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BigBattery opened our new Headquarters in California! |  Located @  21314 Lassen St Chatsworth CA 91311

HOW TO: Upgrade Your Boat to a Lithium Battery

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HOW TO:

Upgrade Your Boat to a Lithium Battery

Lead-acid batteries are quickly becoming redundant. A growing number of customers are making the switch to lithium due to better performance and faster charging. While the higher initial costs may give pause to customers who don’t intend to use their boats very often, lithium batteries payout in dividends in the long-term with longer lifespans, reliable power, and better warranties.

In this article, we will provide an instructional guide to help you decide whether making the switch to lithium is right for you. We will walk you through some of the benefits and applications of various battery models, as well as the steps to install your lithium upgrade.

Installation

With all of the benefits of lithium driving its growing popularity over lead-acid batteries, it helps to understand a little bit about the science behind the technology. This will also help guide you through the installation process so you can quickly and safely install your lithium battery.

If you’re aiming to replace your current lead-acid battery bank with a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery bank, there are a couple things that you’ll have to keep in mind before making the switch. While BigBattery offers solutions for drop-in replacement, the process does involve some basic work on your part.

To ensure that your lithium battery is able to operate properly, we recommend conforming to all operating guidelines. While many of the required conditions for operating your battery safely are automatic, it’s important to give your battery the care and maintenance required to prevent things like automatic disengagement (a safety relay feature). Some of the operating guidelines include the following:

  • Ensure that you conduct regular checks of the battery bank’s charge voltage, changing this if necessary. If the voltage is low, it will indicate that your battery is improperly charged. If the voltage is too high, this may extend the battery beyond its recommended operating conditions.
  • Ensure that battery monitoring measures are shunt-based instead of simply voltage-based. BigBattery sells 12V SEAL / OWL, 24V HUSKY and 48V EAGLE LiFePo4 batteries with both shunt-based and voltage-based battery monitoring. This will help prevent deep discharges and ensure your battery is operating safely and effectively.

All BigBattery lithium batteries include a battery management system (BMS), over/under voltage and over current protection, a thermal management system, and a safety fuse (300A). The energy needs of each boat will vary, and many customers are unsure of their wiring set. We recommend working with a qualified installer to ensure your lithium battery is set up correctly and ensure a safe and effective user interface.

Benefits

When deciding whether switching from a traditional lead-acid battery is right for you, it’s important to do a thorough cost-benefit analysis. While there are several upsides in lithium batteries when it comes to features, functionality and performance, they come with a higher initial cost than lead-acid.

With that established, it’s important to remember that the upfront price of the battery only represents a small portion of associated costs. Over the life of the battery, you will actually save money by making the switch to lithium. Additionally, you’ll enjoy a myriad of benefits that will make your boating experience safer and more enjoyable. 

Some of the benefits in purchasing lithium batteries from BigBattery include:

  • Zero Maintenance: BigBattery plus lithium batteries allow you to install your battery and forget it’s there. Automated safety functions ensure that your battery is operating safely and effectively at all times without needing to be manually maintained.
  • 10-Year Warranty: All BigBattery lithium batteries include a 10-year warranty, offering you peace of mind knowing that your battery will not need replacing for routine wear and tear for at least a decade after purchase.
  • Safety: LFP batteries are the safest battery chemistry available because they replace the fire-prone, high-nickel content of other lithium ion chemistries with iron. Other chemistries have been associated with many high profile recalls — from BMW to Ford — and can’t match the proven safety record of LFP.
  • Energy Capacity: Our SEAL / OWL, HUSKY and EAGLE LiFePo4 batteries have up to three times (3x) the energy capacity of comparable voltage lead-acid and lithium ion batteries, allowing you to run your boat longer without having to recharge.
  • Less Weight: Our batteries are 1/3 of the weight of our competitors. Saving weight allows your boat to move faster, letting you cover greater distances while conserving your battery’s energy supply.
  • Faster C-Rate Discharge: A higher C-rate will produce a lower capacity reading and vice versa. Increasing C-rate discharge rate will increase your capacity and produce torque, allowing your boat to perform better at top speeds.
  • Save Money: While the initial cost of your average LFP battery will be higher than lead-acid, LFP represents a dramatically cheaper option when cost is weighed against usable capacity (KWh) and lifespan. When usable capacity is taken into account, lead acid is around 3x more expensive than LFP.

In addition to a 10-year warranty, BigBattery offers customers free repair and replacement if any parts fail due to defects or manufacturing error and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. For more information on BigBattery’s policies and the benefits of purchasing an LFP battery, contact the BigBattery customer support line with any questions or inquiries you may have.

Applications

Before purchasing a battery, it’s important to figure out which voltage will meet your requirements. Different battery voltages are ideal for different types of boats and applications. You should also consider how you intend to use your boat, as well as how often you’ll be using your boat.

At BigBattery, we offer lithium batteries in three different voltages: 12V, 24V and 48V. Each of these has different pros and cons and has a variety of suitable applications — e.g., a lower voltage battery may be perfectly suitable for a small boat that isn’t taken out often, but you may want to upgrade for daily use or if you’ll be using your boat to cover long distances.

12V: Great for Bass Fishing Boats and Trolling Motor Boats

The 12V SEAL is a lot of power in a little battery. This battery is ideal for customers with smaller boats — like fishing boats and trolling motor boats — who intend to use their boats for short trips and don’t need a lot of torque. This 12V battery is built for longevity and will last for 10 years without any maintenance.

12V Battery Specs:

Chemistry: LiFeP04
Voltage: 12V
kWh: 3 kWh
Amp Hours: 228 Ah
Operating Voltage Range: 9.8V – 14.6V
Charging Voltage Range: 13.9V – 14.5V
Max Charging Voltage
Charge Temperature Range: 0°C – 55°C
Discharge Temperature Range: -30°C – 55°C
Optimal Discharge Temperature Range: 15°C – 35°C
Storage Temperature Range: -5°C – 35°C (Max 6 months)

24V: Great for Electric Cruse Motor Boats and Day Cruise Motor Boats

For boaters doing a little more cruising or owners of larger and more powerful electric cruise motor boats, the 24V represents a great option that’ll allow you to cruise along the open waters at mid-range speeds for at least 5 hours. This is ideal for customers who are giving up the idling involved with fishing in favor of more speed and torque that’ll allow for exploration.

24V Battery Specs:

Chemistry: LiFeP04
Voltage: 24V
kWh: 4.3 kWh
Amp Hours: 170 Ah
Operating Voltage Range: 19.6V – 29.2V
Charging Voltage Range: 27.8V – 29V
Max Charging Voltage: 29.4V
Cell Configuration: 8S
Charge Temperature Range: 0°C – 55°C
Discharge Temperature Range: -30°C – 55°C
Optimal Discharge Temperature Range: 15°C – 35°C
Storage Temperature Range: -5°C – 35°C (Max 6 months)

48V: Great for Off-Grid Solar Sailboats

The highest voltage offering from BigBattery will allow you to cover long distances without a recharge and is the best option for customers with sailboats or other large craft that run on 48V system requirements. Customers looking to fully power a large off-grid sailboat can save almost $2,000 when they bundle the maximum capacity All-in-One 48V HSKY Power System.

48V Battery Specs:

Chemistry: LiFeP04
Voltage: 48V
kWh: 5.3 kWh
Amp Hours: 103 Ah
Operating Voltage Range: 43V – 58.8V
Charging Voltage Range: 55.6V – 58V
Max Charging Voltage: 58.8V
Cell Configuration: 16S
Charge Temperature Range: 0°C – 55°C
Discharge Temperature Range: -30°C – 55°C
Optimal Discharge Temperature Range: 15°C – 35°C
Storage Temperature Range: -5°C – 35°C (Max 6 months)

Conclusions 

Hopefully, this article provided you with some useful information on some of the pros and cons of lithium iron phosphate batteries, as well as insight into the installation process and some of the applications for different battery voltages. To learn more about BigBattery and browse their wide selection of battery solution options, click the link below!

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