Here at Grin we’ve been dealing with ebike batteries for a very long time during which we’ve offered over 100 variants of NiCad, NiMH, LiFePO4, LiPo, and Lithium-Ion packs in all kinds of voltages, geometries, and capacities. It’s been a love/hate relationship over those years, but the more recent mass production of 18650 lithium cells for high power consumer goods like power tools has shifted things to the love side, with ebike batteries that are cheaper, lighter, and with far longer life span than we could have ever wished for in the past. We’re happy to stock both frame mount and rear rack mounted batteries from 98 watt-hours to 1100 watt-hours in size to suite the needs of most electric bicycle conversions.
Combining the metals brings out the best in each. NMC is the battery of choice for power tools and powertrains for vehicles. The cathode combination of one-third nickel, one-third manganese and one-third cobalt offers a unique blend that also lowers raw material cost due to reduced cobalt content“
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One term you will frequently come across is the ‘C’ rate of a battery pack. This is a way of normalizing the performance characteristics so that batteries of different capacity are compared on equal terms. Suppose you have an 8 amp-hour pack. Then 1C would be is 8 amps, 2C would be 16 amps, 0.25C would be 2 amps etc. A higher ‘C’ rate of discharge is more demanding on the cells, and often requires specialty high rate batteries.
Lithium Polymer is by far the lightest battery option out there. LiPoly cells that can handle very high discharge currents are becoming widely available and are especially popular in the R/C crowd for electric airplanes and helicopters, but ebike LiPoly packs are often made with cells that are only rated to 1C or 2C, and these don’t usually deliver a very good cycle life count. The cells are produced in a thin plastic pouch rather than a metal can, making them structurally quite vulnerable unless supplied with a rigid enclosure. Although Lithium Polymer has a reputation for being volatile and failing with spectacular pyrotechnics, there are companies making cells these days that are quite stable and can pass the fullUN 38.3 overcharging and puncture tests without any flames.
Make sure to consult the wiring diagram for your BMS, because some BMS’s have one more sense wire than cells (for example, 11 sense wires for a 10S pack). On these packs, the first wire will go on the negative terminal of the first parallel group, with all the rest of the wires going on the positive terminal of each successive parallel group. My BMS only has 10 sense wires though, so each will go on the positive terminal of the parallel groups.
Table 2 provides a brief comparison of lead acid to LiNMC on a pack level. It should be noted that both chemistries have a wide range of parameter values, so this table is only a simplified representation of a very complex comparison.
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.
When it comes to welding your parallel groups in series, you’ll have to plan out the welds based on your welder’s physical limits. The stubby arms on my welder can only reach about two rows of cells deep, meaning I will need to add a single parallel group at a time, weld it, then add another one. If you have handheld welding probes then you could theoretically weld up your whole pack at once.
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However… I’m thinking about extending the range of my 250W ebike (a Greenedge CS2) by wiring a battery in parallel as a one-off project. My thinking is that as it would halve the load on each of the batteries, it would reduce output current and voltage drop under load. This I’m thinking would allow use of a simpler constructions, since the stress on each cell would be reduced.
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I have a homemade battery made up of 84 NCR18650b cells that I bought (in other words, I didn’t make the battery myself). Anyway, I lost the charger for it at Burning Man, and now I’m going nuts trying to figure out what kind of charger to buy. The arrangement of the batteries is odd. Part of the battery looks pretty straight forward in what I believe is a 8s6p design, but the rest look different… they are set up like a 4×3 rectangle framed by 2 L’s. I would have happily uploaded a picture, but that doesn’t seem possible. Is there anyway I can send you a picture to show you what I mean?
I don’t think there is any danger to parallel more than 4 cells. Tesla cars have literally hundreds of 18650 cells just like these paralleled. The issue is that if you ever did have a problem with one cell, like a factory defect that caused it to short circuit, it could die and drag all the other cells down with it, killing the entire parallel group. That’s why Tesla uses individual cell fusing, but that’s not really employed on the small scale like for ebikes.
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:
LiFePO4/Lithium Ion/Lead Acid 120W Battery EBike Charger. 12V6A,24V3A,36V2.5A,48V2A; Li-Ion Battery Charge Voltage = 4.2V x the number of cells in series; LiFePO4 Battery Charge Voltage = 3.55V x the number of cells in series.
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The next consideration is ensuring that the battery is large enough for your required travel range; it’s no fun having a battery go flat before the end of your trip. In order to determine the range that you will get from a given battery, you need to know both the watt-hour capacity of the battery, and how much energy you use per kilometer. Sounds complicated? Not really. As a rule of thumb most people riding an ebike at average speeds consume about 10 Wh/km from their battery, and this makes the math very easy. If you have a 400 watt-hour battery, you can expect a range of 40km. A 720 watt-hour battery? ~72km
Yes, that’d work, but I’d get an additional 7s battery so you have 20s total. Also, you should know that the older your original 48V battery is, the more time it will take your new 72V combined battery to balance, as the first 13 cells will likely have less capacity in comparison to the newer cells. I made a video recently showing how to do this upgrade that you’re talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KHo-T74IWA
Be aware the NCA chemistry can be had in a low-amp and high amp version. By having a single 3100-mAh cell inside the cylinder, the internal volume is maximized (good for laptops and cordless drills by providing the absolute longest run-time). But…by putting a couple of cell-divisions inside that same cylinder with a parallel connection, the internal volume is reduced to 2900-mAh, but the amp producing ability is doubled, with the NCA chemistry being advertised as capable of 10A per cell, which is roughly a C-rate of a continuous 3C.
I also don’t have a spot welder, and for the purpose of building a single 16S2P pack, I’m not sure I want to splurge on that extra $100+. I do have a whole tub of flux and a temperature-controlled soldering iron, so I’ll be attempting to solder the cells instead (extra hot and fast with lots of flux to avoid conducting too much heat into the battery internals from dwell time).
LiMn was by far the most common chemistry in cheap (and expensive!) built up electric bikes for a long time. It’s a cheap, light, safe chemistry. The problem is low C, but much more importantly short life. And not just a short number of cycles but a short shelf life as well. Losing 20% capacity a year even if you don’t use the battery much leads to a lot of expense and warranty claims. LiNiCoMn has the same low cycle life, light and cheap characteristics, but it seems to have a longer shelf life and a slightly higher C.
When soldering these wires to the nickel strip, try to solder between two cells and not directly on top of a cell. This keeps the heat source further from the actual cell ends and causes less heating of the battery cells.
Hi I need help! I am building my own battery pack from old laptop batteries (18650’s). I bought the cheep $250 48v 1000w ebike conversion kit on ebay. I have many questions! It seems the perfect number of cells to connect in series are 13! This is a big problem for me because I am cheep and I already bought the Imax B6 battery balancer charger. I also bought 7x 6s balancer leads and 5x 4s leads. The Imax has a max charge voltage of 22.2v (so it sais in the manual), and a max balance of 6 cells at once. I also bought the parallel balance charging board. I don’t want to charge two or three packs at once to just have to turn around and charge one separately. So now I’m faced with the decision of making a 12 series battery or a 15 series battery (I will buy 5s leads in this case). The problem is with the 12 series battery the nominal voltage is only 43.2. Or a 15 series battery with a nominal voltage of 54. Which I’m pretty sure is a big no no because the controller is only meant to handle 48v within reason (13s max charge voltage of 53.3 and 12s 49.2 at 4.1 v per cell). But if I make it a 12s, running around most of the trip at 44v, will this drain the Amps faster because the motor wants 48v? I’m thinking no but just wanted some confirmation on that and if the controller can handle more volts. I could make a 15 series batter and just charge to 3.6 or 3.7 volts. Is this hard on the cells?
I just have a simple question: I would like to replace the Nicad battery 24V / 5Ah of my old Yamaha PAS XPC26 with a 7s3p and maybe try a 8s3p for something more “punchy” (hoping the controller will not burn …) . Do you think I can buy a 10s BMS and use it with a 7s or 8s battery? In this case, what should I do with the spare balance wires ?
When it comes to lead acid batteries for ebike use, you’ll generally be looking for what’s called a “sealed lead acid” or SLA battery. SLAs come sealed in a hard plastic case and can be turned in any orientation safely without leaking acid. This makes them appropriate for ebike use. Wet cell lead acid batteries, like many car batteries, would leak dangerous acid if turned on their side or upside down, making them a bad idea for use on an electric bicycle, which is a lot more likely to get knocked over than a car. Remember to stick with SLAs – not wet cell lead acid batteries – for electric bicycle use.
Lithium aside, even Lead acid batteries can be a fire risk… including the battery used to start most automobiles. The only battery fire I have experienced myself was when a wire dropped onto a lead acid battery, shorting it, becoming white hot and burning off the insulation, scaring me out of a years growth, and being ejected from the office onto the back deck in less than 10 seconds. This experience also gave my wife a lifetime supply of snarky comments about the “big bad battery expert who set fire to a ‘safe’ battery in his office!”
SLAs come in 6V or 12V increments, meaning you have to build your battery pack by combining these smaller SLAs in series and/or parallel to get the specific voltage and capacity you’re aiming for. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage; it gives you more room for customization but requires some work to combine the individual SLA batteries together into a larger pack.
Thank you for the very informative post, and it has helped a lot. I plan on building a battery pack with 20 cells with blocks of 4 in parallel, and then I am going to put those in series to make an 18.5V, 13.6A pack. Sorry if these sounds a little bit foolish, but I am not sure what kind of BMS I should be using. Would I be able to use any BMS or would there be an issue with having extra wires if the BMS can power more batteries in series?
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The batteries can be paralleled at any charge level as long as they are all the SAME charge level, i.e. same voltage. If they are all 3.81 V then you can parallel them, or you can charge them all to 4.2V and then parallel them, both are fine options. But if you are putting many parallel groups in series then it is a good idea to get them all to the same charge level first. That will make the first charge of the whole pack much easier as the BMS doesn’t have to balance cell groups that are at very different charge levels.
Recently the federal goverment has been cracking down on the shipping of lithium batteries. For the vendor, it means that they must have Hazardous Materials (hazmat) shipping and pay hazmat charges, and only can ship an officially tested hazmat-compliant battery. This adds considerably to the cost of lithium batteries, and makes it even harder to find an ebike dealer, who will sell you any lithium battery pack that they can affordably source.
Assuming the original battery is a li-ion battery and has the same number of cells in series (same voltage), then yes it should charge it. However, looking at the picture of the battery in that listing, I can tell you that is not a picture a 24V 25AH battery. That picture has 6 cells, and a 24V 25AH battery will have something more like 56 cells. That picture looks like a 22V 3AH battery. It could be that they simply used the wrong picture in the listing, though I doubt it as that would be an insanely good price for that size of a battery. but I’d be wary of that offer either way. [redirect url=’http://electricbikebatterys.com//bump’ sec=’7′]