Author Topic: Lithium batteries in the cold weather  (Read 1154 times)

qrper

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Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« on: October 24, 2020, 11:46:46 AM »
Guys,

I've always been a flooded lead acid battery fan. Recently, I posted some photos of a large 2 V flooded lead acid batteries on another forum and boy if that didn't get the lithium fan boys rattled.

I guess if you don't drink their flavor of Kool-aid, you're boot scum. Any, as they were telling me the benefits of Lithium batteries, I knew they had one or two flaws the lead acid don't suffer. One of which is charging when they are cold. And I mean three dog night cold!
Apparently, when the temps fall before 35ish, the cells will be damaged if you try and charge 'em.

My lead acid batteries are quite happy (and charging) sitting in my garage during the winter months when it easily can hit high teens.

So, how does an off gird lithium battery storage system circumvent that from happening? Heating the building they are in seems rather silly—using more energy than the system can produce?

The attached photos shows some of the 2V floaters. These and three more banks, are wired in series parallel to provide 48 V dc to two Outback Radian inverters.

I'm mike, wb8vge
System one: 7kWp w/ Trina 250 W panels @90 Vdc. Classic 150 to 16-6 V U.S batteries. Trace 5548 sine wave inverter.
System two: 6kWp grid tie with solaredge inverter.
System three: Midnite Brat, two 120 W Astropower modules, 100 Ah battery. Runs the LED streetlight in the back yard.

ClassicCrazy

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2020, 12:03:25 PM »
Yes I bought sealed lead crystal last time  ( almost same as gel ) because they will perform pretty good in my unheated shed  up here in the cold north.
They did start to get a bit screwy the -40 F weather we had a few  years back but got me through it.  They wouldn't charge right when they were that cold.
But all the other -10 F or -20 F temps no problems.
I know I loose capacity at those cold temps though. Nice thing is the Midnite gives you that temp compensation factor in the calculated SOC value .

My brother used to have some old telecom phone company batteries sort of like yours - real old ones . He swore by them because they would run big loads via his inverter. But they were so old they had huge self discharge rate and were pretty much just like capacitors at that point. Took me a long time to convince him he was putting his power into a bucket with lots of holes in it and it leaked out fast.

Larry
« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 12:06:14 PM by ClassicCrazy »
system one
Classic 150 , 5s4p  Kyocera 135watt , 12s Soneil 2v 540amp lead crystal for 24v pack , Outback 3524 inverter
system two
Classic 150 ,5s 135 watt Kyocero , 16s Calb 100AH LiFePO4 , Outback VFX 3648 inverter
system three
Midnite KID MPPT 24 DC in to  12 volt AGM batterie

Steve_S

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 08:37:06 AM »
I hear you on the Lead Acid haters...  I'm in North Eastern Ontario Canada not far from Algonquin Park, I know about Cold Hahaha...  The old FLA (Rolls Surettes in my case) handles pretty much anything thrown at them and even into the cold.  Weak or discharged FLA can freeze but they have to be pretty much dead with little no volts to do so. 

Some of the LiTHIUM Battery boosters are a bit much..   it's worse than the Ford VS Chevy / Apple versus IBM type of shmack...  If You run into that press IGNORE and move on.

I myself am now in transition from FLA (856AH) to LFP (910AH) (LifePo4).  The FLA Bank (Bank 1) will remain in service as my secondary and Bank Two consists of four LFP Packs.  Now I have a separate Powerhouse which is also my Pumphouse that contains the 50 Gallon Pressure Tank, as a result, I have to heat it and so keep it at 50F.  The Concrete slab is insulated and has Pex embedded for Radiant  Radiant Heating (planned to use passive solar, drain back system), the building itself is hyperinsulated (R24 Walls with thermal break SIP style).  At present it is heated using a recovered Suburban NTS-20 RV Furnace from a new / wrecked RV, it has electronic ignition and only uses 40 Lbs of LPG per winter and runs on 12V.  The powerhouse is only 90 square feet.

Lithium Chemistries vary a lot and some catch fire, others don't, some work in the cold (up to -45) others do not tolerate anything below 32.  The most common & appropriate chemistry for Home ESS (Energy Storage Systems) is LiFePo4 because it is the safest of the chemistries (no explosions or fires) and no Cobalt either.  Even some LFP is good to -45 !  (Premium cells from Winston for example are Yyttrium Doped for cold handling)

A very common method to keep ESS Battery packs warm is to use a thermostatically controlled silicone warming pad that is connected to the battery itself.  Of course, the battery packs also need to be within an insulated box to keep the warmth.  The nice thing about an LFP ESS, is that can be inside your building, garage, basement so the whole keeping them warm thing kind of depends on the application & environment intended to be used in.

BTW, over at https://diysolarforum.com/index.php we are pretty friendly to anyone (albeit there are always a few "Preachers") but unlike other sites, it's pretty calm cool & collected.
Classic-200, Samlex EVO-4024 Inverter/Charger, 1190AH/30kWh of LiFePO4 & 856Ah of Rolls Surette LEAD.

qrper

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2020, 10:57:52 AM »
I hear you on the Lead Acid haters...  I'm in North Eastern Ontario Canada not far from Algonquin Park, I know about Cold Hahaha...  The old FLA (Rolls Surettes in my case) handles pretty much anything thrown at them and even into the cold.  Weak or discharged FLA can freeze but they have to be pretty much dead with little no volts to do so. 

Some of the LiTHIUM Battery boosters are a bit much..   it's worse than the Ford VS Chevy / Apple versus IBM type of shmack...  If You run into that press IGNORE and move on.

I myself am now in transition from FLA (856AH) to LFP (910AH) (LifePo4).  The FLA Bank (Bank 1) will remain in service as my secondary and Bank Two consists of four LFP Packs.  Now I have a separate Powerhouse which is also my Pumphouse that contains the 50 Gallon Pressure Tank, as a result, I have to heat it and so keep it at 50F.  The Concrete slab is insulated and has Pex embedded for Radiant  Radiant Heating (planned to use passive solar, drain back system), the building itself is hyperinsulated (R24 Walls with thermal break SIP style).  At present it is heated using a recovered Suburban NTS-20 RV Furnace from a new / wrecked RV, it has electronic ignition and only uses 40 Lbs of LPG per winter and runs on 12V.  The powerhouse is only 90 square feet.

Lithium Chemistries vary a lot and some catch fire, others don't, some work in the cold (up to -45) others do not tolerate anything below 32.  The most common & appropriate chemistry for Home ESS (Energy Storage Systems) is LiFePo4 because it is the safest of the chemistries (no explosions or fires) and no Cobalt either.  Even some LFP is good to -45 !  (Premium cells from Winston for example are Yyttrium Doped for cold handling)

A very common method to keep ESS Battery packs warm is to use a thermostatically controlled silicone warming pad that is connected to the battery itself.  Of course, the battery packs also need to be within an insulated box to keep the warmth.  The nice thing about an LFP ESS, is that can be inside your building, garage, basement so the whole keeping them warm thing kind of depends on the application & environment intended to be used in.

BTW, over at https://diysolarforum.com/index.php we are pretty friendly to anyone (albeit there are always a few "Preachers") but unlike other sites, it's pretty calm cool & collected.

Interesting....

I guess it's hard to teach an old solar dog (45 years) old tricks!

I still have an issue with heating the batteries. It seems non productive to use battery power in the winter, when needs are at max and winter sun at min, to keep 'em warm. Or even in your case, to use LPG and an external heater.
Although like you said, they can be mounted in the home without too much worry of the cells exploding and or catching fire. There is no way I'd use any other Lithium chemistry other than LFP. I cringe with I see people's photos of 3000, 16850 cells pulled from dead drill packs mounted on the wall in the garage.

I joined the DYISOLARFORUM sometime last year. Seems like a nice group but don't mention lead acid batteries!

I currently have 40kWh of lead acid storage. Of course to keep them happy, useable is 50% of that. Of course if the bad guys were coming over the hill, I could go as deep as 80%. The batteries won't be happy with that, but they'd live though it without damage.
The 16 US battery, batteries live in the garage.

I've read some of your posts here on using Chinese LFP cells. I take it they are working without issues?

And just for giggles, what would it cost to replace my 20kWh (at 50%) lead acid batteries with LFP chemistry? When I was looking at new LA last year, I was quoted some out of space prices that ranged from the low of $10k to $35K. I understand bout life cost, but when my entire electric bill for a year is less than $1000, that's a sour pill to swallow.

mike, wb8vge
System one: 7kWp w/ Trina 250 W panels @90 Vdc. Classic 150 to 16-6 V U.S batteries. Trace 5548 sine wave inverter.
System two: 6kWp grid tie with solaredge inverter.
System three: Midnite Brat, two 120 W Astropower modules, 100 Ah battery. Runs the LED streetlight in the back yard.

qrper

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2020, 11:00:37 AM »


My brother used to have some old telecom phone company batteries sort of like yours - real old ones . He swore by them because they would run big loads via his inverter. But they were so old they had huge self discharge rate and were pretty much just like capacitors at that point. Took me a long time to convince him he was putting his power into a bucket with lots of holes in it and it leaked out fast.

Larry

The batteries in the attachment aren't mine. While I'd love to have them, I would need a large building to put them in. There's like 30 tons of batteries in the entire system this owner has.

mike wb8vge
System one: 7kWp w/ Trina 250 W panels @90 Vdc. Classic 150 to 16-6 V U.S batteries. Trace 5548 sine wave inverter.
System two: 6kWp grid tie with solaredge inverter.
System three: Midnite Brat, two 120 W Astropower modules, 100 Ah battery. Runs the LED streetlight in the back yard.

Steve_S

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 01:50:44 PM »
Currently the Hot Buy and most popular in LFP Land are the EVE-280AH Commodity Cells.

I am replacing 428AH @ 24V usable (10.272 kWh) with LFP 910AH @ 24V = 21.8kWh while keeping my Rolls Surette S-550 Heavy Lead bank as secondary.

These are New Grade-A Cells per manufacturing spec at time of manufacturer & tested to qualify as such.
They are not Matched & Batched - binned by the vendors but they are basic Voltage & IR tested.
Matching & Batching can add up to $50 per cell or more even as it is a long & costly process.
Even so, running LFP at 100% capacity is not done simple to increase the life cycles and to keep "stress minimal".  Usually we leave 5% from the top (which is where it settles naturally) and never go below 5% from the bottom, which effectively makes then 250AH.

To make LFP battery packs you require the following, an Appropropriate BMS, Fuse & a casing.
MRBF fuses are simplest @ $25.00, made by NUssman/Eaton (not knockoffs)
BMS' can range from $75 up to hundreds but an average of $150-250 USD for a god general BMS.

12V = 4 cells (4S) {10V-0% SOC - 14.6V-100% SOC}  3.36 kWh @ 12.0VDC  /  2.8 kWh to 4.088 kWh
24V = 8 Cells (8S) {20V-0% SOC - 29.2-100% SOC}  6.72 kWh @ 24.0V  /  5.6 kWh to 8.176 kWh
48V = 16 cells (16S) {40.0V 0% SOC - 58.4V-100% SOC}  13.44 kWh @ 48.0V  /  11.2 kWh to 16.352 kWh

EVE 280AH cells from Luyuan Tech (Known Good Reliable vendor on Alibaba) delivered DPP to USA
4x 280 Cells: $481.00 USD
8x 280 Cells: $938.00 USD
16x 280 Cells: $1706.00 USD

Link to Luyuan Tech: 

https://szluyuan.en.alibaba.com/productgrouplist-818604541/YW_3_2V_280AH.html

Due to my setup ( 2X 175AH - 8S packs & 2x 280AH - 8S packs) which are on a Common DC Bus it makes things a little interesting but no issues.   I am just completing my Final Configuration with the new battery packs, reorganized powerhouse (moved much equipment about), I will be posting about that, possible here too, to update my info here.  There has not been any issues at all while running with LFP & FLA but then I can load preset profiles to my Samlex Inverter/Charger and a couple of tweaks to the Classic-200 and voila...  I'm automating that for profile loading too...

My own LFP systems, use the following gear per pack.
Chargery BMS8T Smart BMS (Relay/Contactor control NOT mosFET based) (Passive Balancing OFF)
Chargery DCC 300A Solid State Contactors.
QNBBM-8S Active Balancer which transfers volage from High Voltage to Low Voltage cells between 1A to 6A.

The BMS' have Data output via RS232 that goes to a USRIOT USR-N540 4 Ports Serial to IP Converter which gets read by a Raspberry Pi 4B, this also talks to the Midnite Classic-200 & the Samlex Inverter/Charger via ModBus (not public info).


LINKS
Chargery BMS8T-300A :
  https://www.chargerystore.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=20_26&product_id=86
Chargery DCC 300A Contactor https://www.chargerystore.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=66
QNBBM-8S Active Balancer:  https://deligreen.en.alibaba.com/product/62035896240-806516208/8S_24V_Active_Battery_Balancer_Equalizer_Anti_Short_Camper_Trailer_Battery.html
USR-IOT N-540:  https://www.pusr.com/products/4-port-serial-to-ip-converters-usr-n540.html

Dangerous VS Safe Lithium Batteries Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzt9RZ0FQyM


I hope this information helps an is useful.
Steve
Classic-200, Samlex EVO-4024 Inverter/Charger, 1190AH/30kWh of LiFePO4 & 856Ah of Rolls Surette LEAD.

qrper

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 03:33:19 PM »
steve....

so, i'd be looking at about $3400 to equal the 25kWh of usable capacity of my lead acids?

Shipped from china to here?

That's not a bad price if I read it correctly

of course, I'd still need a BMS, and to be honest, I'm a bit in a fog when it comes to those. I know what they do, and why they do it. It's the connections to the cells/battery that causes me some confusion. For example, does the BMS monitor at cell level? or cell pack level? Tesla has like 4000+ cells, does its BMS monitor all 4000 cells?

mike
System one: 7kWp w/ Trina 250 W panels @90 Vdc. Classic 150 to 16-6 V U.S batteries. Trace 5548 sine wave inverter.
System two: 6kWp grid tie with solaredge inverter.
System three: Midnite Brat, two 120 W Astropower modules, 100 Ah battery. Runs the LED streetlight in the back yard.

Steve_S

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2020, 06:00:06 PM »

so, i'd be looking at about $3400 to equal the 25kWh of the usable capacity of my lead acids?
Shipped from china to here? 
 :) YES that is to USA & Canada  Figures are as posted in USD, Amy Wan is the Rep and she's great, will answer your questions if any

The pricing and other advantages of going with LFP made sense, consider it is what it would cost me to replicate my current FLA bank with only 1/2 of the LFP capacity...   LFP also charges faster & only requires 2-Stage Charging CC/CV.

As for BMS... well let's apply KISS.  complicated subject....

An EV BMS, such as Tesla Packs, they are quite a different animal due to chemistry & configuration.  Each cell is actually fused, cells are set in parallel sets and parallel sets are actively monitored by their BMS.  The cells used for EV's are very thoroughly tested, matched together so that they all have identical Internernal Resistances through their entire voltage cycles, whether being charged or discharged at low or high amps.  There is a lot of complicated things going on and these BMS' run in the thousands...  so I won't bother further.  Also note that an EV runs at 300-500VDC, their packs are designed for that, they are not actually appropriate for use in ESS Systems because their voltage ranges, even if broken down to "24V/48V" sub-packs they tend to go lower or higher than the equipment supports.  There are Trade-Offs when using these EV Packs.

For ESS with LFP, it really comes down to two basic types of BMS. 

* MosFET Based BMS' use no relays or contactors, it's all electronic.  Their maximum capacity ratings max out around 300A but only the foolish run them to that edge, most derate that to a max of 200A.  They also typically have a 50% charge ratio, so a 300A Load BMS will only allow 150A charge  (again that would be 75A derated). ! NOT All FET Based BMS' allow for Series or Parallel Connections.

* Relay / Contactor based BMS' are only limited by the Amp handling capacity of the Relays / Contactors being used.  EV's use Relay Systems due to the high amperage loading potentials and surges.  *

ALL BMS' are the "safety guard" for the pack.  They monitor the cells for Over/Under Volt or Over/Under Temp conditions.  They will cut-off discharge or charging to protect the cells & pack as a whole should conditions require it. 

- Many BMS' are called "Smart BMS'" now because they are configurable which is beneficial as applications / use cases vary a great deal and also for adjusting the "useable" and protected settings, such as only using 90% capacity max.
- Many now also offer communications capabilities, either via Bluetooth or CanBus / ModBus / RS232/RS485 & more.  This helps with integration with Inverters, Chargers, Solar Controllers plus management & monitoring facility. **
- Some BMS' have Passive Balancing which burns off high voltage from cells within a pack to maintain balance with the low v0lt cell.  This is slow and generates heat on the BMS as it dissipates the energy.
- Some BMS' have Active Balancing which transfers volts from Hi Cells to Lo Cells, this is more efficient for larger cells.

-- There are TWO Topologies for BMS Systems. 

1)  Separate Port which means that Discharge is handled via one circuit and Charging is handled by a separate incoming circuit.  This type is most commonly used for EV's or systems where a dedicated Inverter may be used and requiring an external charger or even smart charger (one which links directly to the BMS interactively.)
With this type, if using Relays/Contactors you will require two sets for each side.  With FET based, it is simply a matter of separate lines. 

2)  Common Port which uses the same DC lines for both Charge & Discharge (like with FLA).  Common Port is most frequently used for ESS systems. 

BMS' such as a 16S BMS, will monitor 16 cells actively, each cell will have a lead to its (+).  They check / monitor internal resistance, cell voltage etc.  If cells are setup in parallel within the pack, the BMS only sees the aggregate value of the paralleled cells.  This is fine "IF" the cells are perfectly matched together, meaning same IR @ the various voltage ranges from 0-SOC to 100-SOC.  This is not recommended for unmatched cells, even if they have been Top & Bottom Balanced.

* The new generation of Solid State Contactors like I use, have a very low power consumption and are Bi-Directional, these also have a Pre-Charge facility for allowing Inverter / Motor capacitors to get an initial charge prior to full connection at Start-Up, eliminating the start surge.  See link for more info on my DCC thread at DIYSolar: BTW: I am Steve_S there too.
https://diysolarforum.com/threads/chargery-bms-dcc-solid-state-contactor-thread.11756/

** Management & Monitoring by software all depends on the gear you have, what software it offers and/or if using custom softwares or a combination of them.

I hope that helps answer a question or two.   ;)

Here is a below Drawing I made up related to 24V pack wiring, similar for 48V just more cells.

Classic-200, Samlex EVO-4024 Inverter/Charger, 1190AH/30kWh of LiFePO4 & 856Ah of Rolls Surette LEAD.

Leslieaduck

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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2021, 04:00:40 PM »
At work we use a lot of Milwaukee battery tools that use the lithium ion batteries. They are stored in gang boxes & lock boxes on the back of pickup trucks. Sometimes charging all night. Sometimes in the tools. Sometimes just randomly thrown in on a shelf or in a bag. We have been using them for several years & havent had a problem.
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uhlpay

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Re: Lithium batteries in the cold weather
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2021, 10:55:02 PM »
Here is my solution to cold weather lithium charging.  The insulated box will sit in an uninsulated shed.  The heater is a telecom electrical heater.  It has an integrated thermostat with 41 degree cutin set point.  24v 50w setup currently, will monitor this winter and potentially step down to 30w heater if all goes well.  Parts are sourced from www.automationdirect.com.  All in cost for box / insulation / heater I’m around 210$.  I’ll post some better pics once it’s installed.  (3) 3.8kw 24v batteries in the final installation.