Lithium Batteries

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 14, 2019 at 22:33
ThreadID: 137962 Views:4147 Replies:9 FollowUps:14
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Itecworld in Perth manufacture 12v lithium iron batteries. Is any one using one that can give me a heads up please
Cheers
Pedro
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:44

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:44
Hi Pedro

I'm also keen to know more about Itechworld's batteries. They talk about the usual -weight reduction, fast charging, increased downloadable capacity etc on their site.

But they also say
"No changing of systems, equipment or extensive re-wiring is required. You simply pull your old heavy batteries out (if your back allows it) and put the new lightweight iTECH120 in. It’s as easy as that. The iTECH120 is a drop-in replacement for your existing old and heavy batteries.”
Yet many other lithium batt systems say keep out of engine bay due to heat issues – heat being an enemy of Li batts.

Another issue is the price – the batteries seem incredibly cheap, about half to one third price of other systems. In the back of my mind I keep hearing -If it’s too cheap is it reliable? What is build quality like? I may be doing Itech a disservice here.

Some of the prices out there are:
Redarcs bcdc 40 amp smart charger $600 alone. Itech says theirs is built in.
A Victron meter is $350.

Lithium Batts pricing on ebay
150 amp/hr $1799 Pro Power 12V Lithium Iron Ion LiFePo4 is
100 amp/hr $1079 Fusion LiFePO4 Battery.

It may be costing me heaps more but I’m going to be cautious here and pay the extra, I can’t afford failure, I need the extra power for sleep apnoea issues as well as refrigeration.

Has anyone had an Itechworld Li batt/batt system in service for some time?
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:56

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:56
Phil,

The temperature limit shows shouldn't be used under bonnet ie Optimal charge temp range: 0°c - 45°c.

The spiel states BMS inbuilt, not a BCDC, but really you can charge Lithiums off just about anything though it may impact there life.

These companies have no idea, their is another selling similar saying they are a drop in replacement for your cranking battery, they have produced a charge from memory showing no degradation in life cycles when operating in 60C conditions, I find that hard to believe. They also indicate it can be charged directly off the cars alternator as the BMS will protect from any over voltage condition. True you can charge it off the alternator but what happens to the cars electrics if the BMS trips and disconnects the battery, the battery may be fine but the cars electrics aren't going to be happy and possibly not you if the cars engine decides to suddenly shut down.

The people selling these things most likely have been doing so for only a short time and have no real experiences, certainly at least one company has no idea as to how cars charging systems work!
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:44

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 10:44
Can't give any information on the battery itself as I haven't used one not being a fan of drop in replacements. I don't believe they manufacture the battery, it looks like many available on Ebay, I would assume they just have their brand printed on it.
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 11:03

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 11:03
Thanks HKB - you've restored my confidence and knowledge in what I knew of Li's. I thought maybe there had been a drop in price due to economics of scale and I missed it.

Longevity and realiablity of electronics re the battery and vehcile are key concerns for me.

The adage 'buy cheap and buy twice' rings loudly with me.

cheers

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Reply By: Member - peter_mcc - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:13

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:13
I haven't used one but the price doesn't seem unachievable. I can buy LiFePo4 cells locally, including GST, for $1.74 per cell per Ah - so a 4 cell/120Ah battery pack would cost $835.

They claim to have their own BMS, designed in Perth. Assuming it's true (I have no reason not to) it sounds like they aren't just buying in a product from a Chinese factory with their name on it. The BMS could be fairly cheap to make - you can get dedicated chips which do almost everything for $US1 or less and they only need a handful of simple parts.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:42

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:42
Unless I missed it I can't find any mention of the battery actually being made in Australia, nor does their appear to be a made in Australia logo on it. Made your battery has one?

I have seen other Australian companies claim their products are designed in Australia, but when you point out other Australian outlets are selling near identical units ie different colour they say they copied our design? Interestingly when it becomes unavailable form one company it becomes unavailable from all.
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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 13:10

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 13:10
I don't have one and I didn't say it was made in Australia, just that they apparently designed the BMS in Perth according to their docs. To what extent they "designed" the BMS is perhaps arguable - did they do a design from scratch or did they design it by tweaking the settings on an existing one?

I'd say it's made in China for sure - perhaps it's the same as others, perhaps not.
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Reply By: Member - Howard P (WA) - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:32

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 12:32
Hi Pedro
I purchased one of these batteries a few months ago and have it installed in a 'Kickass' battery box with a Projector 25 amp DC-DC & Solar charger. I used it on the long weekend for the first time and had no problems - I was running a 90L National Luna fridge off it, charged it via solar on the Saturday and it ran from Saturday night through to Monday morning without requiring charging - still at 13.2vdc on Monday. Itecworld suggested leaving the Projector charger set to AGM mode. We are going away for 10 days over Easter so this will give it a good trial. Also a mate has 2 of these batteries in his caravan (with similar charging set up) for several months now, and he has no issues at all.
So far so good :)
Cheers
Howard
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 16:02

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 16:02
I would be very careful if your only using a voltmeter to determine how much you have drained a Lithium battery. For instance if I have taken 65Ah out (67.5% SOC) of my 100Ah pair they show 13.2V. If I have taken 140Ah (30% SOC) out they show 13.1V and you really don't want to go much lower than that. Your voltmeter only has to be .1V out and you could be doing damage to your battery, their not like lead acid batteries, Lithium will hold their terminal voltage till near flat. An Ah meter will give a much better picture as to what's left in them.
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Reply By: RMD - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 17:40

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 17:40
Pedro
Do itechworld really "manufacture" the batteries?
If they do they will have to have a manufacturing plant/factory producing batteries from raw materials.
I would like to see evidence of this being true.

Perhaps in the future.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:10

Sunday, Mar 17, 2019 at 16:10
They probably put all the cells together, add the BMS and have now manufactured the battery. Same as 90% of practically everything else "manufactured"....
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Reply By: Member - peterdre - Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 22:33

Friday, Mar 15, 2019 at 22:33
Thanks all for your comments.
I ordered 2 of these batteries this afternoon to replace the 2 120ah AGMs in my camper. They are not being fitted under the bonnet or used as a starting battery.
I spoke to their technical department who confirmed they are not made in Australia, that they are made to their specifications and undergo quality control by Itechworld.
Their brochure states that the battery works best above 12.8 volts. They told me that 80% of the total amp hours can be used, and at that point the voltage would be 11 volts, do not go any lower. I asked if they had a discharge graph and was told they don’t, and that they don’t work like that, all of which your comments would substantiate as the discharge graph i assume is flat most of the way.
The big advantage for my situation is 180ah now available instead of 120ah, a claimed faster recharge time, and a weight saving of about 35kg.
Claimed battery life is about 4x AGM.
Thanks again for all your constructive comments.
Time will tell
Pedro
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 11:23

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 11:23
Hmmm they all say made to their specifications.

Keep in mind the deeper you discharge them the less life cycles, 80% is getting very low and into the area where sever degradation starts occurring. If you only discharge them to 70% generally considered to be lowest you should take them regularly you will get considerably more life cycles out of them. Same again if you only take them to 60% etc.

Bit poor they can't provide a discharge graph if there made to their specifications.

How are you going to charge them, if directly off the alternator your charge voltage will be critical. If off a DCDC charger make sure the charger can operate for long periods of time at max output as the Lithium suck a lot of current for long periods when their discharged to low levels?
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Follow Up By: terryt - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 07:47

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 07:47
11 volts at 80 percent discharged? From everything else I have read about lithium doesn't sound right to me.
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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 08:01

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 08:01
Boils down to who wrote what you have read.
Bad advice snowballs in forums and even in books by self proclaimed experts with no formal training.
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Follow Up By: terryt - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 15:16

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 15:16
So what is right. Do lithiums discharge at 13 odd volts until they are nearly discharged which is what I thought they did or do they drop to providing 11 volts when 80 percent discharged.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 17:07

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 17:07
Here is the discharge curve for a 180Ah lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4)cell. Multiply the voltages by four to equate to a 12V battery.

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Follow Up By: Member - peterdre - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 18:33

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 18:33
Thanks very much Frank P.
Much appreciated.
Cheers
Pedro
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Reply By: Member - peterdre - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 15:12

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 15:12
Thanks for your comments HKB
The Li batteries are in a campervan and can be recharged 4 ways:
- wind turbine via controller max 14.5v
- 320W solar via Voltec mppt controller max 14.4v
- 240v via Enerdrive EN31240 charger max 14.4v
- alternator/car battery via redarc BCDC 1240D set to Li mode max 14.5v
Itechworld advise these settings are all OK.
I am conscious of apparent very flat discharge curve that may drop off very sharply. I have been told by Itechworld that 80% of the charge can be used, ie 190ah, which is one of the main reasons for me taking this path. Only 120ah is available currently, and with the 2 AGM batteries running 2 compressor fridges things get tight!
If only 60% can be used there is no advantage over AGM. I was told 80% was 11.0v. Their product brochure instructions advise that the battery operates best if kept above 12.8v.
Do you have any suggestions as to how I could monitor the battery useage please?
Cheers
Pedro
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 15:49

Saturday, Mar 16, 2019 at 15:49
I would suggest you use something like the:

Enerdrive Epro
Victron BMV
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 22:36

Monday, Mar 18, 2019 at 22:36
as they say, if it reads/sounds too good to be true then it probably isn't!

I believe I am well conversed with LiFePo4 batteries and their specific requirements etc.

This mobs claims simply did not add up, however out of curiosity etc I contacted them and asked specific questions (of which I knew the technical answers)...put simply they failed miserably!...in one case I sent separate emails to them a few days apart from different email address...both emails asking same questions....you can guess the outcome in the answers.....not the same..in fact in conflict with themselves

I was in the market for a complete new stand alone Lithium system for our caravan. I spent thousands of $'s more with a reputable Australian company than what they "quoted"

Very happy with my decision
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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019 at 10:01

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019 at 10:01
Out of interest, which bits of their claims don't add up?
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019 at 19:13

Tuesday, Mar 19, 2019 at 19:13
I had issues with statements and answers /lack of in some cases and what did not add up for me were to two major ones

* Claims of parallel connection being ok (up to 3)
* Standard Dc2Dc, 240V and solar charging systems currently installed being Ok to use with their LiFePO4 ...without even asking for the specs of what was already in use on existing AGM batteries
* No reply on question "are these your design and construction from the ground up or rebadged Chinese bulk buys:?
* "What confirmation that this is WA Lithium sourced as quoted?"

I walked
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