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Old 05-30-2021, 03:22 PM
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gbin gbin is offline
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Default Storing boats with lithium batteries in cold climates

Recent discussions here and elsewhere have prompted me to study up a bit on lithium batteries for boats. As on so many subjects, I've found some of the best explanations of various things right here at WC!

I've been left with a few questions, though, particularly in the area of storing boats with lithium batteries in cold climates, so I thought I'd see if devoting a thread here to that specific area would help improve my education. Many thanks in advance to all who respond with knowledge/experience and on topic!

Background: Here are the minimum storage temperatures - mind you, I'm NOT talking about minimum discharge or charge temperatures - I found stipulated by a few of the more frequently discussed lithium boat battery manufacturers:
  • Battle Born -10F
  • RELiON/Tracker 23F
  • Ionic not specified anywhere that I can find
My questions:

- What does it really mean to say that one of these batteries has a minimum storage temperature? That is, what happens to the battery if it's stored below that temperature, and in principle how serious a matter could it be (other than possibly cracking the battery's housing if it gets cold enough)?

- Why does the minimum storage temperature vary so much from one manufacturer to another?

- In practice rather than principle, what are folks who live in cold climates and have switched to lithiums to power their trolling motors and maybe their main motor doing to store their batteries in the winter? Just leaving them in the boat with everything shut down and not worrying about it, so far with no apparent harmful effect? Taking the batteries out in the fall so they can be kept someplace at least somewhat climate-controlled for the winter before reinstalling them in the spring? Or ...?

In my case, I use an unheated barn for winter storage of my boat, and there's definitely plenty of time out there every year below 23F; there are always at least occasional days, sometimes spans of days, below -10F, too. Right now I have all lead-acid batteries which I leave in place and on a charger, but it's not at all clear to me what I would best do if I switch to LiFePO. And I'd like to make that switch at some point, maybe soon, so these aren't just academic questions for me.

Thanks again!

Gerry
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:38 PM
Ozark Bob Ozark Bob is offline
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-40 is what I have seen. I will look for a source. The numbers you have been looking at are from lab testing for either minimum operating temp or minimum charging temps. Lab results are different and probably should be. I doubt there is regulation involved other than possible safety issues. Bob
PS your search should include LiFePO4. Each lithium chemistry has different stat's
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:55 PM
Ozark Bob Ozark Bob is offline
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This is something I have offered up before. https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep...tteries-happy/
This is part of it.

Storing Lithium-Ion Batteries
The very low self-discharge rate makes it easy to store LFP batteries, even for longer periods. It is no problem to put a lithium-ion battery away for a year, just make sure there is some charge in it before placing it in storage. Something between 50% 60% is ideal, that will give the battery a very long time before self-discharge brings the Voltage close to the danger point.

Storing batteries below freezing is fine, even at very low temperatures such as -40 Centigrade (that is the same in Fahrenheit), or even less! The electrolyte in LiFePO4 cells does not contain any water, so even when it freezes (which happens around -40 Centigrade, depending on the particular formulation) it does not expand, and does not damage the cells. Just let the battery warm up a bit before you start discharging it again, which is OK at -20 Centigrade and above. You will see an apparent loss of capacity when discharging at below-freezing temperatures that reverses when the battery gets above freezing, and there is a slightly accelerated effect on aging. Storing them at low temperatures is certainly much better than storage at high temperatures: Calendar aging slows down dramatically at low temperatures. Try to avoid storing them at 45 Centigrade and above, and try to avoid storing them completely full if possible (or nearly empty).

If you need to store batteries for longer periods, be sure to simply disconnect all wires from them. That way there can not be any stray loads that slowly discharge the batteries.
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Old 05-30-2021, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozark Bob View Post
This is something I have offered up before. https://www.solacity.com/how-to-keep...tteries-happy/
This is part of it.

Storing Lithium-Ion Batteries
The very low self-discharge rate makes it easy to store LFP batteries, even for longer periods. It is no problem to put a lithium-ion battery away for a year, just make sure there is some charge in it before placing it in storage. Something between 50% – 60% is ideal, that will give the battery a very long time before self-discharge brings the Voltage close to the danger point.

Storing batteries below freezing is fine, even at very low temperatures such as -40 Centigrade (that is the same in Fahrenheit), or even less! The electrolyte in LiFePO4 cells does not contain any water, so even when it freezes (which happens around -40 Centigrade, depending on the particular formulation) it does not expand, and does not damage the cells. Just let the battery warm up a bit before you start discharging it again, which is OK at -20 Centigrade and above. You will see an apparent loss of capacity when discharging at below-freezing temperatures that reverses when the battery gets above freezing, and there is a slightly accelerated effect on aging. Storing them at low temperatures is certainly much better than storage at high temperatures: Calendar aging slows down dramatically at low temperatures. Try to avoid storing them at 45 Centigrade and above, and try to avoid storing them completely full if possible (or nearly empty).

If you need to store batteries for longer periods, be sure to simply disconnect all wires from them. That way there can not be any stray loads that slowly discharge the batteries.
That's what I originally thought, Bob, and though I have no real background in this stuff, it made sense to me. But I've definitely been focusing on LiFePO4 batteries (specifically 100Ah 12V Deep Cycle LiFePO4 batteries for marine use), and the numbers I stated above are definitely what the manufacturers have to say about minimum storage temperatures, not minimum discharging or charging temperatures.

From Battle Born:

Quote:
The storage temperature range is -10F to 140F (-23C to 60C)...

Battle Born Batteries... won’t accept a charge once the internal cell temperature drops to 24F. At this point they will continue to discharge even down to -4F.
From RELiON/Tracker:

Quote:
Temperature Specifications
Discharge Temperature -4 to 140 F (-20 to 60 C)
Charge Temperature* -4 to 113 F (-20 to 45 C)
Storage Temperature 23 to 95 F (-5 to 35 C)
So I'm hoping you and other folks here can help me work through the questions I asked.

Gerry

Last edited by gbin; 05-30-2021 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:14 PM
Ozark Bob Ozark Bob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbin View Post
That's what I originally thought, Bob, and though I have no real background in this stuff, it made sense to me. But I've definitely been focusing on LiFePO4 batteries (specifically 100Ah 12V Deep Cycle LiFePO4 batteries for marine use), and the numbers I stated above are definitely what the manufacturers have to say about minimum storage temperatures, not minimum discharging or charging temperatures.

From Battle Born:

From RELiON/Tracker:

So I'm hoping you and other folks here can help me work through the questions I asked.

Gerry
Those are the numbers. What the marketing and stated stats are from individual companies is going to very. If you tell company "A" that company "B" says about there battery says theirs is ok in colder temp the will then tell you theirs will do the same so they don't lose a sale. Maybe you, as a scientist should read the technical white papers out there to get the real story.
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozark Bob View Post
Those are the numbers. What the marketing and stated stats are from individual companies is going to very. If you tell company "A" that company "B" says about there battery says theirs is ok in colder temp the will then tell you theirs will do the same so they don't lose a sale. Maybe you, as a scientist should read the technical white papers out there to get the real story.
Maybe so, amigo. But if folks here can straighten me out on this stuff, I figure I'll have an easier time understanding y'all than I will those technical papers. It's decidedly not my field!

Gerry
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Old 06-18-2021, 12:37 PM
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Check out Rebel lithium batteries. Prices were good enough to make me take lithium jump. Their service is also very good. Responded quickly to all my questions. I'm running their 50ah batteries. Been very happy so far.
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Old 06-18-2021, 02:26 PM
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A couple of the manufactures now offer built in heaters for charging in cold weather. One of them is pretty slick in that when pluging in the charger, if it is too cold, it will automatically turn on the heater till the battery temp comes up to a safe level to charge. Also as to cold storage, hard to believe that is much of an issue as Rangers fisherman series now come standard with lithium trolling mtr batteries, and I seriously doubt they are going to say you have to take them out when it is cold out. I hope to make the switch soon, but am waiting for this heater technology to sort out. Heating blankets are old technology. In tests where they broke down some of the popular batteries to see how they were constructed, Battle born, and Relion I think, had good reviews for their quality of construction. Seems to be advancements all the time now in this stuff.
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:47 AM
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From Solacity Website:
Storing Lithium-Ion Batteries
The very low self-discharge rate makes it easy to store LFP batteries, even for longer periods. It is no problem to put a lithium-ion battery away for a year, just make sure there is some charge in it before placing it in storage. Something between 50% 60% is ideal, that will give the battery a very long time before self-discharge brings the Voltage close to the danger point.

Storing batteries below freezing is fine, even at very low temperatures such as -40 Centigrade (that is the same in Fahrenheit), or even less! The electrolyte in LiFePO4 cells does not contain any water, so even when it freezes (which happens around -40 Centigrade, depending on the particular formulation) it does not expand, and does not damage the cells. Just let the battery warm up a bit before you start discharging it again, which is OK at -20 Centigrade and above. You will see an apparent loss of capacity when discharging at below-freezing temperatures that reverses when the battery gets above freezing, and there is a slightly accelerated effect on aging. Storing them at low temperatures is certainly much better than storage at high temperatures: Calendar aging slows down dramatically at low temperatures. Try to avoid storing them at 45 Centigrade and above, and try to avoid storing them completely full if possible (or nearly empty).

If you need to store batteries for longer periods, be sure to simply disconnect all wires from them. That way there can not be any stray loads that slowly discharge the batteries.

I have Ionic LFP batterries and will leave them in the boat over the winter. My concerns are with the current heat wave, not the coming winter.
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