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New battery bank size, charging mods... AGM or Carbon Foam

paulj

.
Mar 16, 2007
1,358
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
Getting ready to set up new batt boxes and want to install a vent system,there was not one previosly installed
Where did you and how did you vent your boxes? Do you vent overboard?

Looking forward to see this battery bank vent system...

paulj :hook2:
 

BillyK

.
Jan 24, 2010
484
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
Not very sophisticated. Just a louvred hole. Good luck.
It's venting into the cabin? is that safe?
i thought the vents for explosive gasses needed to all be routed external to the hull..
 

paulj

.
Mar 16, 2007
1,358
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
It's venting into the cabin? is that safe?
i thought the vents for explosive gasses needed to all be routed external to the hull..
Where is the battery vent on your boat ?

paulj
:kick: :hook2:
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,635
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
As you know, Paul, we don't have one on the C310. Maybe, because the battery compartment is open to the hull, we don't need one?
 

SG

.
Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
As you know, Paul, we don't have one on the C310. Maybe, because the battery compartment is open to the hull, we don't need one?
Tom J: What did you mean? Into the cockpit lockers? Are they vented?
 
Apr 17, 2013
75
Catalina 310 Pompano Beach, FL
Tom J: What did you mean? Into the cockpit lockers? Are they vented?
With the 310 I don't see a way that you could totally vent it external, you would have to have a sealed compartment for the batteries and a vent external. I do not see that this is an issue in my opinion. I am not an expert on battery gassing, but if this was an issue I am sure Catalina would have looked into it. In all of my sailing I have seen many battery setups and have not heard of an issue with this. This is only my opinion.
 
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Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,635
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Tom J: What did you mean? Into the cockpit lockers? Are they vented?
The battery compartment on the C310 is not sealed. The aft end of the compartment is open to the bilge and the area under the saloon and aft cabin. Very convenient for running wires to and from the batteries.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,407
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
I was able to get four GC2 and a group 24 deep cycle installed in the compartment. However to do this I removed the fiberglass tray the factory installed. I then used separate, dedicated battery boxes for each battery. I trimmed down the boxes, removing handles and anything else not necessary to get them to fit. It did take violating Mainesail's guidance on orientation for two batteries. I did this with the two closest to the centerline, one was the group 24. I never had any spillage or issues.

I also for a battery watering system because some of the vents were partially covered. I checked the water levels weekly.

img_1578.jpg


I installed the batteries in April of 2014. We started cruising in September of 2015. For the from 2015 to December of 2017 we didn't have enough solar and abused the batteries. We also did not have a suite case generator most of that time. So we lived between 85-50% for over 2 years. With that they lasted 5 years.

IMG_20190425_142249184.jpg

This is my new system. I have 200 Ah usable of LiFePO4 batteries from CALB cells. I love the new system and I am extremely happy with it. But I am hesitant to write it up. Lithium DIY is not for everyone and I don't want to give the impression it's easy or cheap. Anyone who is interested should read Mainesail's article on the technology until it makes sense. Let me know if you get there because I will probably have some questions.

Good luck and fair winds.
 
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BillyK

.
Jan 24, 2010
484
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
I was able to get four GC2 and a group 24 deep cycle installed in the compartment. However to do this I removed the fiberglass tray the factory installed. I then used separate, dedicated battery boxes for each battery. I trimmed down the boxes, removing handles and anything else not necessary to get them to fit. It did take violating Mainesail's guidance on orientation for two batteries. I did this with the two closest to the centerline, one was the group 24. I never had any spillage or issues.

I also for a battery watering system because some of the vents were partially covered. I checked the water levels weekly.

View attachment 173133

I installed the batteries in April of 2014. We started cruising in September of 2015. For the from 2015 to December of 2017 we didn't have enough solar and abused the batteries. We also did not have a suite case generator most of that time. So we lived between 85-50% for over 2 years. With that they lasted 5 years.

View attachment 173134
This is my new system. I have 200 Ah usable of LiFePO4 batteries from CALB cells. I love the new system and I am extremely happy with it. But I am hesitant to write it up. Lithium DIY is not for everyone and I don't want to give the impression it's easy or cheap. Anyone who is interested should read Mainesail's article on the technology until it makes sense. Let me know if you get there because I will probably have some questions.

Good luck and fair winds.
this is exactly the system i want to build out.. since lifep04 is happiest between 20% and 80% charged you get a solid 160AH out of that setup and it should last for 1000's of cycles at that rate.. What charger are you using?

also i see you are not using a BMS on the Lifep04 cells... how are you keeping them from getting too depleted?
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,407
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
this is exactly the system i want to build out.. since lifep04 is happiest between 20% and 80% charged you get a solid 160AH out of that setup and it should last for 1000's of cycles at that rate.. What charger are you using?

also i see you are not using a BMS on the Lifep04 cells... how are you keeping them from getting too depleted?
Billy, I am very hesitant to give advise on lithium batteries. I really think people need to read from the experts and I am not one. Have you read Mainesail's article? LiFePO4 Batteries On Boats

I wouldn't call my approach no BMS. It's a minimal BMS. I have low voltage and high voltage disconnects. They are just at the pack level other than the cell level. I also have alarms on both the pack and cell voltages if they go too high or low.

Also, I am evaluating BMS options. When we have access to easy shipping I am likely going to add a full BMS. The prices have come way down and there are a lot of off the shelf options now.

As far as chargers, my solar and alternator do the majority of the charging. I seldom use my suite case generator to charge through the shore power charger. So what I do isn't likely to be applicable to you.

My advice on lithium is that unless you are full-time liveaboards on the hook and unless you are a bit nerdy, they are likely not for you. It's easy to waste a lot of money on lithiums. If you are still interested and have read the Mainesail's article we can talk more.

Good luck,

Jesse
 
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Nov 18, 2010
2,407
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
this is exactly the system i want to build out.. since lifep04 is happiest between 20% and 80% charged you get a solid 160AH out of that setup and it should last for 1000's of cycles at that rate.. What charger are you using?

also i see you are not using a BMS on the Lifep04 cells... how are you keeping them from getting too depleted?
Billy, I am very hesitant to give advise on lithium batteries. I really think people need to read from the experts and I am not one. Have you read Mainesail's article? LiFePO4 Batteries On Boats

I wouldn't call my approach no BMS. It's a minimal BMS. I have low voltage and high voltage disconnects. They are just at the pack level other than the cell level. I also have alarms on both the pack and cell voltages if they go too high or low.

Also, I am evaluating BMS options. When we have access to easy shipping I am likely going to add a full BMS. The prices have come way down and there are a lot of off the shelf options now.

As far as chargers, my solar and alternator do the majority of the charging. I seldom use my suite case generator to charge through the shore power charger. So what I do isn't likely to be applicable to you.

My advice on lithium is that unless you are full-time liveaboards on the hook and unless you are a bit nerdy, they are likely not for you. It's easy to waste a lot of money on lithiums. If you are still interested and have read the Mainesail's article we can talk more.

Good luck,

Jesse
 

BillyK

.
Jan 24, 2010
484
Catalina 310 Ocean City, NJ
Billy, I am very hesitant to give advise on lithium batteries. I really think people need to read from the experts and I am not one. Have you
read Mainesail's article? LiFePO4 Batteries On Boats

I'm well acquainted with LifeP04 batteries... a couple years back i built a travel pack which i speced to be able to run at 200Amps so i could run a 2000Watt inverter to power anything i needed while at the boat yard or on the hook somewhere. Here are a few pics of the case.. Like you, i didn't have a BMS back then due to cost and their inability to do anything over 20amps back then.. i do see a number of new systems out there that can handle 100+amps now.. i was able to run the AirCon on board for 2 hours off this pack before the alarm sounded on it..

unfortunately we moved last year and the pack sat in storage for too long which allowed the voltage to drop too low on the pack and now the Cells are no good.. Expensive mistake.

I used this for everything.. from powering a trolling motor for the dingy, to the AC on board, running tools in the boat yard, as emergency power during power outtages at the house during storms to keep the sump pump and fridge going..

IMG_0260.JPG
IMG_0303.JPG


Good luck,

Jesse
 
May 6, 2019
24
Catalina 310 0063 Nepean Sailing Club, Ottawa
After a lot of thought I decided to go with a house bank of 3x Firefly Group31s and a Group 24 reserve. It should squeeze into the space and the weight is very similar to the original 2x4d setup. I am going to add a Victron 100/30 Charge controller and bluetooth battery temp monitor. Ill be sticking with the existing 180W solar panel and the stock alternator. Any thoughts on whether a Battery monitor is also required? Or will the info provided by the Victron charge controller APP suffice to ensure we are taking proper care? Thanks again Mainesail and StuJ for all the info provided here and on the other sites.
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2010
2,407
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
The info from the Victron app for the solar controller will be limited to voltage and time spent in bulk, absorption and float. So it's not the same as battery monitor that has been properly configured.

On the Victron Battery Sense, there are two models, a blue one and a black one. Go for the blue one. The black one is very limited in range.

If I were buying today, I would go with the new Balmar battery monitor. In addition to the standard info like Amp hours, watt hours, time remaining, etc. it has a state of health function that is pretty unique. They have a Bluetooth model.

Good luck

Jesse
 
May 6, 2019
24
Catalina 310 0063 Nepean Sailing Club, Ottawa
The info from the Victron app for the solar controller will be limited to voltage and time spent in bulk, absorption and float. So it's not the same as battery monitor that has been properly configured.

On the Victron Battery Sense, there are two models, a blue one and a black one. Go for the blue one. The black one is very limited in range.

If I were buying today, I would go with the new Balmar battery monitor. In addition to the standard info like Amp hours, watt hours, time remaining, etc. it has a state of health function that is pretty unique. They have a Bluetooth model.

Good luck

Jesse
Thanks Jesse for the info. I had heard about the Balmar but wanted to only deal with one App etc. I didn't know there was a bluetooth version. Do you know if the Victron app can accept the info? I'll look into it. Thanks. Your Posts and blog have been a great help. Brad
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,407
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Victron and Balmar use separate apps.

But most of the time you would just look at the Balmar. The Victron would be more for programing and to check performance say once a month.

Good luck
 
Aug 29, 2016
82
Catalina 2004 310 (Hull #250) BC
The info from the Victron app for the solar controller will be limited to voltage and time spent in bulk, absorption and float. So it's not the same as battery monitor that has been properly configured.

On the Victron Battery Sense, there are two models, a blue one and a black one. Go for the blue one. The black one is very limited in range.

If I were buying today, I would go with the new Balmar battery monitor. In addition to the standard info like Amp hours, watt hours, time remaining, etc. it has a state of health function that is pretty unique. They have a Bluetooth model.

Good luck

Jesse
I recently had the Balmar battery monitor SG2000 (the one Jesse mentioned) installed. The SOH or state of health is pretty nice and much more relevant information. There's a blue tooth add on which you can buy separately that plugs easily into the back of the SG2000, that relays the information to your free Balamar app on your phone.
 

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May 6, 2019
24
Catalina 310 0063 Nepean Sailing Club, Ottawa
Thanks to everyone for all the great advice. New system is up and running and we love it. 3 x Firefly G31 with a Rolls GR24 Reserve in the settee. Linked with an ACR. Balmar Sg200 monitor and Victron MPPT solar charge controller with smart link battery temp feedback. Perfect for us as we don't have shore power. After a lot of though decided to stay with the original 1-2-both switch for ease of wiring, using only the #1 position. 2 is available if needed. both is marked inop. Its great!
 

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