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Unread 12-18-2014, 10:05 AM   #1
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Default Converting to Lithium

What is the process and what all is needed to convert a 48 volt cart currently running 8 6volt batteries to lithium? Recommendations on battery types, chargers, whatever the hell a BMS is, and any other tips and tricks, as well as traps to avoid.

I found some Li ion 48volt 45Ah 2KW batteries that came out of a Chevy Volt on eBay for what appears to be a reasonable price, $600. How many of these would be needed? I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, but i have very little clue on this.

If it matters, it will most likely be done t oa Bad Boy Buggy Classic.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Look at topslvette's and sportcoupe's thread on lithium conversions using the Nissan Leaf Hybrid batteries. Topslvette's has the info on where to buy them. I converted my 36v TXT to Lithium using the leaf batteries (60Ah). I would be concerned with run time at 45Ah.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 10:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Thank you. The 45ah concerned me as well but I didn't know if using several of them would increase that rating.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 10:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

So jealous of you guys. My trojans are not giving up anytime soon, when they do ...I hope the prices of Lithiums have dropped to a point that I can afford.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncorry View Post
Thank you. The 45ah concerned me as well but I didn't know if using several of them would increase that rating.
Connect the number of cells needed for the voltage you want in series, then connect second series string with the same number of cells in parallel with the first.


That would give you a 90AH pack.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Keep in mind that you really have to know what you are doing to successfully run with Lithium batteries. They require balancing and the proper charger and you must NEVER run them down below their minimum voltage. The guys that have done it here have the knowledge. I plan do to this a few years in the future when my current FLA batteries need replacement. For now I am just studying what folks here are doing. I expect that there will be lots more good info and more batteries available by the time I am ready to convert.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

OK to start To equal 48 volt @ 225 AH FLA will require 48 volt @ 100 AH of lithium as both will give you 80 AH of usable energy.

The type of lithium battery used in a cart is not the same type used in EV's for a couple of reasons.

1. Cost. EV's use Lithium Cobalt and Lithium Manganese. These are high energy density and cost upward around $2 to $2.50/wh. Or for a 48 volt 100 AH battery about $10,000. The type used in carts and DIY EV's is Lithium Iron Phosphate aka LiFeP04 or LFP for short. LFP can be bought for as low as $.0.3 to $0.45/wh or around $2000 to $2600 depending on manufacture.

2. As mentioned the type of Lithium EV's use are high energy density. All that means is watt hours/Kg. Being very high energy density means unstable and prone to catching fire. To prevent that means EV manufactures have to use thermal management, and that is expensive. LiFeP04 is very stable and does not require any thermal management, and only Passive BMS (battery management system).

Lastly LFP is very forgiving when charging and can tolerate some over charging. But like any lithium be aware they DO NOT TOLERATE being over discharged. You need to make note of this because one thing every golf cart owner does is over discharge their batteries. You do that one time with Lithium and you turn them into a BRICK which makes for a nice expensive Boat Anchor.

Now that we have that out of the way lets talk specific brands and where to get them. Calb and GBS are the two go too's. Calb is the least expensive but will require some fabrication to bind them together. Something like a box. Under Calb you want the gray CA series. For 48 volt takes 16 cells as each cell has a nominal 3.2 volts. Most DIY EV builders get their Calbs from Electric Car Parts Company. You are looking for Calb Ca-100. They cost around $125 per cell for a quantity of 16.

The other is higher quality and they make drop in replacements with BMS included. They use GBS 100 AH cells. I bought mine from Elite Power Solution. I used the Turnkey option with the BMS Balance boards included. These are a bit expensive, but GBS are really good batteries and you get a drop-in package.

OK let's move on to chargers. Unless you know how to modify electronics just buy a charger from whoever you buy the batteries from. The good thing about Lithium is they do not have to be charged as slow as FLA batteries. FLA batteries are typically charged at C/10 or 10 hour rate. Lithium can be charged up at 1C or 1 hour rate if you can afford it.

There is one extra peice of equipment you will want. A Low Voltage Cutoff. It is needed to protect the batteries. It literally disconnects the batteries if you reach the Cutoff Set Point. On a AC cart it is really easy as it is built into the controller to operate the Run Solenoid. If you have a DC motor/controller I am not sure what is out there.

That is the basics and all for now. Let you digest that and start pricing things out. If you survive sticker shock, ask more questions.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnieB View Post
Connect the number of cells needed for the voltage you want in series, then connect second series string with the same number of cells in parallel with the first.


That would give you a 90AH pack.
Second series? Already over my head. If it takes two 48 volt, $600, 45ah batteries at about 40lbs each to get a bank at 48volt, 90ah, I think that's doable budget wise, but I am going to need a lithium version for dummies. The FLA batteries in it now are only a year old, but only have about a 10 mile range due to 4 wheel drive. Hoping that 2 or 3 lithiums at $600/ each could double that.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Sinking, that's what I was looking for. I like the sound of turnkey. At $3,225 for the package, I understand what you mean by sticker shock. In your opening line, you compared FLA at 225ah to 100ah lithium. In your conversion, was the range about the same? I realize that a cart would lose about 300 lbs in the process, but I'm considering this for range reasons.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 11:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Converting to Lithium

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncorry View Post
Sinking, that's what I was looking for. I like the sound of turnkey. At $3,225 for the package, I understand what you mean by sticker shock. In your opening line, you compared FLA at 225ah to 100ah lithium. In your conversion, was the range about the same? I realize that a cart would lose about 300 lbs in the process, but I'm considering this for range reasons.
Range is pretty close to equal with a slight edge to lithium. But as I warned you. Do Not Push The Limit with Lithium. That is why you should use LVC. If it operates while out, you will have to tow it home. But without LVC and it stops, tow it to the junk yard and toss the batteries.

What you will really like with lithium is the acceleration rate. Lithium batteries have much lower internal resistance. That translate into more peak current without excessive voltage sag. In addition Lithium has a much flatter discharge voltage curve. That results in the performance stays pretty much the same from full charge to fully discharged. Unlike FLA starts strong and slowly Peters Out and finishes sluggish as you discharge. You do not get that warning with Lithium. All is fine and within a matter of a few seconds you go from peppy to stuck.

One last benefit is weight. A Trojan 48 volt 225 AH battery weighs around 500 pounds. A 48 volt 100 AH lithium weighs in around 120 to 140 pounds. That weight loss translate into better efficiency with more acceleration.

BTW it is Sunking, not Sinking Sinking is my sister. Want to meet her? She is looking for husband #7. She is a rich Morman in Utah. Still has 6 husbands, she just wants 1 more. Th eother 6 are getting worn out and need a break.
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