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DIY Lithium Portable Power

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#1 Farzad_K

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 02:18 PM

Has anyone here considered building their own Lithium Ion battery pack? I look at the Jackey 1000 and Yeti 1000X and they both are fine products, with Yeti having more attractive features (Anderson power pole output), and they both come with inverters that I don't want built-in. They also have other bells and whistles that won't do me much good for an imaging trip.

 

I had built my own battery pack back when I started about 3~4 years ago. Each one of them had a deep cycle AGM battery in it and the box had many ports and switches built-in for various functions. Now, of course, the batteries are out of the box, the boxes are in the garage, and I am happily just using them directly connected to my Rigrunner.

 

I know there is the new Phosphate version of the Lithium Ion battery packs that is longer lasting in terms of number of charging cycles are concerned, and they are heavier than the ordinary Lithium Ion batteries.

 

There are a lot of videos on YouTube on DIY battery packs, and I am tempted to try one out. If anyone here has actually built one I'd appreciate knowing about the experience and the resources.

 

Farzad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 Supernova74

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 02:24 PM

Well not if your 100% sure you know what you doing.

As your literally playing with fire.



#3 scadvice

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 03:38 PM

Here are couple of videos with some basics to consider.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=RAO5qARz6FA

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=E4pN4DVPOcY


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#4 Jarno

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 04:48 PM



Well not if your 100% sure you know what you doing.

As your literally playing with fire.

Well that's a bit over the top, isn't it? While it's not a good idea to short-circuit a lithium battery (or any type of battery for that matter) it's not like they're made of nitroglycerin. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries are quite stable and reliable although - or maybe because - they have a lower energy density than other lithium batteries. I made my own battery pack and it really isn't that complicated. Benefits are that you can build one to your unique specifications for less money than the commercial offers, plus it gives you the bragging rights of having built it yourself. grin.gif

 

Here's what mine looks like:

20210430_214155-S.jpg

 

And the inner workings:

20210430_214219-S.jpg

Now obviously trying to bring something like this aboard an airplane is going to have unpleasant consequences, to say the least. But for trips by car it's ideal: small, lightweight but still a serious amount of power. I can run my mount, Asiair, camera and dew heaters for an entire night and still have plenty of juice left. It may look complex but it really isn't. Making one is merely a matter of being methodical and double- or triple-checking everything before connecting the battery. And even if you make a mistake you may have to replace a blade fuse or in the worst case, one of the components but there really isn't any risk of forming a black hole on Earth or something similarly disastrous.

 

Jarno


Edited by Jarno, 26 July 2021 - 04:50 PM.

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#5 Supernova74

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 05:06 PM

Well that's a bit over the top, isn't it? While it's not a good idea to short-circuit a lithium battery (or any type of battery for that matter) it's not like they're made of nitroglycerin. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries are quite stable and reliable although - or maybe because - they have a lower energy density than other lithium batteries. I made my own battery pack and it really isn't that complicated. Benefits are that you can build one to your unique specifications for less money than the commercial offers, plus it gives you the bragging rights of having built it yourself. grin.gif

 

Here's what mine looks like:

20210430_214155-S.jpg

 

And the inner workings:

20210430_214219-S.jpg

Now obviously trying to bring something like this aboard an airplane is going to have unpleasant consequences, to say the least. But for trips by car it's ideal: small, lightweight but still a serious amount of power. I can run my mount, Asiair, camera and dew heaters for an entire night and still have plenty of juice left. It may look complex but it really isn't. Making one is merely a matter of being methodical and double- or triple-checking everything before connecting the battery. And even if you make a mistake you may have to replace a blade fuse or in the worst case, one of the components but there really isn't any risk of forming a black hole on Earth or something similarly disastrous.

 

Jarno

Well maybe a little over the top however safety first that’s all I’m really emplying.in the wrong hands and for those who haven’t got a hands on approach and reasonable mechanical mind set,yes always pays to be cautious.i use tracer power personally.and yes good job there.



#6 Starsareus

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 05:49 PM

For stationary use (Observatory) i used 2 6 volt/250ah Golf cart batteries. Cost was less than $200.00 used and lasted 6 years. Charged by my solar panels. Safe, simple. KISS !


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#7 Farzad_K

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 06:25 PM

Well maybe a little over the top however safety first that’s all I’m really emplying.in the wrong hands and for those who haven’t got a hands on approach and reasonable mechanical mind set,yes always pays to be cautious.i use tracer power personally.and yes good job there.

I am not sure how I gave you the impression that I am the guy with those wrong hands. But I am charmed, and thank you for your care.



#8 Farzad_K

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 06:30 PM

Well that's a bit over the top, isn't it? While it's not a good idea to short-circuit a lithium battery (or any type of battery for that matter) it's not like they're made of nitroglycerin. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries are quite stable and reliable although - or maybe because - they have a lower energy density than other lithium batteries. I made my own battery pack and it really isn't that complicated. Benefits are that you can build one to your unique specifications for less money than the commercial offers, plus it gives you the bragging rights of having built it yourself. grin.gif

 

Here's what mine looks like:

20210430_214155-S.jpg

 

And the inner workings:

20210430_214219-S.jpg

Now obviously trying to bring something like this aboard an airplane is going to have unpleasant consequences, to say the least. But for trips by car it's ideal: small, lightweight but still a serious amount of power. I can run my mount, Asiair, camera and dew heaters for an entire night and still have plenty of juice left. It may look complex but it really isn't. Making one is merely a matter of being methodical and double- or triple-checking everything before connecting the battery. And even if you make a mistake you may have to replace a blade fuse or in the worst case, one of the components but there really isn't any risk of forming a black hole on Earth or something similarly disastrous.

 

Jarno

Hey, thanks a lot for sharing this. Why did you go the phosphor rout? I think it is heavier than regular lithium and also just what is more commonly available. Also - online there are a lot of 24 volt systems I think are meant to be powering inverters. Is yours 12 volt?

 

And yes, there  are a whole lot of advantages in building your own battery pack. For one thing you don't have to buy the inverter if you don't need one, or you choose your own inverter.


Edited by Farzad_K, 26 July 2021 - 06:31 PM.


#9 don314

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 11:29 PM

As my system runs at 12VDC, I kept my battery simple and compact.  My Bioenno Power BLF-1230LB battery (Lithium Iron Phosphate  LiFePO4 ) fits perfectly in an ammo can I got at Costco.  I have a fuse in the output as backup (battery has internal overcurrent/voltage protection).  Have a watt-hour meter to keep track of the battery usage, and a Powewerx PD8 to distribute the power.  The battery charger, meter, PD8 all fit in the ammo can next to the battery.  Runs my rig all night long. 

 

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#10 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 12:39 AM

 

As my system runs at 12VDC, I kept my battery simple and compact.  My Bioenno Power BLF-1230LB battery (Lithium Iron Phosphate  LiFePO4 ) fits perfectly in an ammo can I got at Costco.  I have a fuse in the output as backup (battery has internal overcurrent/voltage protection).  Have a watt-hour meter to keep track of the battery usage, and a Powewerx PD8 to distribute the power.  The battery charger, meter, PD8 all fit in the ammo can next to the battery.  Runs my rig all night long. 

 

Looks great, Thanks for sharing. I saw these batteries at Powerwrx, and I didn't know if anyone used them for this work. How do you charge the battery?


Edited by Farzad_K, 27 July 2021 - 01:04 AM.

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#11 Jarno

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 12:58 PM

Hey, thanks a lot for sharing this. Why did you go the phosphor rout? I think it is heavier than regular lithium and also just what is more commonly available. Also - online there are a lot of 24 volt systems I think are meant to be powering inverters. Is yours 12 volt?

The reason I went for LiFePo4 is simple: stability. It may be a bit heaver and have slightly lower energy density than Li-ion but it's also less volatile and has a longer service life. Below are the strengths of each type:

 

Highest energy density: lithium-ion
Good energy density and lifecycle: lithium iron phosphate
Chemical and thermal stability: lithium iron phosphate
No thermal runaway: lithium iron phosphate
Weight: lithium-ion
Service life: lithium iron phosphate
Cost: lithium iron phosphate

 

So unless you absolutely need to have the maximum amount of power in the smallest possible package, I'd say LiFePo4 is the way to go.

 

My powerbox is 12V. The reason you're seeing two batteries is because I have two separate systems in one case. The smaller battery is for the less power-hungry applications such as the mount, WiFi extender and flat field panel; heavier stuff like dew heaters and cooled CCD cameras goes on the bigger battery.

 

Jarno
 


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#12 BrendanF

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 01:51 PM

There are LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries that are almost or actual drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries.  In most cases, all that needs to be changed is the charger, if anything.

 

The LiFePO4 batteries are much lighter than their lead-acid counterparts, have much lower life-cycle costs in most applications, and can safely use more of the charge. The up-front costs for LiFePO4 batteries are much higher relative to most bare lead-acid batteries, however.

 

It seem like the easiest option, assuming the cost is not a barrier, would be to find suitable LiFePO4 replacements for your lead-acid ones and either put them in your existing boxes or connecting them directly.  I have a couple smaller Bioenno Power LiFePO4 batteries which are great, BattleBorn is a good place for the huge ones, and others on these forums have had good experiences with Miady LiFePO4 batteries, which look to be cheaper per amp hour.  There are also a couple more brands people are using which you could probably find with a search, though some are not 'raw' batteries.


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#13 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 01:57 PM

The reason I went for LiFePo4 is simple: stability. It may be a bit heaver and have slightly lower energy density than Li-ion but it's also less volatile and has a longer service life. Below are the strengths of each type:

 

Highest energy density: lithium-ion
Good energy density and lifecycle: lithium iron phosphate
Chemical and thermal stability: lithium iron phosphate
No thermal runaway: lithium iron phosphate
Weight: lithium-ion
Service life: lithium iron phosphate
Cost: lithium iron phosphate

 

So unless you absolutely need to have the maximum amount of power in the smallest possible package, I'd say LiFePo4 is the way to go.

 

My powerbox is 12V. The reason you're seeing two batteries is because I have two separate systems in one case. The smaller battery is for the less power-hungry applications such as the mount, WiFi extender and flat field panel; heavier stuff like dew heaters and cooled CCD cameras goes on the bigger battery.

 

Jarno
 

Great idea to have a smaller battery for lighter use. I will keep that in mind.

 

Farzad



#14 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:01 PM

There are LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries that are almost or actual drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries.  In most cases, all that needs to be changed is the charger, if anything.

 

The LiFePO4 batteries are much lighter than their lead-acid counterparts, have much lower life-cycle costs in most applications, and can safely use more of the charge. The up-front costs for LiFePO4 batteries are much higher relative to most bare lead-acid batteries, however.

 

It seem like the easiest option, assuming the cost is not a barrier, would be to find suitable LiFePO4 replacements for your lead-acid ones and either put them in your existing boxes or connecting them directly.  I have a couple smaller Bioenno Power LiFePO4 batteries which are great, BattleBorn is a good place for the huge ones, and others on these forums have had good experiences with Miady LiFePO4 batteries, which look to be cheaper per amp hour.  There are also a couple more brands people are using which you could probably find with a search, though some are not 'raw' batteries.

It seems LiFePO's are the most commonly available nowadays. I can't find local suppliers though. I will get them onine.

 

Thanks



#15 Supernova74

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:02 PM

There are LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries that are almost or actual drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries.  In most cases, all that needs to be changed is the charger, if anything.

 

The LiFePO4 batteries are much lighter than their lead-acid counterparts, have much lower life-cycle costs in most applications, and can safely use more of the charge. The up-front costs for LiFePO4 batteries are much higher relative to most bare lead-acid batteries, however.

 

It seem like the easiest option, assuming the cost is not a barrier, would be to find suitable LiFePO4 replacements for your lead-acid ones and either put them in your existing boxes or connecting them directly.  I have a couple smaller Bioenno Power LiFePO4 batteries which are great, BattleBorn is a good place for the huge ones, and others on these forums have had good experiences with Miady LiFePO4 batteries, which look to be cheaper per amp hour.  There are also a couple more brands people are using which you could probably find with a search, though some are not 'raw' batteries.

Well pictured below is my liFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) very light just over 4lbs in weight.i attach it to my Meade LX90 fork arm with Velcro straps ,one of the better equivalents on the market not cheap tho! It’s not always the capacity of the cells it’s how you build them.

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#16 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:05 PM

Do you need a charger meant for lithium batteries or can a charger meant for an AGM battery be used? I charge my current Duracell Deep Cycle 12v 35Ah AM batteries with the Duracell Ultra 7.5A smart charger.


Edited by Farzad_K, 27 July 2021 - 02:07 PM.


#17 Supernova74

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:10 PM

Do you need a charger meant for lithium batteries or can a charger meant for an AGM battery be used? I charge my current Duracell Deep Cycle 12v 35Ah AM batteries with the Duracell Ultra 7.5A smart charger.

Lol who was that post intended for?



#18 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:12 PM

Lol who was that post intended for?

Nobody in particular. I am looking online and vendors are recommending charger "meant for" lithium batteries and I am asking those who have these batteries if they agree or if they think a regular charger meant for a 12volt battery might be sufficient.



#19 Supernova74

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:24 PM

Nobody in particular. I am looking online and vendors are recommending charger "meant for" lithium batteries and I am asking those who have these batteries if they agree or if they think a regular charger meant for a 12volt battery might be sufficient.

That’s however a interesting question? the chemistry in the lithium batteries is more or less the same as lipo! mainly used for RC models etc,lol another money pit.And for those it’s always advised to balance charge them so a sufficient charge and current is eventually distributed between the cells.and yes again partly a safety precaution.however tho admittedly I am skeptical if manufacturers only state you can use there own branded charger for there product.then on the other side of the coin it’s sometimes  best to use the recommended charger for the battery pack or device your using it with.


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#20 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:28 PM

That’s however a interesting question? the chemistry in the lithium batteries is more or less the same as lipo! mainly used for RC models etc,lol another money pit.And for those it’s always advised to balance charge them so a sufficient charge and current is eventually distributed between the cells.and yes again partly a safety precaution.however tho admittedly I am skeptical if manufacturers only state you can use there own branded charger for there product.then on the other side of the coin it’s sometimes  best to use the recommended charger for the battery pack or device your using it with.

I know exactly what you mean, and that also is my worry that I cannot trust suppliers to not be aiming at selling me more stuff. Had I been them, and if there was a good reason, I would recommend specialized charger and would also say why. I have a ton of chargers around the house, and one smart one that I have been using for the battery I mentioned.



#21 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:36 PM

I just noticed the smart charger I am using for my AGM batteries also supports Lithium batteries and switches to 12.8V.

 

Life is good :)

 

Also, on the web they do say you can use regular chargers but they caution tolerance of Lithium batteries to higher voltage is limited as compare with AGM batteries, for example.



#22 Supernova74

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:39 PM

I just noticed the smart charger I am using for my AGM batteries also supports Lithium batteries and switches to 12.8V.

 

Life is good smile.gif

 

Also, on the web they do say you can use regular chargers but they caution tolerance of Lithium batteries to higher voltage is limited as compare with AGM batteries, for example.

Life is good is a moto or selling tatic for the brand LG in the uk



#23 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:41 PM

Life is good is a moto or selling tatic for the brand LG in the uk

Right - LG - I see that advertisement sometimes here in the US as well.


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#24 BrendanF

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 03:19 PM

LiFePO4 packs that have built in battery management systems (BMS) that are "12V" are typically charged at a higher voltage (14.4-14.6V) the their lead-acid counter parts, and do not have 'stages' (bulk, absorption, etc)-it is just a constant charging voltage.     Some chargers can be programmed or have modes for lithium, but I would read the manuals and/or check with the battery vendor (if possible) to make sure the charger is matching the battery well.

 

The other thing to match is the charging current--you don't want to charge LiFePO4 batteries too fast, so the amperage rating should be compatible with the amp-hour rating of the battery.   I would go with whatever rate the manufacturer recommends, but up to 0.5C seems to be common.

 

Since the chargers are simpler, they are not too expensive.  If you do spend a bunch of money on new batteries, it might be worth he peace of mind to know you have charger you know will work correctly if there are any doubts about your existing charger.   I only have some small LiFePO4 batteries, and my small lead-acid charger was not switchable, so I just got the small, cheap charger to go with the batteries.


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#25 Farzad_K

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 04:08 PM

LiFePO4 packs that have built in battery management systems (BMS) that are "12V" are typically charged at a higher voltage (14.4-14.6V) the their lead-acid counter parts, and do not have 'stages' (bulk, absorption, etc)-it is just a constant charging voltage.     Some chargers can be programmed or have modes for lithium, but I would read the manuals and/or check with the battery vendor (if possible) to make sure the charger is matching the battery well.

 

The other thing to match is the charging current--you don't want to charge LiFePO4 batteries too fast, so the amperage rating should be compatible with the amp-hour rating of the battery.   I would go with whatever rate the manufacturer recommends, but up to 0.5C seems to be common.

 

Since the chargers are simpler, they are not too expensive.  If you do spend a bunch of money on new batteries, it might be worth he peace of mind to know you have charger you know will work correctly if there are any doubts about your existing charger.   I only have some small LiFePO4 batteries, and my small lead-acid charger was not switchable, so I just got the small, cheap charger to go with the batteries.

 

You are absolutely right, the best approach is not to go cheap on recharging. I will definitely add that to my list of items.

 

Thanks.




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