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Lithium 12V Batteries Brands?

11715 Views 104 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  rgren2
I'm starting to see heaps of 12V Lithium Batteries hitting the market, most seem pretty reasonably priced and well spec'ed. Let's start a guide to what is out there, their specifications, cost and where to buy them. Any user experience and discussion would be good to. I don't want this to turn into a system discussion, just the batteries themselves. Any chat about charge controllers, BMS or installation should be directed elsewhere.

It would be important to list only 12V batteries, $ and Ah. That way east $/Ah can be worked out.

VoltX (first one I Googled)
$469 for 100Ah ($4.69/Ah)
  • Built-in Battery Management System protects against over-charging, over-discharge and short-circuiting
  • High quality prismatic cells
  • Up to 2000 Life Cycles
  • Can last up to 7 years
7-years doesn't seem very long for a lithium. My BYD home batteries are supposed to go over 10.
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DCS twin 75ah lithiums under bonnet for 3.5 ish years now starting winching and deep cycling, no problems. ill never go back to lead acid.
I’ve just found out I’m up for at least a new second battery and was wondering how lithium might be for under bonnet next to turbo positioning and what kind of life expectancies I might get out of it.

How have they gone heat wise pre Aero things thread.
they were unfortunately in the car before i figured out the aero stuff so they copped a good cooking on a few trips. not ideal, id say their ampacity has dropped a bit, but i haven't bothered to check, (sorta need the DCS charger to do so) .....

The upright dometic 110 fridge runs on the coldest setting indefinitely. I never have the "oh **** better check the car fridge" thought that i used to get all the time when trying to 24/7 a chest fridge with my old setup. Dont think ill return to the world of lead acid any time soon. LCAs are hard to beat winching and starting, it cranks like it has the glow plugs removed.
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I seen ages ago on youtube i think, dudes were building their own lithium batteries (buying cells and adding balancer chips and BMS units)

from memory it didn't seem like rocket science to do so, haven't looked into it properly though as i decided the 3yr under bonnet warranty that DCS offered meant that the math's at the time suggested even if I only get the warranty period out of them, they still ended up cheaper then the comparative lead acid (marine) battery I was using prior - when taking into consideration usable ampacity.

the twin 75s give me 130ish AH of deep cycling and 20ish AH reserved for cranking, the marine was like 60AH usable for deep cycling.

not sure what other brands are like now days but back then DCS was the only one to buy from my research, basically all others were risky as.

they were cutting the cheap ones in half to show the wiring and connections between the cells and the main terminals was pathetic, on of the reasons a fair few were melting down and catching fire.

also exposing the false advertising of many cheaper brands in regards to ampacity, they would say 120 on the label and be lucky to get 70 in testing.
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We need to look at life expectancy and also usable ampacity based on worst case scenario so warranty period as the min life expectancy as well 100% discharge as oppose to 50% discharge if comparing lithiums back to normal.

$/AH is a start in comparing but those other things are how i concluded these "expensive" lithiums were actually cheaper, and so far they have been bloody unreal.

not to mention, my last marine battery killed my genuine alternator (its kinda hard to diagnose this, bit like the chicken and the egg)

its kinda weird picking them up (75 ah DCS) as they only weigh like 8kg, feels like they are fake at first.

My system is also incredibly simple, but as the op request we should keep it at a level of comparing batt only
lol they will be worth the extra when your ling long BMS catches fire and burns your car down. :ROFLMAO:

I will do research again one day when i decide to refresh the 75s in the ute, as they will still be usefull in other vehicles I have even after years of use. (just lower actual ampacity)

Happy to pay the extra for the good customer service. It might pay to ask Paul the actual differences in the cells them selves as well as i think you will find they are not all the same.

weather you choose to believe if he is telling fibs about his cells or not is on you, the bigger 3 yr under bonnet warranty tells me that hes likely not pulling my leg.

sure, if you are using a lithium in the back of a wagon or canopy and its not seeing heat you could get away with something cheaper, but id be testing the ampacity properly to make sure when brand new it gets its rated numbers. Then id still be weary of the internal conductor sizes and connections, and i wouldn't be swinging my 240V kettle off the inverter for the morning coffee like i do now as i just dont like the idea of 185 DC amps thru "not last long company" ling long wiring and connections.
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Do you have these isolated at all or just know from experience you will never use more than 130ah before needing to start the car again?
And what charger are you using?
Charges straight off the alternator and solar regs,

Load disconnect turns aux loads of at a voltage point which roughly indicates 20ah remaining

If you ever see the fridge go out, it's time to start the car or put the car on charge but that is rare given I have a fair bit of solar.
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Ampacity is a silly american word that describes the current carrying capacity of a cable. Has nothing to do with the amp hour rating of a battery.
Your DCS battery is made in China and also has a ling long BMS inside it. The only aussie made lithium is dug out of our ground and sent to China for processing.
Personally I will keep my LiFePo4 batterys in boxes and not under the bonnet, use them to run fridges and lighting, which they are very good at, hook them up to solar blankets or dc dc chargers, and rely on the trusty Optima which will last for 10 years to do the cranking.
Ampacity to me means amp hours

CCA or current carrying capacity to me represents how much a conductor can carry.

This is what I know from being an electrician.

Almost everything is made in China, doesn't mean the Chinese aren't capable of making decent quality when asked to do so.

I believe the main things with the cells was the grade, A grade cells were a much better design then B grade which are found in lots of cheapies, from memory the A grades have some fail safes built in also in regards to fire/explosiin hazards.
Grade A is a new cell that meets the specifications after testing and also had no physical damage. After that they can grade them however they like with B usually having some damage, not meeting amp hour rating, some physical damage and or being second hand. A lot of Lifepo4 cells come out of chinese EV's
Fair enough.

What was it about the design of the cells with the inbuilt pressure relief valve that I am thinking of and associating with grade A cells?
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle Bumper

Full trust in these old DCS units even after years of cape York corrugations and heat.

Only had the BMS turn off once when I parked it in the garage, left the fridge on and didn't plug it in to charge.

Once plugged into charge the BMS woke up again.

With either/any chemistry I think one of those capacitor type jump starter bricks would be a great backup for being remote.

Also to add that if I had pushed the car back out into the sun, the solar regs would have woke the BMS up and started charging it as well.
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Many solar regs will not charge anything if they don't see a battery first. If the BMS has disconnected voltage, the regs won't sense the battery and turn on or start charging.
So the only reason I think it went to 11.5 and turned BMS off is because once the fridge had cycled us down to the point where the load disconnect turns the canopy off, my inverter was still on standby in the cab with a few items plugged in on charge so that would have taken me from 20ah left down to 11.5v

If i had of been near the car in that time (maybe a few days time window) then all I do is start the car or get charge into it somehow .

Can't really have the inverter on the load side of the battery protect for obvious reasons hence the BP not being able to shut it off at 20ah remaining

I'm using victron solar regs, i think they do wake up BMS but I want to test now
Why don't you have the inverter on the load side of the battery protection??
Only rated for 100a and it's in the canopy

Inverter is in the cab behind passenger seat fed by 70mm2 flex

Have measured 185a dc before when boiling the jug off the Ute

I have 1.5mm 2 core & earth going to canopy so I have 240v power in canopy

Can also set inverter to do different things with voltages I think and power save mode or something
So the battery protection device meant to keep the lithium OK is being bypassed because you want more from it than it's rated?
Battery protect is acting as our load disconnect

BMS constant current rating is 150a so 300a for the 2 of them

So no issue with bms ratings for up to 10a 240v loads

When using bigger 240v loads you are with the car any way so if the load disconnect operates you can just start the car if it doesn't return past the disconnect voltage set point

Usually it will do so in the morning while boiling the jug as it's only natural for voltage to fall off under load, however as soon as the jug cycles you can see the voltage return to its lightly loaded value which if kept under 10A with these lithium we can use this value to estimate AH remaining.

Of course u could run an inverter of load side of the load disconnect but you would want to consider the rating of the device and keep inverter under this in its power rating
Ah righto, what is the battery protection and why even have it if you have the BMS?
It's function is to leave 20ah in the battery reserved for starting the vehicle so it turns off aux loads like fridges and camp lights/outlets

This way both battery are starting and aux units

This means we have more ah for our aux loads

So if it was a dual batt system we would have 75 ah for aux

As it is a single battery type system we have 75x2 so 150

And 130 of that is for aux, then load discon operates

20 remains for starting
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Just to clarify, battery protect and load disconnect are the same thing

Its called a battery protect as that's it's intention with chemistry that don't like big and constant deep cycling but with lithium we use it as a load discon as we can determine remaining ampacity or amp hours using voltage provided out load at the time of measuring voltage is like under 10 amps

U programme this with your phone using Bluetooth it's quite simple and straight forward.

So when considering total 12v system cost and bagging DCS because of the price, u can see where im coming from when u consider this unit is like a bit over 100 bucks and its all u need in terms of control gear for the system.

A good dc/dc can be quite expensive and

Even a dirty old sbdi12 Redarc is twice that price and they will almost always let you down under heavy winching if you force the solenoid closed and pass a winching current through it

I am biased to my setup because I have considered more things then most people, the more simple and bullet proof and lighter you can keep things the better.

Circuit component Product Passive circuit component Font Electronic component
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There are compromises with everything and the fact you need to bypass it is concerning to me. You say you're trying to save 20Ah by disconnecting some of your loads, but your not disconnecting your biggest load I don't get the logic. I'd run that just for the inverter and nothing else personally.

A lithium jump starter pack that doubles as a portable USB charger are less than $100. I know what I'd prefer. One less thing to go wrong (when bypassing even) and one that is multi-use. But hey I consider more than most people too.

I do like Victron gear though. My house is offgrid with lithium batteries and Victron equipment, so I'm bias too.
You need to think in terms of AH rather then just A

Yes I have a 2000w inverter, no it is not consuming 2000w constantly

I boil the jug, 185 amps for 2 minutes this uses 6.1 AH

Remember the rest of the car "bypasses" the load disconnect as well so stereo and parkers ect will draw the battery even after load discon operates.

How is this any worse then a traditional multi system setup?

Do u wire up your stereo to your second battery? Ok so some do..

Well u can all so do that with the load discon.

It's up to you what you want to allocate as main and aux loads and how you use them.

My inverter does small loads like charging phones or big ones like boiling the jug.

Small loads need quite a while to get the BMS to open circuit, maybe a few days.

Big loads, you are with the car as they are happening so its fine provided u dont try to boil the jug with less then 20ah remaining (battery protect will indicate this)

Even if you did, you would have 14 ish AH left to start the car which is plenty with these lithiums.

Another advantage of single system setup is the solar charges all, not prioritising one then the other like a traditional lead acid with say a sbi12d would do, and depending on the energy supply and demand perhaps never getting to charge the main battery again, which leaves you not being able to start the car because you were playing the stereo for to long or doing something equivelant to this.

It would help to draw it out but also consider a rational theory of operation

You are not going to run your 12/240v bd series comp fridge off 240v in your car just because you have an inverter and you can, you would likely wire it in 12 so you arent converting the power twice for no reason. Its not efficient.

And as said above, im sure my inverter can be programmed to cut off at a voltage point as well if i want so it is its own load disconnect

I just haven't been bothered to try because I haven't had any real issues using it the way i have been
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I would run a conduit/duct from the front of the car like behind the grille and have it come into the side of the heat shield. This way when your cruising along its purging ambient air around the battery.

This will make it last much much much longer under bonnet.

I've had lithium under my bonnets for many years now.
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trust me on this, you want an air gap there between your shield and the battery and you absolutely want a small flow of air around it that is from in front of the radiator not behind it. Youl thank me maybe in 6 years for this instead of thinking "well i guess 2 years was a good run"
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Just coming in on the back of this. I have a 200 a/h lithium DCS slimline for my truck. Similar setup to Mikes. I have located it above the rear wheel arch on the drivers side. It is the perfect size to fit there. Just removed the wing and made a cover for it. Then put the inverter straight above it. Charges from the alternator. As the battery has to outputs on top, I ran 00 zero cable to the rear. I did this to allow for max charge, as well as max pull for the winch. Never had any issues with it.

I wouldn't put a lithium under the bonnet. Just my opionion. Why risk it when there are alternative options to mount it. Also gives me a ton of room under the bonnet now with no battery located there.
I've had 2 x DCS 75ah under bonnet next to the kettle for years now.

Will refresh them one day if not convert to the 200ah and put it behind the seat in the cab.
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