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

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

  1. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Shorai LFX36 survived a one year test on R80G/S with excellent results. which included starting down to 15f. combined with short rides with heated gear, then successful starting R80G/S next morning at 20f ...

    EarthX ETX36 is just getting started on R80G/S and has done several cold starts on shorts rides with heated gear. then successfully starting next morning. ETX36 has also passed 200amp crank tests with flying colors. jury is still out on long term performance... but I see no reason why EarthX ETX36 shouldn't be equal in performance to Shorai LFX36.

    EarthX ETX36 has advantage of being slightly smaller and weight less @ 3lb 11oz and being watertight. both are excellent!

    [​IMG]
  2. rm_hm

    rm_hm Logging Road Cruiser

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Gig Harbor, WA
    I killed my Shorai after a couple of low voltage events (me bad) so I decided to do some surgery on it... The cells are held together with double stick tape wrapped in a firm blue plastic & the case was filled with a black substance. I found one bum cell when I took everything apart. If the battery had gone bad for no reason I would have called them. Sitting on my bench it would lose 3 volts overnight

    This is a LFX14L2-BS12

    I'm still happily using Shorai's in my Daughters quad and a generator.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I decided to replace it with an EarthX since it has the internal cell balancer circuit. I did not want to have to buy a battery specific charger that the other two battery makers want you to use.
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    bummer ... thanks for the pic's ... which Shoria?
    did you call Shoria? .. they are amazingly generous at warrantying their batteries and in general really nice folks.

    in the middle to doing testing for Optimate Lithium LiFePO4 charger. managed to recover a LiFePO4 battery from 1/2v .. it's now holding 13.67v after resting a week. capacity will be slightly less, but it beats having a completely dead battery.
  4. Antigravity

    Antigravity Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hey veet if you ever have a question for Antigravity you can also just shoot an email to us and get the answer straight from the horse's mouth, since we wrote it. All that it means about not letting the battery go below 12.5 for optimal battery life is a conservative figure that we state so customers understand to not let the battery hang out below that voltage. The less you let a battery go into lower voltage (or lower state of charge-"soc") the longer the life, that is true of ANY BATTERY regardless of lead or lithium. It just a factor in battery life. Keeping the battery in the highest SOC will improve life of the battery.... now how much is arguable and could turn into a thread about oil. But we prefer to attempt to educate the customers in our instructions to get the longest life. That is why we go into all the details... but don't worry about being at 12.5v... just note that you have a parasitic drain and put the battery on a maintenance chargers

    You battery is perfectly fine and would be unless you let it hang out below 11 volts. But it appears your bike does have a parasitic drain because our battery will NOT go below 13.3v if you don't have a draw, and it will hold there for a year. As our instruction say if it is going below 13.3 while sitting in the garage just take a note of how long it took to do that... So if it took a month to get from 13.3 to 13.1 your doing pretty good... but if it did that in a week then you have a faster parasitic drain and should be more concerned.

    We've also come out with a new series of short videos... Our first one is on Parasitic Drain and our Products and we have more in the works. We are making a couple more vids on the most frequently asked questions regarding Antigravity and Lithium batteries in general. We hope to educate the customers more about this newer technology. We get so many emails each day that we felt it might be good to have something easily watchable to get the consumer the info easily.

    You can see them here. http://antigravitybatteries.com/videos/

    I hope to have two more up within a couple days. One on comparing lead/acid and lithium and how they react and have different charactaristics.

    Regards-
  5. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Antigravity .. thanks for dropping in ... a bit of background on veetwo _tls Antigravity battery.. he's riding bike to work at 11:30pm, then starting bike at 4:30am @ 5C degrees for trip home ... his voltage regulator just went out ... he heard a pop... system is charging at 17v ... new VR is enroute ...

    didn't think 17v would be enough to pop safety valve in cylindrical A123 cells. normally it'd take 32v+ to overcharge A123 cells enough to blow safety valve. huge margin of safety for LiFePO4 cells...
  6. Antigravity

    Antigravity Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    The 32 volts you speak of might cause an immediate rupture of an A123 cell, but 17v is typical of a bad voltage regulator. And so you understand it is the time of exposure of over voltage to any lithium cells, not the 32 volts expressly... For this reason we say don't use the battery tender jr. or lead acid chargers. Too many of these lead chargers have features that go over 15v, or sulfinate cycles which will eventually puff cells be it prismatic or cylindric...

    A123 don't often blow a safety top, it's a physical puffing of the cell similar to a Prismatic that get puffed out. We occasionally get the puffing on cells on the older CB Honda's using the Voltage Regulator because those old Voltage Regs go bad. They are only going over to about 17v but cause the bloating damage to the cells because 17v does its damage over a couple hours or less usually. We know most every time its been on a lead charger or in a older bike with a Voltage regulator because the battery is puffed out.
  7. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    sorry should have been more clear ... LiFePO4 cells are extremely tolerant to overcharge abuse. it'd normally take wild abuse of overcharging at 32v to cause an A123 cell to overheat and pop it's safety valve.
  8. veetwo _tls

    veetwo _tls RENOVATIO:

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,854
    Location:
    FNQLD innisfail/SOUTH OZ murray bridge
    Thanks VR for you help :beer


    MY BIKE:07 KTM 950 SER

    MOTOBATT Battery
    [​IMG]


    OEM VR
    [​IMG]


    The Super Mosfet Kit FH020AA
    [​IMG]
  9. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    veetwo _tls congrats on the fix!!!
  10. outersquare

    outersquare n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3
    I don't ride but this was the most comprehensive lithium battery thread I've seen.

    I'm thinking about putting a 16 cell antigrav battery in a daily driven garaged car, anyone see problems with this? It's a Honda K24, no electric heated accessories, power seats, etc., and I don't run accessories/radio when the car is off. Stock is 440 CCA.
    I'm in the seattle area, so it does get a little cold, but nothing too crazy.

    For weight reduction and balance of the car, I once swapped a stock battery for a deka and you can feel it change the handling. Deleting ~30 lbs off the far front actually makes the bias less front heavy and steers quicker.

    Thanks guys.
  11. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    thanks for joining in ... yup this motorcycle battery testing thread contains the largest amount of technical information for LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries on the WWW.

    K24 is a Honda 2,354 cc (143.6 cu in) which would be almost double in size to R1200GS for size reference.

    some of the information in this thread like what happens to LiFePO4 during cold temps and 200amp load tests certainly would apply.

    automotive starters are not under the same weight limitations as motorcycles. same for engines, which has extensive engineering to reduce internal drag. much higher output alternators for cars vs motorcycles also makes a huge difference.

    what's the current draw for your K24 starter warm vs at lower temp? 200amp peak then reduces to 150amp? typical crank times?

    normally saving 30lb or so would not make enough of a difference to justify much higher cost of a LiFePO4 battery with enough amp hour capacity to operate most autos.

    vs saving 21lb (compared to Odyssey 925) on test mule BMW R80G/S. for some folks being able to save 21lb on their adventure bike justifies higher costs for LiFePO4.

    above is why world's first wide spread adoption for LiFePO4 batteries is occurring in motorcycle and not in automobiles.

    LiFePO4 li-ion batteries' voltage matches to almost all 12v charging systems. LiFePO4 batteries are inherently safe and very difficult to catch on fire.
  12. Antigravity

    Antigravity Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hi Guy, the 16-Cell would flip that motor on the car with absolutely no-problem... But I don't recommned using it unless you are racing. We do have a ton of people running our 16-24 cells in their car and every time we tell them not to do it. It's not about starting the vehicles... that is easy with our batteries an 8 cell would probably turn over your car honestly. The issue is capacity, a cars battery has a very large Amp Hour capacity due to the major level of parasitic drain/draws on the battery. Something as simple as opening a door makes the dome light and interior lighting go on, the ECUs on cars now draw a substantial amount of energy along with the instrumentation panels the keep all the settings while using a batteries energy. But more important is the possible road-side emergency. You want something that can power your lighting and radio for awhile should you be stuck on a freeway or mountain side road. You want that major overhead in capacity. while the Car is running the battery isn't being drained. Its being charged so all will seem good... but its the mistakes or overlooking something that will leave you stranded or damage the battery. And all us humans make mistakes.

    I actually drained my Toyota Tacoma's big lead acid battery while leaving the key on but motor off while charging my iphone for a couple hours. Luckly I keep a 12 cell in the car and fired it right up (3.0 liter V6), but its those little mistakes that can ruin your day OR your battery if your in the boonies.

    Regards
  13. outersquare

    outersquare n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3
    thank you both the originator and manufacturer for the great information.

    I have not looked into the current draw of the car, it cranks up pretty fast 2 or 3 seconds tops, even in 30-39 degree weather.

    Some of you may be aware porsche has been selling lithium batteries as an option for their vehicles, but it costs something in the ~2K range.

    http://www.pro-touring.com/showthread.php?91644-Porsche-Lithium-ion-Battery-Super-lightweight!!

    Note the spec is 12.8V, 18Ah, 480A for a flat 6, but they make the same stipulation as this thread, do not use in freezing temps.

    This technology may be in it's infancy, but I think it'll eventually make it's way into even factory performance cars, so it's good to know for the future also.
  14. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    thanks very much for sharing that info... this dovetails in with my conversation with Yuasa technical last week. naturally one of my questions to Yuasa was ...

    does Yuasa have any plans to offer a LiFePO4 battery in the near future? their answer was .. Yuasa is an OEM supplier to major motorcycle mfgs for original equipment batteries.

    if/when a major motorcycle mfg decides to offer LiFePO4 batteries as original equipment. Yuasa will then offer LiFePO4 batteries.

    interesting ... Porsche's LiFePO4 spec's ... 12.8v 18AH 480CCA ... 12" Long, 6 3/4" Wide, 4 1/2" Tall .. Weighs just under 12 pounds according to retailer optional battery for 911 GT3 and the Boxster Spyder.

    this is the first OEM that I'm aware of that has offered a LiFePO4 battery as a factory supplied option. even if it's for exotic Porsche models.

    Does anyone know of any other mfg that's offered an LiFePo4 battery as origin equipment?

    it's important to point out, despite the $2,000+ selling price. Porsche has decided to use actual amp hour ratings. not the PB/EQ rating that can lead to installing wrong size LiFePO4 batteries. which then results in failed LiFePO4 at the first sign of cold weather and unhappy customers.

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

    "The lightweight battery offers a very high standard of everyday driving qualities but its starting capacity is limited at temperatures below 32 degrees F or 0 degrees C, due to its specific features.

    With its nominal capacity of 18 Ah, the lithium-ion battery offers a level of practical output and performance not only comparable to that of a 60 Ah lead battery, but better in many cases. As with all Porsche batteries, a genuine Porsche Battery Maintainer is recommended for vehicles which are stored for over two weeks. ~

    The lithium-ion battery being introduced by Porsche as the pioneer in this area is made up of wound film of carbon and iron phosphate with a ceramic film moisturized by the electrolyte that serves as a separating layer in between. Compared with other types of lithium-ion batteries that use a combination of manganese oxide, cobalt oxide or nickel, this lithium-iron-phosphate battery, as it is called, offers advantages when used as a starter battery. It is robust and consistently guarantees the usual voltage of 12 V for the car's on-board network.

    The lightweight battery is made up of four cells and integrated electronic controls. This battery management system protects the battery from major discharges and guarantees a consistent charge level within the individual cells. Once battery voltage drops below a certain threshold, a warning signal reminds the driver to re-charge the battery either simply by driving the car or by means of a conventional battery charger."

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    From what I've been able to dig up ... first production car to use lithium-ion batteries was the Toyota Vitz CVT 4, a small car sold only in Japan first in 1998. It used a four-cell, 12 ampere-hour lithium-ion battery pack to power its electric accessories and restart the engine after idle stop.

    does anyone know of an earlier use of Li-ion battery as OEM or original equipment mfg?
  16. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    it's been over a year since your first post ... glad to hear good results from your Shorai LFX 14.

    RC folks were among the world's first user of Li-ion packs. No one pushes battery packs harder than the RC crowd. they were among the first to push LiFePO4 battery packs by overcharging on purpose. just to see what would happen.... test to destruction!

    they found out that yes it was possible to catch LiFePO4 packs on fire ... but LiFePO4 packs had to be severely overcharged/abused. vs lipo packs catching on fire was a fairly common event.

    conclusion was that LiFePO4 packs were inherently safe and delivered substantially higher number of charge cycles. drawback was lower energy density and different voltages.

    cell voltage didn't match older Lithium cobalt operating range of 3.65 to 4.2v fully charged. vs LiFePO4 cell operating range 3.2v (20% level) to 3.65v fully charged.

    fortunately for us Advriders .. LiFePO4 voltage matches perfectly with almost all 12v charging systems. 4s = 12.85v(20%) to 14.6v fully charged. which matches perfectly with a normal 12v charging system voltage of 13.8v to 14.2v. note one should not discharge LiFePO4 below 12.85v for max life.

    to clarify why it's not advisable to use std chargers designed for lead acid batteries on LiFePO4. exception is unless LiFePO4 mfg has specifically tested that charger's charging voltage range and has decided it will not hurt their LiFePO4 battery.

    chargers with de-sulfate mode can raise voltage high as 15.9v. charger used should not exceed 14.6v max. just as important, charger should have a true float mode that goes down to about 13.6v. some AGM chargers will charge at 14.8v, then go down to 13.1v for float.

    worst yet .. some lead acid chargers/tenders will charge at 14.8v without a float mode. those will kill both AGM and LiFePO4, if one leaves charger attached for extended periods.

    one of the two battery chargers Yuasa sent me for testing. SmartShot 900 battery maintainer matches charging voltage for LiFePO4. during absorption stage charging voltage 14.2v to 14.6v. then when current drops very low milliamps. SmartShot 900 switches to true float mode. volts drop to 13.2v to 13.6v a match for LiFePo4.


    [​IMG]
  17. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    (post in progress, more details will be added, but I wanted to get it up... some posts are result of many hours of work)

    Optimate Lithium LiFePO4 charger uses technology unlike any other charger. Optimate LiFePO4 charger allows use of LiFePo4 battery packs without balance ports/internal BMS. It does this by a clever use of internal resistance naturally generated by each cell near end of charge cycle.

    By switching off charging before LiFePO4 battery is fully charged. Voltage falls under fully charged threshold. then charger begins to deliver voltage/current again. by repeating this process, Optimate Lithium allows lower voltage cells a chance to catch up to cells with higher voltage. result is a fully charged LiFePO4 battery with balanced cells. with or without internal BMS. with or without external balance ports/RC type charger.

    note this test is still in progress ... jury is still out on how far Optimate Lithium LiFePO4 charger will recover badly unbalanced cells.

    unpacking Optimate Lithium LiFePO4 charger from the very_knowledgeable folks at TecMate.

    [​IMG]

    very well thought out packaging with extra leads to install on your bike for easy on bike charging

    [​IMG]

    first charge test with 20AH actual prismatic Thundersky cell battery with all cells within 1/4v or less. here indicator light shows Optimate testing condition before switching to
    appropriate mode.

    [​IMG]

    Optimate LiFePO4 switches to charge mode, then slowly ramps up voltage

    [​IMG]

    Optimate switches to optimize mode ... this is where Optimate lithium does it's magic. Optimate LiFePo4 measures internal resistance, which decides Optimate how voltage/current is delivered.

    apologies for needing to dive into technical mumbo jumbo, but it's necessary to explain how Optimate works. all cells absorb current at different rates, this is decided by internal resistance generated by each cell. during absorption stage of charge, current accepted by cell goes down to milliamp rates.

    normally an intelligent charger will then revert to float mode once millamps deliver rates has gone to almost zero. Optimate has taken advantage of this process. by stopping charge before
    current absorption rates reaches close to zero. by stopping charge .. voltage of 4s cells drops as full charge are not reached yet ...

    charge is started back up again, allowing cells at lower voltage a chance to accept current. while cells at higher voltage accepts less current. this process of charging, then stopping charge, then repeating ... using internal resistance to tell when battery has reached optimal charge.

    [​IMG]

    Optimate goes into float mode when LiFePO4 battery is fully charged with all cells balanced. all cells measures very close in voltage .. but this battery started out balanced. later tests will start with cell unbalanced.

    [​IMG]
  18. Hicks

    Hicks der Überluber

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    457
    Location:
    Prague, CZ
  19. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,465
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    a few questions need to be answered first ... what is the intended use of your super cooooool 2013 R12GS?

    starbuck duties always leaving from home base with heated garage and full support?

    or is your R12GS intended for adventure duties including cold conditions far from support?

    what's the parasitic drain measured in milliamps from all those hi-tech gadgets on R12GS?
    if your R12GS needs a maintainer.. Optimate Lithium LiFePO4 charger is recommended.

    Shorai LFX21 actual amp hour is about 7AH ... if parasitic drain is very high, any low AH batteries will run down in short order. PB/EQ has zero bearing on actual current drain.

    Shorai LFX21 has no internal BMS or battery management systems. unless Shorai has recently added BMS.

    for starbuck duties you might get by with a Shorai LFX24 or EarthX ETX24 (LFX21 is too small) ... for Adventure duties IMHO your chances of being happier with LiFePO4 batteries on a 2013 R12GS is to go with either Shorai LFX36 or EarthX ETX36 ...

    note above recommendations are based on R1200GS. New LC could draw lower cranking amps and get by with a smaller LiFePO4, if one is more concerned with lower weight vs reserve AH capacity and only operating in warm conditions. in which case the two LiFePO4 choices would be Antigravity 8 cell and EarthX ETX18. these two LiFePO4 batteries deliver exceptional cranking performance and might do the job? (both are about 4.6AH actual)

    all EarthX has internal BMS. for smaller LiFePO4 batteries EarthX has outperformed Shorai on 200amp cranking tests by a substantial margin. Shorai LFX36 has done an outstanding job on a long term tests including brutal starts at 20f. EarthX ETX36 is just getting started on long terms tests but has performed equal to LFX36.

    Shorai LFX36 = 4lb 14oz .. EarthX ETX36 = 3lb 11oz .. both are about 14AH actual

    [​IMG]
  20. Hicks

    Hicks der Überluber

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    457
    Location:
    Prague, CZ
    ...

    looks like I got to the right place :)

    thanks for reply -- I'm daily commuter to Prague = slightly colder climate, than N.Y. or so.

    Dont have a heated garage, but rarely starting engine below ~2 C = 35 F.

    Ad. adventure use -- for a trip to a Nordkapp, I can bring the original lead battery back.

    ---

    ad. parasitic drain -- dont know yet. But I do ride almost daily, so the parasitic drain should not be an issue, I hope.

    ---

    anyway -- I do definitely prefer a battery WITH BMS. Don't want to have anything with lithium untamed in my anything, especially a brand new bike :D

    btw: that EarthX ETX24 looks REALLY great... 1,1 kgs are almost ideal.