For this tutorial, I’ll be using the green Panasonic 18650PF cells shown above. Lately though I’ve been using http://electricbikeframes.com cells like these, which are a little bit more energy dense, meaning more battery in less space.
I’m planning on building a 10S12P pack for usage on a custom DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle). For packaging purposes, it would be best for me to split the battery pack in several battery modules instead of a single block of cells.
With the voltage known, the next item to figure out is how many amp-hours will be required to achieve your desired trip distance without the battery running flat. This depends of course on how much pedaling you contribute to the effort, how fast you are traveling, and the terrain you are on. The following table is based on minimal pedaling effort.
48 volt 1500 watt motor 48 volt 16.5 amp Samsun cell high quality battery 2amp charger, charges in 6 hours plus battery has USB port to charge your phone Top speed 35mph high torque Comes with every t…
Believe it or not, most BMS’s can handle the current from regenerative braking in the discharge mosfets as its rarely more than 5-7A. Some BMS’s (called two wire BMS’s) actually use the same mosfets for charging and discharging. Those inherently should be more than capable of dealing with the load from regen.
The best method is to use a trusted vendor. They interact with the cell providers and are the best way to confirm whether cells are fake or not. It can be incredibly difficult to tell whether a cell is fake or not just by picking it up from the table. There are some giveaways like different printing on the wrapper, slightly different color, different stamp, different weight or different shell design, but all of those can be mimicked. That’s why I use only a handful of vendors that I’ve worked with continuously and who I know have always given me good quality cells. I had to go through some low quality ones until I found the sources I buy from now.
Connections are made with solid Nickel strips, spot welder to each cell. Each cell and each series is tested before assembly. The BMS will prevent over charging and will balance the cells after a full…
When it comes to layout, there are two ways to assemble cells in straight packs (rectangular packs like I am building). I don’t know if there are industry terms for this, but I call the two methods “offset packing” and “linear packing”.
This is 14 series 52V (58.8v full charge) lithium battery power protection board. Balanced, same port continuous 45A discharge. 1x 14S 45A Lithium Battery Protection Board. Step2：After confirm the wir…
There are two prevalent ideas in pack constructing in these modern days…one is to use larger pouch-like soft cells to construct the pack. The stealthiest battery chemistry by far is LiPo, large cells with power-dense cobalt in the anode chemistry, such as what comes in Hobby King cells. Here is what I mean by “large cell” LiPo. These are soft pouches and large. When you use a pack made of these it will consist of fewer wired together cells than if you use small cylinder cells.
I continued with all 10 sense wires, placing the last one on the positive terminal of the 10th parallel group. If you aren’t sure about which groups are which, or you get confused, use your digital voltmeter to double check the voltages of each group so you know you are connecting each wire to the correct group.
This is by far the most common lithium-ion chemistry used in electric bicycles. It is somewhat heavier than lithium polymer and the lithium-cobalt packs that are usually used laptops and consumer electronics, but is also safer. Most of the lithium manganese packs we have dealt with use rectangular steel canned cells and have good discharge capabilities. This chemistry holds its voltage better over the course of the battery discharge than Lithium Polymer, which tends to have a linearly declining voltage from 4.2 to 2.9 volts/cell during the course of the discharge, leading to a ebike that starts off feeling peppy and finishes feeling lethargic.
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The nickel is surprisingly soft, which means you can use an ordinary pair of scissors to cut it. Try not to bend it too much though, as you want it to remain as flat as possible. If you do bend the corners with the scissors, you can easily bend them back down with your finger.
SLA-Sealed Lead Acid. Deep-cycle electric wheelchair batteries. Nobody pedals a wheelchair, so their bulk and weight were not an issue, but their low price keeps them as the battery of choice for wheelchairs and mobility scooters for the elderly. For a bicycle, the industry was on a constant lookout for something better.
One question regarding the specific battery BMS you used in this build: It uses a different wire for charging vs discharging the battery. Does this mean that the regenerative braking feature cannot be used for this battery?
Now I’m sure you’re all jazzed about building your own battery pack. But just in case, I’m going to leave you with an awesome video featuring battery builder Damian Rene of Madrid, Spain building a very large, very professionally constructed 48V 42AH battery pack from 18650 cells. You can read about how he built this battery here. (Also, note in the video his good use of safety equipment!)
Have a plan on where you are going to charge your bike before settling on a battery chemistry. If you live in a crowded apartment building and the only place you have to charge is in your living room floor, you may want to decide against any of these lithium technologies.
Excellent, excellent, excellent (did I mention excellent) motor! So much fun, so much torque. I bought mine with 30q 52v battery, unbelievable power. Done about 300 km yet but absolutely no regrets. Get the 42 teeth Lekkie ring, makes worlds of difference. The new color display is also …
12V increments are easier to do with LiFePO4 due to the 3.2V per cell. So for 12V, 24V, 36V and 48V they go 4 cells, 8 cells, 12 cells and 16 cells. Li-ion is more annoying because the 3.7V per cell doesn’t play as nicely. The general convention for the same 12V increments is 3 cells, 7 cells, 10 cells, and 13 or 14 cells. 3 cells is just a bit low for a 12V system (about 11V nominal) but will work for most applications until the voltage drops to about 9.5 or 10V depending on your device’s cutoffs. Regarding the balancing issue, if you’re using those packs that claim to remain in balance then I’d imagine you can just trust them. If their packs had problems with balance then they’d probably be having tons of returns. Worst come to worst you can occasionally open the case and measure the cells to make sure they are all staying balanced. One word of advice: be very careful with the series/parallel switch setup. If you make a mistake or the switch melts you could end up shorting your batteries and ruin the whole lot…
Note: At multiple points along this article I have inserted videos that I made demonstrating the steps involved in building a battery. The battery used in the videos is the same voltage but slightly larger capacity. The same techniques all still apply. If you don’t understand something in the text, try watching it in the video.
Lithium batteries made specially for ebikes often come with specific bicycle mounting points making them easy to bolt to the bike frame, seat post or rear rack. If you go with a different type of lithium battery without ebike specific mounts, you’ll likely have to put it in a bag on the bike, which is still a good option, and one that I even prefer sometimes. (Link to blog post of mine about center frame triangle batteries).
Either way works, but my orange jig saves me one hot glue step which just makes for a cleaner looking pack. Of course it’s all the same after the pack gets covered with shrink wrap, so you can use any method you’d like. I’ve even found that some of those cylindrical ice cube trays are perfectly sized to hold 18650 cells. Cutting off the top would leave it clear for welding. I’d add some strong neodymium magnets to the backside to hold the cells in place like my orange jig has, but other than that it’s a perfect jig almost as-is.
I’m wondering, what do you do for 6V or 12V applications where the correct number of in-series cells is ambiguous? For example, if I’m replacing a 6V SLA battery, it seems like the existing charging system would set a 1s battery on fire, but wouldn’t be sufficient to charge a 2s battery. Are there BMS’s that have VRs to step up the voltage from the charging system to the battery, and step down voltage from the battery to the charging system to facilitate a 2s battery for the application?
I’m glad you enjoyed the article. To answer your questions: I chose this type of battery instead of LiFePO4 mostly because of the cost and convenience. LiFePO4 is a bit more expensive and has fewer options for cells. These Li-ion cells are a bit less expensive and there are dozens of options with many different specifications for any power/capacity need. I’ve used and built LiFePO4 packs before and they have their own unique advantages, but for me they just don’t add up to enough.
RC packs may be fine for enthusiasts that know what they’re doing, but even telling others about them scares me! FIRE! And secondly, they typically don’t have any BMS so don’t have any inherent protection from over-under voltage or balancing. FIRE!
When it comes to the nickel strip you’ll be using to connect the 18650 batteries together, you will have two options: nickel-plated steel strips and pure nickel strips. Go for the pure nickel. It costs a little bit more than nickel plated steel but it has much lower resistance. That will translate into less wasted heat, more range from your battery, and a longer useful battery lifetime due to less heat damage to the cells.
One other disadvantage of lithium batteries that isn’t talked about often, but should be, is their potential for theft. Lithium ebike batteries have become huge targets by bike thieves as a result of their combination of small size and high price tags (the same factors that keep shaving razor cartridges behind lock and key at the drug store). Thieves see an easy target and ample resale market, meaning you have to be extra careful about locking your ebike up and leaving it alone in public.