DIY Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am interested in building a pack with the CALB (China Aviation Lithium Battery) 100AHA batteries for delivery in the Pennsylvania, USA.

It seems that EV-Propulsion and Current EV Tech are two suppliers of the CALB batteries -- however, I've heard some recent stories about people getting burned buying lithium batteries and wanted to make sure that I dealt with someone dependable.

Thanks for any thoughts on this rather large expenditure.

Gregg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,498 Posts
I've met with and talked with Dave Kois at Current EV tech several times. I bought my TS pack through him (just before the EVC issues) and I would buy from him again if I were in the market right now. He has always been helpful to me and others in our small LCEVA group. I have no other connection with him.
I agree about Dave. He has always been really helpful to me as well. I think he runs a good outfit, is trustworthy and can give you solid information. If taking risk is really tough on your stomach.... this guy is likely the best way to go.

This option was already mentioned so, I was throwing out another. You can also buy them direct from China... depending on your stomach... lol:):)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
you can buy them direct from Calb if you want. They set up shop in CA. http://www.calibpower.com/Product.aspx

Talk to Keegan.
Greetings,

Sorry for such a long post here -- but, I thought others might be interested in how this turned out.

I just took delivery on Tuesday of an order of CALB (Calib Power) 100Ah lithium batteries for my new battery pack. Here is a brief summary of my experience…

November 22-25, 2010 - I sent requests for ordering information to Current EV Tech, Manzanita Micro, Calib Power in China, Calib Power in Californina, and I also started this thread.

I got an immediate reply from Keegan at Calib Power in California, and shortly after that, Calib in China replied and finally Manzanita Micro replied quite promptly. Current EV Tech never replied to me so I sent a followup and they never replied to that either. It's also interesting to note that I got a personal email from another person at Calib Power in China who saw this thread and followed the link to my web page and found my personal contact information.

Manzanita Micro quoted me $135 less a 10% November discount with a lead time of 6-8 weeks.

Calib in China did not quote a price but seemed very willing to accommodate me and asked me to specify groupings with my order.

Keegan at Calib Power in California said there was a shipment due in on December 20, 2010 and he would reserve my order on that shipment. The price of the 100Ah batteries was $126 plus freight.

Although Manzanita Micro had the best price, they did not ask me to specify groupings and the lead time was 6-8 weeks so I decided to buy the batteries from Calib in California. Keegan asked for 50% up front and 50% two days before delivery. I wired 50% to Keegan on December 10, 2010.

As the December 20 delivery date approached, Keegan asked to delay the order by 10 days because of an inventory shortage. I wired the other 50% and on January 26, 2011 the order shipped via UPS Freight.

This past Tuesday a UPS Freight 18-wheeler arrived with a palette containing my new batteries. The batteries arrived in bulk (ungrouped) and each battery came with a copper busbar and a pair of bolts and washers. The cost of each 100 Ah battery with busbar and bolts came to $127.50 plus the total freight was $380.

Here are some random observations about all of this...

Having heard some of the horror stories about people losing their money buying lithium batteries, I was always a little bit uneasy through this transaction -- even more so when the delivery dates kept getting pushed back and emails to Calib sometimes went unanswed.

I found it curious that Current EV Tech has never replied to any of my emails -- I followed the link to their web page on the right side of this forum to get their contact information.

I saved 2% by paying via wire transfer instead of a credit card.

Calib in China asked for my groupings, Calib in California did not. I provided my groupings when I placed my order with Keegan -- but, they were not taken into consideration and the batteries arrived ungrouped.

If you count the weeks that it took for this order to arrive, I may have been just as well off dealing with Manzanita Micro who may or may not have grouped the batteries for me but appeared to have a better price and the 6-8 week lead time was pretty much what I had with Calib in California anyhow.

Since the batteries arrived ungrouped, I contacted Calib in California, Manzanita, and Current EV Tech about purchasing the compression hardware for the grouping and only Calib has replied. Keegan indicated that they would have to ship in from China and wouldn't be stateside until March.

Keegan sent me a picture of the compression clamps and they appear to be threaded rod with 1" wide steel or aluminum U-channel. Has anyone out there seen this hardware up close to confirm the dimensions and the material for these clamps?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Similar story for me and same exact experience. I also feel that buying direct from calib gives me the best chance at a warranty refund should it ever occur.

I made my own steel battery boxes and wouldn't have used the factory banding anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,900 Posts
I finally received a quote from Lithium Storage yesterday. I contacted them 12/15, nearly 2 months ago. They wanted $1.35/ah. I purchased direct from Keegan for much less. In fact they're probably almost here from China as he said I would have them by the 20th. I too paid half up front thinking it would probably be better dealing with them directly should any warranty issues arise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,318 Posts
Keegan sent me a picture of the compression clamps and they appear to be threaded rod with 1" wide steel or aluminum U-channel. Has anyone out there seen this hardware up close to confirm the dimensions and the material for these clamps?
Yep, the U channel is about 0.060" thick steel, depth of the U is about 9/32", width is about 1 1/8", length is about 7 1/2" (180Ah cells). This is what I received from evcomponents with my order of CALB cells about 1 1/2 years ago - two U-channels and two ss threaded rods with nuts/washers per group, plus a few extras. That's all I have on my cells, one U channel at each end of a group, at about the middle of the cell. There has been no swelling despite two having been charged to over 3.9V (3.6V is CALB spec). Edges of the cells in each group are all still tightly together. Groups vary from 3 to 6 cells.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,498 Posts
I went through similar steps however I had really good correspondence with Dave Kois. He was very patient and answered all my MANY questions. I ended up ordering Calb direct from China through Powerscaner. I paid $1.12/AH. I wired half upfront and half when I had pictures and test report prior to shipping (which is still upfront in my opinion...lol). Shipping from China to Toronto was $285 which I think is awesome. They landed in Vancouver on Jan 26th. They were waiting on train departure Feb 3rd and are due in Toronto on the 7th. I expect they will be late...but we'll see. Christmas slowed things down a bit, but overall, experience was good. There is no duty to pay either..

Cheers.
Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yep, the U channel is about 0.060" thick steel, depth of the U is about 9/32", width is about 1 1/8", length is about 7 1/2" (180Ah cells)....
Thanks for these details Tomo, this is what I was looking for -- although, I was hoping that the end caps were aluminum, but this certainly gives me something to start with.

Here's the image of the compression setup that was given to me by Keegan at Calib Power in California. From the dimensions, the bottom example appears to be for the CALB 100Ah cells...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,119 Posts
I too must report some difficulties in contacting Dave Kois last year. I don't know if he's overwhelmed in starting up the new business or what but it's not a good sign.
Regarding the CALB battery strapping, I think it's crap. I ended up using ratcheting cargo straps with adjustable turnbuckles and 4mm plywood end plates. Next time I think I'll use steel strapping with the turnbuckles. Drill a hole in the ends of the strapping and put the turnbuckle eye's through them, no special tools needed.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,498 Posts
I was not comfortable going directly through China -- but, it certainly seems to be the most cost effective route.
I wasn't comfortable either. I did a lot of head banging... lol. What kept coming back to mind were that all the bad experiences with not getting batteries had nothing to do with the Chinese. It was all on this side of the pond. Another point was that these companies would not screw one Joe like me if they truly wanted to build their businesses. I did check with some other customers here also.
If buying direct from China doesn't make ur stomach ache... how about NOT using Paypal when I could have? I decided to save this $ also. Yes, I could have gotten a refund.... but the fee is significant. Direct wire... $20 x 2. Hey, someone had to do it... and besides, all these battery suppliers are doing exactly what I did. Have any of them talked about getting screwed? As JRP said, he'll believe it's a good deal, when I get my batteries. We'll shouldn't be long now... :))
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What kept coming back to mind were that all the bad experiences with not getting batteries had nothing to do with the Chinese. It was all on this side of the pond. Another point was that these companies would not screw one Joe like me if they truly wanted to build their businesses.
Good point about the source of problem being more about the 'local & small' guys and not the Chinese manufacturers. The people at Calib Power (both in California and China) have been very responsive to my queries. I even got an electronic Christmas card from Calib's home office;)

When emails go unanswered it's a big red flag for me, especially when I'm asking for ordering information. This was not a problem with Calib.

I really don't believe that the small shops intentionally set out to hurt EV builders -- but, some of the stories certainly did cast a dark cloud over my quest to spend so much money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
...what were the actual capacities and resistance for your cells, i.e. how closely grouped are they to each other.
I'm not sure that I understand the question. Calib has the internal impedance at 1Khz as 900K ohms for my 100 Ah cells.

I've only put a volt meter on a hand full of cells so far, but every one was exactly 3.29 V.

Sorry if this does not answer your question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,318 Posts
Regarding the CALB battery strapping, I think it's crap.
I think its fine, especially if you use 3 at each end as shown in the photo. I expect if a cell is overheated greatly nylon straps will stretch permitting the cell to swell somewhat. The ss threaded rods will not. Zuglet, my hardware looks just like that shown in the photo.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top