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Lithium Ion batteries

4331 Views 30 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  manatee
I have used Lithium Ion batteries on TV cameras for the last 10 years and am totally sold on the technology. They have been absolutely impressive in terms of reliability, longevity and power to weight ratio. Some of our 80WH 12V batteries packs are over 8 years old and still working on the field day to day despite hundreds of charging cycles. We have about 25 units which have traveled all over the world, in all kinds of environmental and weather conditions and never had a single failure. I see 12V Lithium Ion Marine Batteries | Deep Cycle Batteries | Smart Battery has pretty attractive pricing on marine lithium batteries. Has anyone switched to lithiums?
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I run a LiFePO4 bank but it is custom built. Please stay away from "drop in" type LFP batteries. There is far more to a marine LFP conversion than simply dropping in a "12V look-a-like LFP battery...

If you are interested in learning a bit more about LFP's for marine use:

Marine Use LiFePO4 Batteries - Thoughts & Musings

If you want a pre-built factory made system the only two I like, at this point in time, are Genasun and Mastervolt with my strong preference going to Genasun.

BTW you may want check out the BBB rating of Smart Battery......
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Maine Sail,

Thanks for you comments, however, my question was related to feedback from anyone who may have purchased or currently using "drop in" lithium batteries such as the ones made by SMART BATTERY. I think this company deserves a fair look. Better, smarter and lighter batteries for boats are way overdue. I am a believer in Lithium batteries and have experienced first hand how they revolutionized the TV biz.
As I mentioned I do have lots of experience with Li in the marine market. You need more than a pretty plastic box and an "F" BBB rating to make a safe and usable LFP battery that will be worth what you spent.

There are currently no "drop in" LFP batteries for boats that pass the sniff test though there are plenty of companies willing to take your hard earned money, mislead you and laugh all the way to the bank.. Read the link I sent posted earlier. When you understand those concepts, for LFP applied to fractional C marine use, then you will much more easily understand why "drop in" LFP does not work for cruising boats..

There is a HUGE difference between a camera battery that uses ONE charge source, which was specifically designed for that battery, and includes all the protections necessary, and a boat with multiple charge sources all designed for lead acid.. You simply CAN NOT do that with an LFP drop in on a boat, because nothing is designed for LFP they are all designed to charge lead acid.

All anyone who knows anything about LiFePO4 has to do is look at those specs, for a LiFePO4 battery, and they will get a good chuckle.

16V As a HV cut off = EARLY DEATH (Pack level HVC????)
8V As a LV cut off = EARLY DEATH (Pack level LVC????)
Charge Voltages of 14.4 - 14.6V = :eek:
How does series wiring work if the BMS is internal to each battery?
How does parallel work if BMS is internal to each battery?
How do we properly wire a charge and load bus if the BMS is internal?
Hundreds of internal connections in the marine environment?
How do we protect an alternator from destruction with internal BMS?
A float voltage? You don't float LiFePO4
Is the system protected from cold temp charging?
Is the system protected from high temp charging?
LPF is charge to full > stop charging not bulk, absorb, float.

The bottom line is there are companies out there trying to stuff LFP into a lead acid box and it WILL NOT WORK and deliver the "claims"... Drop in LFP will be the black eye on the industry and it will be sad to watch......

On second thought buy one and let us know how that works out....;);):D:D:D

FWIW this is what a LFP install can look like. This was a Genasun installation I worked with Bruce Schwab on. This boat had both a 12V Genasun system and 24V Genasun system. The owner wanted to be able to run vessels the air conditioning off the Genasun 24V bank for dinner parties. Worked like a charm.....
See less See more
Light 1/3- 1/4 the weight
70% or more usable capacity vs 50% for lead
Fast charging

Funny I just two seconds ago got off the phone with Bruce as I work with him pretty continually...
Actually they are lithium ion batteries. Per the link given:
Lithium or Lithium Ion is simply a general reference to any Li battery technology. However within the Li family there are lots of chemistries. Some of these chemistries are lot more volatile than others.

LiFePO4 is currently the safest, many actually argue it is safer than lead acid, but it has less energy density than our cell phones or computers do or the LiCoO2 Boeing battery did. We are surrounded by Li batteries every day. Everything from cordless tools, cell phones, computers, tablets, remote control hobby vehicles, cameras, video cameras, hearing aids and people even walk around with Li batteries implanted in them to power implantable medical devices... The aerospace and military markets have been using Li chemistries since the mid 70's so it is really nothing new just finally at a point where it is beginning to make more sense for off grid solar and boats.....
LiFePO4 Batteries - Thoughts & Musings Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at

Excellent and informative read. Thank you for all of your considerable effort illustrated in your informative website. Have you considered publishing a book? Justin
I have been approached a few times but unfortunately books that involve technology that changes are a dying breed and can not be kept current when the technology changes. One of the best marine publishers, whom I had considered working with, actually just closed its doors. An eBook is a consideration but print, probably not....

I also try to keep my website free for readers and am doing that in some creative ways such as donations, selling certain products and through affiliate marketing. Still not yet paying its way but I have confidence it eventually will. With a web site I can keep data current as times change, with a book I can not...

I do write for some publications but even that is not really worth the effort. The article I am currently working on will pay less than $750.00 yet the testing has been in the works for 5 months and will require another 1.5 months of testing before it is ready for print. That is far less than peasant pay.....;)
But they are called "smart battery" your not suggesting it is a misleading name are you?

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
With a Better Business Bureau grade of "F" I'd say perhaps not so smart.....;)
Boeing went to lithium ion batteries (with poor results) with their 787. I wonder what attracted them to these batteries and what ended up causing them to catch fire. Seems like a cautionary tale to me...

Boeing used LiCoO2 or lithium cobalt oxide for its energy density but at a huge risk in terms of its volatility.

LiFePO4 and LiCoO2 are about as different as water and gasoline in terms of propensity to combust.. This is like saying all humans (read all humans = all Lithium batteries) are capable of winning the Tour De France and assuming Rosie O'Donnell can do so because Lance Armstrong did. I mean they are both humans...

The comparisons between the Boeing LiCoO2incident and LifePO4 is laughable yet people who don't understand the technology make these assumptions every day.
Glad my comment was good for a laugh. Don't know much about this stuff and didn't claim to be an expert but am slowly learning more (largely thanks to you). ;)

I'd still like to have a hybrid electric sailboat motor setup some day. Doesn't seem like we're quite there yet from several prospectives but I continue to passively observe the progress in this area with interest.

Not your fault or anyone but the media for portraying all Lithium chemistries as the same....

LFP is still not ready for DIY prime time nor "drop in" but factory made systems are readily available, if you want to spend the money....
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