Does it seem like more and more of your boating friends are making the switch to lithium batteries? If so, you may be curious about the advantages if you converted your own boat.
No matter what kind of boat you have, the benefits of lithium batteries are universal. However, you still may be on the fence about them. Here at Patriot Power Source, we’ve noticed that boat owners need the answers to these common questions before they feel comfortable making the switch, so we’re providing you with those answers.
Let’s dive in!
1. How Long Do Lithium Marine Batteries Last?
How long any battery lasts depends on various factors, such as setup and usage. Boat owners who currently use lead-acid, AGM, or sealed gel batteries will see an increase in lifespan, as lithium batteries last at least ten times longer.
The maintenance and care you give your batteries matters, and poor maintenance results in your batteries dying faster. Even so, you’ll only get 200 to 500 charge cycles with lead-acid batteries.
On the other hand, lithium batteries can last between 3,000 to 5,000 charge cycles, depending on whether you’re using the full discharge before recharging. Not only that, but they don’t even require any type of maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about constantly checking them to increase their lifespan. Likely, you won’t have to change out your boat battery for at least ten years.
2. Do Lithium Marine Batteries Require a Special Charger or Other Special Equipment?
Most lithium batteries are designed to fit just like a lead-acid battery in your battery bank. These types of batteries are considered drop-in replacements.
While this makes it easier to convert your boat to lithium batteries, it’s not always quite that simple. Lithium batteries require a higher voltage than other batteries. For that reason, it’s best to get a dedicated lithium-specific charger. While some chargers may be compatible with lithium batteries, choosing one meant solely for them will charge them faster and fuller.
Depending on your setup and usage, you may also need to upgrade your inverter to maximize performance. You’ll also want to add a battery monitor since lithium batteries don’t give any warning signals when they’re about to die.
You’ll receive a lithium-specific charger when you purchase your marine batteries from Patriot Power Source. However, this is an entry-level charger, so it may not be as fast as you’d like. If you buy a bundle kit with more than one battery, you’ll also get a battery monitor included in the package.
3. Can I Use a Lithium Battery for a Starting/Cranking Battery?
As the name implies, your starting or cranking battery provides the power to start your boat. This requires a short but powerful burst of energy. This battery’s only function is to start your engine, so it doesn’t power anything else on your boat.
The higher capabilities and advantages of lithium batteries aren’t necessary for starting your boat. Since they also cost quite a bit more than lead-acid batteries, you’re better off saving your energy and sticking with a basic lead-acid starter battery.
4. Do Lithium Batteries Work for Trolling Motors & How Long Will They Run?
You can absolutely use a lithium battery for your trolling motor. Most trolling motors run on 12, 24, or 36 volts. 12-volt lithium batteries are the most common type, and they can be run in parallel or a series, depending on your needs.
So, how long will you be able to run your trolling motor with a lithium battery?
Lithium batteries offer consistent voltage throughout the discharge cycle, unlike lead-acid batteries in which the battery voltage drops as it’s discharged. If you were using a lead-acid battery, once 50% of your battery’s amp-hour is used you wouldn’t be able to power your trolling motor anymore.
With lithium batteries, you’re able to use the entire amp-hour capacity, effectively doubling your run time from an equivalent amp-hour capacity lead-acid battery. If you’ve got a typical 100Ah lithium battery, you’ll be able to get a full day of runtime on your trolling motor in river current. You could possibly get up to two full days of runtime if you’re on a lake or using a low power setting.
5. Will Lithium Batteries Work for My Boat?
Lithium batteries are a great option for any boat because they last longer and perform better than lead-acid batteries. They also weigh considerably less than any other type of marine battery.
It’s highly likely that lithium batteries would be suitable for your boat. Our 12V lithium batteries are drop-in ready for easy replacement in your battery bank.
Keep in mind that you may need to switch out your inverter and charger and possibly add on additional components when you make the switch.
If you’re unsure if lithium batteries would work for your boat, give us a call, and we can help you figure it out. We’re also happy to answer any other questions you may have.