LiFePo4 Batteries

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LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:40 am

Has anybody pulled the trigger on LiFePo4 drop-in batteries yet? They're freaky expensive right now but the TCO is around where lead acid batteries are at and you can get a 10 year guarantee on some makes. $300 for two GC batteries, versus one LiFePO4 for $950; the amp-hr capacity is about the same between the two type but about 1/4 the total weight with LiFePO4. I've been looking at them and thinking I might get one in the next year or so. Right now I'm leaning towards Battle Born Batteries.

LiFePo4 Vs. Lead Acid

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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby John61CT » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:10 pm

Be careful, the internal BMS can abruptly cut off no warning.

And many can't handle a high discharge current, or even fast charging

Like a fridge (??!!!) in BB's case, but maybe that's fixed by now.

And many can't handle fast charging, i.e. a high charge current, even though LFP itself can always get back to Full in under an hour or two.

Personally better off buying top quality bare prismatic cells, then

buy or figure out the protective gear yourself, so you can upgrade / improve / bypass if needed.

Or buy the full packaged quality systems from Victron, Mastervolt or Lithionics

TCO / ROI vs lead is **very** hard to justify in the US market when quality Deka true deep cycling is $1 / Ah @12V

No way LFP here is less than 7-10x that by the time you're done.

But energy density and chronic PSOC situations can sometimes make it more worth the premium.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:23 pm

Battle Born 100A-hr battery has a 100A discharge rate, which is plenty for what I want to power - I don't have a MW or high current loads. I've looked at DIY cells and I'd play with them but I don't know how charging while on shore power works. I need to look and see if my Iota charger will handle LiFePO4 batteries without overcharging them. I know Iota has a charge controller for LiFePO4 but I haven't looked at the specs.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby MtnDon » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:49 pm

Do lithium flashlight and emergency light batteries count? ;)

We do use lithium to store power at our cabin. A little more than a year now. GBS branded LiFeMnPo4 prismatic cells were the base for the system. It is a larger set than what one would use in a teardrop or a CT or most RV's, unless you were full timing in something the size of a bus. They are wonderful to have. Charge much quicker off the same solar panels. Light weight is not so important for our use other than it was much easier transporting and installing them than lead acid. I absolutely love not having to watch fluid levels as well as being able to shut everything down leaving the cells in a partial charge state with no worries at all. We only charge to about 90% so they may outlive me. :thinking:

Not cheap, but we saved as we went together with two other families and bought a pallet of cells direct from China. Our BMS systems were designed and built by one of the others who is an electrical engineer.

The Iota IQ-LIFEPO plugin device seems a good deal, especially if you already have Iota chargers. I haven't used it except for an initial trial right after they were bought. If I had not already had Iota chargers I may not have bothered. The power used gets recharged quicker via the same solar panels, so there has seldom ever been a day when we actually needed to use the generator and Iota charger. That is also helped by the fact that the lithium can be left partially charged with no detrimental affects.

I still have a year at least on the GC2 batteries in the CT. I would very much like to use lithium when the time comes for new ones. I've looked at the Battle Born, and might go with them. Last time I looked Northern AZ Wind-Sun was selling them. I take that as a vote of confidence. Pricey. But I like the weight savings.

FWIW, I do not think lithium cells will get appreciably cheaper as more and more things are using lithium of one type or another.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby hwitten » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:28 am

I changed to BB Lithium. It started as a simple wanting to get battery off Aframe. See https://www.smallrvs.ca/?p=1174


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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:26 am

MtnDon wrote:Our BMS systems were designed and built by one of the others who is an electrical engineer.


Any links you might have towards a DIY BMS would be appreciated. My hunch is that my cost to buy individual cells and build a BMS will be pretty close to the cost of a Battle Born but without the 10 year warranty. While you never know how long they will stay in business, I like warranties. I wondered if you'd looked into LiFePO4, I'm glad to see you're having good luck with them.

hwitten wrote:I changed to BB Lithium. It started as a simple wanting to get battery off Aframe. See https://www.smallrvs.ca/?p=1174


Nice write up, thanks for the info. Let us know how well they are working for you every now and then.

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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby John61CT » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:00 am

Yes of course drop-ins are the cheaper option, marketed to the masses.

I see warranty as a marketing stunt, once past the break-in and capacity verification stage.

LFP can be made to last 20+ years, and the odds of doing so with cells from top known-good vendors like Winston/Thundersky/Voltronix, CALB, GBS, A123 & Sinopoly

are IMO much greater.

We have no idea who makes BB's cells, they are just an assembler / system integrator and can change their sourcing anytime we wouldn't know.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:06 am

John61CT wrote:I see warranty as a marketing stunt, once past the break-in and capacity verification stage.


I can tell you're not a fan of drop-in batteries, what kind of setup do you run?

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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby HarryL » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:09 pm

I have two, 100 amp, Battle Born batteries in my other camper, a 27' Forest River with 600 watts of solar on the roof. I also have a 2000 watt inverter. The setup works great and has been trouble free. I needed to change out my charger to be able to accommodate the Lithium's higher charge capacity and with a 60 amp charger, I can be fully charged in two hours. I run my microwave without any issues. I monitor my battery and solar production with a Victron BMV 700 monitor and mppt charge controller that works off an app on my phone.

This setup almost eliminates battery issues and stress! Seamless operation.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby MtnDon » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:26 pm

Bruce, our groups' system engineers do not want to distribute the BMS schematics. They want to reserve the option of going into business. I don't know that they ever will as they both have too many irons in the fire as it is, IMO. But I promised to abide by their wishes. The BMS is functionally similar to those sold by Elite Power Systems, but better :D All I really know is that they work well. We can view what is happening on a PC or Android app. They both work for a large US based firm that makes chips and things like that. One is a hardware engineer, the other is software. They have Chinese contacts that enabled the production of a small batch and also helped with the GBS cell purchase, shipping, and customs. I got to join in the party because we're neighbors/friends and I could make the containment plates and straps.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:33 pm

HarryL wrote: This setup almost eliminates battery issues and stress! Seamless operation.


That seems to be what everyone says that runs them and that's why they are at the top of my list so far. Thanks for the review!

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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby bdosborn » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:39 pm

MtnDon wrote:Bruce, our groups' system engineers do not want to distribute the BMS schematics. They want to reserve the option of going into business.


Tell them to hurry up; now's the time to get in there while the market is immature and there are DIY guys like me looking for a BMS. ;)
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:31 pm

HarryL wrote:I have two, 100 amp, Battle Born batteries in my other camper, a 27' Forest River with 600 watts of solar on the roof. I also have a 2000 watt inverter. The setup works great and has been trouble free. I needed to change out my charger to be able to accommodate the Lithium's higher charge capacity and with a 60 amp charger, I can be fully charged in two hours. I run my microwave without any issues. I monitor my battery and solar production with a Victron BMV 700 monitor and mppt charge controller that works off an app on my phone.

This setup almost eliminates battery issues and stress! Seamless operation.

thanks for the info .. what is the make and model of your 60 amp charger?
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby Shadow Catcher » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:28 pm

Our Lifeline 150AH AGM aged out after 8+ years. I am using it with our battery powered backup sump pump.
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Re: LiFePo4 Batteries

Postby HarryL » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:22 pm

I'm using the Go Power C Series 2000-watt Inverter Charger. It combines a Charger,Inverter and a transfer switch all in one box. Was relatively easy to install. I had planned on getting the individual components from Victron, but the Go Power system happened to be on sale for right around $1000. I took the chance and it has worked out well for me and made the wiring very simple.
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