Lipo4 batteries or agm

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 10:45
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Anybody had experience with the lithium phosphate batteries? They are pricey,but have some attributes, allegedly! They are a 1/4 of the weight of agm, charge more quickly and take up less space per a/h. I am looking at a bushtracker caravan and they are now putting lipo4 batteries in their options list. I was impressed and am considering going down this path. Any good news or otherwise out there...no Chinese whispers though, just real first hand experience, thanks
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Reply By: awill4x4 - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:37

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 14:37
On the caravanners forum not so long ago there was a lot of vitriol posted against the Lithium (LiFePo4) battery converts.
Stating all the claims were smoke and mirrors.
As time has gone on, more and more are converting to Lithium with some having massive 400 amp hour plus systems installed.
The ability to push large power quickly into them and being able to discharge way below what is acceptable for an AGM battery makes the eventual conversion from AGM to Lithium systems the norm in my opinion.
Prices are coming down but like many things buying from a reputable manufacturer is paramount. Winston batteries seem to be the battery of choice.
Try the Caravanners forum there is lots of information there to read and now that more people have changed to them there is more real world info as well.
Regards Andrew.
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:17

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:17
Andrew interesting comment you make. I can't imagine that anyone posting vitriolic messages really has any idea of the capability of comparative batteries.

I have a 200a/h pack and have had them for two years. So easy to charge and fantastic discharge rates too, keeping a high voltage right to where the SOC to 20% or 30% is where you can choose to pursue. I know others who have had lithium batteries for about 18 months longer than I have

I agree with your comments after the commentary of vitriol of the ill informed
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 18:49

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 18:49
Yes go for the Lithiums, we have a 400 a/h bank in the Oka, there is no comparison to the 480ah bank of AGM's they replaced.
They can be safely discharged to 20% SOC with in excess of 13v at that point which gives a usable 320ah but could be taken further without harm whereas taking the AGM's below 50% SOC causes loss of capacity. So instead of a 240ah battery we now have 320ah or more if needed.
I have had the Oka in the shed with the 130l Vitrifrigo fridge going for 8 days straight now in +30 temps on about half the days with NO charging and the SOC is still over 53%.
They take whatever the solar can supply until fully charged which is typically done in a couple of hours which would of taken days to do with the AGM's.
They weigh less than half of what the AGM's weighed, take up 2/3rds the space and yes while they need to be monitored to prevent overcharging and too low a discharge it isn't too onerous with the right gear.
Some of the other Lithium users have been running split aircons with the solar keeping up with the demand on large vans and motorhomes.
We have no gas so use normal electric jug, toaster and inductive cooktop on 240 through the inverter.
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Follow Up By: Kanga1 - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:56

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 08:56
Hi Peter, we are building a slide-on ATM and wondered what would be the suggested method to charge this type of battery? Is something like a Redarc SBI 12 isolator on the car going to be OK?
and a CTek charger when 240v is available? Am a bit concerned about this 'over charging' and how is it best monitored or controlled??? Cheers, Kanga.
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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:35

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 18:35
Neither the Redarc or the Ctek will do the job properly as both have no control on output voltage so will go over 14v and cook the batteries.
The big problem is that vehicle electrics are not set up to charge lithiums as the voltage is too high.
I've got two Ctek chargers a 7 amp and a 25 amp and as neither have the smarts to handle the lithiums they can't be used either as they will over charge them.
A 25 amp Projecta charger on the GEL setting is ideal as the max voltage is 14v.
We usually only charge the Oka house batteries from solar through a Plasmatronics PL40 which being fully adjustable can be set correctly for the Lithiums.
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:49

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:49
Peter, interesting comment you make about the charging voltage. The maximum voltage for warning and drop of charge current for the ones I have are at 14.8v. The control is through a Xantrex C60 charge controller. Maximum and minimum settings are controlled, as well as the solar input. I have a drop out at 30% SOC, which still would provide a strong safety factor.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 19:19

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 19:19
Hi DD

When we need to replace our batteries, I will go for Lithium on weight alone. The other advantages will be a bonus. At the price we paid for our four AGMs, they are not expensive and price is getting better as they are being sold in greater numbers.

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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:22

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:22
Interesting MH, that BTi's Steve Gibbs is now saying that close on half of the BTs leaving the factory have lithium batteries fitted, it was 1/3 only a few weeks ago. Ours being the #1 guinea pig to leave, there is no moment we have regretted the choice.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:27

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:27
That's a good report if you were guinea pig #1 John. The technology can only get better. Have you run electric heater or air conditioner from your batteries?

Mh
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:45

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:45
MH, the wiring is not set up to run an air conditioner from the inverter. Friends have a Kimberley Kruiser with a low power a/c, but I don't know it's capability. They are running with lithium, but I don't know it is much more than a fan with a thermostatic control.

We are trying to use fewer watts rather than increase them. Diesel heaters are better than trying to run a fan heater
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:53

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:53
MH, I met I think four others with lithium batteries at the Muster. Port Augusta tonight
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Reply By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:39

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 20:39
DD, your use of the word 'allegedly' does not become the post. If you can follow the science you shouldn't post that way.

Our Bushtracker was the first to leave the factory as their test bed. Their comment to me on the collection day, after saying g'day, was that they were so impressed. Discharge rates and subsequent recharge rates were fantastic, and the voltage right through the discharge range, was kept high. Much unlike AGM batteries that need to push out more amps to match the lower voltage, the further they discharge. Very poor against the AGM batteries.

On the BOG site there have been many discussions on lithium batteries. Before I posted on reliability I quizzed my friends on the Kimberley Karavan owners site where some have used LIFEPO4 batteries for about 18 months longer than I have. Failures have been on chargers (what is new?) and some other kit, but zilch on batteries.

The comment to me at BTi has been that they tend not to hear anything from lithium battery owners, quite different to issues with AGM.
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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 21:22

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 21:22
With the help of a fellow that has developed a conditioning,charging,monitoring system for Winston LiFePo4 batteries, I have converted my battery storage system over to a 4 cell 200ah one. It took me many hours of changing/upgrading solar panels,wiring and the associated electronics I required. I only finished the project around 2 weeks ago.
I am relying solely on 300watts of solar as the charging regime. My first week of full time use finished today. My overnite usage sees the morning voltage around 13.4v and float voltage has been achieved by no longer than lunch time even with a couple of cloudy days. Although our use is not massive, with our old 120ah AGM in the same conditions, we would be struggling to hold 12v by this time.
I can only say the difference is phenominal and I can only thank the "guru" who was so badly admonished on the Caravaners forum. Regards,Bob.
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Follow Up By: lancie49 - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:37

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:37
Posted by Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) replied:
I can only say the difference is phenominal and I can only thank the "guru" who was so badly admonished on the Caravaners forum. Regards,Bob.
-----------------

As you know Bob, the criticism was perpetrated by a small number of members who perhaps simply refused to accept the information given.
Not an uncommon trail I'm afraid with many topics.
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Reply By: Member - John - Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 22:32

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 at 22:32
Dublediff, don't want to hijack your thread, but having read the good reports, where abouts does one get the batteries from? Hopefully the knowledgeable ones here will be able to provide an answer. Thanks in advance. John
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:40

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 19:40
Hi John, Rod Dilkes at Ev Power provides a good support. His phone number is on the site I think you will find. He has been playing with electric vehicles using lithium polymer batteries for a while.

There are a number of searchable suppliers, but go to the one who you may be comfortable with. I know many of the Kimberley Karavan owner friends of mine, sourced them from Rod in Western Australia.

Mine came from Lifetech in Sydney but are an expensive source I believe.
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Reply By: dublediff - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:04

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 10:04
Many thanks one and all, John - take a 'bex' and lie down, it was merely a comment on information give to me that lipo4 had been overrated, that is why I have posted on this forum, one which I much appreciate the knowledge and experience of, for positive corroboration, corroboration such as you have given and I thank you for it! If I have offended you I am sorry.
The caravaners forum, well what can I say....what a font of information, pity I am on limited bandwidth due to travelling, when I get home next week I will spend the hours reading it to its end, thanks for that one too.

There are a couple of requirements for charging lipo4 that differ from agm or wet cell batteries. Bushtracker recommend different chargers both dc/dc and solar to battery pack so MH you will have to cLculate the costs of changing those when the time comes, but it appears that you will truly have your monies worth from them by that time with the amount of travelling you do.

DD
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 20:36

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 20:36
DD I think I found the post you had been referring to. There were a couple of posts from a fellow I used to read for information on AGM batteries. I don't consider he understands the gap between the technologies when he challenges the efficiency comparisons. He is completely out of his depth. I know the values needed to balance the Victron BMV 600 I have to watch the ins and outs for me. I can email the PDF should you like to email me, with the altered values. Peukert, efficiency values and all. It was failing to measure properly until I got the inputs correct. My email address is in the profile
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Follow Up By: dublediff - Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 21:47

Sunday, Sep 29, 2013 at 21:47
Thanks John, it would be information well over my head. whilst I have a laymans appreciation of 12v DC electronics having played with house batteries for many years of off road camping, and having destroyed a very expensive gel cell in 1996 due to my lack of specific requirements, all I was after was first hand experience with lipo batteries. I have spent some considerable time on they caravaners forum this evening, found my wife's data use age on phone was unused ;-). What a bloodbath, beyond the slanging and innuendo it was affirmative.....I think for the lipo4, anyway,just popped back for my ballistic vest and helmet and heading back in to finish the thread. Cheers eric.
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Follow Up By: The Original JohnR (Vic) - Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 07:12

Monday, Sep 30, 2013 at 07:12
Mate I can no way imply that I understand the particular value calculations, but I understand somewhat, the way each battery efficiency works. Our battery was supplied by the self asserted guru. He is living them and does know his values.
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