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Careful – Alternator Charging Lithium

(or how to not blow up your alternator)

Charging lithium batteries from an alternator, be that in a boat or vehicle, presents some challenges when compared to the straightforward nature of charging lead based batteries.

The video in this blog highlights these lithium challenges and shows you what can happen when things go wrong – namely alternator overheating, smoke and an expensive alternator replacement, not to mention the risk of a battery thermal event.

Challenges when charging lithium with an alternator

The two key issues demonstrated in the video are:

  1. Alternator overheating
  2. Alternator rectifier diodes failing because of over voltage after disconnect by a BMS

Test rig

The test rig in the video is by Victron Energy dealer, ATI Energy, Bucharest.

Lithium charging video

In this video, by Jonathan Cecil of Journey with Jono, we put both a traditional and a regulated alternator through their paces.

Using different RPM, we charge a 300Ah lithium battery and test the results.

Conclusion

It’s only by using the correct lithium battery charging solution/s in a given situation, that you can be sure of system safety.

Victron have a range of solutions, such as the Buck-Boost DC-DC Converter (used in the Victron Van install), and the similar lower power Orion-Tr Smart DC-DC Charger Isolated, as well as the BMS 12/200 as used in Jono’s canal barge, plus more on the way.

BMS 12/200 installed in Jono’s canal barge.

So – stay tuned, as Victron are in the middle of expanding their range of alternator charging for lithium batteries.

In the meantime make sure you are using the right tool for the job – all of which can be discussed on the Victron Community.

John Rushworth

Links

How do Lithium Batteries Work?

Charging Lithium-ion

ATI Energy website

ATI Energy on Facebook

Journey with Jono on YouTube

Journey with Jono on Facebook

Journey with Jono website

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