LiFePO4 Batteries - October 2013 update

In reply to GW4VPX:
Interesting looking product Allan.

We still have some Clulights in the Mountain Rescue Team that use SLABs. Weigh a flippin’ ton.

Good to see Clulight moving with the times.

They generally make good products.

I’ll think about that.

The draw for me of the LiFe batteries is the very flat discharge profile which will allow the transceiver to keep a good output throughout the activation.


In reply to MW0WML:

is the very flat discharge profile

It’s not an issue for 817s and many “Altoids” radios. I don’t think it affects K1/K2/KX3 either.


In reply to MM0FMF:
Good point Andy, but I am interested in using my FT-857 with around 20W-50W on SSB or FM, where I believe it is more of an issue?


In reply to MW0WML:

“The draw for me of the LiFe batteries is the very flat discharge profile which will allow the transceiver to keep a good output throughout the activation.”

Hi Gerald

I can’t give you an answer as to the discharge profile but I do know that I operated one day for 4 hrs (i.e two summits) without observing problems and so it should be as it is rated at 9Ah. Running a 50Watt Xenon bulb gives something like 2.5 hrs running time. On returning home it did not take long to recharge as I had expected.

It was something of a gamble when I bought it but having had years experience with Ni-Cd, Ni-Mh and lately the emergence of the early problematic Li-po batteries in Radio Control car racing with my sons I decided to go with Clulite and their Li-Ion batteries as they have a good reputation of good quality products.

Anyway another avenue for you to explore.

73 and hope to get another s2s with you soon whichever battery we are using :slight_smile:

Allan GW4VPX

In reply to MW0WML:

Yes, 857 and similar do need a higher voltage than the 817.


In reply to MW0WML:

Good morning, I read with great interest all the post. Here is what I’m using for nearly a year now with great satisfaction.


Web site:

engineered in the USA

Model number: K2B12V10EB

Continuous discharge 9.6A

Charge current: 4.8A

Charge voltage cut-off: 14.6 Vdc

Lowest to Highest Voltage Temperature: -20°C to 60°C

Discharge voltage cut offL 10.0 V

Max in series 2 (24V) SYSTEM

Max in parallel, unlimited.

This battery is lightweight, around 2 pounds only compare to a gel cell of the same size which is 5 pounds.

With the FT-817ND light off, with earphones, I operate regularly at 5 watts, and I can operate between 24 & 26 hours.

More with the KX3 with earphones, and light off, the KX3 RX draw only 180 to 190 MA in rx and nearly 1,225 amps @ 5 watts.

So a complete week-end of fun.

The fun of this one is if you look at the photo, the battery is light green with the black top.

Into the top there is the circuit which calibrate each cell when recharging.

So you don’t need no more a charger to balance the cell. Only a small current charger of 2 amps. And the charging time is relatively rapid, but each time I put it on charge, I forgot to check the time, Hi! I love it.

The price is 170.00$ USD or 228.00$ Can

Hope this post will help all

All the very best from Canada,


Michel VE2TH QRP & QRPp

In reply to MW0WML:

I have been using a LiFePO4 from Shorai for about eighteen months now and I am very happy with it. It is designed as a replacement starter battery for high performance motorcycles. The cells are packaged in a hard plastic case.

A picture is here - SOTA VE2_BL-002 Pic Champlain 2013-06-30 010 | The usual set… | Flickr
Company’s website is

Malcolm VE2DDZ

My new Deben / Tracer LiFePO4 16Ah pack arrived yesterday, and a very nice product it was too. At 2kg it weighs about 75% of a 7Ah SLAB. It is in a sturdy package with charge socket and fuel gauge. It was supplied with charger and mains lead, and an alternative 2-pin power lead.

I was anticipating ripping a lead off one of my old SLABs to secure to the screw terminals on the Tracer pack, but in the box was a T-bar connector, already terminated with an Anderson Powerpole connector! So connecting to my FT-817 (which has a patch lead with Powerpole permanently secured to it these days) was a breeze.

It was fully charged after 2.5 hours. It initially showed 13.8V on the FT-817, but that soon dropped to 13.1V. And that’s where it stayed throughout 4 hours of activating on Gun G/SP-013 on Wednesday 26th March 2014. The 12m band was in indifferent shape and just 47 QSOs were made - 3 PSK31, 15 SSB and 29 CW. S2S were completed with Ricky MW6GWR/P on Maesglase GW/NW-029 and Mickey 2W0YYY/P on Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076. Best contact was J8/LY2IJ, St Vincent.

After returning to the car, I checked out the fuel gauge on the battery pack - and it still showed as full! Happy days.


But going back in time a few hours, to life before LiFePO4…

Tuesday 25th March 2014 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Could this have been my last ever activation with a 7Ah SLAB? I was in Congleton as early as 5.30pm, dropping Liam off for a curry with his pals. However, it was chucking it down, so I killed some time by calling at the Chinese chippy for a tray of salt & pepper chips (yes really, it’s a house speciality).

Wasting time partially worked. Walking up from Cloudside around 6.15pm the rain had reduced to a fine drizzle and then just to damp mist as I ascended further. Arriving on summit with an hour and a half to go before the 6m UKAC, there was plenty of time to play 12m. So the first antenna to go up on the pole was the 12m GP.

I was well rewarded for this move, with 36 contacts, 30 of them from North America, flowing into the logbook. Just two were on SSB, with the rest coming on CW. After setting up the 6m delta loop, I made a couple of local contacts on the 2m FM handie just before the 8pm contest start time.

The 50MHz contest brought in 74 QSOs but only 9 multiplier squares in a noisy contest. One of the contacts was 2-way CW, all the rest being SSB. I was cold and tired by the time I was packing away just after 10.30pm, but I had got 122 contacts in the log, so a relatively fruitful activation overall!


Good morning,

I use an V-LFP-12-10 (10Ah) made by VISION since 2 years now.
A charging/discharging protection is build in and you “can” use an existing SLAB charger.
I also own one from Shorai but these are starter batteries, which means they’re not made for deep cycle use…

73 Juergen OE4JHW / AH6UN

Has anybody designed OR built a lifepo4 charging system yet ?. Or do most people still purchase, at cost I might add these “special” managed charging units for them ?

It is recommended that overcharging them dramatically reduces their life. Hence using a SLAB battery charger - in my case a 14V ADJ PSU, wouldn’t guarantee equal cell voltage.

If the answer is NO, and if people want a solution ? I may look into a HB project for such. But there is no point if someone can justify this better then I can, but paying £40-100 for some managed charging device is a bit OTT IMHO.


You can buy 12.8V chargers with charging indication for £11 inc shipping. with a warranty. Your home built solution will have to come in at less than that to be viable especially when you consider we’re talking about radio amateurs, people who have their wallets welded shut at birth!

It was the same when I looked for a LiPo charger. My time is too valuable to spend building a charger when I could buy one for £6 and it would cost me more than that for the components. Yes there is no reward in buying one but the price spoke volumes!

Yep that makes perfect sense Andy, Keyword being “LiPo” chargers also do the LiFe batteries as well.

The micro and LCD would make most of that up without even considering the connectors !



LiPoPo4 batteries are in common use by SOTA activators in VK. Some of us still have LiPo batteries which we use with a regulator so as to be kind to the rig. I have both but prefer the former even though they are heavier for the same capacity. I use an 8.4 AH 4 cell pack (680 gram) for use with the FT817 and 50 W PA and a 2.2 AH pack with an XE1. They have been in trouble free use for over a year but not used outside of 2 C to 30 C in the shade. They are charged using a smart charger bought from the battery supplier, Hobbyking who has a local store and hence shipping problems are minimal. I wrap them in bubble wrap to carry them in the rucksack.

As with all batteries deep discharge will reduce storage capacity and complete flattening may cause the cells to “puff” (not a good sign). As the pack ages I expect the balanced charging to be more important as the cells won’t degrade at the same rate.

Although more expensive and heavier than LiPo technology the claims of LifePo4 being more robust and much harder to cause overheating (with resultant fire or explosion) do seem to be borne out in practice. I’m olde enough to remember deaths from Pb acid batteries exploding due to abuse and/or smoking while recharging. Li technology will continue to develop and become even more safe and more user tolerant.

Lead-acid is a doomed technology for mobile and portable operation.


Hi all,
My birthday is approaching and I’m looking for a SOTA related gift for me.
It looks to me that this charger will be appropriate to charge the LiFePo4 batteries I’m planning to order. Can anyone confirm so, please?
I’m in doubt because the advertising speaks of it charging LiPoly and LiFe among some others, but it doesn’t mention specifically LiFePo.
Being able to charge LiFe means it will also charge LiFePo?
This is the charger I’m speaking about:

This is the battery pack:

Thanks in advance for your help.
Best 73 and happy new year.


Hi Guru,
I have an old Accucell 6 that I use to charge the 8400 mAh version of this LiFePo4 pack, and if it is like mine you have to go into the menu and select the correct cell voltage (3.3v), it is not obvious, it does not say LiFePo4 on the display. There is also an option to balance charge… I made up a cable with a fuse in to get from the 5.5 mm bullet connectors on the battery to powerpole,and a cable from the charger to powerpole
Hope this helps,
¡Feliz Año Nuevo,
73 Colin

I also use the Accucell 6 for 8400 mAh LiFePo4 pack. I have bought additional extension cables to lengthen the balance cable as I found the cables on the 8400 mAh pack were too short to reach the charger.

Peter VK3ZPF

1 Like

Found that problem too.
Brought off e bay extensions for the bullet leads and balance charger leads much better and also use the ACC 6

My problem is the Volt meter how hell do you set it so it don’t bleep all time any help please does my crust LOL


Disconnect it. that shuts it up promptly. :wink:

PMSL Good one :grinning:

But surely should be able to set it to a voltage so alarm goes off at the required voltage. But like way it goes through he cells etc letting you know what,s what.