Advantages of LiFePo4


3Tek Engineering prefers to work with cells based upon LiFePo4 chemistry. On this page you will find an overview of the advantages of using LiFePo4 based solutions, when compared against regular Lead Acid Solutions, and even against some Lithium Polymer (LiPo) based Solutions. Most of them are probably well known, but it is good to have an overview for reference purposes:

The LiFePo cells used are very lightweight cells. Solutions based on LiFePo4 cells weigh much less than regular Lead Acid solutions, ofcourse depending on the cell configuration used.

Depending on the cell configuration, these solutions normally have a much smaller form factor than regular Lead Acid based solutions.

Because of the chemistry used, these cells are much safer and more reliable then cells based upon other chemistries. These cells are extremely fault tolerant and very safe to use in various environments. The LiFePO4 cells used are not prone to "thermal runaway" when subjected to over-voltage chargeing.

These LiFePo4 cells can be charged very fast. When using the right charging device a pack based on these cells could be completely charged within 15 minutes. Typical charging times range from between 30 to 60 minutes. When compared to the charging times of regular Lead Acid batteries (or even LiPo’s!), this is extremely fast.

Batterypacks based upon this specific LiFePo4 chemistry provide more or less the same power until they are practically empty. This is not the case with Lead Acid based solutions, nor is this the case with LiPo solutions.

These LiFePo4 cells have a longer lifespan, and when used in conjunction with the right (internal) Battery Management System (BMS). Typical use would allow for a lifespan of at least 3 to 5 years, whereas Lead Acid Batteries will normally do much less. The BMS is not needed to protect the cells as such, but is mostly intended towards extending the lifespan and making sure that every cell within a pack stays well balanced. A good BMS goes a long way to ensure customer satisfaction.

LiFePo4 chemistry ensures that batteries have a long storagelife when charged. Although this depends on various factors like the power consumption of the BMS inside and the actual storage temperature, it can be measured that this chemistry has a typical self discharge of less than 5% per month, which is far better than Lead Acid solutions under the same circumstances.

The cylindrical cell construction is more durable than typical LiPo cells, and so less likely to incur daily dents, dings, and damage from light crashes. These types of cells are extremely shockproof, since each cell is constructed very rigidly (i.e. is a “solid”).

LiFePO4 cylindrical cells are very reasonably priced in comparison to quality LiPo alternatives. But the real value comes in over time, as the long Cycle Life, long Shelf Life, and Durable Construction all combine to lower the total cost per run over the life of the battery pack. In other words, customers get a lot more runs for the money they spend. In particular, please don't be fooled by the low initial cost of some LiPo packs, or even by the costs of a regular Lead Acid based solution. In many cases LiPo packs provide even less energy density than these LiFePO4 cells, can not be safely fast charged and often last less than a few runs before they become "worn out".

 

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