Combine Lithium (LiFePO4) and Lead-Acid Batteries in the same system, and charge everything optimally. Introducing the BankManager.
In January 2021, Clark posted a video about how we combine our lithium (LiFePO4) batteries and lead-acid (Pb) batteries in the same system aboard our boat. After receiving a lot of questions and doing research, he concluded that while simply hooking batteries together does work, the batteries don't get charged optimally. In fact, it seems that there is no way to charge lithium batteries optimally using any charge controller currently available on the market. So he invented what we now call a Battery Bank Management System (BBMS), aka the BankManager™.
Many people are familiar with a Battery Management System (BMS), which should be installed with every lithium battery. A BMS monitors the voltages of the individual lithium cells inside a battery and has the ability to shut everything down in an emergency. A BBMS, on the other hand regulates the charging of the lithium batteries. A BBMS does NOT replace a BMS, but when used in tandem with a BMS, it optimizes lithium batteries for smarter charging and longer battery life. Best of all, it allows you to gain many of the benefits of lithium batteries, without upgrading your entire electrical system. Instead, you can simply add one or more lithium batteries to your existing lead system. You don't even have to change your battery charge controllers.
Since launch, Clark's BankManager™ BBMS units have been installed on SV Temptress and SV Tla Hla. We have also sold more than 100 units to boaters, RVers, and other off-gridders. In that time, 98% of units have functioned perfectly from the initial installation. The remaining 2% have received updated boards designed to accommodate peculiarities in their systems. This required a small change to the software, and we've updated the software on all future versions of the BankManager™. This page has more information about how the BankManager™ works and how to buy one. If you have specific questions about your system and whether the system is right for you, please feel free to send us an email and we can find a time to chat.
REQUEST A BankManager™ NOW
Anyone interested in obtaining one of these units is invited to place and order here:
MARCH 2023 UPDATE FROM CLARK
HOW IT WORKS
BASIC RV SOLAR INSTALLATION
Lithium batteries are extremely sensitive to low-current overcharging. A BMS does not prevent this, but the BBMS can. It is not only possible but likely that you could overcharge your batteries when using any of the lithium-enabled solar charge controllers out there. This low-current overcharge phenomenon causes permanent cumulative damage to your lithium batteries. The BankManager™ can charge your lithium bank of batteries to 100% without fear of overcharging.
Doesn't Cause "Memory"
LiFePO4 batteries can develop memory if charged repeatedly to a point below 100%. This makes it difficult to get the battery to take a full charge in the future. The BankManager™ can accurately charge LiFePO4 batteries to 100% without creating this type of "memory."
Extends Battery Life
The BBMS ensures that every battery in your system is utilized in a way that is appropriate to its longest life. It monitors the voltage and charge of each bank, and disconnects and reconnects individual banks when necessary to optimize your batteries.
Facilitates a Lithium(LiFePO4)/Lead-Acid Hybrid System
A BBMS like the BankManager™ allows you to safely combine LiFePO4 and lead battery banks.
With the BankManger™, you can upgrade your lead-acid system with as few as 1-2 lithium batteries, rather than replacing all your batteries. In addition, the BankManager™ allows you to keep your existing charge controllers.
The BankManager™ user interface allows you to fine-tune your charging levels and methods to your needs.
BankManager™ GENERATION 1.0 DEMONSTRATION
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU RECEIVE ONE
Jack and Lisa live aboard their Hunter 410, "Shore 'Nuff" and have been happy with their system since installing it in January 2022:
Simon in the UK had a rather complex installation, but worked with Clark to incorporate the BankManager™:
Mark Z aboard "Zee Cat" recently installed the BankManager™ BBMS on his boat with a single 100Ah LiFePO4 battery in SW Florida. He is routinely seeing 13.1 or 13.2V first thing in the morning!
Andrzej developed his own approach to mixing lead and lithium batteries, but decided in the end that the BankManager™ helped him create a more hands-off system.
Dustin and his family live on an offgrid homestead and have combined the BankManager™ with their Growatt Inveter charges. This system shows the BankManager's ability to handle very large power levels.
If you have installed your BankManager™ unit and would like to share your story, please email email@example.com.
PURCHASE A BankManager™ NOW
If you're interested in adding a BankManager™ to your boat, RV, or other offgrid system, we recommend you place an order ASAP to reserve your unit. We have a higher influx of orders in the months before peak sailing season. Global supply chain issues can often interrupt production, so we generally have fewer than 100 units on hand at all times, and often less than 50.
THE MATH & SCIENCE BEHIND THE BankManager™
My good friend Conrad Grillo (who lives aboard his sailboat, SV Tla Hla) has taken the lead in testing the BankManager™ unit on his own battery system since 2021. He has been instrumental in the development of the BBMS. Conrad has written up some thoughts and research to share with you. You may access his notes as a PDF file here.