What is really going on with cells from China

Christopher B

New Member
How is your order going now?I am also planning to buy from them, but I am considering which product to choose
I bought the EVE280Ah LF280N last Wednesday. Today I have received their notice that the package has been shipped. I did not expect that they would send my package in just 5 days.
 

Edwarder

Solar Enthusiast
After being robbed 3 times, I would use a USA seller. it's easier and might cost a couple more bucks, but in the end it way cheaper. Good Luck.
Thank you very much for your advice, I will still consider Chinese supplier because they are the most original seller. thanks
 

Christopher B

New Member

Just John

Photon Sorcerer
Do you have link?

That's the vendor I have purchased and received true grade A cells from.
FYI, you must ALWAYS contact the vendor and get a true shipping price, the Alibaba estimate is always way off.

Please use this code: "DIYsolar" when placing an order.

Extra 2% off for all products,

free double busbars (including screws and washers),

free upgraded screws and nuts (for batteries with M6 Thread)


 
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SolarKimmy

Solar Enthusiast

That's the vendor I have purchased and received true grade A cells from.
FYI, you must ALWAYS contact the vendor and get a true shipping price, the Alibaba estimate is always way off.
Very True. There is something going on with cells now. I'm trying to figure it out and have got mixed responses from various vendors. Stay Tuned.
 

upnorthandpersonal

Administrator
just a rant on the process

International trade is difficult, even if we have systems like Incoterms. It's even more difficult when you have different languages and cultures that quickly lead to misunderstandings. Yes, there are crappy sellers out there, just as there are on eBay for example - however, as you all might know, I've ordered a ton of stuff out of China and other countries (and not just for this thing) but also professionally. The key is to find those sellers that are good and trustworthy. This takes time, effort and money. In the end you save money, but you exchange these savings in time and effort.

This is why this site is so helpful: you have a few of us who took a chance on many of these things. Sometimes we got burnt, sometimes we struck gold. We share those experiences on this forum in the hope to help others. You still have to do your own homework, but it's gotten a lot easier than even a year or so ago when we started with these cells, BMS, etc.
 

Drago

New Member
I have ordered cells on many times from China. The process is difficult, takes a lot of research and time, it's risky and can cost you a ton of money.
I have been successful on a few orders and got screwed on some too, but I do not trust any of the sellers, by any stretch. There are only about three major manufacturers of Prismatic cells in China. Lishen, EVE and CATL. Now, China has a huge thirst for these cells and a towering electric car, scooter, bike, industrial equipment and power demand and US companies are also going there to get batteries. CATL and now Tesla are in bed together. So the chances of you getting cells directly off the assembly line from one of these companies is impossible, at best, and you and I are microscopic small fry compared to billion dollar contracts.

So the recourse is this:
  • Find some Schmo in China that advertises on Alibaba or Ali Express. There are a ton of them.
  • Now, most, if not all, are trading companies. This means, they can be, and most are, someone selling similar to the equivalent of Ebay here in the USA.
  • You can find this out by asking technical questions that they won't or cannot answer. Also look up their address and most are an apartment in some high-rise slum and not in a manufacturing district.
  • Find out if they have stock.. They will lie to you on every occasion to get a sale. This can be difficult. Many will slip up on their answers.
  • Check if you can use your own shipping broker. Most will say no.
  • You have to be ultra diligent on placing the order and what costs and fees will be dumped on top of it. Get your shipping terms correct. If the seller can save money by omitting some delivery terms or custom fees, they will do it and you will get stuck with the bill to get your stuff to your doorstep.
  • Now after all that and you think you can trust your order, you place it and wait..... Wait... and wait..
What happens once the order is placed.....
  1. They have to get the cells together, box them and do their paperwork to get them out the apartment door. Takes about ten days.
  2. A local freight forwarder middle man picks them up and gets them to a rail station. More paperwork and more time to unload, sort, wait and load.
  3. Rail station gets them to the port. More paperwork and time to unload, sort wait, transport and load into containers. These containers then have to be lifted by cranes onto a big frigging boat.
  4. Boat waits for it's loading and passage orders and confirmation to leave. Captain has a large drink and sets sail.
  5. Boat flounders across the the Ocean for an average of 30 days.
  6. Boat sits outside of Long Beach Harbor for several days to be ushered in due to a back load of sea shipments that is currently happening.
  7. Boat docks and has to get unloaded. More time, sorting, transporting of containers to the forwarding and customs brokers.
  8. Your container is unloaded and sorted and has to be processed thru customs.
  9. Once all this is done, and it's not an Amazon conveyor belt, they are forwarded to the local Fed Ex, UPS or whatever you contracted for delivery.
  10. Local delivery can happen. 1-7 days more.
Now the fun starts! What did I get in the end?

Now it's time to inspect your delivery. Were the packages damaged after 45-60 days of being drop kicked across the ocean?
Open each box and see what is inside. Do they physically show damage, are they used cells? Are they what they promised?
Test each cell, like I do for voltage and capacity. Are they what they said they were?

Folks, this is a long process with no guarantees. You have very little recourse if things go haywire and if you have to go back to the seller after 50 days (if they are still there). There are always paypal and credit card guarantees, but this is lengthy and tiresome and requires more work and documentation. If Amazon did business in this way and time frame, they would be long gone. It's a total crap shoot. It's like walking into a casino, placing a bet on the table, then leaving for 45-60 days and coming back to see if the casino is still there, what happened to your money or the return on your bet, if any, or if the cards were even dealt.

So that sums up are my thoughts on purchasing Chinese Cells from China. I'm looking for solutions. I have a contact in China and we are talking about having him do all the leg work there, since he speaks the language.
I have also ran into USA sellers that are straight up, have done all the hard work but they tend to be more expensive, but you get your product is a week in the USA with complete recourse and guarantees. In the meantime, it keeps your out of the casino!
This is a true and and comprehensive description of all problems with Chinese sellers. But..who does not risk does not profit isn't ?. It's not all so black. If you are careful, have a knowledge you can get a good products for little money. But the fact remains that are a risky transactions.
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
Well Transactions with ANY online merchant require Due Diligence regardless of where they are.
The "Membership" experiences here are a Very Valuable tool to determine Good Vendor or Bad Vendor.

Yet, how many people go off and find a vendor get a "great Price" order them and then AFTER THE FACT come here and ask if it's a good Vendor ? A tad Back Asswards but folks are doing it... No different that some guy going out and ordering a Renogy Kit without ANY Clue about the company, products or anything Solar because they ASSUME things and then hit the hard wall of reality. When they realize they made a "goof" they get angry, defensive and then all of a sudden "Solar is Bogus, No Good and yadda yadda"... Of course everything has to go together in < 10 Minutes or it's all bunk of course.
 
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