8 Tips To Prevent Lithium Battery Load Dumps

Preventing Instant Darkness

In the last article about lithium batteries, I defined load dumps and shared why they matter.

And, further, I wrote, and believe strongly, that we cruisers should not listen to salespeople who downplay this fundamental characteristic of lithium batteries—they will be home safe in their beds when a load dump puts our boat and our crew in jeopardy.

It's Basic Seamanship

As boat owners we should not tolerate a system that will load dump, any more than we would ignore a broken strand in a shroud or a sloppy rudder bearing.

So let's look at some ways to banish load dumps:

#1 Never "Drop In"

If you have not already bought "drop in" lithium batteries, don't.

The problem with "drop in" batteries is that, since the BMS is inside the battery, it has no way to communicate its intentions before load dumping.

This is a fundamental system architecture issue that's not ever going to get fixed properly.

For example, even if "drop in" vendors add something like a buzzer, or a warning over Bluetooth to our phone, prior to shut down, that will not help much. (See Tip 2.)

And for those who say, "but wait, plenty of people have "drop in" batteries on their cruising boat", I say "yes, and plenty of people invested with Bernie Madoff".

Already Have "Drop In" Batteries

That said, I don't think any the less of you if you have already bought "drop in" batteries. I have made far worse mistakes than that.

After all, the very words "drop in" infer something that's very seductive—all of the benefits of lithium with no added expense or modifications to our boat.

Just as the words "guaranteed high returns" are seductive—high investment returns with no risk.

Sadly, neither are true.

Still, all is not lost. If you already have "drop in" lithium batteries, Tips 4, 6 and 7 will help at least mitigate the load dump problem.

  1. Why Most New-To-Us Boat Electrical Systems Must Be Rebuilt
  2. One Simple Law That Makes Electrical Systems Easy to Understand
  3. How Batteries Charge (Multiple Charging Sources Too)
  4. 5 Safety Tips For Working on Boat DC Electrical Systems
  5. 7 Checks To Stop Our DC Electrical System From Burning Our Boat
  6. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 1—Loads and Conservation
  7. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 2—Thinking About Systems
  8. Cruising Boat Electrical System Design, Part 3—Specifying Optimal Battery Bank Size
  9. The Danger of Voltage Drops From High Current (Amp) Loads
  10. Should Your Boat’s DC Electrical System Be 12 or 24 Volt?—Part 1
  11. Should Your Boat’s DC Electrical System Be 12 or 24 Volt?—Part 2
  12. Battery Bank Separation and Cross-Charging Best Practices
  13. Choosing & Installing Battery Switches
  14. Cross-Bank Battery Charging—Splitters and Relays
  15. Cross-Bank Battery Charging—DC/DC Chargers
  16. 10 Tips To Install An Alternator
  17. Stupid Alternator Regulators Get Smarter…Finally
  18. WakeSpeed WS500—Best Alternator Regulator for Lead Acid¹ and Lithium Batteries
  19. Smart Chargers Are Not That Smart
  20. Do You Need A Generator?
  21. Efficient Generator-Based Electrical Systems For Yachts
  22. Battery Bank Size and Generator Run Time, A Case Study
  23. Battery Options, Part 1—Lithium
  24. Battery Options, Part 2—Lead Acid
  25. Why Lithium Battery Load Dumps Matter
  26. 8 Tips To Prevent Lithium Battery Load Dumps
  27. Building a Seamanlike Lithium Battery System
  28. Lithium Ion Batteries Explained
  29. 11 Steps To Better Lead Acid Battery Life
  30. How Hard Can We Charge Our Lead-Acid Batteries?
  31. How Lead Acid Batteries Get Wrecked and What To Do About It
  32. Equalizing Batteries, The Reality
  33. Renewable Power
  34. Wind Generators
  35. Solar Power
  36. Hydro Power
  37. Watt & Sea Hydro Generator Review
  38. Battery Monitors, Part 1—Which Type Is Right For You?
  39. Battery Monitors, Part 2—Recommended Unit
  40. Battery Monitors, Part 3—Calibration and Use
  41. Battery Containment—Part 1
  42. Q&A—Are Battery Desulphators a Good Idea?
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