It’s easy to see why sailors are passionate about their time on the water. Whether it’s a trip around your local marina or circumnavigating the globe, the exhilaration of setting sail and harnessing the power of wind can offer a genuine sense of freedom. Unlike those loud motor vessels, sailboats have the great advantage of not requiring any fuel, lowering environmental emissions, and are incredibly fun to sail.
When you’re out on the water, the last thing you want to worry about is having enough power to sustain your adventure. With Battle Born Batteries, this concern is a thing of the past. Our lithium batteries supply two to three times more power in the same space, decrease the overall weight of your vessel (with only 1/5 the weight of lead-acid), and allow 100% use of amp-hour capacity.
Battle Born Batteries are capable of being charged up to five times faster than a standard lead-acid battery so you can spend less time waiting on your batteries to charge and more time doing what you love.
If you have any questions or would like a consult for setting up your specific application, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected] to speak with a technical sales specialist.
Or keep reading to learn more about why lithium batteries are the superior choice for your sailboat!
Sailboats Are Ready for a Battery Upgrade
The world of sailboat batteries is changing, with lithium technology shaking up decades of conventional wisdom. So let’s take a closer look at why this cutting-edge technology works so well in this age-old mode of transportation.
Since the advent of batteries on sailboats, the technology has been pretty much the same at its core. Lead-acid batteries have improved over time but still rely on the same basic structure and process for generating power. They’re heavy, often require regular maintenance, and have limits on how much they can discharge before recharging, potentially leaving you short on power when you need it most.
None of this is ideal for a free-wheeling, fast-moving mode of transportation like sailing. But until recent years, those looking to have battery power while out on the water didn’t really have any other choice.
Types of Batteries on a Sailboat
Sailboat batteries aren’t all created equal. In almost all cases, you’ll want two distinct varieties for the two main battery uses on your boat. Each offers specific strengths designed for its intended use.
Starting batteries are responsible for powering up any engines on your boat. They’re specially designed to provide a powerful burst of electricity over a short period of time and crank up your engine before it runs on its own. You shouldn’t use these batteries for extended periods. They can die if you discharge them too deeply. However, the engine’s alternator can quickly bring them back to full power.
House batteries are what you’ll use to power all of the other electric needs of your sailboat when not connected to shore power. These “deep-cycle” batteries excel at providing stable energy over a long period, powering things like cabin lights or other comforts. You recharge them by connecting to shore power or using other means like solar or wind chargers on your sailboat.
Benefits of Using a Lithium Battery on a Sailboat
While most sailboats still rely on traditional lead-acid batteries, a growing number are sailing into the future by upgrading to lithium batteries for their sailboat house batteries. Here are some of the biggest benefits of making the switch.
Lithium batteries are far lighter in overall weight than a comparable lead-acid battery — often half the weight! This allows boat owners to cut a significant amount of weight while keeping the same energy storage. And every pound matters when traveling by wind. Alternatively, owners could keep the boat at the same weight as before while dramatically expanding the storage capacity of the batteries.
Higher Power on Demand
Lithium batteries have a lower electrical resistance than traditional batteries, meaning they can supply a higher current to your power system. This is crucial for running power-hungry appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, and other items. That makes them especially valuable to liveaboard boaters or those who frequently take extended trips.
Many types of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries need maintenance. You have to top off the fluids every few weeks to ensure proper operation. This isn’t the case with lithium batteries. Not only are lithium batteries essentially maintenance-free, but they also last significantly longer than their lead-acid counterparts. This means, for many people, a lithium battery is a “set it and forget it” situation, where a properly-installed battery can operate for years without a second thought. Goodbye, battery anxiety!
Quick and Frequent Charging
No one likes charging their batteries when they’d rather be out on the water. Lithium batteries allow you to cut your charging time considerably, sometimes by hours. You can also discharge them more deeply than lead-acid batteries, doubling the benefits by extending the time between shorter charges.
Additionally, lithium batteries have more battery life cycles than lead-acid and can be recharged/discharged from any state of charge. This makes them the best solar battery storage despite potentially irregular charge cycles that don’t return the batteries to 100%. This type of cycling can damage lead-acid batteries. But you can expect continued performance for years if you use solar, wind, alternator charging, or a combination thereof to charge lithium-ion batteries.
In our long-lasting high-quality cylindrical cells, heavy use will yield around 3000-5000 discharge cycles before the battery reaches 80 percent of its original capacity.
Are All Sailboats Compatible With Lithium Batteries?
With some modifications, the answer is yes! However, it’s not as simple as just swapping out your lead-acid batteries for lithium ones and calling it a day. Lithium battery systems do require some additional electrical hardware to charge and use properly. This primarily consists of a battery management system (BMS), which monitors the batteries to prevent any damage during charging. All Battle Born Batteries come equipped with a built-in BMS that takes all common battery failures out of the picture.
You can read All About Battle Born’s Battery Management System here.
You may also need or want to update or add other electrical infrastructures like inverters, solar panels, or wind generators to take advantage of the full potential of your new lithium capabilities.
Do Modern Sailboats Come With Lithium Batteries?
Unfortunately, most new sailboats these days still come with traditional lead-acid batteries. After all, it’s cheaper, and many manufacturers and average boaters feel satisfied with this tried and true technology.
However, high-end sailboats are the exception here. Many of these luxury models have house lithium battery systems from the start. They recognize the superior performance and other benefits that will be common in the future.
How Many Batteries Does a Sailboat Need?
You’ll almost always want at least two batteries — a starting/engine battery and a house battery. However, liveaboard boaters or those who take extended trips off-grid may want to expand their house battery power system.
Consider all the devices and appliances you’ll use while out on the water, from your fridge and heater to lights and outlets, as well as how long you’ll use them. You should also remember that additional batteries add both weight and cost, so don’t overdo it. If you need help determining how big your system should be, call our friendly Nevada-based tech support team to discuss.
How Long Do Sailboat Batteries Last?
Let’s consider this question in two ways.
The length of time a sailboat battery will be available on a single charge will vary widely depending on the capacity of your battery, the nature of your power usage, and the type of battery you’re using. Larger capacity batteries or situations with low power usage will obviously make your battery last longer. Lithium batteries will also last significantly longer than lead-acid ones due to storing more energy and their ability to discharge fully.
The time before you need to replace your sailboat battery will also depend on your battery choices. Traditional lead-acid batteries can last from two to five years when properly and regularly maintained. However, lithium batteries will last much longer before replacement — often eight to 10 years! That means for every lithium battery you’d buy, you’d be buying at least two and potentially as many as five traditional ones.
What Does It Cost to Install Lithium Batteries on a Sailboat?
Installing lithium batteries on a sailboat unfortunately isn’t cheap. Typically, an initial installation, including batteries, will run between $5,000 and $15,000. Where your system will land within that range will depend on your capacity needs as well as the difficulty of installation in your sailboat.
While the initial cost may spark some sticker shock, keeping it in context is crucial. Lithium battery systems will often save money in the long run, as lithium batteries typically last many times longer than comparable lead-acid versions.
Should You Upgrade Your Sailboat Battery System?
It’s crucial to consider your circumstances with something as significant and potentially expensive as a lithium battery upgrade. Ask yourself how often you use your boat, what your power usage is like, and what your overall budget looks like. Some infrequent sailors or those without much cash to spare may find an upgrade isn’t right for them.
But for those looking for the best quality marine battery power system for your sailboat, it’s hard to beat lithium. While the upgrade may be a bit pricey upfront, you’ll enjoy years of benefits and cost savings down the road.
If you have any questions or would like a consult for setting up your specific application, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected] to speak with a technical sales specialist.
Sail Boat FAQs
Why choose Battle Born?
Last 10 Times Longer than Lead Acid
Even after 3000 – 5000 life cycles Battle Born Batteries retain 75 – 80% of their original capacity. For most users, it will take 10 to 15 years to reach this amount of life cycles.
2 to 3 times more power
Our batteries will supply you with two to three times the power in the same physical space of a lead acid battery.
Charge 5 Times Faster
With a high charge rate of half of your total bank and short absorption times, your batteries will charge in a fraction of the time of a lead acid. This faster charge rate allows you to use your generator less which means less fuel consumption, less noise, and less pollution.
High Discharging Capabilities
Our 100 Ah batteries provide a continuous 100 amps of power, surge of up to 200 amps for 30 seconds and even higher loads for a ½ second.
Efficient and High Performance
Our batteries have virtually no internal resistance and will not heat up or swell when charging or discharging. We also have a real power rating so whether you’re using 1 amp for 100 hours or 100 amps for one hour, you will receive the full amount of power your batteries are rated for. With a very flat discharge curve, power remains much more consistent with Battle Born Batteries even at a low state of charge.
Environmentally Safe and Non-Toxic
One lead acid battery can contaminate acres of municipal waste, but Battle Born Batteries are not toxic and are made with the safest lithium chemistry on the market. This allows you to place them anywhere in your rig whether it’s under a bed, a dinette, or even a small enclosed area without the fear of our batteries “off gassing” like lead acid.
Our batteries are ½ to ⅔ the weight of a standard lead acid battery with more deliverable power.
Battle Born Batteries have a built-in management system to help protect you and your investment in the batteries in any strenuous situations such as high/low temperatures, high/low voltages, current surges, and short circuits. They also can be placed in your system with zero maintenance, so you no longer have to worry about adding water to your batteries or cleaning corroded terminals. Our batteries also have a very slow self-discharge rate so they can be left in storage for over a year without requiring you to hook them up to a trickle charger.
We employ a team of USA-based experts at Battle Born Batteries to help with your customer service, sales and technical needs. Our industry-leading team utilizes clear communication via phone and email, along with product knowledge and problem-solving skills to assist with any questions you may have along the way. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your batteries, a complete power system or anything in between our team can provide the expertise needed to guide you through a lithium conversion. Feel free to contact our team at (855) 292-2831 or [email protected].
We believe in our batteries and we want you to believe in them too. That’s why we ship every battery out with a 10-year warranty. If you have a problem, we want to fix it as quickly as possible so you can go on your next adventure!
Excellent Solar Systems
Battle Born Batteries allow you to take full advantage of solar by creating fast charging and fully sustainable power systems with a variety of applications.
Are my charging devices compatible with your batteries?
To determine whether your devices are compatible with BB batteries, take a look at the manual for each component and look at the specifications. If the specs in the manual match up with the Charging voltage: 14.2-14.6 V and the Float voltage: 13.6 V or lower, they are compatible with our batteries.
If you can adjust settings (such as a custom profile) on your devices to various charging and float voltages, then simply change the settings to match ours.
You are also more than welcome to give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
How do I know what size cables to use with my system?
When considering cable sizing there are a few factors to consider.
First, what is the size of the load you are powering with the battery bank?
Second, how far away from the battery is the load? You can do voltage drop calculations to see if you need to step up your cable size.
Here is an easy reference chart:
As a rule of thumb, you can use these numbers as a guideline.
-4 AWG wire approximate max rating is 157 amps DC
-1/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 291 amps DC
-4/0 AWT wire approximate max rating is 456 amps DC
How do I protect against a high voltage spike back?
When current is flowing and abruptly stopped or interrupted, there is a potential for a high frequency voltage spike or pulse. Normally this voltage spike is an unwanted feature, as it tends to damage MOSFETs or other solid state switches and relay contacts.
Alternator Protection Device
An alternator protection device, also known as a snuffer, is meant to protect a vehicles alternator if a spike is created. This device gives the spike a route to safely discharge without risk of damaging the alternator.
Issues such as loose wires, blown fuses or a running engine switching off can be some common sources of a voltage spike. The alternator protection device is a cost–effective way to protect a very expensive part of your vehicles charging system.
Sterling Power makes a 12 and 24 volt alternator protection device that can be installed on all vessels utilizing an alternator as a primary charging source.
What type of inverter do I need?
Selecting an inverter can be confusing due to the differing variations, styles and qualities available in stores and on the internet.
What is an inverter?
One of the primary functions of an inverter is to take direct current (DC) power and invert it into 120 volts, for using appliances. This can be through a wall receptacle or directly from the inverter.
Many all-in-one units allow a pass-through from shore power or genset, a high amperage DC charger and transfer switch.
What else should I know?
We recommend inverters that have a “pure” or “true” sine wave as the “modified” or “square” wave inverters are harder on components, cause more heat and can lead to damage to sensitive electronics over longer periods of time. Victron, Magnum, Xantrex, ProMariner and Mastervolt are some examples of high quality units that are used in many marine applications.
One of the most important things to consider is your maximum need in wattage at any given time. Take a look at the wattage specifications on your devices and consider which of these you will be using at the same time and add them together.
For example, If your power need is 1600 watts then round up to a 2000 watt inverter. When choosing an multi-function inverter, consider how much of a maximum charge you will require for your bank of batteries.
Upon request we will program your Victron inverter charger for the number of Battle Born Batteries in your bank at no charge.
Does my inverter need to be in a ventilated area, so it doesn't overheat?
Many inverter manufacturers recommend that you have some space around inverter sides and the top or bottom for air flow. This will allow the internal fans to circulate air within a compartment and properly cool your inverter when necessary.
Please check your specific manufacturers recommendations and user manuals for further details.
Do I need a shutoff switch for your batteries?
Battery switches or “master disconnect” switches are a common item in RV or marine systems and used to cut all power from a battery bank and connected loads.
These devices are very versatile and can be used in any circuit when performing maintenance or an emergency shut down. Very often you will see placement of these switches between inverter(s) and a bank of batteries.
Below are some of the most common styles:
3 position – used to shut off or switch from one bank of batteries to a second
4 position – used to shut off, switch from one bank to a second or combine the two
Do I need a BIM or a battery to battery charger?
Battery Isolation Manager
The battery isolation manager, or BIM, is typically used in motorized applications with 3 or more Battle Born Batteries. Lithium batteries tend to pull a lot of power off your alternator, which could cause it to overheat over time.
The BIM works on a duty cycle. It charges your house battery bank for 15 minutes, then takes 20 minutes to rest so your alternator can take a break and never has the opportunity to overheat.
Battery to Battery Charger
Battery to battery chargers are typically used in applications where you have 1 or 2 Battle Born Batteries. This is because our batteries have a recommended charge rate of 50 amps per 100 Ah battery.
If your alternator is applying a higher amperage to your batteries than the recommended charge rate, you will need to limit the amperage. The battery to battery charger will limit the amperage coming off your alternator and will apply a safe charge to your batteries.
Also, both devices will properly isolate your lithium batteries from your starting battery.
How many solar panels do I need to charge my batteries?
Answering this question can depend on the amount of space you have on your vehicle and how fast you want your bank to charge.
As a general guideline we recommend 200 to 250 watts of solar per 100 amp-hours of battery. This will give you the ability to charge from nearly empty to full in a six to eight-hour time frame.
Many factors can change this calculation and you are invited to call at (855) 292-2831 or email us at [email protected] if you would like to discuss in greater detail.
What size of Victron solar charge controller do I need?
Many RVer’s run into trouble in deciding which solar charge controller to choose and there are many specific models with different voltage and amperage ratings. Which one is right for your application?
Victron’s standard “Blue Solar” model is a set and forget controller without readouts or internal Bluetooth. If you would like a Bluetooth version with all viewable information via the “Victron Connect” application from your mobile device, then the “Smart Solar” version is your best choice.
Second, decide how many watts of panels you want in your solar array and take a look at our compatibility table to determine the product that best fits your system, here.
Upon request we will program your Victron solar charge controller for the number of Battle Born Batteries in your bank at no charge.
Are your batteries waterproof?
Battle Born Batteries are sealed and can handle being in a moist environment. Our batteries, just like any electric device, should not be submerged in water.
Upon request and as an upgrade to our standard battery, we will add a waterproof seal, giving added protection from moisture and more extreme marine environments.
How much do your batteries weigh?
Battle Born Batteries are 1/5th the weight of a traditional lead acid battery when matching the same usable capacity. This can result in a significant reduction in gross vehicle weight, not to mention being easier to load, install or move if necessary.
BB10012 and BBGC2 (12 volt 100 Ah) – 31 pounds
BB5012 (12 volt 50 Ah) – 17 pounds
BB5024 (24 volt 50 Ah) – 31 pounds
How do I size a li-ion bank for my system?
Sizing a battery bank for an off-grid or mobile power system can get complicated if you don’t have all the information you need to make the right calculations. You will need some basic information to get started.
You will need the maximum and continuous draw – in amps or watts – of the devices you want to power. These are usually found somewhere on the device on a sticker or plate that shows the amps and volts of that device or the power in watts.
As an example, let’s just say that our system needs to run 10 amps at 120 volts for 3.5 hours.
10 amps x 120 volts = 1200 watts of power.
1200 watts x 3.5 hours = 4200 watt-hours of energy.
Next you need to convert 4200 watts-hours to direct current (DC) amp-hours. For our example, we will use a 12 volt battery bank.
4200 watts-hours / 12 volts = 350 DC amp-hours of battery energy needed for our sample application.
Also, the battery needs to be able to deliver 1200 watts/ 12 volts = 100 amps of power.
We will use the 100 amp-hour Battle Born battery to build this system.
350 amp-hours / 100 amp-hours = 3.5
We would need to use four 100 amp-hour LiFePO4 Battle Born Batteries to power this system.
Can I charge my batteries using the alternator?
Very often the alternator will charge lithium batteries at the proper voltage (14.2 to 14.6 V), but we recommend not to exceed a 50% charge rate, this means a max of 50 amps for each 100 Ah battery.
An example would be a high 220 amp alternator putting out its full charge to the electrical system. An alternator charging the starter battery, running the electronics in the vehicle, and if wired with thick enough cables, might have around 150 amps leftover to charge your Battle Born Batteries. In this instance, three of our batteries would be a good match for the alternator’s charge.
Some things to consider when connecting a starter (lead acid) battery to a lithium battery bank:
- 2 lithium batteries or less, you will probably want to use a battery to battery charger such as the Sterling product on our website:
- Higher amp units charge the batteries faster. These devices will not only regulate the charging current but also replace your existing isolator.
- For 3 or more lithium batteries connected to a starter battery we recommend our Li-BIM.
These are generalities, but if you give us the amperage of your alternator, the model of your isolator, and how many lithium batteries you are planning to use, we can give you a better suggestion as to what you may need. Call us at (855) 292-2831 or contact us at [email protected].
Are there any temperature restrictions on Battle Born Batteries?
Battle Born Batteries protect themselves from charging in cold temperatures and won’t accept a charge once the internal cell temperature drops to 24°F. At this point they will continue to discharge even down to -4°F. At this temperature we recommend no longer pulling power to avoid damaging the batteries.
Insulated battery boxes, heating blankets, and placing your battery bank inside your RV will help keep the temperature stable. On the high end of temperature range, the batteries will shut down once 135°F is reached.
Do I need to install all of my batteries at the same time, or can I add additional batteries later?
Lead acid battery manufacturers will state: “do not mix old and new batteries. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may cause battery leakage or rupture.” They also recommend replacing all batteries within a bank at the same time.
A partially used lead acid battery will drain energy from a new one, reducing the total amount of battery power available.
This is not the case with Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries. You can add new batteries to your original Battle Born bank up to two years down the road without damaging, reducing lifespan, or harming them in any way.
When docking for an extended period of time, what do I meed to do to protect my batteries?
The best way to store our batteries for an extended period is to fully charge them and then disconnect them from everything. Removing the negative lead from the battery bank is also recommended.
The batteries do not need a trickle charge or maintenance while stored. They will only lose around 2 – 3% of their charge per month. If possible, we recommend storing them in a temperature above freezing.
Storing batteries in subzero weather (-15°F or lower) has the potential to crack the ABS plastic and could lead to a greater loss in charge. In some cases they can lose much more than the expected 3% monthly loss.
If you are storing your entire system, we recommend the use of a battery guardian, which will help protect your batteries by disconnecting them from parasitic loads once they reach a voltage of 11.5 V.
Can I use your batteries in cold cranking applications?
Our battery is designed as a deep cycle storage battery and doesn’t offer the cold cranking amps most applications require for starting.
Multiple batteries connected in parallel can be used in an emergency situation, but prolonged use in starting applications can result in a diminished capacity or damage to the battery’s management system.
The continuous discharge rate of our batteries is 100 amps, 200 amps for 30 seconds and higher loads for ½ second. Cold cranking applications typically exceed 200 amps which will cause our batteries to shut off.
What is the maximum amperage I can charge my batteries at?
Our batteries allow a charge rate of 50 amps for each 100 Ah battery. For more than one battery, you can simply take the entire Ah of the bank and cut the number in half.
For example, three 100 Ah Battle Born Batteries total 300 Ah. Cut this number in half and you have your maximum recommended charge rate of 150 amps.
What does "drop-in replacement" actually mean?
Our batteries are drop-in replacements for typical lead acid batteries. This means that our batteries are designed to fit like a normal Group 27, 31 and GC2 battery in your bank.
This, however, does not mean our batteries are plug and play. Our batteries still may require specific components and programming to run your application.
To figure out if your components will work with our batteries, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or send us an email at [email protected].
How long do Battle Born Batteries last?
Are your batteries designed to handle vibration?
Our batteries are assembled and constructed with the highest quality components available. They are designed to withstand vibration and keep working for thousands of cycles.
You will need to check your connections from time to time (as with any kind of battery) to make sure they maintain good contact from cable to battery.
Why is my battery registering a voltage between 0-5 volts?
If your battery registers between 0 to 5 volts this means that it’s in low voltage disconnect mode. This happens if the battery has been drained of capacity and is protecting itself from further discharge.
At this point you will need to apply a direct 12 V source such as the alternator via the starter battery or by connecting it to your starter battery with jumper cables until you see the voltage reaches 10-10.5 V.
Some inverter chargers will also bring the batteries out of low voltage disconnect.
Check out our Customer’s Systems
Battle Born Systems
About SV Delos
SV Delos is a world famous sailing vessel that began circumnavigating the globe in 2009. Captain Brian Trautman from has 900Ah of Battle Born lithium power aboard his sailing vessel.
- 8 100 Ah 12 V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries
- 1 Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50
- 1 Victron 70 A charger
- 1 Victron 100 A charger
- 1 Master Volt 8 0A charger
- 1 24 V-24 V DC Charger
- 1 24 V-12V DC charger
- 1 Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor
- 1 Victron Multiplus 24 V 3000 W Inverter Charger