Re: Converting my Amel 54 to lithium batteries: what I did, what I like and what I don't like (after one year of full time live aboard use)

Paul Brown

Hi Scott 

Thank you again for sharing all this information and it certainly helps my awareness and thoughts moving forward 

As you know the previous owner of my A55 upgraded the system to almost a complete MasterVolt lithium, charging, inverter and monitoring system in 2015, which works extremely well and reliability to date, it has been certainly a life changing experience aboard as I too enjoy anchoring for extended periods and living off the grid with minimal use of the generator. 

We have away to go by increasing solar from 550w/24v to hopefully 1100w/24v which I figure would allow total off the grid solar generation continuous without generator along with upgrading all appliances to a suitable inverter - this is my grey area as to what development I really need to accomplish this 

I have a question please, how do you manage maintaining an equal balance of all your batteries in the bank if only running the bank between 40-80% SOC. Mastervolt has advised me that I should charge the bank to 100% at least every fortnight to balance the batteries otherwise it is likely to damage them. This is an area that needs clarification in respect to manage the SOC to optimise long term life of the system. 

Currently I need to run the generator on average 4-5 hours per week when at anchor, at that time I can make water, run the washer, use the air-con’s and of course charge to 100%.. it would be wonderful not ever running the generator and everything from batteries,, but how can this be achieved???

I look forward to following this thread as if lithium maybe the ideal system it does need some questions answered to establish an ideal system, considering it would be the most costly system but certainly could be a great investment.

I wish there was a blue print off the shelf 

Kind regards Paul - Fortuna II A55#17

On 4 Sep 2019, at 8:16 am, Joerg Esdorn via Groups.Io <jhe1313@...> wrote:

Thanks very much, Scott.  Excellent write-up.  I have a few questions and comments.

1.  The A55 comes with a switch that in the "on" position, turns on the generator automatically if the SOC goes below 60%.  Amel cautions owners, however, that it may not be a good idea to have this switch on since the generator will then run for 2 hours and all kinds of things can happen if you happen to be not on the boat while this is happening.  I've never had it "on" but I've certainly had the "low water" alarm come on because there was some issue with the saltwater intake.    If I had not been on the boat, I might have destroyed my generator. 
2.  Does your 5KW charger get hot when it is charging the batteries?  Where is it installed - in the engine room?  I'm asking because I was on another boat with Lithium batteries and they had very powerful cooling fans for the chargers even though charging was limited to 20% of battery capacity.  The fans were very noisy which for me, sleeping in the cabin next to the chargers, was a problem.  This was in late 2017, the system was designed by Mastervolt engineers and the boat was new then.  Do you have a limit on the charging current?
3.  On the A55, I cannot use my 2.5KW inverter for high current things like the water heater, AC, water maker.  This is done by Amel to protect  the gel batteries, I'm sure, through the wiring of the 230V switchboard.  I was surprised that you didn't mention this in your writeup - presumably the A54 has the same setup for the original switchboard but you are getting around this issue by not wiring your 5KW combi through the old switchboard?  I'm wondering how easy it would be to change the wiring on the switchboard and just add another inverter (in parallel) rather than starting from scratch.  
4.  When you leave your boat for extended periods, can't you just leave the batteries without charger?  If you start them at 100%, it should take many months before they're down to 25%, right?  

Scott, again many thanks for this.  My gel batteries may have another year in them or may not.  It's great to have someone as competent as you doing the major lifting on the choice of battery I will need to make soon! 

Joerg Esdorn
A55 #53
Kincsem, currently anchored by Gibraltar

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