Whether it is a solar panel system on an off-grid house or an RV electrical system for a pleasant camping during summer, building a battery bank is never easy. And choosing a battery for smaller systems can sometimes be overwhelming with numerous options on brands and sizes.
Our previous blog, “ How to Build a Battery Bank for a Solar Panel System?” We discussed building a solar panel battery bank. This article will cover the best 100Ah LiFePO4 batteries tested by our experts at Volts Energies.
Lithium or Lead Acid for smaller systems?
In this particular case, getting lithium batteries is a better choice. Compared to off-grid electrical systems, Vans, RVs, and Boats have much less space. Therefore, building a battery bank that fits your desired area and is not too heavy is often tricky with lead-acid batteries.
For instance consider building a battery bank producing 1.2 kWh of energy from different types of batteries. Top tier Lithium Batteries such as Battle Born, RELION or Volts Energies use 90% to 100% of their nominal power; therefore, getting just one of these 12-volt batteries will be enough.
However, even the best deep cycle Lead Acid batteries, such as Victron Energy AGM, only access 40 to 50% of their nominal power. Thus, a single 12V battery with a capacity of 100Ah can not produce enough energy.
In other words, having two lead-acid batteries will produce the same amount of power as one 12v 100Ah lithium battery. However, This battery bank will take twice as much space, and it will be four times heavier than a single lithium battery.
In addition, All 100Ah lithium batteries are maintenance-free with no need for an acid refill every four to six months. These batteries will not leak anything during their lifetime, providing a safe environment for motorized homes.
Furthermore, Lithium batteries can charge much faster than lead acid batteries in similar charging circumstances that can save a lot of time and power for campers while on the road.
How will cold weather affect my lithium-ion battery?
All non-heated lithium batteries must be protected from charging in below-zero temperatures. Consequently, most brands have provided different solutions and preventive methods to avoid damaging the battery cells and improve cycle life.
One of the solutions is a feature from the internal BMS of the batteries that stops charging the battery once the temperature drops below zero. For these batteries, we usually recommend getting heat shields or heating pads to keep the battery cells warm for the charging process.
The other more practical solution was introducing heated batteries. These heated batteries from Volts Energies, RELION and Battleborn include an internal heater that ensures battery cells are charged at an optimal temperature. These batteries will reheat themselves, and when the internal temperature has increased, the batteries will resume charging.
I am increasing the from 100 amps to 200 amps. What happens to the battery cells?
Unlike Lead Acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries have an outstanding performance with connecting in Parallel or Series. These 12 volt batteries have a built-in BMS. This built-in BMS allows equal charging and discharging of the battery cells, one of the most significant advantages compared to AGM batteries. Also, the internal BMS in Lithium iron phosphate batteries will prevent batteries from overcharging and discharging.
Do I need to get an external BMS?
A battery management system (BMS) comes with many benefits for systems of all sizes. An external BMS becomes more necessary when your design has more components. The internal BMS ensures battery cells are equally charged or discharged. and that batteries are properly communicating with eachother.
On the other hand, the external BMS ensures that all batteries are similarly charged or discharged as well and a single battery in the system is not overly discharging compared to the others. Furthermore, adding monitoring components such as Cerbo GX will require using an external BMS for communication and monitoring.
Also, for batteries without Bluetooth connectivity, will require an external BMS in order to illustrate battery information such as the state of charge and remaining capacity.
Best lithium 100Ah batteries in Canada
Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to choose the best lithium battery for your system. Lat’s take a look at the most efficient LiFePO4 batteries in the market that are optimized for motorized homes.
Victron Energy components are known for their high quality, and their battery is no exception. Victron Energy Smart 12V 100Ah battery is one of the best lithium batteries for all systems, with an amazing DoD of 92% and built-in Bluetooth. This battery allows 24/7 remote monitoring of battery cells using the Victron Connect application.
The Victron Lithium battery doesn’t have a Heated option available with all its benefits. Hence, They must be in a temperature-controlled environment, or you can use them with heating pads.
It is impossible to be in the camping world without hearing from the BattleBorn batteries. Impressive lifetime and efficiency are just the beginning of these fantastic batteries. Battle Born batteries are also available in Heated mode, making them an ultimate solution for all Canadians.
The heated Battleborn is the newest addition to the Battleborn battery collection, with its internal heater can be manually turned on or off. Battle Born batteries do not have Bluetooth connectivity, and monitoring the battery’s state of charge is only possible using an external BMS.
RELION Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are a fantastic addition to any RV or Van system with excellent performance and production quality. Working in the Lithium Batter industry since 2014 has helped RELION batteries to produce one of the highest quality lithium batteries in the market.
You can use the 100Ah RELION battery in various applications such as Boars, RVs, Vans and Golf Carts. The Relion RB-100 is a none heated battery, so it should be in a temperature-controlled area or used with a heating pad.
RELION battery also produces a heated lithium battery, a fantastic solution for all systems in cold places like Canada. The internal heater will warm up the battery cells before charging. With this utterly automatic feature, you can be ease of mind that your batteries will be safe and functional at all times.
As RELION batteries don’t have any Bluetooth connectivity, a battery management system is the best way to monitor the batteries.
No matter the application, one of these batteries can be a fantastic addition to all small systems for motorized homes and SailBoats. Also, with their built-in BMS, you can always connect a couple of batteries from the same battery type together without any additional components to produce more voltage or amp-hour for your system.