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Fishing and Camping Auxiliary Power – One Man’s Story with Sentry LiFePo4 Batteries

18 October 2017

Category: News

From the tip of Cape York to the great ocean road and everywhere in between, fishing and camping is my life. As a tournament and social angler I am away camping in the great outdoors with my friends and family most weekends and sometimes weeks at a time. Hi my name is Mick Johnson and I would like to tell you more about my adventures along with Sentry LiFePO4 Lithium Batteries.

As a qualified auto electrician and business owner I get a front row seat in seeing and experiencing all the new and latest electrical gear, sometimes even before it hits the store shelves, but when SPB (Sealed Performance Batteries) released there Lithium Iron range I knew this would change the way we look at batteries forever.

I have been using AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries to run accessories ever since they came on the market. There storage capacity and ability to endure a high rate of cycles and low input / output current made them ideal for axillary applications (fridges, lights etc.) Like all AGM and lead acid batteries the weight is the biggest concern and obstacle that is confronted when installing them. Heavy duty brackets and weight distribution has to be taken into consideration when trying to find a suitable place for installation.

The 120amp/hr AGM for example weighs in at around 34-42 kg. When you have multiple batteries to be installed (Caravans, boats, inverter power etc) this weight adds up very quickly. Most AGM batteries can be discharged to between 40-50% of their storage capacity. For example a 120 amp/hr AGM battery can provide you about 50-60 amp hours before the voltage starts to drop too much for the appliances to operate and in turn shuts down the appliance. So a 120 amp/hr AGM is really a 55 amp/hr battery and you are carrying around all that wasted weight for nothing. This not only limits the use of the battery but this low voltage or “Brown Power” as we call it, is most unwanted when it comes to running electronic devices.

“Brown Power” is the same as low voltage power that you see in your house from time to time. Most people have heard of a “Brown out” at some stage. This is when there is a low voltage spike in your power coming into your house and the lights go dim but not out. All your electronic devices try to run but struggle too because there is insufficient power. It is no different with your appliances running off your batteries. If you consistently keep running appliances on brown power they will be fail!

With Lithium Ion batteries all of your problems are solved. Besides them being 1/3 or more of the weight, there discharge rate is at a constant 13.4 volts and they do not vary there voltage as current is taken from them, (NO “Brown Power”!)  Lithium ion batteries have a discharge rate of between 80-90% of their capacity before they shut down, the output through there inbuilt BMS (Battery Management System) gives you safe, pure 13.4 volts all the way through it capacity and then safely shutting off without any voltage drop.

So for a 120 amp/hr lithium battery you are getting around 100 amps/hrs, no “Brown Power” and only weighing in at 14 kg they are without a doubt the best way to go. For me the best aspect of the Lithium ion set ups are the fast re-charge rate. Because the lithium ion charges much quicker than the AGM I have even gone to the extent of getting rid of my solar system and generator and now I am able to run my vehicle for as little as 5-20 minutes a day to charge my battery banks back up to 100% full. This has proven a great saving with the overall ownership cost, room and weight. I no longer have to haul around bulky solar panels, generators, fuel etc.

I also run an 1800 watt pure sign wave inverter for running and charging electrical devices. The constant 13.4 volts that the lithium batteries provide give me piece of mind that the power supply is at a constant and stable voltage. I have gone from being able to run fans and lights at night time for a maximum of 6 hrs with the old AGM to now being able to run them for up to 14 hrs before I have to start to worry about charging them. No more fueling up generators, putting out solar panels and the likes, I can now simply turn the key and they charge up in next to no time.

The overall savings with a Lithium Ion set up is massive and I would not think of ever going back to big heavy lead acid batteries. There is a wide range of Sentry Lithium Ion batteries and anyone who has or thinking of getting a dual battery or auxiliary battery set up in the Ute, car, van, camper trailer and anything else that you require stored power for, you have to check them out for yourself. You will be glad you did….Happy Trails!

  • High energy density (less than half the weight of SLA) lowering total weight of application
  • Fast recharge, battery is charged and ready to be used sooner
  • Flat discharge curve, longer run time and more efficient use of capacity
  • Extremely low self-discharge rate, can sit unused for longer periods of time
  • Large numbers of cycles >2000 (100% DoD), up to 8 times cycle life of SLA lowering your total cost of ownership
  • Safe and stable chemistry and integrated BMS, the use of LiFePO4 along with integrated BMS ensures protection against over charge/discharge, temperature and short circuit providing the highest degree of safety.
  • Bluetooth versions available, monitor the health and state of your battery from your phone
  • Greater capacity utilization 60% more than SLA, gives longer runtime than equivalent SLA

the way to go!


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