As a boat owner, you may rely heavily on your leisure battery to keep your beloved vessel powered up.
Core to the functionality of your boat, your leisure battery enables you to enjoy home comforts, powering 12v 'household' items - all those little things that make life on the water a little more enjoyable.
With more modern equipment finding its way onboard barges, sports boats and cruising yachts, helmsmen and helmswomen are looking for increasingly smarter ways to manage energy storage.
Solar energy storage is also becoming an increasingly popular option, and no matter the size of your boat, solar panels can be accommodated on most deck spaces these days.
For many boat owners, the answer to smart energy storage comes in the form of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. Lighter, with a superior chemical make-up, greater depth of discharge, environmentally friendly and much kinder on the wallet - LiFePO4 Leisure Batteries have become the maritime battery of choice.
Let’s have a deeper look at LiFePO4 leisure batteries in the maritime world and see how these powerhouses can change your seafaring adventures.
What do you need from a marine leisure battery?There are a few things you'll need to take into consideration when you start shopping around for a marine leisure battery.
- whether you have a predetermined budget, and what it is
- how much power you plan on using
- what type of boat/vessel/marine equipment you have and whether you have access to hook-ups
- whether you plan on storing solar energy
- how much time you have to dedicate to the maintenance of the battery.
All of these factors will play a part in deciding which marine leisure battery will best suit your needs and requirements.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) vs. Lead Acid for Marine applications
LiFePO4 batteries are great for boats and other marine applications, whilst they are not classified as waterproof, the leisure battery unit is sealed protecting the Prismatic LiFePO4 Cells contained within the box. It’s reassuring to know that any moisture cannot seep into the unit, and any rogue droplets of water will not cause any issues with battery functionality.
Compared to lead acid and absorbent glass mat (AGM), LiFePO4 batteries are incredibly safe, non-toxic and contain no rare earth metals. They certainly do not carry the same level of safety risk associated with lead acid batteries - there is no risk of explosion, overheating or overcharging.
Weight is a core factor for many making the switch as LiFePO4 leisure batteries are incredibly lightweight - 22lbs or 10kg (Fogstar Drift 105), which is fantastic news for those who may be worried about weight capacity. LiFePO4 leisure batteries typically weigh half that of lead-acid batteries.
Remarkably maintenance free, except for requiring a good clean every now and again round the terminals, you can expect a LiFePO4 battery to last around 4000 cycles, giving you many years of use. This means you can put the battery in a safe, secure place onboard - and let it do the hard work. When it comes to lead acid batteries, typically you're likely to see only 300 cycles of use, meaning you’ll need to change your leisure battery much more frequently!
How much power do you need for your boat?
Whether you’re captaining a fishing boat or a 100ft yacht, you need to have a general idea of what you’re going to be powering.
You also need to consider other elements such as space onboard the boat and budget, even going as far as listing and calculating exactly what it is you want to power.
A rough guide on how to work it out is as follows.
- List your appliances for example (lights, fridges), the watts of each appliance, the estimated daily running time (in hours) and daily energy usage (in watt hours). This will allow you to work out the overall watt-hours you will be using every day.
- Simply divide your watt-hours by 12 (if you are using a 12v battery) to give you your overall amp-hours (Ah). For example; 1,023.1wh/12v = 85.25ah. 85.25 is our daily energy usage.
Ideally, with LiFePO4 batteries, we’d be working off double the capacity - so our ideal Fogstar Drift product would be the Fogstar Drift 230.
So there we have it, still wondering which battery might best suit your boating needs? Take a look at our Fogstar Drift products and check out the specifications or speak to a member of our team - we’ll be happy to help!