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BESIDES ‘SAKO CHARGER’ HERE IS ANOTHER WAY YOU CAN CHARGE YOUR LITHIUM-ION BATTERY

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LITHIUM-ION BATTERY AND SCARCITY OF SAKO BATTERY CHARGERS

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Buying and using lithium-ion battery may not be a problem in Nigeria, the problem is what happens once the charger gets damaged. Electric bikes, solar inverters, and almost all the new devices using rechargeable battery have lithium-ion battery in it. Therefore the areas it has become applicable are numerous especially within the country.

THE CHALLENGE OF USING LITHIUM-ION BATTERY

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The continued use of the battery can be traced to the higher advantages offered against the lead-acid battery. A lot has changed over the years in rechargeable energy especially on battery types and their application. Lithium type has made a great name and still stand as the most sort after in the market. Besides its ability to tolerate low current/ voltage circuit without much damage, it has proven to possess a long time of power discharging arrangement. The features made it possible for technicians to manipulate the battery and use it in their UPS or made fixed rechargeable room lights that can give the room or entire building illumination whenever there is a power outage.

Despite the patronage, the issue of charging the battery remains a major technical challenge in the country. The charging is a challenge not because it cannot be charged rather because getting a replacement for the charger can be very difficult.

The most used category lithium battery in Nigeria is the 12volts and the 14.6 volts types. These types can be found in most inverters and electric bikes, etc. and they usually come with SAKO charger according to their voltage & current ratings. However, due to the durability nature of the lithium-ion batteries, they last longer than their charger. In other words, the charger can get spoilt or damaged while handling it while the battery remains untampered in its function. The issue of getting the exact battery back may become a horse-chase.

Though SAKO battery charger may be available in other countries for the replacement purpose, its presence in the Nigerian market for the same purpose is very rare. 

The need has made the users seek for alternative ways of charging the battery other than the specific and follow-come charger. Meanwhile, using any kind of charger for the battery has been said to possibly lender the battery damaged. Based on the fear, lots of online questions have been released in that regard.

CAN LEAD ACID BATTERY CHARGER CHARGE LITHIUM BATTERY?

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One of the questions is “Can I use a lead-acid battery charger to charge Lithium battery?”

Battery Charging Principles

In response to that, an expert in the field of battery manufacturing has this to say

“Lithium batteries are not like lead-acid battery and not all battery chargers are the same. A 12Volts lithium LifePO4 battery fully charged to 100% will hold voltage around 13.3-13.4V, while the lead-acid type is within 12.6V-12.7V.

A lithium battery at 20% capacity will hold voltage within 13V and the same capacity of the lead acid battery will be 11.8V, therefore it is all about playing with a very narrow window of voltage less than 0.5V over 80% capacity.

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A lithium battery charger is a voltage-limiting device similar to the charger of the lead-acid battery. However, the differences between the two chargers are voltage per cell, tighter voltage tolerances and the absence of trickle or float charge at full charge.

Lithium chargers are based on CV/CC i.e. constant voltage/ constant current charge algorithm. The charger limits the amount of current to a preset level until the battery becomes fully charged. This system allows fast charging without the risk of overcharging and that is suitable for the lithium batteries.”

The explanation offered revealed a clear difference in operation for the two distinctive chargers. the lead-acid batterybattery chargers have specific charge algorithms to suit flooded/AGM/Gel batteries which generally requires a 3 stage charge process which are; bulk, Absorption, and float. When the charger is in a bulk stage, it will charge the lead-acid battery at full current to about 80% capacity and then it will move to the absorption stage.

In the absorption stage, the charger holds the maximum voltage for a chosen battery and charge it with reduced current as the internal resistance of the battery cannot accept the charger current at the maximum output. When the current drops to a percentage greater than 10% of the charger total output, it will move to the float stage. Meanwhile, such transmission from absorption to float stage could be time-based. In other words, if the charger stays at the absorption stage it will move to the float in about 4 hours or more.

Almost all the lead acid battery charger has the transmission stages and is sometimes automatically controlled based on time-frame.

Ion the other hand, lithium batteries do not need such equalization stages during their charging. For instance, using an equalization of 15V and above to a lithium battery can cause a serious damage to its cells, according to expert response.

The lead acid battery charger has a ‘return to bulk’ voltage function. Meaning that a 100 percent full of the battery is approximately 12.7V when it enters into the float stage, it will maintain the battery at a pre-set voltage and also support any loads running at the time. In the case of running load that caused the voltage in the float stage to reduce, the charger will start a new charge cycle and start re-charging the battery. Normally 12.5V-12.7V is the charger’s ‘return to bulk’ basic setting which is very low for a lithium-ion battery.

Lithium battery charger‘s ‘return to bulk’ setting is between 13.1V – 13.2V. that is a basic reason the lead acid battery charger cannot be suitable for the lithium battery. Because the lithium battery can hold voltage above 13V, some lead acid battery charger may see it as a fully charged battery and enter into the float mode. Meanwhile, special lead-acid battery charger without automatic mode transmission may access the lithium battery by pinging technic to determine the voltage and resistance level and use it to reset itself in order to supply the required voltage.

Batteries Charge Power Supply Charging Rec

Therefore using the lead acid battery charger for lithium battery can be possible based on the following conditions:

  • That the charger does not have automatic stage transmission and if it does, it should be possible to turn it off since the lithium battery will not require such charging method.
  • The charger can be set to charge at a voltage higher than 14.6V under regular charging mode and must be disconnected immediately the lithium battery is fully charged.
  • Ensure someone is available to monitor the battery until it is full. Allowing it with the charger longer than it is supposed can damage the battery cells.

ALTERNATIVE WAY OF CHARGING LITHIUM BATTERY

Another way of charging the lithium battery is to take the ratings of the voltage and current of the charger and look for an adapter of the same rating. Change the connecting ports of the adapter to that of the battery charger. The disadvantage aspect of this is that some of the adapters may not give the battery full charging, that makes it discharge in less durable time. Meanwhile, when the exact matching adapter is used, the battery can still perform as though the original charger was used in charging it.

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Originally posted 2018-09-01 14:41:41.

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