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How To Properly Charge Your LiFePO4 Battery

How To Properly Charge Your LiFePO4 Battery

Have you ever thought about the outcomes of incorrect charging of your battery? If so, this article is just right for you.

If you recently purchased a Lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) or you are about to, you might ask yourself how to charge it. Goldenmate recommends you select a charger designed for the chemistry of your battery.

Charging your LiFePO4 battery is vital for its lifespan. You already know about their cycles, their weight, and all the benefits they offer. You can read all about it here if you need to.

This blog will provide you with the necessary information about how to charge your LiFePO4 battery properly.

LiFePO4 Battery charging profile

BMS BATTERY

The ideal way to charge a LiFePO4 is with a lithium iron phosphate charger. This battery charger will be programmed with the appropriate voltage limits. 

The charge voltage

Voltage is a force that makes electric charges move. Batteries assemble several cells; the number of cells in a battery will determine its nominal voltage.

The nominal voltage of a single LiFePO4 battery is 3.2V. Be aware that the charge voltage cannot be higher than 3.65V, as lithium battery cells are sensitive to over voltage and current. 

Over-voltage can easily cause battery performance degradation, cell inflation, and more significant damage. You will observe that a BMS with protection is built-in lithium battery packs.

As LiFePO4 batteries come in different voltages, refer to the following table for the best charge voltage and range.

Best Charge Voltage

Charge Voltage Range

12V(12.8V)

14.4V

14.0V~14.6V

24V(25.6V)

28.8V

28.0V~29.2V

36V(38.4V)

43.2V

42.0V~43.8V

48V(15S)(48V)

54.0V

52.5V~54.7V

48V(16S)(51.2V)

57.6V

56.0V~58.4V


This table shows that a 12V LiFePO4 battery can be charged with any charging equipment if the voltage is within the 14V to 14.6V range.

If the applied voltage is too high or too low, the battery won´t charge because the BMS will kick in. Or, worst case scenario, the battery will die. 

Charge in parallel

When connecting your LiFePO4 batteries in parallel, we recommend charging them individually before making the parallel connection. Additionally, each battery should be within 0.1V of each other before putting them into service. By doing this, you minimize the chance of ambivalence between them.

The recommended charge current should be lower than one battery’s charge limit. As a result, when one battery disconnects, the other battery continues to charge.

Charge in series

Like the parallel, it is best to charge each battery individually. Check the voltage and ensure they are within 50 mV of each other before making the series connections.

If your battery gets out of balance from any other battery set, you should charge each individually to rebalance. You can even charge them every day to avoid imbalance.

When charging LiFePO4 batteries in series, it is best to use a multi-bank charger. This charger will charge each battery individually and ensure each cell remains balanced. 

Charge below 0°C

Goldenmate LiFePO4 batteries can be safely charged between 0°C to 45°C. They do not need voltage compensation. Goldenmate batteries all come with the BMS to protect the battery from low or high temperatures. If the temperature is too hot, then the BMS disconnects due to high temperature. If it is too cold, the BMS also disconnects, and the battery needs to be warmed up.

Battery temperature charging

However, the ideal temperature should be 5°C. In general, the energy source to heat the battery is set to be the charge current.

LiFePO4 Battery during storage

Lithium iron batteries are easy to store. More than lead acid ones. You do not have to do much if you keep your batteries for a short period (3-6 months). For long-term storage (6 months and more), it is best to cycle them by discharging them. After that, you charge them again and partially discharge approximately 50%. This should be done every six months or every year.

If you need to store your LiFePO4 battery, it is best to do it at around 50% of its charge. We recommend turning off the charge/discharge switch to avoid accidental short circuits. 

For more information about this subject, please read our blog post on How to Store LiFePO4 Batteries.

LiFePO4 Battery and solar panels

solar panels and battery

As LiFePO4 batteries are primarily used in outdoor activities, at Goldenmate, it was vital for our batteries to charge with solar panels. You need to ensure that the charging voltage is within the safe parameters of your battery. 

Charging your lithium-iron battery with solar panels is highly encouraged by many experts. That is because the energy you store is taken from another energy source (sun) and generated by solar panels.

The time it takes to charge LiFePO4 batteries.

battery time

The battery’s time to fully charge will depend on the specific charger in your system. Since lithium-ion batteries have low internal resistance, they will take all the current delivered from the charge cycle. 

An easy example is if you have a 50-amp charger and a single 100-amp hour battery, you will then come up with a 2-hour charging time, and so on.

We do not recommend that you exceed the charging rate. As a result, you will obtain a shortened battery cycle life. In an emergency, you can charge the battery if needed. But do not make it a habit. Make sure you charge your battery accordingly and within the necessary time frame.

The safest way to charge LiFePO4 batteries

safe way battery charging

As it is known, LiFePO4 batteries are very safe due to their superior thermal and chemical stability. Contrary to other lithium battery chemistries, which are highly unstable.

That is because the lithium iron phosphate cells are much harder to ignite. This vital feature makes them far superior to other batteries.

Yet, it is crucial to respect the charging parameters, as discussed in this article. This respects the voltage, the optimal temperature, the appropriate wire, appliances, or other charging methods.

Conclusion

LiFePO4 batteries offer great battery storage as well as wide application usage. Their thermal and chemical stability makes them safe and ideal compared to other battery chemistries. 

It is relevant to gather all the technical knowledge there is about these batteries to make the most of them for any application. This could be your RV, golf cart, or outdoor lights. 

Learning how to charge your LiFePO4 batteries properly will extend their lifespan. Plus, give you more peace of mind regarding their safety features and the use you can make of them.

Click on this link to learn all about the different batteries Goldenmate offers and get yours at an amazing price.

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