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Mechanisms that decrease the Lifespan of Lithium-Ion batteries and how to avoid them

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  • Mechanisms that decrease the Lifespan of Lithium-Ion batteries and how to avoid them

    I hope I am not offending anyone by starting a new thread from a discussion that started in this thread http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...what-for/page3 but feel this discussion should have a thread of its own.

    PNjunction has given us an outline of mechanisms that degrade Lithium-ion batteries in this well researched and thoughtful post http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...l=1#post163798 which I broadly agree with. More information on these mechanisms that PNjunction has mentioned can be found in this research paper for those who want more technical information http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/6/4/1310/pdf.

    I am not sure that the parasitic reactions that he talks about only occur when the cell runs out of lithium ions to shunt between the electrodes when the cell is fully charged or empty.

    I think these parasitic reactions are more dependant on the voltages within the cell rather that the amount of lithium ions left in the anode and cathode i.e. SOC of the cell. Of course the cell voltage depends on the SOC of the cell, but is also dependant on other factors like rate of charge/discharge, cell resistance, temperature and I am sure other factors.

    For this reason I think we should be looking at the range of voltages, rather than the range of SOC we allow the cell to work in to increase the lifespan of the Li-Ion batteries.

    Simon
    Off-Grid LFP(LiFePO4) system since April 2013

  • #2
    Hi, Karrak, good to see you back. Looking forward to see you and PN both present you cases. My 520 amp hr bank ( 2p4s ) is still in it's infancy @ 6 months since commissioning. I have been cycling it in a small range as it only has a small daily load ( coffee pot 24/7 ). It charges to 13.6v = 3.4 per cell and discharges to 12.8v = 3.2 and rests at 3.3 to 3.27. SOC is hard for me to figure as they just don't seem right. I have adjusted the setting perimeters 4-5 times and they do not seem consistent. The balance is still spot on with all cells on the fluke meter and a monitor meter that both have a resolution of 00.00 that I feel is important.

    It's my intention to add another 1,000 amp hrs in the fall if I can justify the $$$.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Karrak and Willy!

      I think it is great to further our understanding lifepo4 beyond such mundane things like voltage and balance believe it or not. Like studying how a solar panel system actually works at the molecular level - I find fascinating.

      Maybe so we can all be on the same page, I offer two background materials - one for most of us enthusiasts, and the second for chemists. I can barely keep up with the second one! However, it shows how fluently this guy thinks and what it really took to get here. I'm also waiting for the other shoe to drop from him!

      http://qz.com/338767/the-man-who-bro...new-one-at-92/

      This first one above contains clues about what happens when you no longer have any lithium to intercalate, and how lifepo4 is the latest material. Also a quote from Thomas Edison himself in 1883!

      And this one will blow your mind:

      http://authors.library.caltech.edu/5..._interview.htm

      Essentially though, it is my own understanding that overcharging (too high a voltage, or too long a time even at conservative elevated voltages) results in lithium-plating, reducing cell capacity. On the other hand, too deep a discharge, and for too long with nothing left to intercolate, means that the anode and cathode structure tries to intercolate - and obviously does a bad job of it and just contaminates the electrolyte, grows dendrites, which of course is pretty bad.

      Amazingly, this is all 20-year old technology (well the iron-phosphate part) at least.
      Last edited by PNjunction; 07-17-2015, 03:56 AM. Reason: edit - Thomas Edison

      Comment


      • #4
        I once read an abstract of a government (DOD) sponsored research report on early cylindrical NiCad cells. They were worried about the possible hazards of prolonged low current overcharging. So they took a 1.2V 4AH D cell and subjected it to a month of controlled overcharge. No venting. And at the end of the test they had a perfectly good 10AH cell.
        That is not going to happen with Lithium chemistry.
        SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

        Comment


        • #5
          In the right hands, Nicads ROCKED. They did for me.

          A conditioning / balancing charge was even easier - just short all the cells for a few days, reassemble, and recharge. Quality ones that is. Talk about the ease of bottom-balancing if you will.

          The problem I had was that even though I could overcharge them for long periods of time, and while they still seemed to maintain the original capacity doing that, the self-discharge rate got really bad. It was a catch-22. The longer I left them on overcharge, the more they demanded to be constantly charged to be ready to use! Kind of like a battery addiction.

          So like any battery, it seems that one way or another, there is a price to pay for leaving batteries at the extreme ends of charge, even if the current is low to non-existent. Exposure to prolonged elevated voltages changes the chemistry eventually. Basically I had a 10ah nicad battery, but the rate was no longer C/20, but more like C/100.

          Powerful beasts they were, but of course too toxic today. At the risk of turning this thread into something else, I'd rather live with my house on top of a pile of empty lifepo4 carcasses, than have a handful of nicads rusting away in the flowerbed....

          Sidenote: GBS cells don't even use PVDF in the electrolyte, but an even less toxic substitute I believe. Might make a difference for those who worry about even the minute amount of solvents in lifepo4....
          Last edited by PNjunction; 07-18-2015, 03:57 PM. Reason: PVDF not VC

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks PNjunction, for the background information on the life and work of John Goodenough, it was very interesting.

            Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
            This first one above contains clues about what happens when you no longer have any lithium to intercalate
            I assume your statement comes from this in the article
            [I]"but if lithium comprised a large part of the material in the cathode, and all of it left on a journey to the anode, then, Goodenough reasoned, the cathode would be hollowed out and might fall in on itself. So could any of the metal oxides manage to hold up under this abuse? And if so, which one, and what was the magic proportion of lithium that could be pulled out? ... Their answer was that about half of the lithium could be pulled from the cathode at 4 volts before it crumpled"[/I]

            I am not sure that this is valid anymore as it dates from the late 1970s and is regarding early research on Li-Ion variants not LiFePO4. This is the only time I have seen any mention of this problem in any of the information I have read.

            Essentially though, it is my own understanding that overcharging (too high a voltage, or too long a time even at conservative elevated voltages) results in lithium-plating, reducing cell capacity.
            My understanding is that lithium plating is more likely to be a problem at high charge rates and low temperatures. I can see this being a problem for the EV brigade but not such a problem in applications with low charge rates and in situations where we have more control over the temperature of the battery. The main problem I see for us is the growth of the SEI layer due to unwanted side reactions.

            On the other hand, too deep a discharge, and for too long with nothing left to intercolate, means that the anode and cathode structure tries to intercolate - and obviously does a bad job of it and just contaminates the electrolyte, grows dendrites, which of course is pretty bad.
            My understanding is that overdischarging a cell results in the copper cathode being ionised (dissolved). The copper ions can latter redeposit and form dendrites.

            For anyone interested there another technical article on Capacity Fade Mechanisms and Side Reactions in Lithium-Ion Batteries here http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar...hUCFqYKHbGuD9s. Although it was written in 1997 and is about Li-Ion batteries, allot of the information I would think is still relevant to LFP batteries.

            This is another interesting article on Cell Ageing http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...teLiFePO4_cell

            I don't understand some of the detail in these articles but I think/hope I get the gist of what is being said. I am certainly learning all the time.

            Simon
            Off-Grid LFP(LiFePO4) system since April 2013

            Comment


            • #7
              If you really want to know what causes lithium batteries to fail a premature death it is charging them up above 80% DOD, and allowing them to fully discharge. This is what happens if you use Top Balance topologies. Commercial EV manufactures use Middle Balance (aka Between the Sheets) which you the DIY's cannot do, but you can mimic Middle Balance if you understand the subject matter

              Dr. Jeff Dahn and his university group at Dalhousie University are the authority in Lithium Battery Destructive Testing and the video will teach you what you need to know. All top lithium battery manufactures use the university to test predicted life cycle counts and analysts. The take away is this. Do not charge your batteries higher than 80%, do not discharge your batteries more than 80%. Do not operate or ever charge your batteries when the batteries are 30 degree C or higher.

              The three major root cause of Lithium battery failure are.

              1. Lithium Ion Plating of the SEI Layer. This is caused by normal recharging cycles and significantly accelerated when batteries are charged above 80% SOC and/or Top Balanced. Manufactures use additives in the electrolyte to combat and slow the problem. but basically with every cycle you loose a capacity. When Jeff talks about [U]shifting to the right.[/U]

              2. Charging or allowing your batteries to stay in warm conditions of greater than 30 degree C. We are not talking ambient air temps here, we are talking internal battery temps, and battery temps can reach 50 degree C in freezing weather. This is the MYSTERY some of you call PARASITIC LOSSES. It is not and I repeat not a Parasitic Loss, it is Parasitic Reaction. it i snot a loss of heat or energy. It is a contamination and oxidization of the electrolyte that cause lithium plating and prevents or stops lithium ions exchange between Anode and Cathode. Turn up the heat and charge faster, you accelerate the process. This is why some EV's use Thermal Management, and bites everyone of them in the butt. Keep you lithium warmer then 0 and cooler than 25 degree C, and do not charge faster than C/2

              3. Over discharge. Nothing will kill a Lithium battery faster than an over discharge. If you Top Balance, you are at risk of an over discharge and will take a BMS and automation to help prevent over discharge. Taking it one step further using a BMS can cause an over discharge if the system faults. Bottom Balance and you eliminate over discharge risk, and it does not cost one penny or require any automation outside what your Inverters already supplies.

              Anyway here is a video taped at a conference by Dr Jeff Dahn. 1 hour and 15 minutes long with quite a bit of technical information. But if you really want to know about lithium batteries watch it several times and look up the stuff you do not understand.

              MSEE, PE

              Comment


              • #8
                You picked my favorite instructional video Sunking!

                One thing overlooked by most of us in regards to parasitic reaction (not parasitic loss - thanks for the correction!) is the TIME factor.

                While I don't want to rehash the whole top vs bottom balance debate, one additional problem with top-balancing with the common little shunt resistor, is that it extends the TIME that full cells sit at an elevated voltage while waiting for the others to catch up. Over TIME when cycling, if your cells are spending 10 minutes longer than they should top-balancing each cycle from dinky little shunt resistances, that adds to the parasitic reactions over the lifetime of the cell.

                The time factor pointed out by Prof. Dahn is how manufacturers who tout cycle-life figures solely from rapid-fire charge/discharge routines from full discharge to full charge are just "beating the clock", and was the real reason that their lab chose to watch and predict cycle life by measuring parasitic reactions with their extensive lab gear, rather than just do simplistic cycle counts. Either that or wait a decade or so for real-time data to accumulate and try again.

                Thus it is best to charge and get it over and done within a reasonable amount of time. Bottom balancing where the highest voltage cell is the determining factor to stop the charge is scientifically the best. However, from a practical standpoint, one can top balance with somewhat conservative values, IF they are mindful of the time factor. Thing is, top-balancing is not needed on each and every cycle, especially when conservative values are chosen. And of course the application has to be taken into account, such as EV'ers who can routinely drive cells into the basement, whereas with [U]proper[/U] power-budgets, a solar housebank can be caught in time at their relatively low currents compared to overall capacity.

                Even though I personally do *sporadic* top-balancing since I monitor things quite closely, it is only so for convenience. But my biggest beef with top balancing as we've discussed before is that we know that voltage alone is only an approximation, and spending too much time trying to line up all your cells to exactly the same voltages is only a feel-good trick. While your voltmeters may all line up nicely, the TIME it took to do so will cost you further down the line from unnecessary parasitic reaction if you do this each and every cycle. Of course quality cells matched for both capacity and internal resistance should be used either way.

                In the end, and in the proper hands, it might well be that bottom balancing will give me the commonly touted 2000-cycles, whereas conservative top balancing only when it needs it, nets me 1800.

                Also overlooked by some is that lifepo4 (and other lithium chemistries in general) can suffer from SDS, or sudden-death-syndrome without warning due to prolonged parasitic reactions from overcharge / endless top balancing or floating at elevated voltages. Unlike lead where you may get a red-flag from slowly declining output, if lifepo4 is abused long enough, the overgrown SEI layer still functions one day, and is totally closed the next! (another reason that used or "recycled" lithium batteries are a BAD idea for diy'ers.)

                I like to point out to newcomers that there is no law that says you have to have those cheap shunt balance boards on all the time, provided you sanely have some other form of monitoring / alarm. Interestingly, even BMS systems like Housepower and Orion come with the option to turn off top-balance routines, and only rely on the rest of the circuitry to monitor and control lvc / hvc alarms, switches and so forth. So that makes it easy to use either top or bottom methods.

                I think it wise to note that testing done in the labs and at manufacturer facilities are usually only on a single-cell basis! That is, real-world additional issues like multiple series / parallel cells to actually comprize a usable battery suitable for our application, wiring infrastructure quality, and so forth have to be taken into account at the user level, so we just do the best we can do without throwing caution to the wind.

                Of course, procedures on how to bottom balance should one want to do so have been covered elsewhere here.

                So one picks their poison and does the best they can with it. Also overlooked are the terminal connections themselves! Unless they are snug and clean, one might assume their cells are bad or suffering from parasitic reactions when in fact the wiring infrastructure is the bad actor unbalancing the system with high resistance contacts ...

                As always, thanks again for the info.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                  If you really want to know what causes lithium batteries to fail a premature death it is charging them up above 80% DOD, and allowing them to fully discharge. This is what happens if you use Top Balance topologies. Commercial EV manufactures use Middle Balance (aka Between the Sheets) which you the DIY's cannot do, but you can mimic Middle Balance if you understand the subject matter
                  Why do I think I have seen this before, maybe here somewhere in this thread http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...-Solar-amp-BMS. I could do Middle Balance with Li-Ion batteries using bleed resistors (aka Vampire Boards) like Tesla does, does this mean I am not a DIY?

                  The take away is this. Do not charge your batteries higher than 80%, do not discharge your batteries more than 80%. Do not operate or ever charge your batteries when the batteries are 30 degree C or higher.
                  As Dr Jeff Dahn said at the end of the video if you want your Li-Ion battery to last as long as possible keep it stored in the fridge at 20% SOC.

                  Now me, I want to cycle as much power as possible through as small a battery as possible for as long as possible so I get the best possible economic return from the battery, and don't want to put it in an air-conditioned room if possible.

                  What I would like to know is how much difference will it make to the lifespan of my LFP battery in my off-grid system that is charged from solar energy if I charge to 3.4 volts/cell at an end current of C/50 rather that say 3.35 volts/cell at C/50. If the extra .05 volts makes little difference to the lifespan but may give me another 10% more charge it may be worth my while. The other issue is how much difference will it make to the lifespan if I float it at 3.35 volts rather than terminate the charge until the next day.

                  It is a pity that the majority of the video was about Li-Ion batteries and not LFP batteries. I often wonder if the fact that we only ever charge an LFP battery to around 3.4-3.5 volts whereas we charge Li-Ion batteries to around 4 volts for 80%SOC or 4.2 volts for 100%SOC is why LFP batteries are supposed to last longer than Li-Ion batteries.


                  The three major root cause of Lithium battery failure are.

                  1. Lithium Ion Plating of the SEI Layer. This is caused by normal recharging cycles and significantly accelerated when batteries are charged above 80% SOC and/or Top Balanced. Manufactures use additives in the electrolyte to combat and slow the problem. but basically with every cycle you loose a capacity. When Jeff talks about [U]shifting to the right.[/U]
                  By Lithium Ion Plating I assume you mean blocking of the carbon anode by the products of the unwanted reactions of Lithium Ions and the electrolyte or other contaminants and other side reactions. Lithium plating occurs when the Lithium Ions cannot diffuse and insert themselves into the carbon lattice fast enough and build up on the surface and plate out. This can happen because of this clogging and can also occur in tandem with or because of high charge rates and charging at low temperatures. Low temperature slows down the diffusion of the Lithium ions. This is discussed in the video around the 42 minute mark. You loose capacity because the Lithium Ions that could provide you energy are locked up in the side reaction debris. As the carbon anode clogs up the resistance will also increase.

                  2. Charging or allowing your batteries to stay in warm conditions of greater than 30 degree C. We are not talking ambient air temps here, we are talking internal battery temps, and battery temps can reach 50 degree C in freezing weather. This is the MYSTERY some of you call PARASITIC LOSSES. It is not and I repeat not a Parasitic Loss, it is Parasitic Reaction. it i snot a loss of heat or energy. It is a contamination and oxidization of the electrolyte that cause lithium plating and prevents or stops lithium ions exchange between Anode and Cathode. Turn up the heat and charge faster, you accelerate the process. This is why some EV's use Thermal Management, and bites everyone of them in the butt. Keep you lithium warmer then 0 and cooler than 25 degree C, and do not charge faster than C/2
                  Overheating batteries is not such an issue for stationary applications where you are charging below 0.1C and discharging below 0.5C. Being pedantic, any of the Parasitic Reactions that involve Lithium Ions do result in a loss in energy as they are locked up in the debris and no longer available. The Parasitic Reactions can also increase the resistance of the battery and decrease the energy efficiency of the battery.

                  3. Over discharge. Nothing will kill a Lithium battery faster than an over discharge. If you Top Balance, you are at risk of an over discharge and will take a BMS and automation to help prevent over discharge. Taking it one step further using a BMS can cause an over discharge if the system faults. Bottom Balance and you eliminate over discharge risk, and it does not cost one penny or require any automation outside what your Inverters already supplies.
                  Sunking, You are like a broken record, see this thread for more on this http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...-Solar-amp-BMS.

                  Simon
                  Off-Grid LFP(LiFePO4) system since April 2013

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by karrak View Post
                    It is a pity that the majority of the video was about Li-Ion batteries and not LFP batteries. I often wonder if the fact that we only ever charge an LFP battery to around 3.4-3.5 volts whereas we charge Li-Ion batteries to around 4 volts for 80%SOC or 4.2 volts for 100%SOC is why LFP batteries are supposed to last longer than Li-Ion batteries.
                    I'll do a quick jump - about 25 minutes in, the chart shows the measurements for lifepo4 in the 3rd column, but I think the audience was really only familiar with non-lifepo4 batteries, such as their cellphones, laptops and such that they could easily relate to. Maybe. BUT I was glad to see that 3rd column and just adjusted any voltage references down.

                    The sad thing is that by now, there are probably only 8 people in the world as interested in these batteries as we are, and like all other batteries, will get murdered and replaced by consumers long before they should have been. I've got a feeling that we will go well beyond the consumer-norm in cycle life, given how crazed we are about them. You know everyone probably sees this and thinks we are dancing on the head of a pin, and wondering why we are fighting and bickering instead of cooperating and compromizing when need be.

                    Myself included of course.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by karrak View Post
                      4871] Why do I think I have seen this before, maybe here somewhere in this thread http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...-Solar-amp-BMS. I could do Middle Balance with Li-Ion batteries using bleed resistors (aka Vampire Boards) like Tesla does, does this mean I am not a DIY?
                      You or I cannot do Middle Balance or even come close to duplicating what the manufactures do. EV manufactures buy batteries by the millions at a time. They have testing labs and battery analyzers that allows them to analyze every battery and precision match them within less than 1% tolerance. Does not matter if they Balance at the Top, Bottom, or somewhere in the Middle. As long as they start from any reference point all their cells in a pack will always be Balanced. Then when we charge or discharge capacity is equal in every cell. We cannot Middle Balance, but we can mimic Middle Balance via Bottom Balance. We do not have to give up 1 AH of capacity, just remove the risk and double cycle life for our trouble. I am clueless why you are against that.

                      You and I cannot possible even come close to matching our cells. We have to play the cards we are dealt with. We buy our 4, 8, or 16 100 AH cells and our range is 99 to 120 AH tolerance. The only possible way we can Balance the cells with equal capacity is at the Bottom.

                      Originally posted by karrak View Post
                      4871]Now me, I want to cycle as much power as possible through as small a battery as possible for as long as possible so I get the best possible economic return from the battery, and don't want to put it in an air-conditioned room if possible.
                      That is a recipe for the shortest cycle life, and most expensive possible route you can go. You also set yourself up for the perfect storm of Over Discharge Failure.

                      It is well know if you charge any of the Lithium batteries near or to 100%, you cut your cycle life in half. Taking batteries to 100% is a lead acid thing and uninformed consumer demand thing. Lithium batteries thrive in the Partial State of Charge World (PSOC), and suffer being charged above 80 to 90% SOC. Lead acid batteries suffer in a PSOC environment or anything less than 100% SOC.

                      Top Balance comes from Pb mentality and the Disposable Consumer Electronics market with Laptops, Cell Phones. Tablets, Power Tools, Gizmos, and Gadgets where the consumers demand the longest possible run times possible operating from 0% to 100% SOC. In two or three years our Gizmos are so Yesterday, need upgraded and replaced which comes with new batteries. The manufactures sacrifice cycle life for maximum run times just like you are doing.

                      For EV's and Energy storage markets there is huge investment in battery cost as they make up 1/3 to 1/2 the total investment cost. It is not a $30 to $50 battery we can afford to replace once a year. A 2 to 3 year battery is unacceptable. EV manufactures know this. They run Between the Sheets or Middle Balance 20/80% SOC. That is the sole reason they can offer up to 8 year warranties. If you had watched the video those points were made very Loud and Clear. Top Balance for Consumer Electronics. Middle Balance for long term investments.

                      Originally posted by karrak View Post
                      4871]What I would like to know is how much difference will it make to the lifespan of my LFP battery in my off-grid system that is charged from solar energy if I charge to 3.4 volts/cell at an end current of C/50 rather that say 3.35 volts/cell at C/50. If the extra .05 volts makes little difference to the lifespan but may give me another 10% more charge it may be worth my while. The other issue is how much difference will it make to the lifespan if I float it at 3.35 volts rather than terminate the charge until the next day.
                      You can Float Lithium batteries. In fact all high end Lithium Battery Chargers are just very Simple Float Chargers. No stages or anything, just FLOAT Chargers. The only SMARTS they have is they shut off when current tapers down to a prescribed setting of usually .03 to 05C of C. Of course this assumes Top Balanced to 100% SOC.

                      However you can Float Lithium batteries indefinitely just like you can Pb. Only trick is to do it at equal to or less than 80% SOC voltage. When and if your batteries reach 80%, the panels can now power opportunity loads or really anything just like you would a standard Pb system. Last thing you want to do is turn the solar off when the batteries are charged. You still want utilize power from the panels if available. It would be ignorant to have your solar system shut down just because your batteries are charged up.

                      Originally posted by karrak View Post
                      It is a pity that the majority of the video was about Li-Ion batteries and not LFP batteries. I often wonder if the fact that we only ever charge an LFP battery to around 3.4-3.5 volts whereas we charge Li-Ion batteries to around 4 volts for 80%SOC or 4.2 volts for 100%SOC is why LFP batteries are supposed to last longer than Li-Ion batteries.
                      Huh? You did not pay a lot of attention. The whole video was about Lico, LiMn, and LFP the three types used in EV's and Energy storage. He talked exclusively about batteries used in Tesla, Nissan, Chevy, and Fiskers. 3.6 volts is 100% SOC for LFP batteries and nominal 3.2 volts. LiCo is 4.2 @ 100% SOC and 3.6 volts nominal. Solar for now is dominated by LFP for 4 very good reasons.

                      1. Lowest price per unit
                      2. One of the highest cycle lifes
                      3. Direct drop in compatible replacement with Pb voltage range. All others voltage is not compatible.
                      4. Safety.

                      LiCo, LiMn, and LFP are three different elements. Each has its own unique voltage signature. LiCo was chosen by pure luck at the time by Tesla. Back when Tesla made the roadster, all there was available was Laptop 18650 cells made from LiCo. But Licoo is about one of the poorest choices you can make from a Safety and cycle life POV

                      Overheating batteries is not such an issue for stationary applications where you are charging below 0.1C [/QUOTE]Incorrect. Charge rates have to be higher than C/10. In fact with Solar you have to charge faster than EV's Minimum for FLA is C/10 and that is with 5 day reserve capacity. With Lithium you can design using 2 or 3 days autonomy which means you are charging at much faster higher rates. For a 1 Kwh with 3 sun Hours requires a 500 watt panel. At say 12 volts requires a 250 AH LFP battery, and a 400 AH FLA battery. The C charge rate for lithium is much higher at C/6 (.17C)than FLA C/10 (.1C) charge rate. C6 is about what a level 2 charger provides to an EV or slightly higher. On the Discharge side depends on what EV you are talking about. Tesla products discharge slowly due to over sized battery. To maintain 60 mph the motor uses roughly 12 Hp or 9000 watts. On a 60 Kwh 400 volt battery is only 22.5 amps on a 150 AH battery is C/7 rate. So your premise that a solar system does not run at the extremes of an EV is false. In fact you can make the case a solar system usin gLithium batteries uses higher C rates than an EV. Proff is in the numbers. You just have not looked at them. and assumed incorrectly.

                      What you and most are missing the point is a Bottom Balanced system is Passively Safe by design. In a Bottom Balanced system you completely eliminate the risk of an Over Discharge to Polarity Reversal. It takes absolutely Zero Equipment or Investment Cost to get it. It takes ZERO AUTOMATION and completely Passive Fail-safe. When you Top Balance you set up the Perfect Storm conditions to set up a fatal Over Discharge condition. You have engineered a failure point and more frequent battery replacement with shorter cycle life. You also now have to rely on a high degree of error prone automation to protect yourself from a deadly Over Discharge. That automation is expensive and not fool proof. You gain nothing but risk and shorter battery cycle life.

                      That is what the video clearly told you.
                      MSEE, PE

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                        Top Balance comes from Pb mentality and the Disposable Consumer Electronics market with Laptops, Cell Phones. Tablets, Power Tools, Gizmos, and Gadgets where the consumers demand the longest possible run times possible operating from 0% to 100% SOC.
                        That is true, and consider that in the field of power tool manufacturers like Dewalt (who used to use lifepo4) may have also switched to bottom balance I believe. I can't recall the exact manufacturer who does this, but the point here is that in a high-current discharge application, to protect the cells from user-abuse in high-current situations when nearing total discharge, bottom balance made better sense than the previous top balance routine.

                        However, if you remove the high-current drill application, and if driving nothing more than a couple of leds from a small lighting attachment, you *CAN* get away with *conservative* top balance routines, since a low-current application relative to the large capacity of the battery itself, (aka a solar housebank sized properly) can be stopped in time without going into super deep discharge or cell reversal like EV'ers can. Start out with high-quality cells manufactured well for both capacity and internal resistance - along with good wiring infrastructure of course. If you are using JUNK, like recycled or used lifepo4, then all bets are off despite your best efforts.

                        Yes, bottom balance is the preferred choice. However for practical reasons, if you play your cards right with conservatism and education, use high quality componentry, and are in a relatively low current application like a solar housebank is, in the right hands, top-balance (not necessarily at 100% all the time mind you!) can be a work-around for bottom balancing if you don't use junk.

                        I suppose we'll never come to a conclusion really. And while what is presented here is great "best practices" advice, unfortunately it gives the impression that lifepo4 is unstable and impossible to use unless you do things only ONE way. They aren't THAT delicate!

                        What I've been saying for a long time is not to lose track of what application you use the battery with, which here is NOT Tesla, NOT EV, NOT RC, NOT one-off diy junk, NOT trying to be a manufacturer for the next door neighbor, and not trying to use a solar housebank the size of a lunchbox. Tunnel-vision leads to missed opportunites that work, even if it doesn't agree with everyone.

                        We have the luxury of doing it either way with great results *in our low-current application niche* as long as the normal routines for battery installation procedures, safety, and tlc are followed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                          Huh? You did not pay a lot of attention. The whole video was about Lico, LiMn, and LFP the three types used in EV's and Energy storage. He talked exclusively about batteries used in Tesla, Nissan, Chevy, and Fiskers. 3.6 volts is 100% SOC for LFP batteries and nominal 3.2 volts. LiCo is 4.2 @ 100% SOC and 3.6 volts nominal. Solar for now is dominated by LFP for 4 very good reasons.
                          We must have been looking at different videos. There is only discussion of the different types of Lithium cells used in cars up to around 27 minutes. This was all about temperature, nothing about how SOC affects the lifespan. The main thrust of this video is how testing the efficiency of the cells can more quickly determine the impacts of temperature, additives and other factors on the lifespan of the cells rather than using the traditional cyclic testing.

                          Overheating batteries is not such an issue for stationary applications where you are charging below 0.1C
                          Incorrect. Charge rates have to be higher than C/10. In fact with Solar you have to charge faster than EV's Minimum for FLA is C/10 and that is with 5 day reserve capacity. With Lithium you can design using 2 or 3 days autonomy which means you are charging at much faster higher rates. For a 1 Kwh with 3 sun Hours requires a 500 watt panel. At say 12 volts requires a 250 AH LFP battery, and a 400 AH FLA battery. The C charge rate for lithium is much higher at C/6 (.17C)than FLA C/10 (.1C) charge rate. C6 is about what a level 2 charger provides to an EV or slightly higher. On the Discharge side depends on what EV you are talking about. Tesla products discharge slowly due to over sized battery. To maintain 60 mph the motor uses roughly 12 Hp or 9000 watts. On a 60 Kwh 400 volt battery is only 22.5 amps on a 150 AH battery is C/7 rate. So your premise that a solar system does not run at the extremes of an EV is false. In fact you can make the case a solar system usin gLithium batteries uses higher C rates than an EV. Proff is in the numbers. You just have not looked at them. and assumed incorrectly.
                          I don't have to assume, as I have said before on multiple occasions I have an off-grid system with LFP batteries with about three days of autonomy. My maximum measured charge was 41.2 amps (0.11C), the average daily maximum would have to be somewhat less than this, probably around 30 amps which is less than 0.1C. My highest measured discharge current from my battery is 245.7 amps (0.68C), the average daily maximum would be less than 0.5C.

                          What you and most are missing the point is a Bottom Balanced system is Passively Safe by design. In a Bottom Balanced system you completely eliminate the risk of an Over Discharge to Polarity Reversal. It takes absolutely Zero Equipment or Investment Cost to get it. It takes ZERO AUTOMATION and completely Passive Fail-safe. When you Top Balance you set up the Perfect Storm conditions to set up a fatal Over Discharge condition. You have engineered a failure point and more frequent battery replacement with shorter cycle life. You also now have to rely on a high degree of error prone automation to protect yourself from a deadly Over Discharge. That automation is expensive and not fool proof. You gain nothing but risk and shorter battery cycle life.

                          That is what the video clearly told you.
                          Maybe there is some subliminal message, I didn't get any of this from this video.


                          Simon

                          Hi Simon pete here, I removed the links to the other forum. I will be doing this whenever I see it. I am sick of bleeding page rank to other sites.
                          Last edited by solar pete; 07-21-2015, 11:01 PM. Reason: fixed wrong link
                          Off-Grid LFP(LiFePO4) system since April 2013

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                          • #14
                            The real issue is that everything seems to get taken out of context, including the operating environment. Thus generalities don't always apply in every case, and everyone is searching for the magic-number (voltage or current) to bring out the magic wand.

                            Lifepo4 voltages are obviously different from other lithium chemistries due to the materials, but the issue of keeping them too long at elevated soc's is a problem, whatever that voltage happens to be.

                            The real truth is that much of it is determined by how fast you charge in the bulk stage. For instance, charging at 1C or more, you CAN take these cells up to the extremes of the spec sheets, like 3.8v - 4.0 because you don't spend much time there. On the other hand, if you are charging at say the C/20 or .05C rate, which happens to be the rate at which is commonly the absorb current cutoff, then 3.45v to maybe 3.5v max would be the ideal. You are already at the absorb rate right from the beginning and TIME spent going any higher than that is bringing out the parasitics. Thus slow charging may be more a factor in degradation than fast charging. BUT, keeping it in the context of a typical solar user, we will never have 1C available for use with an array for a bank appropriately sized for autonomy and the generality of going no higher than 3.5v is a safe value without going too far into detail, like how that might leave off some real desirable usable capacity at the high-C rate.

                            Resting voltages are a better way to go, but impractical, since to do it right, you need to wait 12-24 hours, which for solar guys, means we are in the dark waiting.

                            Ideally, a balancer in the top-balance camp would measure the bulk rate, or perhaps the average if solar driven, and readjust the top balance voltage accordingly. Throw in some temp compensation at the extremes for good measure.

                            The guy who bottom-balances a variable current solar array system, once again sized properly for autonomy, generally does well with a conservative value for his highest-cell trigger voltage because he can't provide the current that an EV system can - other than using a genny - which brings out yet again a reason to be dynamic in thought...

                            The beauty of setting up a SMALL system like I did (40ah , 4S) lifepo4 allows me to experiment and watch details for both camps very fast. Some issues like heating electrolyte can be masked by using a very large system because you don't allow for enough time to see it happening - but it is! How do I know? The prismatics are my "large system". My smaller systems comprising of A123 powersports cylindricals allowed me to compare things even faster. (albeit my preaching about cylindricals not being the right tool for a constant-drain job - I got them anyway for scientific monitoring).

                            Being able to do charge / discharge and capacity tests on my own with these admittedly small systems, allows me to the opportunity to see things BOTH ways and still have great results without a lot of degradation - but always keeping in context my solar relatively low-current autonomy environment. So as the typing drags on and on in the EV forums, I'm happily using my bank and expect many many years of faithful service. I can switch streams at any time - I just choose what's the most practical at the time.

                            So instead of just slinging words back and forth, I put my Fluke gear to work, measured discharges, purposely overcharged a little to observe phenomenon and just did it for myself. Anyone safety conscious can do the same which cuts through a lot of forum(s) chatter.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
                              The real truth is that much of it is determined by how fast you charge in the bulk stage. For instance, charging at 1C or more, you CAN take these cells up to the extremes of the spec sheets, like 3.8v - 4.0 because you don't spend much time there. On the other hand, if you are charging at say the C/20 or .05C rate, which happens to be the rate at which is commonly the absorb current cutoff, then 3.45v to maybe 3.5v max would be the ideal. You are already at the absorb rate right from the beginning and TIME spent going any higher than that is bringing out the parasitics. Thus slow charging may be more a factor in degradation than fast charging. BUT, keeping it in the context of a typical solar user, we will never have 1C available for use with an array for a bank appropriately sized for autonomy and the generality of going no higher than 3.5v is a safe value without going too far into detail, like how that might leave off some real desirable usable capacity at the high-C rate.
                              This is fascinating discourse. I had not considered the relationship of charge currents of the generator vs the array to the optimal voltage threshold to charge an LFP bank to. I'll have to make a note of this in the event I actually pull the trigger. There's a lot to know, that's for sure. I can greater appreciate those who recommend a "starter bank".

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