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Old 08-11-2016, 06:09   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2
Low effort implementing of LiFePo4 bank?

Greetings,

I was caught by circumstances where I'm out on the road in my motor home with dead leisure battery awaiting for arrival of 4X 3.2 160Ah Winston LiFePO4 pack that I need to incorporate in my van electrical installation.
For las couple days I'm on study spree trying to figure it out best technology and equipment for installing my bank.
As many people i found myself confused by contradicting information and complexity of this subject also tripped on getting through 100pages LiFePO4 thread on this forum. Hence I thought I'll simply ask for help so I could stay "afloat"

So what I need.. is basically charge this thing without damaging cells or alternator (at this moment I care about bank and alternator safety more then optimal reach of SOC). Primary I use 2 energy sources, alternator and 150W (later 450W) PV panels. However at present I'm in UK and I'm mainly focused at putting alternator to maximum use.
Presently I've been using cheap and dirty split charge starter to domestic via 40amp relay triggered by D+ (with additional manual switch to disconect relay) no diodes were installed which i know was bad.

Eventually I'd want to use this LFP 160Ah bank for shared purpose as van and domestic battery (I am aware and accepting consequences of this scenario but I'm desperate for weight and believe this can simplify system.) However ATM I want to buy some time while deciding or storage location ensuring optimal condition for battery (more about it later). For now I'm courius which charge route should I go now and what's the consequences?

1. Dropping in my bank, into existing (cheap and dirty) system. My alternator gives only 14.4V the run to domestic battery is about 4meters long via 6AWG copper cables.
I'm already experiencing about 0.4v drop. I take that LFP will fry relay straight away? Should I upgrade this to more complex split relay system with higher current and diodes (hence further voltage drop) will this installation still achieve reasonable high current of charging (say 40-60amps) and reaching up around 80% SOC?
2. Employing some advanced form of charging via dc to dc chargers or alternator to battery chargers?

However I don't really want to go down this route as after switching to single bank for shared purposes this devices will become useless. Also my main goal is to maximise charging efficiency as I run engine on higher intervals but shorter periods. And most DC to DC chargers are around 30amps or very expensive.

To resume I'm looking for temporary solution to get my LFP operating with reasonable SOC with maximum "safe efficiency" and minimum installation interference and expenses.

Further more I'm planning to ensure initial cell balancing and implement some BMS later in time, initially monitoring bank manuallly.

uff.. Thanks
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