Imagine this: It’s a Saturday morning and you are getting ready to take out your boat for a gloriously relaxing day in the water – only to find out that the boat’s battery is dead. What a disappointment! It would be best if you’d get yourself a battery that is safer and lasts for longer durations after a single charge with minimal self-discharge rates. This article is going to help you understand why lithium ion marine batteries are ideal for your watercraft.
You are going to understand:
What lithium ion marine batteries are and the different types in the market today
The battery’s advantages and disadvantages as well as their uses
How to select the ideal lithium marine battery (that matches your uses)
How to take care of your lithium marine battery
Let’s dig right in!
1. What are marine battery technologies?
First things first – Marine battery technologies are battery systems that help you power your boat (either as a hybrid or fully – electric boat.) Modern marine battery technologies (such as the lithium ion marine batteries) have helped reduce emissions significantly.
In the past, boats and submarines were powered by lead-acid batteries. The primary disadvantage associated with using lead-acid batteries to power watercraft was that the batteries consumed a lot of space, not to mention their ultra-heavyweight and short cycle life.Therefore, lithium ion batteries with strong performance in all aspects are welcomed by everyone.
2. Which is the best marine battery technology?
The introduction of lithium ion marine batteries significantly helped in powering all sorts of watercraft. Lithium ion marine batteries can indeed power your watercraft for a longer duration compared to lead-acid as well as other battery types.
It is primarily because lithium ion marine batteries have higher energy densities.Further, lithium ion batteries are way lighter than lead-acid batteries. They also consume less space and are safer to use with no active maintenance.lithium ion marine batteries offer more energy than lead-acid batteries making them the best marine battery technology.
3. What are lithium ion marine batteries?
lithium ion marine batteries are rechargeable batteries that power different types of watercraft. This type of battery is lightweight and has a high energy density – it can power your watercraft for longer durations with free maintenance.Now, there are three different types of lithium ion marine batteries, and they all have different uses as you’ll find out by reading the coming sections of this article.
4. Types of lithium ion marine batteries and their uses
Check out the three types of lithium ion marine batteries and their uses:
1. Cranking lithium ion marine battery
The cranking battery is essential to your boat as it helps the boat start its engine – hence the name cranking battery. Starting the watercraft’s main engine is this battery’s primary task. This battery is usually strong.
2. Deep cycle lithium-ion marine battery
Deep cycle lithium ion batteries differ from cranking batteries in terms of operation and performance. They operate differently as they slowly discharge and can be drained. Your boat’s essential equipment, e.g. the navigation system as well as the trolling motor run on the power produced by the deep cycle lithium ion marine battery.It also powers the watercraft’s auxiliary appliances (for example, fridge, audio system, etc.)
3. Dual-purpose lithium-ion marine battery
The dual-purpose lithium ion marine battery is ideal for you if your watercraft cannot support more than one battery. While this type of battery does what the cranking and deep cycle lithium ion battery types do, most watercraft owners do not choose them.
Why?The dual-purpose lithium ion battery is not as powerful as the cranking battery. On top of that, it does not last as long as the deep cycle battery does.
5. Lithium ion marine battery specifications
There are different lithium ion marine battery specifications with regard to their voltage and ampere-hour (Ah) ratings. Generally speaking, lithium ion marine batteries should have a minimum nominal voltage of 12V. It, therefore, means that you can have lithium ion batteries with the following nominal voltages: 12V, 24V, 36V, etc.
The Ah-rating of your battery depends on how you intend to use the battery. If it is going to power heavy loads, the battery should have a higher Ah rating. The battery specification depends on the power needed to run your watercraft. Heavier watercraft such as yattches and submarines require more power to run. You can even have the custom batteries manufactured for your products and equipment.
6. What’s the size of a typical lithium ion marine battery?
The best part about using lithium ion batteries is that they are compact and lightweight, meaning that they can fit in almost any watercraft. Being lightweight is further beneficial as the overall weight of the boat will be lighter and less power will be required to travel. And even one lithium ion marine battery has the potential to power your watercraft similar to several lead-acid batteries.
7. Benefits of lithium ion marine battery
You’ve probably used a lead-acid battery before. You do know that lead-acid batteries require regular topping off of acid to optimize their performance. On top of that, charging lead-acid batteries requires you to do regular maintenance and cleaning. And in daily use, overcharging a lead-acid battery degrades its internal components, therefore, reducing its lifespan.
lithium ion marine batteries are different. You do not need to actively maintain the battery to keep its performance at its peak. Moreover, you do not need to worry a lot about overcharging and over-discharging, as the battery has a protection circuit board that prevents the battery from getting damaged.
2. Higher energy density
First of all – energy density is usually measured in watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg). It is simply the amount of energy your battery can store in relation to its weight. lithium ion marine batteries are packed with a higher energy density compared to other battery types. Therefore, lithium ion batteries are more lightweight and compact. Comparing with lead-acid batteries of the same volume, lithium batteries can power your watercraft for longer durations.
3. Faster charging with a consistent output
Lithium ion marine batteries charge way faster than lead-acid batteries. After charging, the battery will discharge by powering your watercraft. Your lithium ion marine battery has a consistent output until it is drained – they do not reduce their amperage even when the battery has a low charge. 100% discharge can reduce the lifespan of the batteries.
4. Lower self-discharge rates
It is true that all batteries self-discharge. However, lithium ion marine batteries have a significantly lower self-discharge rate compared to other battery types such as lead-acid batteries. Lithium ion marine batteries have a self-discharge rate of 3.5% per month. Lithium ion marine batteries are capable of storing energy for years! Of course, you’ll need to store the battery in a cool and dry place away from other metals.
8. Demerits of lithium ion marine battery
Your lithium ion marine battery has downsides. Check them out:
A 12V 100Ah lithium ion marine battery price can cost roughly $1,000-$2500. It means that this battery type has a higher initial cost compared to other battery types. However, the higher initial cost should not be the only factor here. The battery offers way more than what other battery types could offer. They also last for long (up to 10 years) with free maintenance.
2. Safety concerns
Lithium ion marine batteries use a electrolyte to transport lithium ions during charging and discharging. The battery might get damaged in one way or another and leak the electrolyte . Though these batteries may explode and cause a fire, they can also be avoided in the beginning. So you should choose reliable manufacturers and keep an eye on the working conditions of the batteries. If you notice something out of order, please stop using the battery and contact its manufacturer as soon as possible.
3. Getting old
While lithium ion marine batteries have lower self-discharge rates compared to other types of batteries, they still age since they self-discharge. But every battery goes through this process, in comparison, lithium ion batteries can last longer before aging due to their high cycle count.
9. How long do lithium ion marine batteries last?
Assuming that you are going to use your lithium ion marine battery every day on your boat, the battery can last for 10 years if it has one cycle a day. That is roughly 2,000-4,000 charging cycles. Despite being expensive, there is a chance that your lithium ion battery can last longer than your watercraft if used correctly. You’ll not spend a lot of money on replacements and repairs.
10. Tips on how to extend the life of your lithium ion marine battery
1. Charge in cool and dry environmental conditions
Charging your lithium ion marine battery under extreme temperatures can be fatal to your battery. Extreme temperatures during charging degrade your battery’s internal components, meaning that the battery will fail prematurely. We strongly recommend charging your battery in cool and dry environments. Remember to use the battery’s recommended charger.
2. Store your battery in cool and dry environments
Apart from charging the battery in cool and dry environmental conditions, it would be best if you store the battery in a similar condition away from other metals. Doing so helps prevent degradation of internal components.
3. Avoid overcharging and over discharging your lithium ion marine battery
While some lithium ion marine batteries have protection circuit boards (or cut-offs), be careful to avoid this while still in use.
4. Handle the battery gently to avoid physical damage
Physical damages cause the battery’s internal components to degrade, therefore, reducing the battery’s lifespan. It would be best if you handle your lithium ion marine battery gently.
11. Do lithium ion marine batteries need a special charger?
Yes- If you charge lithium ion marine battery using a lead-acid battery, it can be risky, especially if you do not know how to set the charger’s maximum voltage.Most importantly, charging your lithium ion marine battery using a lead-acid battery charger can damage your battery should the charger lack an enabled automatic equalization mode.
In summary, It would be best if you use your manufacturer-provided lithium ion marine battery charger. In this way, you’ll avoid a lot of risky situations when charging your battery.
12. Is it safe to use lithium ion batteries on a boat?
Yes, it is safe to use deep cycle lithium ion batteries on a boat. lithium ion marine batteries are tightly sealed to prevent moisture from getting into the battery. That, however, does not mean that you can be negligent.
Most lithium ion marine batteries have a battery management system that detects anomalies and shuts down the battery to avoid damage, explosions, and fires. However, it would be best if you’d keep an eye on your battery – do not continue using it if you notice anything off about it.
13. Is it easy to shift to a lithium marine battery?
Most lithium ion marine batteries are designed to replace lead-acid batteries. It, therefore, means that Lithium ion battery will fit well in the boat. There are times when you may be required to change the watercraft’s charger and inverter as well to optimize performance. We strongly recommend adding a battery monitoring device that should warn you whenever your battery has a low charge.
It is worth noting that any electrical mistakes during installation could prove to be detrimental. It would be best if you’d reach out to a professional to help you install the battery.
14. How much money does a lithium marine battery cost?
lithium ion marine batteries have a high initial cost (approximately $1,000). However, this battery can last up to 10 years, assuming that you are going to use it every day and take care of it properly.In the long run, the battery is not that expensive since it does not require any active maintenance.
It’s worth every penny acquiring the lithium marine battery for your boat. You’ll get to enjoy faster charging times, lightweight, maintenance-free, among other benefits that come with lithium ion marine batteries.
15. How should you pick a superior lithium ion marine battery?
Selecting a superior lithium ion marine battery for your watercraft requires you to check if the battery meets the following three conditions:
●Battery energy density – the higher the energy density, the longer the battery is going to power the boat. It is also lighter.
●Usable capacity – is it possible for you to fully discharge your lithium ion battery? If so, then your lithium ion marine battery is superior compared to the others.
●How many charging cycles does your lithium ion battery have? The higher the number of charging cycles, the better for you because The battery will serve your device longer and the battery replacement cycle will be longer.
16. Checking if the quality of your lithium marine battery meets the set requirements
To check if your lithium ion battery meets the desired requirements, you can take a reading on its impedance using a multimeter. Impedance will help you understand the battery’s health by checking internal resistance.
After taking the reading, try charging the battery. If it fails to charge, then it means that the battery could be at the end of its life or it is completely damaged. That’s why it is not charging anymore. You can further check for swells. A damaged lithium ion battery usually swells up.
Lithium ion marine batteries are ideal for watercraft. There are three types of lithium ion batteries – cranking, deep-cycle, and dual-purpose batteries.These batteries are highly beneficial compared to other battery types, for example, the lead-acid battery. Lithium batteries are lightweight, maintenance-free, have a higher energy density, faster-charging speeds, etc.
However, they also have their downsides; safety issues when the battery gets damaged, cost. It would be best if you’d handle your lithium ion batteries properly to lengthen the battery’s lifespan. Not only it will help you keep your boat powered, but also save a lot of money.
It is worth noting that lithium ion marine batteries are safe to use on your boat as moisture cannot get into the battery.
Remember, your lithium ion marine battery’s lifespan depends primarily on you – how you handle it. Switching to a lithium marine battery from a lead-acid battery may require an expert’s help.In the long run, lithium ion marine batteries are cheaper since they do not have any active maintenance costs. The initial cost may be quite high compared to other types of batteries, but it is worthy.
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