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Old February 17, 2015, 10:42   #51
RG Coburn
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Originally Posted by L Haney View Post
Got access to UHF stuff for free from the shop I used to work at. Public Safety orgs transitioned to trunked digital. 25 million local option tax paid for it. They went Harris radios.

Just looking for SSB HF stuff with maybe a general coverage AM receiver built in. Hundred watt, solid state finals.
Grab that stuff!
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Old February 17, 2015, 13:32   #52
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Almost 12 hours into our little southeastern storm and one thing realizing short on DVD's. If a group of people are locked up in same structure, like in war the troops get a movie night to help morale,
-Snip-
Does your Internet connection have enough bandwidth to stream video?
If so, there's free places like Hulu and the major networks allow free streaming to various degrees.
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Old February 25, 2015, 17:47   #53
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We are getting hit by our third winter storm event in a week. I spent part of the day shopping for generators and my supplier recommended a kit similar to this.

https://www.propanecarbs.com/tri_fuel_kits.html

This allows you to convert your gas generator to run on gasoline, natural gas or propane with basically a turn of a valve. Kit my guy recommended was different brand but this was first hit with Google-fu. Supplier says has installed on two of his generators and had several customers who had with great results. My main generator is set up for natural gas and I have a propane conversion kit that requires swapping parts when may not be optimal conditions.

Told him my kilowatt unit was on edge of capabilities during last weeks event. He said with its age, has probably lost some horse power and some generating capacity and needed to have serviced. I am pretty good about such and during peak loads, my 40 amp output leg was peaking at 47.9 amps and 30 amp output was 34.5 amps. Was monitoring amps and volts for 24 hour period and the 1 kilowatt, 1.25 Kw peak unit seemed to average 1.1 Kw and peaked a few times at 1.33 Kw so if putting out over rated capacity assume my service has kept it doing well. Just outgrown with additional square footage and equipment.

Talking about my trailer mounted three phase diesel unit he was highly interested in looking it over. Said may can trade me a 1.5 Kw Generac with a trifuel kit even or maybe a little boot on one of us according to how it tests out. Only thing would miss is it currently has roof that shifts so can raise two 30 foot emergency antenna towers. It was built for U.S. Army signal corps and has two reels of LMR 400 coax and one reel of 32 wire pair telephone cable.

Allows team to put two antenna gangs in air, pull coax to communications tent or hut, then connect up to 32 field telephones on single or multiple channels. Its the ultimate emergency communications power and antenna rig but my 53 foot bucket truck with single phase kilowatt generator will do all trailer will except three phase but mast that fits in bucket allows to hoist antennas on rotator to 65 feet and has a cell phone repeater. Just sucks having a personal cell repeater that can point high gain antenna toward a distant tower and then put a dozen cell phones on the grid if in poor reception area. I got really into emcomm a while back and set up to put two all band all mode communications rigs in the field.

With radio shacks at home, work, all mode in two trucks, trading my big diesel for a trifuel whole house with another 5,000 watts sounds like good idea as not doing the emcomm thing anymore. Can leave the 1 kilowatt unit in place as backup and be totally hooked up. They have a 2 kilowatt unit in catalogue that is a bit more money but if were to add on to home again and more equipment then would be pre prepared. With current needs, the 2 kw with 2.5 kw peak would never even throttle up to full speed. Have to see what can get for my trailer mounted and what funds will allow but definately going to upsize and do this trifuel gig. Being able to burn gasoline, natural gas or propane would really be a great option. Especially with the higher amount of energy propane makes. Those with gasoline generators, probably due for carburator service, spend that money to being multifuel compatable. I already ordered the kit for my current unit even knowing going to upgrade to bigger machine.
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Old November 05, 2015, 14:16   #54
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This is the small battery charging station on one of the dressers next to bed.



Front left basket has batteries that are dead along with battery tester to confirm charge state before just blindly wasting effort. Basket to right has batteries fully charged and ready to go. Bag behind basket also has charged batteries. Put 9 volts, C Cells, and odd non rechargeable batteries in bag. The silver charger will charge AAA, AA, C and 9 volts. It is a basic slow charger and usually if load one evening batteries will be ready next evening or the following morning. Expect 18 to 36 hours with it and prefer a slow charger as seen too many fast chargers burn up in a few months or kill batteries before they should die.

Behind it is a Maha battery charger/conditioner. It will charge, run break-in cycle, user defined multiple discharge/charge cycles and reconditioning cycles that restores most dead rechargeable batteries that a standard charger will no longer charge. For some reason had a box kept dead rechargeable batteries in. Had many from the 1990's totally wasted that when got the conditioner, ran them through a reconditioning then a few discharge/charge cycles and brought them back to life.





A great thing is it charges each battery individually and tells amount of capacity and voltage each battery has so can match sets for devices used in. Nice hot batteries with high capacity are used in high drain and mission critical devices. The ones that are showing their age get used in television remotes and devices that are low drain and just an aggregation when batteries go flat. Have only seen a couple of batteries that had physical damage that it would not put some life back in and keep them running forever thus far.

Almost everything I own runs rechargeable batteries. Almost every evening a set gets loaded in one of the chargers. When any start having issues holding charge from standard charger then they go on the Maha and run on appropriate cycle. Know I have hundreds of assorted rechargeable batteries and between wife and I always a set needing a ride in one of the chargers. All of my batteries have year purchased written with Sharpie marker on them. Try to keep sets together based on year purchased, brand and capacity. Sometimes three sets from say 2008 get rearrainged from original packaging as analyzer shows a better way to match. On occasion a 2010 battery may better match with some from 2012. As I match batteries take into account whether a device uses 2, 3, 4, or more. Then the odd batteries which seem to have a mind of their own for capacity and voltage get used in single battery devices.

Out of the hundreds of just AAA's and AA's we have scattered in devices at work, home, vehicles and such actually have to only dispose of one or two per year. While have some 20 year old AA's with less than 250 milli-amp capacity they are fine for DVD remote or such. Flashlights get hottest batteries can sort from pile. As devices are added, buy whatever current consumer battery is on the rack. For some devices that are super critical buy professional batteries that have to be ordered and wait for shipping. That said, with a slow charger for day to day charging, high tech unit for restoring weak or dead batteries can keep them running a long time. Especially if run new ones through a proper break in cycle. Always make sure to keep way more batteries than required for devices in event go on trip can fill a bag with plenty of spares and not worry about charging while gone. Also can keep plenty of spares at work and in trucks.

Don't let an emergency catch you short on batteries. The more the merrier. Have a station downstairs for specialty batteries such as for cameras, bicycle lights and ham radios. Also have stations at home and work for 12 volt, 18 volt and 24 volt battery operated power tools. Keep a lot and keep them sharp. If unwilling to pop $100 on a good charger please send me your dead rechargeables and I will rescue them and use for something. Seldom is a rechargeable truly dead unless obviously damaged.
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Old November 05, 2015, 14:36   #55
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Anyone have lists of places to buy solar pv panels and or inverters, charge controllers ?

A list of reputable websites that sell this stuff would be great.
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Old November 05, 2015, 17:05   #56
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What capacity are you looking for? If covering an entire roof with panels then stacking out an entire building of batteries to run home off of is an entirely different deal than a couple of panels to keep a refrigerator running. Most people these days go with a grid tie inverter and skip storage batteries. The inverter has to be able to match the frequency of your local grid and any power generated above your needs feeds into the grid and power company pays you for any overage produced. If don't make more than use then your system just reduces monthly power bill. Grid tie is most economical and most common now.

If your looking to power your home totally off grid or have reserve in grid down scenario then your going to have to stack out batteries. I have five figures in batteries stacked and with that, a medium sized generator would out produce what my combined solar, wind and hydro could feed into batteries. I use generator to top my batteries and alternative equipment is stored safely for installation post EMP. 9Would be happy to share information but your end goal is going to be major determining factor in recommendations.

Last five "clients" visited to discuss off grid power choked on the energy storage issue. Thought could slap a few panels up and then feed directly into electrical system no matter condition of grid. The concept of a room or storage buildings worth of batteries torpedoed their ideas. Cost of grid tie compared to term required to recoup costs and still go dark when raining or night time thus not getting system anticipated and they ended up installing generator instead. Unless you have significant funding or good at scrounging and fabricating a good bit of your equipment solar has not reached economic viability for most homeowners. Heating water is relatively inexpensive, grid tie reachable but full blown solar system with energy storage for when sun doesn't shine is huge undertaking.

Goals?
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Old November 05, 2015, 17:59   #57
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Non grid tie full system when was grid tie used a lot of juice.

Well is killer but using a windmill now to bring water up and store in 5K Gal tank and pressurize with jet or air powered pump.

Panels, deep cycle batteries and inverters mostly for house, lights refrigerator and appliances.

3 wire sub pump pulls too much juice for solar system and will be keeping the system of powered from surface pump.

Much more versatile then anything where powered from a motor actually 200 ft down.

This was my attempt at a other than Windmill style pump cylinder type well.
http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=389368


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What capacity are you looking for? If covering an entire roof with panels then stacking out an entire building of batteries to run home off of is an entirely different deal than a couple of panels to keep a refrigerator running. Most people these days go with a grid tie inverter and skip storage batteries. The inverter has to be able to match the frequency of your local grid and any power generated above your needs feeds into the grid and power company pays you for any overage produced. If don't make more than use then your system just reduces monthly power bill. Grid tie is most economical and most common now.

If your looking to power your home totally off grid or have reserve in grid down scenario then your going to have to stack out batteries. I have five figures in batteries stacked and with that, a medium sized generator would out produce what my combined solar, wind and hydro could feed into batteries. I use generator to top my batteries and alternative equipment is stored safely for installation post EMP. 9Would be happy to share information but your end goal is going to be major determining factor in recommendations.

Last five "clients" visited to discuss off grid power choked on the energy storage issue. Thought could slap a few panels up and then feed directly into electrical system no matter condition of grid. The concept of a room or storage buildings worth of batteries torpedoed their ideas. Cost of grid tie compared to term required to recoup costs and still go dark when raining or night time thus not getting system anticipated and they ended up installing generator instead. Unless you have significant funding or good at scrounging and fabricating a good bit of your equipment solar has not reached economic viability for most homeowners. Heating water is relatively inexpensive, grid tie reachable but full blown solar system with energy storage for when sun doesn't shine is huge undertaking.

Goals?
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Old November 06, 2015, 14:46   #58
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Since using wind to pump water am I correct in guessing you are in an area with fair amount of naturally moving atmosphere? As mentioned, I have solar panels and add to what have to date as find. Recently acquired a new panel that was in reality a damaged panel from the railroad. It is used 24 volt 250 watt panel that was used to power a remote track monitoring system and some yahoo/hillbilly/redneck put a bullet through it.

Was able to disassemble remove the glass, replace and reseal. There were three cells damaged and the only individual cells I could find were a bit larger than the original. Was able to get correct values so shoe-horned them in with one that was 1/3 overlapped on two sides. Closed it all up, tested and its been outside for the past six weeks in which we have had more rain than not and its still water tight. Have a few panels have built from individual cells (talk about an exercise in practicing soldering skills), some nice commercial units purchased straight up and some other damaged units that repaired. All said to really load for bear with solar panels is too much money for me.

Can build wind mills really inexpensively but don't have great situation for constant winds. My hydro works from run off of roof where gutters go to rain barrels then overflow to common flue along with pipe from a storm drain that collects run off from street. So must have rain for my little hydro system. Thus over they years have built several wind generators and now have two good ones to deploy, my small water turbine and a miss-mash of solar panels that if world fell apart can deploy and based on environment can always be generating some power to run into battery stacks.

Primary charging system is small generator and have multiple assorted size generators. Sounds like you have a fair amount of knowledge already. Have you calculated watts needed to run necessary equipment and how many amp hours of batteries to keep it up for a set period of time. I just add as stuff is scrounged. In a world where money was not the driving force I would calculate needs, desired reserve and then build appropriately sized system. To recommend inverters, panels and ancillary equipment size of system will make huge difference in what I recommend. Small consumer systems and large durable commercial type systems are different and will determine brand/supplier of components.

Also equipment running will make huge difference. Can you get away with a square wave or modified square wave inverter or will you have to spring thousands of dollars for a true sine wave unit? I have mostly modified square wave but do have two pure sine wave units for my medical devices which cannot risk burning up with dirty electricity. There are a lot of variables that determine actual needs in a system.
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Old November 06, 2015, 15:02   #59
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http://pesn.com/2015/10/30/9602673_G...-FE-Generator/
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Old November 07, 2015, 12:34   #60
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Maximum run time is four hours per day and due to demand manufacturer says can't guarantee delivery till mid 2016. It carries a 1 year or 1,460 hour warranty and my big question is how/where to get repaired if failed. Electricity is too important to have to ship something back to manufacturer during emergency to have fixed. Have spare parts kits for all of my generators. rule when purchase a new one order a carburator kit day its purchased and then examine closely and try to order any parts that are likely to fail and user serviceable to have inventoried usually before generator is needed. Another issue is ESA certified only. Without U.L. certification all kinds of issues can crop up such as your insurance company not paying for any damage to home if they can blame a non UL approved device.

I have a large number of fire extinguishers that were not U.L. approved at time of purchase and in some areas are my primary "go to" units. In order to meet codes when insurance or Fire Department inspects my building must have required number of U.L. approved extinguishers. My first semi-regular inspection by Fire Marshal after loading up on some Stat-x products they liked them but said had I not kept my old ABC's in place and annual inspection done would have failed me. Stat-x now has U.L. approval but many of my older units were purchased before they did. While have European, Maritime, Aviation, U.L.C. (U.L. Canada) and many more my older Stat-x units have a 10 pound U.L. approved dry chemical ABC extinguisher close by.

Insurance company inspector had same reaction, really liked them but said to make sure and keep the crappy U.L. approved units. He also said I needed to replace the automatic units over my six figure CNC router with a U.L. approved unit if wanted to avoid issues with a claim. Said they could literally blame the non U.L. automatic fire suppression unit for a partial loss rather than a fire that it extinguished. Now have a $1,500 Halon Fire Boy sitting over the machine.

All of my batteries, chargers, charge controllers, inverters and other ancillary equipment inside house or in enclosure attached to home has U.L. certification. My home brew solar panels, wind mills, water turbine and such are separated from home and once tested removed for storage to protect and avoid insurance blaming them for back feeding a lightning strike or wiring issue into home. While folks should be able to do anything they want within reason in own home I need my insurance to pay if have a major loss. In long term SHTF scenario and grid collapses with no reasonable time frame for repair will reinstall all of the home brew alternative equipment to reduce need for running generators.

Now for a bonus to Wall of Text Readers, have some 28 amp hour N.O.S. batteries will give away to anyone with ham radio license (call sign is only requirement for Files members) and willing to pay shipping. Found pictured battery this past week will give to first Files member willing to pick up. Not interested in shipping it even if offer to pay costs as will have to declare it and hazardous shipping requirements for packaging are not worth my effort. Ma Bell pays over $200 for this battery and government almost double. Weird how bigger your entity and more you buy the price goes up and street price is $179 plus shipping. First Files member in North Georgia or coming this way owns it. It tested fine but put on charger to top it off as was down to 85% capacity when tested. If no files members come claim in next couple weeks will offer same deal on local ham radio net and it will disappear following day as hams will take anything free.



Battery weighs 65 pounds and is a good unit. Usually see them last over a decade in field and guess indoors where temperature is kept stable and maintained properly would last two decades. If not willing to keep on float charger its a waste of your time. Needs to be partially discharged and then topped off on occasion too. Batteries like to stay charged and cycled on occasion or they flake out before their time. Unlike most batteries if discharged past 50% capacity will recharge back to previous state.

Quote:
Battery Lifespan
Lifespan of a deep cycle battery will vary considerably with how it is used, how it is maintained and charged, temperature, and other factors. In extreme cases, it can vary to extremes, we have seen L-16's killed in less than a year by severe overcharging and water loss, and we have a large set of surplus telephone batteries that sees only occasional (10-15 times per year) heavy service that were just replaced after 35+ years. We have seen gelled cells destroyed in one day when overcharged with a large automotive charger. We have seen golf cart batteries destroyed without ever being used in less than a year because they were left sitting in a hot garage or warehouse without being charged. Even the so-called "dry charged" (where you add acid when you need them) have a shelf life of 18 months at most. (They are not totally dry - they are actually filled with acid, the plates formed and charged, then the acid is dumped out).

These are some typical (minimum - maximum) typical expectations for batteries if used in deep cycle service. There are so many variables, such as depth of discharge, maintenance, temperature, how often and how deep cycled, etc. that it is almost impossible to give a fixed number.

Starting: 3-12 months
Marine: 1-6 years
Golf cart: 2-7 years
AGM deep cycle: 4-8 years
Gelled deep cycle: 2-5 years
Deep cycle (L-16 type etc): 4-8 years
Rolls-Surrette premium deep cycle: 7-15 years
Industrial deep cycle (Crown and Rolls 4KS series): 10-20+ years.
Telephone (float): 2-20 years. These are usually special purpose "float service", but often appear on the surplus market as "deep cycle". They can vary considerably, depending on age, usage, care, and type.
NiFe (alkaline): 5-35 years
NiCad: 1-20 years
At work run the telecom batteries list says 2 to 20 years and seen last well over 20 years outdoors and longer indoors. Batteries am giving away should make 20 years minimum treated properly. Batteries at work expect to last 20 years minimum and NiCad batteries run at home have 20 year unconditional manufacturers warranty without prorating. They replace at no charge if die in under 20 years from manufacture date. Expect them to last 30 or more years as in batteries will likely outlive me. If spending money on batteries skip right over deep cycle marine batteries and invest money oin good telecom batteries. Price is not much more considering lifespan and durability rather have less telecom batteries than double the number in consumer marine batteries.
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Old November 14, 2015, 04:24   #61
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Tomorrow and Sunday we have our first two mornings with low temperatures predicted to hit around freezing. Have clients and friends learning to call me before an emergency to service/repair generators. Had calls from a friend who had handyman electrician install one and client recommended who had issues with generator during last year's ice storm. That was nine months ago and just now called for help?

Both had some distinctly different service related issues which are common sense but each had one issue that is something often seen and will wreak havoc on electrical systems when use big portable generator as whole house unit wired into panel year round. Normally portable generators ground comes from metal frame and they float. When wired into house full time a big unit needs some modifications to run properly and stable. Posting the most basic here. Not covering advance voltage and frequency stabilization in this post. Those will come later. If have professionally installed whole house unit with emergency subpanel and was installed following directions fully won't have to check this most common of issues seen other than leaving carburetor full of fuel over summer to turn into shellac.

If interested will post information on building modified sine wave devices to stabilize sine wave frequency between house and generator set. My generator would vary from 58 Hz to 63 Hz and with a few parts from Mouser, Ack and scavenged it runs 59 to 61 between no load to peak load without expensive device. Properly grounding as discussed below goes a long way to helping.

Quote:
I have bought a generator, and I am concerned about safety. Can I use a personal power breaker?

The generator is configured differently to the mains supply. The generator has a ‘floating earth’, whilst the mains has an earthed neutral. Whereas it is definitely recommended to use a personal power breaker (RCD) from the mains, for the majority of cases, it is not necessary to use one with a generator. Personal power breakers are designed to operate from the mains. If one is to be used with a generator, then it is necessary to modify the generator so that it is configured in the same way as the mains. This is a relatively simple modification for a qualified electrician involving adding a link wire from the neutral terminal to the earth terminal. However, once the generator has been modified, it is necessary to then always use a personal power breaker and to also always use an earth spike, which connects between the generator frame and the ground. Since this is difficult to ensure, it is generally recommended not to modify the generator.

I have bought a generator, and would like to connect it to my house in case of mains failure. What do I need to do?

When using a generator as an alternative supply to the mains, there are several precautions that must be observed. It is vital that the generator is completely isolated from the mains supply. This ensures that the generator is not attempting to power up the whole neighborhood, but also ensures that it does not electrocute a utility worker trying to restore the mains supply.

To achieve this, a double-pole, break-before-make, changeover switch must be installed by a qualified electrician.

This should be fitted between the electricity meter and the building consumer unit. The switch connects the building to either the mains supply or to a lead which can be plugged into the generator.

Most buildings now have an RCD built into the consumer unit. This is configured to operate from the mains supply with an earthed neutral, and not from a generator with a floating earth. To utilize this protection device, it is necessary to modify the generator so that it is configured in the same way as the mains supply. This is a simple modification for a qualified electrician, involving adding a link wire from the neutral terminal to the earth terminal. It is recommended to make this connection in the plug that is to be used to connect to the generator. This ensures that the generator is unmodified when it is disconnected from the house, and therefore remains safe.

The plug should be labeled “Do not connect to mains: Neutral-Earth link fitted”. The lead between the generator and the transfer switch is not protected by the RCD, it is therefore recommended to use a steel armored cable for this connection. Finally a local low-impedance earth spike needs to be installed.
Here are a couple of links with good information. Remember the U.K. site is on 50 Hz system and we run 60 Hz so take that into account.

http://www.justgenerators.co.uk/gene...l#.Vkb3pIoo5J9

http://www.generatorjoe.net/html/generatorops.html

My generator is a burly portable. After installing opened up the panel and pulled a wire from the neutral lug in plug attaching to house and tied to grounding post on generator frame. Then pulled a tap from post and tied into house halo ground system to bring generator to same ground potential as house.

In electrical panel installed a two pole breaker and wired into a four lug round female plug in generator room. Made up a very heavy gauge wire with two male four lug plugs. A wire like this will kill you if screw up. When power dies I disconnect home from grid at meter base. Also kill the mains in electrical panel. Before crank generator plug male end one of cord into plug wired into panel then into generator. Make sure most house systems off so generator doesn't get slapped with full draw when push start button. Crank generator, let warm up, go inside and energize all circuits in panel. From here on out refer to chart you have made on how many watts your devices pull so what all can be on at same time. If turn on electric range may have to shut down HVAC till finished cooking. Basically do your math and don't over task generator and with common sense can run any system in house as needed without an expensive generator transfer switch.

This year plan is to finally install my big two cylinder, three phase diesel unit permanently at house. It makes enough energy to run all systems in my house and neighbors. Been using at work for years but time to move it home and when power goes down at work no longer worry about three phase and run minimal systems till power company does their job. In a real SHTF scenario work is now a low priority to me. House is now my most important structure. Going to suck getting the big hog behind house and wired up but will be able to turn everything on at same time with generator been using past decade still in place as backup.
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Last edited by hueyville; November 14, 2015 at 04:31.
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Old November 22, 2015, 00:56   #62
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Something have not seen discussed in this thread are buck and boost transformers or DC to DC invertors. As batteries are hot may be putting too much power into your device. As voltage drops in batteries a lot of devices will shut off when voltage goes below 10 volts. A buck and boost will keep your voltage up as long as possible allowing safe use of equipment when batteries begin to go flat. Here is the buck and boost on one of the battery strings on one of my stations.



The power supplies on this battery stack runs radios off the grid while keeping batteries on float charge. If grid goes down it instantly switches to the batteries and keeps the voltage up to proper values. I believe in having my batteries, caring for them and not smoking my equipment using them improperly.





This is all work shack stuff. One big main stack then if it fades go to secondary then third battery strings unless get lazy and fire generators. Less run generators and more time on batteries believe lessens likelihood of someone noticing we are even functioning. If I am buried at house for duration have some friends who will be holing up at work as it is much better than their primary location and will put bodies protecting the place and passing traffic for situational awareness. Have enough batteries to run a long time at home. Don't waste money on deep cycle marine. Go for good telecom batteries so get 10 to 20 years from investment instead of just a few.
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Old November 22, 2015, 18:38   #63
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Been getting a fair amount of off group questions and comments about batteries. While not an expert, do make a significant part of my living installing and maintaining them so guess by default have learned a trick or two. Most of my racks look dusty but neat and professional as that's the job thus follows me home into my personal racks. That said, I will take anything can find and make spare energy out of it. Below is the jumbled up scene below one of my ham radio tables.



Notice there is a myriad of different things going on. There are several out of the box UPS units running and as will see in next picture some are no longer running as came out of box. On right side of picture is a plastic tub with four big diesel truck batteries that came from a trade. They are all being charged with a standard automotive supply float charger and run to my DC to AC inverters. Next are a couple of standard truck batteries and they run to my LED emergency lighting. The big rack in previous post is on other side of wall from this scene. Want all of the potential energy of the big rack going to supporting radios. All of this mess is to allow ancillary stuff to have power without sucking off the big stack.

Have a switch that allows powering the lights off the stack running to inverters as if all goes according to plan the inverters will never be needed but having them is a nice option. Then comes a line of telecom batteries that the next photos explain...





Battery on left is the stock battery for this UPS, right is my version of better. When a UPS goes into alarm telling you the batteries have finally died if not a total loss victim of a lightning strike and just a battery issue have a couple of options. First is go buy a nice little 12 volt 7 amp hour battery or a pair as most ship with. I skip over the expensive low energy stock option but leave the ability to return to factory configuration. I make up a wiring harness, pop a hole in the bottom cover and hook one to two of the 28 amp hour batteries tend to have plenty of.

Thus if a UPS came equipped with either one or two batteries the modification I make effectively quadruples the reserve capacity of each UPS. A 7 amp hour becomes 28 amp hours and a 14 amp hour becomes a 56 amp hour unit. I have a UPS sitting next to my bed that powers my BiPap Auto Server Ventilator that if sleep without code every time have been in a sleep lab. Downloading the data out of my old Cpap and BiPap machines and the logging pulse oximeter wear every night, shows me basically going down the tubes at least once a week before the machines pick up and get me breathing again. (And the crowd boos as it would mean the end of the never ending walls of text)

Thus the reason for the BiPap Auto Server Ventilator now instead. It starts slowly taking over my breathing the moment turn it own and by the time I fall asleep its algorithm has taken over my respiration rate. I bet there are several people hoping it breaks soon but it does have an alarm that wakes wife and I if it quits or if I quit. If I quit wife can start bagging me then pop with the defibrillator to jump start my stupid @$$. Then get the spare machine and try to get a few more winks.

Luckily I had this odd hobby of fooling with electricity before falling 30 feet out of a bucket truck, landing on my head and having trauma induced severe central sleep apnea ever since. When doctors put me on the machines and informed me use them or die I went and purchased a brand new top line UPS and immediately pulled the four 7 amp hour batteries out and sat four 80 amp hour batteries next to it in a cute little box. Now if the power fades while sleeping and don't wake to go crank the generator (I just hate auto switching as like to keep my generator disconnected from grid till needed) can sleep like Rip Van Winkle without my machine losing power. 320 amp hours of reserve power will keep it running way longer than will ever sleep in one cycle unless its that final deeep sleep where no machines will matter.

Have had several questions about buck and boost. Remember most batteries discussing now will fully charge at about 13.8 volts and drop as are drained. Many DC devices designed to run at 12 volts nominal will either automatically shut off at 9 to 10 volts to protect device or not and when input voltage drops too low device can die and die forever. For now need to quit and help wife but will address the buck and boost or DC to DC inverters in its own post but just realize once your batteries discharge below 10 volts without some help your devices will probably start shutting down.
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Old November 24, 2015, 03:37   #64
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Let's wander back to batteries for typical small devices. Thus far have discussed NiMH rechargeable batteries as are common, suck up thousands of recharges if treated properly and are available almost everywhere. One thing we need to realize about them is their nominal voltage of 1.2 volts when the typical alkaline battery most people buy, discharge and throw away are 1.5 volts nominal. Also most devices are designed to use 1.5 volt batteries in AA, AAA, C and D. Luckily for most of us our devices requiring one to four batteries are tolerant enough to run on the high amp, lower voltage NiMH rechargeable batteries. See battery at end of charge cycle topped off at 1.24 volts.



While some top off at rated voltage as they age some will not take a full charge and as next picture shows we drop to 1.1 volt range.



Then others will top off as high as 1.4 volts and luckily the way my charging routine is done I end up with majority of batteries landing above the 1.2 volt rating.



While 1.3 to 1.4 volts off the charger is not uncommon, even with high amp reserve capacity batteries the voltage will usually drop off to a closer value to 1.2 volt rating and hover for some time before finally dropping off flat and needing a recharge. Like I said, most of my devices seem to do o.k. with under voltage batteries but I do segregate batteries based on voltage and reserve capacity so my more mission critical devices get the hotter units with lots of reserve capacity shown on good charger. The low voltage/low amp batteries are used for remote controls and items that long run time is not huge issue or brightness of flashlight not reduced significantly but on occasion have a device such as in next picture. It is a Citizens Band handietalkie that requires nine AA batteries. It asks for 1.5 volt batteries which total up to a 13.5 volt requirement. If fill full of 1.2 volt NiMH batteries then it starts out with only 10.8 volts and as batteries drop can go below 10 volts with plenty of amperage left in batteries but not enough to kick over the transmit demand and give nothing but a low battery alert when you may really want to transmit. If listening only can still end your game early due to under voltage shut off protection of device.



For this device and others that prefer and actually need full rated voltage as long as possible I either spring for Lithium Ion disposable if totally mission critical but due to being a cheap @$$ will usually resort to rechargeable alkaline batteries. Only draw backs are first they take a proprietary charger and most are only rated for ~60 recharges. I can usually get more but am anal freak about good charging habits. I had to order in some fresh recently and was able to buy in bundle with a cheap wall charger cheaper than just batteries alone.



If past performance holds up and use the smart charger have downstairs instead of free charger should get closer to 100 charges but that is way off the 1,000 cycles often get out of NiMH batteries. Even if only got 50 cycles it's still much cheaper than buying alkaline batteries to pitch in trash and fill our dumps. Yes, charging is more work than swapping a one time use battery but if SHTF do you have enough standard batteries stockpiled to last over the long haul? I will be recharging off solar, generators, and running a refresh cycle whenever a group starts flaking out.

Since had to order a box of NiCad rechargeable batteries went ahead and ordered some more NiMH. If ordering then skip the EverReady and Duracell versions. I like Eneloop and PowerX. Have a good many of both and though have Wallyworld off the shelf NiMH batteries pushing two decades use the made in Japan professional batteries have fewer that occasionally die and seem to hold higher voltages and reserve amperage. Just requires ordering unless want to go some place like Batteries Plus and pay almost double what can buy off internet for. Have other chemistries to discuss, 9 volt batteries, rechargeable coin cells and alternatives for rechargeable CR123a equivalent batteries. Get to those later. Anyone with battery knowledge from the mountaintop please bring to the conversation and others don't be afraid to ask questions. I do batteries professionally and have to go in for continuing education and call tech support regularly.
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Old November 28, 2015, 03:30   #65
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Being a rechargeable freak it has driven me crazy not to be able to find a suitable rechargeable CR123a that doesn't destroy sensitive equipment or just plain doesn't work at all. If use LiFePO4 batteries they have very little capacity and are under voltage so run time is very short if this type battery will even output enough voltage to run your CR123a device at all.

LiCoO2 and LiMn are over voltage and a bit oversize. Too protect a three volt device manufacturers have to add a diode to reduce the nominal voltage from 3.6 volts to 3.0 so do not cook your high dollar device. These batteries are just a tad larger than CR123a and by time diode is added it becomes just long enough that if device takes two CR123a's end to end they usually won't fit due to being too long. In single battery devices will usually fit. Only issue is fresh off the charger they can run as high as 4.2 volts and then drop through nominal voltage of 3.6 and at 3.0 which should be sweet spot for a CR123a device they are dead. Two fresh LiMn's will be outputting 8.4 volts to your 6.0 volt device often killing them from over voltage or overheating.

That leaves LiIon which are very close in size but again at 3.6 volts are a tad too hot and when stack two or more will cook your device from over voltage or heat. Depends on device and what it's sensitive to. Manufacturers have been adding diodes to LiIon batteries to regulate them to 3.0 volts but again are a tad long and in two cell or more devices may not physically fit. Another issue is the diode voltage protection takes several milliseconds to properly regulate voltage so when turn on device get a short duration over voltage inrush that can smoke some devices. Some devices, flashlights included have built in buck and boost circuitry and these over voltage issues are solved but still have heat issues over long run time as diode heats up and circuitry in device overheats.

Knowing the way batteries work somewhat have been afraid to try any of these alternatives and been buying Surefire batteries 20 to 30 at a time to keep inventory up but also know in an extended SHTF scenario it's just a matter of time before my CR123a devices stop running. Of particular issue is most of my night vision and infrared illuminators use the little bastard batteries. If a flashlight requires them I don't buy it. Will take a performance hit to use AA or AAA batteries that I can get long run time with 1.2 volt NiMH batteries or use NiCad rechargeable that only get 60 or so charges out of a set but feed my devices the 1.5 volts they are designed for. Keep a big pile of them and only use in devices that don't perform adequately with 1.2 volt NiMH.

Now fast forward to new battery I found, it is a LiIon with diode for over voltage protection but supposedly has been engineered ground up as a CR123a replacement rather than other brands that just tried to take their off the shelf cells and force them to work. Nextorch has supposedly developed a drop in rechargeable replacement for the CR123a based on some of their other high energy rechargeable batteries. They output 3.0 volts regulated and have 600 milli amp hour reserve capacity which is pretty good. They claim their design does not create excessive heat during charging, discharging, is protected from over discharge which ruins most unregulated LiIon batteries if user is not super careful. They claim 300 charge cycles on a battery and I am paying $18 per pair. A pair with their proprietary charger that runs off AC in house or 13 volts DC from car lighter adapter costs $40 bucks.

I purchased two charger sets and three packs of spare batteries which is all I could find. Google the little buggers and most sites that sells them seems to be European but some folks are selling on this side of the pond. It took some looking to find some so got all I could when did find them. With home charger set up and vehicle charger with AC adapter in "get my @$$ home" bag with a total of ten batteries so far am ahead of the game. If only take 250 charges instead of 300 I have the equivalent of 2,500 CR123a's conscripted into service and today found vendor with one two pack left and will have a dozen in stock next week.

Nextorch calls their battery a NT123a and I have been using them for almost two weeks now. Every time I charge one when put on my Fluke 87 V or Fluke 117 multimeters they read 2.93 to 2.99 volts DC. Can run one for a while, recheck voltage and will still be 2.8 to 2.9 volts. That is some tight tolerance and never felt one that was overly warm to touch.

Remember there is some resistance in the probe wires and use the industrial sets in my 87 IV and Fluke 117. Have a Fluke clamp meter at home and when use it with probes get about same results. Plan to take a couple and charger to work and check with my Fluke 189 and 287 meters with low inductance probes. Am betting batteries will all measure well above 2.9 volts and very close to 3.0 but under. The 87 is 0.050% basic accuracy as opposed to 0.500% for the Model 117. Then going to get serious and discharge three with my Fluke 187, Fluke 97 scopemeter and another with the Fluke 8808a bench top meter with 0.010% accuracy logging the show. Run all the data through Flukeview Forms to see what batteries did and tape a temperature sensor to each while run and should know if safe to drop these jewels in my night vision equipment.

Every device have run on them so far seemed to like them. My high dollar flashlight didn't overheat or smoke the LED after leaving on for an entire cycle of the battery. Have tried to over discharge to see if harms the batteries and they came right back up on a standard charge. I know there are a few battery geeks in here along with electricity freaks so sure y'all will find these as interesting as I do. Going to run them another couple of weeks in devices and test devices to monitor closely before dropping any into any $2,000 and up devices. But if tests work out and these don't hurt any of my night vision gear running out of juice for my night vision in a grid down for years, SHTF event will be a no worry deal. The big pile of Surefire's won't last if used often and if not used will still discharge just sitting and waiting over time.

Figure get two dozen of these if first dozen hold up to testing and will be equivalent to over 7,000 CR123a alkalines. No way can stockpile that many conventional batteries as would eat lots of cash and they would all be dead inside of a decade even left sealed in package. Since my new batteries in racks downstairs are guaranteed 20 years with free non prorated replacement and one of the engineers told me if kept indoors where warm in winter, cool in summer should easily get 30 plus years. With all the NiCad, NiMH, LiPo and other batteries for small devices am really close to having enough batteries to keep all devices running for past average life expectancy for an American male. Am about to turn 53 and believe have 30 years of battery life on property now.

The sealed AGM batteries spent past three evenings installing in ham shack have pulled out of outdoor remote terminals that had close to 20 year old dates and still were over 13 volts and passed a load test. I had a pallet of 72 new units and finally getting installed. Pass or not, FCC requires Ma Bell to replace batteries before they go south. Have seen many that were installed in early to mid 1990's that were still hot, gave to other hams and they have been abusing for years thus well over 20 years old and still putting some fire in the wire.





Sure would like some of the electronic hobby guys and Double E's lurking about share some input. Need someone to help as its hard for a mule to teach himself new tricks. At least now have the battery stack in ham radio shack done right. Used 24 total Portalac 12v28's which keep a little over 13 volts and ever single battery is on an independent charge controlling circuit. Before had four 80 amp hour batteries per string and each string sat on continuous float just waiting for a thermal run away event to take out an entire string. Had three strings of 80 amp hours on constant float and now have six strings of four 28 amp hour batteries per, all on charge controllers that only pour energy into an individual battery if it calls for some. Plan to install two more strings Sunday after church then two more next week. When done the ham shack will have over 1,000 amp hours of telecom batteries just waiting for power to go out.

Have a big generator project plan to do before real winter gets here and should be able to run all systems when grid is down if want. Several years have had event close enough to Christmas that while entire area was down we ran the Christmas lights also just to show people only have to live in the dark ages if want to. That said, checked today and have two gallons of lamp oil for our eight oil lamps and four wicks per lamp in event my entire life's power project fails miserably. Now to count radios, figure receive and transmit watts used then based on arbitrary transmit/monitor duty cycle pull out of my rear end can calculate how long the batteries will keep shack going before charge required. If not happy with that number will just keep piling up strings till able to run a week on batteries and not suck off the big stacks for house. Good thing I have an honest hobby or the cops would have to stop eating donuts and try to figure out who the trouble maker was.
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Old November 28, 2015, 13:11   #66
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Huey are you aware that there is a recall on these batteries?

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2011/...o-Fire-Hazard/

Also, what charger would you recommend for charging Alkaline batteries? I have a MAHA MH-C808M for my NiMH batteries and love it.
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Old November 28, 2015, 16:07   #67
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The recalled batteries are their non rechargeable Lithium. Have not been able to find any references to issues with the LiIon rechargeable batteries having problems. These are a different chemistry, different model number and specifically been watching for heat when charging and discharging along with any signs of excessive inrush current. Currently charging with the chargers they sell specific to the battery. Not sure want to use something different and then have issues blamed on my charger.

In my previous wall of text mentioned that when run then all this week through discharge and charge cycle will have a temperature probe logging temperature, first time all were charged week before last attached a flexible thermoprobe monitored by one of my Fluke HVAC multimeters that will start beeping if temperature goes outside of programmed parameters. None of the original ten exceeded the 88 degrees Fahrenheit set meter to alarm at while charging.

The Maha WizardOne shown in previous pictures will charge NiCad's but usually put those in devices that need the full 1.5 volts due to large number of batteries. If device takes more than four batteries, six, eight or nine seem to be common battery totals for some of my devices I need more than four charging at a time. So at workbench downstairs where charge tool batteries and a lot of my camera and other weird units have a La Crosse BC-1000 because it's a smart charger and holds eight cells. Also use it on all of my Eneloop batteries as it seems to bring them up a little hotter than the Maha WizardOne. Still don't know why most of the Maha chargers say Powerex on the front.... Battery charging if done right will make everyone a convert. If someone goes and drops big bucks on some Energizer or Duracell rechargeable batteries, put in a 30 minute fast charger and smoke them first charge then tend to have a bad taste for rechargeable batteries for life. Buy a good smart charger, Maha or La Crosse, select a slow charge rate and be patient. A decade from now when still using batteries and do a little math to realize your initial investment paid for itself first year and been using free batteries for a decade and still going will be one of the battery freaks that writes notes on all your batteries.

Remember when racing RC cars would hook a pack directly to truck battery and top it off in ten minutes, get half a dozen runs out of it and pitch in trash. Now I just have lots of slow chargers and enough batteries can wait as always enough ready to fill next device that goes down.
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Old December 09, 2015, 19:37   #68
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Spent two solid weeks installing new batteries, doing charging rotations, altering ancillary equipment and tweaking any little gap noticed from coin size to 130 pound beasts. Big stack at work station seems to be holding a nice charge. Time to wipe down dust, cycle enough to warm up then top off for the winter. Having extra power ready to go without need of generators or grid is nice headroom to give time to switch all the big stuff over if looks like grid is going to be down more than a few minutes.

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Old December 10, 2015, 08:21   #69
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I was watching an episode of "Alaska, the Last Frontier" and noticed that in one of the episodes, the homesteader had a solar power setup or his home with a separate building for his battery storage. They appeared to be car or deep-cycle marine batteries that he had scavenged over the years. What do you think the reliability factor of such a setup would be? Here is a brief view on "Hulu",http://www.hulu.com/watch/880551
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Old December 10, 2015, 12:40   #70
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Saw that episode and is theory of run what you brung. See pic below believe posted in another thread.



The underside of one work radio shack benches. Has four diesel truck batteries in plastic tray scavenged on far right. The batteries were all new and acquired in a trade of some tractor parts headed to scrap pile. They are on float from a 2.5 amp trickle charger and wired to inverters but can switch to other devices if need.

Then it's two regular truck batteries that were acquired in "as new" condition in real battery boxes that are on a 1.5 amp weather proof float charger purchased as "open package" on deep discount. They run my LED emergency lights. Then have a run of 28 amp hour telecom units that are wired into UPS units that had original batteries go bad.

While have a lot of telecom batteries sitting in piles, a typical battery will not last long if not kept charged. We learned in ham radio licensing that a typical battery loses 1% of charge per day. Day one goes to 99%, day two loses 1% of that and so on. Once below 50% is damaged forever and will not hold full charge. Size of guy on Discovery Channels solar panel and age of his battery sure he has some time to monitor and a maybe can transmit for a minute if someone is listening. Television is a wonderfully informative media. They seldom do the math. I installed four truck batteries each with a single 18"×18" solar trickle charger a few years ago. Every time needed were dead, would top with a real charger and in two years would not hold a charge anymore. That's in Georgia where we have over half the year summer and snow for about two days a year. Imagine in Alaska unless someone is sweeping snow off his panel every day it's dead all winter and come summer the scavenged battery won't hold a charge. I tried buying nice solar trickle chargers with controllers so would not discharge batteries and all I did was kill four nice batteries. Now have all four panels tied to one battery and still put a charger on it every few months. Takes a big panel to feed a big battery. Especially if discharge during a real need then may take a month for a small panel to bring it back if does at all.
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Old December 10, 2015, 15:14   #71
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Until HAG rear ended me text messaging this was an average single days worth of battery flips for me. Notice big black monsters on rear of truck, they are 135 pounds each, a blast to carry up two fights of stairs or up and down ladders. My favorite area to work was Nashville followed by Atlanta. New Orleans was the worst of the worst due to indigenous population, flooding and general nastiness. Baton Rouge was nice and basically the farther north I got in Louisiana the better. Farther from the coast and every foot of elevation made the job easier as less damage to sites from salt water and flooding plus less urban.



Stacks like these were nice; as in nice clean building and could remove old, install new and move on quickly if keys were available. Reason I took my first locksmith course was due to a really bad week where was issued the incorrect set of keys for region working. Since all locks were security locks and padlocks were usually five pin and doors seven pin had to learn a lot which put me through basic certificate, journeyman and master courses but when work like I do and take whatever is paying in a particular economic situation have to be willing to flip vocation at a moments notice.









Of above batteries the blue ones were probably worst technology that is still being used and gave the most trouble. Least little issue and would overheat, go into thermal runaway and then had a cabinet full of busted batteries leaking goo and took hours to clean up properly.

The below batteries are best have ever used and bet most have installed will still be working long after I have passed on to the next life. Unfortunately since most of our work was retrofitting old cabinets would have to go measure the avaiable size in depth, height and width then calculate how many amp hours the device or structure needed and wait for manufacturer to make and ship the batteries. With them being site specific it became a nightmare as often one tech would be in a hurry and pull the strings for anothers cabinets if his had not arrived if could make fit. Then his would show up and leave you removing drawers, trays and retrofitting cabinets and racks so could get the job done.





Notice snow on ground, this site went down when the grid did.







Notice how each battery has a different voltage. Each string was engineered differently to some degree and had to make sure and when assembled had 50 volts. While 48 volts was enough to make the standards to install, if batteries had sat long enough to drop below 50 volt string voltage the difference in power supply voltage and batteries considering how high amperage these things were they would on occasion just explode in your face when made final connection. Wife was with me in Nashville when hooking up a sting and internal short happened in a battery between testing on tailgate of one battery and getting in drawer. We would see that on occasion with all batteries and why tested each for polarity before plugging. One issue with these, could not check for string voltage till all assembled. We were initially sent into field with zero training.

First box of these I got was a brain twister when used to left being negative, right being positive and all batteries falling in 12.5 volt to 13.8 volt range. If under 12.5 volts we through to side and used another and low battery went back to warehouse. With these being engineered so each string had to go together if one was low it had to be used. If string voltage was too low had to put a charger on the entire string, wait for 50 volts, then plug into cabinet.

Almost smoked an entire cabinet learning that and was with the guy that was supposed to be training me and he didn't know how they worked. First day noticed when plugged string into cabinet he would always have a convenient phone call right before plugging up and would walk away from cabinet or to other side of a structure while I plugged them up. Apparently he had blown a set up, didn't know why but since he was one of three guys in company trained at factory, those guys were supposed to show all us field techs how to install but they had a half day Powerpoint presentation as factory training.

Day two of him training me I saw why he always walked away. I also realized after the event in which I was able to unplug srting before plug welded to the terminals and entire string blew it was only string that was hovering just above 48 volts and not over 50. The charger from power supplies were outputting just over 50 volts and when the string made contact it pulled such a draw on charger to try and reach equilibrium that neither wanted to give and kaboom.

The battery that started string running away on me in Nashville tested fine on back of truck but once lined up in string with others and attached cable that went from back of previous battery across and to front of other battery was now dead shorted. Was not my first rodeo but when cable touched terminal of bad battery looked like a welding arc but ball of fire was big as a basketball. Wife was screaming to get out and run and I was trying to get dykes out of pocket and cut cable as had welded to battery and if ran it would have burned down entire structure.

We had another tech burn a cabinet to the ground and it was a very bad deal and did not want that on my head as a contractor. Would have gone on my liability insurance instead of people working for and taken an entire communities phones off line for a while. After that day when got back to Georgia wife never went on another trip with me. It was all fun and games to her like a mini vacation till she saw her first string of batteries run away. Remember, when playing with large strings of big batteries if something goes wrong it could be your last day on earth.

That said these are the best batteries on the planet. While carry full factory 20 year non prorated warranty the engineers say should last 30 to 35 years in most cases. Two of my racks at home are full of these babies. They sit on a 50.2 volt float and have a pair of huge capacitors from a train locomotive sitting between them and my buck and boost transformer then to inverters. As long as keep charged will never have to replace.

People are enamored with alternative energy. Living off the grid using solar, wind, hydro or whatever. It means huge battery stacks for when sun is down, rains for a week, wind doesn't blow, stream runs dry, etc. I have solar, wind and hydro all built, tested and ready to go. Each device after building or acquiring was installed and run for a full month minimum to make sure all is good. Issue is sometimes wind doesn't, sun doesn't shine or there is no rain which my hydro is powered from run off. Also if big EMP hits might kill the equipment though I doubt it as DC is pretty robust.

All my alternative energy equipment once tested gets put in a metal building and brought to ground potential and sits waiting till needed. Meanwhile batteries are kept topped off by grid and only connected when I am home though have triple redundant surge protection, Faraday caged rooms and more. I connect regularly to keep full charge then when hit target voltage disconnect from grid and let sit till next charging cycle. Entire point is it to survive till needed and not worn out from use, damaged by environment or killed by whatever event puts us back in the dark ages.

Till that happens the weekly charge is done from grid and once a quarter run house from stacks till at 85% capacity then charge from generators to keep batteries exercised and generators tested. Call me paranoid but cost of equipment and maintenance is more than running home from grid as energy green as have my home. If the big one hits will be able to unlock some doors, get my energy generating devices out that are in "as new" condition instead of worn out from continuous use and exposed to lightning and such when grid works fine. Alternative energy is really cool if your either rich as sin or able to source equipment and build systems yourself from salvaged or re-purposed stuff.

Last I checked just a few months ago the best off the shelf system out there with solar panels, batteries, and all controllers, grid tie inverters to keep frequency correct and other necessary equipment has about a 12 year payout to break even. That is if nothing goes wrong with your system. Stuff breaks, things go wrong. My systems are stored in best manner to protect. Batteries are maintained for longest possible life and only exposed to grid connection just often enough for me to keep them in absolute best possible shape.

If I had a medium to large flow stream near house that controlled both sides of by owning property or lived somewhere wind blew almost every day like where they hae those huge wind farms or could afford to replace a panel every time a wind storm blew a tree limb on one and broke the glass would run alternative power 24/7/365. But I don't have optimum conditions so my stuff stays stored and will used to augment generators when necessary. My next project is getting this off of trailer and shoe horned into generator building.



And SHTF whether EMP, social upheaval, super caldera volcano, 10.0 earthquake running up Blue Ridge Fault Line, zombies wearing blue helmets or whatever... My real issue that worries me is something that happens every day somewhere. Weather related natural disaster.



30 years as a professional and volunteer emergency responder have seen, worked and done hot wash of so many natural disasters that believe everyone instead of hoping it doesn't happen to them should be sitting around expecting it and waiting for the day. If have a Katrina or Haiti type event where it takes months or years to get systems back to isolated areas, if I am that area and house survived and I survived, will crawl out and get my systems running, open up my boxes of food, put some popcorn in the microwave and a DVD in the player and watch a movie while my neighbors starve to death. If anyone tries to take my popcorn, DVD's, generators or other then they get to deal with all my perimeter defense systems and my rifles. Get past all that and it will be there popcorn if I don't set it all on fire in my dying moments just to be a total @$$.
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Old December 10, 2015, 16:15   #72
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I have always wondered if those people toting the benefits of solar power have ever figured in the amount of maintenance that goes into such a system. With snow,dirt, leaves,dust and other detritus being blown around, what is the plan for keeping those panels cleaned and batteries maintained? I do know that this year in Michigan has not been extremely sunny and winter is not looking that much better. But we have had a lot of wind this year, so maybe some of the "Solar converts" should start looking into mini wind turbines? I would love to have an auxiliary building behind my house for housing a diesel generator and as a workshop, but being that I for now live in the big city, the permitting process is prohibitively expensive as I would like to go at least 30'x30' which is pretty much the size of your average garage in my area.
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Old December 10, 2015, 16:55   #73
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Most solar folks now have "grid tie" systems. No batteries. When panels are making power it feeds into grid, effectively spinning the meter backwards which either reduces their power costs or get a small check from power company if have a good sun month.

If had a good stream on my property would no doubt be spinning hydroelectric generator. If lived in Arizona would possibly have solar. Especially on my commercial building. There are a few companies now that if you have a big enough roof and plenty of sunshine will effectively lease your roof to put panels. Some other companies that sell you a system, do in-house financing and you pay your payment with the power generated from your panels. With interest if you have good location your panels are paid for in 15 years but system life is 20 and your in the worst maintenance part of their lifespan.

Believe me I have worked the math a 1,000 times on all of it. Have had solar, wind and hydro systems in place and calculated watts produced and cost. My home brew, scavenged and cobbled together system would wear me out trying to maintain full time. Basically it would have to be my full time hobby instead of part time. If grid goes down for months, years or lifetime I can put enough of my stuff up and keep working on it so have enough power that wont burn all my fuel for generators first year. When generators running, any extra house not using would go in batteries to be stored and used when power down generators.

My parents have a perfect place for a hydro system. Never convinced them or my brother to do it. Head is a ways from houses so would have to install a distribution transformer to step up voltage to carry to houses thyen another transformer to step it back down or cost of copper and losses in system would make it non efficient. Whenever I start talking about three thin steel wires, a few poles and 7,500 volts between transformers they start getting weird. For some reason most peoples brains lock up past 240 volts. Some can get their brain around 477 volts but when that number gets large they get scared. Even when I take a 10,000 volt stun gun and apply it to my bad leg and give it a zap to show big voltage is just a number with low amperage.

Every stream in the U.S. should have a small hydro plant where passes a house. If live on a river should be allowed to put a small wheel on the bank near your house but between peoples narrow mind, fish and frog lovers running the EPA and Fish & Game Departments then we will always depend on a fragile grid. If we could think of hundreds of thousands of small plants supporting one to three structures each our need for power plants would go way down. Bottom line is there is too much big money involved to let small players in the game. Like not being able to make your own liquor or grow your own herbal remedies. It takes the tax man and big corporations out of the loop.

We could easily have more energy than we could use and have transmission lines feeding Mexico and Canada with them paying us for all our extra power if wanted. Know of too many small and medium size streams with houses, know its only a few thousand in hard costs to get each house making its power but Snail Darters, baby trout, speckled frogs and such would have to adapt or become extinct. Spotted owls nor Snail Darters have ever done a dam thing for me to warrant not having small dams all over our country. Its the hippie peace freak, dope smoking, kumbaya, save the world folks that are killing the environment thinking their saving it.

The new Humane Society commercial running on television about Canadian Seal hunting is pissing me off. First off they turn off the footage before the guy whacks the fat lazy seal in the head with his hammer and secondly its none of our business what Canada does with its seals. I want to see that dang seal whacked in the head. The amount of blubber in his fat body will light a lamp for a year or more. Kill all the seals and whales if it keeps a new coal burning power plant off the grid. I would even prefer a nuclear plant to coal.
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Old December 10, 2015, 20:56   #74
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Understand why so many don't fool with being self reliant on power. Through this thread pictures of the corner of my dresser where batteries are tended seems always in motion. Tonight had to pull batteries out of daily carry flashlight and drop in the dead basket. Pulled set out of charger, reloaded charger and have a second to load before quit. Pretty much have batteries that require maintenance every single day.

Upstairs battery station is on dresser next to dresser where drop my kit. Other dresser has choice of pistols, magazine carriers, belts, knives, more lights, etc. So drop belt with handgun(s) of day, magazines, light, less than lethal device(s), knives, wallet, recorder etc. Then anything that batteries got dim do a battery switch then according to batteries piled in dead basket load chargers. Most of my chargers set up for 24 to 48 hour charge so next evening have batteries to unload and usually more to load.

Takes about five minutes each evening cycling batteries. But decades of recharging as opposed to buying batteries at store, throw in trash then realize out of battery x or y, do without till go to store is avoided. Wish had kept up over the years as bet it would be in the thousands of dollars saved as many batteries recharged instead of purchased. Use flashlight and recorder several times per day.

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Old December 11, 2015, 00:11   #75
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Huey, question for ya.
Had this running through my head for sometime now.

Envision a wooden box/cabinet, about 18inches deep, 4 foot wide and 4 foot high or so on castors. Couple/three marine deep cycle batteries in bottom, two or three converters just above batteries on a shelf, an AM/FM radio, CB/SSB radio, charging station for cell phones and charging station for AA, C, D falshlight batteries, and storage space for three 15 watt solar panels in the back with controller and watt meter etc all built in, faced up on front panel. With room for a 1200 watt small generator inside along with main batteries. Space for extension cords to run into house.

An all in one small solar, battery powered electrical station for emergencies.
Have a battery maintainer plugged into normal house supply.

System just sits until power fails, roll it out into sunlight, pull out panels, and run cords for TV, radio, a few strings of LED lights, coffee pot, CB radio, cell phone changing station, flash light battery charging when needed.

I have two large whole house generators, house is wired, with cut off switch, etc, which runs the well etc.

Been thinking about building this/putting it together when I don't want to run the big generators for several hours at a time when we loose power during storms and such.
Also, something to have that's quiet, and portable, man loaded to truck, if ever required to go running.

A small power station is best way I can explain it.

Thoughts????

And I don't know crap about electricity, got an electrician to mount my switch to my box, would never touch that thing!
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Old December 11, 2015, 05:38   #76
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Good idea but seems like a lot going on. Just a string of batteries plus small generator gets heavy. All my batteries are on Power Poles or bigger connectors so able to move as individual units. If all on wheels and never have to pick up then that's a small issue. Two radios can run off batteries so no power supply needed but a buck and boost transformer to keep voltage stable to radios or "converters" assuming talking about inverters. Said a couple or three of those. Inexpensive small units are everywhere. Issue is most will not run a device of any significance.

I would set batteries and smallest generator can get away with. If inverter generator which are common now it's one less inverter needed. Won't stress battery chargers with dirty power. Then one modified square wave or pure sine wave inverter as big as can afford. 1,500 watts will run a small microwave or corded power tool. The 400 watt cheap square wave see so many of will burn up under a load and the nasty power will harm devices hooked to. Killed a circular saw with one.

Have four small generators. All are 1,800 to 2,200 watts. Two conventional, two inverter technology. Almost only use the inverter units now with conventional as backups. Some 1,800 watt generators output 1,800 peak on good day, others will give 1,800 at low idle. The popular chinese harbor freight type units usually hit rated watts on their best day, wide open when new. Honeywell makes a decent mid grade unit. Honda is king but pay a premium for name.

All my stuff is more modular. Radios either on radio table or in go-boxes. Generators either bolted to pad or in location ready to move as needed. Inverters mounted where needed and some in go-boxes. All my go-boxes are sealed metal and at ground potential. Building an all in one box is a decent concept. Calculate watts of output on solar panels then size to get output needed. Will it fit in/on box? Panels need to be installed where angle can be altered to keep facing sun best possible during day. A mobile box on wheels will be able to move when falls into shadows or turn as sun moves.

Anything you build is a learning experience and will be of some use. I suggest everyone do all projects can. Then test it to see if meets goals. As use will discover modifications that are needed, features want to add and parts that don't work. What I am building now does not even resemble a decade ago. Draw it, think about each feature, build and put in service. A month of testing if happy roll in corner. If not, reconfigure and test again. Never discourage anyone from trying and use as much stuff as have available already. If buying all devices new then study each piece and get best available for budget.

I build small boxes with a battery or two, trickle charger to keep charged and a half dozen different plugs. Plug up once a month for a few days to keep batteries happy and when need power grab a power cube. Plug device need to run into it till protection circuitry stops drawing battery past 50% and does permanent damage. The better the battery, faster can pull down.

My experience is lots of solar to charge batteries. Would set up box so panels charge one battery at a time. Better to have one fully charged battery than three uncharged. Let panels top first off then plug up next. Then if get all charged find another to top off.

Sleep disorders give a person time to absorb a lot of information. While surfing net for rifle parts infomercial ran on new Generac I 200 2,000 watt inverter generator. Quite than Honda, purpose built, more features and cheaper. Priced $799. Had $800 set aside for a new scope but now wanting to spend my scope cash on the Generac. Looks like good machine but may be better letting them do a production run, see if any bugs, then jump. Lots of features and way quiet.
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Last edited by hueyville; December 11, 2015 at 06:19. Reason: save another post
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Old December 11, 2015, 09:57   #77
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At the link below there is lots of good info, scrolling down on the left is a page link called "alternate power", many easy projects just pick and choose wisely



http://www.alpharubicon.com/index2.html
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Old December 11, 2015, 11:35   #78
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I'm going to build it and go from there.
Got two 1500 watt converters, the good kind!
Two big generators are Coleman's, old models, 8000 peak, 6500 running, bought about 15 years ago, one still new in box, other, ran monthly, maintained, etc.
Bought two identical models, for spare parts????
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Old December 11, 2015, 20:15   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowhand View Post
Huey, question for ya.
Had this running through my head for sometime now.

Envision a wooden box/cabinet, ...
At that weight I'd like to use a cylinder cart, the type used by welders with big wheels. Balance so it tips back with some effort, not a lot. Would roll easier over things like extension cords and such... even grass.

Solar is slow... maybe an inverter generator with DC charging output?

Sun shielding for batteries, inverter, possibly sdded fan cooling for the inverter. Most manufacturers list expected battery life at constant, lower ideal temp. Heat seriously affects a battery's lifespan.
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Old December 31, 2015, 23:33   #80
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Today while, at work since New Years plan was to pull all batteries in inventory and top off with a fresh charge. Rounded up the majority of shop chargers not counting trickle chargers or power supplies that keep their dedicated stacks topped off day in, day out, year in year out.



Starting from top is a basic 6 or 12 volt six amp basic battery charger. Moving down is a Stanley all battery type 6 volt, 12 volt, 24 volt and 48 volt unit that is one of my two favorite chargers. Too bad for you guys in California and Oregon as for some reason this really good and fair priced charger marketed by Stanley says "not for sale in California or Oregon". Must suck living in states that regulate everything from light bulbs to battery chargers not to mention firearms.

Next is full size shop charger with two amp trickle charge, forty amp fast charge or 200 amp start mode. Next is a Schumacher two, six or ten amp charger that works with standard, SLA, gell cell or any battery type. Bottom is a NAPA six or twelve volt unit that self adjusts for standard, SLA, gell cell or any other type battery with multiple charge rates from two amps to 125 amp start cycle. Having multiple charging options for battery types, voltage or amperage is imperative.

While gathering chargers and checking storage room with myriad of batteries got an unfortunate call.







The subcontractor have been subcontracting for Ma Bell for years is closing their doors. As of January 1, 2016 they are closing all warehouses in seven states. All company full time technicians and all subcontract weekend, holiday and Level III techs that are authorized to work both AC and DC sides plus internals of power supplies are unemployed. Guess it's a good thing I never quit my day job. So unless able to find another Ma Bell energy contractor my battery hook up is gone. Have three battery racks at work, four at home with one installed recently, unless pick up another gig, what have in storage room is it. Luckily all the big stacks of NiCads are warranted for 20 years with 30 year life expectancy. The SLA telecom units tend to last an average of 15 years.

So now I have to become serious about maintaining batteries unless pick up new account. Have enough NiCads for two more stacks with 1,000 amp hour units. Have enough of the smaller SLA to build out two more stacks like last of 24 batteries each. Over 500 amp hour per stack of the SLA's that will last 12 to 20 years and another 2,000 amp hours of batteries that will last past my life expectancy puts me in great shape if don't share. Just in past week given six batteries to Files members. Promised two to another and will fulfill that. Still have lots of charge controllers, connectors and such should be able to share. Met a hook up who builds nice ready to install wind generators and just ordered two and going to install to keep a few of the stacks soon to add at home charged without grid. Will keep my big wind and solar stuff in storage. If SHTF will have enough batteries at house to run all systems over a week without any charging device. If wind blows and sun shines can get all equipment deployed can probably run 25% of necessary systems 24/7/365. Generators will have to pick up the slack. Dang it. Going to miss all the free battery overage if can't get another emergency power gig.
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Old January 06, 2016, 16:14   #81
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Been going through all my stacks of work batteries now that the gig is up. Ma Bell has company techs doing batteries now and contractor was working for didn't have enough other contracts to survive. Found a battery yesterday that was from a replacement job and not disposed of. Put a charger on it and would not take a charge. Added this little desulfator to terminals and in matter of a few minutes battery began taking charge. Left on all night and this morning battery load tested at 70% of rated capacity. Put a continuous load on it for an hour and still was at 60% reserve. Always used a big Shumaker desulfator in past. Nice to see the pocket size self powered unit did it's job.





Photos reversed first shows back to 12.8 volts, second shows it in pulse mode. Have back on battery at 1.5 amp charge again tonight to see if able get battery back up above 13 volts and at least 80% or more. From nothing to 70% is good but not liking to discharge batteries past 50% it's not huge headroom to work with unless want to let the buck and boost charger suck it's guts out.
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Old January 22, 2016, 23:22   #82
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So unless I can find a new telecom subcontractor to do Ma Bell after hours emergency power calls may not be any more batteries. Rounding up all my extras and battery racks from where replaced old racks with new. Have managed to find enough 28 amp hour batteries to fill this rack completely full and all are taking 100% maintenance charge and testing full rated reserve capacity or better as are generally under rated.



Rack is going to hold a total of 48 batteries and top shelf will hold chargers, inverters, AC and DC switching devices, etc. Enough room between batteries and bottom of shelf above each run for the charge controllers. Will hook four 12 volt batteries up for 48 volts total per string with three strings per shelf. Two shelves are going to run a 220/240 volt modified square wave inverter and the other two a 120 volt true sine wave inverter. Will also have 48 volt, 24 volt and 12 volt DC taps. Almost finished topping off each battery with a slow 2 amp maintenance charge then sneak it in house without wife asking why bringing more batteries home.

Just finished a new dedicated stack in radio room and this will be another 1,300 plus amp hours of batteries in house. Will be pushing 10,000 amp hours total combined reserve capacity with this and the other rack prepping with 20 plus year rated NiCads. Also found a stack of these 38 amp hour batteries that are all taking full charge and testing out above rated capacity under a load.



Have a total of 32 of these for 1,200 plus amp hour reserve plan to wire into one rack to be dedicated solely to HF radio amplifier. Never have run big amp off batteries because it's four big tubes are power hogs. Now will feel like not wasting valuable reserve to run amp and won't be stuck at 200 watts maximum output. When finished will possibly have a few left to give to needy hams. Have given some to other Files members and have enough to fulfill promised batteries yet delivered. Nice feeling of security having enough batteries to last a couple days before firing a generator or ability to run silent if don't want to draw attention that have power from generator noise. It's a lot of darn work piling up batteries neatly and then adding systems to convert to useable AC. This will give me a total of six stacks at home and two at work. Pretty good start by most standards, even commercial applications.
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Old January 23, 2016, 17:04   #83
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As a battery gadget addict seldom see any nifty power source, especially on clearance rack and leave without at least one. Below are three five volt DC devices which is very common voltage as is what computer USB outputs and is board voltage inside a myriad of devices. Most cell phones charge at five volts along with others.







These three devices all charge and output five volts. Can charge from wall charger from cell phone charger or any five volt device can tether up. In first photo see a 120 volt wall charger with 5 volt DC output into a USB port. The cable in all pictures is a standard USB to micro USB and kit also has a USB to mini USB cable plus a USB to USB. The small round battery is about the size of a roll of dimes and will charge a small phone twice or bigger smart phone at least once plus a bit. It has a standard and micro USB port.

The black APC battery have had since mini USB was the more common connector and will charge a small cell three times and my big @$$ Galaxy Active twice from near total discharge. As most APC brand devices is well built, durable and passed the test of time.

The white unit holds four rechargeable AAA batteries and has a USB port only. Cool thing is it will recharge the batteries from a five volt source so doubles as a backup battery charger. Somewhere wandering are three similar units that use four AA batteries which pack a huge amount of reserve. They will charge my Galaxy Active four times and also function as battery chargers. Know one I'd in truck console and another is in my daily carry pack but wandering and not worth effort of digging out as the white AAA unit conveys the idea well enough. The three AA units all do have standard USB and micro USB ports both. My GPS, phone and other go-bag items tether to any one of these extra battery packs. Have made up cables to use the 12 volt units to charge or run my go-bag ham radios with if need. Saves carrying a bunch of different proprietary batteries that only work with one device. A 5 volt and a 12 volt output unit with mix of applicable cables for your devices and no matter what DC energy device can scrounge or AC to tether to and can get all devices ready to run. Still doesn't give an excuse to leave your compass and hard copy map at home.

Have several other similar devices that output 12 volts DC with either internal batteries or AA and/or AAA batteries. My AA devices run with AAA's also in a pinch so give a lot of options to keep critical devices running.
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