Lead Acid Battery Charger for Lithium-Ion Battery
08 Jul

There are several questions about the use of Lead Acid battery charger for charging Lithium ion battery:

Q: Is it possible to charge the Lithium ion battery with lead acid battery charger?

Q: What is the difference between lead acid and lithium ion battery charger?

Q: Why people insist to use lead acid charger for charging lithium ion battery instead of lithium ion battery charger?

Q: What will be the impact on lithium ion battery if lead acid battery charger is used for charging?

Yes it is possible to use  Lead acid battery charger for charging Lithium ion battery.

The lithium ion battery charger can modulate or regulate the current as per the demand. The lithium ion charger can communicate with BMS and modulate its output as per the BMS commands. But the lead acid battery charger it can not regulate the current and can not communicate with BMS.

The only reason is lithium ion battery chargers are pretty expensive than the LA battery chargers. But if we think about the outcomes, with the dedicated Li-ion battery charger the battery life of Li-ion Battery will get prolonged for sure.

The impact of the Lead Acid charger on the Li ion Batteries

“But the problem is that all the lithium cells do not get self equalized when on top of the charge as the lead acid cells do”.

The lead acid charger for charging lithium ion battery is good up to the 70 to 80% of the SoC but if we used further it can generate the cell imbalance. Because lithium ion cells do not get self equalized when on top of the charge as the lead acid cells do. After several cycles the cells will go out of balance and each progressive charge cycle will get worse cell imbalancing. And such an imbalance definitely impact battery life.

For lithium ion battery charging, balancing is the biggest worry. So ideally the charger should operate in CC mode so that the battery can get charged rapidly

And when it reaches to top of the charge or near to cell target voltage the charger should operate in the CV mode to make sure that the battery can achieve the balance.

But if anyone insist to use the Lead Acid battery charger for Li ion batteries and without compromising on balancing of the cells.

That can be made possible by using the charger with controlled voltage output but this will take very long time to get the battery fully charged.

The only reason is lithium ion battery chargers are pretty expensive than the LA battery chargers. But if we think about the outcomes, with the dedicated Li-ion battery charger the battery life of Li-ion Battery will get prolonged for sure.

Conclusion

We can not go for regular use of lead acid battery charger to charge the Lithium ion battery. We can use but only if the dedicated Lithium ion charger is really not available and this is also with controlled voltage manner so that the balancing can be ensured.

By – Janardan Chavan