Open Discussion > Hylas Discussion

Conversion from AGM to LiFePo4 Batteries

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joel:
I'm in the middle of a conversion.  We removed 2 8Ds and 6 6 volt golf cart batteries that made up the house bank and replaced them with 2 200 amp hour LifePo batteries.  Some of the batteries were either 10 or 20 years old (could not make out the date, except it ended in 2).  Changing to a Balmar alternator a new charger and separate inverter.  Also replaced the start battery with another AGM.  Windlass batteries are newer 6 volt AGMs, so I was able to salvage something!

We used a block and tackle attached to the boom to haul the 8Ds out of the bilge and eventually onto the dock.

Also put 4x100 solar panels on the hard bimini.  Should be good to go next week!

Aurora Borealis:
I have a complete Victron system on a non-boat (RV), and am happy to relate the following story.  Through a series of unfortunate events, including it being sequestered in the Yukon for the winter (!) without being plugged in, I finally was able to find a hauler and when I got it, its 160Ah 12.8V batteries were at 1.7V. Death to any traditional battery.

Yet with a smart charger (also Victron),  I am delighted to report they both without incident went past full charge, past absorb, and on into float at 13.5V. Yesterday I re-installed them and the entire system immediately went into nominal. I couldn't be happier and am in awe of today's technology.

I am not plugging Victron over others - just would like to share how well LiFePO4 batteries can endure ridiculous abuse.

Ambition:
Just a follow-up comment now that the installation of the ReLion LiFePO4 has been completed with 9 100 amp Hi Perf and one AGM start battery. POSITIVES- A) The boat no longer has a list to port caused by the weight of the AGM *d's and 4D's. The new lithiums weigh in at 26 Lbs each!. B) There are no issues with the bow thruster and windlass being combined with the house bank as far as performance is concerned. C) With the smaller footprint, we have gained additional storage space on board. D) With the high capacity available we recharge less often and much faster. E) Our 12VDC water maker output is measurably more effective with the higher constant voltage to the Spectra system. NEGATIVES yes there are a few - nothing in life is free! A) discovered post install that the 20 year old Xantrex 2.5K watt Charger/Inverter can not be programmed to manage the charging of the lithiums - A new Victron unit is on the books for installation this summer. B) The old Somewhat Smart Balmar MC 412 regulator needed changing out for a MC618 Much Smarter regulator designed for lithium batteries.

Again our main driver was that our FP generator (it goes by other names on board our boats!) is close to its end of life and will not be replaced. Hence the decision to install the battery capacity that we chose. We are looking at a potential upgrade to the alternator to increase charge performance from the engine.

Overall, we are very happy with the conversion and a major upgrade all in one. Thanks to all who provided input, comments and suggestions.

Merrill and Maryse
S/V Ambition H46 #40

Ambition:
Thank you all for the feedback and input. Decision has been reached and we will go with Relion for the LiFePO4 upgrade for our failing AGM's. Spent a lot of time with their VERY cooperative and attention technical team along with my electrician in Antigua. We assessed all the various loads ie bow thruster, windlass, electric winches etc, and due to the high demand on the batteries they recommended a set of RB100HP as a means to better support heavy demand. Relion retail prices have dropped since last year for it made the decision even easier when compared to an AGM replacement.  ow we are just counting the days until they arrive.
A big shout out to Wayne Bell at Coast to Coast Marine in Jolly Harbour for my crash course in lithium battery technologies!
Thanks again for the valued input.
Merrill
S/V Ambition H46 #40

DCampbell:
Hello,
We don't have a Hylas currently, but are looking which is why I'm here.  Just wanted to mention that it's often considered helpful to keep AGM or lead acid of some type for starting batteries.  We put Victron lithium batteries in our current boat, but had that in mind far prior so have all Victron items attached which works amazingly well.  I would agree that a proper lithium battery bank is likely the best money one could spend on a cruising boat.  I'd also note that I have personally seen what happens when too many corners are cut.  Equal length cables from each battery to bus bar is a big deal, and I'd certainly stick to a manufactured battery instead of the cheap cells which can be combined to create boat batteries.  A friend bought those for his cat and was told "drop in replacement", but one was DOA and one which I saw had two cells bulging 20% or so which may or may not be related to not using equal length cables for each battery to bus bar.  I'm not a professional electrician...or even close, but did a-lot of obsessing over Lithium info prior to doling out big bucks for the upgrade.  I'm sure you'll be very happy with your upgrade.

Damien

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