**Update September ’23. Case Studies added below.**
**Winter 2023-2024. High-end custom built pure lithium 12V 608/912Ah & 24V 304/608Ah now kept in stock. REC-BMS external battery management system. 500 amp bus bars. Installed with a Victron Cerbo GX + Touch 50 display & Wakespeed or Mastervolt external alternator regulator.**
Posts of my lithium related jobs are on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/four_counties_marine/
Lithium batteries bring tremendous benefits to off-grid Narrowboat life transforming the way power is used and managed onboard. In comparision lead acid is delicate, weak, and completely impractical. Properly installed lithium (LiFePo4) systems are safe. My public liability insurance specifically covers Lithium – and work is done to the highest standards using the best equipment. All installations now use Blue Sea MRBF terminal fuses at the battery/cells with a main Class T fuse & Victron Lynx Distributor.
I’m happy installing a complete system from scratch, working on a specific component or make improvements and additions to an existing setup – such as alternator upgrade, external alternator regulator or battery monitoring and control. I only supply & install lithium batteries that use an external BMS (Battery Management System). As an alternative to complete Victron I can supply custom systems built around a REC-BMS & Victron Cerbo.
For new-builds I offer a complete build & install: Battery supplied and installed with a Victron power system. Alternator supplied for the engine mariniser + external alternator regulator. And options for a solar installation.
One key benefit of Lithium is the virtually limitless recharge property. This means you have to ‘lithium proof’ the alternator. I specialise in installing Wakespeed WS500 and Mastervolt Alpha Pro regulators – see my external alternator regulator page for details on why it’s by-far the best approach.
The majority of factory alternator setups even on current engines being fitted to new narrowboats right now are not designed with Lithium batteries in mind. I’ve developed alternator upgrades for specific engines which take full advantage of the lithium system – more detail on my alternator upgrade page. For new-builds I can work with the engine mariniser and build a strong and reliable alternator charging system.
Equipment to program and setup all of the Victron, Mastervolt, Wakespeed & REC systems.
I don’t work on ‘hybrid’ (lead acid+lithium) systems. Since they don’t comply with the latest US based ABYC standards it’s possibe my public liablity insurance may not pay out if anything ever went wrong. It’s a DIY route done to save money, with compromises, requiring some experimentation and with accepted risks.
Any queries please call Ed 07922 163072.
608Ah EVE Cells + REC-BMS + Victron + WS500 on Narrowboat Angel.
New-build live-aboad’s struggled on for 9 months with 800Ah AGM batteries. I install a REC-BMS/Victron based system inside the cabin. Customers delighted and can’t believe the difference. They love the Victron VRM experience and the accurate and reliable state of charge percentage.
The Beta 43 adapts superbly to charging Lithium. I upgrade cable sizes and add a Wakespeed WS500 external regulator. Perfect integration with the REC-BMS.
12V 400Ah Victron Lithium + Cerbo + Multiplus II + Wakespeed on Nb Lands End.
Totally offgrid customers work onboard in tech jobs and require reliable power. I fit a 400Ah Victron Lithium with a Wakespeed WS500 managing the Beta 43 175A alternator.
The system uses the latest efficient Victron Multiplus II with Cerbo and Touch 50 display. My customers love the new system and especially impressed with Victron’s VRM giving remote monitoring and displaying trends showing exactly what’s going on.
Simple Victron/Mastervolt install on Nb. Emperor.
This beautiful Dave Harris narrowboat is as traditional and simple as you get. No solar. Paloma hot water. No TV. Paraffin lighting. 12V fridge. Lithium still suits it perfectly though.
Even though the boat’s moored in a marina there’s never been a landline connection. It’s possibly why the 30+ year old hull is still like new. My customer likes the strong/rugged properties Lithium offers: The ability to be left partially charged and a battery monitor that actually works. We fit a simple system – 200Ah of Victron batteries with Smart BMS12/200. Victron BMV700 monitor. A Mastervolt Alpha Pro looks after a modest 90 amp alternator upgrade + custom 65mm pulley on the Lister JP3.
560Ah EVE cells + REC-BMS + Victron + Wakespeed on Nb Dormouse.
Beautiful & much admired traditional Narrowboat had a state of the art Mastervolt electrical system when built ~12 years ago. Recent battery problems lead customer to look towards Lithium. I fit 560Ah of raw cells + REC-BMS. This system uses a Victron Cerbo GX as it’s main communication hub controlling a 12/3000 Victron Multiplus II & SmartSolar controller all monitored on the Victron Touch 50.
Upgraded 150A Bosch alternator on the Isuzu engine while cruising managed by a Wakespeed WS500 regulator. Dometic 3.5 Travel Power generator provides a combined unstrained 200A charging while moored up.
Victron Lithium + Beta Alternator Upgrade + Solar on nb. Denry.
Practical offgrid liveaboard is fed up with excessive engine running and no power. I install 2* 200Ah Victron SmartLithium batteries, VE.Bus V2 BMS, Multiplus II 3000/120, Cerbo GX + Touch 50.
150A Bosch alternator upgrade + custom pulley + XPA belt on the Beta 1505 with Mastervolt Alpha Pro regulator maximises charging. Lead acid start battery automatically charged with a Victron Orion DC-DC charger.
1275W of Perlight solar panels fitted neatly on my s/s brackets running through a Victron 150/100 controller.
Customer delighted with the new system. Totally self sufficient in the Summer with all electric galley.
Victron Lithium install on 10 year old n/b. Suffolk Punch.
My customer wants a simple and reliable system for true off-grid living 365 days/year. I recommend and install 2* 200Ah Victron Smart Lithium batteries. VE.bus BMS. BMV Smart monitor. Cerbo GX + Touch 70 display. Batteries are moved inside for low temp winter charging. Fit 1500 Watt of solar so there’s absolutely no engine running in the Summer with 100% renewable power. Electric kettle, slow cooker, induction hob, microwave, toaster and worktop cooker, and potential immersion heater hot water in sunny conditions.
Engine charging from the factory Beta 43 175A Iskra and controlled by a Wakespeed WS500 creating – an awesome optimised alternator charging system. A full winter recharge takes <2.5 hrs. The WS500 now integrates with Victron system and displays running data on the touch screen display.
400Ah Victron Lithium + 200A Alternator + Mastervolt Alpha Pro.
Upgrade to a Victron system: 12V 400Ah Victron + VE.Bus BMS v2. Multiplus II 3000/120. Victron 100/50 SmartSolar.
200A Bosch Alternator + 6pk crank pulley upgrade + Mastervolt Alpha Pro Regulator on the Canaline 38 engine. Superfast and unstrained recharging.
560Ah EVE Cells + REC-BMS + Alpha Pro + Victron install.
Electrical update on much used holiday boat. 8* 3.2V 280Ah EVE cells built into a battery with REC-BMS. The BMS connects via CAN-bus with a Victron Cerbo GX which becomes the monitoring/control hub, communicating with Multiplus II & SmartSolar and the Victron touch-screen display shows all monitoring for the complete system.
90A Canaline 38 Alternator is regulated by a Mastervolt Alpha Pro and integrated in with the REC-BMS. 850W solar mounted flat on my s/s bracket set.
Example of 400Ah Winston + REC-ABMS + Victron install.
Liveaboard totally offgrid boat. I install 12V 400Ah Winston Thundersky cells with REC-BMS. The BMS features active cell balancing and shunt based current monitoring. It sends data using CAN-bus to a Victron Cerbo GX which controls a Victron Multiplus II 12-3000-120 and Victron Smartsolar controller and displays data on the Victron Touch GX display and interface. The Cerbo connects to the internet and allows remote monitoring & control through Victron’s vrm remote portal. The REC-BMS integrates incredibly well with the Victron Cerbo GX.
The new Multiplus II is more efficient than ever and has a 2nd programmable AC2 240V output to enable automatic immersion heating or aircon options for the Summer (dependant on solar setup) and programmed based on many different paramaters. A Mastervolt Alpha Pro controller, 150A Bosch alternator upgrade with Victron Cyrix-Li-ct relay gets the very most out of the limited single alternator Vetus M4.14 setup.
With an efficient base of a 12V boat my customers can go for 5+ days between recharge in deepest winter. On their offgrid Shropshire mooring a bankside Honda EU2000 generator provides efficient and convenient charging.
400Ah Victron Install + Alpha Pro Regulator.
Simple 2* 200Ah Victron Smart Lihtium batteries, VE.Bus BMS, SmartSolar 100/50, BMV712 Smart installed on a liveaboard totally offgrid narrowboat. DC system rewired and brought upto spec using the original Victron 3000/120 Multiplus.
Mastervolt Alpha Pro fitted to the factory 175A Canaline 42 alternator for 135A+ continuous winter charging. My technical engineer customer installs a Rasperry Pi to get the full Victron VRM online portal monitoring working.
400Ah Winston Thundersky cells + REC-BMS install on nb. Sunflower.
New liveaboard owner on this 60′ Narrowboat had issues with the orignal lead acid batteries. Fit 400AH Winston Cells, REC-BMS, Cerbo GX + Touch 70 display, 3000/120 Multiplus II, SmartSolar 100/50 + 1100W solar. Charging through the Multiplus with Electrolux Travel Power generator.
The top quality REC-BMS battery management system has active cell balancing and integrates seamlessly with the Victron equipment.
Victron 400Ah on a tiny 30ft Aintree Beetle Narrowboat.
2* 200AH Smart Lithium, VE.Bus BMS, BMV712 Smart monitor, SmartSolar 75/15, Multiplus 12/1600/70.
150A Bosch alternator + Mastervolt Alpha Pro + Cyrix Li-CT 230 fitted to the tiny Beta 20 engine. Alternator charging clipped to 100A continuous. I’m proud of this alternator upgrade and it really gets the most from the tiny engine. Customer delighted and now practically gas free.
400Ah Winston + REC-ABMS + 200A Alternator install.
Customer found the recent 440Ah lead acid batteries not fit for live-aboard life. I install a custom 400Ah Winston Thundersky + REC Active BMS + Victron Cerbo GX battery setup. Victron 100A Battery Protect handles DC loads. Exisiting Victron 1600 Multi & Smartsolar controller integrate perfectly with CAN-bus & VE.Direct to the Cerbo. The original Victron BMV Smart is ditched and the Cerbo GX provides monitoring and system control over the Victron VRM remote portal.
The original 70A Beta 38 alternator replaced with 200A Bosch. A Mastervolt Alpha Pro looks after alternator charging – Max output capped to 190 amps with ‘small engine mode’ setup for the Beta 38 and temp sensing looking after alternator temperature . Performance is incredible and relentless. The REC-BMS controls the Alpha Pro.
400AH Winston Thundersky + 123SmartBMS.
Live-a-board customer was fed-up with the deteriating 330AH 12-month-old lead acid bank. I build a 400AH Winston Thundersky + 123BMS neatly installed inside the cabin. Mastervolt Alpha Pro + alternator upgrade to look after engine charging. The Dutch made 123\SmartBMS controls the other kit: Victron BMV712, Mastervolt Alpha Pro, Victron Multiplus, Victron Smartsolar, Victron Battery Protect etc..
Awesome power & capacity and simple setup. In the Summer options for immersion heater hot water, air conditioning, induction hob, microwave, toaster, kettle etc.. In the depths of Winter power will last for ~5 days between running the engine with a full recharge in less than 2.5 hours with optimised alternator charging. I offer this system at a fixed price with a proper 2 year callout warranty for my customer’s piece of mind – which I personally cover.
Winston Thundersky + 123SmartBMS + Victron install.
My live-aboard customer wants to moor up for as long as possible and really doesn’t like running the engine, totally offgrid and always on the towpath. I fit 12V 400AH Winston cells + 123SmartBMS. New Victron Multiplus 3000/120 with simple powerful 120A engine charging from Dometic 3.5 Travel Power + Victron Multicontrol input current limiting to keep the travel power and a Honda EU2200i unstrained. If there’s ever an issue with the Travel Power there’s a 200A Bosch swapout for even faster charging. I also add 1000 watt of solar with a Victron Smartsolar controller to an already installed 650W system.
The solar allows for automatic free hot water & electric cooking in the Summer and there’s plans to install a small aircon unit in the bedroom. The new lithium battery works so well with the other Victron equipment and Travel Power. My customer is delighted with the new setup and it’s transformed life on-board.