Avoid AliExpress "LiitokalaVariCoreFlagship Store" from "$433 280Ah LiFePO4 Cells Tested: Cheaper than lead acid!" video

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
I ordered 8 cells (VariCore 280Ah), from the link in the video description by @Will Prowse - when they arrived I checked the cells. Some were not flat, others were not.

1629630095318.png

I started testing, see the topic here. I never got close to 280Ah, even though there's a big white label on the cells saying "280Ah".

I removed the black covers and found QR-codes destroyed, some text was left though. Turns out they repackaged REPT cells, with 704Wh capacity, that's 220Ah. These aren't 280Ah cells, nor are they 'brand new and original', so much is clear.

So a warning: avoid this shop.

Will, perhaps you can add a warning to the video description?
1629630053028.png1629630063222.png
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
5,432
Location
Rural NE Ontario Canada
Sadly, some of will's recommendations go Back in Time and do not apply anymore. As far back as when he was still a Van Dweller.
The fact that Renogy is still on his list after everything is a Beffudlement that serves no good. Many of the "Dated" reviews should likely be redone using current equipment but that would take a lot of time and would be pretty boring for Will too. Sadly folks getting phookered as a result of those reviews being no longer applicable WILL come back to haunt - kinda has started already.
 

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
Sadly, some of will's recommendations go Back in Time and do not apply anymore. As far back as when he was still a Van Dweller.
The fact that Renogy is still on his list after everything is a Beffudlement that serves no good. Many of the "Dated" reviews should likely be redone using current equipment but that would take a lot of time and would be pretty boring for Will too. Sadly folks getting phookered as a result of those reviews being no longer applicable WILL come back to haunt - kinda has started already.
I understand things can change. This review was from Jan 2021, I ordered in May. Obviously, I blame the store, not Will. 😉
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
5,432
Location
Rural NE Ontario Canada
I understand things can change. This review was from Jan 2021, I ordered in May. Obviously, I blame the store, not Will. 😉
Sadly, would NOT be the first time a Vendor got a Good Review and when the sales took off, they FLOG crap out the door. Hence why some of us recommend Known Good over the Long Term vendors who are reliable & dependable, even if they cost a few pennies more. Quite often, Penny Wise = Dollar Foolish when it comes down to the bottom line.
 

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
Sadly, would NOT be the first time a Vendor got a Good Review and when the sales took off, they FLOG crap out the door. Hence why some of us recommend Known Good over the Long Term vendors who are reliable & dependable, even if they cost a few pennies more. Quite often, Penny Wise = Dollar Foolish when it comes down to the bottom line.
Not only 'crap', but in this case, plain old fraud: relabeling 220Ah cells to 280Ah isn't even B-grade, it's just fraud.
 

misterpat

New Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
Messages
11
Great! I ordered 12 cells from them about a month ago. What have they said about this?
 

Will Prowse

Admin
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Messages
1,571
Location
Las Vegas
Yeah that happens with some of these sometimes. Just have to return them. Varicore is pretty good too, and I haven't had a single bad batch in my experience. Litokala has sent me three bad batches now. It's really is a mixed bag. Did you do a capacity test?

I have found that people receive a bad batch from nearly every supplier sometimes. That's a bummer that was a varicore batch. I've seen another person have the same issue. I would order again from varicore because I've had such a good experience with them. I just got a bad batch of cells yesterday from another supplier.

I just return stuff if it doesn't work out. No other way to avoid this. Even "new" cell listings are plagued with this at times. Check out my more recent videos where I get some bad batches from reputable companies.
 

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
Yeah that happens with some of these sometimes. Just have to return them. Varicore is pretty good too, and I haven't had a single bad batch in my experience. Litokala has sent me three bad batches now. It's really is a mixed bag. Did you do a capacity test?

I have found that people receive a bad batch from nearly every supplier sometimes. That's a bummer that was a varicore batch. I've seen another person have the same issue. I would order again from varicore because I've had such a good experience with them. I just got a bad batch of cells yesterday from another supplier.

I just return stuff if it doesn't work out. No other way to avoid this. Even "new" cell listings are plagued with this at times. Check out my more recent videos where I get some bad batches from reputable companies.
"Did you do a capacity test?"

Yes, see linked topic: 227Ah max. They resleeved these as being 280Ah.

These are REPT cells, btw.

I have no idea about the cost involved in returning the cells, let alone if I even can find a company in The Netherlands that will handle these.
 

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
Great! I ordered 12 cells from them about a month ago. What have they said about this?
First response was 'do a capacity test', which I did, else I wouldn't have noticed the lack of capacity ;)

I'm currently in dispute, AliExpress stepped in, posted test result, they wanted a movie, etc. Current status: they offered a near 300 Euro refund. But then I discovered that they resleeved the cells with a different capacity on it. I don't think I should be made responsible for a clear fraud. They should penalize the store, not me.
 
Last edited:

Will Prowse

Admin
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Messages
1,571
Location
Las Vegas
I have just received some 320Ah bulging cells, but they were so cheap that I don't really care. I will ask for a refund if I don't pull full capacity but I'm just going to build my pack anyways. ( Not from varicore)
 

Short_Shot

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Jul 13, 2021
Messages
1,812
This is depressing considering I ordered 4x 280ah cells from them and they ought to be here within a couple weeks.

If they wind up grossly under capacity I'll probably still be OK using them for my application (I "need" about 180ah usable) but I will definitely be sticking with a known good supplier next time.
 

Martijn

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
120
I have just received some 320Ah bulging cells, but they were so cheap that I don't really care. I will ask for a refund if I don't pull full capacity but I'm just going to build my pack anyways. ( Not from varicore)
I pulled 227Ah from - apparently - a 220Ah cell. Given your experience, is there any danger in slight bulging? Or older/perhaps used cells? How can you know these cells are OK? I plan on using them in a camper.
 

ShockinglyAverage

New Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2020
Messages
21
I have just received some 320Ah bulging cells, but they were so cheap that I don't really care. I will ask for a refund if I don't pull full capacity but I'm just going to build my pack anyways. ( Not from varicore)
Curious who the vendor was as I was just getting info from various vendors on alibaba and one lady kept trying to steer me to 280 eve cells when I was asking about the 302(pulling 320 supposedly). When I asked why she said because the catl cells will bulge in transit from heat but that if you discharge them abs the recharge they should go back to normal.
 

time2roll

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
2,225
The money hurts but kills me to think of ordering and waiting again to complete a project. Could be 6+ months to get something done.
Does anyone order extra cells just in case? That extra money would sting a bit too.
 

puppysong

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
3
I've seen the same experience inside other threads I've traced.
It looks like two REPT battery cells (maybe B grade) were repackaged as brand new cells and sold as 280Ah and 310Ah.
One was originally marked as REPT 3.2V 704W (REPT 3.2V 220Ah) and sold as 280Ah.
The other was originally marked as REPT 3.2V 736W (REPT 3.2V 230Ah) and sold as 310Ah.
 

Choco

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 14, 2021
Messages
63
Location
Australia
Please leave feedback on aliex/baba so you warn other buyers. It's the only way to out them in some cases.
 

solar8484

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 4, 2021
Messages
106
I ordered 8 cells (VariCore 280Ah), from the link in the video description by @Will Prowse - when they arrived I checked the cells. Some were not flat, others were not.

View attachment 61206

I started testing, see the topic here. I never got close to 280Ah, even though there's a big white label on the cells saying "280Ah".

I removed the black covers and found QR-codes destroyed, some text was left though. Turns out they repackaged REPT cells, with 704Wh capacity, that's 220Ah. These aren't 280Ah cells, nor are they 'brand new and original', so much is clear.

So a warning: avoid this shop.

Will, perhaps you can add a warning to the video description?
View attachment 61204View attachment 61205

Did you see this post (https://diysolarforum.com/threads/f...store-aliexpress-do-not-buy.21252/post-294283) before ordering?

You should get a full refund but it seems you may have to pay for shipping which may make the refund meaningless.
 
Top