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Master Mariner
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Discussion Starter #1
One thing one learns very quickly down here is that a normal warranty isn't worth the paper it would be printed on by your printer.
If something important fails and you want to take advantage of the warranty, you often have to ship it back to the manufacturer, and depending on how much and how soon you need it back, that can either take a lot of money or a lot of time. It's often just easier, faster and cheaper to buy a new one from a local outlet at outrageous prices.
So, when I think of spending 10 to 12 grand on a complete Life4PO set up, batteries, invertercharger (5kw) solar and an MPPT, etc.. I'm looking at 800 amps of 12 volts, with 60 to 80 amps of solar.
Perhaps it is worth getting what I need through a local retailer who will honor the warranty. Is it worth the extra 2 grand to have a local dealer with spare parts in stock and within 50 miles or so of me, and not go through all the research and doubt if where I'm purchasing my batteries is a reliable supplier?
Any thoughts?
 

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S2 7.9 Bear Lake, UT
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So, when I think of spending 10 to 12 grand on a complete Life4PO set up, batteries, invertercharger (5kw) solar and an MPPT, etc.. I'm looking at 800 amps of 12 volts, with 60 to 80 amps of solar.
I am not going to speculate on your original concerns, but question your need for 800 ah.

Do you have 800 ah of lead acid now? If you go with LifePo, you may not need the same ah capacity. Not that it would be cheap but your needs and usage might change with the upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am not going to speculate on your original concerns, but question your need for 800 ah.

Do you have 800 ah of lead acid now? If you go with LifePo, you may not need the same ah capacity. Not that it would be cheap but your needs and usage might change with the upgrade.
Yep. If I'm going to lithium, one of the advantages is that I can run A/C on those nights I want it. And my 110vac refrigeration, which would cut our diesel use to less than 100 gpy.
 

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One thing one learns very quickly down here is that a normal warranty isn't worth the paper it would be printed on by your printer.
If something important fails and you want to take advantage of the warranty, you often have to ship it back to the manufacturer, and depending on how much and how soon you need it back, that can either take a lot of money or a lot of time. It's often just easier, faster and cheaper to buy a new one from a local outlet at outrageous prices.
So, when I think of spending 10 to 12 grand on a complete Life4PO set up, batteries, invertercharger (5kw) solar and an MPPT, etc.. I'm looking at 800 amps of 12 volts, with 60 to 80 amps of solar.
Perhaps it is worth getting what I need through a local retailer who will honor the warranty. Is it worth the extra 2 grand to have a local dealer with spare parts in stock and within 50 miles or so of me, and not go through all the research and doubt if where I'm purchasing my batteries is a reliable supplier?
Any thoughts?
Like you, we've learned that warranties aren't worth anything when cruising around. Heck, even in the US it is often a battle to get warranties honored because many companies find wiggle room to avoid it.

"Spare parts" is usually a red herring because the systems you are considering either work or not - there really isn't any parts to swap other than whole units. Also, few carry spare parts just because of inventory costs.

That said, solar is pretty bulletproof and simple. If you stay away from the flexible stuff, even the cheapest rigid solar just works and works. Buy good MPPT's and the risk of needing warranty is low. An inverter/charger is somewhere in-between. Get a good one and the risk is fairly low that you will need warranty work.

So the batteries are the real issue. If you are buying individual cells and making your own battery, then warranty beyond initial assurance that they are not DOA isn't very useful. They will either work or not work from the beginning. If you are getting a system from a major player like Victron or Lithionics, I think their support extends to wherever you are, and they will work with you in the field. If you are getting drop-ins, then I think if you stick to one of the handful of major players they will also support you because that area of the market is intensely competitive right now, and the companies are small enough to die quickly from a bad reputation.

Yep. If I'm going to lithium, one of the advantages is that I can run A/C on those nights I want it. And my 110vac refrigeration, which would cut our diesel use to less than 100 gpy.
You should do the math very carefully here. The size of your A/C system(s), inverter, charger, solar all need to be in balance to do what you are proposing. Running an A/C greater than 5-6kbtu and a 110vac reefer will be taxing on a 800Ah bank. You will probably need to start the night fully charged and be ready to run the genset powering 100-200A of charger in the morning.

Edit: just reread and see you are installing 5kW of solar!!! Are you sure about that? We don't have that much space on a 46'x24' boat with giant hardtop. We get a steady 80A out of our 1300W of solar, so you would get way more than 60-80A from yours and probably won't ever need to run the genset again. I'm going to assume that was a typo and you probably meant 1.5kW that would provide 60-80A.

Mark
 

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Master Mariner
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Discussion Starter #6
Like you, we've learned that warranties aren't worth anything when cruising around. Heck, even in the US it is often a battle to get warranties honored because many companies find wiggle room to avoid it.

"Spare parts" is usually a red herring because the systems you are considering either work or not - there really isn't any parts to swap other than whole units. Also, few carry spare parts just because of inventory costs.

That said, solar is pretty bulletproof and simple. If you stay away from the flexible stuff, even the cheapest rigid solar just works and works. Buy good MPPT's and the risk of needing warranty is low. An inverter/charger is somewhere in-between. Get a good one and the risk is fairly low that you will need warranty work.

So the batteries are the real issue. If you are buying individual cells and making your own battery, then warranty beyond initial assurance that they are not DOA isn't very useful. They will either work or not work from the beginning. If you are getting a system from a major player like Victron or Lithionics, I think their support extends to wherever you are, and they will work with you in the field. If you are getting drop-ins, then I think if you stick to one of the handful of major players they will also support you because that area of the market is intensely competitive right now, and the companies are small enough to die quickly from a bad reputation.



You should do the math very carefully here. The size of your A/C system(s), inverter, charger, solar all need to be in balance to do what you are proposing. Running an A/C greater than 5-6kbtu and a 110vac reefer will be taxing on a 800Ah bank. You will probably need to start the night fully charged and be ready to run the genset powering 100-200A of charger in the morning.

Edit: just reread and see you are installing 5kW of solar!!! Are you sure about that? We don't have that much space on a 46'x24' boat with giant hardtop. We get a steady 80A out of our 1300W of solar, so you would get way more than 60-80A from yours and probably won't ever need to run the genset again. I'm going to assume that was a typo and you probably meant 1.5kW that would provide 60-80A.

Mark
5kw inverter.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Where buying local makes sense is if you need help importing or installing the stuff.
Mark
The extra 2gs is a real maybe because of the statements below, but warranty on the batteries and instant replacement is very important to me.
There's already something like a 25% duty on solar in the US and adding shipping, duty and handling to that, I'm not sure that the local price couldn't beat that. I don't know about US duty on life4PO batteries, but purchasing in US and shipping, duty and handling are again a problem, that a local supplier might be able to compete with. I can buy the MPPT (I like Morningstar) and as you've said, they are pretty much bullet proof; our present system is 10 years trouble free. The biggest question is of course the inverter charger.
But, should a cell be or go bad, I don't want any hassle.
Installation is not a problem, but if we do it as directed by the local company (a Brit I believe), then everything should be under warranty.
And no, I had no intention of running refrigeration and air at the same time.
 

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Solar is very competitive worldwide, and buying local is probably close in price to every where else. Solar prices in many countries are less than in the US even without tariffs.

The US and its current trade wars seem to be like the 1980's Soviet Union. There is official policy, yet everyone seems to find some way around it all in practice. We recently bought solar panels that should have tariffs on them, and the distributors talk about tariff prices on their websites, and even how they are not allowed to sell single panels to individuals at all under the current laws - yet they readily, willingly, and quietly sold them to us without the tariff tax. Same with our friends and their recent purchase. I think there are tariff loopholes to protect large businesses, and these are used to sell out the backdoor to small fry like us.

All battery cells are drop-shipped from China, so shipping is the same everywhere. I don't think these are under the tariff wars yet. I also don't think put together systems are either.

Mark
 

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Cape Dory 30
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One thing one learns very quickly down here is that a normal warranty isn't worth the paper it would be printed on by your printer.
If something important fails and you want to take advantage of the warranty, you often have to ship it back to the manufacturer, and depending on how much and how soon you need it back, that can either take a lot of money or a lot of time. It's often just easier, faster and cheaper to buy a new one from a local outlet at outrageous prices.
So, when I think of spending 10 to 12 grand on a complete Life4PO set up, batteries, invertercharger (5kw) solar and an MPPT, etc.. I'm looking at 800 amps of 12 volts, with 60 to 80 amps of solar.
Perhaps it is worth getting what I need through a local retailer who will honor the warranty. Is it worth the extra 2 grand to have a local dealer with spare parts in stock and within 50 miles or so of me, and not go through all the research and doubt if where I'm purchasing my batteries is a reliable supplier?
Any thoughts?
You threw me with the 800 amps at 12 volts. I see from someone else's reply that it may have been 800 ah as in 8, 100ah 12 volt batteries. That are usually around a $900 or so a piece on line. I try to buy local also but nearly 20 percent higher is a lot of money for the same product. If you are comparing apples and apples. Dennis
 

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Master Mariner
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Discussion Starter #13
You threw me with the 800 amps at 12 volts. I see from someone else's reply that it may have been 800 ah as in 8, 100ah 12 volt batteries. That are usually around a $900 or so a piece on line. I try to buy local also but nearly 20 percent higher is a lot of money for the same product. If you are comparing apples and apples. Dennis
After freight, duty and handling, I seriously doubt that the difference would be 20%. There are actually 200, 499 and larger Life4po battery packs available today. I'm certainly not interested in 8 100 amp batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think youre now looking at a little under $6 per ah with lifepo4 cells
...thats 12v
That's certainly not out of the ball park, a tad less than 5 grand. But it all depends on the quality and the monitoring (or whatever it is called) system, included or not.
 

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I think monitoring/management is more important as you get closer to the high and low ends of capacity.
Would be the same for most any batt system, but now we have more expensive lfp and people come out with their management systems. I never saw these before lfp.
I dont play around at the ends and have no bms, not looking for max capacity
EV routinely tests max capacity at both ends
 

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If you are in NA "local dealers" of LFP are pretty thin on the ground

even for the much pricier "packaged systems" like Victron, Mastervolt?

For buying plain cells, you DIY the system integration most people have a hard time finding anyone at all helpful.
 

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Cape Dory 30
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You threw me with the 800 amps at 12 volts. I see from someone else's reply that it may have been 800 ah as in 8, 100ah 12 volt batteries. That are usually around a $900 or so a piece on line. I try to buy local also but nearly 20 percent higher is a lot of money for the same product. If you are comparing apples and apples. Dennis
Yes, I realize that they make bigger packs that are all in one package. There are separate batteries/cells inside these cases. Just like the battery pack on your drill is has a bunch of smaller c size cells in side hooked together. As far as 20 percent, I was using your numbers of "10 to 12 Grand" "to give a dealer an extra 2 Grand." For me that was 16 to 20 % higher.

I am still confused with the 800 amps vs amp hours. Deep cycle batteries including lithium are rated in amp hours. So 8, 12 volt 100 amp hour batteries in parallel are a 800 amp hour system. But to try to get an 800 amp load out of this system would impossible. A typical house only has a 200 amp service.

I have priced out a 200 amp hour lithium battery back for my electric sail boat and the batteries alone are $10,000. Could you post a link as you have found a cheaper source that I would be interested in. Dennis
 

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I can‘t speak to a particular Caribbean retailer, but as a general rule, I prefer a high volume reputable local source, for electronics. They usually have better access to the OEM than a random consumer.

Reputable is key.
 
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