What are the best Lithium Marine Batteries for house and engine batteries

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by oceancruiser, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. oceancruiser

    oceancruiser Previous Member

    What are the best Lithium Marine Batteries for house and engine batteries and Why.

    Any body had personal experience with them if so do the manufactures claims ring true.

    OC
     
  2. BertKu
    Joined: May 2009
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    BertKu Senior Member

    I have selected LiFoFo4 , 4 x 3.3 Volt in serial x 10 parallel. For good Telecom Lithium batteries refer www.eemb.com or sales10@ewtbattery.com
    Please elaborate on the manufacturers claim. What do they claim.

    A forum member mentioned that after 7 years the lithium batteries may dry internally. So far after 4 years, I have not noticed any problems other than that 2 of the 40 batteries had some corrosion on the terminals. The leakage current is very low. Balancing and quick charging are problems. (for me), although after a suggestion from another forum member, charging is done with 10 batteries parallel.

    What do you have in mind 1 Kwh, 10 Kwh?
    Bert
     
  3. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Why do you like to change to Lithium? It can only be for 3 reasons.
    1) weight
    2) If you only get to you yacht once per year, your leakage current is so low, that you will not find a dead battery after a year.
    3) Very high discharge currents required.
    Certainly not for the price.
    Bert
     
  4. John Perry
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    John Perry Senior Member

    I am not an electrical engineer but I understand that lithium batteries allow high charging currents as well as high discharge currents. I think that is a significant advantage for sailing boats for the following reason:

    To get a reasonable working life from a lead acid battery you should not discharge it to below 50% capacity then to recharge it you first have to apply a bulk charge, which can be at a reasonably high current, followed by a long duration absorption charge at a lower current. If your boat is staying in a marina overnight then this can be done using shore power and a modern 'smart' battery charger. However, if you are cruising under sail and relying on your main engine for charging while at anchor or in a harbour without shore power, then battery charging requires the engine to run in neutral at low load for long periods, not good for the engine, or for efficient use of fuel or for peace and quiet. Even if you have a small petrol or diesel generator for charging this will still run at low load during the lengthy absorption charge period since the full output of even a small generator will be too high for absorption charging a typical yacht battery bank. If you omit the absorption charge the effective capacity battery is not even 50% of the nominal capacity, more like 30 to 40%.

    On the other hand, a small generator will rapidly charge a lithium battery, saving the main engine and requiring perhaps only half an hour of charging each day and, say, £1 worth of fuel each day, although, as they say, your mileage may vary (quite a bit probably). Most small generators currently available are not ideal for this since they provide their main output at 240/120V and you would need to put this through a high power battery charger to charge a lithium battery at the current that it is capable of accepting. This is possible, but the monster battery charger would be extra equipment to buy and maintain, extra space and weight and would incur some energy loss. I would think that if lithium batteries become more widely used there will be an obvious need for small generators that give a 12V/24V output at an amperage that takes full advantage of the high charge rate possible. For a typical small sailing yacht think of something like a 2hp 4 stroke petrol engine coupled to an alternator that can absorb the full power of the engine and ideally fitted with much better sound attenuation than is usual for small petrol engines. There is already one such battery charger available, a friend of mine has one and does find it rather noisy - there is no more sound attenuation than the simple exhaust muffler you would find on a cheap lawnmower.

    It seems that lithium batteries are already close to being price competitive with lead acid if you allow for the longer life and the usable capacity being much closer to the nominal capacity than is the case with lead acid. Maybe they will become a bit cheaper in the future, but perhaps not all that much cheaper since lithium is an expensive substance that is likely to become in short supply. I read somewhere that if the world fleet of cars was all replaced with electric cars with lithium batteries then that would consume 60% of the known on-shore lithium reserves in just the first generation of cars - so not really a long term solution. I understand that it may be possible to recover lithium from the sea, but probably at high cost.
     
  5. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi John,

    Your reasoning make sense. You have a further advantage that a lithium battery charges already at 2 Volt , i.e. for a 13.4 Volt battery (4 in series) you need only 8 Volt and the battery start charging already. This in comparison with Lead Acid is approx 12 Volt for a 13.0 - 13.8 Volt fully charged Deep charging or normal lead acid battery. Therefore you need 14.4 charging Voltage. The alternator does not have to run at full speed to start charging the lithium batteries
    Try the two address I have given you and discuss it with them. However, they want quantities and that is your problem. Maybe you could get a number of people together and buy in small bulk quantity.
    What about some more flexible solar panels on your yacht?
    Bert
     
  6. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi John,

    You know what I would do if I was in your shoes. I would get hold of a 75kv brushless outrunner motor. Get an engineering company to make a waterproof casing. Get a light aluminum or plastic propeller and dump the unit at the transom into the sea while sailing on a cable connected to your batteries. Yes, you would loose 0.1 knot in speed, so what the hick. Better than all that noise from the diesel and petrol engines, not to forget the smell which I hate. I have here 130 kv brushless motors which need for 14 volt output 130 x 14 = 1820 rpm, but gives only 18 Ampere at that speed. This is at about the speed of an idling smelly stinking petrol puff puff engine. If you can make one with 75 kv, your speed need only 75 x 14 = 1050 rpm. It is silent and what a pleasure. If you can find brushless motors which does 50 kv and thick multi thread copper windings, you have a winner as you could get 50 - 60 Ampere out of them. Good enough for cruising. Or get expensive solar panels which has cells made of material which even by clouded sky gives sufficient energy. Bert
     
  7. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Im willing to put money down that lead acid batteries will be a thing of the past in 20 years time... they are complete junk when compared to lithium chemistry. The cost is already on par with lead acid when you consider the longevity. The weight and space improvements can be enjoyed for the same cost right now.

    A better point of discussion these days, would be to turn the argument on its head and askl - would be why put lead acid in your boat in this day and age? You wont find them in any modern device from this day forward...
     
  8. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi Groper, Not a bad argument. However maybe we have to help yachtsmen who like to change over to Lithium, what kind of charger is now required. Will the old fashioned alternator regulator cope with the charging parameters of the lithium battery? I haven't given it a thought. One may have balancing problems. By the way, I haven't noticed that I have such problem with my 40 batteries after Jeremy told me to place the 10 parallel and charge parallel with normal 14.4 Volt. Which is 3,6 Volt per set of batteries and 0.05 Volt below the maximum allowed charging voltage of 3.65 Volt (this varies from manufacturer and type of lithium batteries). But I haven't the tools and longtime experience whether I will lose 50 cycles of the 1500 cycles claimed or that I lose 500 cycles. When I am 78, I will tell you, but you have to wait a while.

    Groper, how would you do the charging when you throw out your lead acid battery and replace it with lithium. I think that is the real question.
    Bert
     
  9. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Very simple Bert - no need to complicate things like many seem to when installing lithium...

    Put a appropriate current rated schottkey diode with a ~ 1volt forward voltage drop in line from alternator to battery. This will slow the charge when battery is full and prevent over volting it when on long passages with engines running. Just need a small load on the battery aswell to stop the voltage climbing as the current drops right off - this is not normally a problem as most boats generally will have something draining power such as navigation equipment, depth sounders etc...

    On shore power charging - they already make lithium battery smart charges, buy one off the shelf.

    On solar charging - again they already sell great MPPT solar regulators that will do anything you ask of them, and ones that are specifically designed for lithium.

    It wont be long and someone will start selling alternators with regulators designed specfically for lithium... then we will see those put into new cars by the top end car manufacturers - im guessing someone like BMW or similar will do it first, then the rest will follow...
     
  10. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi Groper,
    Fair enough, that is one way of doing it. However as long they put the diode on a reasonable size heatsink or on a large surface area of a printed circuit board, the way I have done it. 80 to 100 ampere at 1 Volt is a 100 watt bright bulb/globe to cool. I have used a number of the 2 x 40 Ampere 100 Volt parallel from International Rectifiers type 40CPQ100 and a large piece of pcb. It works well. Maybe after every 6 months one should check whether the 4 groups of lithium batteries have gone out of balance and balance them again manual. Bert
     

    Attached Files:

  11. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Yes, I will bolt the diode through an aluminium heat sink I cannibalized from an inverter air conditioner...

    You can get individual cell chargers to charge 3.6 volt individual cells, and of course parallel strings. these cost under $50 and used to top end balance from time to time. I would not build a battery bank with more then 4 cells in series none in parallel for 12v nominal. Individual cells up to 1000ah are available. Keeps things simple.
     
  12. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Groper, which manufacturer is making 1000 Amperehour cells? I love to make contact with them. As far I can gather, most of them places cells in parallel in anyway to make production economical. If you chat to the manufacturer, quantities under the 1000 of anything is of no interest to them. One 3,6 Volt , 1000 Amperecell, you will be looking at something like 4000 to 5000 Dollar each.
    Bert
     
  13. groper
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    groper Senior Member

  14. BertKu
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    BertKu Senior Member

    Hi Groper, handy site. They are only 100 to 300 Ampere. Although 1000 Ah, I am looking at 1000 Ampere cells. But have you opened one of those cells? Are you absolute sure that they are one single cell?
    What safety is build into those single cells? I don't think 1000 Ampere (3,3 Kwh) are available, but prove me wrong. To go comfortable with an electric boat onto the see, one need 25 Kwh or more. Except you prove me wrong, you can only do that with paralleling single cells and build such power pack up, with safety features in between.
    Bert
     

  15. groper
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    groper Senior Member

    Bert - you must have missed it - here -> http://www.ev-power.eu/Winston-300Ah-1000Ah/WB-LYP1000AHC-LiFeYPO4-3-2V-1000Ah.html

    1000ampere.hour cells cost $1499. Most cost effective size is the 700aH which is works out to around $1.24 per cell, per ampere.hour.

    This site, has the same 1000ampere cells for $1100 - http://www.evworks.com.au/index.php?product=BAT-LFP1000AHC

    All of the smaller sizes, 100ah and above, are between $1.10 - $1.50 per cell, per ah. Three main brands are Winston, Sinopoly and CALB.

    Not sure of any safety built in, im quite sure they are just raw single cells, no bells and whistles...
     
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