Lithium battery chemistries, be it Li-Ion, Li Po, LiFePO4 or others, can offer signification advantages to Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery technologies. The problem is that these advantages are often balanced by a number of disadvantages.

A prime example is the standard deep cycle absorbed glass matt (AGM) or Gel lead acid battery. Within the industry they are a fairly fixed entity in terms of physical dimensions and electrical characteristics, their failure modes are also generally safe and understood. The problem with lithium options is that they are usually different dimensions, they require special chargers to ensure effective battery management and they require external management systems to connect multiple blocks up in either series or parallel. These problems are less apparent when designing new systems but hardly make them ideal for drop in replacements in existing equipment.

The advantages of the lithium technologies are well known. The one everyone knows about is the weight saving! They are usually between a half and a third of the weight of a comparable VRLA product, depending on the lithium chemistry and housing. In many cases lithium also offers a much higher cycle life, they can be as high as five times the cycle life expected of VRLA products.

Marketing Manager David Claxton explained, “When DMS technologies first started working with lithium chemistries it was our target to minimise the inconvenience of changing to lithium while maximising the advantages. The first aspect of this was dimensions; if the industry has standard dimensions for AGM and Gel product why can’t lithium match these dimensions?”

DMS technologies’ brand new Red Flash Lithium Deep Cycle batteries have provided a LiFePO4 solution that does just this – they minimise the disadvantages while maximising the advantages.

The new range offers nine different capacities from 7Ah up to 100Ah. The 7Ah battery is the same physical size as the generic 7Ah NP type battery, the 100Ah is the same physical size as the generic 31-size 100Ah VRLA battery, and sizes in-between match other industry standards.

What really makes the new Red Flash Lithium batteries different is the internal battery management. While the ideal charging voltage is a constant 14.4V they can be used with standard VRLA charging regimes as the internal management ensures the cells receive the correct charge and remain balanced. This internal management also means they can be used up to 4 in series (48V) and unlimited in parallel.

While safety remains at the forefront of users minds when talking about lithium the internal management system resolves these concerns as well! Should the user inadvertently (or deliberately) try to use the batteries outside of its safe operating parameters the battery will simply disconnect itself from the system until the fault is removed. This protection also applies to high temperature and will disconnect the cells from any external electrical source above +60oC preventing over heating.

As an ISO9001:2008 accredited company we abide by all European and International shipping regulations for lithium chemistries. Our experience in this field means that we can offer support in handling these high energy, high value products.

The advantages of the Red Flash Lithium Batteries over VRLA remain – offering over one thousand cycles at 100% depth of discharge and at only one third of the weight. Minimising the disadvantages while maximising the advantages!

“This puts DMS technologies in a unique position that we can take almost any AGM or Gel battery footprint and develop a drop in replacement battery, if of course we don’t already have one to offer!” David summarised.