The longevity of LiFePO4 lithium batteries in RVs, travel vans, camper vans, and motorhomes is becoming increasingly of a concern to campers. The LiFePO4 battery is an essential component of the complete power system, from charging and storing to discharging, as it is the primary power storage device for RVs. Therefore, maintaining a longer battery life has emerged as a primary concern for a better outdoor experience. What elements can therefore shorten the life of a lithium-ion battery?
What Influences the Lifespan of Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery?
Lithium iron phosphate is a material for modern high performance lithium ion batteries and its lifetime is affected by many factors, including temperature. The effect of temperature on lithium iron phosphate is complex.
Some possible effects are listed here:
1.1 High temperature can accelerate the rate of chemical reactions within the battery, reducing its life and safety. Especially during charging, high temperatures can promote degradation of the cathode material, leading to a decrease in battery capacity and an increase in internal resistance.
1.2 Low temperature will reduce the discharge capacity of the battery, as lithium ions are difficult to diffuse at low temperatures. In addition, low temperatures can cause phase changes in the lithium titanite on the negative electrode, which can reduce the discharge capacity of the battery.
1.3 Changes in temperature can lead to thermal expansion and contraction of the cathode and cathode materials, resulting in a concentration of stress within the battery and thus accelerating battery ageing.
The right operating temperature is important for the life and performance of LiFePO4 batteries. Starlight LiFePO4 batteries can operate over a temperature range of -20℃ to 60℃, with ideal storage temperatures between 10℃ and 35℃.
2. Charging and Discharging Methods
The method of charging and discharging a lithium battery can directly affect its lifespan. The following are some of the possible effects:
2.1 Charge rate: If a lithium iron phosphate battery is charged at too fast a rate, it will generate abnormal heat, which will shorten the life of the battery.
2.2 Depth of discharge: the greater the depth of discharge of a LiFePO4 battery, the lower the capacity and cycle life of the battery will be.
2.3 Number of charge/discharge and cycle times: each charge/discharge will cause a certain amount of wear and tear, so the more frequently it is charged and discharged, the shorter the life of the battery will be.
Therefore, use a compatible charger to provide the correct voltage and current to the battery and avoid overcharging or undercharging. In addition, minimising deep discharge and maintaining a moderate depth of discharge (DOD) will help to extend the life of the battery. Properly controlled charging and discharging methods can extend the life of LiFePO4 batteries.
3. Cycle Life
For lithium iron phosphate batteries, their cycle life is influenced by a number of factors, including:
3.1 Depth of charge and discharge: depth of charge and discharge refers to the ratio of the electrical energy stored or released by the battery to the battery capacity in each cycle.Excessive depth of charge and discharge will lead to an irreversible increase in the internal chemical reaction of the battery, which will accelerate the ageing of the battery and reduce the cycle life of the battery.
3.2 Charging current and charging cut-off voltage: Charging current and charging cut-off voltage is one of the important factors affecting the cycle life of lithium iron phosphate batteries. Too high a charging current or too high a charging cut-off voltage can lead to uncontrolled chemical reactions within the battery, thus shortening the cycle life of the battery.
3.3 Temperature: The cycle life of a battery is also influenced by the ambient temperature. High temperatures can promote internal chemical reactions, thus shortening the battery's life.
In summary, cycle life is one of the important factors affecting the life of lithium iron phosphate batteries, and the main factors affecting the cycle life include the depth of charge and discharge, charge current and charge cut-off voltage, and temperature. Therefore, in the use of lithium iron phosphate batteries should pay attention to control these factors in order to extend the cycle life of the battery. To solve this problem, Starlight has developed an automatic balancing technology in their BMS that maximizes the capacity of multiple cells connected in series to extend battery life.
4. Storage Conditions
Storage conditions are one of the most important factors affecting the lifetime of lithium batteries. The following factors are discussed as influencing factors:
4.1 Temperature: High temperature will accelerate the self-discharge and chemical reaction of LiFePO4 batteries, reducing the electrochemical performance and life of the battery. The recommended storage temperature is 15°C - 25°C.
4.2 Humidity: Excessive humidity tends to lead to accelerated chemical reactions within the battery and corrosion of electrode materials, thus reducing the battery life. Therefore, the recommended storage environment should be below 60% relative humidity.
4.3 Light: Direct sunlight will cause the battery temperature to rise, which in turn will lead to oxidation and evaporation of the lithium iron phosphate battery, thus reducing the battery life. Therefore, the battery should be stored in an environment that is protected from light.
4.4 Charge and discharge state: prolonged storage of the battery in a fully charged or empty state will cause the electrode material to gradually decompose, crack and detach from the electrode, thus reducing the battery life. It is recommended that lithium iron phosphate batteries be stored at 40%-60% charge.
The batteries should be recharged every three months to prolong their life. In addition, the consistency of the battery pack is crucial, as the LiFePO4 cells used in caravans are usually made up of several cells connected in series and parallel. Maintaining the consistency of the cells is another important factor in the overall life of the battery.
How to extend the service life of LiFePO4 batteries？
1. Avoid overcharging and discharging;
2. Maintain suitable working temperature;
3. Store it at a 50% charge level and recharge every three months;
4. Choose the best charger;
5. Use the battery appropriately;
6. Regular maintenance: regularly check the status of LiFePO4 battery, the number of charge and discharge and the power level, and do battery maintenance and repair in time.
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