LiFePO4 battery as cranking battery?

Submitted: Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 09:45
ThreadID: 111296 Views:2361 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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With Lithium batteries approaching affordability, and my main cranking battery starting to age, I wondered if anyone has had experience using a Lithium as a cranking battery. I am looking at a 75 AH Fusion Battery. Its described as a deep cycle battery, but then so is the Optima Yellow Top which can be used for cranking.
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Reply By: Louwai - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 10:51

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 10:51
I don't have Lithium batteries in the car or the Land Cruiser, but have had one in my 1300cc motorbike for about a yr.
Couldn't be happier with it.

When I first bought the battery it sat in the garage for about 6wks before I installed it. I did not put it on the charger at any time.
After installing, it has been spectacular. CCA is far higher than the standard battery & the difference in weight is a bonus. The Lithium is less than 40% of the weight of the standard.

Over the Christmas period I was overseas for a month. The bike wasn't used for over a week prior to my departure, so all up over 5 weeks of sitting in the garage.
When I got back, the battery cranked with it's usual full power. No issues.
My standard bike battery would die if left for more than 5 or 6 days without a ride or charging.

I'm very pleased with it.
In the Troopie I currently have 2 x 110ah AGM's as aux batteries. When it's time to replace them I will definately be putting Lithiums in.

I haven't researched the full size cranking batteries as yet, but if they are anything like the bike battery, then I won't hesitate.
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 11:11

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 11:11
Louwai,

that sounds impressive. Thanks for that.

I might use my existing Optima D34 yellow as the cranking battery, and the Lithium as auxiliary, but ultimately, I'd like to go all Lithium to save weight.

The 55 AH Optima weighs 19.6 kg and the 75 AH Lithium weighs 9.9! The only question is CCA for cranking. (and cost at $995!)

Bob
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 13:32

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 13:32
at $1,000 cost to save 10kg, are there not more cost effective weight saving measures you could consider?
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 17:35

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 17:35
Alby, the extra cost over a premium battery is about $700. If it lasts twice as long it starts to look reasonable. As far as weight savings go I've stripped nearly everything out the car, put myself on a diet, and insist on travelling alone - there isn't much else I can do!
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 11:06

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 11:06
I watch these things carefully Bob and I gotta say they just aren't there yet for that application.

Sure you can do it , but $1000+ compared to your $165 exide extremes.

Mind you like LouWai above I have one for the bike.

Give it a couple of more years , it will happen.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 14:43

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 14:43
Robin,

a possible solution might be to use an UltraCapacitor array for cranking. Here is a guy using six 350 Farad capacitors to crank a small petrol motor. They are available online at $65USD for 8 - you'd need 12 to start a diesel. I reckon if you had your Lithium battery in parallel with the capacitor setup, but with some kind of load protection to isolate the Lithium battery while cranking, you'd have a top lightweight system (albeit a bit pricey).

Bob
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:12

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:12
I have lithium batteries in my Karavan and could not be happier. So much more no-fuss useable power, in fact nearly twice the useable power for half the weight.

I know a bloke (lithium battery seller) who has a lithium battery as a cranker in his car. 4 cells, each the size of a Red Bull can, strapped together. It's been there in his daily drive for some years.

IMO the only downside is the initial $$ outlay. Once that comes down to reasonable levels I think it will be hard to justify using lead-acid technology.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 15:00

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 15:00
Yep, you're right......ONCE the cost comes down..

And they have been proven a bit more ??....still some long term ownership reports coming in from the USA on their ability to withstand heat .

Recharge cycles have been reported as a lot shorter than claimed, and the heat wasn't even under bonnet heat !...enclosed battery cabinets under motorhomes !
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 17:34

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 17:34
I'm certainly no battery guru, but, I have read that you need a different charging regime to charge lithium iron compared with lead acid. Might be something to check on with someone who knows a bit about them. Not just the guy who wants to sell you one.
The other thing I have read is that for long term storage they prefer being 70% or 80% of full charge rather than 100%. Not saying this is a downside, probably the opposite.

Maybe a bit of homework required before spending some fairly big bucks.

Well big bucks to me anyway.

There are a couple of guys on the caravanners forum that do use them, not sure if they are using them for cranking though.
As far as being knowledgeable they certainly talk the talk. I'm not in any position to judge whether they are full of knowledge or that other common commodity.

(;=))

Cheers
Pop

Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 546842

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 12:37

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 12:37
Hi
Pop has it right
You cannot just throw them in as a replacement for ANY lead acid
You could quickly stuff the battery as well as burn out your alternator .

Overcharging beyond THEIR specified settings kills them
Their high current acceptance can easily over load the alternator.

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 14:47

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 14:47
Peter,

from the Fusion battery website: "Fusion Lithium Batteries are also one of the only Lithium Batteries that can be charged using normal 12V car chargers/ lead-acid battery chargers / alternators."

Bob
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 15:24

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 15:24
I don't quite know why you'd burn out your alternator.

Apart from that, these new vehicles with charging system voltages limited into the 13's and sometimes below could almost be ideal.

I guess because it's pretty new technology at the consumer level there is not a lot of knowledge in the recreational community. For those prepared to do a bit of homework it is not difficult to find the right battery for your conversion.

Exactly as you must do with lead-acid batteries.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 21:52

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 21:52
Hi
Alternator burn out is due to the high charging currents such batterries can absorb[Very low internal resistance]
,But it will depend on the Amphr rating of the batterries & the load rating of the alternator [ it has happenned]

The suitablity of any LiPoFe Battery pack should be checked for compatabilty to the vehicle's alternator OR any existing charging system
.
Their life can be seriously shortened by over charging.
Over discharging is even more deadly

In that sense they are not as tolerent as LA batterries[particularly LA wet cell batteries ]

PeterQ
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 08:04

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 08:04
Their already talking about a battery that will make lithium's obsolete, check out double carbon batteries.

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 15:26

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 15:26
I did a very quick and brief bit of googling, Leigh. Very interesting.

But I'm committed - I have my lithium pack. If I change vans, it will be coming with me.

Cheers
FrankP

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