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Lithium batteries

Roadghost

Well-known member
I put a cheap Chinese lithium battery on my old Honda as an experiment. I suspect a lot of the Chinese so-called "lithium" batteries are in fact cheap nickel-cadmiums, judging by the way they keep a charge. I have a 4-cell on my CM250 that does the job but tends to run down if left for a few days, just like an NC bat. Glad I have a kick starter. Not willing to take it apart to see because of the toxic chemicals inside. It's super small and lightweight though. Currently out of the bike and on a li-ion maintainer. Any charging off the bike should be done in ceramic bowl. Things have been known to catch fire without warning.
 
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Brian P

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Won't be a Ni-Cd battery - cannot be, the cell voltage isn't appropriate. LiFePo (and not other lithium chemistries!) works because its nominal cell voltage is almost exactly 50% higher than lead-acid, so a 4-cell LiFePo has the same nominal voltage as a 6-cell lead-acid.

It's probably self-discharging because it has an internal high-resistance short circuit. Good LiFePo batteries have a very low self-discharge rate.
 

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
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I put a cheap Chinese lithium battery on my old Honda as an experiment.

...

I suspect a lot of the Chinese so-called "lithium" batteries are in fact cheap nickel-cadmiums, judging by the way they keep a charge.

...

I have a 4-cell on my CM250 that does the job but tends to run down if left for a few days
The reasons the batteries are not performing properly and prematurely dying is because you've damaged them by installing them in vehicles that don't manage them properly. See my last response.

Vehicles not designed from the factory for lithium batteries should not be used with lithium batteries.
 

Brian P

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If your regulator regulates to 14.4 volts (typical sealed maintenance-free) it will work. If it regulates to less than 14 volts ((old flooded lead acid) it will kill a LiFePo battery. I replaced the stock crap regulator in my older bikes to make it work. I don't miss having to keep an eye on the water level...or getting stranded by a crap voltage regulator. I have a pile of dodgy stock FZR regulators and I've tossed a couple that obviously let out the internal smoke that makes them work.
 

PrivatePilot

Ironus Butticus
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Lithium batteries are great and all, but yeah, as Brian mentions...you need to make sure the bike is properly upgraded to play nice with them to begin with, otherwise you're potentially just wasting your money.
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
It lasted 2 years so far, so if I can get another summer out of it I won't complain. Thing only weighs about 3lbs and is about 5x4x1". Bike charges at a steady 13.5-14 all day. I think its just a cheap battery.
 

Brian P

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Less than 14 volts will not keep that battery properly charged. It really needs to be 14.2 - 14.4 volts.
 

Xhumeka

Well-known member
I bought a Ballistic LiFe back in 2011 and it has been completely problem free. I was going to recommend it to a friend of mine but when I checked their site ( https://www.ballistic-batteries.com/ ):

Summerville, SC – December 2018 – We regretfully announce that Ballistic Performance Components LLC will cease operations, effective immediately. We have always strived to produce the highest quality battery possible, but due to increased competition from lower cost, lower quality Chinese batteries and difficulty sourcing high quality cells, we are no longer able to manufacture batteries in the United States for a competitive price. We would like to thank our dealers, distributors, suppliers, partners, customers and employees for their support over the last 9 years.
That's such a shame, especially considering these Chinese knock-offs that put them out of business aren't nearly as well built, safe or reliable :(
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
Less than 14 volts will not keep that battery properly charged. It really needs to be 14.2 - 14.4 volts.
That's not true. Any time within 48hrs after I have run the bike it will start, no problem. The guide that came with the battery said 13.5-14.5. Where are you getting 14.2 - 14.4?
 

Brian P

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Pretty readily available. Look for the charging voltage, not the nominal voltage. Random search found http://www.cobox-ebikes.com/296/basic-understanding-of-lipo-li-ion-and-lifepo4.html

TL : DR? Charging voltage for a nominal 12-volt LiFePO4 battery is recommended to be 14.4 volts. (3.6 volts per cell)

My real world experience was that installing a Shorai LiFePO4 battery in a Yamaha FZR, whose stock regulator regulates to around 13.5 volts, killed the battery. I found this out at a track event at Jennings. First day worked fine. Second day cranked slow. Third day needed bump starting. After I got home, it was dead as a doornail. Replaced battery, upgraded to a modern voltage regulator, that's all still in the bike today 7 years later.
 

Brian P

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Here's a better link. https://www.powerstream.com/LLLF.htm

100% state of charge 3.65 V per cell (14.6 V for a nominal 12V battery).

There is a very fine line around 13.6 volts. A smidge over that (on that chart) will get it 80% charged. A smidge under that will only get it 20% charged. It's quite possible that your situation is just a smidge over that fine line and my situation was just a smidge under.
 

Roadghost

Well-known member
Pretty readily available. Look for the charging voltage, not the nominal voltage. Random search found http://www.cobox-ebikes.com/296/basic-understanding-of-lipo-li-ion-and-lifepo4.html

TL : DR? Charging voltage for a nominal 12-volt LiFePO4 battery is recommended to be 14.4 volts. (3.6 volts per cell)

My real world experience was that installing a Shorai LiFePO4 battery in a Yamaha FZR, whose stock regulator regulates to around 13.5 volts, killed the battery. I found this out at a track event at Jennings. First day worked fine. Second day cranked slow. Third day needed bump starting. After I got home, it was dead as a doornail. Replaced battery, upgraded to a modern voltage regulator, that's all still in the bike today 7 years later.
Yeah. Something is not adding up. Says 14.6-16.8 for a 4-cell, which is what I have. My instructions said not to go above 15 or it will destroy the battery. Perhaps the science isn't perfect yet. Still, a battery charged at 14 should remain charged and should not discharge over time. I should check for a drain, but it's cold right now and I'm feeling lazy.
 

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