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

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

  1. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    Someone just replied that an Ultrabatt lasted him a year...short daily commuting trips, where the engine did not even heat up properly; in 'coldish' weather (between 40-50F). He said after it became colder, the battery progressively lost cca's..this is worrying. Still waiting to hear from Ultrabatt..
  2. Marki_GSA

    Marki_GSA Been here awhile

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    I imagine running any battery like that would cause it to fail? If the engine hasn't ran long enough to be hot then it hasn't ran long enough to recharge the battery.
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    need more information .. what model motorcycle .. what size Ultrabatt?
    at least we've got basic temp operated at info, which is mild (40-50f) then gave problems as temps dropped.

    IMHO most common reason for LiFePO4 failures is too small LiFePO4 got installed.
    the dreaded short ride with heated gear, followed by a cold start next morning at say 25f is where having a large AH LiFePO4 like EarthX ETX36 (14AH) or Shorai LFX 36 (14AH) really shines.

    both EarthX ETX36 (14AH) and Shorai LFX 36 (14AH) has passed long term tests with flying colors. EarthX ETX36 going on one year, Shorai LFX 36 almost two years. both have survived cold starts at 15f on test mule R80G/S with typical continuous cranking times of 10 to 30 seconds. Amp draws continuous was 250amp+ .. it's well documented within this thread.

    LiFePO4 batteries will swallow amps at extremely high rate when in a low state of charge. most LiFePO4 mfg don't factor max charge rate LiFePO4 battery will be subjected to when sizing. this can result in short LiFePO4 battery life.

    so yes any moto if driven on all short rides will not have a chance to recharge any battery. but LiFePO4's charging times can be very short due to ability to swallow huge amps. but it needs to be sized where LiFePO4 battery cannot exceed 4C charge rates.
  4. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    here's how calibration is checked. first one must have a meter worth going to trouble of calibrating. sorry $10 meters don't make the bar.

    first method is with a calibration standard which puts out user selected values. meter being tested should read same. since most folks don't have access to a calibration standard. go to second method.

    reason I go to this much trouble is to insure any hard data posted by me are dead nuts reliable . that anyone can duplicate with lab grade instruments.

    here Martel MC-1000 puts out 3.244v .. Fluke 189 reads 3.2439v
    [​IMG]

    second way is to use a primary lithium cell like CR123 which puts out a stable voltage.. 3.22v with a new Fluke 87V which has recently calibrated by Fluke. go to any HVAC store and borrow their meter

    [​IMG]

    compared to Fluke 789 which also puts out 3.22v .. so conclusion is Fluke 789 is within calibration for DC volts.
    [​IMG]
  5. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    more hijack .. from beancan with points vs beancan with electronic ignition thread

    =======
    anyways ... since I've not been able to find instructions anywhere for actual testing of Halls sensor module. here it is ...

    what we are testing is a halls module made up of voltage regulator, trigger circuit and actual Halls sensor.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    when magnet passes in front of halls, a signal is generated in millivolts. Fluke 789 process meter is being used. but any precision VOM can be used.

    HP regulated power supply putting out about 12v is used to power module. but most any power supply 4.5v to 24V can be used. a 9v battery works fine.

    here's a picture showing what wires to test without breaking down beancan.

    red (yellow/green) = + ... black (blue) = ground ... green (brown) = signal

    after hooking up wires as shown .. rotate beancan shaft, if halls module is working. you will see a millivolt signal for a brief fraction of a second.

    intermittent output are the worst ... if you are that deep into beancan .. replace that halls module and be done ... or better yet switch to beancan with points!!!

    [​IMG]

    green & bottom red is from 12v power supply ... middle red and top black is from Fluke 789 set to DC voltage. if halls module is working, a brief milliamp volt signal will show.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    when magnet rotates closeby .. millivolt signal is generated sending a signal to ECU which then triggers a spark.
    [​IMG]
  6. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    Shorai recommends this battery for my bike (smaller than the 36):
    http://shoraipower.com/products?action=vehicle&type=175&make=7366&model=7391&year=7391

    What would the true capacity be for this battery? comparable to the 6.9Ah Ultrabatt?

    Paying more than $300-$350 for a battery; is this justifiable? I can have 4 goo lead acid (AGM) batteries for that price that will together give me probably more than 10 years of service life.

    Seems the lithium batteries provide higher cca and lightweight for a premium price. Thing is...your not assured of the 8-10 years service life claims.... What if the battery only lasts 4-5 years for some reason? That is NOT value for money, and not worth it
  7. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    It was a BMW 650GS, and the battery was the smaller one: UB400 lite : http://www.bikegear.co.za/f8996045-1b18-4093-8d96-d86121adaecd-9.html
  8. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    Shorai LFX21 is about a 7AH actual battery, hard testing data is buried within this thread. if you cannot justify costs for a properly sized LiFePO4. my recommendations is go with AGM.

    I'd rather see you pass on LiFePO4 rather than you be unhappy later when it fails early from being sized too small. properly sized LiFePO4 has proven to be bombproof and trouble free at a fraction of the weight. saved 15lb+ on test mule R80G/S. those are among the cheapest weight saved per lb. for some folks that may not make any difference. others think it's a bargain!
  9. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    Here is a write-up on the BMS of the Ultrabatt. anythings special? Does the Shorai (which I see is available in South Africa) also have this BMS?


    Benefits of the Ultrabatt Microchip BMS system:

    Cell balancing You can charge directly from the bikes alternator and you will never need to balance the cells with an external BMS system.

    Why do LiFePO4 batteries need cell balancing during the charging process? With all types of batteries the faster each cell charges the hotter it gets. Charging cells to quickly greatly reduces the lifetime of any type of battery. As each cell in a lead acid battery charges, the internal resistance of the cell increases. If one cell begins to charge faster than the others, it's higher resistance slows down it's charge rate in comparison to the other cells. Hence cells in lead acid batteries automatically limit their charge rate and balance with each other as they charge. As the cells in a LiFePO4 battery charge the opposite occurs, as each cell in a LiFePO4 charges, the internal resistance of the cell decreases. If one cell begins to charge faster than the others, it's lower resistance further speeds up it's charge rate in comparison to the other cells which further decreases it resistance and further increases it's charging rate. Hence cells in Lithium batteries do not automatically balance with each other as they charge. If the charging of each cell is not individually monitored and controlled with a BMS charger the process can lead to thermal runaway and premature failure at best and at worst temperature induced failure.

    Over voltage protection: You can charge the battery safely with the bikes alternator. It charges fully within 5 minutes of riding due to the Ultrabatt's low internal resistance. Short rides will now fully charge your battery, regardless of alternator output capacity.

    Complete discharge protection: You do have to worry about the battery bricking (getting so flat that it is impossible to re charge it with any type of battery charger)

    Short protection: Internal safety fuse. In the event that you have a high current short this fuse will blow to prevent the battery overheating.

    NEVER use a lithium battery on a motorcycle that does not have its own short circuit protection.
  10. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    I can get the LFX24 and LFX27 here in South Africa. These batteries seem a bit heavier than their Earth X counter parts..a good thing?
  11. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    above article is chocked full of factual inaccuracies .. this is a common problem when marketing collides with correct/actual technical details. problem is most consumers don't know the difference ..

    their website makes no mention for most of above claimed protections. can you provide link to where above was posted? did Ultrabatt make above claims?

    call me a skeptical asshole, but claims posted on facebook means little to nothing. when it's on the official website, then it may be worth looking into. sorry .. don't believe any LiFePO4 mfg unless I've personally confirmed and/or have hard repeatable data using lab grade instruments from a trusted source like Joel Wiseman.
  12. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    A local retailer selling these batteries responded with this reply. So, maybe not directly from Ultrabatt. I have sent them an email, and they've not replied.
  13. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    Shorai was one of the earliest LiFePO4 mfg and deserve credit for taking risks by being one of the first to market.

    They also were first to use inflated PB/EQ ratings for their LiFePO4 batteries. Evidently they were not the first. for instance Yuasa YTX14 is 12AH, YTX20 is 18AH, etc.

    what was different was how much pb/eq figure were now inflated. for instance Shorai LFX21 measured about 7AH actual. others followed suit to compete... EarthX ETX18 is about 5AH actual, etc.

    lots of fudging going on for CCA .. putting out 300 amp for 2-3 seconds at room temps means little to nothing. that same battery fails a 30 second 200amp load at room temps. that same LiFePO4 battery would have no hope of performing at say 20f ...

    it's extremely confusing to someone purchase what they think is an 18AH LiFePO4 .. when it's actually a 5AH battery.

    now shorai is going the other direction by offering several different actual AH batteries marked with same AH rating. for instance LFX14 weight is 1.5 to 2.3lb, the 2.3lb battery will have a higher actual AH but still marked LFX14.
  14. overlandr

    overlandr Dystopist

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    Ok so, if one is thinking AGM battery, have you done any testing on various brands or types of AGMs that provides useful results for advriders.
  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    there's extensive testing/writeup on AGM motorcycle batteries out there already. not much point in covering same ground that anyone can find with Google. whereas detailed information on 12v LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries are much harder to come by.

    do a search on Google for .. LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries .. this thread currently is first non-paid for result that pops up on Google. reason is simple .. this thread contains the most technical information on motorcycle LiFePO4 on the WWW.

    AGM is still the dominant type of motorcycle batteries used. that's not going to change anytime soon. LiFePO4 usage in motorcycle is still in it's infancy. similar to process AGM had to evolve before wholesale adoption.

    AGM proved itself decades before being adopted. when cost point dropped almost to flooded lead acid (FLA) .. that's when AGM sales took off.

    for most folks AGM is what I recommend in their motorcycles. but if someone is willing to spend the $$$ .. substantial weight savings can be achieved. in terms of lowest costs per Lb saved. LiFePO4 has to be one of the cheapest ways to drop weight.

    a properly sized LiFePO4 is one of the best upgrades for your motorcycle!!
  16. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    A response from a certain mfg.

    How does the “EqAh” capacity rating compare to lead-acid Ah ratings

    Our ratings are shown as the lead-acid equivalent (EqAh). In performance and real life usability for lead acids that are vehicle starter batteries, lead acid batteries can only use 30% of the stated amp hours or stated as “30% depth of discharge”. So only 30% of its amp hours are usable, whereas lithium batteries have a 100% depth of discharge. For example, a 24 EqAh is a replacement for a lead acid battery with 18ah of capacity. The amount of actual useable amp hour is (18ah x .3 = 5.4ah). We use a 7.4ah cell in our 24 EqAh which is actually 2 amp hours MORE than the lead acid battery we are replacing. Another example is a 18 EqAh which is a replacement for the lead acid battery with a capacity of 12Ah. So the amount of useable amp hour is (12ah x .3 = 3.6ah). We use a 5ah cell which is 1.4ah MORE than the lead acid battery we are replacing.


    I edited this excerpt so as to not make the mfg known.

    The question is then...is this true: lead/acid batteries can only use 30% of their claimed capacity (Ah). If this is true, then the argument for lithium batteries changes; I'd say.
  17. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    I got the same response from another lithium iron phosphate battery mfg...that LA batteries have only 30% usable capacity; making lithium batteries better than LA counterparts in every respect.
  18. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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  19. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    glad you found your answer above .. it's good to see someone dive in and do the research before parting with their hard earned $$$! go back a few pages to load tests for EarthX ETX18's very impressive performance at 200amp continuous.

    sometimes things are not as simple as it appears. measuring amp hour is falls into that category. peukert's law for lead acid has been around since 1897. basically it says as rate of discharge increases, the battery's available capacity decreases. then temperature has to be factored in .. as temperatures drop AH capacities goes down.

    most LiFePO4 cell mfg rate their cells measured .05C or a 20 hour discharge rate. some of my tests use 1C rates as I'm not willing to give 20 hours to a single test. for smaller LiFePO4 1amp rates are used. For instance EarthX ETX 18 measured 5AH @ 1amp discharge rate. discharged at 20 hour rate like cell mfg, AH would be about 5.5AH actual.

    first chart below shows effects of different discharge rates on AH capacity measured, 10AH LiFePO4.

    [​IMG]

    lead acid capacity drops as amp draw increases
    [​IMG]

    Lithium Cobalt laptop batteries
    [​IMG]
  20. ChrisGS1

    ChrisGS1 Been here awhile

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    ok, so things are quite complex. Automotive batteries are there mainly for one reason, the starter motor starting the engine. The started motor draws a lot of amps to get enough power to start the engine. The alternator thereafter ensures that the battery stays 'energized' to deal with the electrics and what not.

    THe claim that the lithium guys are making is that lithium iron phosphate batteries can provide close to 100% of it's capacity, whereas lead acid batteries can roughly provide only 30% of its claimed capacity.

    Though temperature needs to be considered, as well as the rate of discharged; close to a 100%, say 95%, and 30% are very different.

    So, let's assume a lead acid's battery has the job of starting a 1100 boxer motor at 45 degrees F. Battery is fully charged. The battery has a claimed 18Ah. How much of that capacity is available to do the job, an estimate?

    Now, a 6.9Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery does the same thing, same circumstances. How does the available capacity compare with that of the lead acid?

    Earth X and Ultrabatt both claim to have integrated BMS (Ultrabatt has a microchip controlled circuit board that ensures that nothing goes wrong during charging), which controls the rate of charging, etc. Shorai it seems does not have integrated BMS. This would cause me to avoid the Shorai.

    Earth X does mention that you should never jump a motorcycle lithium battery, using a much bigger battery like that of a car. They say you need to use a similar size battery.