Certainly, Lithium is one of the newer battery chemistries that allow for a much denser chemistry, paving the way for fast charging, higher discharge rates, and the ability to use more of the batteries capacity without damaging the battery (Depth of Discharge – around 80% for Lithium and 50% for lead acid based batteries). It is for this reason they are used to power many electronic devices that we use on a daily basis.
The million-dollar question is… “Are they suitable for alarm systems?”
Right now there are plenty of suppliers of Lithium batteries advertising ‘Drop-in Replacement” batteries for the standard 7/8Ah lead acid/gel/AGM batteries that are typically found in alarm systems.
The fact is that there are different charging requirements for Lead Acid batteries and Lithium batteries.
Most Lithium batteries have their own Battery Management controller built into the battery to ensure that the battery operates within its design characteristics and does not pose any risk (e.g. fire risks and potential short circuits) to the client.
Almost all the installed base alarm systems are designed to charge Lead Acid type batteries at a fairly low charge rate. This is why the batteries are not surviving the current Eskom Load Shedding schedules. The Lithium battery may take longer to charge due to the mismatch of the alarm system charger, as opposed to a Lithium battery charger and the battery management system needing some of the supply to function.
Be assured that Atlas Security is working together with our alarm system suppliers, battery suppliers, and various experts to find a safe solution that will work with all installed alarm systems, and can be retrofitted to existing alarm systems. Some of the alarm system suppliers will be implementing Lithium battery options in their new systems but to date, none are 100% ready for this.
What will happen if I install a Lithium battery in my alarm system?
- Any warranty will be void as the Original Equipment Manufacturers do not support Lithium batteries at the moment
- You could damage the alarm system’s charging circuit/power supply and also maybe result in the main circuit board needing replacement
- Your alarm system may shut down without sending a “LOW BATTERY” signal to the Atlas Security Control Room. This means that your home is no longer protected and the alarm system will be inoperative.
During discharge, the Lithium Battery management system will eventually “switch off” at a level determined by the battery manufacturer. This level is not always known or advertised. The criminal element knows that the alarm system battery will run flat after a few hours so when you are off on holiday, they switch off your power at the box outside your house and come back the next day. If you did not receive a notification from your Security Company or alarm system App that your alarm battery is low, you will have no knowledge that your home is no longer protected.
As with any consumable item, Lithium batteries are not all created equal. There are various quality levels of Lithium cells, and as with any product the lower the quality that you purchase, the fewer cycles you will get out of the battery.