Motorcycle Batteries .. AGM, GEL, Wet, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by _cy_, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. frogy

    frogy Been here awhile

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    PS Why the larger size batt. for longer trips? I might be replacing the batt. on my 02 R1150RT soon,and I usually travel 4-7 hours to Rallys.Are you worried about overcharging?
  2. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    not worried about overcharging look closely at chart below. LiFePO4 batteries in 4s config charges to 14.6v (full charge). then if battery is equipped with internal BMS. volts will drop down to about 13.8v range. LiFePO4 battery without BMS will typically self discharge overnight to 14.1v range. note very little power loss from 14.6 to 13.85v

    a normal motorcycle charges at 13.8v to 14.2v range. so long as charging voltage remains in normal range. your LiFePO4 battery will not overcharge.

    LiFePO4 li-ion batteries are inherently stable and very hard to cause it to catch on fire. vs lithium cobalt li-ion batteries catching on fire Boeing 787 in the news.

    [​IMG]

    keep in mind airhead (non- fuel injected) motorcycles takes longer crank times when temps dips down. LiFePO4 batteries degrade in the cold.... much as 50% degradation in amp hour capacity within range of motorcycle riding temps. most folks don't go riding at -10c (14f) degrees, but it's not unusual for folks to ride below that.

    so a short cold ride with headed gear and long crank times = worst case scenario for a LiFePO4 battery. keep in mind I'm dealing with actual amp hour not wildly inflated amp hour listing by most battery mfg. PB/EQ or lead acid equivalent.

    both Shorai LFX21 and Earth-X ETX24 failed next morning... after being subjected to long crank times at 25f to start R80G/S followed by a 15-20 minute ride with full heated gear on. then bike was parked outside for several hours while temps fell to 20f. then R80G/S was started and ridden home 15-20min with full heated gear (Gerbing heated jacket, heated pants, heated gloves and BMW heated grips)

    next morning R80G/S with both Shorai LFX21 failed to start R80G/S at 20f. repeated same scenario with Earth-X ETX24 which also failed next morning.

    R80G/S used a voltage regulator from <cite>www.motoelekt.com</cite> that charges at a slightly higher (14.4v) voltage to increase output. R80G/S has an upgraded 400watt alternator (from <cite>www.motoelekt.com</cite>). have changed back to normal voltage regulator since then. changed battery out to larger Shorai LFX36 and have had NO further problem with battery not having enough amp hour reserves. one year later and LOTS of short cold rides with heated gear.

    this is why for folks who takes their adventure bikes (pigs) on extended trips ... Earth-X ETX36 and Shorai LFX36 are the only two batteries I would recommend. by the way for modern high tech fuel injected bikes ... yes when things are tuned and running perfect. bike starts with a few seconds of cranking even when cold. ah .. but what happens when that fancy bike's fuel pump decides to take a dump??? and/or you get a bad load of fuel.... sometime cranking and cranking and cranking while beating on the fuel pump will get you going again.

    all that takes amp hours! ... an Odessey AGM for BMW 28 AH, weight 22lb. vs ETX36 weight 3lb 11oz, LFX36 slightly heavier. both measure out actual about 13 amp hour. that's a whooping 18lb saving. original BMW gel battery is 19AH.

    [​IMG]
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    they need to yank out ALL lithium cobalt li-ion batteries out of 787!!! and replace with lithium iron phosphate or AGM. think in terms of cell volt multiples. 787 uses a 28V battery system. PB and LiFePO4 cells multiply up nicely and will both support 28V. (note Ni-cad and PB are already approved technologies which FAA has issued an emergency directive before)

    LiFePO4 li-ion has about 1/2 energy density as lithium cobalt li-ion. so number of prismatic cells will be higher and larger than lithium cobalt to deliver same amp hour and volts.

    charging requirements are different for LiFePO4, but rest of electronics should remain essentially the same.

    this is the most baffling part ... there is NO way those folks at GS Yusa and Thales didn't know dangers of lithium cobalt li-ion batteries. which are well known.

    it's understandable why lithium cobalt was spec'd back in 2003 era ... but LOTS has happened since then. there is NO way the folks at GS Yusa and Thales didn't know about all the Sony laptops catching in fire and the massive number of battery replacement that followed. FAA restricting transport of li-ion cells catching on fire, etc.

    the number of competent battery guys are small but they are out there. just so happens I've been involved with li-ion cells almost from the beginning when A123 had barely started.

    strangely enough consumer use of li-ion cells happened on Candlepower forums. we among the world's first users of li-ion batteries in flashlights without protection circuits. lithium cobalt was the most commonly used li-ion cells. we went through all sorts of battery explosions back then. we were on the bleeding edge for consumer use of li-ion cells.

    there's a little mostly unknown phenomena when lithium ions migrate during discharge and charging. if charging rates are too low for extend periods, dendrites may form very similar to metal forming like crystals during extended plating. if enough dendrites form and shorts out.... a fire could result. this is even with protection circuits working.

    due to all the delays in 787 launch, an important question that comes into mind is how old are the batteries used in 787 and how were they stored? which really is a moot point as Lithium cobalt li-ion batteries should have never made it into production in 787.
  4. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    LiFePO4 batteries for motorcycle are made of four cells in series. discharge curve for LiFePO4 are very flat. a specific to LiFePO4 charge typically will charge to 14.6V (fully charged)

    battery will then self discharge overnight to about 14.1v for batteries without BMS. it's normal for LiFePO4 batteries with BMS to self discharge to about 13.85V. very little power is contained within 14.6v to 13.85v.

    your volt meter sounds like it's off... check with a known to be correct meter like Fluke 87V. it's ok to use cheap meter, but you must verify accuracy first. take any primary lithium battery to an HVAC supply. then ask to see a new Fluke 87V. tell them you are check accuracy of meter. if both meters read same you are good to go. voltage coming of out primary lithium batteries are fairly stable.

    reason battery charger is kicking off early sure sounds like your Shorai battery is almost fully charged before sticking charger. notice almost entire discharge ranges about 1/2v difference. an accurate meter is a must!

    IMHO LFX18 is way too small for your KTM 990, especially for adventure travel. the only LiFePO4 batteries I can recommend for an adventure bike are Earth-X ETX36 and Shorai LFX36. both have excellent cranking power with ample amp hour reserves.

    for bikes only ridden from home base with a fully charged battery everytime. then a smaller battery may be acceptable. still would not recommend LFX18 ... mfg have a tendency to spec battery several sizes too small. LFX18 has a tiny actual amp hour capacity with lower cranking abilities vs larger LiFePO4 batteries from Shorai and Earth-X.

    Earth-X batteries delivers cranking amps as claimed. but their amp hour capacities are inflated too. for example ETX24 measures about 6.3 amp hour actual at 1c discharge rate. which will be higher using the much lower discharge rates used by mfg for ratings. but Earth-X ETX 24 managed to excel in delivering sustained 200amp cranking performance. much better than Shorai LFX21 which also put out decent 200 amp cranking performance. but Earth-X ETX24 outperformed Shorai LFX21 by a substantial margin. both have about same actual AH capacity. ignore amp hour ratings by both Shorai and Earth-X, they are no where close to actual amp hours.

    see earlier posts in this battery testing thread for exact data.

    [​IMG]

    Shorai LFX 36 after one year with excellent performance, next to Earth-X ETX36 just getting started and doing excellent.
    [​IMG]
  5. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    HUGE gap of information out there.

    your motorcycle li-ion battery is made from lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) which are inherently safe. that battery can survive all sorts of abuse without problems. in fact it's all but impossible to make that battery go into thermal runaway (explosion) like the lithium cobalt (LiCoO2) batteries in 787.

    both type cells are known as li-ion but are worlds apart in safety.

    Glazed eyeball alert ....

    think cell multiples ...... it's not possible for a lithium cobalt li-ion battery to match voltage of a 12v system. LiFePO<sub>4</sub> cells operate within a normal or 'nominal' voltage of 3.0 to 3.3 volts and are fully charged at 3.65v. VS lithium cobalt (LiCoO2) operate at 3.7v nominal and are fully charged at 4.2V. Problem starts when LiCoO2 cells are charged over 4.2v and possibly go into thermal runaway at about 4.4v.

    above compounds refer to the cathode material. The electrolyte of a lithium-ion battery can vary. typically an aqueous solution of lithium salts. can also be polymer based for easier shaping and safer puncture characteristics. anode of most cells are made of carbon.

    LiFePO4 batteries do match our motorcycle's 12v systems and can be made from cylindrical and prismatic cells both.
  6. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    glazed eyeball alert ...

    LiNiCoO or lithium Nickel cobalt oxide is not lithium cobalt oxide. there's many different formulation of li-ion cells. what was available a decade ago has little relevance to chemistry available to day. Lithium technology is one of the fastest changing industries in the world. this is why loss of A123, America's only true lithium cell manufacture to foreign interests would be true long term blow. the technologies of tomorrow paid by US tax payer $$$ could be given away.

    Other varieties of li-ion cells include: lithium cobalt oxide - LiCoO<sub>2</sub> ; lithium manganese oxide - LiMn<sub>2</sub>O<sub>4</sub> ; and lithium nickel oxide - LiNiO<sub>2</sub>. All these compounds refer to cathode material. electrolyte of a lithium-ion battery can vary. typically an aqueous fluidic solution of lithium salts, it can also be polymer based for easier shaping and safer puncture characteristics. anode of most cells are made of carbon.

    each chemistry has it's own advantage and disadvantages of which LiFePO4 is the most stable.

    LiFePO<sub>4</sub> has advantages over other types of li-ion batteries. abundance of Iron available makes it relatively low cost. non-toxic making batteries safer to use as well as better for the environment, producing and recycling. with a longer life span in shelf life and cycle life. more stable than other chemistry's and far less likely to suffer from thermal runaway. LiCoO<sub>2</sub> cells, can burst into flames if over charged and potentially release hazardous chemicals. Overcharging and overdischarging LiFePO4 cells will damage them, but generally without the explosive side effects. It can shorten cycle life or even result in deformation and a dead cell.
  7. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    The 18 works fine in the KTM. I just got mine, but it immediately started the bike from cold at 27 degrees F. Oh, and I have carbs on my bike, like every other carbed bike I have ever had, starts just as quickly as my FI bikes. 20 or 30 second crank times to start? That's silly.

    For reference, I had a 8 cell, yes an 8 cell, TurnTech in my 950 for two years and it worked without issue too, except for sluggish cold starts until it self heated.

    The big KTM's don't really have big electrical capabilities anyway. We are happy maybe with a set of heated grips and some auxillary LEDs. The Ah of the 18 Earth-X can easily handle that. I wouldn't hesitate to take mine anywhere off the beaten path. Heck I did that with my 8 cell TurnTech.
  8. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    when everything is going hunky dory no problems using LFX18... but what if you get in an situation where extended cranking is needed?
    like say a bad load of fuel ... or a fuel pump going out... etc. etc... that's when extended crank times come into play. not when everything is going fine. and we all know nothing ever goes wrong with KTM's :D

    by the way actual amp hour capacity on LFX18 is about 4.5 AH depending on how it's measured. an 8 cell LiFePO4 26650 cylindrical has about 4.6AH actual. battery mfg including Shorai and Earth-X wildly inflate amp hour ratings. Earth-X seems to outperform Shorai for cranking performance on smaller sizes. both Earth-X ETX36 and Shorai LFX36 have outstanding cranking performance and good amp hour reserves. hard data a few pages back will verify above statements.

    How LifePO4 batteries deliver current makes a huge difference. leaving lights on then starting engine with about 1 second crank with LFX18... under light current draw condition like this... LFX18 will repeat this cycle many times. way more than needed to start bike in warm conditions.

    LifePO4 loses 50% of it's AH capacity at 10C (14f) battery has to be warmed up by running current... this takes amp hours....

    so if bike always leave home base in a fully charged condition stored inside. cranking amp needed to start a modern fuel injected bike will only be few seconds or in your case an easy to start carb bike even when cold. not all bikes are so blessed... (R80 G/S takes extended cranking when temps dip to 20f) when it's 15f outside, usually doesn't drop below 30f inside my garage. once bike is running you've got warm bike for easy starts getting back home.... again light duty conditions which a small battery like LFX18 could handle.

    multiple 30second 200 amp cranks ... no way

    adventure bikes are used in all sorts of conditions without home base support. they have probably the highest amp hour requirements of all bikes. so far, only batteries I can recommend for Adventure bikes are Earth-X ETX36 and Shorai LFX36.
  9. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    I sure don't doubt you know what you write of. Hard data is great, which is why I value empirical evidence so much. Either it works or it doesn't. I understand your perpective on the big battery recommendation as a fail-safe, but you never can really prepare for everything. Prepare the best you can within reason and figure out a way to handle it when a situation arises.

    You mentioned bad gas. That happened to me in the middle of Big Bend. Drained the tanks a bit, completely drained the float bowls, and the bike started right up. That was with my tiny 8 cell battery too.

    Heck, as light as these batteries are, throw an extra in your bags or your pack if you feel the need.
  10. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    being able to service carbs on side of the road or trail is a huge advantage. vs fuel injected rigs like say R800GS.... get a bad load of fuel in that.... one has to crank ... and crank and crank ... while beating on side of fuel pump, etc to hopefully get it going again.

    so repeated 30 second 200 amp cranks are not that far fetched for modern adventure bikes. having a battery with enough Amp hour reserves could easily mean the difference between riding or walking out.

    yes I've packed a spare battery when testing smaller Li-ion batteries. again .. main drawback to using larger batteries like ETX36 and LFX36 is costs $$$.

    in terms of shedding lb off your bike, LiFePO4 batteries are among the most cost effective ways to do it. look at all the folks spending $$$ for carbon fiber parts.

    an Odyssey AGM for R80G/S is 22lb vs Earth-X ETX36C is 3lb 110z... 18lb saving is substantial!
  11. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I love it when someone who knows what they're doing with something goes all fuckin apeshit talking about it :lol3

    As an electrician, great thread _cy_ :freaky
  12. B.C.Biker

    B.C.Biker mighty fine

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    A little off topic and not sure if this has been covered else where. Can any of these new batteries be taken on a plane in your carry on bag ?
    "Passengers can also bring up to two larger lithium ion batteries that each contain between 8 and 25 grams of equivalent lithium content per battery in their carry-on luggage. This size covers larger extended-life laptop batteries." I got this quote off of "Air safe.com" No idea what kind of authority they are.
    I keep a bike in storage for vacations in the southern US, fly down from Canada so it's an international flight. Last time had to jump start the bike and am figuring on replacing the battery any how. Thinking of keeping battery with me to be sure it is fully charged to start with. I never know how long it will be stored or what temperatures. It's a litre bike, what battery is recommended if one can take a certain size on a plane?
  13. DDT Rider

    DDT Rider Been here awhile

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    If the storage facility had an outlet, maybe you could hook up a maintenance charger for regular battery. If you disconnected the Li battery, you might not need any other care since very little loss is experienced.
  14. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    thanks GSF1200S ... it's hard talking about technical battery stuff without putting most folks to sleep... :lol3

    kinda like trying to explain three phase power delta vs wye :eek1
  15. B.C.Biker

    B.C.Biker mighty fine

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    Thanks for the fast reply. Need a new plan.....
  16. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    if shipping your Bike via airfreight, it's no longer legal to leave LiFePO4 battery in cargo hold.
    based on DOT formula, it's legal to carry on largest size LiFePO4 available from Earth-X and Shoria

    What is the Total Equivalent Lithium Content of My Battery?
    figuring using DOT formula below

    mAh/1000 x V = wh

    Earth-X ETX24 = 6.3 actual amp hour
    6.3 (actual AH) x 13.2 (nominal volt LiFePO4) = 83.16 watt hour

    problems: TSA will look at ETX24 label as 24AH, instead of actual 6.3 AH measured
    Yes most LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries will pass, if TSA uses actual instead of inflated lead acid equivalent AH measurements.

    ----------------------------
    http://safetravel.dot.gov/definitions.html

    Equivalent Lithium Content (ELC). ELC is a measure by which lithium ion batteries are classified.
    • 8 grams of equivalent lithium content are equal to about 100 watt-hours.
    • 25 grams of equivalent lithium content are equal to about 300 watt-hours.
    You can arrive at the number of watt-hours your battery provides if you know how many milliamp hours and volts your battery provides:

    mAh/1000 x V = wh

    Most lithium ion batteries marketed to consumers are below 100 watt-hours (8 grams ELC). If you are unsure of the watt-hour rating of your lithium ion battery, contact the manufacturer.

    Lithium Batteries. When you see this term alone on SafeTravel pages, it refers to both lithium ion batteries and lithium metal batteries. Lithium polymer batteries are a typeof lithium ion battery, and are included in this term.
    Lithium Ion Batteries. These are rechargeable lithium batteries, similar to those found in cameras, cell phones, laptop computers, and radio-controlled toys. Lithium polymer batteries are those types of lithium ion batteries. Larger Lithium Ion Batteries contain between 8 and 25 grams Equivalent Lithium Content (ELC). Some very large after-market laptop computer batteries, and some batteries used for professional audio-visual application, fall within this definition.
    Smaller Lithium Ion Batteries contain up to 8 grams Equivalent Lithium Content. Cell phone batteries and most laptop computer batteries fall below the 8 gram threshold.
    Lithium Ion Batteries with more than 25 grams ELC are forbidden in air travel.
  17. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    your comments may be true for the lithium cobalt based li-ion batteries. but you are way off on LiFePO4 not matching up with 12v motorcycle systems.

    you know this but LOTS of other folks are getting confused with li-ion label which includes lithium cobalt used in Boeing 787 and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO44) used in motorcycles. Lithium cobalt batteries are inherently unsafe ... overcharge by 1/2 volt over 4.2v full charge ... battery could go into thermal runaway (explosion) vs LiFePO4 has to subjected to wild abuse before it will finally catch on fire. LiFePO4 batteries are inherently stable and are the safest of all li-ion batteries.

    think in terms of cell multiples... lithium cobalt based batteries operates at about 3.7v nominal, which mean that cell operates between 3.5v-4.2v fully charged. lithium cobalt based cells simply don't match 12v systems. compared to LiFePO4's 3.3v nominal which matches up nicely with 12v systems. LiFePO4 are fully charged at 14.6v with 20% remaining at 12.8v. which you don't want to drop below.

    12v charging system typically operate 13.8-14.2v which means a std 12v charging system cannot overcharge a LiFePO4 battery. cells however can get unbalanced without an internal BMS.

    LifePO4 batteries are starting to come with an internal BMS. Earth-X has an internal BMS that self balances cells. Shorai may not claim it but their behavior indicates presences of an internal BMS on some Shorai batteries.

    LiFePO4 has an extremely low self discharge. after you charge a LiFePO4 battery to 14.6v ... observe it's discharge ... after sitting overnight battery will drop to 14.1v range, then hold that charge level for months.

    if LiFePo4 battery has an internal BMS, voltage will drop to 13.85v range after sitting overnight. there's an internal shunt that bleeds off excess voltage, allowing cells not fully charged to reach full charge. some LiFePO4 battery has external ports allowing use of an intelligent charger that balances each cell.

    note there's very little power 14.6v to 13.85v ... 90% of available power occurs 13.3v to 12.8v range ... extremely flat discharge curve

    here's Powerlab 8 charging Shoria with balancing leads. Powerlab 8 is currently world's most advanced li-ion charger that you can actually buy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  18. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    please do let us know how it goes... based on extensive testing with Shorai LFX 21 and Earth-X ETX24 ... both tested out at about 6 amp hour actual capacities.

    using Joel's excellent test methodology of 200amps sustain load for 30sec, 10sec, 20sec = one test cycle. another reason for using Joel's testing methodology is to dovetail his results with mine. note all Joel's testing measurements were done with know to be accurate Fluke meters. note my test measurements are also done with known to be accurate Fluke meters when possible. Powerlab 8, which is world most advanced Li-ion workstation perform AH measurements. Joel has nicer Fluke meters than me, I've got more battery specific tools than Joel. both our data sets mates together nicely.

    Earth-X ETX24 outperformed Shorai LFX 21 for 200amp loads by a substantial margin. details in LiFePO4 testing thread... link in sig

    my recommendation is to ago with AGM, unless saving weight if more important and saving $$. if you are planning on using your 800GS for actual Adventure duties far away from support.

    for Adventure duties the only two LiFePO4 batteries I can recommend are Shorai LFX 36 and Earth-X ETX36 ... both have enough Amp Hour reserves to pass Joel's grueling 200amp continuous crank tests.

    for adventure duties both Shorai LFX 21 and Earth-X ETX24 failed from too small amp hour reserves. with Earth-X ETX 24 putting in an outstanding 200amp cranking performance!

    Shorai LFX 36 has passed with flying colors in R80G/S with one year of service, under hard cranking conditions. Earth-X ETX 36 is just getting started in R80G/S and doing an outstanding job!
  19. Wanderer2012

    Wanderer2012 Adventurer

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  20. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    sorry cannot comment on Ultrabatt batteries ... there can be substantial differences in performance from different companies and models. besides quality of LiFePO4 cells used, internal construction plays a huge part in cranking performance. batteries with internal BMS are better at staying balanced. some batteries offer external charge ports allowing for balancing charge maintenance.

    std recommendation is go with a quality AGM battery, unless saving weight is more important than saving $$$.

    compared to some carbon fiber parts, LiFePO4 batteries are one of the most cost effective way to drop lbs.

    of importance is how bike is to be used ... most mfg will spec batteries sizes for warm weather conditions. there's a substantial difference between cold weather cranking requirements and warm.

    another factor is if bike will always be ridden from a garage with a battery charger or will bike be used for adventure duties?

    LiFePO4 mfg are notorious for posting misleading amp hour capacities. actual amp hour for most LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries are tiny. most being 4 to 6 amp hours. not much reserve power with a 4.6 AH battery.

    some folks don't need a large amp hour battery ... some do .. again depending on how bike is to be used and cranking performance needed.

    take a close look at Earth-X ETX 24 ... outstanding cranking performance, but actual amp hour (actual spec in earlier test data) is too low for an adventure bike that's gone for extended periods with little to no support.

    for adventure duties only two batteries I can recommend are Shorai LFX 36 and Earth-X ETX36 on right.
    [​IMG]