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Battery Basics: LiFePO4 Cells

Feb 20,2023 | TezePower

The main difference between single and multistage charge profiles for LiFePO4 batteries has to do with the chemistry of the battery. Unlike lead-acid batteries, once a LiFePO4 cell achieves its charge voltage, it is nearly fully charged. Since various cells within the pack can charge at different speeds, a short balancing time is needed at the end of the charge cycle in order to have each cell obtain its ideal charge voltage. Since the amount of imbalance can vary greatly, the optimal absorption/ balancing time also changes, but 6-30 minutes per charge cycle should suffice.
Chemistry Lithium Iron Phosphate
Nominal Voltage (per cell) 3.2V
Max Charge Voltage 3.65V
Charge Profile 2 Stage CC-CV* or Multistage



What voltage should I choose for my LiFePO4 cells?
(and what TezePower recommends?)


There is a little debate in the community whether it is harmful to a LiFePO4 battery to be maintained at its max voltage (3.55V-3.65V per cell / 14.2V-14.6V for a 4S battery pack) indefinitely. One opinion is that it is better not to maintain the voltage indefinitely, but rather use a multistage profile that would maintain a voltage that equates closely to (or below) the resting voltage of a fully charged battery (once a charge cycle has been completed), extending the life of the cells.
If an application is going to be cycling a cell regularly, then of course it will take time daily to recharge, resulting in the amount of time at the charge voltage not being the same as an application where a fully charged battery will be maintained indefinitely at its max CV. As such, the benefits of multistage vs 2-stage charging can also be relevant to your application.

Given the anticipated life cycle of lithium batteries, and their more or less recent emergence into applications such as we are seeing today, it might be several years before we know if 2-stage CC-CV* or multistage makes any appreciable difference.

TezePower pre-programmed controllers for LiFePO4 have a 2-stage CC-CV* charge profile and a per-cell charge voltage of ~3.55V (14.2V for a 4S battery pack) in order to minimize stress on the cells without sacrificing the significant State of Charge (SOC) and improving performance and longevity of the battery. 

However, on request, TezePower can also provide a multistage charge profile for LiFePO4 batteries.  For example, we have suggested the charge profile with the following voltages: Absorption 14.4V – Absorption time 0.5 hours – Float Voltage: 13.6V – Restart Voltage 13.2V. See the CC-CV* and multistage graphs below.