120AH LiFePO4 Battery Recommendations

Submitted: Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 10:57
ThreadID: 139388 Views:1506 Replies:6 FollowUps:31
I'm transitioning from AGM to Lithium and whilst I have had a good run with FullRiver AGM batteries I think the time is right to enjoy the advantages of Lithium. Problem I have is the AGM brands that I have been familiar with don't seem to have Lithium products? There is a world of El Cheapo products being sold for around $500-600 that weigh 8-9KG which says to me they are in no way 120AH? Itech world are selling a battery for $849 that is wound 14KG that seem to be the pick from a price point under $1k. Anyone done their own research as to what is best for the $$$. Thanks in advance
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 11:36

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 11:36
Enerdrive is a reputable Aussie company that manufactures and sells high quality products.

When comparing amp-hour capacities, lithium batteries are smaller and lighter than an equivalent lead-acid battery. Having said that, some manufacturers make "drop-in" replacements that are designed to fit standard battery trays and mounting systems.

Standard disclaimer - I have no connection with this company. Club members who have used Enerdrive products in DIY projects or whose vans were manufactured using Enerdrive products are very satisfied with their purchases.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 11:43

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 11:43
Cheers I have sent them a message and at around 19KG their 125AH battery would seem legit
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 13:48

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 13:48
One thing I should mention, and Enerdrive will confirm it - you cannot increase capacity by connecting their B-Tech batteries in parallel because the internal management systems in each battery won't allow it.

If you are thinking of going that route you may be better off considering something like the EV-Power products mentioned below, with their external management systems. Or perhaps the Enerdrive Power Packs with their external management systems - but I have no direct knowledge of those, you should consult with Enerdrive .
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 12:24

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 12:24
I’m in the same boat terra firma. Problem is my Fullrivers are only 3 year old and in excellent shape. Looking at maybe getting a lithium to replace 2 agms (both SSB) in the rear tub of vehicle. I have contacted this mob and believe they offer good value and all comments about them have been positive. Would also require the monitor as well. Probably around the $1300 mark (without charger) for a quality unit. Give them a ring as Rod is very knowledgeable. Hopefully after the New Year the transition to lithium, in the vehicle at least, will take place. I have an Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger that I will use and it is also equipped with an MPPT charger. I have no confidence in the so called “drop in and forget”. I prefer dedicated charger. They do a variety of battery types. Worth a look.

https://www.ev-power.com.au/product-category/main/evpowerpak-batteries-evg/
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 13:40

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 13:40
I readily second Bigfish's recommendation of EV-Power. I would have mentioned them in my Reply above, but had the impression, rightly or wrongly, that TerraFirma wanted a drop-in battery replacement.

I chose a DIY conversion in my van and used cells and a management system from EV-Power. Rod couldn't have been more helpful in the many phone calls and emails advising me on the build, and subsequently with helping me tweak my charging systems.

TerraFirma, if you want the flexibility to build your own system from components to suit the space available, or to fit in an odd-shaped space, or indeed with a made up battery (but it won't be drop-in), I'm with Bigfish in recommending EV-Power

E-v Power link.

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Follow Up By: Keith B2 - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 15:55

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 15:55
X3 for EV Power. I bought two 200AH lithiums from Rod and he was extremely helpful, with a huge amount of backup technical data. Their BMS will allow you to run (I think) up to three batteries in parallel. Just make sure you set the float and charge voltages at what Rod advises you. All batteries aren't the same.
Keith
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 15:57

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 15:57
x4 ev power
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Reply By: Dave B18 - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 18:17

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 18:17
Have been using Solar King for tad over 5 years. Previously was buying them overseas direct, and now been purchasing from Low Energy Developments for 18 months.
Low Energy Developments has been in business a long time and never sold rubbish.
I have a 200Ah in service for 5 years and another 200Ah 12 months old.
Low Energy Developments 120Ah weighs in at 17.9kg for $895.00
http://www.lowenergydevelopments.com.au/batteries/LithiumBatteries?product_id=418
I know probably ten or more people that are using Solar King from Low Energy Developments and nobody has had issues, and definitely up to the stated capacity.
On my recent purchase 200Ah have direct vehicle charging in place should I ever need to use it. However I doubt will ever need it with the amount of solar panels and equipment being powered from the 200Ah LiFePo4. I did run the 200Ah down to 50% and had 32A going in via 10mm2 cable. Know some are using the the Ctek D250S and the Projecta DC/DC charger. The Projecta does have a Lithium profile.
No way now would I be going back to packed cells and separate BMS and cell balancing now. These drop in replacements from reliable suppliers haven't given me or others any cause too.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 18:36

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 18:36
Cheers i looked at theirs I think from memory they are 365mm wide which was 5mm bigger than i could fit. But i have bought from them before and all good.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 17:45

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 17:45
Dave, how have they stood up to corrigations and heat? Keen to know how they handle the ever worsening state of our out back roads and tracks.

Thanks, Mick.
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Follow Up By: Dave B18 - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:08

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:08
Mick any battery will stand up to whatever the vehicle and person will take.
When you say heat, they are inside vehicles or RV's in a location that would be the same as a person would be handling in the vehicle or RV.
With the large number of these sealed lithium batteries in service now, for the length of time they have been, to date there have been no to my knowledge of reported problems. The boating fraternity are in love with these sealed drop-in replacement Lithium batteries. However with some of the ridiculous to ludicrous claims that are being made by some resellers. This is the sort of statement made from a 120Ah drop in Lithium replacement quote "Max discharge current: 280A " from an 8mm bolt is a joke. The other issue their weight of 13kg for a 120Ah is too light in weight against other manufacturers. They are also only offering a 3 year guarantee against others offering a 5 year warranty.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 23:27

Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019 at 23:27
One year ago my 10 yo 160 Ah Fullriver died. After much research I replaced it with a 100Ah Lithium battery from EV-Power and a new Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger. The performance of this setup is beyond my expectations, just great. The battery developed a problem about 2 months ago and Rod got me to send it back at his cost and I have now received it back just like new. As others have stated Rod knows what he is talking about and is very helpful. IMHO the Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger is just as important. Lithium batteries are not cheap and using a quality charger designed for lithium batteries is essential if you wish to get the maximum benefit from your investment. I have set my Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger to charge at 30 amps rate as I can live with that, and while it probably makes no difference, I like being a little bit conservative. This charger charges at the linear rate of 1 amp every 2 minutes that the engine is running regardless of the SOC (state of charge) of the battery. So it will charge 10 amps in 20 minutes whether it is from say 40% SOC to 50% SOC or from 90% SOC to 100% SOC. The same charger also accepts a charge from a solar panel. My solar panel will charge 7 amps in full sunlight and if I turn on the engine at the same time the charge rate is the full 37 amps. I do not have a 240 volt charger designed for lithium batteries so I can only charge with the vehicle engine or and/or the solar panel. I would not use any charger not specifically designed for a lithium battery and this has not been a problem for me. If you want to be able to charge from a 240 volt outlet you should get a lithium charger. The reason I have been able to go from a 160Ah AGM to only 100Ah lithium is because the lithium charges to a full 100% SOC much more quickly and you can run them safely to a lower SOC. The cost of this setup hurt a bit but the performance is outstanding and I now know it was definitely worth it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 07:52

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 07:52
Are you sure the enerdrive is charging from the solar and the charger itself at the same time. I was told by enerdrive that it selects the highest amperage output and charges from that. Even the manual states either one but not both.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 08:22

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 08:22
Chris
Rather than buy a dedicated Lithium charger, seeing the Enerdrive runs off the main battery for DC DC operation, simply charge the main battery with any normal 240v charger and it's supply to the Enerdrive it will use that input to deliver Lithium charge control as usual.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 08:36

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 08:36
Are you sure about that RMD? My 240v Enerdive unit has dedicated settings for agm, gel, lead and Lithium. The Lithium setting doesn't permit the float stage (as far as I know). The enerdrive 240 charger has a dedicated set up on bank 1 specifically for Lithium and even this has to have the charger termination level adjusted by the user. Enerdrive seem to think a dedicated charging programme is required. You do not have to buy a dedicated Lithium charger...just one that accommodates lithium as well as other battery types. I believe in getting the correct equipment to do the job. Some lithium batteries do not like a smart charger as well (as stated in their advertising). If I was to go Enerdrive I would listen to their advice, if it was EV POER I,d take their advice etc. Laying out several thousand dollars on lithium is a big deal for many. A reputable supplier (like EV Power) would surely know best...if they say use any charger...go for it/why not?

https://enerdrive.com.au › 2017/11/29 › can-charge-lithium-battery-lead-a...
Nov 29, 2017 - "This voltage for a lithium battery is way too low. At this voltage the lithium battery will have been depleted to approx 10-15% state of charge. ... A lead-acid charger that can be set to charge no higher than 14.6v can be used for regular charging and then MUST be disconnected after the battery is fully charged. " NOT worth the risk in my opinion.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:37

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:37



From the Enerdrive site.

I,m still researching lithium battery set ups. Well aware of agm as I used to install and maintain remote area communication set ups. Lithium are too expensive to get it wrong...
cheers
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:43

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:43
Bigfish,

RMD suggested applying a charger to the CRANK battery which would then wake up the Enerdrive DC2DC charger (with a lithium profile) to then charge the van's lithium battery.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:50

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 09:50
Sorry Frank and RMD...my error. I,d have the charger set on "power supply" as well rather than a dedicated battery type.

Good way to save a few dollars as well.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 12:36

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 12:36
Bigfish
Although slightly different but same charging concept, I use a solar panel or 240v charger at home to keep main battery topped up and it feeds a dcdc25amp unit to withappropriate charge profile to charge my aux AGM m's.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 13:34

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 13:34
Just goes to show RMD that there certainly is more than one way to skin a cat!!

cheers
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 17:55

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 17:55
Bigfish
Done quite a few of those too, not sure if starting near tail is the correct way though.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:17

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:17
My responses to the above comments on my original post.

Bigfish. It most definitely does accept charge from both sources. The reason maybe that I have programmed it to only take 30 amps from the alternator so it will accept up to 10 amps from a panel to make up the 40 amps the charger is rated at.

RMD. An additional protection you can implement with the Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger is that it will only connect to the charger if the engine is going. The consequence of this is that if you connect any sort of charger to the vehicle battery it WILL NOT activate the Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger until the engine is started. I have found that my solar panel of 180 watts is enough to keep the battery going no matter how long I am camped. If I am near a 240 volt source I will plug the fridge into the 240 and run the lights of the battery.
My vehicle has a smart alternator which is designed to turn off charging when the starting battery is full. The easiest way around this is to drive with the headlights on which forces the alternator to never turnoff. If you forget to turn the lights on when driving and off when stopped, you can run your starting battery down. For this reason I travel with a 7 watt 240 volt battery charger as a backup. I can also plug my solar panel into the starting battery to charge it.
If you let a lithium battery get to low the Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger may not be able to get the battery to start charging again. Should this occur you can use the 240v charger as because it is only trying to put in 7 amps instead of the 30 amps and you maybe lucky enough to get it charging again sufficiently for the Enerdrive 40 amp dc/dc charger to work again.

Bigfish Dec 04 08:36. A point of clarification. A lithium battery charger can be one dedicated to lithium batteries only or most commonly they can be a battery charger that has a lithium battery charging profile.
There are some lithium battery sellers that say you can use an ordinary battery charger on their lithium batteries, I would suggest this is selling BS. Lithium batteries are not cheep and rely on longevity to make them viable economically. A charger specifically designed for lithium is the only guaranteed way to maximise the life of a lithium battery. I also believe the charging time with a charger with a lithium charging profile is much quicker than a charger designed for AGM batteries.
The last part of this post also talks about using an ordinary (lead-acid) charger should a lithium battery be severely depleted, an issue I addressed earlier in this post.

General comment.
Lithium batteries are definitely the way to go. They charge fully in considerably less time and they do charge to 100%. My battery came from EV-Power the same as some of the other posters, and I love it. A great feature is that you monitor the battery functions on your smart phone via a bluetooth connection. This means I can see all the stats on my battery sitting around the campfire, in the cab when driving, inside my camper, and even in my bedroom at home with the camper in the driveway, fantastic.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:29

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 18:29
From Idler....."Bigfish. It most definitely does accept charge from both sources. The reason maybe that I have programmed it to only take 30 amps from the alternator so it will accept up to 10 amps from a panel to make up the 40 amps the charger is rated at."

If that's the case..great! Just strange that Enerdrive say one or the other. Also states that if need be the unit can be set for 50amp output.

As I said I,m trying to sort out fact from fiction and boy...is there some fiction regarding lithium!

I also agree about the use of ordinary chargers...they may work short term but I cant see a long life for the battery.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:02

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:02
Does make sense, in the setup you specify the maximum charge rate ie 30A, therefore you have set the maximum charge rate to 30A doesn't matter if you have solar or not. What would be the point of being able to set the maximum charge rate if it ignores the setting?

The alternator input takes priority over the solar so if car is running solar is disconnected, from the manual:

"If the measured voltage on CH3 is 13.2Vdc on a 12V System (>26.4V on a 24V system)."
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:05

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 19:05
Alternator takes priority, if car voltage drops to low then switches to solar, when car voltage rises switches back to car. Its all in the manual.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 20:39

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 20:39
Chris
Is the reason you can't charge by using a 240v charger on your vehicle battery, because your Enerdrive is set to only turn in with ignition signal, ie, when fired up.? Most DcDc units begin when input supply 12v is above approx 13.3v. I haven't tried changing the input signal but maybe with a diode or two in specific places and providing a switch to fool as though Ign is ON to the Enerdrive signal wire it may perform well without having the additional expensive Lithium charger. I have same Enerdrive but haven't spent time reading every facet of it's ability.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 21:14

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 21:14
RMD
Yes, the the Enerdrive charger will only start if the the engine is running, which I presumes means if the alternator is running. This is a safety feature which ensures you cannot possibly drain your cranking battery with the engine turned off. I do believe that this safety feature can be bypassed but I would NEVER take that risk and would strongly advise against it. As I indicated above if you cannot afford a charger with a lithium charge profile you cannot afford a lithium battery, IMHO. A charger with a lithium profile fully charges a lithium battery considerably faster and will ensure your battery lasts much longer. You will not be happy using an ordinary battery charger on a lithium battery.
Because of the very fast charge rate you do not have to drive far to fully charge a lithium battery. I do not have a 240 volt lithium battery charger because I do not need it. If I am not driving I put out the solar blanket which is more than enough to keep the battery charge up. If I have access to a 240 volt plug I will switch my fridge to 240 and run the lights of the battery. The battery would power the led lights for about 2 months which is plenty long enough. When at home and not using the battery I store it at about 60% SOC which is what is recommended and every now and again I put the solar blanket out for a few hours to top it up a bit.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 09:40

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 09:40
Honestly you don't need a charger with a Lithium profile, any charger that will give a suitable voltage will do.

A Lithium profile certainly won't charge the battery faster, any 40A charger will charge it at the same rate if it is set to the same voltage. As to how much benefit you get from a specific Lithium profile, if you look at the profile of the Enerdrive 30A unit and compare it to the 40A the functionality has changed. If you compare Enerdrive to Redarc and Victron they will be different again, they can't all be right. As long as the charge can supply the charge voltages you want and does have any gimmicky stages that might harm the battery it should be fine.

I have been using a combination of chargers for five years now with no problems, off car I use the Enerdrive unit, yes it has a Lithium profile but I wouldn't use the default settings, I have changed the settings to suit my batteries. When AC is available I use the originally fitted Projecta charger on power supply mode (13.8V) if I won't to bring the batteries up quickly full I use gel setting 14.2V. There is virtually no difference in charge times the Lithiums will suck everything the charger can put out till almost fully charged. When changing from 13.5V to 14.2V the charge rate will only increase for about 5 minutes then returns to zero, charging over 13.5V achieves little in my case.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 11:55

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 11:55
I'm with HKB on this.

Just as there are different "flavours" of lead acid batteries requiring different charging parameters for optimum performance, so it is with lithium batteries. A charger with a fixed lithium profile may not necessarily be suitable for a particular lithium battery. No names, no pack drill, but a well known brand with a lithium profile was off EV-Power's list because the max voltage was too high. (I think that has been addressed now.)

When I did my conversion with EV-Power, Rod Dilkes (proprietor) told me that although a properly configured lithium charger was desirable, a lead acid charger with suitable voltages and, as HKB said, no gimmicky stages (like desulphation) was quite ok, especially in a camping/mobile environment where charging is intermittent. The main issue is a charger holding voltages too high for too long, as might occur with a poorly configured solar charger in a fixed installation.

All my chargers (mains, dc-dc and solar) are legacy lead-acid, but all configurable and all set to max voltage 14.2 and float 13.4

When I store my van I discharge the batteries to about 80% SOC and isolate them to eliminate any possibility of parasitic loads, then check them periodically. Usually the van comes out for use before a check is due :-)
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 13:30

Friday, Dec 06, 2019 at 13:30
I have been using my Redarc Solar controller to charge up my Lithium battery and I have a Victron battery charger that does have a Lithium profile. The Redarc controller get's the battery to about 95% charge which is fine (when I don't have AC power). I have bought a redarc BCDC1250 but haven't installed it yet. It also has a Lithium profile.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 06:35

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 06:35
Check out Deep Cycle Systems website here.

They have starting/deep cycle units available.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 17:51

Wednesday, Dec 04, 2019 at 17:51
Here is a youtube clip of a clown saying it takes 18 agm batteries to do the work of 1 dcs lithium.. Doesnt really inspire me to buy one. He,s also the mouthpiece for 4wd supacentre....

Just another example of a business that will say anything to get your dollar.
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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:25

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:25
Where's the Youtube clip BigFish?
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 23:38

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 23:38
TF - I think this is the video BigFish was talking about ....

Cheers, Ron.


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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Dec 07, 2019 at 09:56

Saturday, Dec 07, 2019 at 09:56
TerraFirma,

Have a look at recent threads, 139149 & 139159, for more on lithium batteries.

Bob

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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 17:01

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 17:01
I needed to replace my 3 of 8 year old Fullriver 100ah owing to no longer holding charge on bad solar days.

I also was chasing weight savings as a priority.

After a significant internet search and sending the same email of questions to a number of providers etc I was astounded at the variations in the snake oil salesman answers & in one case...two significantly different answers to some critical questions from the same firm....(not a lot of inhouse communication there!)

I learnt a lot and whilst there are many important factors in choosing LIFePo4 batteries I believe the following are the most important....

* You CANNOT parallel LiFePo4 batteries!!!....despite the regular advertising to the contrary from some reptiles.....read how lithium cells are constructed & chosen for compatibility in a battery
* You cannot "drop in replacement" unless your various charging components have a lithium profile
* YES there is significant weight savings
* You can punch in a significant more amps in a given time frame than conventional batteries..so if your charging system is capable then you will be seldom dropping your Lithium batteries down to the lowest recommended SOC...even on bad solar days
* AGM for battery life was never below 50% SOC
* LiFePo4 can be drawn down to ~ 20% SOC....always best to err better than that
* So in my case I replaced usable ah of 150 ( 3 Fullrivers x 100ah = 93 kg)
* To a single Enerdrive Btec 200 ah with a usable ah of 160 = weight ~25kg

Why Enerdrive? Simply because the email answers to questions I had researched thoroughly and knew the correct answers Enerdrive and one other came out as professional, knew their product and were prompt it any questions both pre and post sale. The other company would have been just as good I am sure but I ran with Enerdrive.

The rest of the wanna be's were out of their depth in knowledge and in some cases scary advice offered

It wasn't cheap but I was chasing weight saving, long term sustainability. They didn't try and sell me a cheap system they advised and sold me a safe, reliable and long term solution. Now 6 months on and its been a good product and a good decision.
I installed it all myself as many years ago I lost a lot of faith in certain traded and also if you installed it yourself its a good start for tracking errors etc out in the bush if that arises
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Follow Up By: Dave B18 - Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:17

Thursday, Dec 05, 2019 at 18:17
You can parallel some LiFePo4 batteries.
You need to follow the manufacturers instructions.
The Solar King for example can be paralleld, but only two batteries. The yachties have had Solar King 200Ah LiFePo4 drop in replacements paralleled for 5 years without issue. The yachties were big time into these drop in replacement Lithium batteries before the RV market picked them up.
Know two cases of 150Ah being paralleld one for twelve months and the other eighteen months without issues, and heavily used.
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