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Thread: Lithium Iron Replacement Battery

  1. #1

    Lithium Iron Replacement Battery

    This is a 'heads-up' FYI for those of you interested in another replacement battery option for the Atom, one that will at the same time, allow you to remove some weight from your car as well.

    As a motorcycle enthusiast, I subscribe to a couple of cycle magazines, one of which did a recent brief article on replacing a bike's OEM lead-acid battery with a Shorai brand lithium-iron battery. After researching the available batteries from Shorai, I found one that appears to be an excellent replacement. Here's some comparative specs:

    Ariel Atom 3 Batteries
    TERMINALS
    FITMENT BRAND MODEL Ah CCA WT L W H L R REF $

    OEM Braille B20145 20 250 14.5 lbs 7.13" 3.0" 6.54" - + $156.42

    REPL Odyssey PC680 16 220 15.4 lbs 7.15" 3.0" 6.65" - + $117.28

    REPL Shorai LFX18L1-BS12 18 270 2.12 lbs 5.83" 2.6" 4.13" - + $180.95

    Yes, it's smaller, 12 lbs lighter, has more cold cranking amps, and a little more expensive.

    I've attached some pictures of the installation in my Atom 3. I fabricated a simple bracket to utilize the original mounts. Note, I had previously installed a battery disconnect switch to resolve a problem I encountered with storing the car over the winter and the battery maintainer not working well.

    Li-ion battery4_1_1.JPGLi-ion battery1_1_1.JPGLi-ion battery2_1_1.JPGLi-ion battery3_1_1.jpg
    bolus likes this.

  2. #2
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    Lithium ion batteries are VERY fussy about recharging,usually requiring a special charging setup. Personally,I do NOT trust them,as I have seen too many on fire....

    A properly maintained AGM (absorbed glass mat) Braille battery is good for a strong 6 years. Never seen one burn..easy to charge and store. Call me old fashion..but I'll stick with the tried and proven for now.
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; January 19, 2013 at 04:34 PM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  3. #3
    Electron
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    I would have to assume that if these batteries have been tested for motorcycles then they can provide sufficient service safely. Has there been any extensive testing done on these reported anywhere?

  4. #4
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    Ass-sume all you like...I have seen what Lithium-ion batteries are capable of,first hand. Never mind what you hear about them on the "news".... No thanks.

    Didn't they just ground those big Boeing 787 jets because they suspect the Lithium ion batteries caught on fire?

    12135135-large.jpg

    "Photos provided by the Japan Transport Safety Board of the lithium ion battery that was located beneath the 787's cockpit show a blackened mass of wires and other components within a distorted blue casing.Japan transport ministry investigator Hideyo Kosugi said the similarity of the burned insides of the battery from the ANA flight to the battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that caught fire Jan. 7 while the jet was parked at Boston's Logan International Airport suggested a common cause."

    Gee..I wonder if they did any testing first...
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; January 19, 2013 at 06:43 PM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  5. #5

    More...

    There are no problems reported in the motorcycle field with these batteries that I could find. MadMaxAtom does raise a concern about charging. Shorai's lithium iron (no, that's not misspelled) batteries are not compatible with battery chargers/tenders that have a "desuphation mode" that can't be turned off. Shorai chargers and the "Battery Tender" brands are both compatible with their lithium iron batteries. One of the strength's of the lithium ion battery is it keeps a charge much longer than a conventional lead acid battery.

    This link is Shorai's FAQ webpage which has a wealth of information that will answer a number of concerns concerning these batteries.

    Shorai FAQ

    As a point of interest, my original Braille battery lasted 1-1/2 yrs despite being connected to a battery tender (without it, it would discharge due to the constant draw of the enabler circuit after several weeks). I purchased an Odyssey PC680 replacement along with a much more sophisticated maintainer, but the battery supplier didn't recommend leaving it connected full-time. That's the reason I installed a battery cut-off switch. And, I could never get past how much this battery weighed.

    I'm a 'weight weenie' with cars, otherwise I probably wouldn't own an Atom. I've owned a couple high-powered 'trucks', and after owning a Lotus, I just can't embrace heavy performance cars. Once you've seen one of these batteries firsthand, a lead acid battery is from the 'stone age'.

  6. #6
    Proton FourFather's Avatar
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    Be very careful with with the lithium-ion batteries.

    By that I mean don't violate or change the factory protocol for charging.

    I had an explosion and hellish fire with a small li-ion battery in one of my radio-controlled airplanes. It was on a li-ion charger, for the correct voltage and size, but a different brand of charger than the battery brand, and I thought it would work. Nope. An explosion!- that splattered liquid lithium metal, on fire, over about 1,000 cubic feet of shop space damaging several airplanes in the vicinity. There were flames from where the airplane (with the battery in it) was sitting on a workbench, almost to the ceiling. I grabbed the airplane holder/workstation with the burning airplane on it and quickly set it down in a clear area of the floor. The burning/melting lithium went through four inches of styrofoam, through the 1/4 inch plywood box that housed the styrofoam, and then popped several chunks out of the concrete floor. There was a hole in the airplane about a foot in diameter, centered on where the battery had been. I just thank God that I was close enough to see it happen, but NOT close enough to get the splattering lithium in my eyes, so I could stop the ceiling from catching fire. And the workshop was part of the house we had then- all under the same roof. If we had been asleep at the time--not good--

    This was about four years ago, and hopefully they have those problems worked out now, but last week there were some huge airplanes grounded for battery problems that I think I heard were lithium, but not sure about that.

    Now, having said all that, that amount of weight reduction, for that price, is essentially irresistible to me, and I'll probably go that route myself, and I thank you for bringing the information to the forum.

    But be careful !

    Eddie
    Last edited by FourFather; January 21, 2013 at 07:27 AM. Reason: korekt spelin
    Eddie FourFather Hill
    Top Fuel Champion on land and water
    www.eddiehillsfuncycles.com since 1966
    Honda, Kawasaki, Polaris, Yamaha

  7. #7
    Lepton McFred's Avatar
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    For what it's worth the lithium IRON phosphate batteries (LiFePO4), not to be confused with Li-Ion, are supposed to be much safer than Lithium Ion and Lithium polymer batteries. The LiFePO4s have a little less energy density than other Lithiums but can handle much higher charge/discharge rates than the previous Li batteries. They are less likely to catch fire when punctured/overheated.

    Also as a side note the LiFePO4s are like 3.3v per cell so when put in series for "automotive" purposes they're 13.2v instead of your typical 12v lead/acid. They hold ~13v until they're nearly dead which why a standard lead/acid trickle charger/tender won't work well. It will bring it up to 13v and stop instead of charging it to ~14v where it actually tops the Li battery up. Special LiFePO4 battery tenders are necessary. Shorai sells the tender as well as the batteries.

    I don't see many Fiskers or Chevy Volts running around on fire yet using LiFePO4s so they're not all bad. I've been running LiFePO4s in my motorcycle and my commuter for about a year without any issue so far: http://arielatomchat.com/forums/thread425.html#post4687
    Last edited by McFred; January 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM.

  8. #8
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    "The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, also called LFP battery (with "LFP" standing for "lithium ferrophosphate"), is a type of rechargeable battery, specifically a lithium-ion battery, which uses LiFePO4 as a cathode material. LiFePO4 batteries have somewhat lower energy density than the more common LiCoO2 design found in consumer electronics, but offers longer lifetimes, better power density (the rate that energy can be drawn from them) and are "inherently" safer. LiFePO4 is finding a number of roles in vehicle use and backup power.
    Most lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) used in consumer electronics products use lithium cobalt oxide cathodes (LiCoO2). Other varieties of lithium-ion batteries include lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) and lithium nickel oxide (LiNiO2). The batteries are named after the material used for their cathodes; the anodes are generally made of carbon and a variety of electrolytes are used."

    There are various Lithium formulas around,but in the end,it can be very unstable stuff when charged and discharged.All of the battery fires have been with Lithium ion technology,INCLUDING both the Fisker and Volts.The Volts caught on fire after being crash tested by the NHTSA,and they had to be "revised"..and over a dozen new electric cars caught on fire during Hurricane Sandy:
    "Fisker is dealing with fire concerns once again after 16 Karma sedans caught fire and burned to the ground after being submerged by floods caused by Hurricane Sandy. The vehicles were located in Port Newark, New Jersey.So far the exact cause of the fires remains a mystery, but it likely has to do with the Karam's lithium-iron battery pack and electrical system coming into contact with the ocean's corrosive salt water. No injuries were caused by the blaze and Fisker says it is currently investigating the matter."

    So,there is an issue with the technology.Just how bad it is remains to be seen.
    I have had at least 30 AGM batteries in various vehicles over the years,and have never been dissatisfied with their performance. All batteries require proper care and maintenance or they will die an early death. Lithium batteries are VERY sensitive to recharging...we shall see how they last.So,far I am not impressed with the material.

    Best of luck with Lithium. 12lbs less weight is not worth having that crap on board, in my opinion. Once I stop hearing/seeing them catching on fire, I may reconsider.. rant off...
    Last edited by MadMaxAtom; January 20, 2013 at 04:44 AM.
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  9. #9
    Lepton McFred's Avatar
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    And how many cars without a lithium battery have accidentally caught fire? None, ever. Am I right?

  10. #10
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    I do believe those 16 Karmas were the only ones to burn to the ground that day. Must be coincidence..
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

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