Can I Charge a Lithium Battery with a Lead Acid Charger

Can I charge a lithium battery with a lead acid charger? It’s a question that many in South Africa and around the world have been asking. With load shedding becoming the norm and likely to remain so over the next few years, many people in the country have been looking for alternative ways through which to keep going amidst the blackouts.

One of the biggest components that you will need to look for in this regard is a battery to store energy for use during power cuts. You are here because you have gotten your hands on a lithium battery and you are wondering whether or not its safe to charge it using your conventional lead acid charger. So, can you charge a lithium battery with a regular charger?

Can you charge a lithium battery with a regular battery charger

Yes, you can charge a lithium battery using a normal battery charger. However, it is not recommended that you do so. Lithium batteries need to float at around 13.8 volts. Meanwhile, normal chargers float at around 13.2 volts.

It means you will be undercharging your lithium battery. However, it’s worth noting that undercharging lithium batteries is not harmful. In fact, it’s recommended to slightly undercharge your lithium battery to extend it’s life.

Another worry is that lithium batteries have different charging stages to normal batteries. A lithium battery, as an example, can be charged in 3 or 2 stages. These stages will not present when using a charger that’s not dedicated to charging lithium batteries.

There is also the worry that your lithium battery could get overcharged. However, this worry is largely irrelevant with regards to modern lithium batteries. If your battery has a Battery Management System (BMS), the BMS will shut down charging once your lithium battery has reached the correct voltage.

Learn how to charge lithium batteries

Lithium battery charging states

That’s the answer to the question can I charge a lithium battery with a lead acid charger? The answer is yes, you can. But it’s best to charge a lithium battery using a charger that’s dedicated to this type of battery.

Lithium batteries have different charging profiles to other batteries. That’s something that’s taken into account by lithium battery chargers. The following are possible lithium battery charging profiles;

2 stage charging

You can charge a lithium battery using a two stage constant charge/ constant current charger. In that case, you can use the voltages outlined below;

Absorption Voltage14V – 14.6V28V – 29.2V56V – 58.4V

3 Stage Charging

You can also use 3 stage charging to charge your lithium battery. The following are the acceptable charging voltages;


Why charge a lithium battery with a lead acid charger?

So, why would you seek to charge your lithium battery with a conventional charger? One thing to note is that lithium batteries are fairly new on the market. Most people who get them usually already have regular chargers for lead acid and Gel batteries.

It’s the reason why you may be forced to charge your lithium battery with a normal charger. You now have a battery and maybe you have been struggling to get hold of a dedicated lithium ion charger. In that case, you will be asking yourself whether or not it’s safe to use the lead acid charger that you already have.

One thing to note here is that lithium ion batteries are not cheap. That’s particularly the case when setting up a home system. The battery can be one of the most expensive elements within the system.

So, after forking out so much on a battery, what’s stopping you from going ahead and buying a charger that’s dedicated to charging the battery. Why risk your battery charging it with a charger that was designed for another battery type? Those are questions to ask yourself.

In South Africa, you can find these chargers at various places, including at Takealot. And lithium chargers are not that expensive. As an example, you can buy the Ctek – Lithium Xs 5A Charger from Takealot for around R3000.

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