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Lithium Batteries For Boats

Weight dispersion seems to be a common factor across all leisure industries. Lithium Marine batteries are a great choice when you are concerned about excess weight in your boat.

The advantage of Lithium Batteries in marine applications is the great savings in weight. Bigger projects can strip hundreds of kilograms of dead lead out of the boat.

On a smaller scale, for smaller sized boats, the benefits of lithium are also evident, when you reduce the weight of Lead Acid to Lithium, you’ll find that your boat will be easier to tow, the fuel efficiency will be better, and the performance on the water and speed will improve. Lithium Batteries do come with a higher price tag; however, the Lithium batteries are rated for 2,000 – 5,000 cycles and much more if used carefully, giving you several times the life expectancy of standard lead acid batteries. When considering the usable capacity and lifespan of lithium batteries, they work out cheaper than lead acid. When you add the cost and inconvenience of refitting new lead-based batteries every few years the total cost of ownership over the long term is far better with lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries come in an extensive range for all applications, you will mostly find that boats operate under the 12v category with larger vessels using 24v system. As you are aware lithium can be used in 12v – 48v systems and anywhere from 50Amp – 400Amp which can be used in parallel to gain more Amp hours. The benefits of Lithium surpass those of traditional AGM Lead Acid batteries and can be used for Marine, 4WD, or RV.

Your FAQs answered

Are all lithium batteries the same?

No. There are several types of lithium-ion chemistry on the market, including lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganese oxide, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide and lithium iron phosphate.
The cells come in different packages including cylindrical prismatic and soft pouch. Cylindrical look like bigger AA batteries while prismatic cells are rectangular about the size of a small book. Pouch is a soft jelly like material which needs outer casings. Lithium iron phosphate is the safest chemistry and prismatic cells are the most efficient and mechanically robust way to package the stored energy.
Beware of lithium batteries using the small cylindrical cells soldered together in plastic boxes using a cheap low quality BMS. Cylindrical cells need sometimes up to 100 spot welds to join them together whilst prismatic cells have sold metal posts that withstand vibration and are suited to be used in tough environments.

Do I have to mount batteries upright?

No. Our batteries can be installed and mounted in any orientation. That’s a great benefit of lithium, there’s no worry of acid leak like your traditional lead acid battery types.

Are lithium batteries deep cycle?

Yes. Lithium batteries provide more usable capacity than lead acid batteries. Deep discharging does not affect the life of a lithium battery the way it does with lead acid batteries. You can use the battery longer before needing to recharge, without damage to the battery.

Are Lithium Batteries safe?

Our batteries are equipped with an internal Battery Management System (BMS) that prevents over charge and over discharger of the Lithium cells, keeping the battery within a safe operating envelope.
A Battery Management System (BMS) is a key part of a lithium battery. Unlike lead-acid batteries which do not require a BMS, lithium batteries do.

BMS primarily is a circuit board which manages, monitors, controls and protects the lithium cells from being over charged or over discharged, which can lead to permanent damage or in the worst case lead to fire. It also needs to be able to disconnect your battery before the cells go outside of their safe operating limits.

Therefore it is vital that your investment in a lithium battery is not compromised by using an inferior BMS. That is why we have opted to design and engineer our very own BMS right here in Brisbane, Australia – so that we can control its functionality, quality and reliability.

View all Lithium Deep Cycle Batteries

A commonly asked question is: Can I replace lead-acid batteries with lithium batteries for my trolling motor?

The answer is yes, there are numerous benefits when replacing lead-acid batteries with lithium batteries in marine applications. Not only will a lithium battery keep your trolling motor running efficiently but, when you reduce weight by switching from a lead-acid to a much lighter lithium battery, you will find that your boat will be easier to tow, and its performance and speed on the water will improve.

So how do you choose the right lithium battery for your trolling motor?

Lithium deep-cycle batteries are designed to discharge slowly over a long period and to withstand numerous charging and discharging cycles. You can expect up to 5,000 cycles at 50% depth of discharge (DoD), or 2,000 cycles at 80% DoD during the lifespan of a lithium battery. This type of deep-cycle battery is designed to be used with your trolling motor and any battery-powered accessories.

What size battery do I need 12V, 24V, 36V or 48V?

Baintech Whitehaven Marine Series batteries are available in 12V, 24V, 36V, or 48V, and your selection will depend on your trolling motor. Trolling motors with higher voltages have more thrust. Thrust in marine terms means you will achieve better results in windy conditions, allowing you to spot lock, keeping your boat safely in place.

However, the amount of energy stored in the battery, or battery capacity, must also be considered. The capacity is indicated by the amperage-hour (amp-hour or Ah) rating of the battery.  The capacity of the deep-cycle lithium battery you require will depend on your trolling requirements and the size of your boat. Different conditions will determine how long your battery will last out on the water. Obviously, if you are trolling in low wind conditions in an inlet, you will draw less power than you would when fishing in higher winds and are dealing with a current.

If you own a 12V electric motor, naturally you will need a 12V battery. Baintech carries a range of 12V batteries from 50 Ah to 225 Ah, and you should consult your trolling motor manufacturer’s specifications for a better understanding of its amp-hour requirements.

For example, if you have a 100 Ah battery, and your trolling motor is drawing 10 A of current then, theoretically, you can run your motor for 10 hours. Drawing 25 A of current you could go for 4 hours, and so on. The basic calculation is: Capacity (Ah) divided by electric current (A) = time (h). This is only an approximate calculation because your power requirements (and hence current) will vary in different conditions. It’s important to note that lithium batteries should only be discharged to 80% DoD to avoid decreasing the longevity of your battery.

Charging Your Trolling Battery

To ensure the best performance of your lithium battery in the long term, it is important to charge it correctly.

AC Charging: A 240V AC charger can be installed onboard allowing you to charge your battery by simply plugging it in after your day on the water.

DC-DC Charging: With a DC-DC charger you can recharge your deep-cycle battery while on the water.

Battery-to-battery waterproof chargers, suitable for specific motors are the:

  • BBW1212 Sterling Pro Charge B for a 12 Volt Electric Motor,
  • BBW1224 Sterling Pro Charge B for a 24 Volt Electric Motor, and
  • BBW1236 Sterling Pro Charge B for a 36 Volt Electric Motor

The Pro Charge B is a fully epoxy encapsulated, plug-and-play battery-to-battery charger. It is primarily designed to be put between the starter battery and a deep-cycle battery (trolling / bow thruster / domestic). The charger puts a load on the alternator and converts that load into a 4-stage charging profile to provide fast and effective charging. The purpose of the charger is to recharge your batteries as you cruise by fully utilizing your onboard alternator.

Note that DC-DC charging from your main boat engine is possible only if the engine charging circuit can carry the overall charge current required.

Are Lithium Batteries the Best Choice for Your Boat?

We’ve gone over the basics of lithium batteries, why they’re safe and effective, and why it benefits you to use them. So, is lithium the right choice for boat batteries?

Choosing a marine lithium battery over a lead-acid battery means you’ll be switching to a lighter, more efficient power source. Your lithium battery will last several times longer than a comparable lead-acid alternative, so will need to be replaced less often, reducing costs in the long run. Make the switch and see the difference for yourself!