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FAQ - LiFePO4 Batteries

What are Li-Ion Batteries?

What are LiPo (lithium-polymer) batteries?

What are PCMs and what do they do?

LFP:  How many Watt-hours of batteries am I allowed to carry-on for aircraft?

LFP:  Why is there a separate DC barrel plug connector and PowerPole Connector on my battery?  Can I charge through either connector? 

LFP: What are LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries)?

LFP: The terminals/connectors on the battery do not fit my applications, what do I do?

LFP: I have a universal lead acid charger with high charging current; can I use it instead to charge LiFePO4 batteries?

LFP: Can I buy another of the same LiFePO4 batteries to double the voltage or capacity?

LFP: How come the battery stops working a few seconds after a high current draw?

LFP: I need more help with the battery that I bought.

General: I am having troubles with my battery. How do I troubleshoot?

General: Is my battery appropriate for ______ usage?

General: I'm a Ham, I have an Amateur Radio; which battery do I get?

 

What are Li-Ion Batteries?

Li-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries that use lithium ions which move from a negative electrode to a positive electrode. They are popular batteries for use in consumer electronics because they provide good energy density, no memory effect, and a slow loss of charge when not in use. These batteries come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. In addition, compared to lead-acid batteries, Li-ion batteries are lighter and provide a higher open circuit voltage, which allows for power transfer at lower currents. These batteries have the following characteristics:

  1. Enhanced safety
  2. Exceptional low temperature performance
  3. Good cycle life
  4. High abuse tolerance*
  5. High capacity
  6. High rate capability
  7. High temperature performance  

*Applies to LiFEPO4 only, does not apply to Cobalt Oxide or Lithium Polymer

The term "Li-ion" battery is a general term like the term "car" and refers to many different types of Lithium.  There are many different chemistries for Li-Ion batteries including LiCoO2 (cylindrical cell), LiPo, and LiFePO4 (cylindrical/prismatic cell). Bioenno Power currently is focusing on design, manufacturing, and marketing of deep cycle LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries.   

The different types of Li-ion batteries have different characteristics. Typically when the term "Li-ion" is used in a product description what is being sold may be either LiCoO2 (Cobalt Oxide) or LiPo (Lithium Polymer) unless LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) is specifically named. This is the rule of thumb because LiCoO2 and LiPo are the most common types of Lithium. The LiCoO2 in particular is cheaper and has a high power density but as a trade off has drastically shortened service life and is chemically and thermally unstable. Within this lineup LiFePO4 is unique for its aforementioned performance benefits. Compared with the older LiCoO2, LiPo and other chemistry such as AGM, SLA and NiCad, the current state-of-the-art LiFePO4 is essentially a new and entirely different chemistry unique unto itself.  

 

What are LiPo (lithium-polymer) batteries?

LiPo batteries are a type of Li-Ion battery used for a variety of high current discharge applications such as in RC toy models (cars, helicopters, airplanes, boats, etc.). They are also used in various consumer electronics because of their compact size.The LiPo batteries are comprised of cells that are stacked in series/parallel configurations.  Each cell contains anode and cathode plates with a gel electrolyte that are placed in a pouch. These batteries are low in costs, can be packaged into a variety of shapes (which is important for use in electronics such as cell phones), light in weight, and rugged.

 

What are PCMs and what do they do?

In essence these are a type of single-board microcomputer. PCMs, or protection circuit modules, are a type of battery management system (BMS) for the expressed purpose of regulating output of current from the battery to electrical loads, managing and internally balancing the cell pack in addition to regulating charging. They are there to protect the cells from damage. If your electric load exceeds the power load of the battery the PCM shuts the battery off to protect the cells from damage. This is a safeguard to preserve maximum functionality of our batteries and to, effectively, abuse-proof within a certain extent. Our entire range of batteries all come equipped with top of the line sophisticated PCMs unlike a large number of our competitors. We tested our products. It is almost impossible to screw up our batteries because our integrated intelligent systems automatically shuts off the battery before damage can be done to it. Our PCMS offer the following features:

  1. Balancing function for cells
  2. Overcurrent protection
  3. Overvoltage protection
  4. Overdischarge protection (also known as undervoltage)
  5. Temperature protection
  6. Short circuit protection
  7. Charging Circuitry integrated 

LFP:  How many Watt-hours of batteries am I allowed to carry-on for aircraft?

All LiFePO4 batteries must be brought on your carried-on luggage.  They cannot be placed in your checked luggage.  For domestic flights, you are allowed up to 160 Watt-hours.  For international flights you are allowed up to 100 Watt-hours.  Please refer to the link below. Print out the sheet below when flying, and also take a copy of your FCC Ham Radio license with you.  Mention you are a ham radio operator with radio equipment and batteries, with the printed sheet and copy of your FCC license.  

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ash/ash_programs/hazmat/passenger_info/media/Airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

LFP:  Why is there a separate DC barrel plug connector and PowerPole Connector on my battery?  Can I charge through either connector? 

On our PVC Pack LiFePO4 batteries, there are two separate connectors.  The first connector has a DC barrel plug and the second connector has an Anderson Powerpole connector.  The two connectors are indeed wired in parallel on the PCM (protection circuit module) that is integrated in every single battery pack.  So it is perfectly okay and fine to charge through the PowerPole connectors. Many customers requested two separate connectors in the batteries, in order to keep the battery's charger attached to the battery, such that the battery and charger can be stored in a portable Go-Box.  At the same time, customers can leave the PowerPole connector attached to the radio communications equipment, without having to repeatedly disconnect the charger from the battery, and attach the radio communications equipment.  However, we understand customers want to charge through the Powerpole connectors and use various other third party products.  We provided the two sets of connectors, simply for convenience purposes.  

 

LFP: What are LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries)?

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries use a new type of cathode material that provides several advantages over traditional Li-ion batteries based on LiCoO2. LiFePO4 batteries provide much higher specific capacity, superior thermal and chemical stability, enhanced safety, improved cost performance, enhanced charge and discharge rates, compact size, light weight, and enhanced cycle life.  LiFePO4 batteries can offer a cycle life of potentially 2,000 charge cycles. Typical LFP batteries have an average lifetime of between 5 to 10 years and can be expected to deliver reliable and consistent performance throughout its service life. The characteristics Bioenno Power batteries are proven to offer are as such:

  1. Enhanced safety
  2. Exceptional low temperature performance
  3. Enhanced 2000+ charge cycles
  4. Enhanced 5-10+ years service life
  5. High abuse tolerance
  6. High capacity - a Bioenno Power LFP will generally outperform an SLA with twice its Ah rating. 
  7. High rate capability
  8. High temperature performance  
  9. Chemical and Thermal stability 
  10. Flat, consistent discharge
  11. No Memory Effect
  12. No need for tendering of floating

LiFePO4 batteries themselves come in two distinct types as determined by cell type:

  1. Deep Cycle LiFePO4: essentially the distinction boils down to the amount of lithium present in each cell and the intended application which in this case is to power electronics for long periods of time. This type is designed with capacity in mind and at its heart stores lots of power in a very small package and as such has more lithium per cell. 
  2. High Rate LiFePO4: these are for starting motors only, the difference being that this type has dramatically lower lithium content per cell. However, the lower lithium quantity is not an issue because by design this type is only intended to output large bursts of energy for a short amount of time. As such, this type does not need that much lithium. These batteries are easy to identify because they have two distinct characteristics: A) a Lead Acid Equivalent Figure and B) have a CCA (Cold Cranking Amp) Rating. 

These two types are not to be confused or interchanged. While a High Rate will be able to power electronics, it will only do so momentarily as they by design do not have the storage capacity needed for extended use. If you are powering equipment, you require Deep Cycle Batteries. If you are starting motors or powering your flash on your camera, the High Rate is the one for you. 

 

LFP: The terminals/connectors on the battery do not fit my applications, what do I do?

You can change the terminal/connector to whatever type you need without voiding the warranty so long as you do not open the battery or modify the casing*. We can also provide for you any adapters and connectors where possible. 

*Please note that putting and/or installing the battery into a third party container such as a Pelican Case, Battery Box or Ammo Can, etc. does not void the warranty. Depending on your application we may actually recommend you purchase a hard-case retrofit. 

 

LFP: I have a universal lead acid charger with high charging current; can I use it instead to charge LiFePO4 batteries?
Bioenno Power does not recommend using lead acid chargers for LiFePO4 batteries.  Lead acid batteries charge at 2.30V to 2.45V per cell whereas LiFePO4 batteries require 3.60V per cell. Your battery would potentially be undercharged, so you will not get use of the full capacity of the LiFePO4 battery, nor will balancing be triggered in the LiFePO4 battery pack, both of which are not desired. Furthermore, the floating charge of the lead acid charger is not expected by the battery and can cause problems. We recommend purchasing the battery with the bundled charger.

 

LFP: Can I buy another of the same LiFePO4 batteries to double the voltage or capacity?
Bioenno Power recommends that you purchase a single battery that meets your voltage and capacity requirement to avoid any potential problems. Problems may arise if you attempt assembly of a larger capacity battery from multiple smaller units. The risks incurred may result in injury depending on output of battery. It is important to understand that LFP batteries are not like Legos – you should not attempt to wire them together as such. Our batteries are all computer controlled and should not be confused with the more common SLA, AA, AAA, and other such basic batteries which do not have any type of computer chip control. If your requirements should fall beyond our standard product lines, we have the capability of manufacturing most custom orders. Our experienced staff will assist you to the best of our abilities.   

 

LFP: How come the battery stops working a few seconds after a high current draw?
Make sure the load is not exceeding the rated continuous output current.  If the electrical load exceeds the limits of the PCM, the PCM will shut down the pack. To reset, disconnect the electrical load and troubleshoot your load and make sure that the continuous current is less than the maximum continuous current for the pack. To reset the pack, attach the charger back for a few seconds to the battery.  If you need a battery with additional current output, please contact us at sale@bioennopower.com or call us.

 

LFP: I need more help with the battery that I bought.
Please contact us at sale@bioennopower.com or call us at +1 888 336 7864

Don't worry. We encourage you to call because Bioenno Power is uniquely committed to finding the perfect solution for your application because every application has its own unique demands. This extends to consultation of application and any other additional or ancillary inquiries.  

 

General: I am having troubles with my battery. How do I troubleshoot?

Always read the manual before you use our batteries. Doing so will prevent most of the common issues resultant from misuse. We cannot stress the importance of reading the manual enough. It is critical for proper usage of our batteries. The built-in PCM should protect the batteries against most incidents of unintentional misuse such as overcurrent, overvoltage, overcharging, overdischarge/undervoltage. The important information regarding correct usage and procedure can be located in our manual. In addition, we urge you to contact us if you have any questions regarding usage and applications.

If, however, the battery remains unresponsive or non-functional despite proper usage and procedure please contact us immediately. Even though we inspect each and every unit prior to shipment we cannot guarantee that we can catch every defective product. In the case of such an incident, coverage per warranty applies and we will do our utmost to accommodate any needs.

 

General: Is my battery appropriate for ______ usage?

If you have any questions about applications of our batteries, please contact us. Our experienced staff will assist you in whichever application you intend to use our power solutions for. It is important to understand that batteries are not one-size-fits-all. Different applications may require different types of batteries. Using the wrong battery for the wrong application may result in damage not only to the battery but to the device of intended usage as well. The stability of our LFP batteries and the safeguards provided by our PCM generally can prevent serious system failures but excessive abuse and/or misuse may still cause malfunctions. We urge our clients to take full advantage of our expertise in the field.

 

I'm a Ham, I have an Amateur Radio; which battery do I get? 

You'd need three pieces of info: 1) Transmit Power in Watts, 2) Receive Power in Watts and 3) Percentage of time spent transmitting. Follow this formula:
(Transmit Watts x Percentage of Time Transmitting) + (Receive Watts x Percentage of Time Receiving) = Weighted Average Draw

Below are two run-time charts which simplify the calculations, but remember, you will still need to check to make sure your radio will not draw more current than the battery is rated for.That is an aspect which is difficult to account for completely because radio power draws differ between models and manufacturers. 

2080 Standard Duty Chart 

5050 Field Day Duty Chart