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TimeUSB 140Ah LiFePO4 tested capacity and concerns

Flyview

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Hi everyone!

I just bought two of these TimeUSB 140Ah LiFePO4 batteries to replace my two 10 year old 100Ah LiFePO4 with no BMS (no protections).

Has anyone on here got the same battery? They use pouch cells and are about the size of a regular 100Ah with prismatic cells. I did my best to test the capacity with a (cheap) shunt and battery monitor I've had for years. My first test came out at ~172Ah for the first battery and ~180Ah for the second. I went and bought a hall sensor DC clamp meter and "calibrated" my little battery monitor at 50A and ran the test again at about 50A discharge rate, with the batteries both hooked up in parallel this time, and got about 325Ah or ~162Ah each. Is it possible that they are that much over rated capacity? I will be getting a Victron battery monitor soon and run a hopefully more accurate test.

One concern I have is that the new batteries don't seem to have any "absorption" time and actually turn off when they are fully charged. As soon as they hit 14.5-14.6V they stop accepting charge. Then something weird happens: the batteries will provide some voltage but not what you would expect. If you put on a small load, the voltage drops pretty quickly from 13.6V to something like 13.1V and eventually the battery will come back online and go back up to 13.7V and start discharging normally. I don't have much experience with batteries that have a BMS. Is this normal? In practice this isn't the best behavior because when the batteries are in their "off" state after fully charging, the solar charge controller is powering everything directly and my fridge makes the voltage jump all over the place from 13.8V to 15V as it tries to maintain a 14.4V absorption voltage. Should I turn off absorption altogether? Even with absorption off there will be a gap in time from when the batteries turn off from being fully charged until they start supplying their 13.6V under float conditions. Thoughts?
 
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I expect a quality battery to be 5-10% over rated. This gives the manufacturer some wiggle room on end of life by having more "ah" to lose before the 70-80% rated capacity is hit.

Charging to 14.5-14.6V requires cells to be in near perfect balance. This is rare for new batteries. They were made at least 90 days ago, and they had to ship at < 30% charge to meet hazmat requirements.

The odd voltage behavior you observe is typical of some batteries. When the BMS hits over-voltage protection, some report a false low voltage and then revert to actual when a load > XA is applied.

Recommend you set absorption to 13.8V and float to 13.5V. If you can set the absorption period, limit it to 2 hours. After awhile, the cells will eventually balance out allowing faster charges to higher voltages, or you can leave it at 13.8 and potentially experience improved cycle life.

Since you're pulling > rated capacity (subject to confirmation with Victron shunt), it's a pretty minor imbalance.
 
Thanks for the advice! So it was one of the inner cell voltages getting too high at the 14V+ voltage causing the shut down, but if the cells were better balanced it would remain on into the higher charging voltage. That's good to hear. Assuming the cells are perfectly balanced, would leaving them charging at say 14.4V never trigger a cell over voltage protection? I suppose if you don't care too much about the speed of charge, absorption at 13.8V would still fill up the cells?

What is a BMS doing in order to balance the cells, and why does it take so much time? I figured it was always balancing them, so I don't understand why they would be out of balance just by sitting for 3 months.

Sorry for all the questions! I'm very interested in understand how things work.
 
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Thanks for the advice! So it was one of the inner cell voltages getting too high at the 14V+ voltage causing the shut down, but if the cells were better balanced it would remain on into the higher charging voltage. That's good to hear. Assuming the cells are perfectly balanced, would leaving them charging at say 14.4V never trigger a cell over voltage protection?

Yes, but you never want to hold them at 14.4V indefinitely. It will degrade the cells.

I suppose if you don't care too much about the speed of charge, absorption at 13.8V would still fill up the cells?

I got to 99.7% @ 13.6V, but it took a long time:


What is a BMS doing in order to balance the cells, and why does it take so much time?

Most BMS have very small resistors that burn off excess charge (passive balancing). The current tends to be very low, like 0.035 - 0.070A, so it can take a very long time to bring them into balance. This typically only happens when cells rise above about 3.40V (some may require higher) where the voltage curve is accelerating upwards. The time batteries actually spend in this condition can be very limited.

More expensive BMS use active balancing where charge is MOVED from higher voltage cells to lower voltage cells.

I figured it was always balancing them, so I don't understand why they would be out of balance just by sitting for 3 months.

In the operating range (about 3.0-3.4V/cell), the voltage curve vs. SoC is very flat, so there tends to be very little cell voltage difference except when near full charge or near empty. Example:

1714685273163.png

Balancing in the mid range can actually be counter-productive as all cells might have slightly different voltage to SoC relationships, and it could make the balance at the top worse.

In your application, balance only matters at 100% charge. That's how you maximize your capacity.
 
So I got a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor and the battery capacity tested at 290Ah, a far cry from the 350Ah I had found previously.

I've been discharging and charging the batteries now with normal use with the absorption voltage at 13.9V. They've had maybe 12+ hours combined of absorption around 13.85 -13.9V. I haven't seen them shutting off at this absorption voltage. However, it is still happening around 14V. How long does balancing take? I guess it's hard to say because we don't know the details of the BMS. I don't really mind keeping the absorption voltage lower, but it would be nice to know they won't shut off if I forget to turn off my alternator charging when they are close to full.

Is it possible they have some sort of "shut off when full" programming and not only based on an internal cell overvoltage? That would be bad since it would mean they would eventually shut off even at lower absorption voltages.

I've been emailing back and forth with TimeUSB to see what they have to say about this, but haven't really gotten anywhere with that yet.
 
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So I got a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor and the battery capacity tested at 290Ah, a far cry from the 350Ah I had found previously.

Bummer. Hopefully, it's just imbalance.

I've been discharging and charging the batteries now with normal use with the absorption voltage at 13.9V. They've had maybe 12+ hours combined of absorption around 13.85 -13.9V. I haven't seen them shutting off at this absorption voltage. However, it is still happening around 14V. How long does balancing take?

A good guess is 1Ah/24h of balancing. Most passive balance currents are in the 30-70mA range. So, you've potentially recovered 0.5Ah of capacity @ 12h.

This battleborn user that didn't fully charge his batteries for 3 years had to hold his batteries at 14.XV for quite awhile, but I think Battleborn balances at higher currents. Select posts:



Is it possible they have some sort of "shut off when full" programming and not only based on an internal cell overvoltage? That would be bad since it would mean they would eventually shut off even at lower absorption voltages.

Most have a total voltage shut off, but it's 4X the cell voltage shut off.

I've been emailing back and forth with TimeUSB to see what they have to say about this, but haven't really gotten anywhere with that yet.

Good luck!
 
Bummer. Hopefully, it's just imbalance.



A good guess is 1Ah/24h of balancing. Most passive balance currents are in the 30-70mA range. So, you've potentially recovered 0.5Ah of capacity @ 12h.

Well that's still over rated capacity (280Ah) so 290Ah is fine. I mainly just want to make sure everything is working as intended and I could charge to 14.4V if I wanted to.

Alright so it could potentially just take a lot more time in absorption to fully balance the cells and slowly move up in allowed charged voltage before the shut down.
 
Well that's still over rated capacity (280Ah) so 290Ah is fine. I mainly just want to make sure everything is working as intended and I could charge to 14.4V if I wanted to.

Alright so it could potentially just take a lot more time in absorption to fully balance the cells and slowly move up in allowed charged voltage before the shut down.

wait... I hope that's a typo.... You said 350Ah... did you maybe mean 305Ah?
 
wait... I hope that's a typo.... You said 350Ah... did you maybe mean 305Ah?

No, each battery is rated at 140Ah. I had measured about 170-175Ah for each battery with my old battery monitor, which I figured was probably incorrect but the Victron battery monitor confirmed it.

Balancing should still be happening if the absorption slows down to like 2W after an hour at 13.9V?
 
No, each battery is rated at 140Ah. I had measured about 170-175Ah for each battery with my old battery monitor, which I figured was probably incorrect but the Victron battery monitor confirmed it.

So you measured 170-175Ah per battery with the Victron shunt?

Balancing should still be happening if the absorption slows down to like 2W after an hour at 13.9V?

Generally speaking, yes.
 

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