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7 Things You Should Know About E-13, the Latest ABYC Standards for Lithium Batteries

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When you’re out on the open water waiting for that next big catch, the last thing you want to worry about is your boat’s batteries. Important standards crafted by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) recently went into effect to ensure your boating adventures stay safe and reliable.

The ABYC E-13 Standard was ratified last year and covers the installation of lithium batteries on boats. The goal is to prevent electrical hazards that could put you and your passengers at risk. New recommendations for E-13 are now in effect, so it’s crucial to know what’s required.

Let’s review what you need to know about the newly implemented standards and look at compliance best practices.

sailboat on Lake Tahoe
Cruisers Academy – Lake Tahoe

What Is the ABYC E-13 Standard for Lithium Batteries?

Some people avoid upgrading to lithium batteries for their boats because of concerns about obtaining insurance coverage. The new ABYC standards address this issue by acting as a reference point for safety requirements.

These guidelines and recommendations ensure the safe and effective use of lithium batteries in marine applications. If you plan to switch to lithium batteries on your boat or yacht, understanding this standard will help you prioritize both safety and compliance.

Here are some key components of these standards:

  • Lithium-ion battery systems should be installed, commissioned, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will make sure batteries meet strict safety criteria to prevent accidents such as fires, which can be particularly hazardous on the water.
  • An output disconnect device is required to disconnect the output immediately when the battery system reaches the maximum specified discharge rate. It must give out a visual and/or audible alarm before disconnecting the battery.
  • The standard also covers aspects such as cell chemistry, voltage, and charging. What’s more, it offers guidance on installation and ventilation to prevent overheating and gas buildup.

The ABYC E-13 Standards aim to maximize the efficiency of a lithium battery setup. Consult an expert who’s well-versed in these standards to guarantee a safe and reliable power source for your boat.

What Are the Main Changes and Updates in ABYC E-13 Standards?

First, we had the TE-13, which was just a technical note that gave a preview of the ABYC Standards. This created confusion for insurance providers, as there was no set standard.

The ABYC E-13 was ratified as a standard back in 2022, but the new recommendations for E-13 only went into effect on July 13, 2023. The standard applies to lithium power systems with 600 watt-hours (Wh) or greater capacity.

An important point to note is that these standards are voluntary. But most insurance companies look to them for guidance when they approve policies.

Here are seven updates and changes you need to know:

  1. The battery must be installed exactly as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. The battery must have SAE, IEC, or UL testing certifications. This rules out most Chinese imported or knockoff batteries.
  3. They have to be restrained very securely with no or little-to-no movement.
  4. Lithium-ion batteries must use a battery management system (BMS) to keep them working within safety parameters.
  5. LiFePO4 batteries must include a warning system for an impending shutdown condition. This is either a visual or audible alarm.
  6. The manufacturer is responsible for providing information on the battery usage, proper installation, and the design parameters of the BMS. This is critical—you have to know how the BMS is going to react so you can design the rest of your system to work within those parameters.
  7. The standards recommend alternative power sources for critical systems aboard the vessel.
Calico Skies Sailing family living on sailboat
Calico Skies Sailing

ABYC E-13 Compliance Best Practices

Adhering to ABYC Standards is not only important for insurance purposes; it also helps you get more performance out of your batteries. Use these tips and best practices to make sure you comply.

First, consider an LiFePO4 (lithium-ion) battery. It runs longer, charges faster, and performs better than its lead counterparts. These batteries are compact and can fit in small, inconvenient spaces. What’s more, Battle Born Batteries Smart LiFePO4 batteries make it easy to design an ABYC-compliant power system.

Next, follow the installation guidelines provided in E-13 meticulously. The batteries must be installed securely and have protection from water exposure. ABYC has certified more than 3,000 technicians who can guide you through the installation.

Another best practice is to have an alarm system. When using Dragonfly IntelLigence™ technology and products, the alarm signal can be wired into the boat as a flashing light, audible noise or simply setup as a push notification on your phone.

Finally, you should also ensure proper ventilation and insulation. Install over-current protection and thermal runaway protection devices, and regularly monitor battery performance and health. Always conduct routine inspections to check for any signs of damage, corrosion, or loose connections.

Benefits of ABYC E-13 Compliance

Safety is the biggest benefit of meeting ABYC Standards. They’re specifically designed to prevent accidents such as fires. As a result, they significantly reduce the risk that can come with installing marine batteries. This also lowers your liability in the event of an accident.

With compliance, you can enjoy an extended battery life as well. For instance, the all-new Dragonfly IntelLigence™ technology’s LiFePO4 batteries follow the E-13 guidance on proper charging and monitoring. This can actually increase the lifespan of your batteries and reduce the need for frequent replacements.

Knowing that your boat’s power system is compliant with industry standards can give you peace of mind. Enjoy your time on the water with confidence in your boat’s safety and performance.

Battle Born Batteries with Dragonfly IntelLigence technology that enables ABYC E-13 compliance

Sail Safely Under ABYC Standards With Battle Born Batteries

Don’t let inferior batteries hinder your sailing adventures. Following the new ABYC E-13 Standards is now a must for the safety and longevity of your electrical systems. It also optimizes the performance of your batteries and is environmentally responsible.

Battle Born Batteries with Dragonfly IntelLigence make it easy to have an E-13 compliant power system. They offer superior performance and safety features along with proper BMS system and monitoring. You can count on reliable power when you need it, whether for propulsion, navigation, or onboard systems. And through the Dragonfly IntelLigence mobile app, you can monitor your entire power system, receive push notifications for critical alerts, and even shut down the system when needed.

Contact us now to upgrade your boat’s power system to the lightweight, durable, and safe LiFePO4 batteries.

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