are you considering buying a lithium battery for your van? Although these batteries are not the cheapest on the market, their high quality makes them a great option. If you are looking for more information to make up your mind, here you will find a lot of useful information that will help you make the right decision. Are you going to miss it?
LiFePO4, Li-Ion or lithium batteries and their most important features
Lithium batteries or, to be more precise, LiFePO4 or lithium-ferrophosphate batteries use lithium salts as electrolyte which, through chemical reactions, are able to release electrons to emit and store energy. Thanks to their fabulous performance, LiFePO4 batteries are already very popular and widely used in many technological and industrial sectors. It was only a matter of time before they began to be used in photovoltaic installations with high energy requirements.
Want to buy a LiFePO4 lithium battery for your van?
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Performance and life of lithium batteries
LiFePO4 batteries are powerful, fast and very efficient batteries. They also have a very long lifespan, so much so that, of the batteries used in photovoltaic systems today, Li-Ion batteries are the longest lasting of all. In addition, they have a very low self-discharge rate.
Another of their many advantages is their high discharge capacity, they can be discharged to 100% of their capacity andhave nomemory effect! so you can store them without worrying about their charge level and without compromising their performance.
As if that were not enough, it is also a very light battery! A lithium battery can weigh between 1/3 and 1/2 the weight of a gel or AGM battery. In the following table we collect the real weight of three models of 100Ah batteries, gel, AGM and lithium, to give you an idea.
|Battery of gel 100Ah||AGM battery 100Ah||LiFePO4 100Ah Battery|
|26.2 kg||27 kg||10.4 kg!|
|329 x 172 x 218 mm||329 x 172 x 218 mm||260 x 168 x 209 mm|
How to install a lithium battery?
Lithium batteries can be perfectly installed indoors, since they do not emit gases of any kind, but they must be protected from direct sunlight and have a ventilation or cooling system to prevent their temperature from increasing too much, since excessive heat accelerates their deterioration and even, if the temperature is too high, it can lead to a risk of the battery burning or bursting.
A very positive quality of these batteries is that they can be modular, i.e. they can be connected or disconnected from each other depending on the energy requirements. This is a great advantage, since it would allow scaling up the solar installation if necessary, simply by adding another compatible modular battery from the same manufacturer.
Please read carefully the technical data sheet and the manufacturer’s recommendations for interconnecting several Li-Ion batteries. There you will find information about the compatibilities and the proper way to make the connections, since the batteries will have to be connected in series or in parallel as stipulated in the manufacturer’s manual.
This is very important, as in most cases, connecting in the wrong way will void the warranty. And, in case you are wondering…. Yes, a few simple checks can tell you how a battery was connected, so always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations 😉
Do lithium solar batteries need maintenance?
LiFePO4 batteries do not require periodic maintenance of any kind. To ensure proper and efficient operation, in addition to installing the battery indoors, protected from sunlight and rain and with adequate ventilation to keep it in an acceptable temperature range, a BMS should be installed (see Amazon), if the battery does not have one built in.
Recommended charging voltages in a lithium battery
Max V at % of Inom
What is the BMS in a Li-Ion battery and is it necessary?
The BMS (Battery Management System), as its name suggests, is a battery management system that ensures correct charging and discharging of the battery. Thanks to the BMS it is possible to avoid imbalances between the cells that can shorten the life of the battery or cause damage that cannot be solved. In our opinion, it is essential to install a BMS, if the battery itself does not have it included, both to avoid compromising the life of the battery and to avoid unnecessary risks.
Advantages of lithium batteries
- They have the longest useful life of the solar accumulators.
- They are very powerful.
- They have a very fast charging speed.
- Very low self-discharge rate.
- They are very efficient.
- They can be discharged to 100%.
- They have no memory effect.
- They are very light.
- They can be modular.
- They do not require maintenance.
- They do not emit gases.
Disadvantages of the lithium batteries
- They have a high price.
- High temperatures favor their degradation.
- They are not as robust as lead batteries (Gel or AGM).
- They require the installation of a BMS, if the battery does not include it.
Opinions and final conclusions on lithium batteries and their price
Our opinion about this type of battery is that they have a great quality. They are a very good option to install in a camper van as an auxiliary battery, since they have a very good performance, they are very light and some models can be connected in parallel, but to buy one you will have to reserve a good part of the camperization budget, since they are quite expensive…. On the other hand, you will have to take care of them against high temperatures, as the heat could damage them.
If it were not for their high price, our verdict would be clear, you will have to evaluate if the investment is worth the advantages they have.