Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Switching to Lithium ( LiFePo4 ) batteries. ( Pt. 4 )

This should be the final report on the installation of LiFePo4 Batteries on Eximius.

Here's the latest status of the install. ( Monday April 18th 2023 )

  • New Batteries - Installed
  • Solar Controller - reprogrammed
  • Victron Multiplus  - reprogrammed

To Do:
  • DC to DC charger - need to reprogram - set the source voltage to start and stop charging.
  • Balmar MC 618 Alternator External Regulator - need to program for LiFePo4 profile.
  • Install Battery Restraint System.
  • Secure Ancillary fuse holders within Battery Bay

That shouldn't take long, installing the battery restraint system will take the most time. The new batteries are less than 1/3rd of the mass of the old Trojan T105's but they still need to be secured to stop them moving around in heavy seas.  The plan is to use one of three methods. Aluminum Bars to hold the batteries in position. Use webbing straps to secure the batteries to the battery bay and, lastly, to secure them in position using plastic wedges that fit the battery bay really well with no chance of coming out of position.

The old batteries were held down by a framework of Aluminum 1.5" 1/4" angle, but they were showing lots of corrosion from the Acid in the batteries that vented out. There's no acid in the LiFePo4 batteries so that should not be a problem I have plenty of Aluminium square tubing, it's easy to cut and bolt together.

The plastic wedges are an easy solution but not as secure as the metal or webbing option. I'll take materials to cover both choices

Another Monday visit to the boat. 

We have 3 projects to complete before our next sail: Complete the battery install, Rebed the Chainplates at the Deck on both sides, scrub down the boat to clean off the grot that was left behind after the major flooding that occured in Fort Lauderdale this past week.

So maybe we'll be ready by the end of the week.

Tuesday April 19th.

Pretty much wrapped up this upgrade!

DC to DC charger programming is complete.

Battery Restraint System installed

Last thing to do is to secure the Fuse holders for the Balmar +ve Sensing wire, the other fuse holder is now obsolete, it was the Sensing wire for the old Lynx External Regulator that has been removed.

The solution is to secure it to the top of the LiFePo4 battery using 3M VHB double sided tape.

Not the best shot. This is looking into the battery bay area from outboard ( Stbd Side ) from on top of the water tank cover.

A better pic showing the fused +ve Busbar and the disconnect switch - I really want to put a cover over the exposed connections on the back of that switch.
A seond pic showing the same area, the -ve Busbar is on the right, it's cover is installed.
Here's a pic showing the battery restraint method.
The webbing straps are secure to Stainless Steel Footman straps on the outboard side of the battery bay.
Note: the screws for the Footman straps are about 1/2" above the top of the midships water tank, I did check before drilling those holes.

That rectangular hole was for the old Lead Acid Battery Hold down System.

The Inline fuse for the Balmar MC 618 regulator battery sense wire is not secured, as mentioned, I'll secure it to the top of the battery with 3M VHB double sided tape.

The white packing foam is just to apply a gentle downwards pressure on the top of the batteries.

So, two things left to do: Reprogram the Balmar Regulator for LiFePo4 batteries and Secure that Fuse holder. 

Today as we had a break in the wet weather today, we were also able to re-bed the two forward Chain plates. We ( me ) also replaced the Engine Raw Water Strainer holder with a replacement as the other had broken months ago and it has been on the list but no need to deal with it. We had a new one in boat, so today we got that done.

Very happy with the way this turned out. Now I need to get an electric expresso coffee maker for the boat - I've earned it.


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