electrifying dreamstime xl 20820417 800xWe’re still on the electrical trail this week, but I promise I’ll have some more entertaining stuff for you soon. Mind you, electricity can get quite entertaining if you don’t do things correctly, just ask this guy!

There is a conundrum that has cropped up while helping customers plan the change-over from lead-acid batteries to a RELiON lithium battery bank, and we’ll be getting to that soon. But first let’s review current practices for charging multiple battery banks.

Relion coverIf you haven’t heard on the grape-vine by now, or seen it on our web site, Coastal Climate Control is very pleased to announce that it’s now offering Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries from RELiON. These are great products from a great company, and Coastal is stocking the most popular sizes, ready for immediate sale.

Many of you will no doubt be aware of the enormous advantages of LiFePO4 batteries, and there is a whole bunch of information regarding RELiON batteries on our web site here.

We’ve been asked how to charge a lithium battery bank when the boat has been set up for Flooded, GEL, or AGM lead-acid batteries, so let’s look at some of the characteristics of LiFePO4 batteries.

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Compressors, how fast should they run?

We had an inquiry recently from someone asking if it was necessary to have some form of speed control on Secop/Danfoss BD35 and BD50 refrigeration compressors. Well the simple answer is “no, it’s not absolutely necessary”, but without it your system may be working way below its capabilities, and with less efficiency.

You see, the Secop (formerly Danfoss) BD35 and BD50 compressors are capable of being controlled externally to run at various speeds between 2,000 and 3,500 RPM, and the cooling capacity is directly linked to compressor speed; i.e. the lower the compressor speed, the lower the cooling capacity.

So why not simply run every compressor at the highest speed and cover all the bases?

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They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but go tell that to the few fledgling marine lithium-ion battery manufacturers of a few years ago. The well-publicized failures of a few specialized batteries sowed the seeds of doubt and insecurity regarding the safety aspect that we’re still trying to shake off to this day.

Sure, it’s well known that, compared to lead-acid equivalents like AGM’s, lithium-ion batteries are lighter, deliver far more power, charge much, much faster, have a lot more useable capacity, will last many times longer, and are a far more savvy investment over the long run. But could they actually be as safe, or better still, safer than good ol’ lead-acid versions?

Let’s first look at how unsafe lead-acid batteries can become when abused, charged from faulty or incorrectly set equipment, and manufacturers’ guidelines are ignored.

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