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Old 11-24-2021, 08:17 AM   #1
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Is a new-build without lithiums just plain stupid???

Plenty of threads on TF and CF regarding switching over to LiFePO. However for a new-build I wonder what the justification/advantage would be to stick with FLA instead of going lithiums. A difference in cost of a couple grand would be insignificant to the overall cost of build.

I still think that old fashioned deep cycles are more durable. A concern I've had in the past is that the charging BMS could be taken out by lighting or nearby strikes. However, with external or removable BMS, spares could easily be kept in your Faraday box.
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:21 AM   #2
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I would avoid FLA, personal preface, and go to AGM
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:31 AM   #3
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I understand going low/no maintenance, but why even AGM vs lithium in you opinion?
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:45 AM   #4
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I understand going low/no maintenance, but why even AGM vs lithium in you opinion?
Maybe in my next life when the technology has been (IMO) perfected and the price drops significantly.
Your boat, your money.
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:48 AM   #5
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If weight and space aren't a limitation, AGM or FLA has the advantage of simplicity, being that their charging needs are less complex. And they'll probably come out a bit cheaper. But that's about it for advantages I can think of.
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:53 AM   #6
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I ocassionally bump into knowledgeable people who believe lithium "just isn't 'there' yet." I'm not sure what 'there' looks like so maybe they are just cautious, perhaps overly so.

For house batteries, I cannot think of a reason not to go LiFePO4, though I confess I had never thought of a lightning strike whacking the BMS. I think the better question is configuration. Daisy chain multiple off-the-shelf batteries, or do a custom build. There may also be a case to be made for a 48v battery bank, especially if meaningful solar will be installed.

Recently saw a knowledgeable review of a SOK LiFePO4 12v/200ah battery for just over $1000. Reviewer was enthusiastic about building quality. Price is definitely coming down.

https://www.sokbattery.com/products/...e-battery-pack


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Old 11-24-2021, 09:10 AM   #7
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While there are clearly advantages to lithium batteries, I can see situations where one might choose another chemistry.

They might not be my choice for a boat in the extreme Northern or Southern hemispheres.

While the BMSs seem reliable, I could see someone planning to cross oceans, choosing a different chemistry to avoid the electronics. This is similar to people choosing mechanically injected motors versus electronic common rail diesels.

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Old 11-24-2021, 09:31 AM   #8
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Good analogy Ted
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Old 11-24-2021, 09:48 AM   #9
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Being old school I prefer flooded. Simple, reliable kiss tech, easliy replaceable and long lasting for the cost. I get 6 to 10 years from them. Will batteries costing ie 3x more last 3x more? Also they use no toxic rare earth metals so are 100 percent recycleable and 100 percent USA made.
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Old 11-24-2021, 10:09 AM   #10
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No, I don't think it is stupid to forgo lithium but it would probably be unwise to at least consider them.

If you are planning to go without a generator or really use one minimally, spend a lot of time anchored out and have loads that need to run off of an inverter, lithium really provides a great solution.

If you are a boater that is in a transient slip at least 50% of the time when traveling or you are quick to fire up the generator and run the air conditioning, lithium is of relative less benefit to this style of boating.
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Old 11-24-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
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For me it would depend on the expected use of the boat. If the boat is in weekend or seasonal use (and therefore stored for longish periods) AGM makes a lot of sense, because they require no care in storage - just float charge and walk away. LFP on the other hand should be stored nearer 50% charge, and cycled every so often to maintain the cathodes. This is harder to accomplish, requiring some active maintenance with today's state of the art BMS'.

On a liveaboard, I'd go with LFP since the batteries are in cyclical use, or at least you are present to monitor and maintain the battery.

My boat is stored for 6 months + each winter, 1000 miles away from me. When I replaced the batteries this year I used AGMs for that reason.
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Old 11-24-2021, 12:38 PM   #12
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Imagine you are enjoying life in the Marquesas, or for that matter the Sea of Cortez, or the Exumas and you lost a specialized LiFeP04 battery.

Depending on how you designed your bank that might just be a pretty darn big deal, especially with the larger LiFeP04 batteries coming to the market.

How difficult will it be and how long will it take to get a replacement?

Now imagine the exact same scenario and you have a bank of FLA batteries, probably something along the lines of a L16.

How hard would it be to replace that battery? Not hard at all. You will probably find someone with it in stock in any decent sized town anywhere.

Now take this even further.... While you are waiting for your new LiFeP04 replacedment to be shipped to you, things are probably not so much fun on your boat. Why??? Because many LiFeP04 systems are designed to operate on the edge of their capacity.

Now take that FLA bank and imagine how things would work. Well, since you only generally operate your FLA bank to 50% capacity to increase it's lifespan you can still operate as normal until you get a replacement knowing you are simply reducing the effective life of your battery bank that cost you all of a couple thousand dollars in the first place. In the final analysis you probably won't see much if any difference in lifespan anyway since you will have a replacement battery installed as soon as you make port.

Boats are not just about having the latest greatest. They are about having a functional system that can survive things that happen to all equipment at sea.
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Old 11-24-2021, 01:11 PM   #13
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that's exactly what I was thinking...availability.
FLA, or I suppose AGM in a similar way, is much more proven and established.
Could even go to an auto parts store and get a starting battery in a pinch!
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Old 11-24-2021, 01:33 PM   #14
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I replaced the house bank in September and chose to switch from FLA to Fireflys. Thought about Lithium and decided the simplicity of the Fireflys was a better match. 6 years ago the Fireflys were newer technology, now more proven. I see the Lithium as a good choice, but see the players and models changing so frequently that I didn't feel as comfortable as first picking Trojan T-105s and later the Fireflys.

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Old 11-24-2021, 03:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Imagine you are enjoying life in the Marquesas, or for that matter the Sea of Cortez, or the Exumas and you lost a specialized LiFeP04 battery.

Depending on how you designed your bank that might just be a pretty darn big deal, especially with the larger LiFeP04 batteries coming to the market.

How difficult will it be and how long will it take to get a replacement?

Now imagine the exact same scenario and you have a bank of FLA batteries, probably something along the lines of a L16.

How hard would it be to replace that battery? Not hard at all. You will probably find someone with it in stock in any decent sized town anywhere.

Now take this even further.... While you are waiting for your new LiFeP04 replacedment to be shipped to you, things are probably not so much fun on your boat. Why??? Because many LiFeP04 systems are designed to operate on the edge of their capacity.

Now take that FLA bank and imagine how things would work. Well, since you only generally operate your FLA bank to 50% capacity to increase it's lifespan you can still operate as normal until you get a replacement knowing you are simply reducing the effective life of your battery bank that cost you all of a couple thousand dollars in the first place. In the final analysis you probably won't see much if any difference in lifespan anyway since you will have a replacement battery installed as soon as you make port.

Boats are not just about having the latest greatest. They are about having a functional system that can survive things that happen to all equipment at sea.
We have ours done as 280ah@24v
We have done three of them, each with their own BMS and MRBF

We could run the boat comfortably enough on one

As for cost, 820ah @ 24v of LFP has cost less to build than 840ah@24v of AGM

The other advantage of LFP is at a later stage I can add additional batteries to the bank, something that is not recommended with AGM or lead.
Usually if a cell goes bad the whole bank need replacing
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Old 11-24-2021, 03:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
While there are clearly advantages to lithium batteries, I can see situations where one might choose another chemistry.

They might not be my choice for a boat in the extreme Northern or Southern hemispheres.

While the BMSs seem reliable, I could see someone planning to cross oceans, choosing a different chemistry to avoid the electronics. This is similar to people choosing mechanically injected motors versus electronic common rail diesels.

Ted
BMS is not necessarily required
Plenty of users running LFP without by keeping the charge "between the knees"
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Old 11-24-2021, 03:53 PM   #17
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The power density of Li-ion batteries is, in my opinion, not worth the cost or risk associated with them. Good points have been made about difficulty of replacement should one fail. However these batteries can also present a fire risk if they overheat. Overheat can occur if they are overcharged such as a faulty charge regulator. If they do catch fire they also release toxic fumes (fluoride gas), which in an enclosed area such as boat is very dangerous.

AGM is a good compromise which won't leak but doesn't have the inherent safety risks of Li-ion. Also AGM's are relatively available and if needed a flooded battery can replace a dead AGM (though charging profiles are somewhat different).
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Old 11-24-2021, 03:59 PM   #18
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We have ours done as 280ah@24v
We have done three of them, each with their own BMS and MRBF

We could run the boat comfortably enough on one

As for cost, 820ah @ 24v of LFP has cost less to build than 840ah@24v of AGM

The other advantage of LFP is at a later stage I can add additional batteries to the bank, something that is not recommended with AGM or lead.
Usually if a cell goes bad the whole bank need replacing
I can only compare what is fully developed on the market today from a reputable manufacturer.

Battleborn batteries has a 400AH 12 volt system on sale today for $3796

I found Crown 420 AH batteries for $339 each. four of them would give a 840AH bank for $1356.

Those are todays prices for off the shelf reputable manufacturer, no engineering required batteries.

The OP asked for reasons not to go LiFeP04 and there are are valid tradeoffs.
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Old 11-24-2021, 04:08 PM   #19
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In life cycle costs on a boat you are going to keep for awhile, the LFP will be cheaper than FLA or AGM. That used to be a theoretical prediction, but they have been around long enough now that it is proven experience. LA wins on initial capital investment, but loses by replacement time.
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Old 11-24-2021, 04:23 PM   #20
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Those are todays prices for off the shelf reputable manufacturer, no engineering required batteries.

The OP asked for reasons not to go LiFeP04 and there are are valid tradeoffs.
You buy AGM or LA and you need to connect them all up with cable or busbars to make a usable battery bank

You buy LFP cells and you need to connect them all up with cable or busbars to make a usable battery bank

Same "engineering"
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