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

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

  1. RC Pilot

    RC Pilot Shut up and fly!

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    Just going off the Lipo batteries I use for my RC stuff, I would not use voltatage reading as an indication of remaining capacity. Lipo batteries, and I am guesing Life too, do not have a linear discharge curve. They tend to deliver a fairly steady voltage and then just drop off drastically.
    #81
  2. Steelybeast

    Steelybeast Been here awhile

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    I will just toss in my experience with the Shorai.

    I had to replace the AGM battery in my '07 Bandit 1250 last summer after I left the key in the wrong postition and killed it. I decided to go with the Shorai, not so much as dropping a few pounds from the bike, but because it had a slower discharge rate when sitting.

    The Bandit is not sitting where I can plug it into a battery tender and sometimes goes weeks without being ridden.

    After sitting untouched since before Thanksgiving, I went outside and started it around the end of January, and started as good ever. It was around 45 degrees at that time too.

    I actually let it run for about 30 seconds, turned off and started right back up with no problem. I know the cost was alot more than AGM, however being able to let it sit for a while and not needing a tender was worth it for me.
    #82
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    just got back from a 31 mile bike ride on R80G/S ... in town Friday traffic is the pits...about got hit twice. took a reading when I got back, Shorai 18AH (pb eq) shows 13.23V or right in the middle of lithium iron phosphate's very flat discharge curve. made several stops and Shorai battery performed without a glitch. cranking over strong each and every time with a warm motor in 55 degree weather is child's play for this little Shorai 18AH (pb eq) battery.

    note drop from about 13.4v to 12.4v represents about 80% of total capacity. measuring capacity via voltage requires an extremely accurate meter. again.. you don't want to drop voltage below 12.87V (80% DOD). this means 1/2 volt represents 80% of battery's useful capacity.

    this is why I'm using a calibrated Fluke 87V for measurements along with temperature and amp draw.
    some techniques from the RC transfer across, but not all. due to chemistry and specific motorcycle requirements. RC grade chargers with it's multi-cell balancing capabilities are very much needed. but we will get into that later. Driving a li-po pack HARD and chargers are an area where the RC crowd has the most expertise anywhere on the WWW.

    R80G/S outside of Barnstall, OK... according to the sign, birthplace of Clark Gable
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    #83
  4. Antigravity

    Antigravity Been here awhile

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    Ok here is my rant on batteries from my experiance as a manufacture...sorry its long, but I have my conclusions that I have come to.

    Cy you are correct real world testing is the bottom line... but it a very broad spectrum to test the real world... there are difference in individual bikes that are pretty major also... We tested about 36 bikes from Ducati 1198s to 1985 Honda Nighthawks to 145 Cubic inch High Compression Kits on V-Twin customs... But back to my point is that some bike are wired better, some bikes have a better ratio in their starter reduction gearing, some ECUs need a higher voltage at start... So real world is very broad, but there is a bottom line and its just POWER... get more and be better off... of course you have to weigh this against cost and need.


    Lately we have been doing some real world testing that is proving to be the best true test of battery performance that we have found. We have been testing a lot with the big Cubic Inch V-Twins from 103 to 145s (2345cc) motors and have found nothing does a better job of seeing what the batteries will do...These are absolutely the hardest motors to turn over by far... some have compression releases other don't, not to mention the variables on the build quality and size of the wire they use and if the motor is built tight or loose...if they use the 2.4 Kw starter or the 1.8 Kw starter can change the start ability dramatically...

    Through the last year I have tested and re-tested so much that it has changed my outlook on batteries...
    I no longer look at Amp Hours as that much of a factor at all... Power is absolutely the king and most important factor bar anything...Starting your bike is the number one thing that must happen especially if your in the middle of nowhere....Sufficient amp hours will follow the Power if you get the proper size battery... My argument for this is just from so much testing and experiance and understanding the principals ignition systems of vehicles...

    You question above is "But will this thing start my battery in the Winter?" There is an important fact that I have not seen (or missed) being addressed...... and that is the Power of the battery... you mention a lot about Amp Hours but you do not mention the Cranking/Pulse discharge ability...Bottom line is power is what starts the bike....not the Amp hours, though you can argue they play a small role under certain circumstances. But POWER will push you through cold. Power will push you through a hard starting bike. Pwer will push you though the bike flooding. Power is the key and sufficient Amp hours will follow the power for most all applications....

    For example if your Shorai LF 18 has 270 cranking amps, and at say 0 degrees it only has about 70% of its power... then your screwed for a good start. Now say you have a battery like the Antigravity YTX-16 which has 480 Cranking Amps and at 0 degrees it has only 70% of its power.... Well even 70 percent of the 480 cranking amps is going to have way more cranking power than 270 Cranking amps having 70% power......But say you are a world travelling Adventure guy (nuts) and you ask again "Will the battery start my bike in the cold!" And I would say to you....Well how about 600 Cranking amps in the YTX12 case format? And I will tell you that 600 cranking amps is like a car battery power in an OEM Yuasa Case size of the YTX12..... 600 cranking amps for a 1200cc bike motor will pretty much laugh at 0 degrees because it has over-head in massive power so that even if it has 60% of its power available it would be massively powerful....

    So when you are talking about starting a bike and are wonder what you want for your around the world trip the bottom line is Higher power... Why? Higher power allows for less of a voltage drop on the start pulse which keeps the spark fatter... it keeps the voltage higher so the ECU can function properly and better .. it spins the motor faster which helps in getting past bad fueling when the bikes Fuel Injection system doesn't know how to handle the dense air in freezing tempratures...it helps if your carburated also with the faster spin ... higher power mean longer spins times without over heating the battery if your bike is flooded.... high power can power through a waterlogged bike until it starts...

    So if your world traveling like you will be you should look at two thing in my honest opinion... Big freaking power.... or two smaller batteries providing a redundant system... If I was traveling I would use two smaller 12-cells packed in there and leave one disconnected as a back-up... I realize none of my info added to you incredible data gathering but when the rubber hits the dirt and road any rider who is really concerned about the ability to get the bike started in the cold should get the biggest battery in a size that will fit that they can....We can put 600 Cranking Amps into a Yuasa YTX12 Case format and NO company can do that or comes close (until they copy us). That is what Antigravity does. Direct OEM fit batteries with massive power or Ultra Compact models with massive power.

    Regards,


    scott-
    #84
  5. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    I think Lightning can and with battery management circuitry. They also use A123.
    #85
  6. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    setting up to do a bit of loading testing.... takes a bit of gear

    Shorai 36 AH (pb eq) will do load testing first along with 20 AH (actual) battery. Shorai LFX21 AH (pb eq) is installed in R80G/S.

    good for riding .. disappointed it's not colder, so I can give Shorai LFX21 (pb eq) a proper cold weather test. it's 11:26am 45f degree outside in Tulsa, OK

    [​IMG]
    #86
  7. Twoupfront

    Twoupfront Been here awhile

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    Thanks Scott. Definately food for thought.
    #87
  8. Antigravity

    Antigravity Been here awhile

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    Hi Anorak, here is the Lightening Website...http://www.lightningnano.com/ All I see is they offer an 8-Cell batttery.... am I missing something? I said we offer the most powerful battery in a YTX12 case format at 600 Cranking Amps ...I don't see that they have anything but an 8-cell? And while it may have a BMS it only has a 1 year warranty... we offer a 3 year warranty an no BMS on our 8-Cells...So how would a BMS be any benefit or even a consideration if they cannot warranty for longer than a year? In theory a BMS should allow the batteries to last 5 years since it eliminates the most common cause of damage to Lithium... over and under discharge. There are some things also to consider with a BMS (we have tested them...and are still testing them)...

    A BMS actually chokes the power of a "starter" battery IF they have it installed as a true BMS should be...Meaning the terminals of the battery should go into the BMS.. then to the battery cells... then it can do true full time balance charging as well as over-discharge and over-charge protection for the cells... Then on the other hand the full pulse discharge to start the bike must also come out of the cells and go through the BMS circuit board... and circuit boards are limited in durability when such high amps are constantly being put through them... As you can imaging you cannot put 250 amps in pulses through a 1/8th inch sliver of circuit, You need a minimum gauge wire to do that and we are pretty close to getting this done, but at this time we don't have the confidence in this specific application to go with them. As I said we warranty for 3 years... so when we are testing BMS we need to be confident to warranty it for our 3 year if not longer. So though you mention the Lightening has Battery Management it really means nothing with a one year warranty... A true and good battery management system should allow for extended warranties.


    [​IMG]

    I'm talking about our 20-Cell in the YTX12 format...

    [​IMG]
    #88
  9. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    as Joe Friday said... "Just the facts, ma'am"

    with sooo many different vendors of Li-ion motorcycle batteries all making claims theirs is the best!
    the lightest, most powerful, the most greenest... etc. etc..

    who are we to believe?

    due to physics and economics realities of producing a viable li-ion battery for a 12 volt internal combustion platform. hitting the sweet spot between production costs and performance gains is the li-ion motorcycle battery.

    whereas production costs to mfg a li-ion battery with enough amp hour capacity to support even a small car would be very expensive. worst yet weight savings over my AGM 45lb 750CCA battery vs say a li-ion battery weight of 15lb... saving 30lbs on a vehicle that weight 5,000lb is just not that important.

    vs a motorcycle 10lb can be very important
    #89
  10. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    You make some salient points but what battery pack runs each cell in series through the BMS? Those are going to be some big transistors and heat sinks.
    #90
  11. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    just got back from a 11 mile bike ride ... 40f degree or barely cold enough to use heated jacket, gloves and grips. about burned up using all that heated gear in 40f weather. but wanted to do a short run with heated gear and Shorai LFX21 AH (pd eq)

    made one stop at a buddy's super cooool shop full of motorcycles for a few hours. Shorai handled that start with no sweat. rode to my favorite gas station 6 miles on the highway. naturally that start with a warm motor was instant.

    low of 30f degree tomorrow night ... looking forward to getting in a cold start with entire bike cold.
    after all the tests are done with Shorai LFX21 AH (pb eq) ... next up will be with Shorai 36 AH (pb eq)
    looking forward to seeing how much performance difference after doubling available AH and cranking amps.

    planing on making up new cables with substantially more copper. bigger pipes means less resistance.
    we'll see how much difference that mod makes before switching to larger 36 AH Shorai.

    notice strap has to be connected when first activating new Shorai 36 AH (pb eq) battery
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    #91
  12. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    rode 106 miles today most at 40-50 mph, rest at highway speeds. them stopped at a friends house for an open firepit BBQ dinner. temps dropped from a bright sunny day to barely needing heated gear for the 20 minute ride home.

    came home at about 8pm .. measured voltage and temp. charging system had only charged battery to 13.19V. transmission temp 121f degree. took another measurement at 9:30pm .. 13.21v resting

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    #92
  13. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    8:15am .. disappointed the predicted low of 32 never materialized. 44f degree this morning
    Shorai LFX21 AH resting at 13.20v .. amp draw 98 amp @ 44f .. 10 seconds with lights and heated grips on high.... engine cranked over and fired right up... turned choke off, then cranked over to measure amp draw again.

    concerned at why battery only charged to 13.21v after a 100 mile bike ride. checked voltage with lights and heated grips on... 13.8v @ about 3k rpm, 14.2v with lights and heated grips off. may need to find an adjustable voltage regulator. brushes had about 1/3 remaining and will be replaced.

    window for real life test conditions in Tulsa is rapidly closing. No I don't have access to refrigerated facility large enough to hold a motorcycle.

    load testing while a valid indicator of performance. it's only an indicator and cannot replace real life testing. for instance the 20AH (actual) battery is rated at 3C = 60 amp continuous, 10C pulse = 200 amps. at 15f degree battery only put out 105 amps max. while starter's draw 180+ amps with cold engine/motor oils. load testing will not reveal above information. cold starting amp loss = 50% @ 15f degree

    note amp differences needed between cranking over an engine in perfect tune/warm temps (fraction of a second?) vs cranking over a balky engine due to bad fuel, extreme cold or what ever .. can extend to 10+ hard crank cycles before finally starting engine.

    what's coming out is importance of learning differences between pb eq or lead acid battery and li-ion. charging is different, cold starts are startlingly different, reserve amp hour capacity is different, weight is different, when these tests draw to an end... will be writing up a list of must do's to successfully live with li-ion batteries in our motorcycles.

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    #93
  14. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    cy, Don't give up on the sub freezing temps. Have a little patience, after all it's still Feb. in OK. Interesting observation on the need for adjustable regulator. I don't know my Transalp charges high enough to keep a LIPO topped off.
    #94
  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    soldered in new brushes, then checked voltage with motor running.
    @ 3k rpm, 14.2v without load... 13.8v under about 14 amp load (engine, lights, heated grips on high) alternator putting 19.5 amps to battery at 3,000 rpm with or without above load.

    charging system is working fine, no change after replacing brushes.
    voltage regulator set for lead acid is too low to fully charge li-ion battery under load.

    Sunday's 106 miles ride had several hours runtime. speeds was medium, rpms high. ran the motor hard! bright warm sunny day, headlight & taillight, ignition was only load on system. there was more than ample runtime to fully charge li-ion battery.

    final voltage after a 106 mile bike ride with only lights on (heated jacket, grips, gloves on for last 20 minutes) was 13.2v or 70% charged for lithium iron phosphate battery.

    conclusion is voltage regulator needs to be raised to 14.4v to fully charge li-ion battery. running any type load. that will reduce voltage down to 13.8v or lower. note conclusion is for this BMW R80G/S .. your bike's charging system may be different. but if your li-ion battery is not starting your bike cold and you are running heated gear. this could be part of the problem.

    there is a HUGE difference between starting your bike with 13.20v vs 13.5v ... lithium iron phosphate discharge is very flat and only veri by about 1/2V for 80% of it's capacity.

    Lead acid is fully charged at about 12.85v vs li-ion is fully charged at 14.4v then quickly scrubs off voltage to about 13.5v. don't discharge below 12.86v (DOD 80%) Charging systems are designed to fully charge lead acid batteries without damage. to optimize your bike for li-ion, voltage regulator should be raised to 14.4v.

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

    hopefully tonight will drop to low 30's for a legit starter load test in the morning. topped Shorai LFX21 AH battery yesterday. wouldn't be fair to perform extreme load tests unless charging system can charge battery to full.

    really looking forward to testing out Shorai 36 AH (pb eq)

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    #95
  16. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    look what just arrived... SYCL 2.3AH with 4x A123 26650 cells .. talk about QUALITY construction!

    placed on top of BMW 14lb Gel cell battery for size comparison.

    [​IMG]

    weight 12.0 oz

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    #96
  17. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    Are you being facetious about the construction? I'm sure it works but it looks like something put together in a r.c. enthusiast's garage.
    #97
  18. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    Nope... dead serious... SYCL 2.3AH is hand made of the highest quality components. very NICE beefy silicon wires, easily instrument grade. looking forward to seeing how this pack will perform.

    on another topic...lucked out and located a 14.5V voltage regulator on the shelf for R80G/S from Motorrad Elektrik maker of the high output Omega alternator system for BMW airheads (installed on R80G/S). hopefully output voltage will solve low charge issue with regulator set 13.8-14.2 for lead acid.

    optimizing your charging system to mate with li-ion battery will insure a fully charged battery those cold weather starts. which leads to another topic of necessity of purchasing an intelligent charger with balancing capabilities.

    will be covering in more detail on how charging systems works on our motorcycles. And just as important what type of battery charger is needed to keep your li-ion battery balanced.

    here's what en-route ... this state of the art charger will allow me to charge at 40amps. more importantly will allow precision high amp discharge tests.

    FMA PowerLab 8 v2
    High-power 1344 watt, 40 amp charger for 1S-8S Lipo packs. with JST-XH & ThunderPower balance board! USB cable to transfer data to my laptop.
    http://www.progressiverc.com/fma-powerlab-8.html


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    this 0-40V 70 ADC beast of a power supply will be powering above

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    #98
  19. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    just found this chart on Shorai web site that closely matches what I posted in an earlier post #44.
    note discharge rate is extremely flat. only 1/2volt change for 80% of rated capacity. measuring voltage requires a known to be accurate meter.

    Unless you've got a buddy with an electronics lab. a free way to calibrate your meter is to visit a local HVAC store that sells Fluke meters. take along a CR123 lithium cell, which puts out stable voltage. measure same cell with both meters. a new Fluke 87V meter will be dead on.

    note lead acid trickle chargers are designed to charge PB to float charge level which is 13.05v for gel. then add 150 milliamp = 13.20v .. assuming charger is delivering voltage within spec's. a lithium phosphate battery will be 70% charged at 13.20v. if trickle charger is delivering less volts. at 13.05v battery is only 35% charged.

    more reasons why a li-ion specific charger with cell balancing should be used. Progressive RC offers some of the finest li-ion chargers anywhere. they come highly recommended by the RC crowd.
    http://www.progressiverc.com/fma-powerlab-8.html

    The Progressive RC folks have been doing load testing with lithium iron phosphate batteries for quite sometime. they have extensive testing data on all sorts of li-ion batteries for motorcycles and automotive use. hopefully they will agree to share a bit of the extensive database of A123 discharge testing.

    more on this later...

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GHhYC0Uv5S8" allowfullscreen="" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe>

    From Shorai faq http://www.shoraipower.com/t-faq.aspx

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    #99
  20. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    this just came in from Motorrad Elektrik who had the higher output (14.5v) regulator for all Airheads in stock.

    Fast service and very knowledgeable too. explained to Rick what I was trying to achieve. He immediately recommended this higher output voltage regulator to better match higher voltage requirements of lithium iron phosphate batteries.

    note a higher output voltage regulator is only needed if one is running large loads on charging system. like heated grips, heated jacket, heated gloves, etc. placing a 15-20 amp load on charging system will drop overall volts. which could result in an undercharged li-ion battery.

    optimizing a motorcycle charging system for li-ion is brand new territory ... so we'll see soon, how much overall effect changing out to a higher output voltage regulator has.

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