Lithium iron phosphate batteries are popularly known for their long cycle life, and performance.
When people are on the lookout for durable batteries, Lifepo4 batteries is one of the first options, and that’s because compared to other batteries, it has a longer cycle life, lighter weight, and better safety performance.
This might obviously not be your first time hearing about Lifepo4 batteries and how they come highly recommended. But the question everyone is curious about is “how long does it last”, “do I need to get it replaced every month or on a yearly basis?”
In this article, we’ll answer your questions and even give you tips on how to store your Lifepo4 batteries to get the best performance out of them.
What Is a LiFepo4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) Battery?
Lithium iron phosphate battery is a type of lithium battery, but when compared to lead acid batteries it’s a better alternative in terms of performance and life expectancy.
LiFepo4 also known as lfp batteries are commonly used in golf carts and fishing boats. Over the years, it has gained popularity in consumer electronics, as some devices can use up to 16 lifepo4 cells.
How Long Does a Lifepo4 Battery Last?
Lifepo4 batteries can last 5 – 10 years when properly maintained. Note that, lithium-iron phosphate batteries last longer based on maintenance.
Generally speaking, to prevent poor performance, you need to avoid extreme overcharging or your battery will pack up sooner than expected.
How Many Cycles Do LiFePO4 Batteries Last?
Lifepo4 batteries have around 3000 – 5000 charge cycles at 80% depth of charge, which can’t be said for other lithium batteries. For example, lead acid batteries have 1000 charge cycles.
The term charge cycle refers to a fully charged battery that has been fully discharged and charged again.
However, keep in mind that there are certain factors that can either reduce or increase its charge cycles, and we’d discuss that soon.
Lifepo4 batteries have a shorter depletion rate, and while it’s certainly not the cheapest type of lithium-ion batteries, it’s a worthy investment.
What Are The Different Factors That Affect The Life Expectancy Of A Lithium Phosphate Battery?
Many factors can affect the performance and lifespan of your lifepo4 battery, but the main causes are the storage process, maintenance and frequent charging.
Understanding that the life span of your lithium iron phosphate batteries lies on you is one of the major reasons why you need to be intentional so you can enjoy its many advantages.
Typically, the longevity of a battery depends on how well it’s maintained, and Lifepo4 batteries are not any different.
Here are a few good care tips to prolong your Lifepo4 battery’s lifespan;
One of the major actions that damage any rechargeable battery is overcharging. Ideally, the absolute maximum voltage of lithium iron phosphate batteries is 4.2v, but you are only allowed to charge it up to 3.5v per cell so that the temperature of your battery is controlled.
Overcharging causes heat buildup and extreme overcharging can lead to a fire outbreak, so you might want to be extra careful.
An overcharged battery can be a result of incorrect installation of the battery’s system or lack of an efficient battery protection system.
To risk having shorter battery life, you need to store your lithium batteries in a cool environment. There’s a recommended storage temperature range for Lifepo4 batteries, and this means you need to adhere to the instruction to enjoy your battery in the long run.
High temperatures will alter with the capacity of your battery.
If you intend to store your battery for a long time, ensure the temperature is between -20 °C to 25 °C. When in storage for an extended period, there’s a possibility that your battery will self-discharge, and that’s why it’s important to always check on it after a month, so it doesn’t stay in a discharged state for too long.
Don’t Over Discharge
Over discharging a lifepo4 battery has almost the same effect as when you overcharge. The proper DoD range for a lithium iron phosphate battery is 70% unless in emergencies and extreme cases.
Your battery will have a long lifespan if it doesn’t deep discharge. When you over discharge, there’s a high chance you are causing damage to the cells, and when it gets to negative voltages, the battery health is no recoverable.
It’s recommended that you charge frequently and with shallower cycles.
With 12v batteries, using a low voltage cutoff prevents its voltage from going below 11.5v. Also, don’t let your lithium iron phosphate battery sit in its discharging state for too long, because you are reducing its lifespan.
Clean the Battery Terminals
The terminal bolts on your lithium iron battery are made of aluminum and copper, and with time, there’s the possibility of an oxide layer forming.
Dirty terminals can lead to poor conduction, thereby reducing the efficiency of your battery and causing premature failure.
Cleaning the terminals with a wire brush will help remove oxidation and this will in turn reduce heat buildup and greatly improve conduction.
Also, proper terminal mount is important in preserving a battery’s lifespan. You can check the information on the package of your lithium battery if you are unsure of the perfect terminal mount.
After about one to two months, check to see if the terminal bolts are still tight and in place. This is essential because if it’s loose it’ll cause heat generation.
How to Properly Store and Maintain A Lifepo4 Battery To Prolong Its Lifespan?
One of the most common causes of lithium iron phosphate battery failure is wrong storage. Store your batteries carefully, proper storage is the best way to prolong your battery’s health. On the other end, the lifespan of lifepo4 batteries is a determinant of the charging process, and also device maintenance.
To extend the lifespan of your battery, take these few steps;
- Always use the right chargers
- Don’t always keep your lifepo4 battery in a dominant state
- Ensure it’s been stored properly
- Reduce the use of power-hungry apps that drain battery life quickly
Read our guide for more maintenance tips to boost the capacity of lifepo4 batteries.
Lifepo4 batteries are made to be durable and are widely used for a lot of consumer electronics.
While it’s true that lifepo4 batteries cost more in the market, they are worth every penny. Whether you want a battery for normal use or heavy use, getting a lifepo4 battery is the best choice.
Not only is it safe to use, but it’s also designed with heavy users in mind. You can use it for hours without affecting the battery’s health, but you can’t say the same for lead-acid batteries.
If you wish for your lifepo4 battery to have a long lifespan, you must be mindful of its storage and charging, so the lifetime isn’t affected.
How Long Should A 100Ah LFP Battery Last?
The life of a 100Ah lithium iron phosphate battery is 25 to 50 hours, depending on the electronics it’s powering.