The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

While Converting To Lithium

Member Rob sent us the above photo of the very cool (in more ways than one) equipment and battery bay he and his installer built in the aft cabin of his 2002 Beneteau Oceanis 473 while they were changing the boat over to a lithium house (service) bank.

Prior to that change, as is so often the case with productions boats, the batteries were in much less functional positions, too low in the bilge and subject to engine heat.

This brings to mind two thoughts:

  • Lithium battery systems are way more fragile and complicated than lead-acid, so when making the change we want to make sure everything is well away from the engine, well ventilated, and easy to access, as well as laid out in an organized way to make troubleshooting easier.
  • Lithium batteries are about four times lighter and three times smaller than lead acid for a given usable capacity, so improving location and installation is way easier than it would be with lead acid.

Does this make changing to lithium a no-brainer for everyone? No. Here’s how to decide if lithium is right for you.

For those of you who want to nerd-out, Rob was kind enough to provide the following details on the photo:

Equipment from forward to aft in this locker under the starboard quarter berth (forward = bottom of picture):

  • Two Damp Rid containers in process of being changed and secured with cable ties
  • 3 x LiFePO4 batteries secured with truck-style ratchet tie-downs
  • 3 x Blue Sea safety relays https://www.bluesea.com/products/7700/ML-RBS_Remote_Battery_Switch_with_Manual_Control_-_12V_DC_500A
  • 3 x high-capacity fuses
  • At right slightly out of picture on longitudinal bulkhead, MasterBus interfaces
  • Hidden behind bunk crossbeam is the mains 240V residual current device (RCD)
  • Top right is the MV shore-power charger and inverter Mass Combi Pro
  • Top left are the two MV solar controllers
  • Out of picture and the other side of the boat is the MV AlphaPro regulator connected to MV 130A alternator
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