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Thread: Lithium/Iron Battery Primer (LiFePO4)

  1. #31
    apriliaforum expert The Foreigner's Avatar
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    I'd shed some positive news re: these batteries as this happened to me last week : I had left my home (and my garage subsequently) in Aug last year, traveled around EU etc. Meanwhile, I asked my dad to run the bike every 2 weeks. It turns out he did that a couple times then last time he forgot the key on and completely drained the Shorai I had in. Needless to say he didn't mention that over the phone, just that he "couldn't turn the key anymore" so I wasn't worried. Came home last week, I was shocked to see that the batt had been drained and dead for God knows how long.

    I did not buy the Shorai charger (funnily after reading heavily and asking their CS about it) but have a very good BOSCH moto charger (that I basically never used on it before that) , plugged it 15min and it fired right up and after that with no worries, rode fine and all that. That says quite a lot about the build quality and am a very satisfied customer and much more impressed with it, after what is now 1.5years of use.
    2005 Tuono -

  2. #32
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    We made up a 4 cell LiFePo4 battery about 3 years ago for our SXV race bike. This bike has now been in street trim for a year and is still running the same home made setup. There is no reason to split up the starter motor connection from the main terminal and connect it to the (for want of a better term) monitor/charge connector. Cell balancing is easy. Measure each cell with a decent digital voltmeter. Use the lowest reading as a reference voltage. Discharge the rest of the cells individually to that reference voltage using a lightbulb. Now all cell voltages will be the same i.e. balanced. Now charge the battery if necessary. An old type large output non-regulated charger works well. A high charge current is OK. Probably only take about 15min to come up to 14.2 volts. About 14.4 volts is the max recommened voltage. The melting I see in some of the pics is not from thermal runaway. Thats connections between cells that are high resistance and therefore becoming hot with high current draw.

  3. #33
    Honest always, feared often Micah / AF1 Racing's Avatar
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    If using Ballistic Batteries in MV Agusta F4's I would not recommend the 16 cell version they recommend or fitting will be difficult if not impossible and it is a near $300 battery. The 8 cell works perfectly however.
    Diminished expectations is the key to happiness in life.

    Micah Shoemaker
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  4. #34
    apriliaforum expert TimeBandit's Avatar
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    I think it's noteworthy to mention that "earthX" is the 1st LiFePo4 manufacturer/supplier I’ve seen offering a self-balancing pack. From what I can tell, they are implementing cell balancing circuitry (see fig 3) within the pack itself. Although still no protections from over-drain (under-voltage), the added self-balancing intelligence is a step forward in making this technology more plug-n-play worry-free.

  5. #35
    apriliaforum expert Stu_O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeBandit View Post
    I think it's noteworthy to mention that "earthX" is the 1st LiFePo4 manufacturer/supplier I’ve seen offering a self-balancing pack. From what I can tell, they are implementing cell balancing circuitry (see fig 3) within the pack itself. Although still no protections from over-drain (under-voltage), the added self-balancing intelligence is a step forward in making this technology more plug-n-play worry-free.
    Thanks for your posts on this, TimeBandit. The application specific technology seems to be getting better by the day, as more major players see the shortcomings and design more capable products. Shorai was a pioneer here, and I've been testing their products for almost three years. Their original offerings had the advantages you spoke of in your first posts, but their relative lack of amp-hours compared to lead acid caused them to be not suitable for any bike that couldn't maintain at least 13.6 volts at idle rpm with headlamps on and brakes applied. Normal parasitic loads would deplete them in only a few weeks, and they would "go to sleep" when cold soaked at temperatures below around 55 degrees. Plus, one had to use a lot of foam padding on most bikes to get a good fit in the battery box. Much of that has improved now with more case sizes and more capable batteries being listed as standard fitment, rather than as an upgrade. Still, they're supplying a battery that can't be properly charged or balanced by a system designed for lead-acid types.

    To get around that issue, or at least address it, both Scorpion and Skyrich have developed batteries with on-board circuitry which allows them to be properly maintained by a bike's charging system or a typical battery maintainer - provided the maintainer has no desulfating capability. I haven't yet seen an example of Skyrich's products, though we'll all see them soon sporting the Battery Tender brand (as well as other house brands). I do have one of Scorpion's products in a Caponord right now. One thing I like is no need to screw around cutting foam shims to adjust the fit. The battery was the exact length and width of the Yuasa original and came with plastic inter-connecting blocks (similar to Lego blocks) to adjust the height. After installing those blocks, the battery had the exact dimensions of the OE fitment. The other thing I appreciate is the increase in capacity over what other suppliers had been recommending as standard. Time will tell, but this should make them more resistant to falling asleep in cold weather or running down during storage due to parasitic loads. Finally, both the Scorpion and Skyrich products enjoy a serious price advantage over Shorai and some others. The Scorpion Stinger battery in the Caponord retails for $100 less than the Shorai product for the same bike. I don't think this technology will be suitable for all powersports applications, especially not for ATVs or high drain applications such as using a winch. But for modern, fuel injected bikes with adequate charging capacity, and now with pricing approaching that of major AGM brands, it's getting to be a very attractive alternative.

    Stu
    Last edited by Stu_O; 08-14-2013 at 10:33 AM.

  6. #36
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    The think I like about these is the lighter weight. It's up high weight too, so it can help with handling. I can't bring myself to replace my lead acid batteries that are working well, but once they go bad, I'll probably switch over to Li.

  7. #37
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    I've been totally stoked on my EarthX. I tried an 8 cell ballistic which could never stay charged enough to crank the bike over, two different 12 cell Alien Motion batteries that also had the same issue (fresh off charger it would crank over but not anytime after that) Then I bought the biggest EarthX that would dimensionally fit in the battery tray (I believe its one size bigger than their default recommendation for our bikes) Its been in my bike all summer and I have had zero issues, starts every time and as also started after sitting unused for over a month. They claim it does have undercharge protection too I think, it will not allow draining to the point of cell damage.

    Anyway works awesome and is no heavier than the 12 cell Alien Motions, not sure how many cells it it because they package them like a normal rectangular battery. This is the one I bought http://earthxmotorsports.com/product...rcycle/etx24c/, has same physical dimensions as the etx18C they recomend but more cranking juice
    part weight comparisons - click here:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...bA&output=html


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  8. #38
    apriliaforum expert banzairx7's Avatar
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    I've gone through three shorai batteries. First one lasted close to a year and I wasn't running the bike hardly at all. It ended up completely discharged and then wouldn't take a charge even with the shorai charger. The next two only lasted two weeks each. Again fully discharged and wouldn't take a charge. The bike has only a micro amp draw when off so it's not the bike killing them. It is also pretty bad that the battery will let itself discharge to the point that it will no longer take a charge. The electronics to prevent that aren't complicated at all.

    I am now trying a scorpion brand battery. We'll see how that goes.

  9. #39
    apriliaforum expert Matt fe2o3's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for contributing to this discussion.

    I have been on the fence on this, the
    Yuasa that came with my Caponord I was never in love with. I replaced it with a another std battery and I tender it often but after 2 years I can see it slowly retaining less of a charge.

    I see Deltran has lithium ion batteries now, co-branded with battery tender. Any insight on this product? Is it just a re-branded something else?
    06' Caponord

  10. #40
    apriliaforum expert Stu_O's Avatar
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    Yes, the Deltran product is a rebranded Skyrich. Google that name for more info. Both the Skyrich and Scorpion products have on board charge circuitry to equalize the cells, whether charged by a battery maintainer or the bike's charge system.

  11. #41
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    A question for the Lithium gurus: 05 Tuono with a Shori LFX18A1-BS12 battery for the last few months, put on a Battery Tender every 3-4 weeks. Last week end I was on a ride and through a routing snafu we ended up riding about 15 miles of mountain 2 track. I did 10-20 mph at low RPM. At the end of the gravel we did a couple of miles of pavement before we took a break, but I probably didn't rev the motor over 4K. After the break the battery was so low I had my first dash re-set, and had to jump it to get going. It started the rest of the day, but had to be jumped the next morning. When I got home I put it on the Battery Tender overnight and the next day was at 13.6v. I checked the stator and all 3 legs are over 70v at 4K, and running it is low 13v at idle and mid 13s at >4k. Battery capacity issue? Rectifier? Thanks for any ideas.
    kmcc927
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  12. #42
    apriliaforum expert S.A.B.'s Avatar
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    Figured I'd throw this in here for what it's worth...I had a brand new Shorai sitting around that never got used on the 2007 MV Senna that I had. Sold the the F4 and just happened upon the battery while looking in a spares box. Anyway, a quick look on the Shorai site and it's the same battery that they suggest for the 2012 RSV4. Fits like a glove. Cool beans.
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  13. #43
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    On the recommendation of an electrician friend I have just ordered a Shorai LFX21A6-BS12 for my Falco. I know the charging system isn't strong on this bike and I've had trouble with the old lead-acid battery in the winter, especially if I used my grip heaters and heated vest while riding to work in the morning, then didn't plug it in while it sits outside during the day. That battery was old and the bike has been sitting for a couple of years now, so I decided to replace it. I liked the idea of lighter weight and much higher CCA, but now I'm a little worried about how to maintain it. I might have tried something different if I'd read this first. I have an older Battery Tender Junior and I've added wires between the RR and the battery to reduce voltage drop as recommended elsewhere on this site. Any particular recommendations for how I can get the best life out of this fairly expensive battery?
    David Mackintosh
    Hood River, OR

    2001 SL1000 Fuono

  14. #44
    apriliaforum expert banzairx7's Avatar
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    I've been playing with these lithium batteries for a while now and the most important thing is to make sure your charging voltage is high enough. If you aren't seeing at least 13.1 volts at the battery you will soon have a very expensive dead battery. I went through three lithium batteries before figuring out the bike had very low charging voltage. I had to rewire my charging system completely to reduce voltage drop. I also switched to LED lighting every where I could to save power also. The current battery has been working great for several months now.
    2006 Derbi GPR125 EFI Conversion, 2003 Derbi GP1 70cc Scooter, 1974 Yamaha RD350

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by banzairx7 View Post
    I've been playing with these lithium batteries for a while now and the most important thing is to make sure your charging voltage is high enough. If you aren't seeing at least 13.1 volts at the battery you will soon have a very expensive dead battery. I went through three lithium batteries before figuring out the bike had very low charging voltage. I had to rewire my charging system completely to reduce voltage drop. I also switched to LED lighting every where I could to save power also. The current battery has been working great for several months now.
    Thanks for the reply. The charging voltage could be a problem, I'll have to keep an eye on that. I need to look into some of the other charging system mods that have been done for this bike. LEDs and maybe an HID headlamp would probably be helpful.
    David Mackintosh
    Hood River, OR

    2001 SL1000 Fuono

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