Standard Lead Acid, AGM or Lithium? Some Pros and Cons…
When it comes to choosing which battery to use in your van conversion there is a choice of different battery technologies to consider. Below is a quick guide covering the three most popular choices that are widely available today.
Economical choice: Flooded / Standard lead acid.
This is by far the most original of the options available today. Still a solid all round performer, they are still by a long way the most affordable option, from a purchasing point of view, generally costing less than the equivalent AGM and Lithium options. The ongoing maintenance is generally more involved with the open vent, unsealed batteries (less so with sealed options) and they must be managed carefully due to ventilation and the electrolyte inside (these batteries gas).
Less Maintenance: AGM (Advanced Glass Mat) Deep Cycle.
An AGM battery will typically cycle 400 – 500 times and will be ‘happier’ regularly reaching a lower depth of discharge (50%) than the standard lead acid equivalent. AGM batteries are all fully sealed and therefore less maintenance is required than open vent lead acid batteries. Any electrolyte that is turned to vapour during use is collected using a specialist system in the lid of the battery and returned to the electrolyte reservoir ensuring minimal electrolyte depletion. The upfront cost is less than Lithium however the Lithium option will be able to cycle many more times to a much lower depth of discharge. AGM batteries are widely available and a good starting point for most amateur installers.
Premium choice: Lithium LiFePO4.
These batteries are the ultimate choice for van conversions as they are much lighter, have a dramatically increased reserve capacity and therefore cycle life. And in the case of the BBL Batteries Lifos brand, include an internal communication / reporting system that will talk directly to your smart device via a Bluetooth App. This ensures the user has all the key data, such as state of charge, output / input etc. to hand all the time when out on the open road. This is especially useful when solar kits form part of the power system, harvesting and feeding energy into the battery. The only minor downside is the higher upfront cost, however when the increased cycle life is taken into account over the long term there is a considerable cost saving. When Lifos is discharged to 50% it will produce in the region of 5000 cycles. The equivalent AGM battery when discharged to 50% will produce in the region of 400 – 500 cycles, less than ten times the amount. Lifos is happy to reach much a much lower depth of discharge than 50% if required and is the only battery out of all three options to do so.
BBL Batteries stock and supply premium quality batteries covering all three technologies. We source our batteries globally from all the leading battery manufacturers ensuring quality, availability, range and of course value. BBL Batteries were instrumental in the theory, design and bringing to market of their Lifos range. Having been a key player in the battery market for nearly 50 years, BBL can also offer the very best advice based on a wealth of experience collected by our battery experts.
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