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Lithium-ion batteries: a buyers’ guide for sailors

Updated: Nov 25

(Article originally published by yachtingmonthly.com)


Duncan Kent explains why you should opt for quality when installing a lithium-ion battery, plus our pick of the best lithium iron phosphate batteries on the market.


The key to a truly successful Lithium-ion battery installation is to use top-quality Lithium-ion cells with an equally top-notch battery monitoring system (BMS).


The best BMS will be tailor-made to suit the installation, while the worst will just be crude protection to avoid a total meltdown situation.


If your goal is to have a safe, reliable and long-lasting energy storage system on board then don’t try to save a few quid on the BMS.


As with all things these days, you get what you pay for.


But much worse, in the case of Lithium-ion installations, using cheap, badly made components can not only waste a great deal of money in the long run, but also create a major fire risk onboard.


Some common 12V lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) or LFP marine batteries available in the UK:


Lifos LiFePO4


Lifos LiFePO4 batteries are advertised as ideal ‘drop-in’ replacements for lead acid house batteries without the need for additional charging equipment.


Said to be compatible with every lead-acid charger and DC to DC converter currently on the market, they feature a built-in BMS that monitors and controls its charging and discharging functions to ensure maximum safety, reliability and a long life.


Weighing 25% less than the equivalent lead acid battery and being 30% smaller, Lifos claim high discharge capability (<1kW/120A), a 1C charge rate and the ability to provide up to 2,750 cycles at 90% DoD, or up to 5,000 cycles at 50% DoD.


Warranty is five years.


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