Replacing 12v Lead Acid batteries with 3.2v 6ah lithium cells

Got gatvol of replacing every 5 years the 9ah 12v lead acid batts, as they are NOT cheap anymore.

The 12v off-grid camping light/phone charger - just because.
The first field test with just 4 cells was a roaring success, 2-3 hours, batts recharged from drained.
Now testing with 8 cells, charging from a 10watt panel, to see how fast it recharges, as the 1 x 7ah lead acid took the entire day with maybe 1 phone recharged in that time IF you were lucky.
Still need to find a proper enclosure to ensure it is IP65 level, as the metal casing was not IP65 on top of which, I cannot fit them batts in there either.

The 24v APC UPS - that is there for MY PC protection.
It had 4 x 12 7ah batteries, now it has 16 x 3.2v 6ah cells in 2 banks of 24v each.
Still need to get the connections between the bank to APC “stronger” to be able to slot the batts back into the UPS and close it all up …

Why two BMS’es? Bought the first one but the moment power goes off, the one BMS setup switched off. So I doubled up and that was sorted.

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Well blow me down … this 24v and 12v batt is still running daily after all these years …

yup those LBSA 6ah cells was the bargain of a lifetime when LBSA sold them to the public.
I bought a couple of them, i think it was towards the end of 2019, and build a 4s 6ah battery for my house alarm that is mounted in my ceiling ( gets very hot in summer and cold in winter). to this day it works like a brand new 7ah lead acid, my alarm has remained online since I installed the battery I did not change anything on the alarms charging circuit, come to think of it, I never even tested the voltage of the alarm charger I just connected my homebuilt battery and forgot about it. Past weekend I was in the roof to repair a water leak, and saw my battery lying under a coat of dust(its bare cels with a bms taped on, not covered totally exposed) and thought about giving it a capacity test, for interest sake to see the effect of shitty environmental conditions on the capacity retention ability of these cells.
but anyway if i ever get time I will test that battery and post the findings here.

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What did you pay for them and are they still available?

as far as I know LBSA does not import or sell to the public anymore.
just found the last invoice of the last batch of 6ah cells I got from them, it was march 2022, I payed R1558.80 ex vat for 24 cells, that works out to about R75 per cell.
iirc the price was R55 when I first bought them in 2019


Back then mine was R65 … I need more of them today, have more UPS’es I can convert. :wink:

I also need alot of them. but it seems the 32700 form factor is scarce in south Africa unless you are willing to pay R135 per 6ah cell, which is a ripoff or R80 for a 5ah 2nd 2nd life cell which is…also a ripoff for me as I require alot of them. for somebody that just want to build a 6ah battery it will cost a minimum R640 for a 6 ah batery. the price of a new vestwoods or similar 7ah 12v lifepo4 is about R650 to R800.
at geewiz its R550 for a 7ah vestwoods battery.
these high prices(or cheap Chinese stuff) are killing DIY

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So import them, using Alibaba?

It’s not only 32700 sizes. Try to get a reasonable 120Ah prismatic cell… It’s cheaper to buy a new battery.

Ons that note. Anyone has an extra 120Ah cell laying around?

I know the struggle, R1495 is just not the right price for 105 Ah prismatic cells = R24000 for 5kw minus a BMS, busbars, lugs, cable and a case… Just not worth it anymore as you do not get a manufacturers warranty

man oh man if I had the funds available, I would import thousands of them

When a bunch of us here did the big imports of the 280ah cells, 3-4 times, it made perfect sense.

Today, nope. R/$ and the effort/risk/reward factor convenience.

And the market has “changed” … no more spare monies.

The context of importing and warranties, a “DIY Warranty” if you want:
Yes, one has a warranty, 3 years or whatnot from China but the cost to get a cell landed is for ones own account, and it takes time.

So, what does one do?

The DIY warranty?
Wanted a 16-cell bank. Got double that with spare cells to sell one bank on, the “funding part”.
Today I’m left with 19 x 280ah cells.
Using 18 currently … why let the spare cells just stand there I thought. :wink:
Could have built a 48v 15-cell and a 12v 4-cell bank … maybe later if Eskom is sorted.

So 19 cells. If one cell goes, have 18, another, have 17, then 16, then 15 … the warranty part.

When I hit the 15-cell mark, get a new bank, and sell the rest 15 cells off as 12/24v banks, then tested cells, with a BMS … and start over. Light work for 280ah cells on a 12.24v system.

Selling the 15 cells offsets the cost of a new bank.

In the end, I recon I saved myself ±R60k (napkin calc) on what that would have cost me for the same ah bank with a local warranty, with all the T&Cs of that 10-year and/or whatever many cycles warranty - if that supplier is still around 10 years later.

Risky, whichever way one goes.