For anyone about to invest in a lithium-ion battery bank, it is wise to learn more about its limitations. Even though these types of batteries are very efficient, they can also be expensive.
It is only in your best interest to become familiar with the realities associated with lithium-ion alternatives. And with this information, the best possible decision can be made.
In this case, the focus falls on what would cause a lithium-ion battery to lose capacity. And for the most part, these are the reasons:
Deep Instead Of Partial Charges
Always keep in mind that lithium-ion batteries do not have an issue with “memory” build-up. This is a problem linked with lead-acid batteries when they are not discharged properly before the next charge cycle.
Instead, lithium-ion batteries are more efficient with a partial charging cycle. In other words, you only let the battery discharge until 50 or 40% of energy is left.
With a lead-acid battery, it is better to let the battery discharge completely. To sum up, deep charge cycles will most likely compromise the capacity of a lithium-ion battery.
Hence the recommendation to stick to partial cycles, seeing as it maintains better overall efficiency and capacity.
Ageing And Usage
Even modern lithium-ion batteries are victims of a natural process called cell oxidation. It is a chemical reaction inside the battery that cannot be reversed, and it is driven by both ageing and usage.
To explain it in quick and basic terms, there is a free flow of ions in a healthy and efficient battery. Every time the battery is charged, it reverses the free flow by force.
Over time, it gets more difficult for the cathode to send ions to the anode thanks to the reverse process, which decreases the overall capacity of the battery.
And it is important to take note of the manufacturing date. Seeing as lithium-ion batteries lose capacity even when not in use, the length of time it sits on the shelf is going to matter as well.
In order to extend the efficiency and capacity of a lithium-ion battery, it is important to keep it cool. High temperatures are not friendly with these battery types, and the heat will compromise overall capacity.
This is why you should always monitor the temperature of the battery and keep it cold.
When you purchase the lithium-ion battery from a reputable brand, there is a very low risk of receiving a defected item. However, this is not impossible.
When a small problem is present inside this type of battery, there is a good chance it can influence the storage capacity.
This is what warranties are for and you should enforce them if you believe your model is problematic.
Erratic Charging And Not Using The Battery
It is common to believe you can extend the use of a lithium-ion battery by not using it. Just like sitting on the shelf eats into storage capacity, purposely putting off regular charging can possibly speed up the process.
At the same time, erratic charging cycles are not considered healthy. It is much better to charge when the battery hits a specific low, as mentioned earlier, and sticking to this routine.
Should You Invest In A Lithium-Ion Battery?
After reading the common reasons for what could cause a lithium-ion battery to lose capacity, it might cause doubt or uncertainty.
However, there are many benefits as well, and these need to be considered too. Then a comparison between alternatives like lead-carbon can be done to make absolutely sure this is the right investment.
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