Especially as a kitesurfer it can be very practical to travel with a camper to discover the kitespots. There are not always campsites or pitches near the spots and you are sometimes on your own. Then it is helpful to be self-sufficient. A solar system is relatively easy to install, but then the question of the appropriate storage source begins. We have discovered the LiFePO4 lithium battery for ourselves.
After we always ran out of power in the past and the gel battery often let us down, we’ve been thinking about getting a lithium battery for a long time. Finally, we looked into the issue longer and came across a very good alternative that is similarly effective and much safer for campers.
The LiFePO4 battery*from Power Queen* .. This year’s trip through Spain is the first time we’ve had them with us, and we’ll report back at the end of the trip how we did. Below we will explain the reason for our choice, clarify some questions and show the differences between lithium and LiFePO4 batteries.
Our choice for the right battery
We have always been on the road with our camper and visited different kitespots. Since I (Sabrina) work as a graphic designer and write our kite travel guides on the road, my first priority was and is to always have enough power and internet with me. We always had a gel battery in the past. However, it often let us down and so we fell back on our powerbank several times. That’s why we’ve been looking at lithium battery for a while and often put it off because the initial cost is relatively high and it can also start to burn, which is a big disadvantage in the camper.
After further research, we have found theLiFePO4 battery from Powerqueen and it convinced us in the end in all areas to give it a chance. The main reason was that the performance is similar to a lithium battery, but it can’t actually burn and theLiFePO4 battery has a good price-performance ratio. So we contacted the company Powerqueen and ended up with the Power Queen 12.8V 200Ah LiFePO4 battery*.for testing. In addition to the 200Ah, there are also 6Ah, 50Ah, 100Ah, 300Ah and 410Ah. In addition to the different ampere-hour sizes, the 200Ah hours also has a PLUS variant. Here, only the BMS , a so-called battery management system, is installed with 200A instead of 100A. For the 100Ah and 200Ah batteries, there is also a version with a self-heating function, which can be useful if you are often on the road in winter. So there should be the right feature and size for everyone depending on their needs and power consumption.
Lithium and LiFePO4 battery comparison
Both types of batteries rely on lithium as the electrode material, but their chemical compositions are different, giving them different properties and areas of application.
Lithium batteries have a higher energy density and can store more energy. However, there is a higher safety risk that the battery will overheat or that there will be a short circuit and it will catch fire. The higher energy density makes them well suited for smartphones and laptops.
LiFePO4 batteries have a lower energy density than lithium batteries, but are not prone to short circuits or overheating because they can withstand high temperatures without changing. In addition, they have a longer service life and are cheaper in purchase price. They are increasingly being used in electric vehicles and solar installations.
+ High energy density stores a lot of energy per unit weight
+ Low self-discharge, can be stored well
+ Light weight and small size, ideal for portable devices.
+ fast loading times
– lower safety, can catch fire in case of overheating or short circuit
– shorter lifetime, about 300-500 charging cycles
– Sensitive to damage high temperatures and overloading
+ Higher safety than lithium batteries, less susceptible to overheating and short circuits.
+ Long life, about 2000-5000 charging cycles.
+ better thermal stability
+ more environmentally friendly and recyclable
– Lower energy density stores less energy per unit weight
– quite a bit larger and heavier than lithium batteries, but lighter than other batteries
– slightly longer charging times than a lithium
Lead-acid batteries, gel batteries compared to LiFePO4 batteries.
Compared to the lithium battery, the LiFePO4 battery is only beaten in energy density and weight. Otherwise, it offers more advantages just for use in the camper. But what about the other types of batteries? Again, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of lead-acid and gel batteries compared to LiFePO4 batteries.
+ Cheaper than LiFePO4 batteries
+ available in many different sizes and capacities
+ proven technology that has been used for decades
– Heavier and larger than LiFePO4 batteries
– Shorter life than LiFePO4 batteries
– Sensitive to deep discharge and overcharge
– May gas and/or leak in certain situations
+ Maintenance-free, do not need to be refilled
+ Lower self-discharge than lead-acid batteries
+ higher cycle life than lead-acid batteries
– More expensive than lead-acid batteries
– Heavier and larger than LiFePO4 battery
– Sensitive to deep discharge and overcharge
– Lower energy density than LiFePO4 battery
– Can be damaged at high temperatures
LiFePO4 battery are the best option for motorhomes and campers. They have a lower energy density than lithium batteries, but a higher one compared to other types of batteries. In addition, they have a longer life, are proportionally lighter, have shorter charging times, are more environmentally friendly and are actually non-flammable. Compared to other battery types, they are slightly more expensive, but the investment in aLiFePO4 battery is worth it for its superior performance and longer life.
Our impression and installation of the LiFePO4 battery in the motorhome
When we received our LiFePO4 battery, our first impression was very positive. The packaging is very sturdy and the battery is safe and well protected. The enclosed manual is in a nice folder and everything is very clearly laid out.
Since the new battery is longer, but also lighter than our old one, we had to find a new place in the camper. The old battery was under the passenger seat. The choice fell on the cabinet. There was an empty room behind the heater, but far enough away from it. Since the LiFePO4 battery weighs much less than our old gel battery, it found an ideal place there.
The installation and connection to our existing solar system went relatively quickly, even if it is not yet an ideal match and we still need to optimize something, we could use them right away. Since installation, there has been relatively little sun and yet the battery always remains above 13 volts. It’s a very unusual feeling to simply have enough electricity with you, even if the sun doesn’t shine for a while. So that we can charge our LiFePO4 battery besides the solar also over the shore power, we got a suitable charger in addition.
Since May 10 we are on the road in Spain and are curious to see how theLiFePO4 battery will perform during the summer. At the end of our trip we will write a report of our experience, we will keep you updated.
Purchase recommendation and transparency
We have the Power Queen 12.8V 200Ah LiFePO4 battery*. from Power Queen for testing and will have it with us on our trip through Spain and in the future. We decided on the company and its LiFePO4 batteries after an intensive research and approached the company from us.
Since we are very dependent on electricity and have already tried a lot, the LiFePO4 batteries have convinced us and from this this report was created, which is supplemented by a field report. Additionally, we’ll share our experiences from the road in the stories and keep you updated. You are also welcome to ask us questions about the topic at any time. firstname.lastname@example.org
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