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This review will be looking at the Renogy 12v 100Ah Smart LiFePO4 Battery. How It works, pros and cons, other products in the range and a Battle Born GC2 100Ah battery comparison
Choosing new or replacement house batteries for your recreational vehicle or boat. Can be a headache and a time consuming task. With a host of different deep cycle battery types available. Such as sealed lead acid like AGM and Gel and lithium LifePO4. Which will be the best for your circumstance, setup and usage?
You are probably thinking you want 100Ah deep cycle batteries as a minimum. The longevity of the battery will be important. I mean you don’t want it conking out after a couple of hundred cycles. Especially if you are using it on a regular basis.
Lithium iron phosphate seems to be the best option for battery longevity. So now it’s about a quality battery from a reliable manufacturer. Enter the Renogy smart 12v 100Ah lithium deep cycle battery.
Renogy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Review
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Product: Renogy 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
Dimensions: 11.38 x 7.38 x 6.77inch/289 x 187 x 172mm
Warranty: 5 years prorated
What Is The Renogy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery?
“The Renogy smart lithium iron (li-ion, lithium-ion, LiFePO4) phosphate battery 12v 100Ah is a leisure battery. The smart LiFePO4 has a smart battery management system (BMS) that monitors and protects it. State of the art battery cells ensure an excellent output (discharge) performance and long cycle life. It is autobalaced, very safe and lightweight compared to lead acid batteries“.
Designed for use with recreational vehicles, boats and off grid installations. Providing usable electricity where mains power or a hook-up isn’t available. The batteries can also be used in conjunction with solar panels to provide electricity. Where a normal residential solar panel roof installation isn’t possible. Or provide power for outbuildings such as sheds or garages.
A bit about Renogy
Renogy was started by students at Louisiana State University. Renogy LLC was organized in 2010 and in 2013 they launched their online store. By 2013 they incorporated as the RNG Group Inc. In 2016, Renogy won two bronze-level Golden Bridge Awards. One of them for best product of the year with the Lycan solar power station.
Today Renogy produces a wide range of solar products and solutions. These include the recreational vehicles, home, truck, marine and commercial sectors. Renogy products are well-made and respected. The company has a reputation for quality workmanship, reliability, durability and customer service
How Does The Smart 12V 100Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery work?
What is the difference between lead acid and lithium iron phosphate batteries
The aim of being off-grid is to spend as much time adventuring as possible without running out of juice. This is when lead acid batteries have their limitations.
The obvious difference is battery life cycle: a lead acid is between 500 and 1,000 depending on the type. They can only be run down (discharged) to 50% of their capacity. For instance if you have 2 x 60Ah lead acid batteries. That is 120Ah capacity, isn’t it? Not so because in reality you have 60Ah of usable capacity because of the 50% rule.
If you break the 50% rule you will quickly destroy the batteries. They are also heavy, need ventilation, and need to be kept flat. They also require a space consuming battery compartment and don’t like high temperatures.
Whereas lithium iron phosphate batteries can be run (discharged) down to zero with no problems. This means their full capacity is available over and over again. LiFePO4 life cycle is 4000 plus and they require no ventilation. And they can charge up to 5 times faster
Much lighter than lead acid they can be mounted in any direction because they do not have to remain flat. This is because they do not contain a liquid. They are stable at high temperatures and are more environmentally friendly.
Charging with solar panels
LiFePo4 batteries are compatible with charging from solar panels. So there is no need to worry if you have pre existing panels installed. Because lithium iron phosphate batteries charge faster than lead acid batteries. This should give your solar charging a boost which would be particularly helpful on cloudy days.
I won’t go into the different battery chemistry internal workings here. I don’t want to bore you to death. But if you want to know more about that sort of thing you can find more information here. (Source: Wikipedia)
|Battery Chemistry||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)|
|Life Cycles||4000 at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)|
|Dimensions||11.38 x 7.38 x 6.77inch/289 x 187 x 172mm|
|Output Ports||1 x RJ45 (RS485 Protocol)|
|Maximum Continuous Charging Current||50A|
|Maximum Continuous Discharging Current||100A|
|Battery Bank Connection Method||Parallel|
|Insulation Resistance||500V DC, ≥ 10 MΩ|
|Operating Charge Temperature||32~131°F/ 0~55°C|
|Operating Discharge Temperature||-4~140°F/ -20~60°C|
|Storage Temperature||-13~149°F/ -25~65°C|
|Battery Terminal Bolts||M8x1x14mm|
|Additional Terminal Bolts||M8x1x20mm|
|Certifications||UN38.3, MSDS, UL1642 (Lithium Cell)|
The battery is basic in design with a positive and negative terminal and an up communications and link communications port. It’s dimensions are 11.38 x 7.38 x 6.77inch/289 x 187 x 172mm and weighs 26lbs/11.79Kg.
RJ45 communication ports x 2
The communication port enables communication with the battery via external devices. Such as a battery monitor and computers. The link port enables auto balancing between batteries in a battery bank connected in parallel.
For instance firmware updates can be downloaded to the battery using this port. Which is great because there is at the time of writing a firmware update to be downloaded.
The battery comes with an activation – shelf switch which is used through the RJ45 up communications port. The RJ45 cable with the switch is provided in the shipping package.
Smart Battery Management System (BMS)
The battery has a comprehensive protection and warning BMS system all designed to keep it safe. . You will want to protect your investment so the list of protections below will give you peace of mind
|Battery Cell Over-Voltage|
|Battery Cell Under-Voltage|
|Battery High Temperature While Charging|
|Battery High Temperature While Discharging|
|Battery Low Temperature While Charging|
|Battery Low Temperature While Discharging|
Battery Cell Balancing
The battery also has cell balancing capability during charging. Each battery cell group is connected with a bypass resistor and switch in parallel. This means battery cell groups maintain a charging balance between each other. This is achieved by a shunting process that makes the battery charging more even.
Changing from lead acid to LiFePO4 batteries
Lots of Rv’s, rigs, trailers and boats come with pre-installed lead acid batteries. When it becomes time to replace them. The installed converter charger is geared for lead acid battery use.
A little known fact is that if you change to LiFePO4 batteries the old converter will only allow 80% use of the batteries capacity. So you will have to change it if you want to enjoy the full 100%.
What’s In The Box?
- Renogy 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
- Activation Switch And Bolts
What’s Good About The Renogy Smart LiFePO4 12V 100Ah Battery?
The Renogy smart 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery is very low maintenance compared to lead acid types. Just a onceover now and again looking for corrosion and making sure wiring is snug and secure.
On/off – activation – shelf switch
This switch is great for connecting smart 12V 100Ah batteries in parallel. The batteries can be switched off or left in shelf mode for installation. This will reduce the potential for sparking. Great for shelving during the winter. The battery should keep its charge during these months because it is switched off.
Automatic battery balancing
Batteries connected in parallel are automatically balanced during charging. This means they are charged safely and there are no charge uniformity issues.
Battery management system (BMS)
The comprehensive BMS will ensure the smart 12V 100Ah battery is protected at all times during charging and discharging.. Various warning and protection shut off modes are described in the user manual. Leaving you free to feel less anxious about your battery’s safety
Full 100Ah compared to Lead Acid Batteries
As I mentioned earlier you can only run (discharge) lead acid batteries down to 50% of their capacity. But with the Renogy smart 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery you can run it down by 100% over and over again.
I know in reality you probably wouldn’t do that. But it is handy to know you can if circumstances are unavoidable.
Lightweight and flexible installation options
The battery is truly lightweight (26lbs/11.79Kg) compared to lead acid battery types. It is lighter than other lithium iron phosphate batteries because internally it uses a pouch cell construction. This is what makes it so light and less weight is always good for any recreational vehicle or boat.
Because it doesn’t have to be kept flat. The installation options mean you can install the smart 12V 100Ah vertically or horizontally. This will enable you to make better use of the space in your battery compartment.
What’s Not So Good About The Renogy Smart LiFePO4 12V 100Ah Battery?
Yes it is more expensive than a lead acid battery. But taking into consideration all the benefits lithium iron phosphate batteries have. Not least the life cycle of the Renogy smart LiFePO4 would turn out to be a wise investment.
Low temperature charging
It is a well documented fact that LiFePO4 batteries struggle to charge at temperatures below 32°F/0°C. If you are worried about this or live in colder climates this can be offset with the self heating function version
Mixed customer service reviews
The early customer service reviews are a bit mixed from fantastic to not so good. But Renogy now seem to have that sorted out at the time of writing
Renogy Smart LiFePO4 12V 100Ah V’s The Battle Born 100Ah 12V GC2 LiFePO4
|Specifications||Renogy Smart 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Battery||Battle Born GC2 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Battery|
|Battery Chemistry||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)|
|Life Cycles||4000 at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)||3000 to 5000 approximately 75%-80% of capacity remaining after 3,000 cycles when charging at 0.5C or lower.|
|Dimensions||11.38 x 7.38 x 6.77inch/289 x 187 x 172mm||10.31 x 7.28 x 11.02inch|
|Ports||2 x RJ45 (RS485 Protocol)||N/A|
|Battery Management System (BMS)||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Cell Balancing||Yes||Yes|
|On/off – Activation – Shelf Switch||Yes||N/A|
|Battery Bank Connection||Parallel||Parallel or Series|
|Warranty||5 Years prorated||10 Year|
What are the differences between the Smart Renogy and GC2 Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries?
Both are American founded companies with Renogy manufactured abroad and Battle Born in the USA. I will be honest there doesn’t seem too much difference between the two. The Renogy is 5lbs lighter than the Battle Born. And has an activation switch and RJ45 output port for battery bank communication and shelving.
The activation switch for shelving would allow the Renogy battery to be stored with little loss of charge. The Battle Born would have to be shelved in the usual way with an expected 2% to 5% charge loss per month.
The Renogy weight advantage would become apparent if you were creating a battery bank with them. Any weight advantage to be gained in a recreational vehicle or boat installation should be taken seriously. Less weight equals less fuel use.
The Battle Born can be connected in both series and parallel. This will only be important to you if you already have a battery bank connected in series. Or were looking to move to a 24V or 48 volt system in the future. With a new or replacement installation which you intended to keep as a 12 volt system. You would likely connect them in parallel anyway negating the series connection advantage.
I would not recommend mixing battery makers. There are subtle differences between battery manufacturers which can produce unforeseen problems. Not all batteries will slot right in as many of them claim. But it’s up to you in the end.
Price and warranty
The warranties are different with Battle Born offering a 10 year and Renogy offering a 5 year. But there is a $200 price difference and Renogy also has frequent discount offers. This means there is a significant saving to be had especially across a multiple battery purchase.
The price difference and savings would be suspect if the batteries claimed the same thing. But the less expensive alternative was not of the same quality. This is not the case here; they are of equal quality, build and manufacture. This Renogy Smart 100Ah battery is credible competition for the Battle Born GC2.
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What other Renogy Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Are There In The Range?
|Specifications||12V 100Ah Smart LiFePO4 Battery With Self Heating Function||12V 170Ah LiFePO4 Battery||12V 50Ah LiFePO4 Battery||48V 50Ah Smart LiFePO4 Battery|
|Battery Chemistry||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)||Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)|
|Life Cycles||4000 at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)||2000 at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)||2000 at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)||4500 + at 80% Depth Of Charge (DoD)|
|Dimensions||11.4 x 6.8 x 7.4inch/ 289 x 172 x 187.5mm||14 x 6.1 x 10.6inch/357 x155 x270mm||7.8 x 6.5 x 6.7inch/197 x 166 x 171mm||22.7 x 8.46 x 7.87inch/576 x 215 x 200 mm|
|Weight||26.2lbs./11.9 kg||48.5lbs/22 kg||14.7lbs/6.7 kg||60.8lb/27.6 kg|
|Ports||2 x RJ45 (RS485 Protocol)||No||No||4 x RJ45, 2x RS485 Protocol And 2 x CAN Protocol|
|Battery Management System (BMS)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic Cell Balancing||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|On/off – Activation – Shelf Switch||Yes RJ45 port||No||No||Yes Built-in|
|Battery Bank Connection||Parallel||Parallel||Parallel||Parallel|
|Warranty||5 Years prorated||5 Years prorated||5 Years prorated||5 Years prorated|
My Closing Thoughts
Apart from the advantages of lithium iron phosphate batteries over lead acid. You want to know if the Renogy smart 12v 100Ah LiFePO4 battery will perform. From all the comments and reviews I have looked at during my research into the product. The answer is a resounding yes.
The battery has an average customer satisfaction rating of 86%. Even with some poor customer service reviews. The batteries construction is of the highest quality and the BMS is very sophisticated. But because it doesn’t require ventilation and a flat surface it is easy to install saving time and money
Unlike other manufacturers it seems Renogy have real integrity when it comes to claimed amp hours. They haven’t tried to market it as a larger capacity battery than it is 100Ah. Rest assured this battery will provide you with the full 100 amp hours. Enabling you spend as much time adventuring off-grid as possible without running out of juice.
I hope you enjoyed this review and have found it helpful. If you have any questions about the Renogy 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery. Or want to leave your own personal review, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Renogy 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery$899.99
- Lightweight and flexible installation options
- On/off - activation - shelf switch
- Automatic battery balancing
- Battery management system (BMS)
- Full 100Ah compared to Lead Acid Batteries
- Initial cost
- Low temperature charging
- Mixed customer service reviews