Lithium fears

Tranona

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The same seems to be true in reverse though, to be fair. Just like with anchors. AGM is the new CQR and the holdouts will be hoarding them in years to come!
And just like CQR for the vast majority of people AGMs are fine - suspect you will find that FLAs are still the most common type of batteries used on boats. Post#56 illustrates the situation well. Most boat owners will not benefit from the properties lithium offers in the same way that most boat owners won't ever need the superior properties of an NG anchor.
 

GHA

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But if you live aboard, at anchor, for weeks or months every year, it's really a no brainer.
👍👍
Huge game changer living onboard never plugged in!
For most on here onboard quite a few weekends with maybe 2 weeks cruise on the summer then not much point changing unless the lead's dead anyway.
 
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lustyd

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For most on here onboard quite a few weekends with maybe 2 weeks cruise on the summer then not much point changing unless the lead's dead anyway.
To be fair, when we're in weekender mode I leave the boat at 50-60% and return to a 99%. Switching off shore power has saved me hundreds of pounds in a couple of years so there certainly can be some benefits for weekenders. I wouldn't have done this with lead as it would have killed them in short order whereas now the only downside is we might occasionally turn up to a battery at 70% charge (still enough for a weekend).
 

geem

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How frequently do you run the batteries down to zero?

Where is the 'real world data' that backs up the technology claim that it will outlive any other form of battery, has anybody run lithium for 15 years?

I've seen a lot of claims about lithium, but have seen little real world data. By 'real world' I mean large numbers of data points over many years and environments.

At least with this forum we can start exploring the real world data.
Have a look at Rod Collins utube channel Marine How To. He is a very well respected guy in the USA. He is on the ABYC committee and was instrumental in writing the ABYC standard for lithium. He has run his 12v lithium battery for 15 years on his own boat. He recently tested it for capacity and it had no loss. Pretty impressive. He has gone through several different BMS as the tech has improved. He now runs a JK BMS. The same ones I am running. He is a cool guy and his utube channel is super informative
 

fredrussell

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My question to Tranona and Sandy (and any other ‘lead lovers’ on this thread) is this: If, when you next come to replace your house battery bank, and a lithium setup (incl ancillaries) works out cheaper for same kw/h, would you go for lead or lithium? Not trying to stir things up - just interested to see.
 

geem

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To be fair, when we're in weekender mode I leave the boat at 50-60% and return to a 99%. Switching off shore power has saved me hundreds of pounds in a couple of years so there certainly can be some benefits for weekenders. I wouldn't have done this with lead as it would have killed them in short order whereas now the only downside is we might occasionally turn up to a battery at 70% charge (still enough for a weekend).
We converted to lithium as liveaboards 12months ago. We have saved about £300 on gas and diesel by using hardly any gas cooking and running the genset for a vastly reduced number of hours. Eventually there will be a payback but we didn't do it for that. It's the improvement of quality of life onboard that we find the greatest benefit. There is enough stored kWh in the lithium to do stuff we never could do with lead.
 

PaulRainbow

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I make most of my living fitting lithium and solar for cruising boats and probably have to tell more people not to fit it than to fit it. I finished a boat the other day and the neighbour in a weekend cruising mobo that never goes more than 30 miles and only anchors out for a night in nice weather asked if I could do LifePo for him too because he'd heard it was great. After ascertaining his use profile and the cost to make a good conversion I persuaded him that at most he needed a second leisure battery - LA - for £100, plus a bit of cable and 45 minutes of my time...
I get the same too, which is what prompted my tongue in cheek post above.
 

Tranona

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My question to Tranona and Sandy (and any other ‘lead lovers’ on this thread) is this: If, when you next come to replace your house battery bank, and a lithium setup (incl ancillaries) works out cheaper for same kw/h, would you go for lead or lithium? Not trying to stir things up - just interested to see.
Yes, just as I considered it when I rewired my GH 2 years ago and rejected it in favour AGMs primarily on cost grounds, but influenced by several years' experience with the same set up in my last boat. However my pattern of usage really does not make full use of the different properties of lithium - no fridge, no pressure water, no heating, simple tillerpilot, no night sailing, no crew and plug into shorepower. I would not class myself as a "lead lover" rather prefer to assess what is available to suit my needs at any given point in time. With my kw/h usage and charging regime the Exide stop start batteries I fitted will outlast me.

I did however, ditch the 35lb CQR despite the fact it had obviously worked OK for 45 years. My reasoning was that I could get superior performance with a much lighter Epsilon - and they were on offer at the time plus I got £10 in the club auction for the old one.

I am not sure why some others have so much difficulty in understanding this approach and just because they see big benefits for them don't seem to accept that they are mostly not representative of UK coastal boaters even though they may well be representative of their type of boating. If I were preparing my GH for ocean sailing and liveaboard (which it is suitable for in an old fashioned way) I would adopt a different strategy.
 

Sea Change

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I am not sure why some others have so much difficulty in understanding this approach and just because they see big benefits for them don't seem to accept that they are mostly not representative of UK coastal boaters even though they may well be representative of their type of boating.

I'm not sure we actually have anybody on this forum who advocates lithium for every eventuality. I certainly don't.
 

Tranona

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I'm not sure we actually have anybody on this forum who advocates lithium for every eventuality. I certainly don't.
There are one or two around - but generally you are right and maybe the lack of balance is because the people who don't see the benefits for them don't engage in the discussion!
 

Laminar Flow

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I appreciate that lithium would near double my usable storage capacity and prices are becoming (more) affordable.

We started off with 400A lead capacity and 300 W solar.
This made us autonomous in northern Europe from Spring through Fall (Netherlands, Brittany, Baltic), using fridge, lights, navigation and AP.

For a voyage to the North of the Shetlands, we added another 240 W of Solar and never had a problem keeping up the charge, even on multiday passages with the AP running continuously. Mixed weather included.

The cost of lithium is not just the increased cost for the batteries, but also the potential investment of having to ensure compatibility with all existing charging devices. While my MPPT charger and my mains charger can be adjusted, (at least I think so), my alternator would need to be replaced as well as my house/engine charge splitter.

Until my current and new set of lead/acid need replacing, I shall remain on the fence.

On the aside, our Eperver MPPT does log watt hours.
 

Sea Change

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The cost of lithium is not just the increased cost for the batteries,
How much do you think lithium costs? I think this is a myth that needs to be debunked. If you're paying more than £80 for a 110Ah lead acid battery, you'd be cheaper with DIY lithium.

but also the potential investment of having to ensure compatibility with all existing charging devices. While my MPPT charger and my mains charger can be adjusted, (at least I think so), my alternator would need to be replaced as well as my house/engine charge splitter.

Until my current and new set of lead/acid need replacing, I shall remain on the fence.
Your MPPT almost certainly can be configured for lithium. The alternator and how you want to handle splitting the charge between house and starter is more complex, and it's an issue I just avoided by keeping the two systems totally separate; I appreciate this wouldn't work for everyone.


On the aside, our Eperver MPPT does log watt hours.
Which model do you have? Do you have to get it talking to a computer to do this?
 

Sandy

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My question to Tranona and Sandy (and any other ‘lead lovers’ on this thread) is this: If, when you next come to replace your house battery bank, and a lithium setup (incl ancillaries) works out cheaper for same kw/h, would you go for lead or lithium? Not trying to stir things up - just interested to see.
Of course I will. I expect to be in my early seventies by the time I need my AGMs, if I survive that long, perhaps by then lithium will come free with a box of cornflakes as everybody will be raving about a new technology. ;)
 

geem

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Of course I will. I expect to be in my early seventies by the time I need my AGMs, if I survive that long, perhaps by then lithium will come free with a box of cornflakes as everybody will be raving about a new technology. ;)
Na, with global warming, thr UK will get weather like the Med, your lead batteries will cook like mine do in the Caribbean and you will be replacing AGMs every 3 years like most people over here😅
 

Sandy

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Na, with global warming, thr UK will get weather like the Med, your lead batteries will cook like mine do in the Caribbean and you will be replacing AGMs every 3 years like most people over here😅
It will be some time before the amazing beaches of Barra will be as busy as Torremolinos.

Given the amount of wet, cold weather we have had in Cornwall this winter we will be more likely to drown before then.
 

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It will be some time before the amazing beaches of Barra will be as busy as Torremolinos.

Given the amount of wet, cold weather we have had in Cornwall this winter we will be more likely to drown before then.
Reading of battery developments it is more than likely that within 10 years, so before the current LFP batteries need to be replaced :), There will be better and different technologies. LFP as we know them today will be dated and a newer technology (or plural) will be the subject of debate.

Jonathan
 

Neeves

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View attachment 176273
So this was taken at 9 am today in the UK with hazy cloud . 74 amps going in to the smart lithium batteries from solar (actually more but this is the net input whilst its powering our computers, fridge, freezer and so on aboard)

I have 700 ah of batteries and 2155 watts of solar panels - set up optimally with 4 MPPT and a combination of series and parallel

We have no gas and run a 3kw inverter, with a full size 240v fridge and a separate full size freezer, we have two hot water tanks with 800w elements and run all boat systems plus two Macs, Starlink, TV, PS4 etc. All lights are LED. We cook with an induction hob, a 2kw combo oven/grill/ microwave and an air fryer.

In UK / France in several years we have had to only use our DCDC chargers from the 125amp alternators two or three times for perhaps an hour . So in daily use from April to October over perhaps 1000 days with this set up we have needed only about 4kw extra power from the engines - and that is more preference than necessity because I have never let the LifePo go below 50% I should add my old water maker only took 20 amps DC for an hour a day - my new AC one is 65 amps but makes more than twice the amount of water which I'd love to say will mean we run it less but will probably mean we just sue more.

From November to April we run a shore power charger on days when its cloudy or in mid winter when its just too short a day in the UK but that includes most days a dehumidifier up to 24/7 which draws up to 5kw per day . Our electricity bill for winter has hit about 1200 kw (£400 at 33p / kw)

We could not at this stage run a UK winter without shore power (and thankfully will be in sunny climes in about 2 weeks) but by using the solar, lithium and inverter with the shore power just to top up the batteries via a charger we minimise shore power use.

Hopefully this helps the OP somewhat - I've not logged KW used and Kw generated etc because I have a life but over 5 years now I have lived aboard almost full time and whilst I am quite careful about usage - as in I will turn off hot water whilst I cook and then turn it back on again rather than draw 3-4kw all at once and that kind of thing - my only tinkering was to add an extra 500w of panels at one stage and 200 ah extra batteries from my initial estimate after a year. If I were staying at these latitudes I would add maybe 200ah more (total 900) and perhaps 2 more panels to try and be independent through winters but in the tropics I will never worry.

Ultimately in real terms now solar is direct cheap and lithium is not too bad either so put on as much as you can and you'll be fine through several days of cloud. Bear in mind even with which grey cloud (if not active heavy rain) we still add about 20 amps an hour and in white cloud up to 45 amps so there is always some more going in

Thank you Trident - for the effort.

I think you are one of the few who advocates Lithium, for specific applications, and has had the confidence to remove gas, completely. You have put your money where your mouth is.

The only item I think missing from your equipment inventory is a bread maker.

Next time you are up the mast (or get out your drone) an image of your solar display fully extended would be invaluable as 2155 watts of solar is quite extensive.


My question of 'how much energy do you use' is unnecessary in your context - you have developed an investment which answers the concept admirably - how much solar and how large a battery bank do you need to live realistically 'off grid'.

The answer is 'larger' than I thought, 900amps of battery and getting close to 2,500 watts of solar and 4 MPPTs. But no gas, no gen set. I suspect with strict parsimonious use of power you could reduce the total size from 900/2500 - but if you want to plan and budget and you have the space your data is invaluable. I think 900amps of battery could be accepted by many - Lithium is quite small in comparison to Lead - the killer is the 2,500 watts of solar (which is why a picture of the display might be valuable).

Again thank you for the detail (which I think will also be useful to Roger who posed a similar question to mine).

Jonathan
 

Laminar Flow

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How much do you think lithium costs? I think this is a myth that needs to be debunked. If you're paying more than £80 for a 110Ah lead acid battery, you'd be cheaper with DIY lithium.


Your MPPT almost certainly can be configured for lithium. The alternator and how you want to handle splitting the charge between house and starter is more complex, and it's an issue I just avoided by keeping the two systems totally separate; I appreciate this wouldn't work for everyone.



Which model do you have? Do you have to get it talking to a computer to do this?

My current set of of deep cycle are new, at least they were last year. No matter how you calculate it, anything else is an additional expense.
And yes, I know how much lithium costs and I'm sure I can manage the math.

We have a 40 A Eperver (1240?), not sure of the model number, but the total watt hours can be called off on the display. No connection to a computer necessary.

Meanwhile I have found out that the alternator/splitter issue might be circumvented by a DC to DC stepdown post splitter, to allow for a lead/acid starter and lithium house.

Best, A.
 

Neeves

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One constant theme of many owners is the inability to add more solar.

Trident who is solely independent, in terms of his power usage - he is exclusively 'off grid' has, or will have 2.5 times (in watts for solar) of his Lithium battery capacity in amps.

2500 vs 900.

Trident's Law - perhaps.....? :)

So, very crudely

True for Trident but if you have 'too small' a battery bank you will need a greater proportion of solars, more than 2.5 times. Or, and more likely, if you cannot have 2.5 times the solar - you will need a bigger battery bank.

Jonathan
 

lustyd

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I think 900amps of battery could be accepted by many
That would be three of the batteries I have, which are standard leisure battery size rather than the larger size leads many yachts have. Total cost would only be about £2400 and would fit in most battery compartments on 40’ boats and above.
I’m assuming it was 12V here but with a 3kW inverter 24V would make more sense so perhaps double that.
I think 1kW solar is easily achieved with an arch but most “normal” boats would struggle with 2.5kW without looking a bit busy on deck so I’d be interested to see the setup. Catamarans make this look easy of course.
With 1kW you may expect 5kWh per day in the sun which is plenty for most boats. We use about 7kWh at home with considerably more things consuming. As such I imagine 2.5kW is about right to allow for cloudy days if you really don’t want to look at usage or be careful.
 
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