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Thread: Lithium Crank Battery

  1. #1
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    Lithium Crank Battery

    Has anyone had any long term experience with a lithium crank battery? My D90 OEM one has thrown the towel in after 9 years of torturous service and looking at upgrading to lithium, the 2 aux batteries will follow in afterwards. Mainly for the weight saving benefits as most likely 100kgs of lead in there with the 3 of them.

    Thanks

    Garry
    Defender 90 - WEE 90
    172-562 2a Workshop - Tassie Devil
    REMLR 331

  2. #2
    jbe's Avatar
    jbe is offline Master Silver Subscriber
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    I don't have any experience with Lithium batteries, but have a look at Stefan Fischer's Alloffroad Youtube channel. There are quite a few videos on Lithium batteries which he uses in his cruiser as crank and auxiliary batteries. He's been using them for years now. This should give you a good overview.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbe View Post
    I don't have any experience with Lithium batteries, but have a look at Stefan Fischer's Alloffroad Youtube channel. There are quite a few videos on Lithium batteries which he uses in his cruiser as crank and auxiliary batteries. He's been using them for years now. This should give you a good overview.

    I've been watching his setup and after a few tweaks, etc it seems to be working but I assume the cost outlay is huge in his setup and to be honest, he has not had the system long enough in my opinion to say Yes or No. He recently changed his under bonnet batteries to more modern ones so that puts back to square one in regards to longevity...
    He also has 2 in parallel under the bonnet and I don't know if that is so the built-in BMS of the 2 lithium batteries can handle the starting current & winch current?

    Lithium would be a great way to go a Defender as the battery is away from the heat of the engine, but again u would need to weigh up cost vs longevity.
    The OP said he got 9yrs out of your previous battery and that's huge, so how much more life would u get out of a lithium battery & what is the purchase price difference?
    If weight is the main reason, then fair enough....

  4. #4
    Homestar's Avatar
    Homestar is offline Super Moderator & CA manager Gold Subscriber
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    Just a couple of things to be aware of:-

    Lithium battery sales are a mine field and there's a lot of snake oil salesman out there and every ad on line will tell you how great their are - but there's a tonne of crap out there as well. When you are looking at specs, make sure they show not just the max charge current but the duration for this as well - some might say max charge current of 140 amps but that's only for a second or so and damage will occur quickly in the event the battery is drained down on an extended crank cycle. Also you'll need to find the max operating temp for the battery as Lithium doesn't like heat - Even under the seat the battery compartment in a Defender isn't the coolest place in the world - you may just need to ensure good ventilation and maybe a heat shield etc.

    If you get it right you should get years of use from one, just don't believe the hype on any given brand - make sure it has the runs on the board in real world conditions before laying out your hard earned.
    If you need to contact me please email homestarrunnerau@gmail.com - thanks - Gav.

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    Two mates have them in LC's.

    One was under bonnet,auxillary only, in a 79,sits rear of engine bay,battery would trip out on ambients over 40 degrees,on occasions.
    Relocated to rear canopy,all good.Had the set up for probably 3 years.

    Another has the two 130 Ah in the front,underbonnet, of a LC200,one starter,one auxillary,with a Victron set up.No issues,he uses a coffee maker,etc when camping,loves the set up,but it was very expensive,around $4K fitted from memory.The Victron lets the starter to be used,when engine off, as well,until it drops down to a set voltage,similar to Traxide set up for AGM,etc.

    LC doesnt have a smart alternator which suits Lithium more than some other modern vehicles such as LR's.
    Sure they save weight,but the cost is quite high,and as for the life of the Lithiums,we will have to wait and see i suppose.
    Paul

    D2,D2,D2a,D4,'09 Defender 110(sons), all moved on.

    '56 S1,been in the family since...'56
    Comes out of hibernation every few months for a run

  6. #6
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    I have PM'd a guy who put one in 5 years ago also so will see what he has found with the lithium battery, the picture showed the battery was about half the size,

    Thanks for the replies so far and yes its the heat I worry about too as do a lot of summer driving.

    Garry
    Defender 90 - WEE 90
    172-562 2a Workshop - Tassie Devil
    REMLR 331

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    I've also been considering Lithium for some time now. Mainly for weight saving but also the capacity for given battery size.

    My 12v needs are simpler than most as I have PTO winch so only require Start and Aux for fridge/freezer and camp lights.

    I have put off purchasing because none offered low temp charge protection meaning a snow camping trip could potentially cause issues when I start the car the next morning and the batteries try to charge in sub zero temps.

    Interested in thoughts on that scenario.

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    Hi Garry, and as been mentioned by Homestar and scary, you need to be very careful of the info about about lithium battery “Drop-Ins”.

    First off, does your Defender have a SMART alternator. This will depend on its age.

    If you have a SMART alternator, then and contrary to the B/S used to sell lithium “Drop-In” batteries, you will not be able to charge them properly, when around town, and on long trips, you can end up with flat lithium batteries after a long days drive.

    Most of the advertising for these batteries shows how well they work in Toyotas, and with good reason.

    Toyotas in Australia, do NOT have SMART alternators.

    In the USA, Toyotas now have SMART alternators but in Australia, they still have the old Variable Voltage alternators.

    You can successfully charge lithium batteries with a Variable voltage alternator because the voltage never gets down to a lithium battery’s settled voltage of 13.3v.

    With any vehicle fitted with a SMART alternator operation, not just Land Rovers, the alternator voltage, particularly on a long constant drive, will drop way below 13.3v.

    Any time the alternator voltage drops below 13.2v, you will then be DISCHARGING your lithium batteries as the vehicle’s power will draw energy from the device providing the highest VOLTAGE.

    So below 13.2v, your alternator will literally be freewheeling and your lithium batteries will be powering your vehicle.

    Some of you may remember a few years back, a D4 that was used to promote a lithium battery setup.

    Well this vehicle has been continually suffering with flat batteries after long drives but also has had at least one battery failure, most likely caused by it being run flat all the time.

    The only effective way to charge lithium batteries in a vehicle with SMART alternator operation is to either by deactivateing the SMART alternator function, which you can NOT do in any Land Rover, or use a DC/DC device to charge the auxiliary lithium battery, but you will not charge a lithium cranking battery properly.

  9. #9
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    Are the alternators fitted on the Pumas the "Smart" kind? I always thought they were old school types? Just wondering

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardCharger View Post
    Are the alternators fitted on the Pumas the "Smart" kind? I always thought they were old school types? Just wondering
    By about 2008, all Land Rovers were supplied with SMART alternators.

    The D3s were the first, but everything else followed.

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