to be replaced. That occasionally happens.

Is it same with LiFePo batts... if same condition happened would they also be ruined and need replacement?

...
Over discharging or over charging LiFePo batteries is a bad thing. I think I read that one of the parts of the system that needs/should be in place for LiFePo is a circuit to prevent both over discharge and over charge states. Course, it seems like that would be good on lead acid batteries too.

Another advantage of LiFePo is that they self discharge at a very low rate. The guys testing the systems are going weeks/months with very little self discharge.

If I had to buy a battery system right now, I suspect I would go with lead acid, due to price and I don't like to be a pioneer. Pioneers tend to collect arrows the hard way. But I do think that Real Soon Now, LiFePo will be available as a system and at a more affordable price.

Later,
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:26 AM   #57
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What ever happened to KISS?

For most inshore cruisers Sears or Wallmart golf cart batts can be replaced with just a Taxi Cab ride.

Perhaps not as good as Trojan or Surette, but way easier to replace.

No need to have exoctic replacements shipped in a truck (many airlines will now not fly certain batts )and fly in an expert to set up a charging system.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:13 AM   #58
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What ever happened to KISS?

For most inshore cruisers Sears or Wallmart golf cart batts can be replaced with just a Taxi Cab ride.

Perhaps not as good as Trojan or Surette, but way easier to replace.

No need to have exoctic replacements shipped in a truck (many airlines will now not fly certain batts )and fly in an expert to set up a charging system.
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:23 PM   #59
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What ever happened to KISS?

For most inshore cruisers Sears or Wallmart golf cart batts can be replaced with just a Taxi Cab ride.

Perhaps not as good as Trojan or Surette, but way easier to replace.

No need to have exoctic replacements shipped in a truck (many airlines will now not fly certain batts )and fly in an expert to set up a charging system.
LiFePo are as simple as lead acid batteries. The only difference is the "system" has been built around lead acid. People and systems are programmed to use lead acid. All that has to be done to use LiFePo is to replace the parameters for lead acid with the configuration for LiFePo.

The point with LiFePo is that you can have fewer batteries for the same power or double the power storage for about the same weight and space AND likely never have to replace the batteries again.

One of my questions about LiFePo is that I suspect that one could have a LiFePo battery system, that would negate the need for a generator. How much money does it save if you don't need a generator?

Because LiFePo batteries can take a huge amount of power quickly, I wonder if one can size the battery bank with one or two alternators that would properly load the main engine at anchor. *** IF *** that is the case, why have a generator?

Hopefully, PV, and maybe a wind generator, would handle power production most of the time and the engine would only have to be run every once in awhile.

I suspect this would work but the need for air conditioning is a big question.

LiFePo is not more complicated, it is just that people and the systems are all setup for, and used too, lead acid.

Later,
Dan
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:00 PM   #60
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One of my questions about LiFePo is that I suspect that one could have a LiFePo battery system, that would negate the need for a generator. How much money does it save if you don't need a generator?

Because LiFePo batteries can take a huge amount of power quickly, I wonder if one can size the battery bank with one or two alternators that would properly load the main engine at anchor. *** IF *** that is the case, why have a generator?
Later
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