How to Charge a LiFePO4 Battery- Step by Step Guide

The Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery is one of the high-performing batteries in the Lithium-ion battery series. It uses a sophisticated electrochemical reaction to produce stable and energized energy for the electrical components. New users may get confused about how to charge a LiFePO4 battery while maintaining the highest profile of the battery and effectiveness. 

There are many ways to charge a LiFePO4 battery, such as direct and indirect ways. But the best possible way is to use an authorized smart battery charger for the LiFePO4 battery.

Sometimes you may also require using the other methods of charging a LiFePO4 battery. That is why you should go through this article to learn more about the charging process of a LiFePO4 battery.

Do LiFePO4 Batteries Need A Special Charger?

The LiFePO4 battery is a special categorized battery under the Lithium-ion battery series. Thus the charging algorithm is also different from those other types of batteries. You can also use a battery charger specific to lead-acid, AGM, or gel batteries to charge a LiFePO4 battery. But it should support a similar charging profile.

Moreover, unlike other batteries, some LiFePo4 batteries may not contain two separate positive and negative terminals. Rather these batteries may possess a common female connector for the charging process.

That is why we can say that a LiFePO4 battery requires a special battery charger. This charger should be officially recommended and uses the specific charging profile of the LiFePO4 battery.

Recommended Chargers To Charge LiFePO4 Batteries

Charger ModelInput Voltage
452240-F12.8V
452241-F12.8V
PSC-1220000-LIFE12.8V
PSC-2410000-LIFE25.6V

What amp should I charge my LiFePO4 battery?

The input amp range should be 1-3 amps for smaller batteries. A 10AH LiFePO4 battery should be given with 10A. Using this fact, the amps of the charging profile for different LiFePO4 batteries should be changed.

These batteries have a comparatively less sensitive circuitry for the input amperage. A slight deviation in the amperage from the charging device will not cause permanent damage to the battery.

Moreover, there are different variations of the LiFePO4 battery for small and heavy electrical components. These batteries require different amps for the charging process.

What is the right temperature to charge my LiFePO4 battery?

The optimum temperature while charging the battery also depends upon the size and model of the battery. However, the BMS technology in the newer LIFePO4 batteries is meant to keep the batteries safe while charging. Hence it makes charging a LiFEPO4 battery possible anywhere between 0°C to 45°C (32°F to 113°F).

A LiFePO4 battery is highly sensitive to the charging temperature. Very high temperature or low temperature inhibits the reversible charging process of the battery. Charging a LifEPO4 battery at varied temperatures causes serious damage to the circuitry of the battery.

How To Charge A LiFePO4 Battery – The Easy Guide to Follow

There are multiple ways to charge a LiFePO4 battery. However, all the methods do not charge the battery with similar effectiveness. But since all the methods are safe for charging LiFePO4, you can choose one according to your convenience.

Charging Batteries in Parallel

You can charge multiple LiFePO4 batteries in a parallel connection. To do this, you will need multiple charging cables. You must understand how to connect similar types of batteries in parallel to maintain the optimum voltage flow.

The batteries should be 12V, 24V, 26V, or 48V. Depending upon the input voltage, the charging profile of the charger should also be changed. For example, for charging 12V LiFePO4 batteries in parallel, you should select 14V to 14.2V in the charger.

  • Firstly, keep all the batteries in an aligned position to each other.
  • Connect one end of the positive terminal with another positive terminal of the batteries. Similarly, the negative terminal should be connected.
  • Connect the multi-bank charger to the first battery and set the correct charging profile. Some chargers can detect the number of connected batteries in parallel, and some require manual input.
  • Lastly, initiate the charging process and wait around 5-6 hours or less, depending upon the battery capacity for fully charging the batteries. 

Charging Batteries in Series

For this process, you need to use a multi-bank charger to charge the batteries in a series connection. Besides, all the batteries in the series connection should have a minimal imbalance of 50mV or 0.05V.

It is better to use batteries of similar voltage input to be charged in the series connection. Otherwise, there will be a change of overcharging, which may cause damage to the batteries if BMS is not available.

  • First, all the batteries should be aligned in a well-ventilated area.
  • Connect each positive terminal of a battery with the negative terminal of another battery in series.
  • When all the batteries are connected, use the positive terminal of the first battery and the negative terminal of the last battery in series to connect to the charger.
  • After setting the correct charging profile, such as voltage and amp, you can start the charging process.

Charging with Inverter/Charge Controller/Charger

This is the safest and most effective method to charge a LiFEPO4 battery. You do not need to worry about the voltage or temperature compensation in these methods. But you should keep track of some of the parameters, such as bulk, absorption, and float voltage.

  • Use the charging cables from the AC to DC inverter/charger and connect the respective terminals of the battery.
  • The smart charger would automatically detect the battery. Most authorized chargers do not require any sort of settings for the charging profile. This works as the plug-and-play method.
  • Plug the charger in the wall socket and initiate the charging of the battery.

Charging Using the Alternator

To use the alternator to charge a LifePO4 battery, you should check on the voltage regulator. A cheap voltage regulator may lead the battery BMS technology to create a blockade while charging. Alternators are used in vehicles that convert mechanical energy to electrical energy.

  • First, connect a DC to a DC charger with the alternator.
  • Connect the battery with the DC to DC charger.
  • Finally, initiate the alternator to charge the battery with effectiveness.

How Fast Can You Charge A LiFePO4 Battery?

Normally fast charging charges the battery within 10 minutes to 4 hours, depending upon the battery and charger type. The process of fast charging a rechargeable battery depends upon the input amperage to the battery. Using high amp input, your battery will get charged more quickly. But it is not always required to go beyond the amp limit of the battery recommendation.

Frequently Asked Question for charging Lifepo4 Battery

Got more questions in mind? Check the section below.

Can I charge LiFePO4 with the alternator?

You can charge a LiFePO4 battery with a compatible alternator. But it requires a DC to Dc or converter for charging the battery. Most bikes and small watercraft use the alternator to charge the LiFEPO4 battery while moving around and converting the mechanical energy to electrical energy.

Can you charge the LiFePO4 battery with a normal charger?

It is possible to charge the LifePO4 battery with a normal battery charger. But you need to regulate the voltage and monitor for overcharging the battery. Overcharging the battery may cut the flow due to the BMS technology installed within the charger.

Can I charge a LiFePO4 battery with a power supply?

A standard power supply with a similar power output can be used to charge a LiFePO4 battery. But it should be strictly monitored while charging because the charging process is not designed to get automatically terminated. It is not advisable to charge a battery with a power supply.

How many times can you charge a LiFePO4 battery?

LiFEPO4 batteries are flexible, with several charging and discharging processes a day. It won’t hamper the longevity of the lifepo4 battery. Besides, regular charging of the battery does not cause any damage to the battery circuit or the components like the Lead-acid battery.

How far can I discharge a LiFePO4 battery?

Although a LiFePO4 battery has been advertised to have a depth of discharge of 100%. But it is not advisable to do so. Because rapid 100% discharge may cause the battery to get stalled and hard to recharge. It is safe to only discharge the LiFEPO4 battery up to 70-80%.

Can you charge a lifepo4 battery while using it?

It is possible to use the LifEPO4 battery while using the power. The alternator of a vehicle follows this mechanism of charging the LiFePO4 battery. While the vehicle moves, it uses the battery power to run the instrumental panels, and the alternator charges the battery.

How long does it take to charge a LiFePO4 battery?

It takes from 10 min to 4 hours to completely charge a LiFePO4 battery. The time required depends upon the battery type, charging profile, and charger you are using to charge the battery.

Conclusion

The charging process of the rechargeable battery is very sophisticated. There are many sensitive issues to maintain while charging the battery. 

If you are a new user of the LiFePO4 battery, it is normal to ask how to charge a LiFEPO4 battery. Now that you have learned multiple ways of charging a LiFePO4 battery, you can choose the best-suited method to charge one.

Keep in mind that the longevity of the battery highly depends on the quality of the charging. So charge the battery properly to keep your batteries in shape.

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