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    LiFePo battery upgrade

    Has anyone actually upgraded their battery system? I've read the comparison charts, but I'm wondering if anyone has actually done it.

    I'm looking at replacing my FLA single 8D for LiFePo, and upgrading the charger (DC to DC) but wondering if I'm missing anything. FWIW, I'm upgrading the starter batteries to AGM since I'm not good at maintaining the water levels and I'd much prefer a set it and forget it approach.
    I'm going to be upgrading all the ceiling lights to LED but we constantly have battery issues, we've drained the 8D to nothing a few times, so I'm also looking at replacing the house 8D to at least 75% of the amp hours in LiFePo to have a bigger bank.

    Any suggestions? warnings?

    #2
    Yes I just did.

    Depending on engine size, there are only a few Li batteries that can handle crancking. Battleborn I believe have them.

    Below is what I did:

    https://www.baylinerownersclub.org/f...ar-and-lithium

    If you don't use solar, there are other good DC to DC chargers.

    Comment


      #3
      I am in the process of doing just that.

      Went with dual 300ah LifePo4 batteries for a total of 600ah (big boat needs lots of juice)

      Dual 30a dc to dc chargers for a total output of 60a (Victron Energy)

      A dedicated 80a lithium shore power charger. (Progressive Dynamics)

      The remaining 5 group 31 1000cca batteries remain lead acid and are serviced by the original charger. They supply the engines, bow and stern thrusters and generator.

      I remain with lead acid as lithium is not great at starting, plus they are always full relatively inexpensive and really never require water top off.
      Cheers, Hans
      2007 Carver 41 CMY
      Twin Volvo D6-370
      Montreal, Canada
      Midnight Sun I Photos

      Comment


        #4
        Yes. I upgraded the house to 560AH Lifepo4. I kept the existing chargers because appropriate charging profiles were programmable. I kept the existing OEM Denso alternators and run the STB alternator through a Sterling AB charger that I got off Ebay for $75. When I left the boat on September 23rd they were at 92% SOC. Security, refrigerator, and a couple of other things running. Right now they are at 38% SOC and 13.10 volts. I'll be back on board tomorrow for a week.
        Irony
        1989 Bayliner 4588 - EH700TI
        Portsmouth, NH

        Comment


          #5
          For me before upgrading your house bank make sure you know what your loads are and how you use power on the boat. Victron has their 702 monitor, I've been using a Link Pro for a number of years. If you've drawn down your house bank to 0 on occasion the first thing to know before any battery upgrade is how much power you're using.

          James
          1989 Bayliner 3888, 175 Hinos,
          Hurth 630's Onan 8kw MDKD
          Lowrance Electronics!
          Boating on Georgian Bay & the North Channel
          Completed the Great Loop 07/25/19
          AGLCA #8340
          MTOA# 7469

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by MacPhid View Post
            For me before upgrading your house bank make sure you know what your loads are and how you use power on the boat. Victron has their 702 monitor, I've been using a Link Pro for a number of years. If you've drawn down your house bank to 0 on occasion the first thing to know before any battery upgrade is how much power you're using.

            James
            Power requirements vary substantially depending if you are going to do 1 night on the hook or 4. As time goes by one tends to add thing that consume power like a small portable fridge, a satellite dish or whatever. All these add up. The most important is being able to replenish the bank in a very short time and this is where Lithium shines. Bottom line is a good solar array, a high amperage charger so that one can run the genny and recharge very fast or at least put in many AH in a short period of time. The bigger the better IMHO for a house bank.
            Cheers, Hans
            2007 Carver 41 CMY
            Twin Volvo D6-370
            Montreal, Canada
            Midnight Sun I Photos

            Comment


            • Kwood
              Kwood commented
              Editing a comment
              Bingo! If you have a 600AH bank - 300 amps of charging capacity is not too much.

            #7
            But you have to watch out for how much the charger pulls from the alternator. You can use use a 50 A charger, but if you have a 60A alternator and 10GA wiring, smoke will come out of something. In that case a 30A charger is more suitable.

            Comment


              #8
              Originally posted by Metrodriver View Post
              But you have to watch out for how much the charger pulls from the alternator. You can use use a 50 A charger, but if you have a 60A alternator and 10GA wiring, smoke will come out of something. In that case a 30A charger is more suitable.
              Not a good idea to charge lipos from an alternator as you will most likely fry it due to almost no resistance in a lipo. This is why I am using a dc to dc charger as opposed to being hooked up to the alternator.
              Cheers, Hans
              2007 Carver 41 CMY
              Twin Volvo D6-370
              Montreal, Canada
              Midnight Sun I Photos

              Comment


              • Kwood
                Kwood commented
                Editing a comment
                Another inexpensive option is the Sterling AB charger. It uses some real estate though. Can be had used very reasonably.

              #9
              I do have a DC to DC charger. When you start the engine (assume a 60A alternator), a 50A charger will pull 50A to charge the battery, but, you will have the blower on, maybe bilge pumps so your load on the alternator might be approaching 60A. Right at the limit of your alternator. On my boat the wire from alternator to the fuse panel and solenoid is 10GA, which is rated for 30A. Again, trying to pull 60A through that wire from the alternator will overheat that wire, worst case causing a fire.

              All of this depends on the size of the boat and when it was built. Mine was built in 89, and is 21ft. Back then all there was was an am/fm cassette, some lights, a fish finder. Not much in the way of power users. Now we have refridgerators, electric toilets, tv's, a/c, all kinds of nav equipment, charging points for phones and computers, and as such newer boats have alternators and cabling rated for higher power. Bigger boats have larger systems, most have a dedicated house and engine circuits (older boats like mine did not).

              If you look at my link I described that it is a bad idea to charge Li from the alternator. I have a DC to DC charger, (with solar input) for that reason. But my alternator is 60A, and the choices I had were a 30A or 50A charger. The 50A was too much. I could have bought a new higher amp alternator, and run a new (thicker) wire from the alternator, but the alternator is brand new and I have no access anymore in the engine room to run new wires, should have done that before I put the engine in the boat.
              I also had to split the electrical system as my boat did not have a dedicated house circuit , was not needed in 1989. Now it does.

              The picture is the state of charge. House (LiFePO4) is at 14.3 V the Lead acid start battery 13.0 V solar is still charging with rain coming down.
              Attached Files

              Comment


                #10
                Thanks for the feedback. It seem obvious now that the 100AH proposal (quote) I have will be insufficient (should prob shoot for 250-300?). We still have halogen lights throughout but I plan to change those to LED this winter. The fridge will probably be replaced in the next 2 years, which would be the last high usage item. I'd like sufficient power in the bank to run an LED TV (last year's cheap model) but from what I remember reading when I bought it, it doesnt suck much power.
                I do have questions about the alternator though - mainly that I don't understand its impact if I do have a DC to D charger (in the quote). Do I still need to change something with the alternator? If I'm using LiFePO house batteries, what are the options for the starters? (Port, stbd and genny?)

                More usage info:
                We do charge tablets, phone, and Switch, but there's not much else sucking power. We have no electric toilets, but I would like to add an Espar heating system (I don't think that required much power if any though, other than the climate control?). Lastly, the windlass has drained our failing battery a few times. Not sure if that should be a concern going forward. These batteries were so beat up I just added 3 litres of water between the House 8D and one starter battery. Turns out the starboard starter and genny battery were maintenance free lead acids...

                Final question (maybe this is a separate thread?) - I'm smelling sulfur when I run the genny, and saw a bit of smoke coming from the genny starter battery when running. Is that an immediate replacement (fire concern) or is it just the battery failing?

                Comment


                  #11
                  What kind of alternator(s) do you have? It would help if you post what kind of boat you have. I assumed it was a smaller one, now I am reading genny's, windlasses....
                  You cannot use a charger that has an output (and draw from the alternator) equal or higher than the max output of your alternator. No 50A charger on an alternator with a max output of 60A. Is your alternator 150A? No problem!

                  You need to calculate how much power is hooked up to your house battery. Can your current system handle everything you have? If you replace what you have now straight up with Li, you got enough. Li gives you almost double the available AH over Lead acid.

                  The start batteries can be Li, if you have a small engine. Many people use them in motorcycles. However, starting a large V6 or V8 is a different story. Look up Battleborn for start batteries. Or stick with lead acid for starting.

                  https://battlebornbatteries.com/

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Apologies - this is for a '96 4087. I'll dig up a picture of the current house battery.
                    How do I calculate how much power is hooked up to the current battery? Also, I understand the "doubling of power" coming with the Li but the quote I got essentially halved it.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Originally posted by byrner View Post
                      Apologies - this is for a '96 4087. I'll dig up a picture of the current house battery.
                      How do I calculate how much power is hooked up to the current battery? Also, I understand the "doubling of power" coming with the Li but the quote I got essentially halved it.
                      You get the complete capacity from a LiFePO4 battery as compared to lead acid due the allowable depth of discharge. You can go to 100+% of capacity on the lithium where you can/should only go to 50% (realistically less for longevity) in a lead acid battery.

                      I use an EarthX lithium battery on my motorcycle (1,000 cc twin sport bike) but EarthX makes batteries for starting bigger engines. I have the stock alternator and regulator/rectifier, and the battery does its thing with the BMS doing its thing. When I go with LiFePO4 for my boat, I'm going to use the stock set up to see how it goes. If I need to change later, I will, but I'm not buying a DC-DC charger right away. Everyone should do their own research, as you are doing here and getting input from users who have done so, but my research says I will try to use the stock setup before changing anything.

                      For your power load, calculate what uses house battery voltage. Volts x amps = watts. You want to have enough amp hour (AH) capacity to feed your devices. If you have an inverter, that also is a user so you have to account for that. Note that you may not use them all at once, but you want to have the capacity to use what you want for as long as you want. Do a search for DC load calculation. Solar sites will be a good place to start as solar users need to be very conscious of their usage.

                      ETA: After watching a couple of videos (one linked below), for my house bank, I will use a DC-DC charger to avoid more exotic (read: expensive) fixes to prevent alternator damage.
                      Justin
                      1984 2150 Ciera "C-ya"
                      AQ225D w/ 280
                      MMSI 338355691
                      St. Joseph, Michigan

                      Comment


                        #14
                        You may want to take a peak at this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgoIocPgOug
                        Cheers, Hans
                        2007 Carver 41 CMY
                        Twin Volvo D6-370
                        Montreal, Canada
                        Midnight Sun I Photos

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Originally posted by MidnightSun View Post
                          You may want to take a peak at this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgoIocPgOug
                          Interesting, but they also say they are charging without a BMS. I think I will use a DC-DC charger to limit the current output from the alternator to save doing any other more exotic fixes.
                          Justin
                          1984 2150 Ciera "C-ya"
                          AQ225D w/ 280
                          MMSI 338355691
                          St. Joseph, Michigan

                          Comment

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