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  • LiFePO4 reseller in Canada

    Hello,

    I'm looking at purchasing in the next 3-6 months 16 x 400Ah x 3.2v LiFePO4 batteries. I am interested in CALB products, but I wouldn't necessarily look away GBS, Winston or Sinopoly products.
    Shipping to my place (Quebec) would cost about 500$. While this isn't necessarily a problem, I would nonetheless like to compare products, prices but more importantly customer feedback from different places.

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Stick with CALB as they are the only Chi-Com with credibility. Also DO NOT expect then to last near as long as claimed. 5 years with TLC is all you will get. Never fully charge them.

    Try EVTV for pricing and shipping. There are many Us distributors. Search EV batteries.
    MSEE, PE

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Sunking for your answer.

      EVTV doesn't seem to offer the 400Ah CALB batteries - I'll email them tomorrow to see if they have or can have them.

      Out of curiosity, does your 5 years number come from your own testing? It seems a bit low to me.

      Thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by extrafu View Post
        Thanks Sunking for your answer.

        EVTV doesn't seem to offer the 400Ah CALB batteries - I'll email them tomorrow to see if they have or can have them.

        Out of curiosity, does your 5 years number come from your own testing? It seems a bit low to me.

        Thanks!
        CALB makes a 400 AH cell, model CA400. However I caution you about using greater than 100 AH cells. Lithium is an exception when it comes to Parallel Cells. If you really need 400 AH pack use 4-100AH in parallel. So for example if you palen to run 48 volts is a 16S4P battery. It gives you a great deal of redundancy is a cell should fail which is likely in any configuration. Lithium Cells are not Paralleled like FLA batteries. Lithium parallels cells, where FLA parallels string. AKA Ladder Connections.



        5 years is from experience of hundreds of DIY EV users. My first set was GBS, and in 6 months had significant capacity loss. Today I use quality LEAF cells from a salvaged Nissan Leaf. Chi-Coms are not known for quality lithium batteries. Warranty of 1-2 year tells you what to expect. Quality Prismatic cells from companies like Boston Power, A123, LG Chem, ect.. will cost you 3 to 8 times more than Chi-Coms.
        Last edited by Sunking; 04-26-2016, 10:47 PM.
        MSEE, PE

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by extrafu View Post
          Thanks Sunking for your answer.

          EVTV doesn't seem to offer the 400Ah CALB batteries - I'll email them tomorrow to see if they have or can have them.

          Out of curiosity, does your 5 years number come from your own testing? It seems a bit low to me.

          Thanks!
          Take no notice of anyone who uses lifepo4 for Ev purposes, they know nothing about off grid lifepo4 use. We have more than 1000 installs around Australia and close to 100 with more than 6 years of use, none have lost capacity. My own personal lifepo4 system has been in use for over 7 years and still holds 100% capacity. It depends on the type of cells you get, how you use and control them, which gives you a decent life.

          All our system use 40-50amp cells, they are all metal cased commercial/military cells and not plastic retail cells. We set them up in 500amp packs and use our own dedicated lifepo4 solar charge controllers and they are all 60amp chargers fed by 750w of solar. We have found this is the best configuration for lifepo4 and along with the proper charge and discharge parameters, you will get a very long life out of your lifepo4 pack. If you use large capacity cells, you will end up with lots of charge problems along with the fact if a cell collapses, you may lose your entire energy system. If you use small cell sizes, you can take out a faulty cell without losing much capacity. Personally i have spare cells, which were t be used when a cell went down. Problem is, no cell has failed and my extra cells have been put into a 120amp 12v pack, which is light and easily carried. It provides me with mobile power around my farm and our installers use packs of 120amp to power our installations, as 90% have no power to speak of.

          Using a dedicated lifepo4 charge controller rather than one designed for lead acid, will give you a system that is easy to control and use. make sure your upper charge parameters never go above 14v and it is much preferable for them to stop charging at 13.8v. Never let them get below 12v, which is 3v per cell in a 12v system and you will have a happy system. Set your restart charging at 13.6v x 12v and 27.2v x 24v, this way you avoid a lot of what they call cycling and your in use pack will function excellently

          Make sure you get your supplier to balance your cells at 3.2v before delivery and if you use a lfiepo4 charger, which will only provide bulk charge, then shut off, you will have very few problems. This way you really don't need active balancers, just a cut off relay which works when a cell goes over 3,5v. In an off grid system, you will find cells will balance very well because you are using the pack as it is being charged and this balances out the cells very nicely. Also make sure you charge and discharge your cells from all 4 points of the pack, this helps provide an even charge to cells. Above 3.4v, there is little usable energy and so steer clear of going over at all costs in an off grid system.

          This methods works for system that are in use constantly, for systems that are used periodically and charged when not in use, it can be different. But overall these usage parameters, will see you with a reliable safe and long term energy system. Our portable work packs are omly used during the day, but sill use thes charge parameters and

          Comment


          • ncs55
            ncs55 commented
            Editing a comment
            I would be interested in learning more about how you are planning these system designs with off grid lifepo4 use. I live off grid and use 24- 2 volt Lead acid batteries in a 48V system. These batteries are 14 years old and are still strong but the rigorous watering and EQ charging is getting old. I am not completely sold on lifepo4 use for off grid yet. I see the same results as SunKing in my area. I am curious what is the daily DOD you are taking them down to, as I pump water from a well and irrigation that needs to be performed regularly. Want to school me on how you design these systems in more detail?

        • #6
          Hi guys,

          Thanks for your answers.

          dax What brand do you use for your cells? 1000 installations is a pretty impressive number, bravo for this.

          Sunking In your 16S4P configuration, so 48 batteries total, if one of four batteries in parallel fails, that means I would only loose X Ah (where X is the standard Ah of the battery) but would keep the right voltage?

          If so, that means that if I go with 16S with 16 x 400Ah batteries and one of them fails, voltage would drop and cause much more efficiency issues because of the LVD from the inverter and the HVD from the charge controller? (ie., the other 15 batteries would get 6.25% less charge)

          I hope I make sense!
          Last edited by extrafu; 04-27-2016, 09:43 PM.

          Comment


          • #7
            http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...configurations seems to confirm what I thought.

            Comment


            • #8
              Steve G has had his LFP off-grid system running for nearly six years. See https://www.solarpaneltalk.com/forum...017#post311017

              My Winston LFP battery installed in my off-grid system three years ago is still performing as new. There are over a dozen off-grid systems in use by people who post on the Energy Matters forum up to four years old. Same story, except for one person who might be having problems with one cell.

              This is a good article on installing cells in parallel, http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html

              It is one of the advantages of having cells in parallel that if you loose one you don't loose the whole system. The other one is that it averages out any differences between the individual cells. My LFP battery is configured as 4P8S.

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

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by dax View Post

                Take no notice of anyone who uses lifepo4 for Ev purposes, they know nothing about off grid lifepo4 use.
                You are full of crap. We taught you everything you know. Besides I do both.

                MSEE, PE

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by extrafu View Post
                  Sunking In your 16S4P configuration, so 48 batteries total, if one of four batteries in parallel fails, that means I would only loose X Ah (where X is the standard Ah of the battery) but would keep the right voltage?
                  Correct. Example say you use 4-100 AH cells in parallel giving you 400 AH total. If you loose one cell means you are now down to 300 AH with no change in voltage. In an EV it allows you to get home or the shop. Us EV guys taught DAX that trick.

                  Originally posted by extrafu View Post
                  If so, that means that if I go with 16S with 16 x 400Ah batteries and one of them fails, voltage would drop and cause much more efficiency issues because of the LVD from the inverter and the HVD from the charge controller? (ie., the other 15 batteries would get 6.25% less charge)
                  Yes and No. Yes a voltage drop, or no voltage under load. Depends on how the cell fails. Most common failure is Reverse Polarity.

                  Reverse Polarity happens when one cell on a series string has less capacity than the adjacent cells being used in a Top Balanced system. When the weak cell reaches 0% (2.0 volts), the other cells are still above 3.0 colts, and will drive current through the dead cell and destroy it. The real problem with that is extreme Fire Danger. One work around for that is to Bottom Balance as DAX is eluding too, another EV trick we learned, is to Bottom Balance. All that means is we discharge all cells to 2.5 vpc or 0% SOC. In that method all cells have equal capacity at any point in the charge/discharge cycle, and eliminates over discharge.

                  Another trick DAX learned from EV guys, is never charge your cells to 100%, and never discharge them lower than 10%. This will double the life of your cells. To do that you Bottom Balance, set your LVD on your Inverter to 48 volts (3.0 vpc), and your CC/CV Charger to 56 volts (3.5 vpc). This is the 10-90% SOC. This is what us EV guys do, and we do not use any BMS or Top Balance as we have learned that is how you destroy a battery. Saves us a lot of money on equipment, and maximizes battery life and capacity. We have found most problems with LFP cells is the BMS as the root cause of failures. All custom EV shops are switching to Bottom Balance.

                  FWIW today NASA, Gruman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Hughes, and other Aircraft/Defense contractors are using a form of Bottom Balancing called Middle Balancing. That is where us EV guys picked up on it. What they are doing is using matched cell capacity to 1% or less. Initial Balance is Bottom Balance the cells to 0% capacity. Then they do exactly as described above. They only discharge to 10%, and charge to 90%. Unlike us EV guys who do it for cost advantages; they do it to save weight, maximize battery life, and SAFETY. Boeing Aircraft learned that the hard way Floating LFP batteries at 100% with BMS. Us EV guys cannot afford to use 1% matched cells, but we can mimic all the rest. Only trick is you have to find the weak cell initially which is super easy to do on the first charge. Monitor cell voltages on the first charge. When the first cell reaches 3.6 volts, is the weakest cell. You note the charger voltage when that happens. As it turns out 3.45 to 3.5 vpc happens to be the sweet spot.
                  MSEE, PE

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                    You are full of crap. We taught you everything you know. Besides I do both.
                    Just a coupe of facts. I have only been on this site since late last year, have only made a few posts and yet have been installing lifepo4 for more than 6 years and working with them for close to 7 years. My knowledge comes from real experience and having spent time in china learning the manufacturing, maintainance and repair of lifepo4 cells, as well as ongoing testing in our R&D department. The last person I would listen to is sunking, not only because of his arrogant and abusive approach, which the moderators on this sites seem to ignore. Its the attitude of sunking as to why very few people stay or post on this site and the information sunking spews out in his abusive rants, is useless for off grid. In fact anyone taking sunkings advice, will be turned off lifepo4 very quickly when their pack collapses after a couple of years.

                    All I've learnt here is, not to come here because real advice is abused and put down. Whilst insane claims along with unwarranted abuse flows freely.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by dax View Post

                      Just a coupe of facts. I have only been on this site since late last year, have only made a few posts and yet have been installing lifepo4 for more than 6 years and working with them for close to 7 years. My knowledge comes from real experience and having spent time in china learning the manufacturing, maintainance and repair of lifepo4 cells, as well as ongoing testing in our R&D department. The last person I would listen to is sunking, not only because of his arrogant and abusive approach, which the moderators on this sites seem to ignore. Its the attitude of sunking as to why very few people stay or post on this site and the information sunking spews out in his abusive rants, is useless for off grid. In fact anyone taking sunkings advice, will be turned off lifepo4 very quickly when their pack collapses after a couple of years.

                      All I've learnt here is, not to come here because real advice is abused and put down. Whilst insane claims along with unwarranted abuse flows freely.
                      DAX if you look back, we are saying the same thing. Do not charge to 100% and stay away from over discharge. I could not agree more on a 4s system to only charge to 14 volts, and disconnect at 12 volts. That is exactly what you learned from the EV crowd, Like it or not everything you have learned came from EV's. What the hell do you think large prismatic cells were invented for? Hint: it was not solar or energy storage. . FWIW I have been a pro for 35 years and forgot more than you know. At 8 years you are still a rookie wet behind the ears.
                      MSEE, PE

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Sunking If one does properly bottom balance batteries (say 32 batteries, in 4P8S), set the LVD and HVD correctly, and doesn't use a BMS, how often should batteries be checked manually to make sure they stay balanced?

                        I guess the answer depends on brands and thes quality of cells - but perhaps there some limits to respect.

                        Thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by extrafu View Post
                          Sunking If one does properly bottom balance batteries (say 32 batteries, in 4P8S), set the LVD and HVD correctly, and doesn't use a BMS, how often should batteries be checked manually to make sure they stay balanced?
                          IMO once a month, but that i sin all likely hood over kill. I ran GBS cells for 6 months and they never showed any imbalance, only capacity loss. Other professional EV builders say they have never witnessed any imbalance for as long as they have been building EV's. It took me a year to shift from Top to Bottom Balance. Being an engineer I feel in the trap of a manufactured solution. It took a lot of talking, asking questions, and experiments to flip me. The notion of Top Balance is a left over from notion from Lead Acid batteries that must be kept at 100% SOC at all times and when recharged. Great for Lead Acid, but poor for Lithium. Lithium perform best in a Partial State of Charge which is perfect for Solar users.

                          The real danger for Top Balance systems is destroying weak cells, and requires cell level monitoring and automated controls. It is the Balance Boards and Cell monitors that cause cells to become unbalanced. They are also the source for most catastrophic failures. From a manufactures POV and Liability Top Balance is the only defeasible position they can take. It also makes them a lot more money selling batteries two fold as it cause shorter battery life, and BMS on top of that. But for an informed user who understands the lithium characteristics can employ what aerospace and DIY EV folks use.

                          Go read this Owner Manual for CALB Cells and it will help you understand it is not hoky poky. It is one of the best Owners Manual for any LFP battery. If you have time watch this video on BB Jack produced. Jack is a retired Aerospace engineer who retired wealthy, early, and made another fortune making custom EV's. Jack has built hundreds of EV's all Bottom Balance for the last 7 years. Not a single failure from over charge or over discharge. Now most Custom EV builders and DIY use Bottom Balance. The one modification you need to make for Solar is slightly lower the voltage to 3.4 to 3.45 vpc on charging.

                          At a minimum you can use a Cell Log device to watch cell voltages, and to alarm if any cell goes out of range. That is what I did at first using an Orion JR which is a high end BMS I repurposed to use in a Bottom Balance System. On my second build all I did was build a port so I can plug in my Power Labs 8. If need be I can rebalance very quickly inside a day. 7 months now using Nissan Leaf Cells and all cells are still in balance. Only thing I do different using Leaf Cells is different LVD and Charge voltage because they are a different chemistry than LFP. Other than that. no difference.
                          MSEE, PE

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                          • #15
                            Sunking Any issues with 5P8S instead of 4P8S? I find it easier to find 180Ah cells to meet my estimated power requirements.

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