For more than 40 years, Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries have been the go-to solution for security, fire, access and surveillance system back-up, but now there’s a new and extremely efficient option available ­that changes everything. Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, also known as LiFePO4 batteries, usher in a new generation of DC power that will eventually render SLA batteries obsolete. And for good cause, as they deliver significant performance and long-term cost-saving benefits for both end-users and installing dealers.

Myriad electronic devices, from smoke detectors and cell phones to laptop computers and electric cars, are already leveraging the superior longevity, efficiencies and improved safety advantages that LiFePO4 batteries deliver compared to SLA batteries.

This same technology is now becoming a cornerstone of power and transmission devices, providing security professionals with a unique value proposition to ensure continuous operation of critical systems and at a lower overall cost.  

First introduced by Altronix for foundational security system power and transmission products, LiFePO4 batteries offer a tremendous improvement over legacy SLA batteries and back-up solutions. Although the initial purchase price of a LiFePO4 battery is more than a conventional SLA battery, it offers a significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with a cost per cycle of approximately $0.31 versus $0.92 for SLA batteries. Factors impacting these calculations include the fact that LiFePO4 batteries can cycle up to 5,000 times over their life span versus only up to 500 cycles for SLA batteries. Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries have a 10-year shelf life which allows resellers the ability to leverage their buying power as SLA batteries require charging every 6 months while not in use.  

LiFePO4 batteries allow for rapid charging and discharging, delivering more uptime to keep systems running longer. Another key feature of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries is that they operate more efficiently in high-stress environments where temperature fluctuations can adversely affect SLA battery life. These attributes alone make it easy to see how LiFePO4 batteries provide increased operational efficacy for critical systems.

Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries are 33-50% lighter in weight than conventional SLA batteries. This reduces shipping costs and provides a significant environmental benefit since they do not contain toxic chemicals that cause decay in SLA batteries. As a result, recycling and redistribution are both easier and more cost-effective by decreasing the cost and time associated with disposing SLA batteries.

The first power and data transmission security products featuring LiFePO4 battery backup technology is Altronix’s new series of NetWay Spectrum Hardened PoE+ Switches. The products in this new series are optimized to leverage the numerous benefits of LiFePO4 battery charging and back-up with unique features to replace the necessity and weight of four SLA batteries with a single 12VDC LiFePO4 battery for 48VDC backup.

The introduction of LiFePO4 battery charging from Altronix for demanding power and transmission solutions represent a significant breakthrough for the professional security industry. It’s an innovation impacting virtually all surveillance, access, security and fire systems by greatly improving the reliability, uptime and TCO of new and existing systems.