12V / 24V Power & Distribution > 12V lithium batteries
LiFePO4 lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular for anyone who relies on batteries to run the appliances in a motorhome, caravan, special vehicle or boat. The reason is that these batteries have virtually none of the disadvantages of traditional lead-acid batteries:
- Fast charging - 50 Amps - 100 Amps+ depending on model and installation method
- Safe fast discharging, making them ideal for use with inverters
- Can be discharged by 95% without adverse effects
- No significant drop-off in voltage even when battery is heavily discharged
- Low self-discharge rate - varies according to model and temperature but 3% - 10% on average
- 2,000 - 5,000 estimated cycles depending on model and depth of discharge*
- Low weight - approx. 50% of an equivalent lead-acid battery with similar Ah rating
- No maintenance
- Completely safe - no toxic fumes, corrosive liquids or fire risk
- Can be mounted horizontally or vertically
*The life of a lithium battery will vary according to how it's used and the most important factor is how often and how quickly it is heavily discharged. Two identical batteries can have dramatically different useful lives: one that's heavily discharged on a daily basis may start to lose efficiency after a few months whereas one that is only lightly discharged every now and again, could last for many years. We calculate that, for a typical motorhomer or caravanner, a good-quality 100Ah lithium battery that has been correctly installed could, in theory, last for 20 years or more.
IMPORTANT!! Installation of any LiFePO4 lithium battery is possible in most vehicles and boats that use lead-acid leisure / auxiliary batteries. However, if the battery is to work efficiently and safely for its estimated lifetime, it's essential that it is installed correctly. This means that the charging voltages of the alternator, the mains charger and a solar panel - if fitted - are appropriate for the battery (Must have a Lithium/LiFePO4 setting). If they are not, the battery can be quickly damaged.
If the vehicle is fitted with a "smart alternator", it will be necessary to fit a suitable battery to battery (DC-DC) charger as well.
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