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Lithium battery abuse


TheBiscuits

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19 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

 

 

Tesla now use LiFePO4s in some models ie the M3 SR+. They introduced them almost a year ago.

 

Please attempt to be more accurate in what you say.

 

Mostly in China, at present -- and there are certainly no secondhand Tesla LFP batteries in the UK. As I said, pretty much all of the secondhand ex-car lithium batteries currently on sale in the UK are NMC, see here for an example:

 

https://www.secondlife-evbatteries.com/

 

BMW, VW, Nissan, Jaguar, Tesla, Outlander -- all NMC. As is every other site I could find, including ones selling the Samsung packs that are inside many of the EV battery packs. Anyone buying ex-EV batteries to use in a boat will almost certainly be getting NMCs nowadays, not ex-van LFPs like you and Peter got several years ago -- even vans are now using the same NMC packs as cars.

 

This might change in future if more manufacturers shift over to LFP (like Tesla are starting to do in some -- not all -- cars), but not today.

 

Please attempt to be more accurate in what you say 😉

Edited by IanD
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47 minutes ago, IanD said:

<snip>

 

And you're the one who said your batteries were ex-van without saying they were LFP, so don't blame people for assuming otherwise given the above facts... 😉

<snip>

 

 

6 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

<snip>

Mine were in service in a van before I got them so I am fairly sure there are no 'manufacturing issues'. 

<snip>

 

Most LiFePO4s sold as cells (ie my Thunderskys) have plugs in the top casing that blow when the temp reaches a certain point 

 

 

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Just now, rusty69 said:

 

 

 

If I missed that then I apologise 😉

 

The fact remains that almost all ex-EV batteries on sale today are NMC, and are not suitable for use in boats. Dr Bob seems to be unaware of the first fact (because he bought LFPs some time ago), even though he obviously is aware of the second one 😉

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15 minutes ago, IanD said:

If I missed that then I apologise 😉

 

The fact remains that almost all ex-EV batteries on sale today are NMC, and are not suitable for use in boats. Dr Bob seems to be unaware of the first fact (because he bought LFPs some time ago), even though he obviously is aware of the second one 😉

 

I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion, but I am sure @Dr Bob will be glad of your apology. 😉

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Getting back to the original title...: -

  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - have I shortened its life / reduced its capacity?
  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - will my boat catch fire / sink when I'm not looking?
  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - am I a danger to my neighbours / the marina?

Same question, different levels of severity - members of this forum (who try and be helpful) have attempted all three - the first is similar to the perpetual "I've just bought a boat, i've only had it two days and the lights have gone out" beloved by newbies - I'd argue the second and third are much more important - Batteries (no matter how expensive) can be replaced, lives can't.

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13 minutes ago, 1st ade said:

Getting back to the original title...: -

  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - have I shortened its life / reduced its capacity?
  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - will my boat catch fire / sink when I'm not looking?
  • I've abused my "Lithium" battery - am I a danger to my neighbours / the marina?

Same question, different levels of severity - members of this forum (who try and be helpful) have attempted all three - the first is similar to the perpetual "I've just bought a boat, i've only had it two days and the lights have gone out" beloved by newbies - I'd argue the second and third are much more important - Batteries (no matter how expensive) can be replaced, lives can't.


Well I think if the “Lithium” means LiFePO4 then the most probable is the first one. Surely the second and third are closely related, but steel narrowboats that catch fire generally don’t sink. I’m sure they could happen but so far I don’t think they have, at least not in UK inland waterways. But then again, it can take a while to grow the dendrites so watch this space…

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24 minutes ago, nicknorman said:


Well I think if the “Lithium” means LiFePO4 then the most probable is the first one. Surely the second and third are closely related, but steel narrowboats that catch fire generally don’t sink. I’m sure they could happen but so far I don’t think they have, at least not in UK inland waterways. But then again, it can take a while to grow the dendrites so watch this space…

 

You would imagine that the procedures followed to protect lithiums from damage/shortened lifespan will be the things that also greatly reduce the risk of them catching fire. 

 

This thread contains a lot of relevant information on the subject, but at some point (perhaps when lithiums are more widely adopted), it might be worth opening a thread or FAQ type page, distilling all the key advice about managing lithiums safely, so as to help new adopters avoid damaging their expensive new investment. 

 

Things like the existence of the 'knee' phase and what it means, warnings about charging them too high and too often, and not leaving them above 90% state of charge for days on end, and maybe also the graph showing resting voltage against SoC, with explanations, e.g.  mentioning that resting voltage is not the voltage you are seeing during a charge phase (or for a while after a charge is done), and that voltage is dragged down a bit when the batteries are discharging, etc.

 

There are lots of key pointers in this thread alone that will help new owners to avoid battery damage.

And fires.

 

Edited by Tony1
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4 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

 

 

Tesla now use LiFePO4s in some models ie the M3 SR+. They introduced them almost a year ago.

 

Please attempt to be more accurate in what you say.

Yes its the Chinese cars, rumours have it they might expand to more of their cars 

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45 minutes ago, MtB said:

Is terminal voltage (knee voltages in particular) a reliable way of distinguishing between LFP and NMC cells? 

 

Asking for a friend....

Yes, voltages are quite different for LFP and NMC, both the absolute voltage and slope vs. SoC are higher for NMC, LFP have lower voltage and much flatter slope.

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4 hours ago, nicknorman said:


Well I think if the “Lithium” means LiFePO4 then the most probable is the first one. Surely the second and third are closely related, but steel narrowboats that catch fire generally don’t sink. I’m sure they could happen but so far I don’t think they have, at least not in UK inland waterways. But then again, it can take a while to grow the dendrites so watch this space…

 

For LFP the risk of fire is very low, they're really no more dangerous than LA when overcharged (but a lot more expensive to replace) -- NMC are a different matter entirely, LCO and NCA are even worse, which is why insurance for boats using these chemistries is almost impossible to get -- assuming the insurers ask the question, but even if they don't they're unlikely to pay out in the event of a battery fire because you failed to inform them of material information (battery type).

 

There's some useful information (and videos) here:

 

https://www.powertechsystems.eu/home/tech-corner/safety-of-lithium-ion-batteries/

 

 

lithium thermal runaway.JPG

Edited by IanD
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The insurance thing is a favourite scare. However insurance policies and payout terms are defined in the policy wording. If the question isn’t asked, how is the insured supposed to know to tell the company? And if the boat has had a BSC since the installation, what is the problem? And anyway, surely a big tank of Petrol is just as dangerous as an LiNMC battery? Maybe the insurers would refuse to pay out because you didn’t tell them you boat was red, after all it’s a well known fact that red boats are at higher risk than blue boats?

Then again, probably not,

Edited by nicknorman
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7 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

The insurance thing is a favourite scare. However insurance policies and payout terms are defined in the policy wording. If the question isn’t asked, how is the insured supposed to know to tell the company? And if the boat has had a BSC since the installation, what is the problem? And anyway, surely a big tank of Petrol is just as dangerous as an LiNMC battery? Maybe the insurers would refuse to pay out because you didn’t tell them you boat was red, after all it’s a well known fact that red boats are at higher risk than blue boats?

Then again, probably not,

My insurance know I have lithium batteries never asked the chemistry Nick so yes mine are LifePo4s and are safe but the insurance doesn't know that 

Edited by peterboat
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21 minutes ago, peterboat said:

My insurance know I have lithium batteries never asked the chemistry Nick so yes mine are LifePo4s and are safe but the insurance doesn't know that 

 

I bet they are imagining you have a 200ah bank of them, not a nuclear power station's worth! 

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4 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

I bet they are imagining you have a 200ah bank of them, not a nuclear power station's worth! 

No they know its electric drive Mike, they weren't bothered at all,  they said they have a number of electric boats on their books 

Edited by peterboat
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9 hours ago, nicknorman said:

The insurance thing is a favourite scare. However insurance policies and payout terms are defined in the policy wording. If the question isn’t asked, how is the insured supposed to know to tell the company? And if the boat has had a BSC since the installation, what is the problem? And anyway, surely a big tank of Petrol is just as dangerous as an LiNMC battery? Maybe the insurers would refuse to pay out because you didn’t tell them you boat was red, after all it’s a well known fact that red boats are at higher risk than blue boats?

Then again, probably not,

So if it's a "favourite scare", would you care to explain why many marine insurers specifically exclude cover for lithium battery banks other than LFP? Go and read up on any of the lumpy water forums if you don't believe me.

 

I'm sure you're also aware that every insurance policy has a clause which says that they can refuse to pay out if you didn't disclose anything which could significantly change the risk, such as modifications or additions. This is true even if they didn't specifically ask, because insurance companies are slimy gits who will do anything to avoid paying out.

 

BSC examiners probably don't ask today because they aren't aware of the risk -- they know about petrol because it's blown lots of boats up. This has no influence on insurance.

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50 minutes ago, IanD said:

So if it's a "favourite scare", would you care to explain why many marine insurers specifically exclude cover for lithium battery banks other than LFP? Go and read up on any of the lumpy water forums if you don't believe me.

 

I'm sure you're also aware that every insurance policy has a clause which says that they can refuse to pay out if you didn't disclose anything which could significantly change the risk, such as modifications or additions. This is true even if they didn't specifically ask, because insurance companies are slimy gits who will do anything to avoid paying out.

 

BSC examiners probably don't ask today because they aren't aware of the risk -- they know about petrol because it's blown lots of boats up. This has no influence on insurance.

You are making most of that up. You haven’t seen my policy. It doesn’t have the clause you mention in your second para, it just says that you must have answered their questions accurately.

Maybe you have never been on a sailing boat but if you have you’d know they spend their entire lives going thump thump through the waves, giving everything including the batteries a good shaking. I am therefore not surprised that insurers have a specific dislike for some types of Li battery which are sensitive to mechanical shock. But the same token, have you tried insuring your space ship recently? The insurance companies disallow open lead acid batteries so popular on canal boats, because in zero g the acid floats around everywhere. In other words, horses for courses.

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40 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

You are making most of that up. You haven’t seen my policy. It doesn’t have the clause you mention in your second para, it just says that you must have answered their questions accurately.

Maybe you have never been on a sailing boat but if you have you’d know they spend their entire lives going thump thump through the waves, giving everything including the batteries a good shaking. I am therefore not surprised that insurers have a specific dislike for some types of Li battery which are sensitive to mechanical shock. But the same token, have you tried insuring your space ship recently? The insurance companies disallow open lead acid batteries so popular on canal boats, because in zero g the acid floats around everywhere. In other words, horses for courses.

 

Every insurance policy I've ever seen has a question (and a blank box) on the lines of "Please disclose any other information which may affect your cover", it's a catchall question because they know they can't possibly specifically ask about all possible risks -- for example, just because they don't ask whether you have a nuclear reactor in your basement doesn't mean you'll be covered if you build a DIY one and it melts down... 😉

 

I'm perfectly aware of the much higher stresses with sailing boats, which is also why they recommend small cells (100Ah preferred, 200Ah maximum) where in canal boats bigger ones are fine (up to 1000Ah). This applies to big LFP cells (which some savvy yacht insurers refuse to cover) but also to NMC and similar cells (which many refuse to cover at all, if they're aware of the issues -- which small companies providing UK inland waterways cover may not be, at least yet). Go and read up on lumpy water forums if you think I'm making this up -- here's one example, a Google search will find many others:

 

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f166/lithium-and-insurance-255461.html

 

11 hours ago, peterboat said:

No they know its electric drive Mike, they weren't bothered at all,  they said they have a number of electric boats on their books 

 

And all the older ones will be LA, and very likely all the newer ones (like you and nick and Dr Bob) are LiFePO4, because that's what you bought (e.g. secondhand ex-bus or ex-van from early EVs) -- all of which are fine, so this proves nothing.

 

The issue is that now there are lots of BEV on the roads being written off, the secondhand NMC battery packs are appearing on the market at very attractive prices, often as cheap or cheaper than new LFP batteries, and are attractive because they often include at least some battery management -- though maybe not essential external bits like high-current disconnect relays which are in the car system. And some people are suggesting that these would be great to use on boats -- I think even one boatbuilder suggested this and then went quiet about it, I suspect when they investigated insurance cover...

 

If you know of anyone (or a boatbuilder) who has installed NMC in their boat and got insurance cover having told the insurance company then please post details, especially who the insurance company is. If they didn't tell the insurer they were using LFP this doesn't count, the insurance is possibly invalid (failure to disclose), it only counts if the insurer agreed cover having been told they were NMC.

 

I really don't understand why there's so much pushback on this -- everyone on here has LFPs so no problem, anyone who understands lithium battery chemistry is well aware of the dangers of NMC (and why LFP are safe), all I'm trying to do is stop some poor lithium novice falling for the "here are some cheap ex-EV lithiums, they'd be great on your boat" idea with possibly horrendous consequences. And it's not just a theoretical problem, ask Boeing or some EV makers or the fire brigades who have to put out NMC fires.

 

They're not common but do happen, and knowing they're relatively rare is little consolation of it's your car (or boat) that has burned out 😞

Edited by IanD
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12 minutes ago, IanD said:

 

Every insurance policy I've ever seen has a question (and a blank box) on the lines of "Please disclose any other information which may affect your cover", it's a catchall question because they know they can't possibly specifically ask about all possible risks -- for example, just because they don't ask whether you have a nuclear reactor in your basement doesn't mean you'll be covered if you build a DIY one and it melts down... 😉

 

I'm perfectly aware of the much higher stresses with sailing boats, which is also why they recommend small cells (100Ah preferred, 200Ah maximum) where in canal boats bigger ones are fine (up to 1000Ah). This applies to big LFP cells (which some savvy yacht insurers refuse to cover) but also to NMC and similar cells (which many refuse to cover at all, if they're aware of the issues -- which small companies providing UK inland waterways cover may not be, at least yet). Go and read up on lumpy water forums if you think I'm making this up.

 

 

And all the older ones will be LA, and very likely all the newer ones (like you and nick and Dr Bob) are LiFePO4, because that's what you bought (e.g. secondhand ex-bus or ex-van from early EVs) -- all of which are fine, so this proves nothing.

 

The issue is that now there are lots of BEV on the roads being written off, the secondhand NMC battery packs are appearing on the market at very attractive prices, often as cheap or cheaper than new LFP batteries, and are attractive because they often include at least some battery management -- though maybe not essential external bits like high-current disconnect relays which are in the car system. And some people are suggesting that these would be great to use on boats -- I think even one boatbuilder suggested this and then went quiet about it, I suspect when they investigated insurance cover...

 

If you know of anyone (or a boatbuilder) who has installed NMC in their boat and got insurance cover having told the insurance company then please post details, especially who the insurance company is. If they didn't tell the insurer they were using LFP this doesn't count, the insurance is probably invalid (failure to disclose), it only counts if the insurer agreed cover having been told they were NMC.

 

I really don't understand why there's so much pushback on this -- everyone on here has LFPs so no problem, anyone who understands lithium battery chemistry is well aware of the dangers of NMC (and why LFP are safe), all I'm trying to do is stop some poor lithium novice falling for the "here are some cheap ex-EV lithiums, they'd be great on your boat" idea with possibly horrendous consequences. And it's not just a theoretical problem, ask Boeing or some EV makers or the fire brigades who have to put out NMC fires.

 

They're not common but do happen, and knowing they're relatively rare is little consolation of it's your car (or boat) that has burned out 😞

 

I would interchange the word 'probably' with 'possibly' because all you are offering here is an opinion.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

I would interchange the word 'probably' with 'possibly' because all you are offering here is an opinion.

 

 

Done, if that makes you happy 😉

 

Having seen the shenanigans insurance companies will go through to avoid paying out, I think the odds are quite high that they'd invoke the "failure to disclose" clause -- but as you say, this is just my opinion...

Edited by IanD
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17 minutes ago, IanD said:

 

Every insurance policy I've ever seen has a question (and a blank box) on the lines of "Please disclose any other information which may affect your cover", it's a catchall question because they know they can't possibly specifically ask about all possible risks -- for example, just because they don't ask whether you have a nuclear reactor in your basement doesn't mean you'll be covered if you build a DIY one and it melts down... 😉

 

I'm perfectly aware of the much higher stresses with sailing boats, which is also why they recommend small cells (100Ah preferred, 200Ah maximum) where in canal boats bigger ones are fine (up to 1000Ah). This applies to big LFP cells (which some savvy yacht insurers refuse to cover) but also to NMC and similar cells (which many refuse to cover at all, if they're aware of the issues -- which small companies providing UK inland waterways cover may not be, at least yet). Go and read up on lumpy water forums if you think I'm making this up.

 

 

And all the older ones will be LA, and very likely all the newer ones (like you and nick and Dr Bob) are LiFePO4, because that's what you bought (e.g. secondhand ex-bus or ex-van from early EVs) -- all of which are fine, so this proves nothing.

 

The issue is that now there are lots of BEV on the roads being written off, the secondhand NMC battery packs are appearing on the market at very attractive prices, often as cheap or cheaper than new LFP batteries, and are attractive because they often include at least some battery management -- though maybe not essential external bits like high-current disconnect relays which are in the car system. And some people are suggesting that these would be great to use on boats -- I think even one boatbuilder suggested this and then went quiet about it, I suspect when they investigated insurance cover...

 

If you know of anyone (or a boatbuilder) who has installed NMC in their boat and got insurance cover having told the insurance company then please post details, especially who the insurance company is. If they didn't tell the insurer they were using LFP this doesn't count, the insurance is probably invalid (failure to disclose), it only counts if the insurer agreed cover having been told they were NMC.

 

I really don't understand why there's so much pushback on this -- everyone on here has LFPs so no problem, anyone who understands lithium battery chemistry is well aware of the dangers of NMC (and why LFP are safe), all I'm trying to do is stop some poor lithium novice falling for the "here are some cheap ex-EV lithiums, they'd be great on your boat" idea with possibly horrendous consequences. And it's not just a theoretical problem, ask Boeing or some EV makers or the fire brigades who have to put out NMC fires.

 

They're not common but do happen, and knowing they're relatively rare is little consolation of it's your car (or boat) that has burned out 😞

There was no such blank catch all question box on either of the boat insurance companies we’ve used. You are getting pushback not because anyone thinks LiNMC is a good idea on narrowboats, but simply because you are over-egging and otherwise reasonable point by making up insurance scare stories. It’s a popular thing on here and probably other forums on a variety of topics, and of course in real life where someone is looking for an unarguable excuse why they can’t do something (when in fact the issue is that they don’t want to do it), but I rile against it because it is lazy scaremongering.

It is also a bit of a non-argument because as far as I know no-one on here is proposing to use LiNMC and anyway, since 99% of canal boats have 12v systems, LiNMC is not compatible.

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Just now, The Happy Nomad said:

 

Its not about making me happy.

 

Its about your regular propensity to present your opinions as 'facts'.

 

 

"probably" is simply an estimation of probability, like "rarely" (for how often battery fires happen). If I'd said "certainly" then you could have justifiably pulled me up on stating opinion as fact... 😉

 

(and I'm normally very careful to make clear what are facts and what are opinions, unlike some...)

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Just now, IanD said:

"probably" is simply an estimation of probability, like "rarely" (for how often battery fires happen). If I'd said "certainly" then you could have justifiably pulled me up on stating opinion as fact... 😉

 

(and I'm normally very careful to make clear what are facts and what are opinions, unlike some...)

 

'Probably' implies something is more likely to happen than 'possibly'.

 

You over egged it.

 

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1 minute ago, nicknorman said:

There was no such blank catch all question box on either of the boat insurance companies we’ve used. You are getting pushback not because anyone thinks LiNMC is a good idea on narrowboats, but simply because you are over-egging and otherwise reasonable point by making up insurance scare stories. It’s a popular thing on here and probably other forums on a variety of topics, and of course in real life where someone is looking for an unarguable excuse why they can’t do something (when in fact the issue is that they don’t want to do it), but I rile against it because it is lazy scaremongering.

It is also a bit of a non-argument because as far as I know no-one on here is proposing to use LiNMC and anyway, since 99% of canal boats have 12v systems, LiNMC is not compatible.

 

Well that's interesting, because there is on every insurance policy (e.g. car, house) that I've ever taken out.

 

How is it an insurance scare story when there are instances out there -- though probably not (yet) on the canals -- of people being refused cover, or it being limited to the battery cost, or not covering expensive boats?

 

Nobody on here is proposing to use NMC but I'm certain that one of the electric boat builders was proposing to use ex-EV batteries to reduce costs, I'll see if I can find the reference -- maybe Peter knows, IIRC it was he who pointed it out?

 

How often do I have to keep saying that the problem is not people who understand lithium batteries but the newbies who don't?

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