How do you choose the best deep cycle LiFePO4 battery?

Batteries are widely used all over the world. Because it is not possible to connect all the electric devices to an electricity supply. For example, it is not possible to keep the automobiles connected to an electricity supply while they are moving. Even if someone manages to connect most of their devices directly to the supply, it is not possible to get consistent supply. And any fluctuation in it can affect the device badly. So, it is important to store energy somewhere and use it as an alternative to the electricity supply. This ensures consistent supply anywhere. 

Also, batteries are available in large varieties, so they can be used for different voltage requirements. Small batteries can be used in devices like mobile phones and large batteries can be used in machines like automobiles. 

Over time, the types of batteries have changed. Earlier, batteries were made for single-use. Which means once they lost their charge, they could not be used again. But the batteries which are used now are mostly rechargeable. These batteries produce voltage with chemical reactions and work on the basis of the cycle of charge and discharge. They are termed as Deep Cycle Batteries because they charge and discharge deeply. 

These multiple charge-discharge cycles enhance the life of the battery and people do not need to buy a new one, every time it stops working. It is not only convenient but also environment friendly as disposing of the batteries can be a big task too. In deep cycle batteries, are four subcategories:

  • Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries: These batteries have their battery plates separated by a glass mat. This glass mat also contains the electrolyte. 
  • Gel batteries: In these, silica dust is mixed with the electrolyte and that forms a thick gel-like solution. 
  • Flooded batteries: These ones use wet or flooded cells. There is a liquid electrolyte solution in the cells that cover all its internal parts. They can produce gas if overcharged. And this gas should be released for safety reasons. 
  • Lithium-ion batteries: These are the latest ones. In these, lithium ions move through the electrolyte from the negative electrode to the positive electrode and produce energy. 

Out of these, the flooded batteries were the most common ones. But since the lithium-ion batteries have entered the market, they have become popular amongst all. The newest technology in lithium-ion batteries is the LiFePo4 batteries, which are widely used. Here are the reasons for its popularity and why people should prefer buying it more. 

Better Capacity

The LiFePo4 batteries have better electricity capacity than the similar-sized conventional batteries as they can store up to four times energy than them. This is very beneficial for heavy vehicles that have limited weight and space capacity. 

More Discharge

The older SLA batteries used to provide only up to 50% discharge. This helped in maintaining higher charge-discharge cycles. Due to which, people had to buy heavier batteries than their requirements. But with LiFePo4 batteries, people can easily drain them up to 20%, that automatically reduces the size of the battery. Also, the 80% discharge factor makes it suitable for long continuous uses. 

So, either it is a 12V LiFePo battery, a 36V LiFePo4 battery, or a 48V LiFePo4 battery, all of them can be charged after using up to 80% of the stored electricity. And it should be frequently charged and discharged to maintain an extended life span. 

Faster Charging

Charging can be a big issue with the rechargeable batteries. As most of them can take a long time to charge. This can sometimes bring problems too because only 50% of the batteries can be used and to charge it again people need time. Not in the case of LiFePo4 batteries, they not only provide up to 80% usage but also charges three to four times faster than all the other batteries. 

This is one of the main reasons to use these batteries. Because a person can invest too much time recharging the battery when it requires to de discharged and charged frequently. 

More Life Cycles

Another reason for the name Deep Cycle is that they offer more life cycles than any other type of batteries. And the LiFePo4 batteries provide the highest life cycles amongst them. For example, the absorbed glass mat batteries provide up to 600 life cycles of charge and discharge, while the similar power LiFePo4 batteries provide up to 2000 life cycles. Which means it can work for at least three to four times longer. 

Consistent Voltage

This is a big point of concern while using batteries. And usually, all the batteries start degrading their voltage outputs with either their increase in load or discharge. Which means they only provide good voltage when they are fully charged and the load is moderate and consistent.  

With LiFePo4 batteries, this problem has been solved. They provide consistent voltage with any load and discharge. This makes it appropriate for peak power in recreational vehicles. 

More Benefits

There are more factors that make the LiFePo4 batteries better than the others. Like they are less susceptible to depth discharge problems and they are more environmentally friendly. Also, they are less prone to thermal runaways, which makes it safer than other options. 

Conclusion

Even though the LiFePo4 batteries are a bit expensive and hard to find than other options, all the other benefits they provide makes them worth. Because when it will provide electrical power for longer durations and higher life cycles, it saves people from a lot of hassle. 

All these features together make them the best option for the recreational vehicles’ power source. As they do not have much capacity to store the batteries and they require longer consistent power supplies. That can easily be provided by a suitable LiFePo4 battery. 

It can also provide energy on various levels as per the requirements of the vehicle. And if the capacity of the inverter is adequate, it will be able to run all the electrical appliances on the vehicle simultaneously. That cannot be done by any other type of batteries as they might end up delivering lesser voltage with increased load. 

Image credit: Abstract battery via Illus_man/Shutterstock

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