This post is intended for those wanting to convert a Super Turbo 800 Elite to lithium batteries, but can apply to many other applications (Scooters, go carts, rc cars).
- Recognize the danger of lithium batteries. While it’s nice to have the extra current and higher capacity per pound offered by lithium batteries, it’s important to recognize that they are more temperamental than lead acid or nickle metal hydride batteries.
- Select lithium batteries that are compatible with your application. You’ll want to make sure that you select lithium batteries that are practical and compatible. For compatibly you’ll probably just have to worry about voltage. In the case of the super turbo elite 800 we’ve got a 36 volt speed control so we’ll want to get pretty close to something with 36v nominal voltage and the same or less peak voltage as the lead acid batteries to be sure we don’t blow the speed control. I measure the lead acid batteries to peak out at 42v so in our case 10 lipo cells is perfect because they peak out at 42 volts and their nominal voltage is 37 volts.
I’ve also ran some LIFE4PO packs in my scooter for that I chose 12 cells for a nominal voltage of 39.6v. The benefit of LIFE4PO batteries is that they are safer, they don’t “vent with flame” as I heard someone put it. Basically less likely to burn down your house, which is a nice thing.
In terms of choosing practical batteries we wouldn’t want to have 5 2 cell packs, that would be a lot to charge pack by pack. I chose two 5 cell lipos that were really easy to hook up in series.
You’ll also want to make sure you have enough capacity for the application. In my case I needed just 8AH to get to work and back home (about 6 miles).
- Prepare with a good lithium charger. You’ll need to have a charger that is meant to charge the lithium batteries you choose, whether they be lipo, lithium ion or life4po cells.
- Match Connectors– This is the only modifying of the scooter you really have to do. You can modify the batteries connectors if that’s easier for you, they’ll just have to be the same
- Monitor Voltage– You’ll want to be aware of your voltage, you may get a low voltage cutout device. Ideally you’ll keep well within the capacity of the battery. A safe rule is that you’ll use 1.5 AH per mile.
So as you can see the majority of the steps are just preparation, or choosing a batteries, charger & connectors.