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Forum Index : Wanted : LiPo batteries

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shallowal
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Joined: 26/07/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 47
Posted: 11:17pm 11 Feb 2020
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I am starting from scratch for my off grid system and trying to find batteries at a reasonable price. I know of EVPower and EVworks but their prices seem very high when compared to the Chinese suppliers on Alibaba etc.
So a general question: Where do people on this forum get Lithium batteries from?.

I found a supplier on Ebay that is based in Melbourne, but I'm not at all sure that they are legit and when spending $1000's one needs to be sure.

Any advice, comment, disparaging remark   welcome. At some point I'll either find a solution or accept the reality of the cost of batteries.
Allan
 
Gizmo

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Joined: 05/06/2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4804
Posted: 12:16am 12 Feb 2020
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I recently started watching the youtube videos of this fella Will Prowse https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoj6RxIAQq8kmJme-5dnN0Q

He goes into making battery banks using LiFePO4 battery cells. The LiFePO4 100Ah cells are common and I've seen them for around $170 to $200 per cell. He buys his cells from various retailers and reviews them, so that may help you.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

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Solar Mike
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Joined: 08/02/2015
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 641
Posted: 03:39am 12 Feb 2020
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Good place to start are the EV conversion outfits, google finds them easy enough, here is one that published battery costs OZDiy and Battery Prices

The larger Lifepo4 cells are probably easier to use, safer too.

Cheers
Mike
Edited 2020-02-12 13:40 by Solar Mike
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 502
Posted: 04:04am 12 Feb 2020
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You probably already have your mind set on the lithium's but if I were going off grid, I'd be sticking to lead acid batteries and sourcing them from forklift packs. These seem to be the most economical and certainly have the capacity and lifespan.

Everything I read says they are far more tolerant of misuse than Lipos and it only takes one muck up with lipos which everyone does at the start, to kill them.

Far as I'm aware, lithium's have no scrap value where as lead acid are worth good money at end of life.

LA certainly isn't the trendy new kid on the block but they are tried and true, reliable and the most tolerant of abuse.
 
shallowal
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Joined: 26/07/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 47
Posted: 05:15am 12 Feb 2020
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Thanks Guys,
I had a quick look at the video Glenn, and saw that it's American so didnt go very far with it. I am quite comfortable with building a pack from prismatic cells, or even going through the mind numbing task of building up a pack with 18650 etc.
Thanks for the link to the EV conversion places Mike, that will be useful when I get around to re-powering my ride on lawnmower, but the battery prices are still very high.
Thanks Davo, I have sent a request to a forklift battery supplier in Sydney, so will see where that leads. You are right in saying that I was thinking of the Lithium solution as the only one, but maybe I have stars in my eyes ATM and Lead in my feet might be more appropriate :).
Allan
Allan
 
ryanm
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Joined: 25/09/2015
Location: Australia
Posts: 148
Posted: 06:22am 12 Feb 2020
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I've had good pricing on small sized cells from Master Instruments Pty Ltd. Don't know how they scale up with larger ones. Worth a try. No online pricing though, you'll have to get a quote. Make sure you don't get a pre-made pack with BMS, they have issues when you serial them for 48V.

Agree with Davo. You can get crazy good prices on used forklift packs. Some members have been using them for years no issues. I would look at forlift service places rather than battery suppliers.
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 502
Posted: 08:23am 12 Feb 2020
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  shallowal said  

that will be useful when I get around to re-powering my ride on lawnmower, but the battery prices are still very high.
Allan


I recently saw a demo of a new Ryobi electric Ride on.
Was was very surprised at how quiet it was NOT. Sure, moves around silently but like an electric aeroplane, those blades whirling round make the majority of the racket when the thing is actually mowing.

I also think they would be pretty weak compared to a conventional  ride on. The grass it was cutting was obviously not too long for the demo but others also observed it seemed to bog easily.  When overloaded it cuts power to the blades and you have to go back, re engage and go over again more slowly.  Having used electric chainsaws which I think are great, I know it takes a lot to bog an electric and once you do the things are really at their limit.

I only have 1 acre and they are supposed to be able to do 2 but I think that would be under their specified conditions which may differ somewhat from my reality.

I have looked at electric many times for several things and I just can't justify the prices. Even building a mower I believe would require a substantial investment.

If you are interested in any environmental angle, I bought a Kubota Ride on a few months ago that has a 3 Cyl 21 HP Diesel engine. First thought when I saw the electric Cutting was that it was barely quieter than the kubota and the Kubota has a Much larger cut, almost double,  that would make for  more blade noise.

I have been running it on used veg oil and I see no difference in the twice I ran it on Diesel. Yes, I will have to give it an oil change once in a while as the favourite defence of anything electric but other than that, I can't see a lot of difference in the maintence between that and the electric.  Kubota is shaft driven rather than belt so that's an huge advantage and a Maintenance reduction right there.

I do wonder about battery life in an electric mower like that. They have a 3 Yr warranty but I wouldn't like to be replacing one at the 5 yr mark. I think any cost savings in maintence over a conventional mower would be right out the door. Looking at what small OEM batteries cost for power tools, I can't see a mower size battery being at all cheap.

My father is looking at upgrading his John Deere and I took him to the local Kubota dealership. He was very impressed, I think the suspension seat alone was a big plus with his bad back and I can see us making a return Visit to pick one up in the near future. It will either be the mower or a BX mini tractor with a Mower deck and Bucket. The other thing he noted and is very different to the Ryobi,  is the Kubota is built like a tractor where the Ryobi is built like a go kart and most others are built like Mowers.  The kubota would definitely be better on his rural block.

All that said, I'd be very interested to see a costing for the electrical parts for a conversion. Every time I look at electrical parts I nearly feint. I like the idea of electric but I sure don't like the prices of components!
Kubotas aren't cheap but given how well mine goes and it's 30 years old, probably the last mower many of us would need.

If mine does fall over, I know what I'll be replacing it with..... Unless kubota come out with an electric mower, preferably a Diesel electric!  :0)

Let us know how you go with the forklift batterys and the Lipos. A cost/ capacity report would be very interesting.
 
Gizmo

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Joined: 05/06/2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4804
Posted: 02:20am 13 Feb 2020
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  Davo99 said  You probably already have your mind set on the lithium's but if I were going off grid, I'd be sticking to lead acid batteries and sourcing them from forklift packs. These seem to be the most economical and certainly have the capacity and lifespan.

Everything I read says they are far more tolerant of misuse than Lipos and it only takes one muck up with lipos which everyone does at the start, to kill them.

Far as I'm aware, lithium's have no scrap value where as lead acid are worth good money at end of life.

LA certainly isn't the trendy new kid on the block but they are tried and true, reliable and the most tolerant of abuse.


Yeah I agree. I'm yet to be convinced of the value of using Lithium over good old lead acid for off grid power where space and weight are not a issue. I'm on my second set of lead acids, and I got good money for the old set when I took them to the scrap metal merchant.
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

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Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 502
Posted: 05:10am 13 Feb 2020
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I was talking to a couple a few weeks back whom until recently ran a dairy farm and were off grid.  I know nothing of their setup other than they have had it a long time and have 2Kw of solar panels. Before that I believe they had several wind turbines and a very small solar setup due to cost.

One told me they have had their current batteries 14 years and the other thought it was over 16. Good numbers either way .  They said their previous set had lasted them about 20 years.

The bloke said he keeps a good eye on them but doesen't actually do much to them. Said he tops up the watering system about every 3 months and that's it.

I was talking to the scrappy yesterday when I got some used panels. He said the owner of the company that does the installs was telling him they are starting to see the tesla power wall batteries starting to puff up and having to replace them.

I haven't read of this anywhere but then again I think Tesla batteries are pretty much a con so I don't pay much attention to anything to do with them.

It would be interesting to find out how much the scrappy are paying for large batteries and what that effectively reduces the cost of a replacement pack.
From what I got for car batteries a while back and what I have seen the forklift packs for, I'm thinking there is a pretty decent offset cost there.
 
Davo99
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Posted: 06:55am 13 Feb 2020
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Curiosity got the better of me....

Rang some scrap yards and got a price of 60-70C Kg for scrap batteries.

Looked up a 775 Ah battery @ 48V which is 37 Kwh. Halve that for battery longevity and call it 18 Kwh.

Price was $2600. Weight is 1100KG. That is currently $770 in scrap value. Of course I'd expect this to rise somewhat in the minimum 10 years life one would expect the battery to last. Bit of an investment in itself.

In any case, that would make the real cost of the battery now $1830.

Don't know what lithium works out at but it sure beats the hell out of a 13 KWH tesla battery for $15K even if you do have to buy an inverter charger for the forklift pack.
Plenty of those available now for under a grand for a  6 KW unit.

At that price you could have 2 battery packs and 4 Inverter chargers for spares!  
Also make a good Diesel generator affordable for those fortnights of wet weather or you could go a cheaper genny and more ( used) panels.

It's certainly getting very Viable for people to go off grid.  With the 20 Kw of panels I have installed ( and plenty of room for another 10Kw Minimum) Plus my multiple generators and engines, that sort of cost wouldn't take long to repay.

I remember as a kid getting old car batteries from the back of local servos to get money for scrap.  Took them home and filled them as full as we could get them with sand and then water. They were plenty heavy batteries for their size!  :0)
 
johnmc
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Joined: 21/01/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 197
Posted: 12:21pm 13 Feb 2020
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Good Day All

Davo99 where can you buy these batteries?

Must be used a used battery,
Scrap metal buyer offered 40 cents per kilo last week.

Looked up a 775 Ah battery @ 48V which is 37 Kwh. Halve that for battery longevity and call it 18 Kwh.

Price was $2600. Weight is 1100KG.

I have 900 a/h 2v by 24 (48v) flooded lead acid batteries, new cost 5 years ago $9000 dollars
price is still about $9000 dollars.

Cheers john
johnmc
 
shallowal
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Joined: 26/07/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 47
Posted: 01:41am 14 Feb 2020
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The mower I have is an old commercial 72 inch Toro with a 3cyl Mitsubishi diesel. It still runs, but needs a major overhaul of the motor and drive system. I havent looked into the feasibilities at all, but was thinking of a couple of drive motors similar to that used in small car conversions and a battery pack with about a 1 hour operation range.
The current engine is rated at 15HP/11Kw, so a 10KWh battery or thereabouts.

I didnt know that there were any electric rideon mowers, but I looked at the Ryobi videos on youtube and it looks like a pretty poor excuse for a mower.

I have a few other higher priority tasks ATM so we'll see what the future holds :).
Allan
 
Davo99
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Joined: 03/06/2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 502
Posted: 04:32am 14 Feb 2020
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  shallowal said  

I havent looked into the feasibilities at all, but was thinking of a couple of drive motors similar to that used in small car conversions and a battery pack with about a 1 hour operation range.


I believe the motors and batteries won't be cheap but I think costs really start getting away when you look at controllers and relays and wiring etc to make them all play together.

Money aside, electric does seem to give one the ability to dial in significant power levels with much better packaging than an IC would need. I'd sure like to see some Vids of a home built electric mower that had some real grunt.

I very briefly looked at doing an electric small tractor with electric motors driving diffs front and back but it was quickly apparent that was going to quickly get beyond  what I could justify on the idea. Also appears there is a lot of programming of controllers to be done as well which I have no knowledge of either.

  Quote  The current engine is rated at 15HP/11Kw, so a 10KWh battery or thereabouts.


I think you'd want to go bigger than that.  You'll never get 100% capacity and the more you pull out of any battery the shorter the life.  Maybe 15 Kwh would be a wiser and more practical size for what you want.

  Quote  I didnt know that there were any electric rideon mowers, but I looked at the Ryobi videos on youtube and it looks like a pretty poor excuse for a mower.


Haha!

In fairness it seems to be built to at least the standard of a lot of hardware store and lower end rideons. I think it would suit a lot of people round me that only have toy petrol mowers anyway. Their lawns are smooth, mowed if they get over an inch high, never see a stick or a stone, usually resemble bowling greens and would simply be light duty for any mower.

I think the Ryobi would be OK in this application as seem to be a lot of the other built to a price rather than a standard machines that I see a lot of people with around here.  Cub Cadet also do an electric mower. It's a 30" job and looks more fragile than the Ryobi by far.  There is also an American made Zero turn machine that is made for commercial use and has the grunt and the longevity.

It looks quite good and robust and would probably be good for councils and golf courses that want to look trendy and green and have plenty of money to write off as tax dodges etc or claim as some sort of environmental credit.

My old Kubota sure isn't the newest or fanciest or most expensive  mower in the neighbourhood But when all the blokes get out at once mowing their lawns as they seem to do, I know my old Kubota is King of the neighbour hood and makes all those single ( and twin ) cylinder petrol things look and sound pretty weak in comparison!
I'm sure you know the feeling! :0)

My next door neighbour Keeps telling me, " You can't beat a Johhny Deere" but he sure asks a LOT of questions about my old Kubota!  :0)

I also seem to recall him telling me that the new one he bought 6 Months ago isn't nearly as good as the 20 YO one. That's Probably why the old one gets 2-3 outings a week and the new one I have seen used once!
 
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