Do you want to start your RV traveling? A travel trailer is the least expensive way to enjoy a recreational vehicle or RV lifestyle. You can feel free with your travel arrangements. If you want to explore more landscapes, you simply unhook your trailer at the campsite and head out in your car or SUV. Large motor homes can be very clumsy and bulky to drive. That’s the reason why travel trailers are the most popular type of non-motorized RV.
We can use a storage battery to power the applications on the travel trailer. If you put several solar panels on your travel trailer, Nowadays, LiFePO4 batteries are well-known for energy storage. Lifepo4 Battery 12V can be used as a direct replacement for an AGM battery, GEL battery, or EFB battery. The 12-volt lifepo4 battery is ideal for electric scooters, wheelchairs, motorcycle starters, DC power, medical devices, LED light sources, solar power, or any other devices that use the SLA battery. 12V 120Ah LiFePO4 battery is suitable for the travel trailer and is a great replacement for a lead-acid battery.
In the following post, we will share the full process of building a 12V 120Ah LiFePO4 battery pack: from prismatic cell assembly to the final tests.
*Note: It is recommended that you learn some basic knowledge about LiFePO4 batteries before assembling the battery pack. Keep safe when you are assembling the battery pack.
- 3.2V 120Ah LiFePO4 battery cells (4 pieces)
There are currently three common shapes of LiFePO4 batteries: cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch. Different shapes of batteries will have a certain impact on performance. At present, the most suitable battery DIY enthusiasts are the prismatic LiFePO4 batteries, which are very suitable for both performance and operational difficulty.
We recommend you purchase the Grade A battery with a high quality and reliable warranty.
- BMS (Battery Manage System, 1 piece)
- Connectors (About 4 pieces)
- Others: EVA cotton, screws, ribbon cables, plastic pipes, etc.
- Spot Welder
- Spot Welding Pen
- Soldering Iron
- Wire Cutter
- Wire Stripper
Assembly Methods: 4 Series And 1 Parallel
- Series(S): The way of connecting the positive and negative electrodes of two different cells is called series connection. As a result, the voltage of the battery pack will increase while the capacity remains the same.
- Parallel(P): where the positive and positive electrodes of two different cells are connected in parallel. The result is that the capacity of the battery pack increases while the voltage remains the same.
1.Place The Batteries
Before we connect this group of battery cells, we should use the multimeter to check the voltage of them to ensure the consistency. It is better if you have a testing device to check the internal resistance. Without testing the consistency, the battery pack may cause an accident.
Then we place them in order and fix them with fiber tape. (Made of hot melt adhesive and forms a stronger tape that is resistant to tears and has better temperature tolerance than regular tape.)
2. Put The Epoxy Board Between The Batteries
What is the epoxy board? The epoxy board is made of alkali-free E-glass cloth impregnated with epoxy resin by processing under heat and pressure. Which have extremely high mechanical strength, Insulation, heat resistance, electrical properties, and good moisture resistance properties. To protect the battery cells, we can put an epoxy board between each battery.
3. Fill Them With Fiber Tape
We place them in order and fix them with fiber tape.
The fiber tape is made of hot melt adhesive and forms a stronger tape that is resistant to tears and has better temperature tolerance than regular tape. It is explosion-proof and leak-proof, providing high-strength insulation protection.
4. Install Signal Acquisition Wires in Sequence
Connect the cells using the connectors in series while connecting the indicator cables to the CPM and the cells. Don’t tighten connectors and nuts too tightly.
When connecting the voltage collection lines (equalization lines), do not connect the external protection board to avoid accidental burning of the protection board.
5. Fix Signal Wires with Screw
Terminal blocks are available as rows, but each terminal connects to only a single wire, which can prevent loosening of signal wires.
6. Tidy Up The Wires with Tie Straps
After soldering the wires (the balancing leads and the charging-discharging cables), we can tidy up the messy wires.
7. Put Battery Pack into Shell
We can not put the battery pack into bare condition. It is an excellent choice to put it into a plastic shell. Compared with the aluminum shell, the plastic shell has a good insulation performance and is cheaper.
Most of the cases of lithium batteries are mass molded manufacturing, production of high cost, and personal customization of the case is difficult. You can look for the case on sale online and pay attention to the size.
8. Secure BMS with Thermally Conductive Tape
The thermally conductive tape for battery packs keeps the BMS in place and protects them from the shock of extreme temperature changes.
Besides, these tapes provide electrical insulation, which prevents short circuits and provides a barrier to BMS.
9. Connect B- of BMS to The Negative of The Battery Pack
A BMS is one of the most important elements in a LiFePO4 battery, like the brain of the battery pack. It calculates the State of Charge (the amount of energy remaining in the battery) by tracking how much energy goes in and out of the battery pack and by monitoring cell voltages, which can prevent the battery pack from overcharging, over-discharging, and balancing all the cells voltage equally.
There are two main sets of wires we need to install, the thick wires and the thin wires. The thick wires are your charging/discharging wires and the thin wires are your balance wires. Not every BMS is the same, but most are similar. Your BMS will likely have 3 thick wires, or 3 pads to solder on your own heavy gauge wires. These are the B-, P- and C- wires (or pads for adding wires). We usually start with the B- wire. We can connect the B- of BMS to the negative pole of battery pack.
10. Install Positive Power Wires to The Battery Pack
If you connect the negative to the ground first then current will flow through the positive terminal to your body when you connect the positive terminal but when you connect the positive terminal first then while connecting the negative terminal the current will pass through the negative to ground wire instead of your body to ground as the resistance of your body is greater than the resistance of wire path and current will always flow through the lowest resistive path. Thus always connect the positive terminal first.
11. Fix the Temperature Measuring Probe Near The Battery Pack
Measure battery temperature with the probe. Use tape to secure it near the battery pack.
12. Install Positive and Negative Power Lines to The Cap
The total input and output ports of the battery pack are assembled. The assembly of this battery pack is almost done.
13. Fill EVA Cotton
EVA cotton can be shockproof, fireproof, and insulated, protecting the battery pack well. It can reduce the expansion force of the battery and improve the service life of the battery.
14. Check The Signal Lines in Correct Order
Wrong sequence may cause BMS to burn out!
15. Plug Signal Acquisition Wires’ Port into Interface
The signal acquisition technology can provide accurate parameters for battery balancing, SOC estimation and BMS centralized monitoring to meet the actual requirements of battery packs.
Using the signal acquisition technology, the voltage signal, temperature signal, current signal, etc. In addition, data from the battery pack CAN be transmitted to the central control unit.
1. Test Voltage of The Battery Pack
In this step, we can use a multimeter to check the voltage of the whole battery pack. Attach the multimeter probes to the positive and the negative battery terminals. Then we can check the voltage on the screen. The multimeter’s red probe must be connected to the positive terminal, while the black probe must be connected to the negative one.
A fully-charged battery must indicate a slightly higher voltage than the voltage listed on the battery. For instance, a 12 volts battery will indicate about 12.8 volts when it is fully charged.
2. Charging Test
Through the test, we can check that the charging value is normal and that the battery is abnormal during the charging process. We need to pay attention to the battery charging time and charging current.
3. Discharging Test
The discharge test of the battery is beneficial to the battery cycle life and discharge performance evaluation. We can use a professional device(Such as a Programmable DC Electronic Load) to check whether the battery works well during the discharging process, which can protect our battery and devices for further daily use.
When testing, there are three factors we need to pay attention to the port voltage of the battery, the resistance of the wire between the battery and the electronic load, and the temperature of the storm.
After testing the battery, your battery is successfully assembled! Thanks for reading the full tutorial on the 12.8V 120Ah lifepo4 battery pack assembly process! It is not hard for us to DIY a LiFePO4 battery. Which voltage and capacity of the LiFePO4 battery do you need? Welcome to share your thoughts below.