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Re: More battery questions

Dean Gillies
 

Nick,

I would recommend balancers as I have personal experience of AGM getting unbalanced, and I believe this should be avoided. Especially since the balancer is cheap. 

Victron suggest their balancer can be used for up to 3x 200Ah strings (pairs), so I would suggest you use two balancers.  You should connect the midpoints of two strings together and use the balancer on two strings.  Do this twice for your 4 strings.

I will be doing something similar with my 6 strings if my replacement batteries end up being AGM.

Cheers
Dean
SY Stella
A54-154


What is this for?

Slavko Despotovic
 

I found this wooden part in front and aft head. Any idea what is this for and where it is mounted. Sorry I feel stupid but can not figure out where to use it.

Thank you.

--
Slavko
SM 2000
#279


Rolls Batteries

Slavko Despotovic
 

Sorry to add some more about batteries. Previous owner replaced batteries 10 years ago with Victron AGM . So far I did not have any problems but I know from my previous boat that they much overdue for replacement. On my 2003 40th foot  I was replacing batteries every 5-7 years. Sailing 3-6 months per year and consuming 120-160Ah at 12V per day.
I am not ready for lithium as this is my first year of Amel ownership so I would go for AGM or GEL batteries. At first the Victron was a choice but then I found Rolls battery AGM with very high numbers of cycles. So, my question is strait-forward, What is the experience with Rolls 105Ah batteries, and as they very expensive for AGM, are they worth the price.

Thank you.
--
Slavko
SM 2000
#279 currently in Portoroz, Slovenia


More battery questions

ngtnewington Newington
 

Sorry to go on about batteries……

I have 8 Lifeline AGM batteries set up as four pairs of 24v. So the four pairs are in parallel. I set them up as I found the original and as Amel must have set them up. That is I have not installed a battery balancer.  

At the moment I am on the boat half time so the batteries end up being 100% charged for weeks and months on end from the solar system which will hopefully balance them up. 

Given the cost of a balancer from Victron  energy of about $100 and the value of the battery bank I should install one.

Does anyone have an opinion on this and know if I only need one balancer or should I buy two?

Kind regards

Nick

S/Y Amelia
AML 54-019 Leros Gr



Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Dean Gillies
 

Scott,
I would definitely agree that changing from Lithium to Lead is highly unlikely, for anyone.  I started this comparative investigation because I'm impressed by the Lithium system which came with my new "Covid" caravan. I'd be happy with similar characteristics in my Amel.

Grant,
Interesting concept. Are both your engine and start batteries are operating at the same voltage? 

cheers
Dean
SY Stella
A54-154

 


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Grant Starling
 

Dean (Scott),

I did a full upgrade to lithium about a year ago and am now adding to my battery capacity which is currently 400AH with another 500AH in preparation for world cruising next year.  

Lots of good advice given in the previous posts, and I would support much of what Scott has said about the challenge of designing a ‘system’ with lithium.  Any idea of a ‘drop-in’ replacement lithium battery should be treated with caution for the reasons outlined previously.

if I can add anything to the debate it would be the use of a DC battery to battery charger (may have missed this?).  I use a Sterling B2B 60amp charger between both my 90amp engine alternator and my 90amp prop shaft alternator and my lithium bank.  This allows all my alternator charging into my lithium bank to be done via a programmed lithium profile provided on the B2B60. 

As the alternators are both linked first to my engine starter battery (Optima red top), then through the B2B to my lithium bank, they cannot (easily) overcharge my lithium bank, preventing battery BMS from disconnecting due to high current.  This system also prevents the alternators from being destroyed from a voltage spike due to BMS disconnect.  As a fail safe I can also turn off the B2B manually to stop it sending charge to my lithium bank if I feel the need I.e. I don’t like floating my lithium batteries for long so if I am on motor for an extended period I simply switch the B2B off using the remote panel at my nav station.

This setup has worked well for me so far, so check it out if you are interested.

best
Grant

SV Allonzee


Re: New Thread on A54 fridge pumps (ATTN: OLIVER Vela Nautica)

Scott SV Tengah
 

Second update: I measured the pump flow rate on the original flojet with a hose and bucket and it was 6.5 liters per minute. 

I measured the flow rate on the brushless set at 25% duty cycle and it was a bit over 5 liters per minute. That lower flow rate probably explains some, but not all of the 60% energy savings I am seeing vs. the brushed motor.

Frigoboat literature states that you need to supply 3.8 liters per minute, so even at my lower flow rate, I'm well over the requirement.

What is really odd is that the fridges seem to run better in that they're running less and use less energy. I surmise there may be some truth in Craig Briggs explanation about how warmer water results in more efficient compressor operation. My freezer, which gets cooling water that has been warmed by the first and second fridges, seems to be drawing less energy. Overall, I have a daily power surplus that is greater than the water pump energy savings (with solar output accounted for) can explain.

So far so good. Now let's see if it lasts!



--
Scott 
2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah
http://www.svtengah.com


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Scott SV Tengah
 

Dean,

At least with my batteries, they are passively balanced. Most are. That means they don't balance between cells (even if I had a 12v system because recall that a 12v battery is 4 lifepo4 cells in series) unless you get them to 95% SOC or more. Only then do the "voltage knees" start showing up - before that, there is very little difference in voltage. Even when I had imbalanced batteries, the cells were perfectly matched up to 90%. At 95%, that's when the voltage spike became apparent and the balancing starts kicking in. I can't see how you would notice imbalance otherwise due to the voltage vs SOC curve of lithium. 

As you apply current, which will be reduced as SOC approaches 100%, that's when balancing occurs. This is all per my lengthy conversations with the Victron techs. That's how "automatic recovery" happens. Now in my 24v system with pairs of 12v in series, if you start with an imbalance between the two 12v batteries in series, the imbalance can get worse and may not be corrected. Same problem as in lead batteries. I just connect via bluetooth to my batteries whenever I'm approaching 100% SOC to verify that series pairs are balanced. FWIW - Victron advises against using battery balancers in systems such as mine where 12v are put in series to make 24v and then paralleled. I'm not sure why?

With regards to temp, my system doesn't have a "bank temp sensor" nor does Victron recommend one. High temp disconnect means that the BMS tells the chargers to stop charging when even one of the 24 total cells gets too hot per each cell's internal temp sensor. Note that charging is simply stopped - the battery is still connected.

The Mastervolt Alpha Pro 1,2,3 is controlled by a "reg-on" wire. That's how I have it safely stop charging if the BMS senses something awry. It required two Hella relays and a solid state relay - I wrote it about it in another post. I also installed a switch inline to turn off the alternator during long motoring sessions when I don't want to keep the batteries at 90%+. Very easy to do.

I honestly think if you're not living full time liveaboard, often away from shore power and you're willing to use the generator a lot, lithium does NOT make sense. It's a lot of brain damage and cost to get it right. It works for people with my use case and people like Garulfo (A54 with Mastervolt lifepo4 system for much longer than my 2 years) who when I asked him if his lazarette 230v breaker is working, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "I can't remember the last time I plugged in, so not sure." Not to put words in his mouth, but I'm pretty sure for him, he would never go back to lead.

--
Scott 
2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah
http://www.svtengah.com


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Dean Gillies
 

Hi Alan,
Thanks for your contribution to the pro-AGM argument.

We've chatted about the benefits of battery balancing before and we are in full agreement about its value in a series-string based system. You may recall I had one series pair of AGM's which had become unbalanced about two years ago. I tried to recover them by individual charging and I was planning to install a balancer in early 2019, but 2019 was a busy season and I didn't get around to it, and I've been unable to return to the boat since then. On detailed testing before I left the boat in late 2019 almost all of my batteries were very low on capacity.  I don't know whether there is a causal link between the unbalance and the whole bank degrading.  I inherited the bank from the previous owner, and I know it was installed in 2015, but obviously I don't know what use/abuse the bank may have been exposed to before I bought in 2017.  This experience colours my thinking about the longevity of AGM batteries on the Amel boats, hence my expectation of 5 years.  My previous cruising boats have all had less complex DC systems, none employing 24V, but (lead-based) battery replacement every 5 years was not unusual.  Maybe it can be better, but I have not personally experienced that.

If I decide to stay with lead batteries for another cycle, I will definitely install the Victron balancer. At the moment I have 12x 12V AGM's organised as 6 strings with no interconnecting midpoints.  My plan would be to introduce interconnecting midpoints to create two independent strings of 3 + 3 parallel connected batteries.  This way I can use two balancers rather than needing six of them, whilst staying within the Victron recommendation that each balancer is able to balance 3x 200Ah pairs.

I like your idea of the alternator switch. I do have a 3-stage external regulator that changes from bulk charging to absorption mode at 28.5V, BUT it then holds 28.5 for a minimum 4 hours before changing to float at 26.5. Not the best if you are starting off fully-charged, but better than an alternator that sticks at 28.8V ALL DAY regardless !

It is an endless discussion as you say.  Given the Benefit/Cost differential I think my decision will be either "Evangelical" (Go Lithium) or "Logical" (Stay Lead) :-)

All the best
Dean
SY Stella 
A54-154

  



Re: Broken part

Elja Röllinghoff Balu SM 222
 


Re: Broken part

Dominique Sery
 

Hello,
I think the original manufacturer could be  ZSPARS.
Regards
Dominique


Broken part

Stefano Biffi
 

hallo everybody,
I’ve found this part broken. My lady had 2 at the end of mizzen boma to change. Any idea about the original manufacture brand or any option to install not changing the 3 holes





Stay healthy ciao
Stefano
N’EVEREST Super Maramu 185
Dry dock near Bocca di Magra river
Italy


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Alan Leslie
 

Hi All,

I'm with Nick.
We have 12 x AGMs that we installed 4 years ago with battery balancers to ensure the voltage across the series batteries stays equal and we have had ZERO problems so far. Elyse has 600W of solar and a wind generator and when we are at the dock the mains charger is on as well. We keep the frig and one freezer running all the time.
At sea we use the genset to charge the batteries and other 220V requirements. We rarely let the batteries drop below 85% and are religious about not overcharging them. We have a 3 stage external regulator on the engine alternator to ensure the right charging profile, AND I installed a switch in the cockpit so I can disconnect the field wire at the regulator for when the batteries are fully charged from being at the dock and we make short trips to the fuel dock or the travel lift so the alternator doesn't ramp up to 28.8 V every time the engine is started.
I am sure that internally regulated engine alternators on boats are what kills house batteries. Those internal regulators are really designed for automotive applications mainly charging start batteries, they ramp up to 28.8V and stay there - all day - no good for deep cycle batteries.
Its an endless discussion it seems!
Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Dean Gillies
 

Hi Courtney,
That's a tough lesson indeed.  Good luck with the Relion kit, that's a great amount of power for a good price. Unfortunately I cant get that kind of pricing in the UK.

Hi Scott/Brent,
Yes I've assumed I'll need to buy the Alpha Series 3 regulator if I proceed with Lithium.

Scott, regarding High Voltage Disconnect (HVD), the symptoms you have described are exactly what I'm hoping to avoid by using a 24V battery which is balanced end to end.  When a battery cell fades as you have described (increased resistance), and it's part of a series-connected string then the other cells and the other battery will be subjected to an overvoltage situation. If this overvoltage is sufficient to trigger a disconnect, then that string will be disconnected. If there are additional strings in parallel, then this should not cause too many problems since the other strings will assume the load and a significant voltage spike should not result. However, in this scenario I wonder how the battery with the faded cell will ever automatically recover, as logic dictates that the string with the faded battery will never be automatically re-balanced, and will shut down early on every full charge cycle.  What makes matters worse here is that the drop-in batteries have no mechanism to flag that this problem has occurred. The faded battery will just continue to fade, probably more and more quickly as time goes on. Having a system-level BMS like yours gives much more insight into such events and allows you to take action to restore the faded battery.

The high temperature disconnect is interesting. All the charging devices monitor their own temperature sensor, so the theory goes that they can self-protect.  However, the thing I've always had a problem with is where to locate the sensor.  If I've got 8 batteries and one temperature sensor, where do I put it? Near the top of the compartment is the likely sensible answer I suppose.  That would allow the chargers to react to a compartment-ambient temp inflicted disconnect where all batteries could possibly (unlikely) simultaneously disconnect. If one battery becomes hotter than the rest (most likely scenario), then that battery can dis-connect itself without causing system damage.  The high-temp cut-off for the RelIon 24V batteries is 80degC.

On the comparisons, my mind is still not made-up about life expectancy of the drop-ins. I know the theoretical cycle numbers look great, but we don't subject batteries to the theoretical cycling that the manufacturers test, so, for me, it remains to be seen.  I think the 12V drop-in pairs topology is particularly prone to earlier failure due to the hidden balancing problem.

As you say, personally my use-case for the boat derives no advantage from lesser gen-set usage, or overnight water-maker usage. In fact less gen-set usage in my case could well be classed as "under abuse".
     
Everyone has a different use-case for their boat, and if I was full-time liveaboard, I would go down the full-system path, maximise the solar, and certainly wouldn't be living aboard in Scotland lol. 

Cheers
Dean
SV Stella A54-154
 

 
     


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Scott SV Tengah
 

The hvd often occurs because one cell is over voltage. When that happens to me, if you look at the battery or bank level voltage, all looks fine. But that one cell is spiking. 

And if you don't cut off charging safely, and the cell goes above, i believe 4.2v, the entire battery is dead. Even if you can replace the cell, you now have a differentially aged battery. 

Point is that unless a charger is talking to the bms, it cannot detect cell level high voltage. 

If I understand right, seems the 24v parallel strings deal with individual battery hv and lv issues by disconnecting that one battery. For my system, the chargers were just shut off. 

I surmise as cells age they do it at different rates. Some develop higher resistance and therefore don't charge as fast. When I was drawing super high loads (150amps) and not fully charging often enough to trigger cell balancing, the imbalance reared it's ugly head. 

As you mention its unlikely that all batteries experience hv at the same time. What if you are leaving the boat in a very hot environment and the ambient temp spikes? High temp disconnect would affect all the batteries. How will your chargers and electronics deal with that? 

Also comparing longevity for cost comparisons implies that the only benefit of lithium is longer life. Consider that you will save 30% or more on generator runtime due to charging efficiency and high charge acceptance and the fact that you don't need to take it to 100% very often. And for us its nice to run all 230v without generator or even the 24v water maker all night but I understand you don't consider that a benefit. 

I'm full time for 2 years now and the batteries are as good as new. I know another a54 who has had it longer and they echo my experience. My experience with gel was that they declined linearly and then decayed exponentially until I got tired of charging every few hours. 

To me, the longevity is a nice benefit but definitely not the most important. 

__
Scott 
2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah
http://www.svtengah.com


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Scott SV Tengah
 

Alpha 2 is fine as that's what I have and it has a lithium profile. 
--
Scott 
2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah
http://www.svtengah.com


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Courtney Gorman
 

Hi Dean I was at the Dock with charger and shore power 6 weeks while away from Trippin the charger died and batteries drained so low the alternator couldn’t be excited to start charging them.  Got a portable charger to get a smaller charge then alternator fully charged them but they fell below 24 volts within 30 minutes 
Total Bummer expensive lesson learned 


On Nov 15, 2020, at 5:05 AM, Dean Gillies <stella@...> wrote:

Hi Courtney,
Thanks for that info. Its good to hear about the Relion brand. Sorry to hear about the AGM's, what happened to kill those so quickly?

Hi Bill,
Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, Transporter don't supply the 24V batter. I checked with Justin.

Cheers
Dean
SY Stella A54-154


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Brent Cameron
 

I believe that you need to upgrade your Mastervolt Alpha I regulator to an Alpha III to support LiFePO4 batteries. 

Brent

On Nov 15, 2020, 5:00 AM -0500, Dean Gillies <stella@...>, wrote:
Hi Elja,
You are correct, maybe the Lithium batteries will last longer, but maybe not. we don't really know! 
I know from experience the AGM's should last 5 years.  I think its unlikely that the Lithium's would last 12.5 years. I will base my thinking on 7-8 years for the Lithium option which makes them effectively double the cost.

Brent, I think I've tracked down my Mastervolt (Chargemaster 24/100-3) chargers and as far as I can ascertain, they are adjustable via MasterBus for a lithium charging profile.

Still need to work out about the alternator charging ability. It's all a bit difficult from the other side of the planet!  
Many thanks
Dean
SY Stella
A54-154

 

--
Brent Cameron

Future Amel Owner & Amel Owner Registry Moderator

Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Dean Gillies
 

Hi Nick,
Sounds like the lead batteries definitely help the list problem!

Good analysis, and I tend to agree about it being marginal for part-time cruising.  I have a good solar capability, and I'm sure I would get 5 years easily from some good AGM batteries.
I don't anticipate a big drop in Generator usage by changing to Lithium, and I like to run it for a reasonable time on a regular basis anyway just for good practice.

It looks like I'm getting close to an answer on the cost comparison on a drop-in replacement basis.
Its about GBP300 for a new Alpha Series III regulator, and another GBP200 for a USB interface to program the chargers, so that brings the Lithium package to about GBP8500 vs around GBP3000 or maybe a bit less for those Leoch Carbon AGM batteries.

So I save a heap of cash and don't list even more to port by sticking with the lead! Who knows what new toys I could buy with that GBP5500.

Very interesting exercise, I need to mull over this a little more.

Thanks all.
Dean
SY Stella A54-154 
 


Re: Lithium Batteries under Consideration

Dean Gillies
 

Hi Scott,
Thanks for that info, very helpful. I was wondering about the alternator... I do have the MV Alpha 24/110 Alternator, but I don't know if I have the original or series II regulator.  Best info I can find at the moment says that series II was released around 2013, so most likely I don't have that and will need to upgrade to the Series II or III.

I believe HVD is handled best by avoiding it.  The chargers must be programmed to shutdown before HVD voltage is reached. For example the Relion RB24V50 HVD is 31.2V, whereas fully charged is 29.2V, so chargers can be programmed to shut down at say 29.5.

This can be programmed with the Mastervolt chargers and Series II/III regulators.  If a charger fault causes higher voltage, then as you suggest, its possible that a voltage spike on disconnect will result, possible destroying the faulty charger.  In theory, the other chargers should be shutdown at that stage, which may limit the damage.
When your battery imbalance occurred, did all of your strings disconnect simultaneously? 

I'm hoping to minimise the chance of battery imbalance by using 24V batteries rather than 2x12V pairs. This also provides 8 batteries in parallel, so I suspect it's less likely that all 8 batteries will disconnect simultaneously. All very difficult to predict of course without a test bench.

So the list issue favours AGM's, thanks for that info!

Cheers
Dean
SV Stella A54-154

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