lithium battery

Can I Charge A Lithium Battery With A Standard/Normal Charger? (Answered)

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How do I charge a lithium battery? The public regularly asks this question. The secret to knowing how to charge a lithium battery is understanding the chemistry involved.

The answer is No, a lithium battery cannot be charged using a normal charger. This is so because common chargers use a process called trickle charging. Lithium batteries, however, cannot be trickle-charged. It is necessary to halt charging once a lithium battery reaches its nominal voltage. 

This article will help you learn more about lithium batteries and chargers in order to better understand whether you can charge a lithium battery with a standard charger. 

Can I Charge A Lithium Battery With A Normal Charger?

This question deserves a thorough answer, “Do you have to.” A lithium battery will be charged if you try to use a regular charger to charge it. Lithium batteries, however, charge more slowly. Because of the lower voltage required by standard chargers by design, this is. Please be aware that batteries will overheat and catch fire or explode if the operating voltage range of the batteries is not significantly reduced. However, a more thorough explanation outline is provided here.

It is important that you understand the voltage range that a typical battery, such as a lead-acid battery or a lithium battery, operates in. A 12v lithium battery will typically have an estimated voltage of 13.3V to 13.4V when fully charged. When fully charged, a lead-acid battery is expected to hold a voltage of between 12.6 and 12.8 volts. A lead-acid battery will have an estimated voltage of 11.8V at the same 20% capacity as a lithium battery, which has a voltage of 13V when it is estimated to be 20% full. You can see that the voltage range we are discussing is quite small, only about 0.5V from a fully charged lithium battery at 100% to 20% capacity. A lead-acid battery holds about 11.7V with a voltage range of 1.1V, while a lithium battery is estimated to hold 12.8V at 25% charging capacity.

A typical charger can only fully charge a lithium battery up to 80% of its intended capacity because a regular lead-acid charger uses a voltage that is relatively lower. This is not acceptable for a lithium battery because it alters the battery’s chemistry and shortens its life. With a standard battery charger, you will consequently need to charge your lithium battery for longer periods of time and risk damaging it.

Additionally, a typical Lithium battery charger restricts the battery’s charging voltage to 14.6V. As a result, the voltage across each series-connected cell remains at 3.65V. As a result, a typical battery charger will typically charge a lithium battery above its maximum permissible voltage of 14.6V. This could lead to the serially connected lithium battery’s individual cells being overcharged, which would significantly shorten their lifespans or damage the battery permanently.

How Can Lithium Battery Be Charged With Regular Chargers?

Although it is not advisable, it might be possible if a few conditions are met when charging a lithium battery with a standard charger.

The ‘normal charger’ needs to supply the same voltage as the lithium battery you are charging, according to the first requirement. 

neither lower nor higher. 

Surcharging comes in second. Now that we are aware of the dangers of overcharging lithium batteries, it is not a good idea to connect the battery to the charger and then leave the room.

You could therefore set a timer to remind you to take the batteries out so that they do not become overcharged in order to prevent this.

Nevertheless, you should be aware that even doing this carries some risks because the charging times for individual lithium batteries vary depending on the battery’s manufacturer, the temperature, the load, etc. 

Do Lithium Batteries Require A Unique Charger?

Compared to a standard (deep-cycle lead acid) battery, a lithium battery has a number of advantages. Lithium batteries promise quicker charging, no active maintenance, are lightweight, offer a lot of power, have a longer lifespan (need fewer replacement batteries), and are more environmentally friendly. Despite all these advantages, a special charger for lithium batteries is still required. 

The best way to charge a lithium battery is with a lithium iron phosphate battery charger. A lithium battery will be charged five times more by a lithium battery charger than by a typical lead-acid charger. Let’s look at a few more reasons in case this isn’t enough to convince you to use a special charger. A typical lead-acid battery’s voltage decreases as it discharges and experiences increased load, to start. Lithium batteries do not experience this voltage drop because they provide peak power and constant voltage even under increased load.

A lithium iron phosphate battery charger is set up with the appropriate voltage ranges for a lithium battery to operate in. The battery’s longevity and best performance are ensured by its optimization. Voltage limits are typically higher on a typical battery charger. The BMS (Battery Management System) of the lithium battery may enter a high voltage disconnect at protection mode at about 15V as a result of this higher voltage limit. While the battery won’t be harmed, this could result in fault codes appearing on the charger and poor charge performance. When a lithium battery doesn’t have an internal BMS, the battery opens up and turns off until you figure it out and restart the charging process. 

How Should A Lithium Battery Be Charged?

Compared to other batteries of various chemistries, the lithium-ion battery is a unique type. There are strict guidelines for charging this kind of battery. 

The battery charger is a voltage limiting device that differs significantly from other chargers in several important ways. 

The key differences include;

  • Higher voltage per cell
  • Tighter voltage tolerances
  • Absence of trickle or float charging

Because the battery cannot tolerate overcharging, a lithium-ion battery charger does not support trickle charging. If the battery is charged above its nominal voltage, it may become unstable and suffer permanent harm. 

An explosion is one form of damage that could happen! 

The charger comes with strict settings that adhere to the restrictions that come with charging this type of battery which will include features such as an end-of-charge detection circuit to monitor when the battery is fully charged. 

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