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Old 01-30-2017, 12:06 PM   #1
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Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries

Anyone know anything about Battle Born Batteries, makers of LiFePO4 batteries for about 2.5 years and from Reno Nevada? The make 100 AH battery with internal BMS that has high/low temp shutoffs and high/low voltage shutoffs and cell balancing. Advertised price is $899 including ground shipping. Seems like one of the more economical alternatives, so I'm curious if anyone knows anything about them or their product? --Frank
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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Looks promising. Better price than:

http://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/...on-battery.php

or

https://starkpower.com/product/stark...12-volt-100ah/
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:15 PM   #3
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I sent them some questions about their built in BMS, they answered within a couple of minutes.

In summary they said that their BMS protects against short circuit, high current, high temperatures, low voltage, low temperatures (freezing) and overcharging.

I was looking at installing Victron batteries but this would simplify installation since I'd just replace the Lifelines already installed.

Versus the Victron batteries you would lose some monitoring ability like knowing the status of an individual battery.

The batteries are designed and assembled in the USA, sounds like that means the cells are made in China.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention! I to have been looking at lithium batteries off and on for several months but never came across these. With the included BMS, the price compares well with Chinese GBS cell kits being cheaper up till about 300 AH and slightly more expensive thereafter. (See Starlight solar kits for comparison). The problem I have with "drop in" lithium batteries is volume inefficiency. In the same footprint of 300 AH you could place about 500 AH GBS cells. This is a real consideration in the tight floor plan of an airstream. The Battle Born batteries of course could be placed in the battery box (200AH) and at a very good price.
I like the idea of keeping batteries inside so the working temp can be more favorable. Once you adopt this strategy, the options for placement and the available space become big issues. Here having a lower volume/AH ratio is a factor that still pushes me toward a GBS system.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:54 AM   #5
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I have to say 200AH in the battery box coupled with drop in replacement is very attractive.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:07 PM   #6
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So yes the footprint of multiple batteries is less efficient. I also know some have been hesitant to trust "drop in replacements". But the greater simplicity of the wiring, cost, and availability are attractive features, so I think I may give them a try. In regards to earlier comments about them fitting in an existing battery box, just remember you probably want Lithium batteries inside your trailer because of the climate control.-- Frank
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:24 PM   #7
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In regards to earlier comments about them fitting in an existing battery box, just remember you probably want Lithium batteries inside your trailer because of the climate control.-- Frank
So will you be putting them inside? I think the only issue with having them outside is that you can't charge below freezing. Are there other issues?

EDIT - I've just read some suggestions that operation above 75 degrees can cut the useful life around 25%.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:48 PM   #8
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That's right, you don't want to charge them when they are below 32 F and they also loose performance when they get too warm. Some have speculated temperature extremes can reduce their life expectancy--but there are people more knowledgeable than I on this that should comment. I'm putting them inside under my front queen bed, which is commonly done by people with FB models that are increasing their battery capacity. --Frank
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:00 PM   #9
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For 3 of these, about $700 less expensive when compared to comparable Relion 300AH...

http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/prod...hium-batteries
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:56 PM   #10
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Interesting. These are also smaller and lighter than the Victron systems. I wonder why?

As an example. For 320 amp hour Victron, you need two 160. Each are 72 pounds with dimensions of 12.6x13.3x9.17 (h x w x d).
Or 144 pounds, side by side take up 18.5 inches 12.6 high, 13.3 deep.

For the battle born. 87 pounds 21 inches side b side, 9 inches high and 12.25 deep.

Seems strange. That they can fit all the BMS etc in battle born and be smaller and lighter? Why is that?
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:24 PM   #11
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I don't know... seems to good to be true. You get what you pay for generally speaking. Buyer beware.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
Interesting. These are also smaller and lighter than the Victron systems. I wonder why?

As an example. For 320 amp hour Victron, you need two 160. Each are 72 pounds with dimensions of 12.6x13.3x9.17 (h x w x d).
Or 144 pounds, side by side take up 18.5 inches 12.6 high, 13.3 deep.

For the battle born. 87 pounds 21 inches side b side, 9 inches high and 12.25 deep.

Seems strange. That they can fit all the BMS etc in battle born and be smaller and lighter? Why is that?
Can't answer your question, but all of these self contained batteries are seemingly in the 90 lb range for 3 x 100 Ah.

Relion - https://carolina-energy-distributors...ducts/12v100ah

Stark - https://starkpower.com/product/stark...12-volt-100ah/

Smart - http://www.lithiumion-batteries.com/...on-battery.php
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutboy View Post
Interesting. These are also smaller and lighter than the Victron systems. I wonder why?

As an example. For 320 amp hour Victron, you need two 160. Each are 72 pounds with dimensions of 12.6x13.3x9.17 (h x w x d).
Or 144 pounds, side by side take up 18.5 inches 12.6 high, 13.3 deep.

For the battle born. 87 pounds 21 inches side b side, 9 inches high and 12.25 deep.

Seems strange. That they can fit all the BMS etc in battle born and be smaller and lighter? Why is that?
So some further stats for the same comparison troutboy did in his post above:

Battle Born is 6% less effective capacity, but 40% less weight, and 24% less volume, and includes the BMS internally. And without even taking the BMS cost savings into account, the Battle Born net effective lifetime cost per aH/cycle is 20% lower than the Victron (assuming both provide 2500 cycles with no less than 80% rated capacity).

I would expect that the Victron brand name, coupled with the relative newness of LiFePO4, would be driving some higher margins and prices, so there is no doubt room to compete at a lower price. That said, it still seems a little too good to be true. It would be good to know how long the product has been in the market, real world experience, etc.
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Old 02-01-2017, 11:24 PM   #14
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:15 AM   #15
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So I'm the original poster on this but I am also being cautious in my consideration of them. I am also now looking at Lithionics Batteries out of Clearwater FL. They build a range of different sized batteries and I'm looking at their 330 and 400 AH models that include a BMS. One advantages of these is you don't have to string together a number of batteries in parallel. They are priced more than Battle Born and Elite Power Solutions, but a little less than Victron.--Frank
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Old 02-03-2017, 07:52 AM   #16
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It is interesting to see that there is a growing supply of "drop-in" Lithium batteries, replacements for standard battery sizes. Although lithium batteries are no longer bleeding edge technology, I would be very concerned about a supplier that does not have an extensive base of user experience. There is nothing on the Battle Born website that would allow me to make a decision, the Lithionics site is only slightly better, very little in the way of user documents, spec sheets, prices. Their description of the firmware based BMS makes me wonder who provides technical support of the BMS and whether you can trust the initial settings.
Victron may cost more but they are all over the world, in all kinds of applications. Most importantly, for us, they are supported by AM Solar, a company the RV community has come to trust.
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Old 02-03-2017, 08:12 AM   #17
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The current output of the lithium batteries may exceed the amperage rating of the relatively thin wiring Airstream uses from the battery compartment.

We put a 300 amp-hour AM Solar lithium iron phosphate battery just in front of the street side wheel well of our 2015 23D. It fit below the slide out of the sofa and behind the factory wall of the storage area. It was 8 pounds lighter at 84 pounds than the two stock Interstate batteries that were removed.

We put a 600 amp-hour AM Solar lithium iron phosphate battery ($4,699 in 2015) under the front sofa of the Classic and it weighs 168 pounds. It replaced four Lifeline model 6ct 300 amp-hour at 6Vdc GSM batteries that weighed 93 pounds each that were mounted on the hitch just in front of the skin in a custom stainless steel enclosure. Tongue weight dropped from 1,375 pounds to 1,175 pounds after this conversion. The Lifeline batteries could support only 300 amp-hours of output (they were wired parallel and serial to give 12Vdc and 600 amp-hour capacity) where the lithium battery can provide between 510 and 540 amp-hours.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:12 AM   #18
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The current output of the lithium batteries may exceed the amperage rating of the relatively thin wiring Airstream uses from the battery compartment.
Can you expand on this? Why would storage capacity alter the wire sizes needed?

I suppose if you are now running more things at once, or trying to run an air conditioner, that would change things. But as I see it if you keep your demands stock you should be fine.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:35 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ View Post
Can you expand on this? Why would storage capacity alter the wire sizes needed?

I suppose if you are now running more things at once, or trying to run an air conditioner, that would change things. But as I see it if you keep your demands stock you should be fine.
On the surface, switz' comment above makes no sense. He probably meant something else and simply did not express himself clearly.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:43 AM   #20
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As much as I like the idea of a drop in replacement, there has to be more to it. Reading about other lithium projects, they appear to be a lot work and cost. Can one still use the stock Airstream converter, or must it be replaced/abandoned? What about existing solar? Do those controllers need to be replaced? What's that going to cost? Additionally, the work of re-routing wires and re-constructing interior spaces to hold these batteries is not trivial.

Lithium benefits are a lighter tongue weight and more electricity storage. While both are nice, neither are necessary for me. When a true drop-in to the battery box lithium makes is debut I'll probably jump on board, until them I plan to watch from the sidelines.
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