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Charging LFP below 32F - 0C freezing temperature - possible - with newer chemistry?

eXodus

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We are getting drilled in by Will and other people knowledgeable about the subject - do not charge below freezing.

Like every other knowledge - that piece of advice has an expiration date - since technology moves on.

There are more and more manufacturers are coming out - saying - we don't do low temperature -cut off, but low temp charge limitation.
"When charging lithium iron phosphate batteries below 0°C (32°F), the charge current must be reduced to 0.1C and below -10°C (14°F) it must be reduced to 0.05C. Failure to reduce the current below freezing temperatures can cause irreversible damage to your battery. "

Can be charged at temperature down to -20°C for cold weather use (sub Zero version)

My first chemistry question was when looking deeper into the subject - why is everyone focused on the freezing point of water? There is no H2O in common LFP chemistries. Every solution has a different freezing point - it would be quite a coincident that all batteries are freezing a 32F 0C.


My potential unpopular opinion on the subject:
All that public bashing on missing low temp CUTOFF is leading manufacturers to not develop low temperature chemistries.

There is still research going on low temp charging , but not as much as there could be, with the single minded focus of the DIY video publishing community - in ripping batteries apart and putting sensors ins freezing WATER and waiting for the current to drop to zero.


When you look at various scientific studies - you can see that the effect on LFP is gradual.

1702474647800.png

It essentially means - +1C is not massively safer then -1C Zero is just random value chosen for familiarity.



Fluorinated Solvent Molecule Tuning Enables Fast-Charging and Low-Temperature Lithium-Ion Batteries​


Yanbing Mo, Gaopan Liu, Yue Yin, Mingming Tao, Jiawei Chen, Yu Peng, Yonggang Wang, Yong Yang, Congxiao Wang, Xiaoli Dong, Yongyao Xia"


-20C is bad for Lithium - do not get me wrong - that will kill current chemistries pretty fast. But 0C is a rather arbitrary cutoff in my opinion.

Lets get the debate up and point out the flaws in my Thesis.
 
Can be charged at temperature down to -20°C for cold weather use (sub Zero version)

Nope. It does NOT charge at -20°C, it's heated:

"The process of heating and charging is automatically controlled by the BMS and the heating element embedded within the battery and takes roughly 40 minutes to change the temperature from -20°C to +5°C. Once the battery temperature reaches +5°C the charging starts immediately and once the temperature rises to +10°C the heating element stops and continues with the charging."

-20C is bad for Lithium - do not get me wrong - that will kill current chemistries pretty fast.

Yttrium doping of the cathode can permit safe charging down to -20°C.

But 0C is a rather arbitrary cutoff in my opinion.

Agreed. The issue is that most manufacturer's don't publish charge rates at reduced temperatures, so everybody just says "don't charge below freezing.
 
Yttrium doping of the cathode can permit safe charging down to -20°C.
interesting - are those common place in current consumer grade batteries?

Agreed. The issue is that most manufacturer's don't publish charge rates at reduced temperatures, so everybody just says "don't charge below freezing.
Yes, that was my point - and every review and youtube video are pointing that out.

Now we are getting batteries with 0C switches - which could be charged lower - but all youtuber ripping them to shreds in their videos and say - bad manufacturer bad bad no low temp cut-off.

While the low temp charging- answer is getting more nuanced.
 
Here were some manufacturer tables with recommended max charge current vs. temperature.
Even above 0C, reduced charge rate is needed to avoid excessive deterioration.
Maybe very low rate is OK a bit below 0C, but only the Gangfen table allows it.

[Edit, forgot the link. As Sunshine says below, known here for a few years.]

 
Last edited:
interesting - are those common place in current consumer grade batteries?

No. IIRC, the premium Thundersky/Winston batteries from about 10 years ago did, but it seems very rare these days.

I use Panasonic NMC cells taken from plug in hybrids that spec unrestricted charging down to -20°C... but I still use my Batrium to prevent charging below 5°C because.

Yes, that was my point - and every review and youtube video are pointing that out.

Now we are getting batteries with 0C switches - which could be charged lower - but all youtuber ripping them to shreds in their videos and say - bad manufacturer bad bad no low temp cut-off.

Aren't they shredding them because they allow any charge current at any temperature? I'd say that deserves shredding.

While the low temp charging- answer is getting more nuanced.

This feels like a re-hash to me. The fact that it's a progressive taper has been common knowledge on this forum for at least three years.
 
Just seeing this thread. Wondering what the though it is on charging Eve 304AH cells at say, .02C when below freezing. I just built a seplos DIY pack with the heaters, but it sounds like it doesn't preheat the batteries.
 
Just seeing this thread. Wondering what the though it is on charging Eve 304AH cells at say, .02C when below freezing. I just built a seplos DIY pack with the heaters, but it sounds like it doesn't preheat the batteries.

Here is the EVE charge profile for the LF280K cells - I suspect the 304Ah cells are not much different.

121396-aaa8031196902f39c008caf746bd2086.jpg


So, personally, I would not attempt to charge them much below +5C.

I thought the BMS's with heaters first direct solar generation to the heaters and only when the cell temp reaches your pre-defined temp would the BMS allow the cells to be charged?

Also see my posting here...
 
I thought the BMS's with heaters first direct solar generation to the heaters and only when the cell temp reaches your pre-defined temp would the BMS allow the cells to be charged?
This is typically correct, and the preferred way to do it. But you can never trust consistency from manufacture to manufacture. One will have to reach out to the manufacturer to find out for sure.
 
This is typically correct, and the preferred way to do it. But you can never trust consistency from manufacture to manufacture. One will have to reach out to the manufacturer to find out for sure.
Others with the seplos BMS have confirmed, there is no combination of parameters that can be entered in the BMS to allow it to heat without charging. This presents a unique problem for me, as my setup is in an unheated shed in an area that can get down to -20C at night during the winter. I think I am just going to have to make sure there is enough solar production to keep the heaters going and the batteries over 0deg. I'll likely wrap the entire seplos case in 2" of EPS insulation.
 
This presents a unique problem for me, as my setup is in an unheated shed in an area that can get down to -20C at night during the winter.
So presumably there is no grid power to keep them warm overnight? My DIY battery system has 2" of PIR insulation and just 21W of heaters keeps the 14.3kWh around 20C when it's -5C outside and they're only on 30% to 50% of the time.
 
Others with the seplos BMS have confirmed, there is no combination of parameters that can be entered in the BMS to allow it to heat without charging. This presents a unique problem for me, as my setup is in an unheated shed in an area that can get down to -20C at night during the winter. I think I am just going to have to make sure there is enough solar production to keep the heaters going and the batteries over 0deg. I'll likely wrap the entire seplos case in 2" of EPS insulation.
I don't know why you would want to waste power to heat all night when you aren't charging?
 
Because in the morning I can't preheat the batteries before charging.
Preheating the batteries shouldn't take more than 30-45 minutes, even if they are cold soaked to -20C. Getting them to 2-5C shouldn't take very long.

Like you said though, lots of insulation will really help with that also. Don't forget the batteries will slightly self heat, so with enough insulation, they will keep themselves warm enough.
 
So presumably there is no grid power to keep them warm overnight? My DIY battery system has 2" of PIR insulation and just 21W of heaters keeps the 14.3kWh around 20C when it's -5C outside and they're only on 30% to 50% of the time.
Correct, it is an off-grid property. That is good to know about the efficiency of the insulation + heaters. I am hoping to need < 1KW a day to keep it heated, which sounds very doable.
Preheating the batteries shouldn't take more than 30-45 minutes, even if they are cold soaked to -20C. Getting them to 2-5C shouldn't take very long.

Like you said though, lots of insulation will really help with that also. Don't forget the batteries will slightly self heat, so with enough insulation, they will keep themselves warm enough.
See my previous comments. My current setup does not allow this (Seplos BMS with heating pads). There is no ability to heat the batteries without charging them.
 
See my previous comments. My current setup does not allow this (Seplos BMS with heating pads). There is no ability to heat the batteries without charging them.
I understand that. In the early morning when charge current is just starting to come up, you are loosing such a small amount of PV in that 30-45 minutes to heating, much less than if you heated the batteries ALL NIGHT, and insulating will make that time even shorter, or prevent it all together.
 
Others with the seplos BMS have confirmed, there is no combination of parameters that can be entered in the BMS to allow it to heat without charging. This presents a unique problem for me, as my setup is in an unheated shed in an area that can get down to -20C at night during the winter. I think I am just going to have to make sure there is enough solar production to keep the heaters going and the batteries over 0deg. I'll likely wrap the entire seplos case in 2" of EPS insulation.
What is your current solution to this problem?
Edit: nevermind. I see you just built the pack.
 
you are loosing such a small amount of PV in that 30-45 minutes to heating
Do we know it would be that quick? I've not been in a situation to test it, but would assume that the specific heat capacity and density of 16 x EVE 304Ah cells would take quite some time to raise their internal temperature by +5C :unsure:
 
I understand that. In the early morning when charge current is just starting to come up, you are loosing such a small amount of PV in that 30-45 minutes to heating, much less than if you heated the batteries ALL NIGHT, and insulating will make that time even shorter, or prevent it all together.
Am I missing something? My concern is that early in the morning I will be charging frozen batteries for a time.

See this post:

Which is my exact setup. It takes many hours to take the battery up 10deg C.
 
Do we know it would be that quick? I've not been in a situation to test it, but would assume that the specific heat capacity and density of 16 x EVE 304Ah cells would take quite some time to raise their internal temperature by +5C :unsure:

Or to lower it at night.

I'm not sure that maintaining battery temperature at night consumes much more than warming it back up in the morning. It is just a matter of that extra 5C delta T, and thermal resistance.

I'd think a few inches of foam would make heat loss negligibly low. For summer, need a manual or automatic vent opened.

While you're at it, raise not just 5 degrees but enough that the battery can comfortably accept the power you will have available. The curves for cold temperature charging dropped quite low, like 0.2C. I don't think many, if any, of you have charge current adjustable based on temperature.
 
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