Lithium Battery Basics for Newbies - Ford Transit USA Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 06:35:PM Thread Starter
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Lithium Battery Basics for Newbies

this is the Basics as how to treat Li Ion batteries -

I have been using Li Ion batteries since 1999 -
the 1st Li Ion I purchased was for a pro Sony video camera -
Cost $250 and was made up of 3 X 18650 cells -
expensive but worth every penny at the time -( it still has 80% capacity)
Now this battery would cost $20 ish -12 X cheaper

Since 1999 I have likely owned 200+ small Li ion batteries -
and have had around 5 go bad - maybe less -

At the moment I have Calb 4 cell X 100 ah battery for van - (solar and alternator charged)
and about 75 batteries for Drones- lights etc-
and 2 Tesla model S battery packs -( 880 cells )
that are going to be able to Quick charge using Ecar chargers -
will power Mini Split AC -

This thread is Basic but will cover Most of what you need to know -

To start off with there is TONS of Wrong info about LI Ion online -
It is my guess that this Wrong info was put online by the companies
that sell/ make lead batteries -

Li Ion batteries are going to Kill the Lead battery business -

--------

You Get what You pay for --
this applies for most things including batteries -

To get Best Results use High Quality Gear -

Buying Cheap is Iffy --

I Buy Quality Chargers - Its worth it -

-------------------------------------------------------
Charging Li Ion Battery

1 -Charge to Batteries to Fully charged Voltage for the Batteries Li ion Chemistry U have -
( Lifepo4 - 4 cellsX 3.6 per cell = 14.4 Volts = Full )
(18650 / many similar chemistry 4x 4.2Volts per cell = 16.8 = Full)

2 - Next --- Stop Charging Completely ---
when Battery Fully charged voltage is reached - Just Stop charging -

The Main difference between Lead battery charging and Li Ion battery charging
is NO Trickle Charging for Li Ion -

Lead batteries turns this extra energy into heat - this is why Lead
batteries are somewhat hard to over charge -

Li Ion batteries Dont turn extra energy into heat and will Over Charge easily -

Many Solar chargers and many other type charges can be Set to stop at Voltage needed -

I use -
Victron solar charging gear is High Quality can be set to Any voltage -
U have a Lot of Control / User Settings -
Very easy to use - and they Have Stock settings for Li Ion - any flavor -
and the Victron app is Awesome -Super Easy to use - Bluetooth - phone etc -
Victron has 5 year warranty -

If U are DIY a solar Li Ion system Victron is a wise 1st choice -

Victron also sells TurnKey Li Ion systems - Very Nice -
---------------------------------------

Balancing Li Ion Cells - all flavors

If U are using a Good Quality Batteries -
and the Battery Cells start off BALANCED -
they will tend to Stay in Balance pretty much on their own -

But How U use them Can / Will be the deciding factor -

If U put High Loads Or have a Very Small battery -
the battery will tend to go More out of balance -

Pulling extended High amps loads OR Super Fast charging
is what can knock cells out of balance -

I personally do not use a Extensive Built In BMS - ( Battery Management System )
Because I live in my van and Keep a eye on what is going on -

If I was not in my van daily I would likely get some type of BMS
that Maybe balance cells daily or weekly


It is Important to have a automatic LOW Voltage Cutoff built into system-
Draining Li Ion batteries lower than Low Voltage cutoff point is Not good
for the battery and can damage them if left in low volt condition -
Not Good - Dont do it -


Many if not MOST Good quality Solar chargers will allow you to draw
power from battery pack during the day and will start charging Battery again
Once battery voltage is reduced by Usage -

I will write more info for this thread in a few days -
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 09:26:PM
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Lets say somebody only had access to shore power for charging two BattleBorn lithium 100 amp-hour batteries , what battery charger would be needed?
Thanks
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 03:07:AM Thread Starter
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Mobileempire -

Tell me how fast you want to charge and maybe I can suggest a charger for you

I really have not looked closely at Grid only chargers
but your charger options are Many -

Main thing U need to know is How Fast you want to charge the 2 batteries ?

if U have Days of time to charge batteries - a somewhat different charger &(cheaper)
than a charger that will charge 2 batteries in hours /overnight -
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 04:20:AM
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Red face

Thanks for the summary and key points...
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 05:43:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GROOVY2 View Post
Mobileempire -

Tell me how fast you want to charge and maybe I can suggest a charger for you

I really have not looked closely at Grid only chargers
but your charger options are Many -

Main thing U need to know is How Fast you want to charge the 2 batteries ?

if U have Days of time to charge batteries - a somewhat different charger &(cheaper)
than a charger that will charge 2 batteries in hours /overnight -
Looking to charge for 2 hours or less per day ,
Thanks for taking the time to respond
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:12:PM Thread Starter
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Mobileempire -

to Completely charge 2 kwh of batteries in 2 hours will
need a 1000 watt charger -

If U only have to recharge 1/2 the battery capacity then 500watt charger
will recharge in 2 Hours -

this is one of the chargers I looked at that will do what you want ish -
https://www.electriccarpartscompany....FP-Intelligent

Look at companies that make RV chargers like Outback / Midnight solar ect and the other popular brands for RVs


and this company or similar -

https://www.invertersupply.com/index...name=match_and
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 06:25:PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GROOVY2 View Post
Mobileempire -

to Completely charge 2 kwh of batteries in 2 hours will
need a 1000 watt charger -

If U only have to recharge 1/2 the battery capacity then 500watt charger
will recharge in 2 Hours -

this is one of the chargers I looked at that will do what you want ish -
https://www.electriccarpartscompany....FP-Intelligent

Look at companies that make RV chargers like Outback / Midnight solar ect and the other popular brands for RVs


and this company or similar -

https://www.invertersupply.com/index...name=match_and
.2 kw not 2 so 100 amp charger or even a 60 amp from 20% to 80%. Easy peasy.

Last edited by Garbonz; 03-26-2019 at 06:26:PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 10:28:PM Thread Starter
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Battery Balancing

Now Im going to explain about Battery Balancing -
its not as complicated as U may think -

A Battery is made up of CELLS -
4x cells = 14.2 volt Lifepo4
4x cells = 16.8 volt for Li ion // 18650 - Most Lipo
6x cells for 12.6 volts ish Lead acid

Each Cell Stores Energy -

Because higher voltage is needed to power Most things Cells are
Hooked Together to make a Higher Voltage Battery --

Any Battery that has more than One Cell will only work Properly
when the cells are MATCHED in Voltage and Storage Capacity -

Going to use the Water analogy to explain what Balancing is

Lets say that each battery Cell is a 10 ounce cup of water-
Out Batter has 4 Cells = 4 water cups

Battery Completely FULL is 4 x 10 ounce cups of water = 40 ounces -
Using Battery Power is like Draining some water out of Each cup -

A PERFECT battery would Drain Exactly the Same amount of water
out of Each Cup-- EVERY Time --- This does NOT happen

there is No such thing as a PERFECT Battery -

Each CELL ( cup of Water ) FILLS and DRAINS a Little different each time-

after Many charge/use cycles these Differences in the Cells can start to Add Up
and can throw Battery Cells Out of Balance -

High Amp Draw and Quick Charging can also throw battery cells out of balance -

-------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------

Li Ion Type batteries that have several cells have a EXTRA pair of wires connected
to Each Individual cell of the Battery -

This pair of wires is used to Draw electricity from ONE cell to LOWER the Voltage
in that One cell -

A 4 cell Li Ion battery will have 8 extra wires -- 2 wires going from Each cell to the BMS-

A 4 cell Li ion battery will have 2 thick wires going to the Battery and 8 wires going to BMS
total of 10 wires from battery -

----------------------------------------------------------------


There are 2 main type of Battery Balancing
Bottom and Top balancing -

TOP Balancing is Most common and is usually the way that BMS devices balance a battery-
(BMS = Battery Management System)

Top balancing is where the battery cell Voltages are Matched at the Upper End
of the Voltage scale ( when Batteries are ALMOST fully Charged )
BMS will Draw down the Voltage of Cells that are Higher Voltage than the others cells
and Match each cell the other cells that are at a lower voltage -

a BMS almost always Top balances and can be preformed from Every time the battery is charged to
once a week to once a month - or can be set to Manual balance to only when owner decide to -
Top balancing is the Easiest for automatic systems to do -

BOTTOM Balancing -

Bottom balancing is done at the Lower end of the Voltage scale of the battery-

Bottom Balancing is a VERY Effective way to Balance cells and should be done
when your battery is New or if your battery is having problems staying in balance -

Bottom balancing can be done Manually or with a Balancer made specifically made for Bottom balancing -
( automatic Bottom balancers are $pendy )

Bottom balancing can be done manually with simple tools in about a day -
but it Must be done Carefully with attention payed to Not Lowering voltage past the safe lower limit
or damage can be done to the cells -

Bottom balancing equalizes the voltage at the lower voltage range so that all the cells
get to the Lower limit at the Same Time - -

If a battery has a cell that has voltage that is much lower than the other cells
the battery Can drain that cell past the safe Lower voltage limit and can cause damage -

( Low voltage damage is not instant but Repeated and the longer a cell is in the Low voltage state
damage can start and will Increase each time the cell is in the low voltage state - Not Good )

If U are building a Li ion battery I Very Much Recommend Bottom Balancing -
Bottom Balancing Good quality cell can Pretty Much eliminate the need for constant Top Balancing your battery-

I bottom balanced my Calb cells when new and have not really needed to Top balance
my battery in 2 years of daily use -
I have Top balanced my battery a few times but was just because its easy for me to do
by setting my Van alternator charger to Balance setting and takes about a hour ish -
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 02:53:AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GROOVY2 View Post
Battery Balancing

Now Im going to explain about Battery Balancing -
its not as complicated as U may think -

A Battery is made up of CELLS -
4x cells = 14.2 volt Lifepo4
4x cells = 16.8 volt for Li ion // 18650 - Most Lipo
6x cells for 12.6 volts ish Lead acid

Each Cell Stores Energy -

Because higher voltage is needed to power Most things Cells are
Hooked Together to make a Higher Voltage Battery --

Any Battery that has more than One Cell will only work Properly
when the cells are MATCHED in Voltage and Storage Capacity -

Going to use the Water analogy to explain what Balancing is

Lets say that each battery Cell is a 10 ounce cup of water-
Out Batter has 4 Cells = 4 water cups

Battery Completely FULL is 4 x 10 ounce cups of water = 40 ounces -
Using Battery Power is like Draining some water out of Each cup -

A PERFECT battery would Drain Exactly the Same amount of water
out of Each Cup-- EVERY Time --- This does NOT happen

there is No such thing as a PERFECT Battery -

Each CELL ( cup of Water ) FILLS and DRAINS a Little different each time-

after Many charge/use cycles these Differences in the Cells can start to Add Up
and can throw Battery Cells Out of Balance -

High Amp Draw and Quick Charging can also throw battery cells out of balance -

-------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------

Li Ion Type batteries that have several cells have a EXTRA pair of wires connected
to Each Individual cell of the Battery -

This pair of wires is used to Draw electricity from ONE cell to LOWER the Voltage
in that One cell -

A 4 cell Li Ion battery will have 8 extra wires -- 2 wires going from Each cell to the BMS-

A 4 cell Li ion battery will have 2 thick wires going to the Battery and 8 wires going to BMS
total of 10 wires from battery -

----------------------------------------------------------------


There are 2 main type of Battery Balancing
Bottom and Top balancing -

TOP Balancing is Most common and is usually the way that BMS devices balance a battery-
(BMS = Battery Management System)

Top balancing is where the battery cell Voltages are Matched at the Upper End
of the Voltage scale ( when Batteries are ALMOST fully Charged )
BMS will Draw down the Voltage of Cells that are Higher Voltage than the others cells
and Match each cell the other cells that are at a lower voltage -

a BMS almost always Top balances and can be preformed from Every time the battery is charged to
once a week to once a month - or can be set to Manual balance to only when owner decide to -
Top balancing is the Easiest for automatic systems to do -

BOTTOM Balancing -

Bottom balancing is done at the Lower end of the Voltage scale of the battery-

Bottom Balancing is a VERY Effective way to Balance cells and should be done
when your battery is New or if your battery is having problems staying in balance -

Bottom balancing can be done Manually or with a Balancer made specifically made for Bottom balancing -
( automatic Bottom balancers are $pendy )

Bottom balancing can be done manually with simple tools in about a day -
but it Must be done Carefully with attention payed to Not Lowering voltage past the safe lower limit
or damage can be done to the cells -

Bottom balancing equalizes the voltage at the lower voltage range so that all the cells
get to the Lower limit at the Same Time - -

If a battery has a cell that has voltage that is much lower than the other cells
the battery Can drain that cell past the safe Lower voltage limit and can cause damage -

( Low voltage damage is not instant but Repeated and the longer a cell is in the Low voltage state
damage can start and will Increase each time the cell is in the low voltage state - Not Good )

If U are building a Li ion battery I Very Much Recommend Bottom Balancing -
Bottom Balancing Good quality cell can Pretty Much eliminate the need for constant Top Balancing your battery-

I bottom balanced my Calb cells when new and have not really needed to Top balance
my battery in 2 years of daily use -
I have Top balanced my battery a few times but was just because its easy for me to do
by setting my Van alternator charger to Balance setting and takes about a hour ish -
Thanks for the battery for dummies(ignorant ) tutorial. It's giving me a better overview of my management needs.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2019, 04:54:PM Thread Starter
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4570

with all the wrong / fake info online about this subject its Really hard for someone to know what is going on-
when I first started looking for a battery system I had been using Li Ion batteries for many years
and still questioned myself on what was correct info on till I finally came to the conclusion that much of
the info online was meant to deceive and confuse people -

so this is written to help people have a clearer idea on what is going on -


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bottom balance is the Best way to match the amount of energy in Each cell -

this is why -

the voltage of Lifepo4 cells will stay at 3.2 volt for about 80% ish of Discharge range -
voltage wont change at all for hours of use -

voltage will drop to 3.1 volt for about the last 10% ish of discharge range -

Once voltage gets to 3.0 volts the voltage will DROP like a Rock --
in a Very few minutes voltage will drop from 3.0v to 2.8v ( Very Very FAST - minutes )

Under 3.0 volt there is basically No energy left in the cells -

This is why cells should be Balanced (MATCHED ) at the lower end of their output range-
the cells should ALL Empty at the Same Time so that One or more cells dont get Over Discharged-

Over discharging a cell is not good and can damage it to some extent -

Bottom balancing is easy and no expensive tools needed -

It is VERY Important to let the cells REST between steps -
let cells sit till voltage quits changing and stays steady -
use digital Volt meter to check voltage

this is how I did it -

1- assembled 4 cells into a battery pack -

2- charged battery pack to around 13.6 volts ish -

(make sure NONE of the cells charge to Over 3.6 volts )

3 - hooked battery to a 1000 watt Inverter and then plugged a bench grinder into inverter
to put a Steady Load on the battery -*

4 - Draw down battery voltage to where at least One cell is about 3.1 volt-
its Important to watch Each cell voltage carefully - (below 3volts things happen quickly )


5 - Disassembled battery -- to make 4 Separate CELLS -

Check Each cell voltage and Keep track of what each cell voltage is -

6 - Now attaching a Car headlight bulb as load -- Each CELL voltage was lowered to 2.75 volts
( this is the where things have to be done Carefully and Attention has to be payed )

(I used 12 volt 50 watt car headlight bulb as load-
I left headlight in the original box and attached wires with clips to cells )

lowering the voltage to 2.75v has to be done Slowly and in Several Steps --*
allowing the cell to Rest -- between discharge steps -*

7 - once the cell is STEADY at 2.75v*
the Same procedure is preformed on EACH CELL-

8 - once ALL the cells at REST are at 2.75 volt the cells are Assembled to make Battery pack -
and then the battery is SLOW charged to 14.4 volt complete 4 cell BATTERY ) 3.6v per cell -

Check all the cells while charging to make sure none go into over voltage condition -

Bottom Balance is now Complete - it takes about a day ish to perform balance -

Important -- make SURE to let cells REST between steps - voltage will change during rest time -


---------------------------------------------------------------

I normally charge my Battery to 14.4 volts*
many people charge to just 14 volt*

I Use Victron solar charger 95% of the time*
it is Completely adjustable in voltage and amp output
the app used to setup and control charger is Very Good -

Victron is High Quality Gear and dependable -

To charge from alternator I use a Icharger 4010 Dual -
it is a charger used for heavy duty RC helicopters etc-
there are better solutions available now -

I use a Victron-- Battery Disconnect --*cost $50 --
this disconnects battery from load if voltage drops to Low -

I dont use any other type of BMS --*
system is built using quality gear and a additional BMS is not needed-
and Im in my van every day so I can keep eye on battery -
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