RV Lithium Battery Face-Off: Lithionics vs “Brand B”


If you’ve ever wondered what’s inside a lithium battery, this video is for you!  When you see them on a web site, they’re all just boxes with terminals, but they’re NOT all the same inside.  When we visited Lithionics Battery recently, they showed us inside their batteries, and also inside a competitor’s battery that they had taken apart as a research exercise.  The result is this video:

 

So, I’m not a battery scientist, but I learned a few important things here.

The number of cells matters

There are a lot of ways to get to 100 amp hours at 12.8 volts.  But there’s a big difference between doing it with a couple hundred tiny cells, or doing it with 12 large ones.  Every cell represents a number of things that can go wrong.  The connections on it may come loose; or the internal resistance of the cell can be different from its neighbors.  So the fewer cells you have, the less opportunity there is for things to go wrong.

Cylindrical vs. Prismatic cells and battery heating

Any time you pack a square box with round objects, there’s going to be some wasted space.  Inside a battery, that space is filled with air.  That’s not bad in itself… until you want to install a heater kit on the battery.  Heat traveling through air by convection is a lot less efficient than traveling directly through the battery via conduction, so the cylindrical cells are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to heater kits.

Waste heat management

When lithium batteries are working near their limits, they generate waste heat.  The best thing you can do to manage this is avoid generating heat in the first place.  Since their construction has half (or less) the internal resistance of Brand B, the Lithionics batteries are only going to generate half as much (or less) heat to begin with.  And once they’ve generated that heat, some batteries are designed to dissipate it faster.

 

There’s more in the video, but you’ll just need to watch it to get the rest.  I’d actually really like to see this kind of tear-down done with more brands of batteries, but it seems like that could be an expensive video series!  Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you think!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    11 thoughts on “RV Lithium Battery Face-Off: Lithionics vs “Brand B”

    1. Will

      Lithium battery safety is a serious subject. Just ask the 37 people who died on the dive boat Conception off California a few years ago. Cheap Chinese lithium batteries are thought to be the cause of a very fast moving fire on board.

      If Lithionics is going the extra mile for lithium battery safety, I’m all for it. And like everything in life, the cheapest product is rarely the safest or the most economical.

      I appreciated your report from Lithionic’s factory.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        No. The Boldt uses the Volta system. Still a lithium battery, but different from these entirely.

        Reply
    2. Don Kane

      Bottom line, Battle Born batteries 100Ah are 900$ and Lithionium 110-120Ah are 1600$. That is a major cost difference. But I am impressed with them.

      Reply
    3. sean weissinger

      So only 80cells but it’s also designed so that if a single or a couple cells fail the battery can still be used, also they don’t generally get hot unless something is wrong at the battery level, that’s also one of the highest rated batteries, it has been tested by many many different people on YouTube and other places, this is quite biased, both are great and I have both styles and have made both styles, also I don’t see why you turn off comments on YouTube

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        80 cells or 100… it’s a lot more welds and potential failure points than 12.
        Sure Brand B batteries are raved about on YouTube, and there are reasons for that.
        Composting toilets are raved about on YouTube too. We’re the only ones that gave an accurate account of them.

        In short, we think the video speaks for itself.

        Reply
    4. Gloria Dumas-Ropp

      Love your videos…very informative, on target and well thought out. Can’t wait to see what your battery fix will be in your new Ekko.

      Reply
        1. Ray Cellar

          So basically brand ‘B’ uses ‘hecha in China’ rechargeable Li ‘flashlight’ type cells, spot-welded together & packaged to represent a ‘real’ battery…

          Great to see this comparison that shows the quality & longevity differences…

          Even we ‘non rocket scientists’ can appreciate these differences & a quality product…!

          Well done & thanks to Lithionics for showing the ‘guts’ of those ‘wanta B’s’…

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