Portable DIY LiFePO4 Power for Ham Radio Followup

As most of you know, I’ve done several LiFePO4 builds on the channel using lithium iron phosphate cells, for amateur radio portable Communications.

Currently there are 3 LiFePO4 builds on the channel.

Since all three of these packs are for the most part “complete”, I thought I’d go ahead and share a post giving you a look at each of these packs as they are when the build is complete.

Since I reused the components from the original qrp plus build of the 10 amp power pack, I can only show you the A123 26650 biuld and the 10Ah QRO Headway based build pics.

Each build has its cells, battery management system, and solar charge controller integrated. There are two wire sets coming off of each pack. One set is for the solar charge controller, the second set is for the load via powerpole distribution board. On the 26650 version, the load comes directly off of the Genasun GV-5L LVD port on the solar charge controller. On the QRO version, we rely on the BMS to provide low voltage disconnect, since no load port exists on the Genasun GV-10L.

Why DIY build?

Its often difficult to get some operators outside the preparedness community, an understanding why we would built our own packs. “It’s cheaper to just go buy a Bioenno pack” they say. Is it? One uses the cheapest possible parts available to maximise profit for the lowest investment. The DIY version uses the best components available, is given attention to detail during construction, and can be repaired by the end-user. The value is decided only in individual end users requirements. Ofcourse when someone starts the discussion with “it must be cheap”, we know they are not looking for quality, they’re looking for crap. He/she also finds little value in building, repairing or learning.

Why the Genasun controllers?

We want to maximize the lifetime of our lithium iron phosphate cells. That means we don’t want to charge them up too much, or deplete them too far. There are those cheap Chinese solar charge controllers for lithium iron phosphate batteries from Voltronic, Bioenno (puts their name on china versions), and the generic ones from eBay or Alibaba which are popular, but not good. The differences in the voltages is the key! 14.6v is too high for a 3.2v 4S LiFePO4 pack. It’s also a certain way to destroy the longevity of your lithium iron phosphate cells. Certainly looks good on paper! If your goal is to maximize the operational life of your lithium iron phosphate pack, 14-14.2 volts is a far better bet. Documentation from A123 and Headway suggest a 90% charge will guarantee a longer operatiinal lifetime. 80% even better. When comparing to lead acid, even at 80% we’re still getting more capacity out of a similarly labeled sealed lead acid battery. So, the Genasun controllers follow best operating practices, for your lithium iron phosphate packs, and save you money over the long run by playing nicely and respecting your lithium iron phosphate cells. If you didn’t know it there also completely RF quiet. So no noise in your radio during weak signal work.

Portable Off Grid Power for Ham Radio

Here’s the playlist for the portable off-grid power for amateur radio series. this playlist includes all 3 LiFePO4 battery builds, my PowerFilm Solar solar panel reviews, and will also include future DIY builds from the portable power perspective.

If you found this episode useful, consider dropping a buck in the tip-jar here: https://paypal.me/oh8stn/1USD alternatively you can support the channel through my Patreon page http://www.patreon.com/oh8stn

Julian oh8stn

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