Frequently Asked Questions 🤔
- General Battery
- Charging and Discharging
- Lead-acid or Lithium LFP?
- Returns and deliveries
- Pay in 3x
I want to switch to lithium-iron-phosphate batteries. What do I need to know?
As with any battery replacement, you need to consider your capacity, power and size requirements, and make sure you have the right charger.
Remember, when you switch from a lead-acid battery to a LiFePO4 battery, you can reduce the size of your battery (in some cases by up to 50%) and still get the same amount of use. Most of the existing charging sources are compatible with our lithium-iron-phosphate batteries.
Please contact FRANCEBATTERY technical support if you need help with your upgrade and they will be happy to make sure you choose the right battery.
What is a BMS? What does it do and where is it located?
BMS stands for Battery Management System. The BMS protects the cells from damage, most often due to over- or undervoltage, overcurrent, high temperature or external short circuit.
The BMS shuts down the battery to protect the cells from dangerous operating conditions.
All batteries sold on FRANCEBATTERY have a built-in BMS to manage and protect them against this type of problems.
What size of terminals for my batteries?
LiFePO4 batteries sold on FRANCEBATTERY are equipped with M6, M8 or M10 terminals.
These types of terminals are insertion terminals, also called internal threads, and are supplied with bolts.
The dimensions of the terminals and bolts are metric and the numerical code is the dimension in mm. For example, the M8 terminal has a diameter of 8 mm. Longer bolts, if needed, can be found at most hardware stores.
Can you set up the accumulators in any position?
Yes, because there is no fluid inside LiFePO4 batteries.
This gives you the ability to install the battery where it is best suited for your application.
What is the difference between parallel and series connections?
Parallel connections consist of connecting two or more batteries together to increase the capacity of the battery pack. In this case the positive terminals are connected together and the negative terminals are connected together of all the batteries until you reach the desired capacity.
Series connections consist of connecting 2 or more batteries together to increase the voltage of the battery system. The positive of one battery is connected to the negative of another until the desired voltage is reached. For example, if you connect two 12V batteries in series, the battery pack will be 24V.
Will a 12V 100Ah lithium-iron-phosphate battery have a longer operating time than a 12V 100Ah lead-acid battery under the same conditions?
Yes, Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries offer a higher capacity than an equivalent lead acid product.
So you can expect :
- twice the available energy
- Up to 8 times longer run time
How do I prepare my lithium battery for off-season storage?
Simply charge your battery to 14.4 volts, disconnect it from your charger and equipment, and store it at a temperature between 10°C and 30°C. If you only store your battery for 3-6 months, you can safely store it at a 50% charge level. Unlike lead-acid batteries, a partial state of charge does not damage lithium batteries.
How do LiFePO4 batteries perform in cold weather?
As with all batteries, cold temperatures result in reduced performance. LiFePO4 batteries have a significantly higher capacity and cold retention voltage than lead acid batteries. Important tips to keep in mind: When charging lithium iron phosphate batteries at temperatures below 0°C, the charging current should be reduced to 0.1C and at temperatures below -10°C, it should be reduced to 0.05C. If you do not reduce the current below the freezing temperature, your battery may suffer irreversible damage.
How do LiFePO4 batteries perform in hot weather?
LiFePO4 batteries will provide their full capacity and performance until they reach the battery management protection level (BMS). The maximum temperature of the BMS is between 60 and 80°C. Consult your model's data sheet for the exact upper temperature limit. LiFePO4 batteries produce less heat than other lithium chemicals, but if they reach a higher limit, our BMS will protect the battery by turning it off.
What is the expected lifetime of a LiFePO4 battery?
Battery life is measured in life cycles and FRANCEBATTERY's LiFePO4 is typically rated at 3500 cycles at 100% depth of discharge (DOD).
Actual life expectancy depends on several variables depending on your specific application. If used for the same application, a LiFePO4 battery can last up to 10X longer than a lead acid battery.
How are LiFePO4 batteries safer than other lithium batteries?
Phosphate-based batteries offer a superior chemical and mechanical structure that does not overheat to dangerous levels.
They therefore offer increased safety compared to lithium-ion batteries made with other cathode materials. This is because the charged and uncharged states of LiFePO4 are physically similar and very robust, allowing the ions to remain stable during the oxygen flux that occurs along with charging cycles or possible malfunctions.
Overall, the phosphate-iron oxide bond is stronger than the oxide-cobalt bond, so when the battery is overcharged or subjected to physical damage, the phosphate-oxide bond remains structurally stable; whereas in other lithium chemicals, the bonds begin to break and release excessive heat, eventually causing thermal runaway. Lithium phosphate batteries are non-combustible, which is an important feature if mishandled during charging or discharging. They can also withstand harsh conditions, from freezing cold to searing heat to rough terrain.
When subjected to dangerous events, such as a collision or short circuit, they won't explode or catch fire, greatly reducing the risk of damage. If you choose a lithium battery and plan to use it in hazardous or unstable environments, LiFePO4 is probably your best choice.
It's also worth mentioning that LiFePO4 batteries are non-toxic, non-contaminating and contain no rare earth metals, making them an environmentally friendly choice.
Are my OlenBox OLENERGIES batteries waterproof?
OLENBOX lithium batteries are enclosed in an IP66 enclosure, which means that water splashed from any direction will not be harmful. They will be damaged if submerged in water. We recommend that you do your best to keep your batteries dry?
Load and unload
Can I use my existing lead acid battery charger (standard, AGM or gel) to charge FRANCEBATTERY lithium iron phosphate batteries?
Most likely, yes. In general, lithium batteries are easy to charge. Most chargers today have a lithium charge profile, which we recommend using.
In most cases, AGM or gel charging profiles will work with our batteries. We do not recommend using a flooded charge profile with our batteries.
These chargers may reach the surge protection limit and disconnect.
This will not damage the battery, but will likely cause the charger to fail. Before using a charger with FRANCEBATTERY batteries, it is best to verify that the charging profile is within our specifications, which you can find in our charging instructions.
Can I use my alternator to charge my lithium iron phosphate batteries?
LFP batteries can be charged with most alternators. Depending on the quality of the alternator, it should work with LiFePO4 batteries.
Low quality and poorly voltage regulated alternators can cause the BMS to disconnect the LiFePO4 batteries. If the BMS disconnects the batteries, the alternator could be damaged. To protect your LiFePO4 battery and the alternator, make sure to use a high quality compatible alternator or install a voltage regulator.
Please contact FRANCEBATTERY technical support if you need help.
How long does it take to charge a lithium battery?
Lithium and iron phosphate batteries can be recharged in as little as one hour. We recommend using a rate that will recharge your batteries in 2 to 5 hours.
Please refer to your model's data sheet for recommended charging rates. All our technical data sheets are available on our website in the "Additional Information" section.
How do I determine the state of charge (SOC) of my lithium iron phosphate battery?
The best way to determine the SOC of your battery is to use a battery gauge - a high-precision instrument that captures instantaneous, integrated data in real time.
Victron SoC level meters are available for purchase on our product page.
How strictly do I have to follow the charging limits?
The short answer is "not really."
Our specifications call for batteries to be charged to 14 to 14.6 volts for a full charge and "float" to 13.8 volts.
If you charge the battery below this range, you will have less than 100% charge in the battery - it will be at a partial state of charge. This simply means that you will have to recharge it sooner than expected. But you're not hurting the battery in any way by going below the recommended range - you're just reducing the capacity you'll have with that charge.
If you go over the 14.6 volt limit, our battery monitoring system - or BMS - will detect the over-voltage and disconnect from the battery. That's it! The only thing that will happen is that the BMS will do what it was designed to do and protect your battery.
Are lithium batteries poorly suited for partial state of charge (PSOC)?
No! Drawing power from a lithium battery does not produce any harmful or undesirable by-products. Charging and recharging simply moves lithium ions from one side of a membrane to the other.
Lithium batteries also reach their peak performance when they spend their life in a partial state of charge. The ideal maximum charge for a lithium-ion battery is about 80-90%.
This is much more practical in terms of the time and amperage needed to recharge your battery, and it gives you a margin of error for when things don't go as planned.
How much can a lithium iron phosphate battery be discharged?
LiFePO4 batteries can be discharged up to 100% without risk of damage. Be sure to charge your battery immediately after discharge. We recommend limiting the discharge to 80-90% of the depth of discharge (DOD) to prevent the BMS from disconnecting the battery.
How does the discharge rate affect the capacity?
The discharge rate of LiFePO4 batteries has hardly any effect on the delivered capacity. This is not the case with lead acid batteries, which have a significantly reduced capacity, up to 50%, when the discharge rate increases.
What is the maximum current I can use to charge my LFP lithium batteries?
FRANCEBATTERY's lithium batteries can be charged at a maximum current of 1C (C = battery capacity).
Ex. 50Ah OlenBox OLENERGIES battery can be charged with a maximum current of 50A. Refer to your battery's technical data sheet for the charging current specifications.
Do I have to recharge my batteries every time I use them?
Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries will not be damaged if left partially discharged for long periods.
However, we recommend that you recharge them after each use to ensure that you have the longest possible runtime each time you use your energy system.
What type of solar charge controller do I need to charge my batteries with my solar panels?
There are two types of charge controllers. Both work with FRANCEBATTERY batteries.
- Pulse width modulation (PWM)
- Maximum power point tracking (MPPT).
French LiFePo4/Gr batteries
Only 30 to 50% of the energy used is available !
A lead-acid battery discharges at only 30-50% of its overall capacity. Beyond that, there is a sulphation phenomenon
Replaces 2 lead acid batteries advantageously
Our batteries can be discharged almost completely without degrading; 100% useful capacity !
Very long service life: 3000-5000 cycles
Our systems are designed for a minimum of 3,000 cycles or many years of use !
Lead is very heavy
The mass energy density of lead is the lowest of all existing battery technologies
Very light batteries
An Olenergies battery is about 60% lighter than a lead-acid battery for the same capacity !
Mandatory slow charging
Charging must be done slowly to avoid heating the internal chemical elements
No partial load
Lead acid battery must be charged regularly at 100% to avoid shortening its life due to sulphation
Partial charging and discharging; no problem
The service life improves even slightly with partial charging instead of full charging.
High losses if the discharge is fast
Peukert’s Law: the more the lead battery is used, the less energy it will provide
No discharge losses
One of the great advantages of Olenergies batteries is that Peukert’s losses are almost non-existent.