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Old 05-13-2022, 05:18 PM   #61
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Firefly Batteries

Check out Firefly batteries. Cheaper than Lithium and you get 95% of the rated capacity. And they are almost bullet proof and will last longer that AGMs though I don't know how they compare to Lithium.

I've had 5 of them in my trawler for the past three years and love them.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:35 PM   #62
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Check out Firefly batteries. Cheaper than the most expensive Lithium and you get 95% of the rated capacity. And they are almost bullet proof and will last longer that AGMs though I don't know how they compare to Lithium.

I've had 5 of them in my trawler for the past three years and love them.
Corrected for you
And by lithium I hope you mean lifepo4
And, as for longevity compared to AGM, you have only had them for 3 years, plenty of AGM users out there with 5 + , some even claim 10
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:35 PM   #63
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You mean average load is 48A per hour, yes?

If so, that low voltage shut-down after 168Ah consumption was at about the 3Ĺ-hour mark?

If so, and if I understand what you're describing, yes I'd guess batteries are toast -- or maybe one battery, or one cell in one battery (or something like that) is hosed and drawing down the rest of the bank. But maybe a load test would pinpoint some of that better.

Lifeline 8D AGMs (for example) are rated at 255Ah -- so 1530Ah for a bank of 6x. I've read it's not great to parallel more than 4x 12V batteries.

A 6x bank of their 6V L16s, 400Ah each, would give you 1200Ah total. (Or 8x for 1600?) Maybe worth a look?

(Other less expensive brands exist, of course.)

Either route, or some other route, oughta be able to get you through the night without needing to start the genset... even without many reserve issues, I'd think.

-Chris
The L16 idea is what I did. I have two 8Ds still for starters. Then replaced two 8Ds with six L16s in almost the same space except taller. Mine are the Trojans 435 amp hours. Now easy to get through the night. Run the genset in the morning for cooking, charging, water making. Works for me. Yes I have to add water once in a while but it only takes me a couple minutes and so far I have not forgotten. Like changing zincs, just something you have to do.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:52 PM   #64
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Had wrongly assumed that since they were LED that draw would be really low. Lesson learned...
Did your measurement of the draw of your LED ER lighting include the draw of the inverter, with all other loads turned off? I could find only 4' LED that draw 1w per fixture. maybe yours are 8' and draw 2w each? or 8 x 1w + parasitic draw of the Inverter?
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:10 PM   #65
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Or cheap old FLA 5-7 yrs.
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:23 PM   #66
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I've spent a few hours over the past few days trying to figure out where my power goes. While I'm not shocked at the results, I am surprised at how quickly things add up...

My 48A 'average' discharge rate while anchored out is exactly in line with my findings. Here are the loads I identified:

- 6.5A with all breakers OFF, both inverters ON. (This includes inverter overhead and all the 'sneaker' loads that are not tied to either a 120v or 12v breaker.)
- 9A engine room 12V exhaust blower
- 2A GPS system ON (anchor watch)
- 2A anchor light
- 1A AFT Stairwell LED lights
- 1.4A FWD stairwell LED lights
- 13A galley 120V refrigerator
- 13A engine room LED strip lights
- 5A engine room 120V circ fan
- 5A small refrigerator on FB
- 3A TV / Stereo system
- 2A Salon outlets (phone chargers, etc)

That all adds up to over 66A, take away 13A for the galley fridge cycling and we are right at 48A average draw.

Surprises: I had no idea that my engine room lights draw so much! I have 4 duplex fluorescent fixtures that draw 15A, and the LED strip lights (8) draw 13A by themselves. Guess I'll be going dark while at anchor from now on.

Now that I understand how I can reduce the load, I'm still left with a 1200 Ah house bank that quits after forking out ~165Ah. I guess all that's left is to determine if I have 1 (or more) bad batteries affecting the whole bank.

How do I setup a proper load test to determine if the batteries need replacement? Specifically, what do I use for a load if, as I'm told, the automotive battery testers are not the way to go?
Have you chosen what to turn on adding up to the limit of the rated amp per hour (30A?) and then run that from a fully charged batteries to see how many hours before 50% depleted 11.6V or if it trips at 10.5V
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:31 PM   #67
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After our 2nd extended time away from the dock since purchase I feel safe in saying that our house bank is toast. There are 6 - 8d batteries less than 4 years old. Hard to believe they have such a short life but I have no clue as to how they have been treated. The right components seem to all be here: Balmar alternator controls, Xantrex inverter/chargers, BlueSeas ACRs and all seems to be functioning.

Assuming 200ah for each 8d, I should have 1200ah @50% discharge = 600ah or pretty close if I've got the math right. My Victron battery monitor showed a whopping 168ah consumed when the inverters shut down for low battery voltage (11.6 volts if I remember correctly).

My load averages 48 amps (measured by the Victron). We run a big residential refrigerator, plus a dorm sized fridge, plus some engine room blowers on 120v. Add to that my 12v loads for nav gear, etc and we are the definition of why trawlers love to travel from one dockside power connection to the next

I could go the cheaper and quick route and just swap out the 8d AGMs. I want to be able to get through the night w/o the generator and new AGMs would probably allow that. Not much reserve though.

Sure is tempting to go the LiFePO route and get at least twice that capacity, although still at nearly twice the cost for the UL listed Kilovaults. Throw in the external BMS, Wakespeed, etc and the cost difference is not trivial. Throw in the ABYC standards evolution and possible insurance issue and the decision gets 'complicated.'

Two questions for the group:
- Am I correct that my current batteries are shot or am I just expecting too much of them?
- Is the current cost & complexity of the LiFePO solution worth the additional capacity? (I know that's subjective....)

A load test on the LA batteries will tell the tale, but if you are saying that your consumption is 48 Ah per HOUR, then I doubt LFP is your answer. Yes, you could certainly put enough on to handle that load, but it would be cheaper installing a small kw genset (see Next Gen units) that you let run when not connected to shore power.



Before I installed LFP years ago, a nighttime genset was my alternative but since my consumption is quite a bit less than you seem to indicate yours is, LFP fits my needs perfectly.
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:16 PM   #68
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.

Now that I understand how I can reduce the load, I'm still left with a 1200 Ah house bank that quits after forking out ~165Ah. I guess all that's left is to determine if I have 1 (or more) bad batteries affecting the whole bank.
If it helps at all we recently replaced our AGM batts
They were a 220 ah yum cha brand sold by a major victron reseller in Oz

We had 8 of them joined into a 24v bank so 840ah, 420 usable.
We cruise full time, no shore power ever unless out of the water for maintenance

We use between 180 and 200 ah between 6pm and 6am, no Genset usage to support that
If I understand correctly that equates to approx 400ah @ 12v/night

That bank lasted near 6 years before changing.
Noticed them failing 4 months prior, held them together until new LFP cells arrived from China
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Old 05-14-2022, 12:01 AM   #69
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In answer to your second question, if you use a lithium battery with a built in BMS like Brattleboro then itís is pretty straight forward and little to no electrical modification will be needed. See my post on how i did it. And you will make back the extra expense if they last 1.5 times as long as lead acid which is not hard.
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Old 05-14-2022, 02:43 AM   #70
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If it helps at all we recently replaced our AGM batts
They were a 220 ah yum cha brand sold by a major victron reseller in Oz

We had 8 of them joined into a 24v bank so 840ah, 420 usable.
We cruise full time, no shore power ever unless out of the water for maintenance

We use between 180 and 200 ah between 6pm and 6am, no Genset usage to support that
If I understand correctly that equates to approx 400ah @ 12v/night

That bank lasted near 6 years before changing.
Noticed them failing 4 months prior, held them together until new LFP cells arrived from China
Simi, your experience with your last set of AGMs is instructive and is a good example of real-world long-term heavy useage of a battery bank. Your AGM lasted 5 years and 8 months before it began to show signs that it was used up. Given that you overnight at anchor virtually every day/night of the year, let's say 350 overnights per year, that equates to about 2,000 cycles. Did I do the math correctly? If so, I'd say you got your money's worth.
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Old 05-14-2022, 04:06 PM   #71
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Victron Battery Monitor

We too have a Victron battery monitor. It could be part of your puzzle. The Victron will reset itself to 100% charged a long time (in terms of generator run time) before the batteries are actually topped up. There is a set # of amps of charge (that the batteries are accepting from your generator) where the monitor will assume you have reached all the charge that is practical. I don't know the exact figure off the top of my head, but I feel it is right around 85% of charge of the batteries. I'd have to dig out my manual to check and to see if that is configurable.

When we first had our Victron, and before I understood this, I was noticing my house bank being depleted faster overnight than made sense. Once I had dug into the workings of the Victron and understand this, I take that into account for how much "available" capacity the battery bank has after that first night out and a charge from the generator. Its not practical to fully charge the batteries as once they get to that level they accept charge really slow.

That's a long winded way of saying you might think you are starting off the night with fully charged batteries, but you may not be...
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Old 05-14-2022, 04:56 PM   #72
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Simi, your experience with your last set of AGMs is instructive and is a good example of real-world long-term heavy useage of a battery bank. Your AGM lasted 5 years and 8 months before it began to show signs that it was used up. Given that you overnight at anchor virtually every day/night of the year, let's say 350 overnights per year, that equates to about 2,000 cycles. Did I do the math correctly? If so, I'd say you got your money's worth.
Not sure if that's how cycle life works
Going on the below I would suggest we got probably 1 cycle every 4 days, but I'll be honest I never checked.
That makes it more like 500 cycles.
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A battery cycle simply refers to one full drain of a battery's charge, from 100 to zero percent. This doesn't have to happen all at once. For example, if your laptop battery drains from 100 percent to 50 percent, then you charge it back up to 100 percent and let it drop to 50 percent again, that counts as one cycle.
Saying that, for the $3000 I paid then I was happy enough with that
But now a similar sized AGM bank would cost nearer $7000 and I'd be rather pissed off if I had a repeat performance at that price.

Its why we went lifepo4 - double the usable amp hours for 2/3rd of the price
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Old 05-14-2022, 07:41 PM   #73
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Did your measurement of the draw of your LED ER lighting include the draw of the inverter, with all other loads turned off? I could find only 4' LED that draw 1w per fixture. maybe yours are 8' and draw 2w each? or 8 x 1w + parasitic draw of the Inverter?
Yes inverter was on since the lights are 120v. However, the light draw was in addition to inverter overhead / parasitic load - my baseline 6.5a load with all breakers Off.
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Old 05-14-2022, 07:46 PM   #74
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... The Victron will reset itself to 100% charged a long time (in terms of generator run time) before the batteries are actually topped up. There is a set # of amps of charge (that the batteries are accepting from your generator) where the monitor will assume you have reached all the charge that is practical...
I had noticed that the monitor went back to 100% pretty quickly - when the charger was still in Absorb mode if I recall. Thanks for this tip - pulling out the manual for the Victron now.
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Old 05-15-2022, 08:47 AM   #75
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Not sure if that's how cycle life works
Going on the below I would suggest we got probably 1 cycle every 4 days, but I'll be honest I never checked.
That makes it more like 500 cycles.


Saying that, for the $3000 I paid then I was happy enough with that
But now a similar sized AGM bank would cost nearer $7000 and I'd be rather pissed off if I had a repeat performance at that price.

Its why we went lifepo4 - double the usable amp hours for 2/3rd of the price
Five hundred cycles seems about right for a lead acid bank. My flooded batteries (eight Deka golf car) are five years old, have about 150 cycles, and test to 97% of original capacity. I expect them to last at least another five years. I can replace them for about $1,300. Lithium does not come close to making economic sense for us. For others, it does. There are other good reasons to adopt the technology but FLA works just fine for the way we cruise.
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