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Old 05-26-2015, 10:54 AM   #21
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2-8D's. Price doesnt matter when its 0 and your bus wont start.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
I must say that I'm disappointed to see that even LiFePo4 batteries lose capacity in the cold... I was hoping they would magically perform well in sub-zero temperatures.
Ah, but because they do not vent gasses of any kind, ever, they can be safely stored and operated inside the vehicle instead of underneath in a cold, exposed battery box. If I were to go this route, I would install the battery inside, below the wall-mounted inverter-charger.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:01 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by PDBreske View Post
Ah, but because they do not vent gasses of any kind, ever, they can be safely stored and operated inside the vehicle instead of underneath in a cold, exposed battery box. If I were to go this route, I would install the battery inside, below the wall-mounted inverter-charger.
Bonus with the lithium batteries inside is that your cable runs from battery to alternator and starter could be way shorter in a rear-engine bus.

Kind of a problem to use alternator as a backup charger for your house bank in this configI ration, but setting things up so you never drain below a certain "oh ****" point would address that. Or just wait for a sunny day?
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:02 PM   #24
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Emailed some questions to the Smart Battery manufacturer and their response time is very good. Here are some questions and answers (boldface is my questions to the manufacturer):

Where are the batteries manufactured?
Quote:
Phil,

Thanksk for your inquiry on Smart Battery,

To answer your question the actual building and assembling happens in China. The batteries are all designed in Tampa Florida and then the manufactor makes them to our specs and standards. So its not "China junk" like the majority of Chinese made products are.

Are you looking for a certain battery in particular? Is there any questions i can help you out with that could help? Feel free to ask. Thanks,
Thank you for your response. More questions:

1. What is the warranty on the batteries?
2. The site says they can safely be used to 100% depth-of-discharge (DoD). What is the expected number of cycles at that DoD?
3. I have a Freedom 2000 inverter/charger. Is there any special settings I need to use with LiFE battery chemistry?

I was looking at the 12V-150AH or 12V-200AH battery for my skoolie conversion motorhome and I’m active on the skoolie.net website. There are other skoolie converters out there who are interested in this type of battery, so I will be passing on this information and—if I do end up buying one—I will share with them my experiences.

Thanks for your time and information.

Quote:
1. Ok so as far as the warranty goes, there is 5 year manufacturer warranty that covers everything. Out side of the 5 yrs we can rebuild these batteries. Since they are made up of a internal bolted construction we can fix any battery for $100 flat rate. We are currently working on a lifetime warranty but have not released it on the website yet.

2. To answer your second question, with lithium it doesn't matter if your DOD is 20% or 100% the cycles won't be affected. Maybe in the long run you will see a slight sag in lifespan but as a whole you will still be able to hit the 3000-5000 mark no problem. I have one customer that runs a 200Ah in a ambulance and they 100% discharge it every day and its been working 2 years straight doing this and we had it back and tested it for marketing purposes and it still have 202Ah capacity. I'm not sure what all you are running with it but you will have to use it pretty hard to hit 100% every day in a (RV).

3. As far as your Freedom inverter goes just hook it up like a normal battery and let it run. The inverter isn't going to know its lithium. Depending on which battery you purchase, if its the 150Ah you can charge it at 150A and have it charged in one hour. Also the voltage curve on the Smart Battery doesn't hardly change from fully charged until its dead. So your inverter will run a lot more efficient because of that. With what you have and are doing i just looked at your website i believe these batteries will fit you guys well. I would like to sell you one and promote it to your group you have going there.

4. The size and boot print these batteries have for the power ratio is amazing. You will find that one battery will run your entire coach and that you will have way less weight and more room for other stuff. Also keep in mind that there is no corrosion to watch for or bad terminals. Zero maintenance is also a plus. Don't have to fill these with water or worry about freezing them. Please let me know if i can get you a sale and start group on Smart Battery. Its a pleasure working with you. Thanks,
I love that they can repair these out-of-warranty for $100. That's great. And the future possibility of a lifetime warranty? Come on! What's not to love?

It seems to me like they might be willing to sell some of these to skoolie.net members at a group rate. I'm pretty sure that the cost of these puts them out of reach for most skoolie converters (if we were made of money, most of us would not be buying used school buses), but if anyone is interested, I can inquire about such a discount.
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:47 PM   #25
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I am interested but I'd like to hear what the rep has to say regarding the on board aircraft fires traced to lithium/ion batteries.
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:03 PM   #26
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I am interested but I'd like to hear what the rep has to say regarding the on board aircraft fires traced to lithium/ion batteries.
Not possible with lithium-ion batteries that use iron phosphate chemistry. The fires are all attributable to cobalt-based chemistry batteries (like what you'd find in cell phones and computers). These LFP (Lithium FerroPhosphate) or LiFePo4 batteries, because of their chemical composition, cannot suffer from a thermal runaway.
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:15 PM   #27
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More info from Smart Battery (my questions in bold):

1. My Freedom inverter/charger has a three-stage charging routine. The BULK CHARGE stage charges the battery at the full charger current until the Bulk Charge voltage limit is reached. The ACCEPTANCE CHARGE stage maintains the voltage constant while gradually ramping down the charge current. This lasts for one hour. The FLOAT CHARGE stage holds the battery voltage at a slightly lower voltage that is safe for long term battery maintenance. I realize these stages are largely irrelevant to the Smart Battery technology, but want to make sure my inverter/charger can’t hurt the Smart Battery. Also, I have an optional controller for the Freedom charger that allows me to change many of the stage settings. Is there any setting that I could change that would be beneficial to the use or longevity of the Smart Battery?

2. You mentioned the possibility of a lifetime warranty in the future. If I buy a battery soon, will it be possible to get the lifetime warranty applied to my battery retroactively or will the new warranty only apply to special batteries not yet in production? If this is not possible, do you have any idea when the new warranty will be available. This factors heavily into my buying decision.

3. When my vehicle is complete, I will be traveling the country and using it as a platform for my professional photography business. Is there any possibility of a discount or corporate sponsorship if I agree to badge the outside of the vehicle with Smart Battery advertising for a yet-to-be-determined number of years? Or maybe we can work out some kind of special discount for myself and other members of the skoolie.net community? We are not made of money (else we wouldn’t be buying used school buses) and any consideration would be greatly appreciated.


That last question was just a shot in the dark.

Quote:
Phillip,

Ok i'm not 100% sure what all the capabilities are for your freedom charger. But if you can adjust stuff just make sure your charge voltage is as high as you can get it. 14.4 to 14.6V DC is where Smart Battery will perform the best. As far as amps go you can't hurt the battery as long as you keep the amps under what the size of the battery is. For example if your battery is the 100Ah Smart Battery you can charge it at up to 100Amps but not over that. Anything less then 100Amps is totally fine. Does that make sense?

As far as the lifetime warranty goes at this point we don't have a time frame set yet its still coming. But the batteries aren't going to change design or function for the warranty. Just keep in mind that if something was to go bad in your battery, even if you buy it now, we can fix it. And that doesn't cost much at all. $100 will fix any battery.

As far as the advertising goes if you can promise me some sales with your friend group in the future i can work with the price a bit. I'm not real keen on the idea of advertising on the side of your bus without a Smart Battery Representative present.
The first recommendation suggests to me that a massive solar array would be useful for this type of battery, as the charge controller could be set to send as many amps as it could directly into the battery and this type of battery chemistry would accept it without damage. Instead of waiting all day for a smaller array to recharge the battery, a giant array could do the job in a shorter time (provided you have the sun exposure to drive such an array).

As you can see, the representative is willing to lower the price if I can bring a group of us to the LiFePO4 party. Who's with me?
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:59 PM   #28
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I will be in the future.

I hate everything about flooded lead acid battery's.

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Old 05-27-2015, 11:07 PM   #29
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I figured nat_ster would be one of the people here eager to try this technology. I'm dismayed there aren't more. I'm guessing the high initial cost is what prevents most of us from adopting these batteries into our own systems as most of us are totally willing to do things that may otherwise be "different," but as the presentation in the link provided by jazty explains, the total cost of ownership can be less once you amortize the cost over the life of the battery and compare amp-hour requirements.

(Off-topic) While I don't need to buy one of these right now, I'm a little worried about my vehicle engine. It hasn't been started since before my accident (July 2014) and the 8D battery that's in there has a dead cell. (Stupid lead-acid batteries!) I know the vehicle sat for about 18 months before the previous owner started it up for my purchase, and the fuel that's in it was treated with stabilizer about six months before its last startup. I think it will be okay to sit for a while, but a new battery would resolve this issue and allow me to begin testing the feasibility of the smaller, lighter battery for my application.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:48 PM   #30
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I'm very interesting in the LiFePo chemistry, and considering that the cheapest 8D battery on NAPA's web site tonight is $200 and my bus wants two of them, plus I'd really like to get more house battery anyway.... the cost adds into the neighborhood that LiFePo is realistic for me. But I'm not persuaded that the Smart Battery is worth the premium they ask. Tonight I did a little electric vehicle forum reading and found "CALB" cells 180 AH around $250, and a battery management solution for $13 per cell plus $50 for the head-end controller. That builds a 180 AH 12 volt pack for around $1200 allowing a little bit for shipping and misc hardware. Things I especially like about this approach are the fact that the BMS can give a warning and then automatically disconnect the charger or load to protect the cells, and it gives better insight into the conditions of the cells, and one can pick combinations of cells to get whatever AH capacity is wanted. One note about the CALB cells: the data sheet recommends maximum of 2C discharge rate, ie 360 amps from the 180 AH cell, and I don't know whether that's enough to crank my engine. But maybe cranking an engine counts as a surge, for which no limit was specified, rather than a steady discharge..?
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