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Lithium Iron FAQ

Lithium Iron FAQ

What makes Shorai Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries different from other batteries?

Shorai Lithium 14 AH PBEq 12 Volt LiFePO4 ATV and Motorcycle Battery (+ -)Shorai LFX batteries contain proprietary eXtreme-Rate Lithium Iron prismatic cells (chemistry LiFePO4). Shorai LFX batteries contain no poisonous lead, no acid, and do not create gasses during charge, as traditional Lead-Acid batteries do. Compared to lead-acid, Shorai LFX lithium are also extremely light, have much lower self-discharge, do not sulfate, and are environmentally friendly.

While there are other companies now offering Lithium-Iron based powersports batteries, all except Shorai use cylindrical cells originally made for power tool applications. Such cells are inferior to Shorai Prismatic LFX, for several reasons.

First, the cylindrical cells come only in one size, so that the possible shapes and sizes of the starter batteries they make are very limited. Because of this, it will be hard to fit the batteries into many applications. Shorai’s prismatic cells, on the other hand, are rectangular packages which can be freely designed and sized according to the requirements of the battery case. As such, Shorai offers perfect drop-in fit in many vehicles and - if the LFX is slightly smaller in one dimension - high-density, adhesive-backed foam shims are included in the package. These can be applied to the battery box in a few minutes, to insure a snug fit. No saws, cutting torches, or duct tape required!

Second is the pedigree. While power-tool cells may crank a vehicle successfully, they were not originally intended for the high current discharges in starter systems. Because they are being used out of original design, they will loose capacity every time they are used this way. By contrast, Shorai batteries are the result of years of research and development, and are designed and produced in a tightly controlled factory. Shorai LFX have been used in some of the most extreme high-current projects in the world, including autonomous aircraft, boats, and submarines, electromagnetic rail gun research, and more. In short, the have been designed to be the perfect powersports starter batteries, with the longest lifespan and highest performance in the industry.

The final reason is one of quality control. Every Shorai battery is built in an ISO 9000:2008 certified factory. All the primary cell ingredients are sourced from Japan, which allows production of the most consistent and reliable cells. Then there is individual cell quality control and matching over a six-week period, for every cell made. This test period is two to four times longer than typical. This testing is unmatched and assures the end consumer that they are getting a high quality product every time.

Why are Shorai batteries priced below other lithium starter batteries?

Shorai LFX batteries are produced exclusively in a dedicated factory, in large volume, by an experienced production team. The resulting high yields reduces costs, and the factory-direct connection allows pricing which is competitive with traditional OEM lead-acid batteries, and lower than any other lithium-based alternative.

How does the LFX "PbEq AH" capacity rating compare to lead-acid Ah ratings?

First, we need to understand that the primary job of a starter battery is to flow a large current (amperage) for a short time, in order to start a vehicle. In order to do that efficiently, the battery must have low internal resistance. In very simplified terms, the larger the battery is in capacity, the lower the resistance of that battery is, and the better it can crank a vehicle under high loads.

Lead-acid battery makers have therefore used AH (capacity) ratings as shorthand to indicate sustained cranking ability, rather than a real time usable capacity. The lead-acid capacity rating itself is based on a complete discharge. But because lead-acid batteries loose capacity at higher rates the more it is discharged, and because their internal resistance rises as they are discharged, the actual capacity for a starting battery which can be used is the top 30% reliably. Discharge any lead-acid battery in excess of 50% can damage the lead-acid battery if done repeatedly and it will encroach upon the capabilities of the battery in future uses.

Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are a completely different chemistry. Not only do they have less than 1/3 the internal resistance per capacity than do lead-acid, they are also the ultimate "deep-cycle" battery. The internal "completely discharged" capacity of a Shorai battery is 1/3 the rated "PbEq" capacity. For example, the LFX18 12V series have 6Ah cells internally. But the cells are capable of 90% discharge without damage and while retaining more cranking ability, compared to roughly 30% for lead-acid. As such, the USABLE capacity(or "reserve capacity") of an LFX18 12V battery is the same or better than a 18AHr-rated lead acid battery, while providing superior cranking performance and a vast reduction in weight. The Shorai PbEq AH (lead-acid equivalent) rating system therefore allows users to compare a very different technology from lead-acid, but to still compare “apples to apples”.

Can Shorai LFX be fully discharged and then disposed in regular garbage?

That depends on your municipal regulations. Shorai LFX batteries meet the European RoHS standards for environmental health, and contain no lead. Check with your local authority to see if LiFePO4 batteries are allowed. If so, fully discharge the battery before disposal, using a 12V light bulb until no longer lit, for example. We expect that there will also be recycling available in some locations, and more coming in the years ahead.

Can Shorai LFX be mounted in any position, even upside down?

Yes because there are no liquids in Shorai LFX batteries.

How long will my LFX battery last?

That depends on many factors. Under the worst abuse, a lead acid battery may last only a few months and under the best about seven years, provided the consumer utilized proper battery care and maintenance. In between there is a wide variety of experiences. Research indicates an average of about 2 1/2 to 3 years lifespan for lead-acid. This is for many reasons, but almost exclusively it is related to use and storage techniques.  Under the same average usage conditions, Shorai batteries are expected to last roughly double, or 5 to 6 years. And in ideal usage and storage conditions 8 to 10 years should be achievable.

Can I charge my Shorai battery with my regular charger?

Yes, so long as you do not charge it at an amperage above the listed recommended charge rate.  A Smart battery charger will charge your Shorai battery up to a correct level in a safe manner.

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  • Thanks for an interesting and useful set of articles.

    Can Shorai LFX batteries be used in a total loss motorsport application, and if so, how do you determine what amperage can be drawn steadily for how long? For instance, if my total need is 3 amps per hour, how many hours would a LFX18 12V without harming the battery?

    Different question: Will it harm a Shorai to be used in a charging system that uses a tractor dynamo with regulator/rectifer? In this charging system, whatever power is not needed coming from the dynamo is converted to heat and dissipated by fins on the regulator. A friend tells me that exotic batteries like the Shorai do not do well in these systems, something about overcharging or uneven power coming from the charging system.

    Thanks in advance for any advice,

    Jeff

    Jeff Boatright
    March 11, 2012 a 1:05 pm
    • Shorai batteries are rating for starting purposes. If you draw power on one like a deep cycle battery, you‘ll find about 1/3 of the capacity. Therefore, the 18AH battery would have the perceived capacity of a 6 AH battery. We recommend not discharging a battery more than 50%, so that translates to 1 hour of safe runtime for the 18 AH Shorai battery under a 3 amp load.

      Shorai batteries are designed to be charged similarly to the lead acid counterparts. Using a charging system with a regulator should be fine. It may not be preferred, and the life span of the battery may not reach the full 7 years, but it will work.

      James Ville
      March 12, 2012 a 11:02 am
      • Thanks so much for the rapid but thorough and understanble reply.

        Jeff

        Jeff Boatright
        March 12, 2012 a 3:50 pm
    • I have a 1980 FXE harley davidson 1340cc that is being customized and I need the smallest battery that will still reliable crank the bike. We will be attempting to hide the battery under the seat. The engine is low 8.5/1 compression.

      H.Hubble
      June 24, 2012 a 3:38 pm
      • If you need a small battery with high CCA, Shorai batteries will work for you. I recommend you browse for the battery with the dimensions that will work best for you, and then choose the battery with the largest capacity within the case size you selected.

        /batteries/lithium-iron-batteries/

        BatteryStuff Tech
        June 25, 2012 a 8:50 am
      • What size lithium iron battery do you recommend to run an electric trolling motor that draws about 17 amps? I currently use lead acid batteries on my motorized kayaks which on a typical kayak tour run about 90 miniutes. Cost?

        Billy Gibson
        November 26, 2012 a 4:35 am
        • We do not carry any lithium iron batteries that are designed for electric motors. Shorai batteries are starting batteries, not deep cycle batteries.

          BatteryStuff Tech
          November 26, 2012 a 2:36 pm
        • Thanks for this well designed, informative site. My application is a 110 volt observatory shutter motor currently running via a 1KW inverter connected to 2 12volt 20 ah AGM batteries wired in parallel. Two batteries provide the starting capacity, as well as meet the mounting limitations on the dome wall. Starting capacity at the end of the night to close the shutter is deemed to be insufficient. A typical nightly run is 2 × 2mins (shutter open/close) at 300 watts out of the inverter, plus the problematic startup load, plus 12 hours (a night) of 12v control circuit loading. The latter needs quantifying, but it is a single small processor/wireless communications circuit board assume to be low loading. As an analogy to the motorcycle application, this would be similar to cranking the cycle for 2 minutes, running the radio for 12 hours, and then cranking the cycle for another 2 minutes. Recharging can be performed every day if multiple night capacity is not obtained. I would appreciate comments on this usage, and thank you very much.

          Frank Santore
          January 9, 2013 a 8:46 am
          • Are you considering using Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries for your application?

            BatteryStuff Tech
            January 9, 2013 a 10:07 am
            • Yes, the startup load characteristics appear better than my current AGM, and while my application is not a typical ‘deep cycle’, there is still the small constant controller load, and the motor load over about 2 × 2 mins in 12 hours.

              Frank Santore
              January 9, 2013 a 10:14 am
              • Be aware, Shorai LiFePO4 batteries are rated with the equivalent capacity of their AGM counterparts. However, their true capacity is going to be roughly 1/3 of that rating. For example, the LFX18L1-BS12 says it‘s a 18AH PbEq. But it will perform like a 6 AH AGM battery if you use it for deep cycle purposes.

                BatteryStuff Tech
                January 9, 2013 a 2:21 pm
          • I‘am considering installing a Lithium battery on my bike. because of trip meters and the clock, and possibly EFI, they say my bike has about 3 ma of parisite draw on the battery. Do you think this is a problem, and if so will connecting my Delton Battery Tender to the Shorai during winter months keep the battery charged? The oem AGM battery stays up good.

            Tom
            January 14, 2013 a 6:47 am
          • What about auto applications. Currently I run a ETX18L size AGM in my daily driver, but for a race car we are building the weight savings of the Shorai would be nice. Will the Shorai battery survive a typical automotive alternator charging system?

            Wayne
            January 24, 2013 a 12:26 am
            • Shorai batteries make great starting batteries. Standard alternators can charge Shorai‘s LFX batteries just fine.

              BatteryStuff Tech
              January 24, 2013 a 9:06 am
            • I put 3 36ah Shorai batteries in parallel and hooked them up to a 2000W peak pure sine wave inverter. I managed to use 3 different high current devices; a Foreman Grill (700W), a toaster (700W), and a 1000W electric kettle. I only used one device at a time! I harvested 2 Bubba burgers (well done), 4 slices of toast (also well done) and 1 cup of Starbucks Via (piping hot)…. After all of this work, the batteries still had 12.8V left in them! They started fully charged @ 14.2V. I use a Deltran 5A charger to charge the 3 batteries and they usually fully charge if I leave them to charge over night! At best, it is a pricey “green” generator and a worse, they make a really cool lunch conversation…total price = somewhere in the $1200.00 range!

              KFran
              February 1, 2013 a 10:34 am
              • Very interesting setup. Since Shorai batteries use 30% capacity than what is advertised, then 3 batteries should give you a true 36 AH system. Glad to know it‘s working good for you.

                BatteryStuff Tech
                February 1, 2013 a 1:18 pm
              • bonjour je suis a la recherche d une batteri pour mon vtt honda rubicon 2005 je travail souvent avec un treuil de 4500lb qui demande un minimun de 14 ah. j aimerais savoir quel est la meilleur batterie pour éffectuer mes travaux dure avec mon vtt et mon winch. donner moi le meilleur qui peux touffé lor des déchange profonde de la batterie merci

                Franky
                February 4, 2013 a 7:20 pm
                • Le meilleur de la batterie que nous portons utiliser pour le dmarrage et pour un treuil, est une batterie Odyssey. Cependant, toutes les batteries Odyssey sont compatibles en raison des limites de dimensions. Si vous ne pouvez pas en trouver un pour rpondre, alors je recommande une autre batterie avec la plus grande capacit (Amp Heures).

                  BatteryStuff Tech
                  February 5, 2013 a 12:36 pm
                • To provide some supplemental power in a motorcycle, I am considering a dual battery system. This is so extra equipment will not have a power dip when the starter motor in engaged. Normal running they would be tied back in parallel for charging. During starting they would be separated. Should both batteries be the same (LIFX14) or can one be the LIFX14 and the second one be a smaller battery?

                  Adidasguy
                  April 11, 2013 a 12:43 pm
                  • Yes, it is best if they are the same type and size for this sort of set up. Thanks

                    Jeremy Fear
                    April 12, 2013 a 8:00 am
                  • Hi
                    Looking at a cranker battery for a turbo diesel Landcruiser 4×4.
                    Currently using a D31a Yellow Top 900cca.
                    As well as cranking, the battery occasionally powers a winch drawing some 300-400 amps in 1-2 minute bursts with the alternator running.

                    What do you recommend for this?

                    Malcom
                    May 8, 2016 a 2:53 pm
                    • Malcom for what you are doing I would stick with a Yellow Top. They are a dual purpose battery, so are situated for cranking and deep cycling. Most lithium batteries are about 1/3 the capacity that they are replacing, so even thought they might have high cracking they have limited capacity when it comes to deep cycling.

                      BatteryStuff Tech
                      May 9, 2016 a 8:01 am
                    • Do you have a battery I can use for a airboat starting a 220 hp aircraft engine ?

                      David
                      April 27, 2014 a 7:26 am
                      • after paying about $250 for a 27ah Shori battery for my Motorcycle I was very very disappointed in how sensitive they are to a little cool weather. Keep in mind that I live in South Florida and on occasion it dips to 45-55 degrees. Yes I read all about warming the electrolyte if cool weather. However the lead acid battery I previously had did not exhibit any inability to start my bike unless it was seriously cold – like below freezing – 32 degrees F or lower. Finally, I replaced the Shori 27ah battery with another lead acid battery of only 18 ah rating and have not had any cold starting issues.

                        Bill Whittaker
                        September 16, 2014 a 3:01 pm
                        • Bill Whittaker, Thanks for your comments on temperature sensitivity of these batteries. I drive a 2006 Jeep Wrangler, and Live in Wisconsin, where it has been known to get quite cold in comparison to South Florida. I was considering one of these batteries as a backup to the Standard Lead Acid starting battery which when supporting the Winch and additional lights on my Jeep can get run down below the ability to start the vehicle in short order. Using a basic Battery Isolator to maintain the batteries’ charge levels independently and a standard starter solenoid with a ground to engage wiring setup, it would be a simple matter to hit a dash mounted switch to self jump the vehicle to start it should the need arise with a depleted primary battery. The Shori batteries sounded good due to size, as there is little room in the engine compartment and one would fit below the brake master cylinder on the wheel well on the drivers side mirroring the main battery on the passenger side. (all the extra details for other jeep owners’ sake) Anyway, thanks to your comment I will be looking elsewhere. Thank you for your feedback. I need sub zero temperature reliability, You just saved me a few hundred dollars!

                          Scott Schoemann
                          May 24, 2016 a 2:28 am
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