Saturday, October 16, 2010

This is only a test

Getting used forklift batteries for our off-grid system has it ups (they are either free or really cheap) and downs (they have beat to death for years in a forklift).  Our batteries generally come to us too worn out to use in forklifts.  For the most part, they work great for our system.  A solar home requires practically nothing for battery storage capacity compared with the huge load a forklift requires.  Our battery capacity is tremendous when compared with most off-grid batteries, however, there is still a lot to be desired.

Deep cycle, lead acid batteries require maintenance.  You can't just bring them in, plop them into place and expect them to serve you well.  They have to be watered regularly, they need to be deep cycled (meaning that you have to drain the battery fairly low and then charge them) or they will retain a memory, and you will not have a large battery capacity.  Every once in a while, you may have to "acid adjust" them.  This is rare, but it means that you add battery acid to your cells to make them "hot".  Batteries need to be out of inclement weather and they don't respond well to the cold.  If your batteries aren't charged and they freeze, they will split their case and you will lose some, if not all, of the cells.  Talk about a mess!  Battery acid oozes everywhere and your batteries are rendered useless.

Our batteries, having a former life in an industrial setting, could use some re-energizing.  After reading a lot about de-sulphaters, and seeing on-line testimonials from one of our favorite off-grid equipment suppliers, we decided to take the plunge and buy one.  The idea is that it de-sulphates the lead cells, increasing the usability of the lead, therefore increasing the charging capacity of your battery, and ultimately increasing your potential battery life and efficiency.

Sir Knight checking the batteries

Using a hydrometer to check the specific gravity

Checking the voltage of each cell
(Sir Knight always uses gloves when dealing
with the batteries because of the acid)

Our new gizmo

It is called The Battery Life Saver

The paperwork that came with the "Battery Booster" claims that it will work in 2 - 8 weeks.  We took initial readings on our battery (acidity level and voltage) so that we would have a baseline and intend on taking readings every two weeks.  We plan on giving the battery booster the "acid" test!

Our baseline and first weeks' reading

In the first two week cycle we saw a modest improvement.  We will keep you posted and let you know if the battery booster really is a modern battery miracle.

1 comment:

  1. This article should be read by everybody who thinks going solar is simple. Great information, very enlightening, and too complicated for me to ever contemplate.

    NoCal Gal