Portable battery choices

Over the past 5 years I have used two main battery types for backpack portable operations. My first battery, weighing 2.06 kg, was a 12 V 7.2 Ah sealed lead acid battery. The more recent battery, weighing 1.05 kg is a 13.2 V 8.4 Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery.

2013-11-09 20.37.30Prior to the 2102 French Island trip I load tested the SLA batteries I was taking to be sure of their performance. The newest of these batteries is shown in the chart below. Last weekend I performed the same load test on the LiFePO4 battery, also shown in the chart below.

The load used was a 50 Watt quartz halogen light bulb, the battery voltage was sampled every 5 minutes and the test stopped when the battery reached its suggested minimum discharge voltage. Each battery was fully charged, on a suitable charger, at the start of the test. The temperature during each test was about 18 degrees C.

From these test you can see why I prefer the LiFePO4 battery. Longer time, lower weight, smaller size. Unfortunately it comes at a much higher cost.

Battery test_2

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8 Responses to Portable battery choices

  1. Ken says:

    Do these curves agree with your real-life experiences with the batteries? I ask because the halogen bulb’s power consumption will go way up when overvolted to 14.5 volts like it was at the beginning of the SLA test.

    That being said, I guess one should expect the LiFePO4 battery to come out on top based on the chemistry’s superior high-discharge performance and the 1.4 AHr advantage.

  2. iain says:

    How much operating time do you get out of them? Say with cw @ 100w.

  3. John Dawes says:

    Hi Peter
    What charger do you use with your 8.4 amp hour LIFePO4 battery?
    It needs to be programmed with the final capacity (8.4).
    I need to update my charger.


    John D

  4. Chris Harris says:

    Hi Peter, it’s good to see some real stats like that.
    (as opposed to marking hype)
    Do you have a preferred source of the Lithium batteries?
    Cheers, Chris

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