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Old 04-27-2012, 12:24 AM   #1
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Default Ballistic EVO2 Motorcycle Batteries

My WestCo battery is on the fritz and needs to be replaced. Given that I work at a motorcycle dealership I was looking into using a Honda Goldwing battery or something similar. I was talking to my parts guy who showed me this new product called ballistic batteries. They are made with a lithium ferrous charging system and are extremely light. The make them in different "cell" sizes. From 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 and a "HD (heavy duty)16" cells.

The CCA range from 240 for the 8 cell to 500 for the HD16 and the biggest one they have still only weighs 1600 grams.

Long story short, I am trying one out. I ordered the 8 cell 275CCA battery which is under 800 grams. http://www.ballisticparts.com/produc...ries/8cell.php

They are quite cheap, my cost on it was just over $100 and the 16HD one is $299 retail.

This is the 16HD http://www.ballisticparts.com/produc...s/16cellHD.php

And some more info. Apparently it only looses 10% over a year of static use and dosen't require a trickle charger.

http://www.ballisticparts.com/produc.../batteries.php
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:34 AM   #2
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How do they hold up to heat, lots of Texas heat? This is race use only or daily/combo use?
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:37 AM   #3
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I'd assume quite well, looking into it more it seems alike a lot of race bikes are moving to it and it rates effective use from -16* to 60* (0*-140* for you 'muricans). With a 3 year warranty I figured I may as well give it a go. Amp hours are similar to the smaller Braille CF battery but CCA is lower. I'll only be using it in the summer and it's 5 pounds lighter than the Braille and less than half the price.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:38 AM   #4
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I'll be dairying it but if you wanted to be extra sure it will last I'd go for the 16HD one. 500 cold cranking amps and 2.5lbs is impressive.

I'm building my car for SSM and planning on going to nats this year so lighter is better. I have a booster at home if I need it .
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:42 AM   #5
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Another option...

http://www.shoraipower.com/
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:29 AM   #6
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I use a 16 cell lifepo pack on my ls6. Took it to a 2 track day weekend a while back and it was down about 10% after the event and had no problem turning the engine over. The one problem I have is the ecu draws ~36ma when off and if I leave it connected the battery drains down far enough where cranking gets noticeably slower after a few days. A proper kill switch solves that problem, but I haven't installed one yet.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:30 AM   #7
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Something I've long wondered about those lithium starting batteries- are any of them capable of being charged by the vehicle's alternator like a "normal" battery? I ask because the external chargers which they sell seem to use a hobby lipo-style charger (with discrete, individual-cell leads) suggesting that the battery itself does not contain a charging BMS.

I've never been able to find a datasheet for them which actually discusses in-vehicle charging off an alternator.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:47 AM   #8
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I have a Shorai in my ZX10. They're awesome, but I wouldn't charge that thing with anything other than the alternator or their specific chargers. Already blew one up on accident using a normal charger.

Though you can jump them and they will supposedly charge up "ok." Again optimal charge from a dead status is recommended from their specific line leveling trickle chargers.

I'm on my original battery from 04 in the Miata and I've often thought about "upgrading" to another Shorai for the car. But the ease of use and peace of mind that comes from a regular battery after dealing with a Shorai for the past year in my bike makes me think otherwise.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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Are you able to ship one out here for your cost and shipping? I was going to get a Deka, but would like to try something new.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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I have a motobatt battery...but I forget which one. They are only about $50-80 http://motobatt.com/
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:26 PM   #11
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FWIW, I've installed both Ballistic and Shorai batteries in Miatas; Ballistics are a bit nicer. Savington and I both have Ballistics in our cars.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slmhofy View Post
I have a Shorai in my ZX10. They're awesome, but I wouldn't charge that thing with anything other than the alternator or their specific chargers. Already blew one up on accident using a normal charger.
This is where I'm confused.

An alternator and a "normal" charger are the exact same thing so far as a battery is concerned, provided that the "normal" charger does not exceed 14.5v or so. (eg, no de-sulfating pulse chargers.)

They're both connected to the discharge terminals of the battery, performing a series (bulk) charge on a battery which, so far as I can tell, does not contain an internal BMS. That observation is speculatory, based on the fact that the fancy external charger which they sell appears to have discrete per-cell leads, like you'd see on an RC-hobby-style LiPo pack charger.

Granted, these batteries appear to use LiFePO4 cells, so they shouldn't fail explosively at the drop of a hat like LiPos and could be series-charged if you really wanted to. It just seems odd that they don't appear to have made any provision for cell-balancing while in-use.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:44 PM   #13
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Hey crashncar what size are you guys running? If its the smaller any issues with starting?
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #14
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Dgmorr, I'll give you the part number and call any mc dealer. They all use parts canada as asupplier which is where I ordered one from.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #15
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If you charge with too high of am aperage you can blowe it. I only run 2 amps when I charge.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:59 PM   #16
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I think you are going to be out of luck trying to (reliably) start a car with an 8-cell pack. There just aren't enough amps there for a reliable, quick start. The last thing you want to do is to have to keep cranking for the car car to start, as it will quickly kill the battery's tiny power reserve.

Some of these lipo 4fe batteries have balance plugs (Ballistic), some do not (Anti-Gravity). That said, even the batteries with balance plugs do not have a comprehensive charging system; batteries are grouped in 4's, and each group of 4 is balanced as a single battery. That is not much better than not using the plug at all, IMHO.

The batteries have similar charging requirements as R/C lipo batteries - they like 'fast' charging at high amp loads. I think all of the Motorcycle/ATV/Performance batteries (Ballistic, Anti-Gravity) are using A123 cells (lipo 4fe). As far as I know, they are not the explosive dangers that overcharged lipo r/c batteries are.

I read once (on the internet, so it must be true) that the A123 batteries are the same as used in DeWalt and other power tools, which aren't balance-charged either.

I have an Anti-Gravity 16-cell, it works great. The kill switch is important in case you have any dark current that could draw down the battery. These batteries are much, much easier to kill by letting the charge level drop too low. Traditional lead-cell car batteries don't like to be drawn below ~10.5 volts, but are usually capable of coming back with a trickle-charge. Not so with a lipo / lipo 4fe. These batteries can be severely and irreparably damaged if drawn too low, which in the case of lipo batteries, is about 3.3v per cell. I would assume the lipo 4fe batteries get sensative at around 2.5-2.7v per cell (or 10-11v as read from the ballistic / anti-gravity terminals, a fully charged battery reads about 14.4v).

Falcon, in your first post you said "And some more info. Apparently it only looses 10% over a year of static use and dosen't require a trickle charger." To be clear, "static use" is another way of saying "in storage". If you are going to store the battery for a few months, you would be better off to not put it away fully charged, for example, store it at 13.6v or so. Also, it isn't that the batteries do not require a trickle charger - they cannot be trickle charged. They need a 'fast' charger, putting out at least 4 amps for the smaller batteries and more for the bigger ones, and a charger that will shutoff at 14.4v and one that would not exceed 14.7 volts.

That is my understanding at least, and would be happy to learn more or hear where I'm wrong or confused about these batteries.

- Will
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falcon View Post
If you charge with too high of am aperage you can blowe it. I only run 2 amps when I charge.
Are you running an alternator in your car? The stock Miata alternator output is rated up to 55-65 Amps.

Motorcycle alternators output 15-40 Amps.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
This is where I'm confused.

An alternator and a "normal" charger are the exact same thing so far as a battery is concerned, provided that the "normal" charger does not exceed 14.5v or so. (eg, no de-sulfating pulse chargers.)

They're both connected to the discharge terminals of the battery, performing a series (bulk) charge on a battery which, so far as I can tell, does not contain an internal BMS. That observation is speculatory, based on the fact that the fancy external charger which they sell appears to have discrete per-cell leads, like you'd see on an RC-hobby-style LiPo pack charger.

Granted, these batteries appear to use LiFePO4 cells, so they shouldn't fail explosively at the drop of a hat like LiPos and could be series-charged if you really wanted to. It just seems odd that they don't appear to have made any provision for cell-balancing while in-use.
Hey Joe,

I totally understand what you mean about them being similar. And now that I think about it, it makes sense. All I know is that I charged a Shorai with a regular battery charger once and it melted the sides and it looked like it was going to explode. Not sure why the charging system from an alternator wouldn't or couldn't do the same. Maybe because charging system of a bike is lower than a cars and that is ok? Maybe auto charging systems have a safety circuit? Though I'm not really aware of one.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildo View Post
I think you are going to be out of luck trying to (reliably) start a car with an 8-cell pack. There just aren't enough amps there for a reliable, quick start. The last thing you want to do is to have to keep cranking for the car car to start, as it will quickly kill the battery's tiny power reserve.
8-cells will start a car over and over again. On a fully-charged 8-cell, 10-12 full-speed starts isn't unreasonable. The 4-cell will start a car twice, but not 3 times.

Quote:
Some of these lipo 4fe batteries have balance plugs (Ballistic), some do not (Anti-Gravity). That said, even the batteries with balance plugs do not have a comprehensive charging system; batteries are grouped in 4's, and each group of 4 is balanced as a single battery. That is not much better than not using the plug at all, IMHO.
I don't think this is true either. The 4-cell batteries have a balance plug as well, so I am pretty sure each cell is balanced individually.

Quote:
The batteries have similar charging requirements as R/C lipo batteries - they like 'fast' charging at high amp loads. I think all of the Motorcycle/ATV/Performance batteries (Ballistic, Anti-Gravity) are using A123 cells (lipo 4fe). As far as I know, they are not the explosive dangers that overcharged lipo r/c batteries are.

I read once (on the internet, so it must be true) that the A123 batteries are the same as used in DeWalt and other power tools, which aren't balance-charged either.
LiFePO4 is far, far less dangerous than LiPo. You can puncture a LiFePO4 cell and it won't explode. The DeWalt 32-volt cordless power tools are 10 3.2v A123 LiFePO4 cells.

Quote:
I have an Anti-Gravity 16-cell, it works great. The kill switch is important in case you have any dark current that could draw down the battery. These batteries are much, much easier to kill by letting the charge level drop too low. Traditional lead-cell car batteries don't like to be drawn below ~10.5 volts, but are usually capable of coming back with a trickle-charge. Not so with a lipo / lipo 4fe. These batteries can be severely and irreparably damaged if drawn too low, which in the case of lipo batteries, is about 3.3v per cell. I would assume the lipo 4fe batteries get sensative at around 2.5-2.7v per cell (or 10-11v as read from the ballistic / anti-gravity terminals, a fully charged battery reads about 14.4v).
Nominal voltage is 13.2v (4x3.2v cells). Max charge is 14.4v. The batteries are irreparably damaged if you drop them under 10.0v, but they will maintain 13.2v out past 80% discharge. If you 80% discharge a lead-acid battery, it's not going to come back to life either.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
8-cells will start a car over and over again. On a fully-charged 8-cell, 10-12 full-speed starts isn't unreasonable. The 4-cell will start a car twice, but not 3 times.
I suppose it depends on the engine. High compression, divide those numbers by 2! Hot re-start on-track? Divide those numbers by 3!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I don't think this is true either. The 4-cell batteries have a balance plug as well, so I am pretty sure each cell is balanced individually.
That part has to be true. If Ballistic is advertising individual-cell balance charging on their 8-cell and higher packs, they aren't being honest. In order to balance each cell in a 16-cell pack individually, the balance plug would require 17 leads (1 positive for each cell plus one common ground). The balance connector on Ballistic batteries only have 5 leads (likely 4 positive, 1 common ground ). Even a single-cell battery ( a "1S" battery ) can have and use a balance plug that the charger would use to monitor the battery's charge level. That said, it is possible/likely that:
The cells in a 4-cell pack are individually balanced to 3.3v ea.
The cells in an 8-cell pack are balanced in pairs to 6.6v per pair.
The cells in a 12 cell pack are balanced in groups of 3 to 9.9v per group.
The cells in a 16 cell pack are balanced in groups of 4 to 13.2v per group.
While the 4-cell pack could balance accurately, the charger would never know if there are variances between the cell voltages in any of the groups in the 8 cell and higher packs.

So any battery with more than 4 cells cannot actually be 'balance charged'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Nominal voltage is 13.2v (4x3.2v cells). Max charge is 14.4v. The batteries are irreparably damaged if you drop them under 10.0v, but they will maintain 13.2v out past 80% discharge. If you 80% discharge a lead-acid battery, it's not going to come back to life either.
That is correct, however the typical lead-acid car battery has 10-20 times more capacity than these little batteries. The 8-cell's usable capacity is only 3.680 amp-hours. That is peanuts in a 13.2v system. Just a little dark current could kill the battery overnight, as could leaving the lights on for ~15 minutes, etc. I've drawn my old Optima battery down to 10.2-8.8 volts on track a few times when I was having a charge / alternator problem. All it took was a trickle-charge overnight to get it back to life. It was likely damaged, and its life shortened, but you'd never know it from using it. I now have a voltage warning light in the car.
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