Do lithium batteries require a special charger?

There is no need to replace the existing chargers that you have been using on a lead-acid battery and replace them with lithium battery chargers. A lead-acid charger will do the job. It is always recommended to use an integrated lithium battery charger for a lithium battery, not only because it is safer, but also because it will help to charge the battery faster. LiFePO4 batteries have a low self-discharge rate of 3 to 5% per month, so they can be left partially discharged for more than a year without damaging the battery. On average, a lithium battery can weigh about half as much as a standard lead-acid battery of the same voltage, sometimes even less.

Yes, but the alternator can only directly charge lithium and LiFePO4 batteries designed for automotive use. We recommend that new owners of lithium batteries use a charger that has a lithium-specific charging profile for LiFePO4 batteries. Initially, a lead-acid battery may save a boat owner money, but a lithium battery can last several times longer than its lead-acid alternative. DC-DC chargers are needed in most cases when using alternators to charge batteries (the exception is the Dakota Lithium Plus 12 V, 60 Ah and 1000 CCA battery, which is designed for use in the engine of a boat or car).

LiFePO4 batteries can be charged in environments up to 113°F, but should not be charged in direct sunlight above 90°F. One of the most common mistakes new owners of marine lithium batteries make when charging them is using the wrong charger. When charging, make sure that the ampere per hour (Ah) rating of the battery charger is not higher than the Ah rating of the lithium battery. Chargers that do not reach a power of up to 14.4 V, such as integrated chargers for marine AGM batteries or lead-acid batteries that do not have a lithium setting, will not be able to fully charge the battery.

For example, an electric cooler with an energy consumption of 1 amp can operate for 100 hours with a Dakota Lithium or LiFePO4 battery or 40 to 50 hours with an AGM or lead-acid battery. You can use a lead-acid charger on a lithium battery if you want, HOWEVER, you should NOT use a lead-acid charger if you have an automatic “equalization” mode that cannot be permanently turned off. The batteries can be charged while they are in the system, by connecting a charger with the voltage corresponding to that of the system to the positive terminal of the first battery and to the negative terminal of the last battery. A lithium battery can be charged undamaged at any temperature between 0 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.