LiFePO4 & Pure Sine Wave Inverter. Why Not?

PS Audio certainly has the technical capability to get us off the power grid, but the devil must be in the details. Why no battery based power for audio?

I think PS Audio have invested a lot in its transformer based solutions, making it mentally harder to shift to a battery based system.

However, the leading tech of 1 bit sine wave regeneration, knowledge about how tonlower impedance etc… would make PS Audio a strong contender to make a product better than a StromTank at the price level of a mid Isotek filter.

The combination of galvanic isolation of all inputs/outputs and a battery based 1 bit sine wave regenerator would be best in class IF incoming mains ground was filtered. That’s a good off the grid solution for getting good sound.

Battery vise the prices for the ones in a StormTank has gone down in price to below USD 1000. (Same capacity as a StromTank 1000)

This means that it’s easy achievable to make a good battery based solution at a consumer price less than a P15, while still having that 5x (my guess) production material as a recommended end customer prize.

As a business developer I think PS Audio would be fools not to work on a battery based power plant. But I also have got respect for a company that have not got the resources to do everything one wants and that tries to hire a guru before embarking on a new tech venture. Traditionally PS Audio have put their development projects in pipelines and try to get them forward.

Personally I think a battery based solution would solve many power problems, like the raising amount of, EV, solar panels and switch mode devices rapidly making power quality worse

Agreed… In the next few days I’ll be turning on my version based upon an inverter that is probably less capable than any that PSAudio might come up with. Care must be taken with cable gauge, fuses and grounding. There is little to choose from other than wattage and 12volt t vs 24 volt. They all claim less than 3%THD and fans come on at around 40% of continuous power rating, or at a thermal trigger point. I went with a 3000 watt 12 volt inverter with great reviews (great for power tools and refrigerators). I have a friend with golden ears and speakers that cost more than my first house, who swears that his DIY greatly improved his system and he has a fortune invested in power all the way back to the power companies main into the house. I fully expect to have to change inverters, in which case I would use the same inverter as my friend. Anyway, PSAudio could refine such a system and take their added pound of flesh and it would probably be worth purchasing a sorted out system.

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Paul has said in the past that batteries have a higher output impedance. As such they don’t deliver the instantaneous power that a regenerator can. There have been various battery powered components over the years but they never catch on, there is a reason for that, but beyond impedance I can’t tell you what those reasons are.

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Recharging isn’t trivial. If you only recharge when the system isn’t being used you may run out of power if the system is used too long at a time. If you charge while the system is in use you either need multiple battery packs that get swapped at an opportune time or you aren’t really isolating the rest of your system from the wall. There are some systems that advertise things like “never connected” but one of the “never connected” patents show that they really are always connected but they try to avoid charging on each cycle when the AC is noisy. Still LiFePO4 batteries can output a lot of current bounded only by your budget. I ran one of my prototype DACs on LiFePO4 batteries and it would run for about four hours and another battery pack could be charges in about 1/2 hour so things could have worked out. Still these days it’s not hard to build a power supply that converts AC to the needed DC with less noise than the noise output of a battery. (Not that the battery couldn’t be regulated well too, but my point is that batteries add headaches and don’t have noise advantages over a good AC power supply.)

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Thanks for that information Ted! I was going to make a comment regarding solar power used to recharge batteries that, in turn, power the house through an inverter. Several folks over the years here have commented that is not clean power, but I always thought of that being mostly an issue with the inverter. For that reason I didn’t mention it, but maybe the batteries themselves are part of that problem.

You are right that inverters for solar powered systems aren’t very clean, but the batteries are pretty clean. It’s just that they aren’t as clean as most people seem to think. They are better than most power supplies in typical audio equipment, but not as good as higher end equipment.

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Well, this is certainly worth noting.

Thanks.

My friend is using two 100 aH LiFePO4 batteries/2000 Watt pure sine wave inverter and gets around four hours of play on a T+A Elektroakustik A 3000 HV system, * Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirit speakers, with Perlisten D12 subwoofers. He uses Synergistic Research Powercells and a SR Performance Enhancer plugged into the inverter. He previously used a front to back carefully selected 20 amp dedicated electrical line. He and others that have heard his system claim easily experienced improvements to the sound. All of his line level gear is also of top quality, like his Aurender N30. So, I would assume that his electronics use well designed power supplies. It is non-trivial that he uses a good bit of power conditioning after the inverter, so any commercial product would likely not do away with the need to filter/treat the inverter output. His power amplifiers…The T+A and Perlistens run off the Power Cells and are not plugged directly into the wall. I’ll have my version of inverter/battery power up and running over the next week, but it also will use a SR Power Enhancer and Shunyata Everest 8000. I’m our around $1600 for a 3000 watt pure sine inverter and 300ah LiFePO4 battery, enclosures, mounting box, fuses, recharger and battery cable as thick as my big fingers. Should be interesting.

I have no doubt that many will have great results with good batteries and a good inverter. My point was that batteries aren’t a panacea and designing a battery-based supply that could be sold to a customer base who have or desire one of PS Audio’s power conditioning devices wouldn’t be cheap or simple.

Not long ago it would have been quite hard to build a quieter AC based supply that beats batteries. It’s now easier than it was with RF capable voltage regulators which can much more easily stomp out the high frequency garbage from the mains and other conducted digital noise, etc.

But there are people that have put in AC treatments that are probably more effective and less costly than a good battery set and a great inverter. I have eight dedicated 20 amp home runs and they do make a big difference compared to stock wiring, and they weren’t that expensive in audiophile terms. No power treatment that I tried before I got the P-20 sounded better than direct to the wall with my power amps. One of my friends has a dedicated structure (a renovated barn) with dedicated 200A power from the street and massive isolation transformers, etc. just for his audio system. I can’t imagine what a capable enough battery backed power source that sounds as good would cost in comparison. There’s nothing that can compete with a very low impedance power source. Having more than 10,000W of available power is hard to beat.

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Thanks Ted…

In my country (SA) the grid is simply too unreliable to do without a decent solar & inverter / battery backup system. So I’ve ended up with an 80% off-grid inverter/battery system powering a P20, which does a decent job of cleaning up the less-than-perfect (though way better than grid!!) inverter output.
The 20% when I have to change to grid for charging on cloudy days is always a concern, as most insurers in SA now have built-in clauses against surge damage …

OK… after some mis-starts… I’m up and running on battery.

With my system, on my utility/home wiring and with my power solution, which includes an Everest 8000, there is a night and day improvement in what I hear. It might be a bigger step up than when I added my Everest 8000. Everything is improved, dark background, dynamics, sound stage…Very simply sounds much like the performance is in the room. My audio friend described things and I had a show-me attitude, but trusted him sufficiently to spend the $1600. Best $1600 spent on my system, but you need to know what you are doing if you want to be alive to listen to the results. Power levels involved are nothing to take lightly. I’m not sure how to take this with respect to the Everest, but one of the main jobs of the Everest is to electrically isolate all components and adding it when on AC greatly improved what I was hearing. Interestingly, dynamics and speed are greatly improved and this carries over to the bass. The bass is much better controlled and very fast. I didn’t realize that I was missing anything. My inverter/battery are capable of putting out 20+amps directly wired to outlet, but as I have it setup, through the built in plugs, I’m limited to 15 amps… but for some reason it is not the 15 amps plugged into the wall. As usual 300 watt/channel A/B power amp and 900 w/channed class D subwoofers plugged directly to their own channel on Everest. I should also mention, that unlike my friend, I wasn’t on a 20 amp dedicated AC power line.

I think there have been real improvements in battery tech over the last couple years. I’m watching with interest the developments at Taiko as they are introducing batteries into their new streamer as well as their new input/output component.