NI-FE battery FAQ

NI-FE battery FAQ

How long can I expect my nickel iron batteries to last?

No one knows how long a nickel iron battery will last for as some of the original batteries manufactured by Thomas Edison’s battery storage company are still in use today.

ciyi's nickel iron batteries have been manufactured for over 50 years and are still in use today, still producing one hundred percent of their rated capacity. CIYI batteries believe NiFe batteries have the possibility of many years in excess of the 40 years by discharging the same as you would with a lead acid battery and by replacing the electrolyte when the battery is taking longer to charge or no longer holds its rated capacity.

What is the electrolyte made up of?
The electrolyte is a combination of Potassium Hydroxide, lithium hydroxide mixed with distilled or de-ionized water. Water makes up around 85% of the electrolyte. Electrolyte replacement is inexpensive when compared to battery replacement. Nickel iron batteries like to be worked and thrive on hard work and cycling. If the battery is not producing its rated capacity its time for an electrolyte replacement.

What is a Nickel Iron cell?
A nickel Iron cell is made up of several pockets, each made of finely perforated steel strips and filled with active material and are mechanically put together to from a rectangular shape and then trimmed with steel frames to make a sheet – like plate. The plates are assembled and are separated and insulated from each other by means of plastic rod separators and/or edge insulators.

What is a Nickel Iron (NiFe) battery?
Nickel Iron batteries are made up from individual cells.
Each cell has a nominal voltage of 1.2 volts. No matter the size of the cell, all Nickel Iron cells are 1.2volts.
To make a battery, you add cells together until you get the voltage you require.

6 Volts = 5 x 1.2volt cells
12 Volts = 10 x 1.2volt cells
24 Volts = 20 x 1.2volt cells
48 Volts = 40 x 1.2volt cells
The advantage of making a battery up from individual cells is that if one cell fails, you replace that cell.
You can add to your battery bank at any time with Nickel Iron batteries if you need to store more power. This cannot be done with lead acid batteries without reducing the life of the new batteries.

What type of battery charger do I use?
You can either use a separate manual battery charger or an inverter with a built in battery charger. The battery likes to be charged between 1.6 and 1.8 volts per cell. (12Volt ~ 16 - 18volts, 24volt ~ 32 – 36volts etc)

I have a solar system, do I have to use a charge controller with Nickel Iron batteries?

NO you do not have to use a charge controller on these batteries as these batteries can be overcharged (up to 1.8 volts per cell) without damage. You will most likely need to check your battery electrolyte level more often. Using a self watering system will reduce the frequency you will need to check your electrolyte levels.

How efficient are these batteries?
The NiFe battery has an efficiency of around 80%. A new battery usually is slightly more efficient and usually levels off as it is used until it reaches its normal efficiency which is then held over the rest of its life. This means that over the life of a Nickel Iron battery it will be more efficient than most other batteries as other batteries efficiency reduce dramatically nearing the end of their life.

Can they be used with renewable energy systems (Solar or Wind)

YES! Most popular inverters can be used with them including maximum power point tracker (MPPT). Please contact your inverter manufacturer first. To ensure your battery works with yourinverter you can drop (or add) cells to keep within the inverters working voltage range.

Maintenance of the batteries?
Maintaining the batteries is as simple as making sure the cell tops are clean from dust or dirt and kept dry. Washing them once a year assists this. Maintaining the water level in the battery is vitally important. You can either manually add water or with an automatic battery watering fill system (recommended).

What amperage do these batteries come in?

They start at 10 amp hours cells and go up to 1200 amp hour cells. You can achieve any amp hour requirement buy connecting the cells in series parallel.

Can I store them without use over a long period of time?

Yes they can be stored for a long time without use or the need to be trickle charged. Ideally if you are not going to use the battery for as extended period, they prefer to be totally discharged and emptied of electrolyte. Then when you need to re use them just refill the electrolyte and charge them back up and they will perform as they did prior to the storing them.
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