Lithium Installation Day

Sunday at Atlantic City NJ, dockside, shore power (= A/C on a very hot day!)… what a perfect day to install the new Lithium LiFePO4 batteries in the engine room!

Two Battleborn GC3 (270AH) batteries fit where an 8D wet cell sat on the port side engine room. AWG 2/0 cables marry the two to form a new bank. The same size cables (from opposite ends of the bank) go to the charger/inverter thru a 250A Class T fuse (+) and a Smart Shunt (-).
A piece of 3/4” plywood mounted atop the new bank enables me to make all the connections to the Inverter/Charger and the two Solar Controllers which bring 600 watts to this new house bank on a good sunny day.
Positive comes off the lower battery, negative off the top. This ensures both batteries are leveraged and cycled equally.

The 3 year old 8D size flooded lead-acid battery is moved over and has a remote battery switch for it to help, when needed, the starboard bank of 3 Group 31 batteries which start the main engine, operate the bow thruster and windlass. Those types of very heavy loads are best kept separate from Lithium batteries, generally speaking.

These Lithiums have a built-in BMS (battery management system) to ensure safe and long lasting operation. They should last 10-15 years, and come with a 10-year warranty. They are the perfect match for our new solar panels, for when we are disconnected from shore power for days.

Summary: 600 Watts of photo-voltaic panels feed 540 AH of storage to support daily living loads as a “House” bank. Conventional wet cells support the boat’s heavy loads, and are charged by conventional means (alternator, shore power charger, etc.).

Future: A DC-DC charger will be considered if we find one is needed. But for now, these are totally separate systems. The generator has its own starting battery and can charge either or both banks.

The original wiring of this boat has the bridge’s electronics on the engine’s starting bank. We have begun to move all those NAV electronics and the IT/Internet network to its own battery as those things are all upstairs on the fly bridge.

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