Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Lithium battery installation discussion

  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts

    Lithium battery installation discussion

    I have already invested way to much time and money into solar installation. I cannot afford to have a bunch of installation out there that might fail an inspection report or more important and insurance claim.

    I hear a lot of people say that their insurance is aware of their installation and it is covered, I might have some bad news for you, having a test report/COC and a legit test report/COC is completely different.

    I have an occupation certificate for my property with all the certificates for the alterations, done by registered legit contractors. I put in a claim for a damaged driveway after some heavy flooding. The claim was rejected on the grounds that the tar thickness is too thin, I know it has nothing to do with lithium batteries, however I have been involved in a few R200k claims and boy you better make sure you cross all the T's and dot all the I's.

    That is what this thread is going to be all about, making sure that when you bump the battery in your garage, mounted less than 1.2 AFFL which is covered by a so called test report/COC, you understand why your R2 000 000.00 claim might not be covered. In some cases you dont need a book full of regulations to realize that a little common sense will help you understand the dangers of installing a lithium battery less than 1.2 m in a garage where you parks cars.

    Anyway lets get on with it.
    Last edited by Isetech; 01-Apr-24 at 05:00 PM.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    I cant wait for a bunch clever people to sit around a table discussing this matter for the next 5 years, we are already 2-3 years behind. Why haven't I already put together basic guidelines for lithium battery installations. I am not a report/white paper kind of person, I know all the answers, just battle to transfer what goes on in my head onto paper. I am going to try put something together because I feel this is extremely important and should have been dealt with a long time ago.


    First we have to understand a few things, are lithium batteries dangerous ... ask yourself is a fuel tank in my vehicle dangerous or is an empty container safe to weld ? I am not going to go into detail and list everything, but rather just try cover the absolute basics.

    Lets start by looking at what makes a lithium battery dangerous:

    1/ Heat
    2/ Unregulated charge rates.
    3/ Puncture


    What will happen:

    1/ Thermal runaway

    Under normal operating conditions, will they blow up and burn your house down, NO.

    Under normal operating conditions, do they release a dangerous explosive gas, NO.

    If you store the battery at around 50 % SOC in a cool environment, where it is protected from physical impact is it dangerous, NO.


    just like your petrol tank in your vehicle, it is not dangerous unless you impact the tank or puncture it, or if the fuel line leaks (my bakkie once caught on fire because the mechanic didn't tighten the clamp on the fuel line, a story for another time) do you leave your vehicle parked in the garage with your solar lithium battery, its the safest place right, well according to social media it would be.

    Best you leave your dangerous petrol vehicle in the garage and rather take an Uber in an EV, much safer, but wait, an EV has a lithium battery, you and your family are going to sit on top of it ....eeeeeish, it is going to be exposed to all sort of temperatures, you could even hit a pothole a rock bounces up and and it could puncture the lithium battery under the car.

    You going to see responses all over social media highlighting various SANS regulations, mentioning J1 and a bunch of other regs, I am not going to list all of them, just go to any social media group and you will find tons of copy and pastes.

    The sad part is very few people have taken the time to explore the regulations, but more important understand why the regulation was put there to begin with.

    If they are not dangerous them why all the fuss, simple they become extremely dangerous if not installed correctly in the correct environment.

    Then what should we do, reduce the risk, you put measures in place to ensure a safer environment.
    Last edited by Isetech; 01-Apr-24 at 05:05 PM.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    How do we create a safer environment:

    1/ Create safe installation guidelines.

    2/ Ensure that the people installing lithium batteries are suitably skilled and experienced. (MIE with the correct credits)

    3/ Some level of product certification to ensure they are safe and the manufacturer has taken steps to ensure the enclosure is suitable and the BMS of a decent quality and proper protection and isolation is incorporated in the unit (like a proper disconnect which isolates the power on the supply cables, not just a button) It shouldn't be left to the installer, especially in rack mounted batteries.

    4/ A specific test report for lithium batteries to be attached to the COC.

    5/ Smoke detection.

    6/ Fire blanket.

    7/ PPE.

    8/ Signage.

    Just to mention a few, the idea of this thread is not to cover everything, just create dialog, get people thinking.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    I have already installed my fair share of lithium batteries, let go through what I have done in an attempt to make them as safe as I can with my limited lithium battery knowledge.

    What measures have I taken in an attempt to make them as safe a possible, identify where they want it installed, then identify the challenges.

    1/ Look at the installation Location - What is the location being used for, an office, a garage, a bedroom, a study, lounge, kitchen, attic, outbuilding, an old age home, maybe a classroom, locker?

    2/ The position - in front of a car lower than 1.2 m, in passage used as a fire escape, under a wooden stairwell, in cupboard, outside in direct sunlight, maybe even a bathroom ? Each location will have it challenges which you need to identify.

    3/ Accessibility - Who can reach the battery, switch disconnector, terminals, power button ?

    4/ Early warning - do you need smoke detectors?

    5/ Visible notification in case of emergency - A light or siren, or even better, link it to your alarm system, which will send you and your armed response a fire notification. Yes all alarm systems are fitted with fire output triggers. So you can have a red light for fire and a blue light for an intruder. Even the CCTV (TIOC) cameras we install have red and blue flashing lights, which send notifications, so there is really no excuse. If you have the funds, fit an IR camera in the room where the lithium battery is installed.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    Lets look at some of the installations I am currently busy with and the challenges I am facing in an attempt to make the installation as safe as possible.

    The one I am busy with is a good example of why it cannot go in the garage.

    Firstly the vehicles in the garage at the moment are worth over 1 million each and they are custom built, so you cant just go replace them.

    Next, the distance, from the point of supply to the new location in the garage would mean that total length of cable would be over 100m, then there is the route it would have to take, out the building, down the wall buried in the ground, then back up the wall and into the the garage and back again. It just doesn't make sense.

    I could install the battery on an outside wall, back to back with the inverter, which personally I feel is the best place for lithium batteries, however living in SA, makes that a challenge, you would need to secure it and hide from direct sunlight. We only install IP 65 batteries, so the weather/moisture/ humidity etc, isn't an issue. Some might say they are only C0.5 rated, my response is, ok. I dont argue with people who know better .

    Now that we cant fit it in the garage, it cant go on the outside wall and I want to keep the installation as close to the main DB as possible, the bedrooms are all "occupied" (people sleep in them), the lounge is too open, the study/games room, that could be an option, but also the distance a challenge, toilet no space, which leaves me with the kitchen scullery, there is no space in the kitchen and the pantry cupboard is not 120 min rated and the space would create a warranty challenge, I am not an approved installer (nor a 50p plus), so I have to make sure my installations are spaced correctly

    Then the big question, can I install a lithium battery in the scullery... I dont see why not, we have established that a lithium battery is not going to explode and burn your house down under normal operation conditions.

    We need to take a few things into consideration, just in case of an emergency:

    1/ The size of the scullery, will it affect the spacing around the inverter and battery and void the warranty ? NO, cool so spacing is not an issue, there are windows in the scullery on the opposite wall. The inverter has 3 built in fans, so we will install 2 big extractors above the system, linked to a temp probe.

    2/ The ceiling board is not 120 min fir resistant, so we are going to replace the ceiling with the correct fire rathe board.

    3/ The scullery entrance door will be replaced with a fire rated door.

    4/ 2 of the walls in the scullery are only single brick, which I thought is not 120 min rated, however I read somewhere that it is ( please feel free to correct me)

    5/ We will fit a smoke detector, linked to the alarm system which will be an early warning, it will notify the customer and the armed response company.

    6/ 2 x fire blankets at the entrance to the room.

    7/ signage on the outside house, indicating that there is a solar system installed and the location of the lithium battery.

    8/ There will be a document holder at the entrance to the scullery, with all the documentation with building layouts, disconnector locations, circuit identification etc etc etc. Making it easy for customer, fire department or anyone who needs to isolate the system to work on the property, especially if I am not available.


    Something I am still trying to decide, if I should fit a 4 pole DC isolator or fireman's switch for each combination of strings (1+1) - (1+1) on the front of the building to switch off the solar power. Anyone who has worked on these dangerous home made DC control boxes being installed will understand why I say 4 pole.
    Last edited by Isetech; 01-Apr-24 at 05:12 PM.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    Can I install a lithium battery inside the house and save my customer a lot of money, of course you can, dont let people who only know how to copy and paste control the industry.

    LITHIUM BATTERY ARE NOT DANGEROUS UNDER NORMAL OPERATING CONDITIONS.

    They are only become dangerous under abnormal conditions, therefore a proper risk analysis must be done by a suitably qualified person (preferably and MIE with the correct credits), who will identify the risks and classify the area if required.

    While doing some research, watching videos and discussing this topic with many people who are highly skilled and qualified, it seems that there are very few who should be offering advice.

    You gotta wonder who the clever person was who started the trend of installing battery in a garage with flammable materials, below 1.2 m with expensive vehicles thinking it was a good idea, (maybe the same people who suggest a permanent bond on a TN-S system), there many other reasons why it is not a good idea, but I am sure you get the idea.

    Take your blinkers off and open your eyes.

    Please feel free to set the record straight if you feel this information is incorrect, I am not a lithium battery specialist, there a few people I wouldnt mind being stuck in a room with for 12 hours to learn from them, because of their vast knowledge in this industry, unfortunately I cant find them on any social media platforms.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    all this talk about J1 and fire ratings, what if I just install the battery inside a stainless steel enclosure?

    What would the fire rating for a stainless enclosure be?

    What are your thought?
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    I just need to find an engineer who can design a cabinet with a 2 hours fire rating, who understands all the regulations and wants to get involved in designing what could be the next best thing. I have a workshop with all the equipment and skills to fabricate the enclosure.

    Looking at all the dodgy installs on social media, this could be the next best thing, it will save people a lot of money trying to relocate the system all the way to a silly place like the garage

    Then you can install the system in the bedroom, next to your bed
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    2,039
    Thanks
    55
    Thanked 97 Times in 93 Posts
    If anyone knows of an engineer who is looking for work or wants to get involved in this project, message me.

    There is a lot more to this than just the fire rating, I have already made my first unit and busy with the second, now I just need to make them fire rated.

    It is a mobile unit (on wheels) and includes everything, inverter (around 8 kva) 1/2/3/or more batteries, stackable, DB the works.

    The fire rating will mean it can be installed anywhere in the house, upgradeable (add more batteries) and more inverters (parallel)
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Lithium battery in the toilet
    By Isetech in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-Nov-23, 06:04 AM
  2. Solid-state battery VS Lithium-ion battery
    By jennyzhang in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 20-Oct-23, 07:43 AM
  3. Lithium battery installtion
    By Isetech in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 17-Oct-23, 11:39 AM
  4. [Question] Which 48 volt lithium battery is the best
    By Isetech in forum Energy and Resource Conservation Forum
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 22-Sep-23, 04:29 AM
  5. Lithium battery quality
    By Isetech in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-Feb-23, 05:03 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •