Nov 22 2020

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Battery Tech

This is all new to me. Here are a some links that have helped me understand battery technology a little.

1) Difference Between Lithium Ion And Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

2) Batteries: Lithium-ion vs AGM

The concept of discharge capacity is new to me and something that I had not considered when designing this mobile system. In short, drawing a lot of energy from a battery can reduce its life and how long it works at a given time.

3) The difference between LiFePO4 batteries and other li-ion batteries

4) Difference between Lithium-Ion & LifeP04 Battery

After reading these (and lots of other links!) I am currently thinking:

A) Lead-Acid is just not going to work. Too heavy, toxic and lame. (Thanx Erich 😉

B) LiFePO4 is an amazing technology that must be more fully explored. Super cheap, light, non-toxic and seems to be able to handle our energy requirements.

C) Tried one Li-ion battery but the experience was less than satisfying. It is far more expensive than LiFePO4 and we do not need to extreme discharge capacity that it offers.

35Ah U1 AGM Solar Battery – 35Ah – $70

Featherweight Lithium Battery – 6 Ah – $140

6Ah Miady Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery – 6Ah – $30

16Ah Deep Cycle LiFePO4 Battery – 16Ah – $50

These are the batteries I have tried.

The heavy AGM one I used before I realized that I shouldn’t run AGM batteries all the way down. It ran at 80+% volume for over 3 hours. I have not run any tests on it since I drained it though. It really doesn’t matter if it works or not as we will not be using this old, heavy, toxic battery in the Bike Party system. While the proof-of-concept shows that it is possible to use this specific battery to fulfill our power requirements, it fails at toxicity and weight.

The Lithium-Ion battery powered the box for 2.5 hours at 80+% volume. I was so stunned by it’s performance I couldn’t believe it. So I ran it a second time after charging it overnight and it cut off after just 1.5 hours. I have not gotten it to play at volume for more than an hour since.

I then tried the tiny 6Ah LiFePO4 battery figuring; “Hell! If that beefy AGM ancient-old-but-reliable tech could only get 3 hours and the super expensive cutting-edge new tech one got 2.5 tops and only 1 now… this tiny toy battery probably won’t last 15 minutes.” Shocker of shockers… the thing powered through over an hour at high volume.

WTF? I simply had to test this again. And I did. After about an hour of charging time, the thing lasted for 42 minutes. Well, well well… We may have a winner.

I searched around and ordered the 16Ah version for less than 2x the cost of the 6Ah one and… what do you know… this thing just goes and goes and goes for a little over 3 hours.

Of the three I ordered, one didn’t charge correctly and kept turning the charger off. Rather than mess with it, I am exchanging it for another identical one. The other two work great though.

My next steps are to hook up a battery monitor meter and stream Dr Dick’s Dub Shack from Bermuda at full volume while observing amp loads and documenting how long the individual batteries last.

I also want to see if these SAE Power Socket Sidewall Port will allow me to run the box continually while the 3A smart battery charger is powering it.

Wish me luck. Diving back in…

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