In almost all cases, you can upgrade to our lithium batteries with no issues. Our lithium batteries are designed as a drop-in replacement for traditional lead-acid batteries. Lithium does however work a little differently and has a strict working window due to the built-in BMS:
A Battery Management System (BMS) is a circuit board that is mounted on top of the internal cells inside the battery which is connected in between the cell terminals, and external battery terminals. The BMS controls and monitors everything with split second accuracy to ensure the battery cannot be damaged through normal day to day use. This is how LiFePO4 batteries are so safe; so much so, they are classed as being safer than lead-acid.
Our BMS currently has 11 protections built in e.g. over discharge protection, over voltage, under voltage, temperature protection and short circuit protection to name a few. Because of these protections, there are limits to how the battery will operate - for example, our discharge over current protection will, in effect, disconnect the internal cells from the external terminals should there be too many amps drawn over a period of time; you will see this on our product pages under maximum consistent discharge, and peak discharge.
All protections are temporary and are designed to self-reset or reset when the battery put on a charger.
TITAN lithium's BMS has one of the highest rated BMS allowances on the market because we use the best quality materials and internal cabling.
These protections should not get in your way with normal every day use but if you're unsure if your equipment will take too many amps, or if one of the protections is causing concern, please get in contact as we have a wealth of knowledge will all kinds of DC equipment and we will be more than happy to hear from you.
If a BMS protection activates, in most cases the protection will reset itself within a few seconds or minutes, or will need an offending issue to be disconnected (i.e. over voltage protection will need the incoming high voltage charge to be stopped). The over discharge/low voltage protection (when the battery is discharged fully) will require the battery to go on charge ASAP in order to release this protection.
In the rare case the battery is fully discharged with no voltage at the terminals, then it will need to be charged with a lithium charger that has a UVP mode (under voltage protection mode) - our recommended lithium chargers are Victron; who have UVP modes as standard as part of their lithium charge mode.
Typically though, if the battery is showing 0V, there is a load still trying to take energy so we'd recommend switching everything off (or disconnecting all loads) - the battery should hover around 10-11V when this protection is active, and nothing connected.
Traditional automatic chargers work by quickly measuring the battery voltage before starting their charge so they know what stage to start at, as well as give indication of when the battery is fully charged. When it comes to a triggered BMS and the lithium battery shows 0V at the terminals, in effect the charger doesn't see any voltage, so it thinks there is nothing connected and will not start charging. The UVP mode on lithium chargers essentially removes this step by quickly putting some voltage through the battery at the start (no matter the battery voltage) and then seeing if any of that charge has been absorbed by the battery. The BMS on the battery will see this and should then output its voltage as normal, essentially 'resetting' this protection.
Our app will show a list of active protections as well as a status page so you will be able to see what is happening with the battery at any point.
Lithium batteries unfortunately have had a bit of bad rep. due to coverage on things like EV fires and smaller lithium packs being volatile, as well as some misinformation around charging and use of existing equipment. Lithium is still a fairly new chemistry, but a lot of the issues that have plagued the battery type have already been fixed thanks to the massive development in the EV market.
The important distinction when it comes to safety is the type of lithium battery that is used:
The PO bond in the PO4 ion in LiFePO4 batteries is stronger than the Co–O bond in the CoO2 ion in Cobalt batteries, so that when worked hard or abused (short-circuited, overheated etc.), oxygen atoms are released slower. This stabilization of oxygen helps promotes faster ion migration, which means faster, more efficient charging and discharging - it's why our batteries have a efficiency rating of 99%.
As lithium migrates out of the cathode in a LiCoO2 (NCA) cell, the CoO2 undergoes non-linear expansion that affects the structural integrity of the cell. The fully lithiated and unlithiated states of LiFePO4 are structurally similar which means that LiFePO4 cells are more structurally stable than LiCoO2 cells, which is immensely important for safety - a lot of lithium fires are due to the cells expanding and rupturing themselves, causing short-circuits and thermally running away.
No lithium remains in the cathode of a fully charged LiFePO4 cell. In a LiCoO2 (NCA) cell, approximately 50% remains. LiFePO4 is highly resilient during oxygen loss, which typically results in an exothermic reaction in other lithium cells. As a result, LiFePO4 cells are harder to ignite in the event of mishandling and during charge.
LiFePO4 batteries do not decompose at high temperatures which keeps the chemical reactions stable.
If you have a lead-acid charger that is 'smart' or 'automatic' with AGM or Gel modes/settings, then you will not need a new charger.
Our batteries are compatible with most battery chargers on the market.
Lithium is not compatible with trickle charging, 'normal' or wet/flooded modes or recondition modes on normal chargers - this is due to how the lithium chemistry reacts to the charging voltage in these modes. AGM or Gel settings remove some of these stages as part of their charge curve, as these battery chemistries also do not get on with them, and slightly increase the charging voltage which is ideal for lithium.
A lithium charger or mode is always the preferred choice as it will always charge at the correct voltage. If you want your battery to last as long as possible, then we'd recommend looking into a lithium charger.
If you have a custom charge input, the recommended charge algorithm is CCCV (Consistent Current, Consistent Voltage) and the specific stage voltages are:
No matter what charger, we recommend to turn the charger off when the battery is fully charged. You can keep a lithium charger/mode connected for longer, but we'd still recommend to switch off within a week or so.
To get the best life out of lithium batteries, discharge and charge between 10% and 90%, and when not in use, charge/discharge to 70% before leaving the battery for a long period of time.
The top and bottom 10% of a lithium battery is naturally at a higher resistance - think of it like a sponge which cannot take anymore water. High resistance creates heat and increases wear on the battery cell internals.
If you charge to 100%, please only do so when you know you will use that charge soon - charging to 100% won't cause issues or effect performance, but leaving the battery at 100% will degrade the cells over time and reduce the overall lifespan of the battery - we want your battery investment to pay off for as long as possible.
If you plan to or believe you will discharge our batteries fully or to less than 10% when in use, then we would recommend a charger with a lithium mode, or a full on lithium charger. This will ensure you are charging at the correct voltage, and have the added lithium UVP (under voltage protection) reset mode in case the low voltage BMS protection kicks in. We recommend Victron's Blue Smart range, as they have the best lithium charge curve compared to other leading brands, plus have normal lead-acid charge modes in case you need to charge your vehicle battery, and they are very reasonably priced.
Traditional automatic chargers work by quickly measuring the battery voltage before starting their charge, so if they 0V, or in this case, they don't see any voltage, so they won't start charging. The UVP mode essentially removes this step by quickly putting some voltage through the battery at the start and then seeing if any of it got absorbed by the battery.
While it's no secret that lithium does use some rare earth materials in their construction, TITAN lithium does not use Cobalt or Nickel in our batteries.
Lithium is tricky to produce and recycling is not fully developed, but we are making headway with large state of the art lithium recycling centres across Europe and the UK, and we'll soon be able to recycle lithium batteries with relative ease, however reusing these long life batteries is the best way to keep our impact down.
We at TITAN are dedicated to keep our emissions and impact as low as possible and we believe we are the most proactive UK lithium battery brand for reducing environmental impact. The steps we take:
Due to the immense life span of our batteries, you would only need one battery in every 10-20 years, compared to 3 to 6 lead-acid batteries in the same time (average lifespan for lead-acid is 3-4 years) - those lead-acid batteries and components each need to be mined, assembled, involve toxic chemicals like lead and sulphuric acid in manufacturing, shipped to the destination country, put into the distribution network to get to you, then sent for recycling once the battery is at the end of its life; which is an energy intensive process; all of this happens 3 to 6 times in up to 20 years, compared to just once with our lithium batteries.
With a growing number of brands all competing for your custom, it can be tricky to know where and who to go with.
At face value, comparing batteries between brands can look simple using battery capacity and price.
In reality, there is a lot of impossible-to-see internal differences that have a huge effect on life and performance of the battery so we believe the easiest way to compare lithium batteries is using the BMS specifications, cell grade and business reputation. There is also the workmanship aspect as all lithium batteries are hand assembled and soldered, but this is far more difficult to compare.
The best BMS value we like to use when comparing is the maximum continuous discharge- the higher the value means the BMS can handle higher amp throughputs, which means the battery is using higher quality materials and a well made BMS that enables this.
Cell grading is an unofficial rating that tells us the quality of the cell used - they are in alphabetical ratings like A, B and C; these grades typically have the most effect on price. Some prismatic lithium cells can be nestled under 'Automotive' grade, which essentially means the cells are made for us in EVs. All of TITAN Lithium batteries use Automotive Grade A+ cells.
There is no false economy when it comes to batteries; cheaper batteries are cheap because they use cheaper components and low grade cells which are more likely to cause early failures, issues and just not last as long. As some companies are competing to be crowned the cheapest on the market, other aspects of their business suffer which effects their willingness and ability to provide good customer service, and fair warranty processes; something we see all too often in our market unfortunately.
Because lithium has a long service life and high initial cost, we believe it's best to buy from a real battery specialist who has real working knowledge of batteries, answer any and all questions about batteries and their connected systems, and knows how to provide a customer service to match the product. We know the market and understand the chemistries involved, plus we are the UK's longest running battery family business; all of which helps us provide a world class customer service that our customers deserve.
While our batteries are at the pinnacle of quality and performance, we aim to price ourselves in the middle of our competition and are always adjusting to ensure we remain competitive.
We generally recommend to stay away from the cheaper end of the market and spend a little extra on the product and business that will live up to expectations. We have seen far more battery failures at the cheaper end of the market than at the top due to poor materials and workmanship. Many businesses at this level are not UK based, so warranty claims or issues are rarely resolved positively.
Cheaper lithium does have its place in the market, depending on the application, but unfortunately there is not enough information out there to help customers compare accurately, so it can lead to some confusion when comparing.
We at TITAN Lithium try to be as transparent as possible and add all the information we can to our site so to give our customers the best possible chance to compare us to others.
Why is this important? Lithium batteries are expensive, last a long time, and it's extremely easy to mislead as many figures or statements cannot be verified by the average user. If our customers are spending £500-£2,000 with us for a single item, we want to ensure they are comfortable and confident with the product, our service, and that our support will be available to them from day one and in 10-20 years time - it's tricky to convey the value of customer serivce over the internet, so we believe it's all worth mentioning.
In short, no.
There are a few different types of lithium batteries - just like lead-acid (deep-cycle, thin plate, etc). Our batteries are in the deep-cycle range, so do not have high cranking amps that a starter battery would have. Starting an engine from one of our batteries would engage our over-current protection on our BMS.
Starter lithium batteries do exist, but they are the opposite of deep-cycle - they have fantastic starting amp outputs, but have little to no capacity to run equipment.
If you are looking for a starter lithium battery, we'd recommend our friends at Anti-Gravity batteries.