Longest in-service CATL/EVE Al-cased cells?

bdl

Ben
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May 4, 2020
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I'm about to bite the bullet on 16 x 202Ah cells from Luyuan (Amy, redirected from Xuba; have been quoted 72.90 ea. + 214 shipping to AU, total USD 1380). Amy has stated these are CATL cells.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has been operating a bank of these ubiquitous blue-shrink-wrapped Aluminium/Aluminum-cased cells for any significant period of time - a year or more?

If so, do you know with confidence the manufacturer of your cells? Unlike all the hard-plastic-cased cells (CALB, Sinopoly, etc) where those manufacturers have fairly distinct products and publish detailed datasheets/etc, and where there are myriad published records of people running these for years, it seems impossible to tell who made what when it comes to the Al-cased cells, with few long-term reports.


I'm guessing that in practice most of these Al-cased cells originate in a small number of manufacturers. CATL and EVE appear to be amongst the larger players - EVE has a market cap of USD 15B, CATL about USD 62B. CATL, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited are apparently the world's third largest provider of EV, HEV and PHEV battery solutions. They are many orders of magnitude too big to be dealing with the likes of DIYers, and a simple Google search or three doesn't dig up any datasheet or hint of information on the range of cells they make. I have found reference to a CATL 201Ah Lithium LFP Battery Module (EVLithium), the specs on that battery match up with the specs Amy provided for the cells. I'm guessing - hoping - that these "CATL" cells are some sort of factory surplus / seconds with only superficial issues (e.g. cosmetic).

So if you have first-hand experience in operating any kind of Al-cased cell over time, or identifying same, I'd love to hear about it!
 
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Michael B Caro

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May 21, 2020
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1,197
I'm about to bite the bullet on 16 x 202Ah cells from Luyuan (Amy, redirected from Xuba; have been quoted 72.90 ea. + 214 shipping to AU, total USD 1380). Amy has stated these are CATL cells.

I'd like to hear from anyone who has been operating a bank of these ubiquitous blue-shrink-wrapped Aluminium/Aluminum-cased cells for any significant period of time - a year or more?

If so, do you know with confidence the manufacturer of your cells? Unlike all the hard-plastic-cased cells (CALB, Sinopoly, etc) where those manufacturers have fairly distinct products and publish detailed datasheets/etc, and where there are myriad published records of people running these for years, it seems impossible to tell who made what when it comes to the Al-cased cells, with few long-term reports.


I'm guessing that in practice most of these Al-cased cells originate in a small number of manufacturers. CATL and EVE appear to be amongst the larger players - EVE has a market cap of USD 15B, CATL about USD 62B. CATL, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited are apparently the world's third largest provider of EV, HEV and PHEV battery solutions. They are many orders of magnitude too big to be dealing with the likes of DIYers, and a simple Google search or three doesn't dig up any datasheet or hint of information on the range of cells they make. I have found reference to a CATL 201Ah Lithium LFP Battery Module (EVLithium), the specs on that battery match up with the specs Amy provided for the cells. I'm guessing - hoping - that these "CATL" cells are some sort of factory surplus / seconds with only superficial issues (e.g. cosmetic).

So if you have first-hand experience in operating any kind of Al-cased cell over time, or identifying same, I'd love to hear about it!

I do not know about those cells, but one seller has informed me that the reasonably priced EVE 280a cells available are not really A cells...including what he is selling. He says that true A cells are far higher in price. What he is selling (he can get the more expensive ones but does not recommend it as the value is better with the cheaper cells) are A- cells, which are 279ah and not the full 280ah. Now I have seen a lot of people testing cells and saying they test anywhere from 279ah to 284ah, so I do not know if this guy is correct and those here testing them are off a bit on their results or what is going on. I do know that 1ah is not worth the extra $200 to $300 per cell...if in fact that is what it takes to get A cells instead of A- cells.
 
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Dzl

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As a first step towards differentiating the different blue aluminum cells (I've identified 7 brands so far), have a look at my LiFePO4 Prismatic Cell Index. Its a work in progress and I'm no expert so there are bound to be things I've overlooked or misinterpreted in my research, but its a decent starting place. If you look closely (particularly at the terminals and vent, and qr placement), you can identify minor differences between the cells, what I'm not sure about is how universal these differences are (i.e. are they uniform across all capacities, versions, models?).
 

bdl

Ben
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
31
@Michael B Caro - Amy@Luyuan also noted these are A- cells, "intact performance parameters, but there may be a little flaw in appearance" (I appreciate the honesty - and from her perspective, not having customers disappointed when the cells arrive is important). I completely agree that for my use case (and I expect for many here), we don't need the highest performing cells. For example, most CATL product seems aimed to large capacity and high load batteries for vehicles - I bet there are plenty of cells coming off the production line that don't meet those standards one way or another (e.g. impedance) but will work perfectly fine in a solar storage system. Hopefully for many years, fingers-crossed :)

@Dzl - that's an excellent resource, thanks! (should be pinned - using the forum search for CATL doesn't return that page?! Or perhaps move to the wiki, so it can be updated properly?). I'd like to add a section on longevity - as in reports where said cells have been in service for some time.
 
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