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Old September 10, 2018, 18:42   #1
adam762
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Storage batteries for off grid systems - thoughts?

I've been struggling with what kind of storage battery might be best for my needs. I imagine my generation will be primarily solar, with generator backup, and maybe some wind or micro hydro in the long term depending on where I settle. But how to store it? Of course battery technology has made a lot of advances lately. Lead acid seemed to be the best bang for the buck but it has a life expectancy that I don't like. NiCd develops memory and also doesn't last too terribly long. Lithium Ion, that's cool, but even the Japanese can't make a Lithium battery that doesn't catch fire, and between the initial trouble Boeing had with the dreamliner batteries and the occasional reports of a Tesla going up in flames I don't trust them.

The batteries are going to be in an Ohio, for the time being, where they will get cold in winter and hot in summer. They will be charged during the day, ideally to full potential, and discharge at night. It is possible that they may not receive a full charge before being discharged again.

I do plan on running a quality charge controller. I plan on feeding the DC into quality inverters. BUT-

I don't want to buy all this crap ALL AT ONCE. I want something that's able to be expanded and built onto.

So I don't think I want lead acid. I don't think I want lithium ion. I don't think I want nickel cadmium, or nickel metal hydride either. But then there's this nickel iron thing, the Edison battery. The gman just introduced me to those today, thanks George... those look like they might offer the reliability and service life ( I don't mind maintenance ) that make them a good choice for the climate here.

But what do you guys think? What am I missing?
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Old September 10, 2018, 18:56   #2
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I’m always intrigued by SHTF seriously and the generation of electricity. It seems that anything electronic has a very limited usage or shelf life. Living off the grid is sort of weird if you have to go buy light bulbs unless you can find tungsten filaments and pull a vacuum on a beer bottle
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Old September 10, 2018, 19:24   #3
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Somebody posted a link to saltwater batteries a while back. Dang I wished I would have cached it. They had phenomenal lifespan. A "buy once,cry once" thing.
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Old September 10, 2018, 19:25   #4
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The nice neighborhood I live in now is not immune to power outages and we've seen some bad ones last for days, into weeks, and in winter...

The remote territory I am looking at in rural southern Ohio is like George describes - miles from anywhere and anyone, no utilities in many places and then sketchy at best.

I'm not trying to build a Huey style fort ( not yet ) but I do want to run some modern devices such as air conditioning and power equipment eventually so in the long run building my own system is not much more expensive than paying the power company to run service and then so much more reliable.

People have been doing it for a long time for these very reasons. I just want to know what the scoop is on storage these days.
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Old September 10, 2018, 19:44   #5
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The nice neighborhood I live in now is not immune to power outages and we've seen some bad ones last for days, into weeks, and in winter...

The remote territory I am looking at in rural southern Ohio is like George describes - miles from anywhere and anyone, no utilities in many places and then sketchy at best.

I'm not trying to build a Huey style fort ( not yet ) but I do want to run some modern devices such as air conditioning and power equipment eventually so in the long run building my own system is not much more expensive than paying the power company to run service and then so much more reliable.

People have been doing it for a long time for these very reasons. I just want to know what the scoop is on storage these days.
20,000 for a decent generator with 2000 gallons of diesel and a wood stove Sun doesn’t shine there. It’s a folly with solar at that latitude YMMV though. Look at the cost. Even here in San Antonio the payback on solar panels just pumping it back on the grid is 10 years.
Number 6 bunker C will run in a diesel if you thin it with something. I’m looking at a 60 day solution. The main thing is could you hotwire it to run if a board went bad?
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Old September 10, 2018, 19:54   #6
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The marine, solar power, underground mining, and electric automobile industries are driving big advancements in battery technology now. My direct knowledge is limited, but they are getting better every few months, so things you heard or experienced just a few years ago may not be applicable to what is on the battery market today.

My two cents.
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Old September 10, 2018, 21:00   #7
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Running any type power / lights during any time period where most folks are in the dark, dangerous in the extreme.

Survive the 1st 90/120 days, solar systems will be everywhere for the effort of just picking them up and hauling back to camp.

Go dark for 4 months, then crawl out, hook up a system, have a hot shower and fire up the coffee maker.
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Old September 10, 2018, 21:23   #8
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What do you need power for? To talk to Proudhoe? They won’t be much help. Learn to make candles.
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Old September 10, 2018, 21:34   #9
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Cheap- 6V golf cart battrys

Expensive- D8 AGM
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Old September 11, 2018, 10:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invictus77 View Post
The marine, solar power, underground mining, and electric automobile industries are driving big advancements in battery technology now. My direct knowledge is limited, but they are getting better every few months, so things you heard or experienced just a few years ago may not be applicable to what is on the battery market today.

My two cents.
Yep, but the batteries am installing now in Ma Bell remote terminals are now $3,500 per string versus $800 per string for the most advanced traditional lead acid. At $1,000 per pop for a battery (Ma Bell buys by train car load) how many can a man stand? They have a 20 year non prorated warramry and manufacturer replaces for free if they die 19 years and 11 months after being put in service. The engineers say should last 30 years easy which considering we were replacing the FIAAM, GS, etc every six to eight years cost savings in batteries and service warrants the extra cost. With advancements come increased cost.
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Old September 11, 2018, 12:09   #11
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Originally Posted by adam762 View Post
I've been struggling with what kind of storage battery might be best for my needs. I imagine my generation will be primarily solar, with generator backup, and maybe some wind or micro hydro in the long term depending on where I settle. But how to store it? Of course battery technology has made a lot of advances lately. Lead acid seemed to be the best bang for the buck but it has a life expectancy that I don't like. NiCd develops memory and also doesn't last too terribly long. Lithium Ion, that's cool, but even the Japanese can't make a Lithium battery that doesn't catch fire, and between the initial trouble Boeing had with the dreamliner batteries and the occasional reports of a Tesla going up in flames I don't trust them.

The batteries are going to be in an Ohio, for the time being, where they will get cold in winter and hot in summer. They will be charged during the day, ideally to full potential, and discharge at night. It is possible that they may not receive a full charge before being discharged again.

I do plan on running a quality charge controller. I plan on feeding the DC into quality inverters. BUT-

I don't want to buy all this crap ALL AT ONCE. I want something that's able to be expanded and built onto.

So I don't think I want lead acid. I don't think I want lithium ion. I don't think I want nickel cadmium, or nickel metal hydride either. But then there's this nickel iron thing, the Edison battery. The gman just introduced me to those today, thanks George... those look like they might offer the reliability and service life ( I don't mind maintenance ) that make them a good choice for the climate here.

But what do you guys think? What am I missing?
IMHO lithium is the best you can do today. I'm certainly no expert but I have done send reading up on the technology.

There are a few different types of lithium batteries with differing chemistries. The Li-FeS2 chemistry battery tend to be among the most stable.

For a brief synopsis check out the Wiki.

YMMV
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Old September 11, 2018, 16:35   #12
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Storage batteries vs direct generation????

This method also pays off in other ways!!!!


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Old September 11, 2018, 17:53   #13
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Somebody posted a link to saltwater batteries a while back. Dang I wished I would have cached it. They had phenomenal lifespan. A "buy once,cry once" thing.

this is a Edison Battery

http://www.zappworks.com
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Old September 12, 2018, 14:27   #14
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this is a Edison Battery

http://www.zappworks.com
I have spoken to those guys and they are amateurs I expect to be out of business in a few years. They don't have the finances or the longevity of other, more established companies. Any company that expects me to send them thousands of dollars then hope to receive my products up to 2 months later can go piss up a rope.

There are two main competitors in Edison batteries:

https://ironedison.com/

and

http://www.beutilityfree.com/index.p...iron-batteries

From the research I have done, only these two companies have been around long enough to trust with my money. Both offer design services and advice based on systems installed with real world performance.

Lead acid batteries are cheap, kinda but when they are subject to high draw/discharge rates, they die rapidly. Ma Bell might be buying very expensive L/A batteries but she ain't using 90% of their capacity to power a house then charging them then drawing them down to 90% again, time after time after time. The Edison battery company was sold to Exide batteries in the 1970's who promptly shut the company down. Why? Who knows but a battery that lasted decades is a direct threat to a company who makes batteries with an innate life of under a decade...
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Old September 12, 2018, 18:54   #15
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The Tesla Powerwall looks interesting and the wife will like it because it's cool looking.
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Old September 12, 2018, 19:51   #16
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I just looked at a bank of lead calcium ups wet cells today....6 rooms of them.
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Old September 12, 2018, 23:30   #17
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These are what we are using for telecom use now to power all critical sites and plan is to eventually have in all sites. They are some serious batteries and have several dozen at house that have no issue cycling them hard except once the 48 volt string goes below 45 volts get flakes but keep them on 51 volt float and they will hold full voltage for a significant period of time. They are not the best for your use but since I get them for free on occasion it's what I use for my high end batteries.

https://www.saftbatteries.com/produc...lecom-networks

For your needs they make these for deep cycling often and using off grid. Darn good batteries which we do get occasion to use but usually in critical wire centers, hospitals, 911 centers and FEMA affiliated locations. These are also the batteries used in stuff like satellites, ICBM missile sites, international space station etc due to power to weight ratio. When moving a couple hundred batteries into a single stack weight matters.

https://www.saftbatteries.com/produc...-installations

Quote:
Features & Benefits

Four to 10 times lighter than conventional batteries, making it possible to co-locate the battery system with the active telecom equipment, even on raised floors
Evolion®’s high volume energy needs only half the space of a conventional VRLA battery*Zero-maintenance design coupled with intelligent remote supervision eliminates the need for routine site visits
Operates under any temperature conditions

Technical Specifications
Compact and lightweight Li-ion technology
Available in two energy capacities: Evolion® 2.1 kWh and Evolion® 3.9 kWh
Nominal Voltage: 48 VOperates in temperatures from - 40°C to + 75°C
Long calendar life: 20 years at + 20°C /10 years at + 40°C
High cycle life: 4300 cycles 80% DOD, 8200 cycles 50% DOD
Conforms to quality and safety standards
Installing the first two racks of SAFT batteries at the Ponderosa, installed the power supply and then after filled the rack to the right filled rack under power supply and have enough to just about set another full rack of Nicads which will max out this power plant.



This is a rack while still at work while gathering batteries, power plant to mount on top and keeping batteries sharp till moved it home. Holds 36 total 25 amp/hour name brand GS sealed lead acid deep cycling capable batteries. Not the biggest batteries but very power dense for size and slightly bigger than a Harley Davidson bagger battery. Have 44 of these on rack system under my main radio shack bench at the Pinderosa.



More battery hoarding at work before moving to home racks.





One of my convoluted stacks of GS brand PWL12V100's which are 100 amp deep cycle batteries that though have three per rack are actually wired four to a group so can tap for 48, 24 or 12 volts as need. Normally in telecom we stack out shelves of four batteries per string for 48 volts and then connect all strings to a common buss bar for a huge amount of reserve amperage.





Having lots of accessories such as pole transformers and capacitors to leverage as need to stiffen voltage, step it up or step it down based on how you modify and tap the coils is a handy item and knowledge of how to use in all sorts of applications. The coolest additions to my stacks have been a 48 volt capacitor from a diesel locomotive and a pair from some electric busses a friend was scrapping out. Having a huge 48 volt to 48 volt stiffening capacitor when through a sudden heavy load on batteries allows the caps to keep voltage at full 48 volts while batteries catch up so don't put a big voltage drop on an expensive sine wave or modified sine wave inverter.








A truck and trailer load of batteries for a long day of flipping sites. The Fat 130's in back of truck are man sized units to wrestle in and out of racks though we use batteries that are over a ton and sit in place using big fork lifts at times.





Nice professional Ma Bell racks:





Swapping an R.T. from FIAAM lead acid to SAFT NiCads:

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Old September 12, 2018, 23:32   #18
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The Tesla Powerwall looks interesting and the wife will like it because it's cool looking.
Call Tesla and price the entire system will possibly cause you to have a stroke.
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Old September 13, 2018, 22:35   #19
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If you do not have a source of 2nd hand UPS AGMs batts stick with lead acid. Cost and simplicity. They will out last most of us, if properly maintained.
Exides are made to fail and the service techs get commission to boot. X employee.
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Old September 16, 2018, 00:20   #20
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I've been using these for years now:

http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/lit/12_1029_0915.pdf


I have the 103 amp hour ones, I get them free (used) from work. They change them out every four years and have to pay to get rid of them so I help out by reducing the amount they have to get rid of. But the batteries are a ten year battery. I have some 10 years old and still working. Have had a few go bad but that was my fault. These go for about $225 or so new each.
I just got another 12 of them, will be building a new cabinet as I am upgrading my whole solar power system.
I run three banks of four each, my system is a 12 volt system. Do not make this mistake, 24 volts or 48 volts is better.
Each bank is individually fused and switched onto a bus system I made, the cables connecting all the batteries are equalized so all batteries see the same length of cable to the bus bars.
I will space the batteries away from each other for cooling with the new cabinet, not butted against each other as they are now.
My small system supplies power for critical shit like the alarm system, surveillance system, phone and internet that I dont want interrupted if electric utility goes down. Runs and charges on solar by day, batteries at night. I can charge batteries with a generator if need be and have had to do so from time to time.

The Edison batteries are the shiz. If I could pop for those I would.

My employer installed an array of monster 2v batteries in racks to power electrical switch-gear if utilities go down. Clear cases, very cool to see. I am wondering why many 2v volt is preferred as opposed to fewer higher voltage ones.
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Old September 16, 2018, 08:19   #21
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Somebody posted a link to saltwater batteries a while back. Dang I wished I would have cached it. They had phenomenal lifespan. A "buy once,cry once" thing.
Unfortunately, that Company went under - and hasn't been bought yet. Factory exists, just not producing anything.
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Old September 16, 2018, 08:21   #22
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Sweet! They're back! ... but not fully.

http://aquionenergy.com/faqs/
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Old September 16, 2018, 09:14   #23
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I can resurrect 75% of the lead acid batteries get that won't take a charge. Have several very nice high end chargers designed to refresh and desulphate batteries up to diesel truck and equipment size. Also have desulphators that tether between positive and negative terminals with a standard charger. Can be purchased on fleabay for $10 to $30 based on size and quality. Desulphatin the plates of a battery can restore significant reserve power or totally resurrect it.

On occasion I get a battery that my smart chargers or dedicated desulphators will not help it. Thats when I go to DEFCON 3. Take battery out to yard of shop and sit in rubber bin. Attach my big roll around shop charger with a 225 amp starting cycle that will turn over a dual battery Cat or Cummins diesel with totally dead batteries better than jumping off. Hook charger to battery with leads reversed negative to positive and positive lead to negative set to 225 amp start mode with charger on long extension cord. Walk back to shop, plug charger up and watch it dump 225 amps of reverse polarity till trips the self protect circuit in charger after about 10 to 20 seconds. Batteries will smoke, spew and occasionally bust open or slap explode.

This either destroys the battery or blows years of sulphates off the plates and restores some capacity. Make sure battery is topped off with distilled water. There are contaminates in well and tap water that batteries do not like just as plates in radiators. Once I get a battery to take some charge then add one of several battery acid restoration products and sometimes drain as much old acid as can then replace. Some batteries recover 40% of its rated capacity, others much as 80% to 90%.

Some people leave batteries on trickle charge 24/7/365. I did this when the trickle charger first hit market to learn if have an old motorcycle only ride once every year or two the trickle charger will kill it just as dead as not charging. Batteries need to be cycled every so often but when exercising don't deep cycle them. I like to discharge them about 30%, recharge to full, leave off charger a week or so then put back on float. All my devices on cheap float chargers unplug the thing at least a few days every month. Make sure and roll bikes out start, let them run till oil hits full temperature, shut down, let cool and roll back in. Then leave off float a week before recomnect.

Have some telecom batteries on $1,000+ rectifiers/power plants that still have to watch. Working for Ma Bell see strings all the time where a battery shorts, overheats then busts. It generally damages all the other batteries on that string. We are required to replace an entire string, never just a single batttery. Most of my batteries come from damaged strings we decomission. I test and if good just hook it into a string of same make and rated batteries after a maintenence cycle. Some read dead and then go through restoration attempts.

Often find four batteries that have busted, have dried acid caking around them and are totally done. Thermal run away is a real phenomenon that can run through a stack of batteries. We use thermal sensors on most batteries that set off alarms at monitoring center if overheat giving techs time to correct or know to replace if ruptured and puked their guts out. Trying to pull 16 FAT130's that have welder themselves together out of a drawer. Have a big pry bar, sharpened steel pole and sledge hammer to try and break them apart. Never forget wife freaking out when I opened a drawer and previous tech had not put terminal guards on and top of a battery grounded out on a bolt from cabine that was too long. I was in middle of stack off batteries that were smoking and popping in white fire balls trying to cut cables with insulated cutters before entire drawer ran away. Only lost one string which saved Ma Bell several grand and me from a day of documenting why an entire drawer or possibly an entire cabinet from burning. A big stack of batteries can burn an entire structure down so use good engineering practices when hook up a huge stack and if able keep them in a separate temperature controlled structure if able.
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Old September 17, 2018, 05:39   #24
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Those SAFT batteries are good quality, have a good reputation. I use much smaller SAFT batteries in wireless sensors. They last years.
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Old September 22, 2018, 07:55   #25
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I've been using these for years now:

http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/lit/12_1029_0915.pdf

My employer installed an array of monster 2v batteries in racks to power electrical switch-gear if utilities go down. Clear cases, very cool to see. I am wondering why many 2v volt is preferred as opposed to fewer higher voltage ones.
In most big switching centers we use two volt cells so large takes a forklift to set them in place connected in 48 volt strings. We still have a few legacy sites that use smaller 2 volt cells about half the size of a box of cereal but those are rare as were upgraded if possible years ago. Lower voltage cells have lower inductance, faster balancing time and longer life historically though the times are a changing. If look close at our SAFT strings they have five to seven batteries per string with voltages from 5 to 8 volts. Engineers have to match sets based on pysical size to do retrofits based on height and width restrictions so every string is shipped boxed together and can't be mixed up. If a tech damages a cell they can't just grab another similar battery off the truck as in the past. Entire string is reboxed and returned to manufacturer. Third mistake and lose your job even if two are just popping a fuse because didn't tape cable ends trying to rush or leave a clean cabinet.
.
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Old September 22, 2018, 11:56   #26
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The Tesla Powerwall looks interesting and the wife will like it because it's cool looking.
its a scam.

if you use Tesla powerwall, you can ONLY use: Tesla panels, Tesla Inverter, etc... etc...

it 100% proprietary, they just don't tell people that
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Old September 23, 2018, 04:24   #27
hueyville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LYCAN View Post
its a scam.

if you use Tesla powerwall, you can ONLY use: Tesla panels, Tesla Inverter, etc... etc...

it 100% proprietary, they just don't tell people that
Yes and yep. Looks cool and may be cool if buy a Tesla vehicle to go with it. Check their storage battery prices.
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Old September 24, 2018, 17:48   #28
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L16 batteries

L16 6 volt lead acid batteries have served me well at my off grid compound. Got 10 years out of the first batch. Bought a new set of 12 , with a 4K watt inverter, works great. Must have sufficient panels to keep recharge at about 80-90% capacity, closely monitor water levels and equalize monthly. During low sun days if capacity goes below 80%, I run my surplus MEP-16D for a couple hours to top off the charge. I don't reside there year round, so diesel fuel is not an issue. But I have not run my generator except in winter during storms to recharge. The whole system 10 years ago installed by me was about 8500$. Price of lead has doubled since then, so figure 12K in today's dollars? I run a low draw refer, satellite tv, and on demand water heater (electric igniter). I manage usage as to conserve. Solar is KING!
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Old September 27, 2018, 10:35   #29
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Dave Dude the lower volt batts have a larger cross sectional area for electrons to move from plate to plate.
More plates ,more Amp/storage capability.
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Old September 29, 2018, 20:14   #30
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In most big switching centers we use two volt cells so large takes a forklift to set them in place connected in 48 volt strings. We still have a few legacy sites that use smaller 2 volt cells about half the size of a box of cereal but those are rare as were upgraded if possible years ago. Lower voltage cells have lower inductance, faster balancing time and longer life historically though the times are a changing. If look close at our SAFT strings they have five to seven batteries per string with voltages from 5 to 8 volts. Engineers have to match sets based on pysical size to do retrofits based on height and width restrictions so every string is shipped boxed together and can't be mixed up. If a tech damages a cell they can't just grab another similar battery off the truck as in the past. Entire string is reboxed and returned to manufacturer. Third mistake and lose your job even if two are just popping a fuse because didn't tape cable ends trying to rush or leave a clean cabinet.
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Quote:
Dave Dude the lower volt batts have a larger cross sectional area for electrons to move from plate to plate.
More plates ,more Amp/storage capability.
Thanks guys. Makes sense. Looks to me, aside from more modern tech that the more lead the better. You know those Optima batteries? I think they found a way to use less lead. I have not had good luck with them and they are light a few pounds. The heavier lead acid batteries I have used have worked better and longer. Just my opinion.
But with more modern battery tech it's different. I'm running the Shorai lithium Iron batteries in my Kawasaki Super Sherpa dual sport. I killed the first one not charging correctly but popped for the special Shorai charger and got the bigger battery offered for my application. Light as a feather and has major cranking balls! Really like taking weight off the bike when I can and the battery has more ass than the regular lead acid so it is win win.
I think this type of battery is making it into the solar power world. I am seeing these now---- Fortress Power Lithium Ferrite Phosphate batteries but for solar storage. I am thinking that is just another way to say Lithium Iron but could be wrong. I will look into them more but I think way past my price range like $5k to $8k a pop.
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Old September 29, 2018, 21:14   #31
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6V golf cart and forklift batteries. They are heavy as hell, use better quality lead, are designed to be discharged/recharged repeatedly, and last a long time if maintained.
Everything is a compromise. Time to decide what compromise you are willing to make.
Any lead-acid battery will need adequate (read good) ventilation.
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