Topics

Lithium and the "first mover" dilemma


Thomas Kleman
 

I've read with great interest the insightful posts of the group on this topic. Like most Amelians, I envision L'ORIENT (SM2K 422) with a lithium battery system in the future. But when ? This space seems to be still evolving and the costs of conversion are intimidating. A few recent posts included conversion costs (others have not). More than $20k is the placeholder I keep in my head. And the missing data point in all these impressive technical posts is the 600 pound gorilla in the room....how long does all this stuff last ? While saving fuel and running A/C off batteries is mind blowing stuff, $20k buys 8 lead acid battery banks (of 12 each). The health of the lithium batteries seems to depend on quite a bit of peripheral technology and there are undeniably some unknowns out there that impact this question. I'm sure the tone of the very comprehensive "one year out" update would change if the batteries failed in 4 years. Anyway, I would count myself in the group wanting to be a late adopter vs a last adopter. Wondering how others perceive this ?

Tom and Kirstin
SV L'ORIENT
SM2K 422
Bocas del Toro Panama


Paul Brown
 

Hi Tom, 

I can share my experience using the Mastervolt MLI Ultra 24/5000 x4  = 720ah and the range of MV chargers, including MV solar charger and MV management system on board Fortuna for the past 5 years, I have found it to be an truly amazing experience after owning 5 other vessels over the last 16 years and 100% reliable.

Also with the support from mastervolt providing peace of mind and as they have suggested the batteries could last 20+ years by their account with ample cycles specified, If this is to be the case I expect it to be a most realistic and worth while investment compared to previous technology and the most economic outlay long term.

I would suggest you should consider speaking with a reliable mastervolt technician and ask questions.

All the best 

Regards Paul - Fortuna II 55/17


On 25 Sep 2019, at 6:06 pm, Thomas Kleman <lorient422@...> wrote:

I've read with great interest the insightful posts of the group on this topic. Like most Amelians, I envision L'ORIENT (SM2K 422) with a lithium battery system in the future. But when ? This space seems to be still evolving and the costs of conversion are intimidating. A few recent posts included conversion costs (others have not). More than $20k is the placeholder I keep in my head. And the missing data point in all these impressive technical posts is the 600 pound gorilla in the room....how long does all this stuff last ? While saving fuel and running A/C off batteries is mind blowing stuff, $20k buys 8 lead acid battery banks (of 12 each). The health of the lithium batteries seems to depend on quite a bit of peripheral technology and there are undeniably some unknowns out there that impact this question. I'm sure the tone of the very comprehensive "one year out" update would change if the batteries failed in 4 years. Anyway, I would count myself in the group wanting to be a late adopter vs a last adopter. Wondering how others perceive this ?

Tom and Kirstin
SV L'ORIENT
SM2K 422
Bocas del Toro Panama


Mark McGovern
 

Tom,

You are not alone in your trepidation as to when to pull the trigger on LiFePO4.  I am right there with you.  I have read the posts from Scott (Tengah), Paul (Fortuna II), Thomas (Garulfo) and Peregrinus with rapt interest.  Thank you all for sharing the details of your setups and your experiences.  It has been truly invaluable.  I have also consumed as much information as I can about the technology outside of this forum. 

Thankfully, I somewhat forced myself into waiting a few years to make the switch.  Right after I purchased Cara about 2 years ago I found that I needed to replace the entire bank of 12 batteries.  At the time the whole boat was new to me and I had so much else to learn about that I knew I was not ready to commit the time, energy, and $$$ necessary to research, learn, and install a whole new electrical generating/storing/inverting system.  So I purchased twelve inexpensive Deka Marine Master DC31DT wet cell lead acid batteries for a whopping total of ~$1500.  This relatively minor but not inconsequential investment forced me to wait and bought me some time to research and learn.  Thanks to the help of the guys above and others sharing their experiences here and other places I think I will be ready when the time comes to replace my reliable wet cell lead acid dinosaurs in a few more years. I really can't wait - but I will.

--
Mark McGovern
SM #440 Cara
Deale, MD USA


Scott SV Tengah
 
Edited

I think the key is to design the system effectively to avoid battery killing events: 

1) Overvoltage
2) Undervoltage
3) Overtemperature

You probably noticed that the subtext of my long post was mostly "what can I do so I do not kill these expensive batteries??"

I would argue that lifepo4 users today are not early adopters. The technology has been around since 1996, so over 20 years. Cruisers, in general, are understandably conservative and we're the same. If one just wants a simple system that you don't have to plan out and can take user error and keep going, lead is probably still the way to go.

The benefits of lithium were just too numerous for us to consider buying another set of lead batteries that may last two years and I don't mind a little advance planning/thinking to ensure we don't kill our lifepo4 batteries prematurely. But we're also realistic and I am confident I can replace the batteries with a set of lead acid if we're stuck in the middle of nowhere and need new batteries. It just takes knowing your chargers.

But you're right, if they die prematurely, my tone may be very different. That said, I've heard people tell me, "Yeah, you may like your furling main, just wait until you're in a storm and it jams on you - your tone will change then." That hasn't happened, but I guess I can't prove a negative.

You have to decide for yourself if the reward is worth the risk.

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


Paul Osterberg
 

Thomas, I considering converting this winter to Li batteries, From Ev Powers I got an offer
for Winstone cells  24X 130 Ah i.e 390 Ah 24 for 5200 Euro including BMS. My old Victron 24/70/3000 combined charger inverter can be re programmed,Victron solar MPPT controllers I believe can be re programmed, but no big deal to buy two new <300 Euro for two.. The alternator might need a new regulator say another 600 Euro. miscellaneous say total 6000 Euro add 1000 Euro for unforeseen . should not be fare from that number to convert I believe. The big question will it last for 3000 cycles or more? 
The reason for having 3x130 Ah is if one or more cells go bad I still have 260 Ah capacity. 
Paul on SYKerpa SM#259 Lagos Portugal