Where to find LiFePO4 batteries of good quality?

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mcmayer
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Where to find LiFePO4 batteries of good quality?

Having been burned so many times with low-quality rechargeable batteries from China, I am now extra careful about where I source batteries. E.g. for home use or DIY projects it doesn't really pay off to rely on inferior products. And LiFePO4s have some nice properties: Attractive voltage range, fast charge and discharge, wide temperature range, low risk of catching fire, tolerance of deep cycles, higher life-span. They can be really useful.

But whereas the "normal" battery types (Lithium Cobalt Oxide, Lithium Manganese Oxide, etc.) have established producers that are well known and easy to find, for LiFePO4 this is not the case. Distributors like Digikey or Mouser are a benchmark - they don't list a single LiFePO4 battery! I find this odd.

To be more precise: It is actually the 'small' LiFePO4s that are hard to find - for 'large' LiFePo4s it's actually quite easy, they are used in solar energy storage, backup power, car starters, UPSs, etc. But for AA (14500) or 18650 or similar sizes it's really difficult. The usual brand-names like Panasonic, LG Chem, Samsung, Ansmann, etc., don't show up at all.

So, unfortunately, it seems that LiFePO4s are not really an option, at least not for low-power applications. Hence the question:

What are good, trustworthy sources for LiFePO4 batteries?

Zelda
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Shipping matters, depends in which country do you live:

  • rs online sells LiFePo4 cells from the brand ENIX.
  • Batteries from power tools: For instance Dewalt, may other well known brands too?
Enderman
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Lightbringer
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I got a set of “Baseline” LFPs in 14500, offa Amazon, and they’re okay.

Rated 600mAH, but they clock in at a smidge under 500mAH.

For the price, they’re okay. I wasn’t expecting much, as LFPs are hard to come by at all except for specialty stores.

https://www.amazon.com/Baseline-Battery-Phosphate-Rechargeable-Batteries...

I reviewed ‘em, with pix, showing the ratings. They’re all consistently 480mAH-490mAH. Not terrible, but definitely not the 600mAh is says on the tin.

Free shipping, though.

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x8353
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I got Tenergy rcr123a cells shipped direct from Tenergy (ordered through Walmart (with free shipping & no sales tax, while A*z* was higher priced, no free shipping, plus tax, but A*z* DID offer “accident protection” at a small additional fee Davie )

Not saying that Tenergy ranks as a ‘best’ quality brand, but I did a little research before I bought and they sounded okay. I’ll bow to others on comparative testing.

The Tenergy pairs are working fine in both my Streamlight Night Com and Inova X5. Both seem to be a bit brighter on fresh Tenergy cells than on fresh Energizers or Duracell cr123a pairs. That seems to confirm that li-ions would do bad things, and that I won’t be buying Streamlight or Inova again.

Other than as a good rechargeable option for cr1123a devices that might toast if fed li-ion rcr123a, but either are known to be good on lifepo4 or are expendable, I’m not sure I’ll be buying more lifepo4 in the future. But if I do, I’ll be glad for the recommended sources listed here, and will keep track of this thread.

Pulsar
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I have used tons of Tenergy rcr123a cells. Probably 50+. Used in series in pairs in my ecig for years. All of them were of consistent quality. Dont know if they are the “best”, but I never had a dud and a reason to look elsewhere

mcmayer
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I’m struggling with the rather vague descriptions of those rcr123a batteries found on Amazon, or elsewhere. Rarely is the battery chemistry mentioned, other than that it’s “Li ion”, which could be any number of things. Is “3V” the giveaway? As opposed to 3.7V of the ‘normal’ Li ion chemistries?

I can also report on the Soshine 14500 LFPs: http://www.soshine.com.cn/c30-1.aspx, they can be bought on Aliexpress & Co.
Soshine advertise a 700mAh nominal capacity, and in small print it says “min 550mAh”, and that’s actually exactly what you get. I.e. 700mAh is pure marketing BS.
A while ago I bought four of those. One of them died after a few cycles, it turned into a resistor – very strange. (To be precise: I put them all in 4S and that seems to have killed one of them.)

x8353
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mcmayer wrote:
I’m struggling with the rather vague descriptions of those rcr123a batteries found on Amazon, or elsewhere. Rarely is the battery chemistry mentioned, other than that it’s “Li ion”, which could be any number of things. Is “3V” the giveaway? As opposed to 3.7V of the ‘normal’ Li ion chemistries?


Yes, “Li ion” can be any number of things, but it is not used to refer to LiFePO4 in labelling cells. There are lots and lots of Li-ion listings online. Almost all clearly identified as nominally 3.7v (though nontrivially over 4v when freshly charged).

3v refers to non-rechargeable CR123a (though nontrivially over 3v when fresh). However, I have seen “3.0v [3.2v NOM]” referring to LiFePO4, but always with the “LiFePO4” designator and the “3.2v NOM

If you are looking for LiFePO4, then only consider cells clearly labelled LiFePO4, and do at least a little online checking of the brand’s reputation.

Basically, anything that isn’t clear, or seems odd, probably isn’t worth messing with.

mcmayer
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x8353 wrote:
Basically, anything that isn’t clear, or seems odd, probably isn’t worth messing with.

I’m totally with you.
There are things on Amazon, such as “Ultimate Arms Gear UAG-30940 Tactical CR123A 3V 1200 mAh Lithium Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries” that seem to have a nominal 3V voltage. And when you scroll down it’s actually 3.7V. And it’s a totally stupid name… funny, actually.

pacolee12345
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raccoon city
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pacolee12345 wrote:

evlithium

Kinda looks like spam, but I like the name.

I pronounce it evil lithium.

Lightbringer
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raccoon city wrote:
I pronounce it evil lithium.

Evil Lithium was my grunge band back in high-school…

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Zebretta
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I bought 4, 120Ah LiFePO4 cells from NinthCit on Amazon and after complete testing, was 100% satisfied.

They tested to 124Ah, arrived flat as paper, resistances were well within specs and performed as advertised.