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Thread: Experiences with Starkpower and Bioenno

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Experiences with Starkpower and Bioenno

    I am looking at large LiFePO4 batteries for a dual-purpose lantern and USB charging solution.

    Both these companies appear less than ten years old, so it is difficult to gauge reliability.

    Amazon has reviews for Bioenno products which are overwhelmingly positive; I can't find as many reviews on Starkpower.

    Both companies appear to have two year warranties (I would prefer to see five year warranties).

    Bioenno appears to be viewed pretty favorably in the ham radio community; or perhaps more accurately, by some of its members.

    I have had email correspondence with both companies over the last few years, and both are happy (as any company would be) to take my money.

    I keep flipping back and forth between the two companies.

    Thoughts?
    Comments?

    Any real world experience with either one of these?

    The batteries aren't cheap and I want them to work when called upon.

    I also want them to last more than two years when the warranty runs out.

    There are literally dozens of Chinese made LiFePO4 cell companies out there; the fact both of these companies are U.S. based appeals; although I understand the cells are still manufactured in China.

    A penny for...

  2. #2
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Experiences with Starkpower and Bioenno

    I am sort of neck deep into RV / conversion van solar and power upgrades so I will throw in my 2 cents.

    - There is a BIG difference between a battery pack designed for mobile use vs stationary, and this is reflected in the price.
    - For a lantern / USB charge, the discharge rates are largely not an issue for any of the modern setups. My applications are pulling in the multi kW range, so for that application, the stark discharge rates are too low, so it takes more batteries to keep up vs other brands.
    - It is easy to underestimate the impact of temperature (both high and low) on the use of LiFe batteries. The long experience with Li primaries and AGMs dulls us to the realities of just how close to the temperature edge we run LiFe packs. Not so much from a safety viewpoint, but from a cycle life perspective. Just as a reminder, if the battery temperature drops below freezing, they auto shut off to self protect. In other words, if it is the slightest bit cold, you are just carrying a stone.

    When we use LiFe batteries in projects, we add substantial protection (mechanical, electrical, thermal) over and above what is used on AGM batteries so that they stay within their preferred operating environment and are less likely to be damaged from impacts. If we used the batteries mentioned, we would still do the same thing.

    By the time you add any kind of protection to a smallish (100 amp-hr or so @12 volt) battery, it isn't a lot better than a premium AGM until the pack hits 400 amp-hr , IMHO, but we do both types of projects.

    As far as amazon reviews, small to mid size mfgs of items like batteries have a hard time selling on that site, and the cost is considerable for a $1K item.

    Probably you could go either way and be fine for most applications. If you are going to do winter use, then neither is a good choice.

    Ultra caps actually are the best for low temperature use, but a high end AGM is also very good.
    Last edited by HarryN; 06-06-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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  3. #3
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Experiences with Starkpower and Bioenno

    Thank you very much for the reply!

    The lead acid stuff (I think?) is still super heavy, and, it requires being left on a charger, correct?

    I will let everybody know what I decide to do.

    *thumbs up*

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