Edit: if this article was helpful, you may like our newer article on the latest NCM/NCA battery chemistries, and also our article on high-performance batteries that are NOT made from LiPo. If you have narrowed your battery choice down to LiFePO4, make sure to check out Dogmans expert guide to LiFePO4 batteries.

hello, i want to add a ignition switch to my battery pack(10s4p,samsung 18650-26j cells) for on and off the battery, i bought an ignition from ebay(http://www.ebay.com/itm/321748146034?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT),i planed to install this key switch in series to my positive wire from battery pack, but discharge current is up to 20 Amps, so i couldn’t install that switch in series, could you please suggest me an idea on how to install this ignition switch, do i install a relay or what can i do?

Also, the best method for adding an auxiliary battery would be to connect it when both https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle are full, or at least at similar discharge states. That means the auxiliary battery won’t have to work as hard transferring energy to the internal battery, as they’ll be depleted together at similar rates. And the diode in the auxiliary battery will ensure energy only flows one way (towards the internal battery).

I hope not to have to replace the whole battery pack and wondering if it can be salvaged by replacing the just the dead cells and burnt connectors, or do you think the damage is too extensive to be worth repairing it?

I’m planning on building a 10S12P pack for usage on a custom DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle). For packaging purposes, it would be best for me to split the battery pack in several battery modules instead of a single block of cells.

I want to take the apart and use the cells to make a 48V 16.8ah battery. Would you advice against this? Would 48V provide a noticeable difference in the power of my motor? (It is a 500W Falco Direct Drive Hub Motor)

You’ll also want to test out the battery with a fairly light load in the beginning. Try to go for an easy ride on the first few charges, or even better, use a discharger if you have one. I built a custom discharger out of halogen light bulbs. It allows me to fully discharge my batteries at different power levels and measure the output. This specific battery gave 8.54 Ah on its first discharge cycle at a discharge rate of 0.5c, or about 4.4 A. That result is actually pretty good, and equates to an individual average cell capacity of about 2.85 Ah, or 98% of the rated capacity.

The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery has had a lot of hype and media attention lately. This is the same chemistry used by A123 in the Dewalt power tool battery packs, where it has a 2000 charge and discharge cycle warrantee and has phenomenal current handling capability. The LiFePO4 batteries sold for ebike use generally have much lower current ratings, and the actual number of charge and discharge cycles that these generic packs will provide remains to be seen, although most manufacturers seem happy to claim 1500 to 2000 cycles. Iron Phosphate lithium packs are only slightly lighter than NiMH and a fair bit more expensive, but they could be the most economical in the long run.

Hi Sundaram, I’m not aware of many 18650 LiFePO4 cells, are you sure you are using that chemistry instead of standard lithium ion? Perhaps can you provide a little more detail about the specific cells you’re using?

The purchase price is often a turnoff for many people, but in reality $200 for a good hobby-level spot welder isn’t bad. All together, the supplies for my first battery, including the cost of the tools like the spot welder, ending up costing me about the same as if I had bought a retail battery of equal performance. That meant that in the end I had a new battery and I considered all the tools as free. Since then I’ve used them to build countless more batteries and made some huge savings!

If you don’t have an actual heat gun, you can use a strong hair dryer. Not all hair dryers will work, but my wife’s 2000 watt model is great. I own a real heat gun but actually prefer to use her hair dryer because it has finer controls and a wider output.  Just don’t go mess up your wife’s hair dryer!

You’ll need someway to hold your cells in a straight line while welding, as free-handing is harder than it looks. I have a nice jig (that I received as a free ‘gift’ with the purchase of one of my welders) for holding my cells in a straight line while welding. However, before I received it I used a simple wooden jig I made to hold the cells while I hot glued them into a straight line.

I like to use a wall-plug timer when charging – mine was intended to just control lights in the house initially, and I set it so that there is no power to the outlet during the night, and limits the length of time that the outlet is “on” to only 8 hours during the day time. This saves energy, saves me from moments of forgetfulness, and makes me look pretty professional to visitors.

Being a “worst case scenario worry wart” myself, and a guy who is often working on batteries or evaluating bikes or batteries, I have given some thought to what can happen, and how to avoid letting it happen. I want to help you handle ebike batteries in a way that reduces risk as much as possible. And I want to repeat that while these steps are prudent and highly recommended, you, as an electric bicycle owner, have little to fear.

You would think they would help with cooling, but in reality there is little to no difference. They do create an air gap between cells but because that air is trapped inside the pack and can’t get out, it just turns into an oven. So you can glue your cells together and have them cook on a skillet or use those plastic spacers and have them bake in an oven 😉

Lithium Battery technology in a bicycle is still experimental and you have to use a lot of common sense when using these batteries. However with a little education and some end user carefulness, you can use lithium batteries safely, the same as you can safely deal with putting gasoline in your riding lawn mower.

This is what I refer to “small cells”, the 18650 (cordless tool) type cells which need to be spot-welded or soldered together to form a large pack. The big advantage of these cells is they offer better cooling because of the nature of their shape to the LiPo soft pouches, and therefore have the capacity to last longer.

Update: it looks like my nickel strips might be pure nickel after all. The salt water appears to have a suspension of brown precipitate which looks and smells like rust. However, after fishing the nickel strip out and rinsing it with water, it still appears to be silver in colour and not rusted:

Here is a an example of a large format soft pouch LiPo pack with 13 cells, and a BMS. This pack was built using cobalt LiPo soft cells with a BMS from a Chinese factory for an electric bike. You can see the top cell has been squished, causing the cell to fail and the BMS to shut down the battery, and not allowing it to charge or discharge. This pack is small and light (7lbs).  This $500 pack is now ruined, but  all is not lost since it did not start a fire, and it did NOT take the house with it.

A BMS isn’t necessarily strictly required – it is possible to use the pack as is, without a BMS. But that requires very careful monitoring of the cells of the battery to avoid damaging them or creating a dangerous scenario during charging or discharging. It also requires buying a more complicated and expensive charger that can balance all of the cells individually. It’s much better to go with a BMS unless you have specific reasons to want to monitor your cells by yourself.

Dang, I just realized what I did wrong. I had been thinking as I connected the sense lines it was arbitrary which end of the battery was B1 and which B13, but obviously it isn’t. B1 has to be the negative end and B13 has to be the positive end. Since I already cut the sense lines to length, I’ll need to put my replacement BMS on the opposite end of the pack.

40% grade hills? That’s huge! You’ll definitely want a cell that can perform at high current since you’ll be pulling peak power from those cells to get up those big hills. Something like the Samsung 25R would be a good choice for this application.

For this reason I like to either add a second lock specifically through the handle of my lithium battery (if it’s a removable style battery) or permanently secure it to the bike so it isn’t removable at all. The second option is less convenient because it means you have to bring the charger to the ebike, but it’s a much more secure option if you find yourself locking your ebike in public often.

After writing my question, I did more research on these cells regarding overcharging and over-discharging and I see where you’re coming from regarding not having connections between the parallel cell blocks to smooth out differences between individual cells. So as a permanent installation, it’s not going to work. However, I’ve had another thought, which I’ve put at the final paragraph.

I then put one set of welds on each cell end of the first parallel group, effectively tacking the three nickel strips in place. Then I added another set of welds on each of the negative terminals of the second parallel group. This gave me 6 weld sets, or one weld set for each cell. Lastly, I followed up those single weld sets with another couple welds per cell to ensure good contact and connection.

I am planning to build a 14s7p pack with the GA batteries for a little over 1 KW of power. I went to the BesTechPower site and their are several 14s BMS’s there. Which one would you recommend for a battery this size? Can you send/post a link to the specific on on their site? thank you.

A lithium battery is the heart of any electric bicycle. Your motor is useless without all of that energy stored in your battery. Unfortunately though, a good ebike battery is often the hardest part to come by – and the most expensive. With a limited number of electric bicycle battery suppliers and a myriad of different factors including size, weight, capacity, voltage, and discharge rates, finding the exact battery you are looking for can be challenging and lead to unwanted compromises.

Wear safety goggles. Seriously. Don’t skip this one. During the process of spot welding it is not at all uncommon for sparks to fly. Skip the safety glasses and head for chemistry lab style goggles if you have them – you’ll want the wrap around protection when the sparks start bouncing. You’ve only got two eyes; protect them. I’d rather lose an arm than an eye. Oh, speaking of arms, I’d recommend long sleeves. Those sparks hurt when they come to rest on your wrists and forearms.

Shenzhen Tianlihe Technology Co.,Ltd as a lithium ion battery pack factory was founded in 2005, which is specialized in the R&D and Production of Custom lithium ion battery pack solutions, Electric bike battery and Storage lithium ion battery. TLH BATTERY is certified by the ISO9001:2008 certificate, occupying area of 2,000 square meters with advanced production equipment and high efficient management system.

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