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LiFePO4 Batteries Installation

If your vessel’s AGM batteries are reaching end of their lifespan, it is time to consider a lithium-ion batteries to replace them.


Why lithium-iron-phosphate batteries?

Lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4 or LFP) is the safest of the mainstream li-ion battery types.

LiFePO4 batteries are safe, but some are confused by the warnings about other lithium batteries such as LiPO and other chemistries that have warnings about over-heating and fires. These warnings doe NOT apply to LiFePO4 batteries used on boats.

Lithium Battery Projects

Lithium Marine Battery Videos

Craig Allison of Maz Ocean and Stephen Cockcroft of Catamaran Guru discuss this compelling lithium-ion yacht battery technology in the video.

Bruce Schwab and Tom Whitehead of Ocean Planet Energy join Craig Allison of Maz Ocean for this ABYC webinar on Li-Ion battery installation.

Lithium Ion Battery Gallery

Examples of our Li-Ion battery system installations. Click to enlarge.

Comparing Lithium to Other Battery Chemistries

  • Capacity: This is what most people really care about when upgrading their batteries. Li-ion battery energy density far exceeds standard battery chemistries and remains the number one reason boat owners choose lithium over older battery chemistries. The ability to gain 30% or more capacity in the same footprint as other technologies is reason enough to consider the change.
    Charge: Not only do you have more capacity, but also your lithium batteries are capable of receiving charge rates far in excess of AGM, GEL, or lead-acid batteries and through nearly the entire charge curve. Simply put, lithium recharges faster than anything else on the market.
  • Discharge: Powering high-draw devices such as microwaves, air fryers, air conditioners, and many other creature-comfort appliances is possible and without risk of irrevocably damaging your battery system. Lithium is built for powering the modern appliances. System discharge capabilities vary but typically are in excess of 400 Amps.
  • Discharge/Charge Rates –
    • Max charge of 400 amps, vs 100 amps for Gel or Lead Acid, and 60 amps for AGM
    • Max discharge of 400 amps, vs 100 amps for Gel, Lead Acid or AGM
  • Rugged – A LFP battery does not need to be fully charged. Service life even slightly improves in case of partial charge instead of a full charge. This is a major advantage of LFP compared to lead-acid.
  • Efficient – Round-trip energy efficiency of a Lithium battery is 92%. In contrast, a Lead Acid battery has an efficiency as low as 50%.
  • Size and weight: the latest LiFePO battery footprint is smaller and lighter than ever before as this technology continues to improve. Saves up to 70% in space and weight.
  • Reliability: Li-ion batteries have an amazing cycle lifespan compared to AGM batteries, up to 5,000+ cycles depending on the use case and brand/type

Victron Lithium Battery Smart System

Maz Ocean recommends Victron Battery Smart system:

  • Communicate directly, and in the same language, with the entire system, including inverters, chargers, solar charge controllers, BMS, etc.
  • Well-respected brand founded in 1975 and a leader in Lithium System designs and integration
  • 2-year manufacturer warranty
  • Bluetooth connection direct to battery for individual battery monitoring

What is a Battery Management System (BMS)?

Each individual cell of a LiFePO4 battery must be protected against over-voltage, under-voltage, and over-temperature. The BMS ensures that ALL of your battery cells are protected.

External vs Internal BMS

Both internal and external BMS will protect your batteries, but there are concrete advantages to an external BMS system.

Internal BMS have the ability to disconnect the battery from the system to protect them, but do not have the ability to stop charge and discharge independently, control other equipment, or communicate with the entire system.

External BMS Advantages

  • Shut down or disconnect loads in case of imminent cell under voltage.
  • Reduce charge current in case of imminent cell overvoltage or over temperature
  • Shut down or disconnect battery chargers in case of imminent cell over-voltage or over-temperature.
  • Max discharge increase of 330 amps over Internal BMS
  • Ability to have multiple inverter/chargers
  • Max charge increase of 300 amps over Internal BMS.

Battery System Monitoring

  • Slim, waterproof, touchscreen display
    Instantly monitor the battery state of charge, power consumption, power harvest from PV, generator, and mains, or check tank levels and temperature measurements. Easily control the shore power input current limit, (auto)start/stop generator(s) or change any setting to optimise the system. Follow up on alerts, perform diagnostic checks and resolve complications remotely.
    VRM Portal: Monitor, control and configure the Cerbo GX remotely, over the internet. Just like if you were standing in front of the device, using Remote Console. The same functionality is also available on the local network LAN, or using the WiFi Access Point of the Cerbo GX.

Solar Charge Controllers

  • Bluetooth Smart built-in
  • Especially in case of a clouded sky, when light intensity is changing continuously, an ultra-fast MPPT controller will improve energy harvest by up to 30% compared to PWM charge controllers and by up to 10% compared to slower
  • If partial shading occurs, two or more maximum power points may be present on the power-voltage curve.
  • Conventional MPPTs tend to lock to a local MPP, which may not be the optimum MPP.
  • Outstanding conversion efficiency
  • Flexible charge algorithm
  • Extensive electronic protection
  • Over-temperature protection and power derating when temperature is high.
  • Internal temperature sensor
  • Will initiate charging even if the battery has been discharged to zero volts.

Why Work with Maz Ocean for Your Battery System?

It’s what we do! Maz Ocean has installed numerous lithium battery systems on a variety of boats ranging from a couple thousand Watt-hours to well over 50,000 Watt-hours.

Just like each battery type has its strengths, so do installers. Some of our strengths include listening to each and every client’s particular use case, needs, and budget considerations. We don’t have a cookie-cutter approach. We design and tailor the system YOU need.

Let’s get started! Send us an email and we’ll contact you to begin the consultation process.