Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries have gained immense popularity for their durability and longevity compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. However, we’ve noticed a recurring issue with customers who purchase lithium iron phosphate batteries, like the popular SOK batteries. They assume these batteries are similar to lead-acid ones, arriving fully charged and ready to go. However, treating them the same way can lead to a dead battery after just one cycle. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of reviving a seemingly lifeless battery.
Understanding the Problem:
The issue arises when customers purchase LiFePO4 batteries, like the SOK batteries, expecting them to arrive at 100% charge and function like traditional lead-acid batteries. They install the LiFePO4 battery, discharge it completely, and then find that it won’t take a charge. The battery appears dead, showing minimal or zero voltage.
Identifying the Cause:
To better understand the problem, let’s look at the reasons behind it:
- Voltage Requirement: LiFePO4 batteries require a minimum voltage for chargers to recognize and begin charging. When the battery is completely discharged, it might not meet this voltage threshold, causing the charger to remain inactive.
- Charger Compatibility: Chargers designed for LiFePO4 batteries often require a minimum input voltage to operate. If the battery’s voltage is too low, the charger won’t engage.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to revive a dead LiFePO4 battery:
1. Using an Adjustable Power Supply:
If you have an adjustable power supply, set it to approximately 14 Volts and connect it to the battery. This makeshift charger will kickstart the battery, allowing the regular charger to take over. We used this method in the video above and got 10 Amps flowing into the battery, effectively reactivating it. Once the battery has reached the minimum threshold, the charger will be able to sense the voltage and select the appropriate charging mode.
2. Jump-Start with Another Battery:
In situations where a power supply isn’t available, a secondary battery with a voltage between 11 and 14.6 Volts can serve as a temporary solution. You’ll connect the two batteries using jumper cables, making sure you’re following proper safety procedures, and the donor battery will act as a temporary power source. By jump-starting the dead battery, you introduce the necessary voltage to the charger or inverter, allowing it to function and charge the battery. Once the depleated LiFePO4 battery receives some charge, it will wake up and start accepting a charge from the charger.
If the above methods don’t work, it’s advisable to perform a visual inspection on the battery for damage, especially if it’s a SOK battery. Remove the battery cover (if user-serviceable) and look for any pinched wires or shipping-related damage. While uncommon, these issues can sometimes occur.
Special Mention – Victron Chargers:
Victron Blue Smart IP22 and IP67 chargers have the ability to revive dead batteries. These products combine charger and power supply functionality, making them highly versatile and reliable solutions for handling completely depleted batteries.
Reviving a seemingly dead LiFePO4 battery, such as SOK batteries, is not as daunting as it may seem. By understanding the unique voltage requirements of these batteries and following the steps mentioned above, you can bring your battery back to life and enjoy its numerous benefits. Remember that this troubleshooting process applies to many other reputable LiFePO4 battery brands, such as Ampere Time, Chins, and Battle Born. It’s not the battery’s fault; it’s a matter of understanding how to work with LiFePO4 technology.
We hope this guide has been helpful in ensuring your battery operates optimally. Should you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you make the most of your battery investment!