202 Ah Lishen $57/cell from Pina at Xuba

SV_Stray_Cats

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Hello, I just wanted to share and record in the forum this price and a few thoughts about buying from this Xuba listing:
https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...a2756.order-detail-ta-ta-b.0.0.171e2fc2AN4I3x

I ordered 16 cells. Shipping to the Northeast US was $295 and I paid $35.61 for Alibaba's credit card fee for a total of $1242. Depending on how Alibaba runs that I am not sure if my credit card will also charge a fee for foreign transaction. I did have to "appeal" to use my card after Alibaba, not my issuer, rejected the payment for security reasons. The appeal button brings you to a page where you upload images of the card and your ID. You are allowed to redact some information from the images. It took less than a day for mine to be approved.

Tthe result is a cost per Ah that is similar to the best prices for the more popular 280 Ah cells. Those wouldn't fit as well in my boat, whereas 202 Ah will disappear into an unused locker. Neither the 202 Ah size nor the Lishen brand are frequently discussed here, which is part of why I'm posting. I felt comfortable ordering CATL or Lishen cells, as those are two large OEM suppliers that make this size of cell. One of the Nordkyn articles says "In spite of being virtually unknown, Lishen also makes very good cells, which were selected by a large customer in Switzerland following lab tests, ahead of the better known brands."

The price from Xuba matches their listing, whereas Basen and others will quote a lower price than their listings. I realize there's a culture of negotiation, but I liked that Xuba's listing was consistent with what my Xuba contact Pina told me in messages, whereas others weren't. Basen listings were for CATL cells, but they were selling Lishen. This seems like a common thing, at least right now, that Lishen cells are substitutes for something else. I appreciate that the pictures, dimensions, and specs in Xuba's listing were the product I am buying. I liked that the listing included the list below and did not over promise "matching" like many other listings do - at least one of which specifically claims to match capacity, but when asked, admits they don't use a capacity test to do that matching by capacity.
Tips:
1. Lishen 3.2V 202AH, as shown in the picture, the QR code is intact.
2. We will give you bus bars, screws and washers for free. (1 battery---2 bus bars, 2 screws, 2 washers). If you need extra, please contact us.
3. We will test the internal resistance and voltage of each battery, and will select the batteries with very close data to send out. If you need to test their real capacity, please contact us.
4. Please ignore the default shipping price on the website, we will calculate the specific shipping cost according to different order weights, different shipping methods and different countries.
#4 was true too, the listing calculated shipping to the US as $822 but I paid $295. I felt comfortable with this and am pleased to get the same price per Ah as the 280 Ah listings people are excited about. I can also add that Pina's English is excellent.

Now while I wait (this is for a boat, so there's no urgency as I write this before the winter solstice) I will make bus bars (tinned copper, with square ends to match the square contact pads on Lishen cells), and finalize a BMS plan. I am almost certainly going to use the Orion Jr. BMS 2 with external dual coil contactors from Gigavac or TE Kilovac, but those are things I need to learn more about.

Thanks to the forum! Without this, I'm not sure if I would have ordered directly from China, but doing so enabled me to spend less for 202 Ah LiFePO4 cells than I would have spent to replace AGM batteries rated at only 68 Ah (1 hr rating, for EV). Of course the BMS and contactors will increase the total cost of the new system, but by going direct, I can enjoy the benefits of LiFePO4 whereas I don't think I could have afforded or accepted US retail pricing.
 

JRG

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Thanks for posting this. I am also interested in these cells. Hopefully others will chime-in with real world usage experience on these.
 

Bob B

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I bought a set of 190 AH before the 280's sprang into the market. My cells seem to be much better matched than the 280's. Once I got them top balanced, they have stayed in balance with very little deviation since. A lot of people seem to be having to use add on active balancers on their 280's.

Please let us know how well matched these cells are and how well they stay there over time.
 

Mike Jordan

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Hello, I just wanted to share and record in the forum this price and a few thoughts about buying from this Xuba listing:
https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...a2756.order-detail-ta-ta-b.0.0.171e2fc2AN4I3x


#4 was true too, the listing calculated shipping to the US as $822 but I paid $295. I felt comfortable with this and am pleased to get the same price per Ah as the 280 Ah listings people are excited about. I can also add that Pina's English is excellent.

I think I came across this list a little while back. The shipping is what kept me moving on. How do you get a real shipping quote? At what point did you get the real shipping quote?
 

SV_Stray_Cats

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@Mike Jordan, you can message them and ask them for the shipping cost to your town/zip code for the number of cells you want. It seems most suppliers would adjust their product price at that point, so in that case you're really asking for the total quote including shipping. But since Xuba in this listing is using the advertised cell price, you could just ask for the shipping cost directly. This is DDP so should include the tariffs that the US is putting on batteries from China.
 

Dzl

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I think I came across this list a little while back. The shipping is what kept me moving on. How do you get a real shipping quote? At what point did you get the real shipping quote?

On Alibaba (as opposed to most marketplaces people are more familiar with) it is normal to message suppliers.

Generally when asking for a quick quote, I will ask something along the lines of:
Hello,
I am interested in [cell capacity] [cell model]. May I have a quote for [no. of cells] shipped [shipping terms] to [zip code, state, country]
(with brief and respectful social niceties before and after)

Sellers will usually reply promptly (if you account for time difference) with:
Cell cost + Shipping cost = Total cost
 

Just John

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On Alibaba (as opposed to most marketplaces people are more familiar with) it is normal to message suppliers.

Generally when asking for a quick quote, I will ask something along the lines of:

(with brief and respectful social niceties before and after)

Sellers will usually reply promptly (if you account for time difference) with:
Cell cost + Shipping cost = Total cost
That is my experience (limited to two orders) as well. Until you message them through the site and get a quote, you don't know the real price. Don't be afraid, and don't take the price and shipping listed as firm pricing, ask. Never hurts to ask multiple vendors and compare as well.
 
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Dzl

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That is my experience (limited to two orders) as well. Until you message them through the site and get a quote, you don't know the real price. Don't be afraid, and don't take the price and shipping listed as firm pricing, ask. Never hurts to ask multiple vendors and compare as well.
I agree, some vendors are very good about list prices being the same as actual price (with the exception of shipping), others the list price is somewhat disconnected from the actual price (or they list multiple prices for the same product).

At first I felt weird messaging the sellers directly just for pricing questions or other small questions, I worried I was 'bothering' the sellers or wasting their time when I was just shopping around for quotes. But on Alibaba it seems to be the norm, sellers expect it, and usually respond even with small orders. Just be polite direct and to the point.
 

SV_Stray_Cats

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Hi @BabylonFive, I don't have a lot to report. The boat will be launched in the middle of May so I haven't been in much of a hurry. But, I'm glad I ordered the cells earlier than I thought I'd have to - there were more details to work out and charging took longer than I thought. I have done almost all I can at home, and this morning I assembled the pack with cell insulation and compression, to measure plastic water pipe for insulation for the threaded rods and to make the bus bars.

IMG_20210327_094852434.jpg

Charging took a long time. When I first connected my power supply, I treated like it charger or regular electronic, not realizing that it could be lower voltage and would accept current the moment it was connected. After smelling the burning wires, I disconnected and started over. It still worked but without the amp readout. Without that, I think I was being too cautious on the amp control (and wanted it to be low enough at night so the fan didn't come on). I was able to resolder a wire inside the power supply and get the readout back, but charging took me about two weeks.

Then I connected the pack in series, connected the Orion Jr. BMS 2 , realized I can't program it with my home computer (Linux aarch64, for which there is open source Java, but not official Java. Orion says they've had trouble with the open one), connected with my work computer (a benefit of WFH), and then discharged the pack halfway. I was going to discharge it more, but the switch on the DC heater I was using to discharge the bank arced and failed when I shut if off in the evening. 50% SOC isn't a bad place to leave them, it's the right place for them to be when compression is applied. The discharge time and rate very roughly confirmed the capacity.

I also was pleased to find a relay that the BMS can control directly. In most cases, the amps the BMS can directly control is too low for any contactor big enough to handle the charge/discharge amps, so you need a smaller relay in between, or another strategy. Direct control is only available for my project because my PV is so small and has only a 3.8 A short circuit current. I got a Weidmüller D-SERIES DRI, DRIKIT 48VDC 2CO LD/PB relay that can switch up to 250 VDC and 5 A. It uses just half a watt, or 11.2 mA at 48 V to hold closed, and attachs to a DIN rail, in the one empty slot I had in a 4-position disconnect box for my solar system.

Finally, I found a commercial cutting board for the pack to sit on. The pack will be installed in a locker whose floor is the hull, which is curved. So it needed a floor that was flat, strong enough to stay flat with the weight, non-conductive, and would not soak up moisture that could condense on the inside of the hull. The Cutting Board Company makes them in custom sizes and thicknesses in the USA. This standard size appears to work well for my installation, though I may shape the bottom some to better conform to the two dimensional curve it will sit on.

So in this time I feel like I've planned a lot and bought what I need, but haven't done that much. I will be moving it all on board and figuring out the wiring layout in the next month.
 
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SherylinRM

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I think you paid a very good price. 16 - 200 amp cells for $1242? Nice.
i p[aid about $1200 for 8 cells of 280 amps.
So I think you did good anyhow. :)
 

BabylonFive

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I paid about that rate for 32 cells.

My setup will be in an RV, so I'm worried about shock and vibration. Looking at some foams for vibration deadening inside the box, or around the box.
In your case with light loads and light charging, insulation makes sense; but, with higher loads and larger excursions of temperature I worry about setting the environment somehow. Considered separating them and surrounding with mineral oil, but then the whole pack is just heavier. Ugh. Engineering is hard.

Thinking about not compressing them, and wondered why you did... seems compression is best when expecting currents at the top end of the recommended value, and when doing light loads (as you describe), it isn't needed. Were you just wanting a tight mechanical solution?
 

Jimmynik1

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Awesome, the near completed pack looks great. Im working with basen and another supplier for quotes on 16 271s or 280s. Do you have an idea on what the pack weighs? I want my system to be somewhat portable if it needs to be so im thinking on having it on a garden wagon rated for 500lbs.
 

SV_Stray_Cats

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Thinking about not compressing them, and wondered why you did... seems compression is best when expecting currents at the top end of the recommended value, and when doing light loads (as you describe), it isn't needed. Were you just wanting a tight mechanical solution?
My understanding is that compression does two things: keeps them in place to prevent stress on the terminal connections, and prevents them from bloating which shortens their life. I thought bloating was from high current, but mine did it a little during the top balance with a power supply that maxed out at 0.1C, and I only went to 3.60V. I've since read that SoC can bloat them. So if I were doing it again, I'd compress them before any charge or discharge. Then my bus bars wouldn't be a variety of sizes. :LOL: In your case with more movement of the vehicle, I'd still compress the cells, and then dampen the movement of the whole battery, where wire connections can take the movement that bus bars cannot.
 

SV_Stray_Cats

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Awesome, the near completed pack looks great. Im working with basen and another supplier for quotes on 16 271s or 280s. Do you have an idea on what the pack weighs? I want my system to be somewhat portable if it needs to be so im thinking on having it on a garden wagon rated for 500lbs.
Thanks!

The weight should be in the specs. Well the cell weight. The other parts don't add much considering these cells are 62 kg, and the other parts are probably less than 5 kg, mostly in the thick bus bars I'm using. Larger cells would be heavier while the other parts don't get much heavier.

I wouldn't consider this pack moveable. It doesn't need to be in my case so I didn't think about splitting it up, and the complication of trying to have the same resistance in all the cell connections or compensating for different resistance in the BMS measurements.

Bringing the cells up a ladder and over the lifelines today, four at a time, was a lot easier than bringing the old AGM batteries, which are 30 kg each, down. It's pretty amazing to be increasing the motoring range about 4x, while reducing the weight by half, and paying about the same cost (plus lots and lots of time.)
 

SherylinRM

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I paid about that rate for 32 cells.

My setup will be in an RV, so I'm worried about shock and vibration. Looking at some foams for vibration deadening inside the box, or around the box.
In your case with light loads and light charging, insulation makes sense; but, with higher loads and larger excursions of temperature I worry about setting the environment somehow. Considered separating them and surrounding with mineral oil, but then the whole pack is just heavier. Ugh. Engineering is hard.

Thinking about not compressing them, and wondered why you did... seems compression is best when expecting currents at the top end of the recommended value, and when doing light loads (as you describe), it isn't needed. Were you just wanting a tight mechanical solution?
I compress mine to the exact size they say in their data sheet for depleted cells. This prevents the constant [but slight] expansion and contraction that happens as the cells are charged and discharged. It also holds them in place and leaves an air gap around the cells for cooling.
I also use nothing for vibration as I have been told that if the terminals are pointing upwards and they are compressed then they are perfectly safe for vehicles.
I use mine in my mobility scooter and it gets vibrations ALL the time from the sidewalks here which are in pretty bad shape many of them. You would have to go down a gravel country road all of the time to get the same kind of bouncing etc that I get just going down the street here on the sidewalks.
So if you have suspension on your RV then you will be fine. :) No need for pads of any kind for the vibrations. :)
Hope this helps. :)
 

SV_Stray_Cats

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Hello, today I finally connected the cells in their locker on the boat. What I want to mention is relevant to any DIY installation of Lishen cells like this. They have a larger contact pad lower than the one that has the stud/post in it. I imagine these are used in OEM applications, but their size and low position made me worry about shorts, especially between the two columns of cells where so many of them are so close to each other. To reduce the risk, I put colored electrical tape on them, red for positive and yellow for negative. (Yellow for the DC negative is considered a good way to differentiate from AC). I don't think it looks good, but I didn't want to cover up the + and - markings on those pads and make it harder to identify which is which.

I also cut up a road bike tube to insulate the center part of the bus bars. In the photo almost half of the bus bars are installed (the right half) but they are hard to see because the black insulation blends in with the black cells tops.

The boat goes in the water on May 13 and I'll motor a short way to the boat's summer home a couple of days later, which will be the first use of the new battery.

IMG_20210506_150916377.jpg
 

Bob B

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I like those welded terminals a lot better than some of the others I've seen.

Glad to see it's coming together.
 

BabylonFive

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I compress mine to the exact size they say in their data sheet for depleted cells. This prevents the constant [but slight] expansion and contraction that happens as the cells are charged and discharged. It also holds them in place and leaves an air gap around the cells for cooling.
I also use nothing for vibration as I have been told that if the terminals are pointing upwards and they are compressed then they are perfectly safe for vehicles.
I use mine in my mobility scooter and it gets vibrations ALL the time from the sidewalks here which are in pretty bad shape many of them. You would have to go down a gravel country road all of the time to get the same kind of bouncing etc that I get just going down the street here on the sidewalks.
So if you have suspension on your RV then you will be fine. :) No need for pads of any kind for the vibrations. :)
Hope this helps. :)
I'm missing what the downside would be to having a rubber pad or pads? Not necessary, but no negatives?
 

SherylinRM

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I also cut up a road bike tube to insulate the center part of the bus bars. In the photo almost half of the bus bars are installed (the right half) but they are hard to see because the black insulation blends in with the black cells tops.
Good idea the tubing. I used shrink tubing on mine. :)
 
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