OLPC Power Boost: LiFePO4 Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery


The OLPC XO BTest-1 battery

Listening to Ivan Krstić's Bitfrost security presentation at ShmooCon, he revealed another power boost to the Children's Machine XO.

The OLPC XO BTest-3 will have a new battery based on LiFePO4 chemistry. LiFePO4 was a battery technology proposed by researchers at the University of Texas and revisited by other companies (there's evidently some patent disputes around the technology).

The LiFePO4 battery promises to be safer, less at risk for explosions, and colder running batteries. Lithium iron phosphate is an intrinsically safer cathode material than LiCoO2. The traditional downside of this has been lower voltage and less energy density. It's good that OLPC is moving towards battery technology that aims at higher safety (and lower toxicity to boot) -- can you imagine one battery recall per child?

Before you worry about under powering the computer, the new OLPC XO chipset, an AMD Geode LX-700 433Mhz .13 micron chip sipping an impressive 0.8 watts, will allow Python, the primary programming language in the OLPC, to run 2-3 times faster, and can potentially double the camera frame per seconds to 30.

These upgrades aren't free, of course (no word on exactly how much this will up the cost), but they dramatically expand the power of the OLPC XO, and gives it some on-board cryptographic capabilities. It's a delicate balancing act between dramatic increases in power, utility, and safety and raising an already over-budget cost on the other.

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"It's a delicate balancing act between dramatic increases in power, utility, and safety and raising an already over-budget cost on the other."

Very well said, John!

Personally I do believe that the increased cost (obviously not sure how much it's going to be but I imagine a maximum of ~$5 extra per unit) is well worth it in comparison to the potential benefits!

I'm nervous about using new battery technology, but it sounds like it's safer and more reliable technology; $5 spent upfront is worth the unknown hundreds of dollars spent - not to mention damages done - in recalling exploding/overheating batteries!

Dear sir ,

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I have viewed your web and found you sell LiFePO4 pack , we are the only company here in China

That can have mass production of LiFePO4 pack.

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Volt; 26.4V
Capacity: 10Ah
Weight: 3.9KG

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Fit machine;

24v 350w E-bike


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3. Load: 70kg

I did an initial 1 km test with my new meter and have the following results. This was a hard stop and start test.

1.141 amp hour used

27.3 watt hours

39.05 amp peak

22.54 volts min

915.4 watt peak used

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I have a Schwinn 26 inch wheel bicycle with Phoenix 2000 watt 48 volt electric motor & 4, 12Volt 12 AH Lead acid batteries. Need far more range, but my health can't handle heavier lead acid batteries loads. Can you provide LiFePO4 batteries to power my 48 Volt Phoenix motor with a 40 AH system? I don't know how to mount the system, but know someone that can. Grace & peace to you...bill borsheim-litesong

48V 20AH LiFePo4 pack is OK for your 2000W motor.

It is light; 11.2kh (24.7lb)

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