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Monday 18 October 2021


Lithium Batteries - Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Lithium (LiFePO4/LFP) batteries deliver great starting power and are a fraction of the weight of lead-acid batteries. Best of all, they do not need continuous battery maintenance like lead-acid batteries … but wait … that needs a little more explanation.
Martin Human, CTO/CEO of TecMate, says: "Once a lithium battery has been fully charged after delivery, and then stored in a shop or warehouse, it won't need recharging possibly for a year or more. However, when in the motorcycle, a lithium battery will discharge faster than the lead-acid battery it replaced - simply because it has less Amp-hour (Ah) capacity to support the parasitic draw of always-on circuitry. 

"Furthermore, if it is allowed to deep discharge, then that lithium battery also has a higher possibility of suffering permanent damage. The best solution? Maintain it like a lead-acid, or at minimum recharge, frequently.
"When to charge is the question, but one that is easily answered on the vehicle with the OptiMate O-127 smart battery lead that comes with a built-in battery monitor. The three state of charge LEDs will warn when it is time to recharge - a blinking red means 'now'!
"The SAE charge port accepts charge from any OptiMate battery charger appropriate for lithium batteries. It also has an overcharge warning light to alert the rider that the charging system may be delivering a voltage that's too high for lithium. Overcharging above 14.6V is the kryptonite of lithium batteries. 

"And for the rider out on their adventure, it's always better to charge than jumpstart, especially if that battery's voltage is so low that the ignition/dash lights barely turn on. Lithium batteries don't like high current when they are vulnerable, but it won't take long to get the smaller battery (typical true Ah rating ranges from 3 to 6Ah) up to start level as another advantage of lithium is that it can deliver almost its max cranking amps from as low as 10% charge.
"OptiMate DC to DC (TM500) is the perfect 2 amp 'jump charger' that draws power from another vehicle's 12V battery. It will wake up the BMS if necessary or deliver the right charge to that flat lithium battery. 

"For the service technician or technically minded rider an easy service option is the OptiMate TEST cranking power and alternator that checks the battery's performance on the vehicle. This easy-to-use hand tester records the lowest cranking voltage (ideally 8V or higher) when starting up, and then the charging voltage when the engine is running. The safe charging voltage range is 14V to 14.5V, higher than that spells real trouble for lithium LFP."
OptiMate has different smart charging options for lithium LFP batteries, from the easy-to-use OptiMate 1 DUO battery maintainer, to the more powerful OptiMate 2 DUO and the advanced OptiMate lithium range of chargers that are recommended by multiple motorcycle OEMs.
DUO means charge and maintenance of both 12V lead-acid (STD or AGM) or 12.8V LFP lithium batteries. The DUO program adjusts according to battery type, but all the rider has to do is connect it to the battery. The OptiMate 1 DUO is ideal for long-term storage maintenance, with the OptiMate 2 DUO the more powerful option, delivering 2A of charge current. 

There are also multi-station options available, the OptiMate 2 DUO x 2 and the OptiMate 2 DUO x 4, great for battery preparation in-store and for riders with multiple vehicles.
"When it comes to advanced care that includes saving a battery from 0.5V, or resetting the battery management system (BMS), and then performing a diagnostic health test on the battery to make sure it has been recovered safely, an OptiMate Lithium 4s battery charger is the best choice. The rider's charger is the OptiMate Lithium 4s 0.8A, with the 'pro' choice the OptiMate 4s 5A, or the ultimate choice is the OptiMate 4s 10A with TUNE mode - a stable battery support for diagnostic troubleshooting or service.
"We have the knowledge and the tools that will guarantee a lithium LFP battery will perform as expected, but more importantly, to not have that battery's life cut short prematurely due to poor or long-term storage or vehicle usage practices."