Anyone tried ordering LiFePo4 from China ?

donnib

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Hi,
I have been looking at Alibaba and Global Sources for a manufacturer that can deliver 41pcs prismatic 100ah 3.2 LiFePo4 cells and i have got a price of 54$/piece including shipping and custom clearance. It seems a good price. Has anyone dared to try cells from China ? These are Tipsun cells but i have no idea if it's just very few manufacturers that makes these then some other company buy them and put their name on them. I could start getting a sample and test that but then again who knows if the sample they send is good then they send some crap. They send me some documents and pictures on the batteries and how they are tested but then again everything can be fake.

/donnib
 

OffGridInTheCity

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My very first order was some "2000mah" Ultra Fire cells - turned out they had average of 1100mah.

Earlier this year, I tried to order some 18650s from 3 separate China based listings - thinking that at least 1 would be OK. They were advertised as new/name-brand and detaled -list-of-specs. They arrived and were new BUT only had 60% of advertised mah. In all 3 cases, when I requested a return, the response was... "Oh sorry, yes they are lower than advertised, how about 10% or 15% off the price".

I'm not saying all orders are like this - but none of my attempts were successful and I would be nervous doing a 'cold order'. If you could find someone that had done a specific order (and were happy) and you can order the same thing then perhaps that would reduce risk.
 

donnib

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OffGridInTheCity said:
My very first order was some "2000mah" Ultra Fire cells - turned out they had average of 1100mah.

Earlier this year, I tried to order some 18650s from 3 separate China based listings - thinking that at least 1 would be OK. They were advertised as new/name-brand and detaled -list-of-specs. They arrived and were new BUT only had 60% of advertised mah. In all 3 cases, when I requested a return, the response was... "Oh sorry, yes they are lower than advertised, how about 10% or 15% off the price".

I'm not saying all orders are like this - but none of my attempts were successful and I would be nervous doing a 'cold order'. If you could find someone that had done a specific order (and were happy) and you can order the same thing then perhaps that would reduce risk.

@OffGridInTheCity Thank you for the input. Yes that would surely be the way to go but i don't know anybody that knows a supplier of LiFePo4 which has tried them. I could try a sample and see where that takes me. Let's see maybe others can chip in with experiences with some suppliers.
 

donnib

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100kwh-hunter said:
Do you mean the prismatic cells?
I am planning to save for this:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000022315341.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.791f3c00mQVGx0&mp=1
Or this one:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000134475622.html?spm=a2g0o.cart.0.0.791f3c00q43OSP&mp=1
Basically the same amount, but for a cheaper price.

But did not buy them yet, probably will.
The maine concern is there cycle and there capacity.

Yes i am looking at single prismatic cells, just like in your link on AliExpress. My price above was for a single cell so if you want to compare than my price 169$ vs yours 216$ for a 1kWh
 

100kwh-hunter

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I think the big difference is, where they must ship to, import tax handling fee, danger money, ect.
I found them also way cheaper, but those prices where without shipping and ect
Some countries are more expensive to deliver in europe.

Can you provide a link and tell us where you are from?
Best
 

donnib

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100kwh-hunter said:
I think the big difference is, where they must ship to, import tax handling fee, danger money, ect.
I found them also way cheaper, but those prices where without shipping and ect
Some countries are more expensive to deliver in europe.

Can you provide a link and tell us where you are from?
Best

I am located in Denmark and i see you are in Netherlands so i presume we have almost same VAT as far as i know 25% vs 21%.

I do not have a link as such since i found multiplesuppliers on Global Source and on Alibaba. The price that i got from them was door-to-door which in theory should include shipping, duty taxes / custom clearance and local vat but i am still a bit unclear since the Chinese as you may know are not that good at communicating clearly. I have some datasheets/test reports that i have received which i have attached here.

View attachment 3

View attachment 1

View attachment 2
 

Attachments

  • Tipsun-3.2V-100Ah-LFP Battery.pdf
    416.6 KB · Views: 173
  • 3.2V 100Ah Data & Test report.pdf
    604.9 KB · Views: 169
  • 100Ah Test report.pdf
    1.9 MB · Views: 249

Redpacket

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Redpacket

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100kwh-hunter said:
Indeed alibaba is very unclear.
On aliexpress they make it very clear, no tax and free shipping, so no surprises.
"Free shipping" can mean lots of things. Mostly they get it onto the boat at their end & deliver it to your countries port docks. Then you're on your own. Customs taxes & local delivery had to be paid for this end in my case.
100kwh-hunter said:
Did you do a capacity test after a year or so and did you keep track of the number of cycles?
I don't have exact numbers for capacity loss.
I have a Batrium system & my monitoring system shows typical DoD is about 30% to 50%.
About once a month, there's a few cloudy days in a row & it gets discharged to 70-80% or so. We conserve power more if we know it's cloudy.
The few occasions it has got down to a few % left, the predicted capacity still seems about right & cell holding up (just).
 

completelycharged

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In terms of the test results the key element is if you believe the cycle life test results (test 6 - download 3)

The other chart, which is odd and unclear is in download 1, the Amp-Hours vs Volts (101# 102# series) as to why the voltage apparently increases part way through the discharge process / Ah.

The cells may well last 10yr and 2000 cycles at 0.2C, or not.


For ordering, is you don't mind paying a premium for shipping the use thier method (and pray that they turn up - who insures the shipping) This is ok for small value orders but larger values I would advise finding your own shipper. They tend to be able to export and do DAP at a cheap price for a reason...

DAP (delivered to destination port) is typical, leaving you to collect and arrange clearance. Beware if they turn up incorrectly listed as lithium cell and then try to clear them through via a different agent as the new shipper collecting the cells may refuse to handle them.

If you use your own shipper then collect Ex-Works (ExW) if your shipper can process the export license and get them out of the country and onto a ship. Typically Lithium cells are not exported with as lithium batteries due to the shipping conditions and this is part of the issue with shipping costs (premium).

No airline will legally fly a large volume of large format (>30Ah I think - check FAA and other airline shipping restrictions) lithium cells, which are notfully approved/tested/etc. so your cells will normally be on a slow boat.

This is from my experience and research of shipping half a ton of cells from China last year for my system.
 

Redpacket

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Document #1
completelycharged said:
The other chart, which is odd and unclear is in download 1, the Amp-Hours vs Volts (101# 102# series) as to why the voltage apparently increases part way through the discharge process / Ah.

So re the curves in docs linked in the post by donnib's: Volts vs Ahrs = note this graph does not have time (Hrs) across the bottom, it's not voltage vs time, it's AHrs ie capacity.
This graph just says battery voltage is lower with low current (eg left side) voltage rises with medium current (middle area) & voltage drops as expected with higher current (ie right side).
The rise like this might be from cell internal temp rise with medium currents. But yes, why volts are lower with low current discharge does seem unusual (my cells don't do that).

Factors in cycle life seem to be:
- DoD % (less DoD gives longer life), most gain in reducing from 100% to approx 80% or 90%.
- Cell voltage range (not charging to 3.65V & not discharging low either), stay on the voltage plateau is best (flatter middle part) from voltage graphs.
- charge & discharge currents (0.5C or less, eg 0.2C is better)
- not charging when cold (< 0 degC not good)
- not using in higher temps (> approx 35 degC not good)

Yeah - agree with your comments re shipping!
 
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