In this article we will be comparing the weight, durability, improved technology and benefits of lithium batteries compared to traditional deep cycle batteries
The Li+AGE Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery is about half the weight of a traditional deep cycle battery of the same capacity and weight does matter when you are towing a light weight European caravan, It certainly makes a difference in a modern European motorhome, because most of them are built right on the limit of 3500kg. So once the tanks are full the passengers are seated and you have loaded your gear the vehicle is probably on the weight limit.
The initial cost of lithium batteries is substantially higher than traditional batteries but in exchange you will probably get about 10 times more cycles (a cycle means discharging the battery and recharging, which counts as one cycle) An average deep cycle battery will generally have about 250 cycles, whereas a Lithium battery will have approximately 2500 cycles, just because it is a more modern battery type.
High tech Lithium batteries will have a high end battery management system built in with Bluetooth communication, which connects to any mobile phone via an App, which is a major plus because it saves the installation costs of battery monitors etc, So there is no need to run cables, cut holes. Just get your phone out, and connect wirelessly straight to the battery to monitor the state of the battery.
Traditional deep cycle batteries do not like being discharged more than about 50%. Deep discharge of traditional batteries causes corrosion to the lead plates and shortens the life cycle of a battery. Lithium batteries can be discharged almost all the way, until the battery management system turns off the power to protect the cells, so when comparing a 100A/hr deep cycle battery discharged at 50% to a 100A/hr lithium battery discharged to 90%. You can conclude from this that the useable capacity of the same sized battery is almost double when comparing a lithium battery with same size traditional battery. So to be fair you should really be comparing the cost and weight of a 200A/hr traditional battery with a 100A/hr lithium battery.
Traditional lead batteries require more time to recharge, in other words they cannot absorb energy very fast. Why does this matter? It matters a lot because the solar system only works during the day, and on winter days it can be a very short day, besides the output of a solar panel is about 80% greater in full sunshine than in overcast conditions, so the energy needs to be harvested quickly when the sun is out, lithium batteries will absorb that energy about 5 times faster than traditional batteries. It is worth mentioning that lithium batteries charge and discharge at a different voltage to lead acid batteries. It is therefore important to ensure that your charge systems are working to the correct charge criterium, and if the batteries of different types are linked in any way during the charge cycle that the correct equipment is installed to make that happen without incident. We have seen some expensive failures with DIY installations when not enough attention was paid to this factor
Lithium batteries are lighter, smarter, with a longer life cycle, they have more available energy, and they can be discharged almost fully, once discharged they recharge quicker than any traditional battery. The down side is they cost a bit more, but the value for money is greater especially if you are thinking long term. So in short lithium is a very good choice and we have been studying them for many years now, the latest battery technology has become very reliable as the batteries have internal cell management that prolongs the battery life
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