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Old 05-22-2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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Lithium batteries?

Any buddy use one of these? How much longer do they last over conventional batteries? If twice as long maybe the price could be justified. I have just looked at one for around $200 and weighs next to nothing. Do they have enough cranking power for our cars? Do they need special tenders or can my Porsche battery maintainer be used to keep them charged? I did a search for all posts concerning batteries but none really addressed the pros & cons of this type of unit over lead style units. How about mounting them, any tricks needed to secure them? Any help appreciated.
Also looking at a small Odyssey unit that weighs around 15 lbs. Anyone have one of these and how long do they last? I am looking to replace my Braille unit that has lasted about 2 years. Is this a good lifespan for gel type lightweight examples or did it die prematurely? I have had it plugged into a Porsche maintainer and it will still start the car but it looks like it will not hold a charge for any length of time by the looks of it so something new is in the works.

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Old 05-22-2014, 04:25 PM   #2
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I have an Odyssey battery in the Spec Boxster. Much lighter weight than a regular battery. I never use a trickle charger or battery maintainer and the car always starts right up even after sitting for a month. Its about a year old so I am not sure of the life but so far I'd say that its a winner.

For everyday driving, I have a regular AutoZone battery in my 996. No reason to spend more for the lighter weight in a street car and it gets driven regularly so I don't have to worry about how long it will keep a charge. Affordable and easy to find/buy.
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:59 PM   #3
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The small batteries are generally used in dedicated racing cars, not in road cars with a/c, heaters, etc. Big enough to start the car but not enough to operate it under load and last any amount of time. Every time you draw a battery down it hurts the longevity.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:28 PM   #4
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I have no experience with lithium batteries in cars, but I have one in each of my 2 motorcycles.

1. They do not need a trickle charger. They will hold a charge for 6 months to a year (one of the advantages of lithium batteries). 1/2 hour at 6 amps on a charger charges them fully.
2. They are insanely light and can be mounted in any position. I've had one for 4 years and it still works fine, although a lead acid battery ought to last at least that long.
3. They don't like the cold. The cranking amps go way down in cold temperatures.

Hope that helps a little. I probably wouldn't bother to put one in a car unless I were racing it.
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:04 PM   #5
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I would be worried about it catching flames like a Tesla myself. I think I would stay with a modern conventional battery.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:00 AM   #6
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I would be worried about it catching flames like a Tesla myself. I think I would stay with a modern conventional battery.
Read about the B787 issues with the lithium batteries..
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:17 PM   #7
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I use the Deka ETX30L here:

http://www.dekabatteries.com/assets/base/0278.pdf

I keep it on a Shumacher charger (much cheaper than the Battery Tender brand), and it has been very reliable for about 2 years. At 22 lb, this one is not the lightest around, but definitely better than OEM.

I have mine mounted on its side. Any of these will be a lot smaller than stock, so you probably need to have the ability to fabricate your own battery tie-down system.
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:26 PM   #8
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My name is Topless and I am a batteryholic

I have 4 batteries in my garage with different pros and cons for different reasons. My experience:

1. Std lead Acid (Bosch) $120, 8yrs old and still works. 45ish lbs and the greatest reserve by far. Works with any battery maintainer.

2. Deka ETX30L $100, new in box. AGM, 17 lbs, 26AH rating- best reserve power rating of the AGM lightweights. Will work with most maintainers. I thought I needed it but it turned out to be simply corroded terminals and trans ground. Now I have a backup... oops.

3. Odyssey 680 $130, 4 yrs old and still works. AGM, 15 lbs, 16AH rating- just enough to start the car with limited reserve. Will work with most batt maintainers. I had a trunk light switch that failed and ran this batt dead flat twice before I found the problem. Running flat does cause damage and my reserve power is less but it still starts the car. This is in my track day spares box for PCA events just in case.

4. Shorai LFX36 $300, 2yrs old and works great, Lithium, 5 lbs WOW! 36 AH rating, 540CCA, needs special Shorai battery maintainer for best performance, starts the car and runs great but should be put on the special maintainer 1-2 times a year to balance the cells and get max performance. A standard maintainer will not sense when the battery is charged so it does not go into float. This can damage the cells by overcharging.

Conclusions:

As an all weather daily driver I would probably stick to a heavy duty Bosch or equivalent. They offer the highest reserve power and probably the longest life.

For a weekend joyride or dual purpose street/track car I would choose a Deka or Shorai depending on if you are comfortable with the extra care and feeding required for lithium. Both are very capable with decent reserve power. Remove the bulbs to both trunk lights so you don't kill your battery due to a failed switch.

For a full time track car I would choose one of the lightweights for sure. BSR rules require a minimum 10 lb batt so the Shorai is out for them. As I no longer run Spec class I have been running the Shorai and do like it even though it is a lot more $$. Saving 40 lbs is a big deal if you are racing, running competitive Time Trials or high level AX events where every 1/10th matters.

Choose wisely.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:17 AM   #9
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My name is Topless and I am a batteryholic

I have 4 batteries in my garage with different pros and cons for different reasons. My experience:

1. Std lead Acid (Bosch) $120, 8yrs old and still works. 45ish lbs and the greatest reserve by far. Works with any battery maintainer.

2. Deka ETX30L $100, new in box. AGM, 17 lbs, 26AH rating- best reserve power rating of the AGM lightweights. Will work with most maintainers. I thought I needed it but it turned out to be simply corroded terminals and trans ground. Now I have a backup... oops.

3. Odyssey 680 $130, 4 yrs old and still works. AGM, 15 lbs, 16AH rating- just enough to start the car with limited reserve. Will work with most batt maintainers. I had a trunk light switch that failed and ran this batt dead flat twice before I found the problem. Running flat does cause damage and my reserve power is less but it still starts the car. This is in my track day spares box for PCA events just in case.

4. Shorai LFX36 $300, 2yrs old and works great, Lithium, 5 lbs WOW! 36 AH rating, 540CCA, needs special Shorai battery maintainer for best performance, starts the car and runs great but should be put on the special maintainer 1-2 times a year to balance the cells and get max performance. A standard maintainer will not sense when the battery is charged so it does not go into float. This can damage the cells by overcharging.

Conclusions:

As an all weather daily driver I would probably stick to a heavy duty Bosch or equivalent. They offer the highest reserve power and probably the longest life.

For a weekend joyride or dual purpose street/track car I would choose a Deka or Shorai depending on if you are comfortable with the extra care and feeding required for lithium. Both are very capable with decent reserve power. Remove the bulbs to both trunk lights so you don't kill your battery due to a failed switch.

For a full time track car I would choose one of the lightweights for sure. BSR rules require a minimum 10 lb batt so the Shorai is out for them. As I no longer run Spec class I have been running the Shorai and do like it even though it is a lot more $$. Saving 40 lbs is a big deal if you are racing, running competitive Time Trials or high level AX events where every 1/10th matters.

Choose wisely.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'd like to get a lightweight battery but haven't studied up the options.
The Shorai sounds great. I wish it was compatible with my Battery Tender.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:15 AM   #10
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Ctek has released a maintainer specifically for lithium batteries:



About $100.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:03 AM   #11
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Topless - great rundown, thanks!

Can the Deka use the factory tie downs, or do you need a different setup? The rennline battery mounts are expensive hunks of metal.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:52 PM   #12
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Topless - great rundown, thanks!

Can the Deka use the factory tie downs, or do you need a different setup? The rennline battery mounts are expensive hunks of metal.
You are very welcome.

All the lightweight batteries need a custom tie down method to make sure they are secure. It's a pretty simple shop exercise if you are handy and know how to bend aluminum strapping or sheet material. I actually bought one that was prefabbed for the Odyessy for around $15 from Battery Mart but they no longer offer it. Putting a lightweight AGM or lithium in a standard battery box with foam to wedge it in also works pretty well. You want to make very certain it never moves around.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:03 PM   #13
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Com3,

You could use your existing battery tender for a lithium batt if you put it on a timer so it only runs a few minutes per day. This would effectively eliminate overcharging damage. The Shorai-specific maintainer with cell balancing technology is pretty trick and restores full capacity after a season of motorsport. It's around $80.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #14
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Com3,

You could use your existing battery tender for a lithium batt if you put it on a timer so it only runs a few minutes per day. This would effectively eliminate overcharging damage. The Shorai-specific maintainer with cell balancing technology is pretty trick and restores full capacity after a season of motorsport. It's around $80.
Ahh.. good pointer.
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:26 PM   #15
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Went with Braille

Realized I had installed the original 20 lb Braille battery in June '09 So I feel confident that the new 21 lb will last equally as long and I will be a bit lighter by at least 27 pounds. I kept the trickle charger plugged in while I changed batteries and had no problem/issues with codes etc. Runs fine. Also clay barred the hood then went over it with a fine foam applicator for Imperial Hand Glaze. Then a coat of wax. Now both front fenders and hood are ready for summer. Front valance is next then doors etc., working my way back. Also recently polished inside and out of plastic rear window and it looks great. Lost one of the crests off my right rear center cap so now must find an exact replacement or get a whole new set. Always something.

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Old 08-10-2014, 08:55 AM   #16
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Thanks for the wealth of information Topless ( as always ).

I run Shorai on all my motorcycle but not my car. Battery just died last night so need a replacement. First thing I did was go to the Shorai site ( since I already have their charger ) but didn't see a "car" option. Glad to know the 36 worked for you but dang .. $300 is PRICEY!! Which of the 36 did you go with, they offer two of them.

Also, do you actually notice a difference when using the Shorai vs the 17# Deka in an AutoX environment ? Might be worth it to lose that extra 12# from my waist rather than pay an extra $200 to lose it from the battery.

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Old 08-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #17
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Thanks for the wealth of information Topless ( as always ).

I run Shorai on all my motorcycle but not my car. Battery just died last night so need a replacement. First thing I did was go to the Shorai site ( since I already have their charger ) but didn't see a "car" option. Glad to know the 36 worked for you but dang .. $300 is PRICEY!! Which of the 36 did you go with, they offer two of them.

Also, do you actually notice a difference when using the Shorai vs the 17# Deka in an AutoX environment ? Might be worth it to lose that extra 12# from my waist rather than pay an extra $200 to lose it from the battery.
My Deka is still sitting in it's box as new. I thought I killed my Shorai so I ordered the Deka hastily but a few hrs spent on the Shorai-specific charger brought it back to 98% capacity. 36 Ah is still better than 26 Ah and 5lb is better than 17. Sadly my butt dyno is simply not calibrated to measure a 12# weight difference. And... I ain't that good.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #18
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I just got my Deka last week in the mail and opened it up today to install. It was 21# out of the box vs my SuperStart Kragen battery at 35#. So a 14# difference is nice though I was a bit disappointed because I expected (1) my older battery to be heavier and (2) the Deka to be a few lbs lighter for a bigger impact.

Still 14# isn't bad so I went to do the install. Popped the hood and realized that not only the footprint of the battery is different ( requiring a custom mount .. I knew this going in and was prepared to have to do some work ) but also the posts to connect to the cables are different.

So for me personally, the Deka is too much hassle for the weight savings. Plus the fact that if I get a new battery from Kragen again, there's a warranty on it that might come in handy. I'll be returning the Deka. Just thought I should update my findings here.

Update: Hmm .. looks like I might not be able to return this to Amazon since they classify it as "hazardous material". Trying to go through their red tapes now. Any advice on how to change / modify the post to work with my car if I'm not able to return ?

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Old 05-22-2019, 05:48 AM   #19
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Looking for a lithium battery for my weekend / track car, do we have newer options in the last few years?
right now I am running on a Yuasa NP17-12I Industrial VRLA Battery 12V 17Ah, it's cranking car weakly since the beginning, sometimes cranks fine but not enough power if engine off for 10-15 minutes, while recovers it's power in an hour or so if car is left off for that time..so simply not enough power and not reliable for 3.2L boxster.

I am looking for this
UNIBAT Lithium 12Ah 720CCA which is for BMW bike for example
https://www.ebay.es/itm/Batteria-a-Litio-Unibat-ULT5-720A-per-Bmw-R60-6-R60-7-1969-1984/401707162500?hash=item5d879cdb84:gf0AAOSwLtBcZEw p

or any suggestions?
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