Registered users don't see ads

LiFePo4 drop in replacement batteries

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by njl, Feb 25, 2015. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. njl

    njl

    Joined May 30, 2011
    64 posts, 0 likes
    Westsail 32
    US NYC
    What do you guys think of all these new "drop-in Lead Acid replacement" LiFePo4 batteries? Brands include Stark Power, Ballistic Battery, and Deltran. For example a Deltran Battery Tender rated at 480 CCA and 26-35 Ah selling for $299. Anyone tried using one as a starter battery?

    I have a small marine diesel 23 hp Volvo Penta MD11c. I'd love to have a starter battery that retains power, doesn't require watering and isn't 50 lbs.
     


  2. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,824 posts, 633 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME
    One word .... No!!'

    If you want small & light the Odyssey PC 925 TPPL AGM is hard to beat...
     


  3. njl

    njl

    Joined May 30, 2011
    64 posts, 0 likes
    Westsail 32
    US NYC
    Might I ask why?
     


  4. woodster

    woodster

    Joined Sep 15, 2009
    6,240 posts, 263 likes
    S2 9.2a
    US Fairhope Al
    if you look up that battery that main recommended you will see that it is a agm sealed battery and only weighs 25 lbs and also has a 2 year shelf life before recharge
     


  5. njl

    njl

    Joined May 30, 2011
    64 posts, 0 likes
    Westsail 32
    US NYC
    Seems like a good battery, but I'm more curious as to why "No!!" to an LiFePo4 battery?
     


  6. woodster

    woodster

    Joined Sep 15, 2009
    6,240 posts, 263 likes
    S2 9.2a
    US Fairhope Al
    this is why...... 11 Pre-programmed battery charge curves, including LiPO4, GEL, AGM, Calcium, and Flooded Lead Acid Batteries.....this is an excerpt from the sterling battery charger manual...you cannot mix different batteries on the charge circuit because they have different voltages levels and different float voltages and they will not do both at the same time same with a balmar regulator
     


  7. mitiempo

    mitiempo

    Joined Sep 28, 2008
    922 posts, 8 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft CS27
    Ca Victoria B.C.
    And the LiFePo4 setting is incorrect for LiFePo4 batteries.
     


  8. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,824 posts, 633 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME
    Yes these settings are incorrect and more to the point NOT SAFE for the battery!!

    These companies know next to nothing about LiFePO4 and are simply taking cheap Chinese LFP batteries, slapping stickers on them and reselling them to unsuspecting buyers who believe the pure rubbish that it is safe to charge a LiFePO4 battery at 14.6V or regular lead acid levels.. Why? Because these companies have not a clue about interpreting the Chinglish instructions on the battery to begin with. They need engineers on their staff who actually understand LFP and not just a room full of marketers trying to interpret Chinglish.

    Sadly the charger manufacturers are also quick to jump on the band wagon, using insanely stupid charge voltages, that make less than zero sense to anyone who even has an ounce of clue about LFP batteries.

    When a legitimate battery maker like Trojan or Deka or Lifeline or EnerSys enters the LFP "drop in" market you'll know they have done the proper leg work. I can tell you that at least two of the three mentioned are working on it but it is still YEARS out....! There is a reason they have not launched an LFP product yet and that is because they are REPUTABLE COMPANIES WITH ACTUAL ENGINEERS WHO HAVE A CLUE!!!;)

    Go ahead and google "BBB Rating Smart Battery". Smart Battery was one of the first to attempt the "drop in" market.. The have an "F" Better Business Bureau rating...

    Sadly these imbecilic companies will give all LFP a black eye and it is sad because LFP really can be great technology IF executed properly. EXECUTED PROPERLY being the key words..

    This is the same exact thing that killed the GEL battery in terms of reputation. In over 20 years GEL has still not recovered from "sure charge them at flooded voltages" yet GEL batteries are the true KING's of lead acid deep cycling ability....

    Insisting LFP can be a drop-in to lead acid charging systems is like saying Rosie O'Donnell can fit into Paris Hilton's jeans. Not gonna happen...... I have had long, very direct and tough conversations directly with most of these companies, for part of my job. To say they have not a clue about what they are doing when it comes to LFP is an understatement.

    Sadly everyone wants LFP to be like lead acid & charge like lead acid, meaning making them drop-in for lead acid charging schemes. Treating LFP this way is utterly insane!!:cussing: Course there are plenty of gullible buyers so there will always be snake oil sales men.....


    Let's ask one simple "scratch the surface" question about LFP drop-in's...

    What is going to happen when, NOT IF, the internal BMS on some of these products opens to protect a battery and the alternator goes poof....? (Note: some don't even have a BMS)

    How many alternators will be destroyed before the drop-in sellers and buyers begin to see the light? Will the buyers even be smart enough to recognize what actually caused their alternator to go poof? How many more alternators will they replace before realizing it was the battery protecting itself due to STUPID charging voltages that was causing all the fried alternators..?

    Some of these small batteries don't even have an internal BMS and others have a BMS that is such a joke it is not even laughable, its just sad....... Caveat emptor!!

    If you want to learn a bit more about LiFePO4 in general: LiFePO4 On Boats - Thoughts & Musings
     


  9. njl

    njl

    Joined May 30, 2011
    64 posts, 0 likes
    Westsail 32
    US NYC
    I read through Mainesail's article with interest.

    There are a couple questions that remain in my mind. I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to connect the dots.

    Deltran Battery Tender BTL14A240C is sold on Amazon and has 162 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars with a 3 year warranty. I don't know anything about it's battery management system. However, I would think the star rating would come down if peoples' alternators were getting killed, or the batteries were dying early.

    Stark Power has an "Ultra-Start" line of batteries that claims to have a battery management system that limits voltage and balances cells. It's run by an electrical engineer with a degree from UCBerkeley (unless his LinkedIn page is a fabrication). When fully charged, according to Koebler, the battery shuts off and works like an open circuit to the alternator. "With an open circuit, no current flows and will not damage the alternator."

    Also big reputable manufacturers often wait for the smaller companies to develop newer technologies and then purchase them once they have proven products. So the fact that Trojan is not carrying them doesn't necessarily indicate that these products are snake oil. The warranties would be puzzling if they were throw-aways.

    Thoughts?
     



Winch covers
Any brand, every size, any color!
Stainless documentation placard
Who said a documentation placard cant be beautiful? Brushed stainless with laser-fused numerals.
Merriman pedestal control head
Finally, an aluminum replacement for this YS Merriman part.
Sunbrella lifesling covers
Any color, fits over existing bag to match your existing canvas.