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ENER For those thinking of going solar, or if you have and need new batteries -
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  1. #1
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    For those thinking of going solar, or if you have and need new batteries -

    We've been on solar for 7 years, and on generator power before that with batteries.

    We needed new batteries, and with a bunch of reading on electric car, bike, and boating forums about people who bravely switched to lifepo4 batteries when they were really new, I decided it was time for us to try them out.

    At our age I didn't want to have to replace heavy batteries in the future or do the maintenance of lead acid with failing eyesight and shaky hands that will come...

    There have been a lot of early adopters who made mistakes and learned from them, and shared on those forums...Even the manufacturers have changed their charging parameters over the years, and there has been some "maturation" of the lifepo4 market such as it is.

    These batteries, even when you "diy", are definitely more expensive that lead acid. But there are plenty of advantages.

    They are much more energy dense, don't outgas, need no upkeep other than correct charging and a small amount of temperature control, and are easy to move because of their small footprint and weight.

    They also have an "unknown" lifetime in solar applications, because the charge/discharge rates are so low.
    For example the batteries we bought have a charge cycle of more than 4000, which is up to 10 times more than deep cycle lead acid. But that is tested at rates far beyond what is used in solar so they could last the rest of my life, or until the plastics fall apart from age...

    So the result is that we have a battery bank of 430 amp hours which can be safely taken down to 80% easily with no harm done. They can be charged at up to 3 times the amp hours so I could literally recharge them at 30,000 watts per hour if I had that kind of power... And I could also discharge them at that rate.
    Another advantage is that they have negligible voltage sag, and they maintain power until they are almost discharged, like the newest rechargeable power tools.

    This battery bank is made up of 8 "batteries" in series, each one weighing only 24 pounds, and each "battery" is made up of 6 72ah cells in parallel. It all fits easily in a 100 quart cooler, which keeps them clean and moderates the temperature.

    The only thing that needs monitoring is the drift in voltage between cells so that one cell doesn't get over or uncharged, but so far none off the cells have been more than .007 v different than the rest so there has been no drift.

    We have had them in operation for 12 weeks and couldn't be happier. Any questions feel free to ask.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  2. #2
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    Questions questions always questions.

    Okay, so lithium iron phosphate batteries, correct? Any relation to the lithium batteries that occasionally tend to go "bang" without warning?

    Not trying to be a smartazz but a couple weeks ago a laser pointer we use for playing with the cat decided to have one of its hearing aid-style batteries explode as it otherwise sat quietly on the wife's desk, having not been used in weeks. Not in sunlight; in fact it was nighttime and the room was in the low 70's temp-wise. So when I hear the words lithium and battery used in the same description I am slightly leery of late. Your description otherwise is intriguing enough that I'd like to know more.

    RR
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  3. #3
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    Where did you find to be the best place (price) to purchase them? What model did you buy?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bensam View Post
    Where did you find to be the best place (price) to purchase them? What model did you buy?
    Yes, what he said. Have a link or model I can google?
    Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film...

  5. #5
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    Yes, I am also interested.

  6. #6
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    Great thread. I discovered Lipo batteries when I got back into electric powered R/C model airplanes. The importance of using the proper charger that monitors each cell in a series "pack" cannot be overemphasized. Interested in replacing my lead/acid emergency battery with Lithium. I too am getting old and looking for something lighter.

  7. #7
    Please, are there any "remedial education" websites or books that can help me even understand the science behind this? I've retained enough from studying for the ham license that it's not Greek to me. But my tendency is to over-think this kind of thing, and make it seem to daunting to even mess around with.

    I've at least understood, for years now of being interested in solar, that the batteries are one of the most crucial pieces of the system. Sounds like that technology is catching up to the DIYers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reasonable Rascal View Post
    Questions questions always questions.

    Okay, so lithium iron phosphate batteries, correct? Any relation to the lithium batteries that occasionally tend to go "bang" without warning?

    Not trying to be a smartazz but a couple weeks ago a laser pointer we use for playing with the cat decided to have one of its hearing aid-style batteries explode as it otherwise sat quietly on the wife's desk, having not been used in weeks. Not in sunlight; in fact it was nighttime and the room was in the low 70's temp-wise. So when I hear the words lithium and battery used in the same description I am slightly leery of late. Your description otherwise is intriguing enough that I'd like to know more.

    RR
    Yes they are "related" but you just about CAN'T make them explode. These are safe but did not have the same energy density as those that go bang, so that is why those that go bang are used in small items - to make those small items last longer between charges.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bensam View Post
    Where did you find to be the best place (price) to purchase them? What model did you buy?
    http://www.electriccarpartscompany.c...ncased-Battery

    These are the ones I bought, 48 of them. Most people opt for larger cells, 100 to 400 amp so they don't have to parallel a lot of cells. That was what I was going to do, but the owner of this company told me about some very extensive testing of various lifepo4 batteries by a "fortune 500" company for a very large project, and these came out on top with only one other battery still in the running.

    Being home all the time, I felt that I could "keep an eye on them" and do any necessary balancing as they needed, but so far they have shown that when used in solar they don't have a balancing issue. There has been no drift in voltages.

    This company has good prices and large stock. Up until recently many early adopters were ordering direct from China, then waiting months to get them, with pretty hefty shipping charges.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fetz View Post
    Great thread. I discovered Lipo batteries when I got back into electric powered R/C model airplanes. The importance of using the proper charger that monitors each cell in a series "pack" cannot be overemphasized. Interested in replacing my lead/acid emergency battery with Lithium. I too am getting old and looking for something lighter.
    Yes, lipo batteries used in high charge/discharge environment need monitoring. However lifepo4 used in low charge/discharge seem to stay together in voltage as long as you don't use them past the lower knee where the voltage drops off suddenly, or try to charge them too high. The manufacturers started out recommending charges as high as 4.2volts per cell, then gradually changed recommendations to 3.65v.

    In solar it's been found by early adopters that charging to 3.45 or even 3.4 keeps the batteries balanced.
    In EV and RC the batteries are charged very fast, and discharged heavily, so the cells tend to drift and you can wreck a pack when one battery gets charged or discharged before the rest and then gets over or undercharged.

    One of the biggest destroyers of these batteries have been by the monitors hooked up to help keep them balanced, when the electronics go wacky. This is why many solar users avoid the balancers. We do not have a balancer hooked up, but I did order one to keep the warrant on the batteries good.

    While these batteries can be charged and discharged at 3C, with my solar they will never get charged at more than .3C or discharged at more than .4C.
    This low rate compared to what they can handle is why they stay balanced.
    Unlike lead acid, these batteries never need to be fully charged and are perfectly happy to stay well discharged. In fact it is recommended to store them at below 50% charge for longest life.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
    Please, are there any "remedial education" websites or books that can help me even understand the science behind this? I've retained enough from studying for the ham license that it's not Greek to me. But my tendency is to over-think this kind of thing, and make it seem to daunting to even mess around with.

    I've at least understood, for years now of being interested in solar, that the batteries are one of the most crucial pieces of the system. Sounds like that technology is catching up to the DIYers.
    I would recommend doing what I did and read very long discussions on various forums - boaters, RC modelers, electric bikes, etc. Do a Google on lifepo4 use and you will find many to read. Some of them run to 50 pages and more, where people are comparing notes, arguing, giving their results, etc. and span years.

    This is how I learned what I know, and I started by knowing nothing about them. With the reading you will find certain people that seem to know more about how they work in the environment you want, including what they did wrong that wrecked batteries.

    As usual I also recommend http://forum.solar-electric.com, because there are users there that have had extensive discussions about using them in a solar system.

    Be sure you are reading about lifepo4, not lipo. Lifepo4 is sometimes also referred to as life batteries. This battery type is so new and the way to use them has been evolving so fast that there really isn't any better reference than reading what the users have to say.

    There are early adopters that have had systems running for 6-7 years now.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  12. #12
    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacajawea View Post
    Thanks!
    I wish I could point to to something other than doing a lot of reading, but when even the manufacturers didn't know how best to use them, you really need to rely on the experiences of early adopters.
    I did lots and lots of Google searches, and lots and lots of reading for months before I really was sure I able to wade through the discussions and gain understanding and knowledge of best practices.
    Believe me, dropping over $4,000 on batteries was NOT something I took lightly.

    Some of the things we can do now that I never would have done with lead acid: leave 1000 watts of ac going until 8pm, hours after the solar is asleep, fill our 3000 gallon water tank at night when we didn't notice a hose left on had drained it. Our well pump is a 1 hp 230 volt 3 wire that gobbles up 2000 watts per hour.

    We haven't run the generator one single time since getting these batteries.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbuddy View Post
    I wish I could point to to something other than doing a lot of reading, but when even the manufacturers didn't know how best to use them, you really need to rely on the experiences of early adopters.
    I did lots and lots of Google searches, and lots and lots of reading for months before I really was sure I able to wade through the discussions and gain understanding and knowledge of best practices.
    Believe me, dropping over $4,000 on batteries was NOT something I took lightly.

    Some of the things we can do now that I never would have done with lead acid: leave 1000 watts of ac going until 8pm, hours after the solar is asleep, fill our 3000 gallon water tank at night when we didn't notice a hose left on had drained it. Our well pump is a 1 hp 230 volt 3 wire that gobbles up 2000 watts per hour.

    We haven't run the generator one single time since getting these batteries.
    This is a big limitation in solar. When the panels are producing, you can use the power up. Get 3 days of heavy clouds or snow cover and the batteries are toast if you use them. Night time is limited for household water use, freezers & refrigerators.

    I have lead acid and would like to double my size, but then I should also increase panel production. It is very expensive to cover everything. I found an acceptable base level of SHTF needs I can cover. Luxuries, not so much.

    I also have an interest in nickel iron batteries- but cost is prohibitive right now.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightEcho View Post
    This is a big limitation in solar. When the panels are producing, you can use the power up. Get 3 days of heavy clouds or snow cover and the batteries are toast if you use them. Night time is limited for household water use, freezers & refrigerators.

    I have lead acid and would like to double my size, but then I should also increase panel production. It is very expensive to cover everything. I found an acceptable base level of SHTF needs I can cover. Luxuries, not so much.

    I also have an interest in nickel iron batteries- but cost is prohibitive right now.
    One of the advantages of lifepo4 - they DONT need to be recharged at a certain charge rate, they don't need to EVER get 100% full, they actually do BETTER when kept at or below 90-95%, and they never need to be equalized.

    And you get more usable power because you can use them down to 80% discharged without worry. You can discharge them further if you have a way to monitor them...
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  16. #16
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    I meant to add that the small packs for R/C aircraft are indeed "pushed" to get lots of amps during flight. They are somewhat abused, but it is outdoors and they are allowed to cool before recharging. Never had one self destruct in our club over several years.

  17. #17
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    bbbuddy how big is your solar panel array? I have 7kw of panels and have not hooked up a thing. Just trying to figure out what is best. Hard when you don't know what you are doing but my interest in this battery setup is perked. I to have a well that is 1hp 230v 3 wire. I don't plan on going grid tie and selling excess to power company. I just want to go in to the house and run essential and let the power company stay hooked up but suck eggs.
    "They wanted to be left alone to face challenges head-on, and to prosper from their own hard work and ingenuity...harsh country tends to produce strong people."-John Erickson

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubble Head View Post
    bbbuddy how big is your solar panel array? I have 7kw of panels and have not hooked up a thing. Just trying to figure out what is best. Hard when you don't know what you are doing but my interest in this battery setup is perked. I to have a well that is 1hp 230v 3 wire. I don't plan on going grid tie and selling excess to power company. I just want to go in to the house and run essential and let the power company stay hooked up but suck eggs.
    Hey, having 7kw of panels would be incredible. We have 3.1k, but for some reason we haven't tracked down yet 800 watts has dropped out - that = our first set of panels - probably a wiring issue like corrosion or a loose connection. So right now we are using 2.3kwh, which is plenty in Arizona, even in winter.

    We have a Magnum 4024PAE inverter that starts our well pump as long as I don't have other big loads going. Once it is started I can turn on ac, do laundry, etc. But the starting amps are a bear..Which is why we pump into a tank. You'd never be able to use that well pump as a pressure pump, turning on and off whenever you use water, unless you get a really huge inverter.

    I would have recommended midnite solar or outback charge controller with lead acid, but these batteries don't mind being charged with PWM rather than MPPT. The problem you will have is finding charge controllers that can handle that much power. You will need to find some smart controllers that can be hooked up together or you will need to separate your panels into smaller strings with each one hooked up to a separate charge controller.
    My midnight controllers each can use up to about 2600 watts, and each is hooked up to a string of panels, then they communicate with each other for battery charging. I don't know if any PWM controllers can do that.

    Your best bet is the solar forum I linked to in post 11, lots of experts there. Lots of reading and learning ahead of you!
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  19. #19
    Tesla PowerWall is accepting orders.

  20. #20
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    Thanks bbbuddy for the info. I got the panels very reasonable and my original intent was to go grid tie hybrid. Zero out the electric bill. I just don't like that idea now. I may break out 3kw to the grid just to aggravate them but the rest could go direct to home without their intervention. Even then you still have people snooping around.
    We have a 60 gallon pressure tank on the well but I have to irrigate the garden. No air conditioning to mess with. DW likes her dyer but I could leave that on grid circuit. My main use would be well, heater pumps,(wood boiler) couple of 120V in the house for communication and health. The wood boiler draws very little. Guess my summer garden is the big use. Probably over paneled.
    "They wanted to be left alone to face challenges head-on, and to prosper from their own hard work and ingenuity...harsh country tends to produce strong people."-John Erickson

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double_A View Post
    Tesla PowerWall is accepting orders.
    Tesla Powerwall is made up of hundreds of small cylindrical batteries. Think AA type batteries. Many many points of failure with all those connections. It also ONLY WORKS with their inverter. At very high voltage. There is no "shopping around" for the best deal. Also only warranted when installed by their people. No diy.

    You literally get married to the company like you are married to your local electric company of you go that route.

    No thanks.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubble Head View Post
    Thanks bbbuddy for the info. I got the panels very reasonable and my original intent was to go grid tie hybrid. Zero out the electric bill. I just don't like that idea now. I may break out 3kw to the grid just to aggravate them but the rest could go direct to home without their intervention. Even then you still have people snooping around.
    We have a 60 gallon pressure tank on the well but I have to irrigate the garden. No air conditioning to mess with. DW likes her dyer but I could leave that on grid circuit. My main use would be well, heater pumps,(wood boiler) couple of 120V in the house for communication and health. The wood boiler draws very little. Guess my summer garden is the big use. Probably over paneled.
    Well if you keep irrigation to the daytime, you just need enough battery for your night time heater pumps, and a few 120v plugs. You can estimate your nighttime use, multiply by 2 or 3 if you want to cover a couple of cloudy days, then get enough battery to cover that use using only 80% of the battery if lifepo4, or using only 50% if using lead acid...

    I do laundry, if you mean laundry dryer, during the daytime, and a hair dryer isn't on long enough to worry about...having 7k of panels would put you into one of the really largest systems I've ever heard of. Spend some time talking to the folks at the solar forum, I'll bet they'll tell you to sell some of those to help pay for the rest of the system...

    But don't pare down to the bone, off grid electric use ALWAYS grows when you see what you can do, hehe.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  23. #23
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    A good read,

    but I still prefer my Nickel Iron batteries

    Current thinking is that they have unlimited lifespan - the liquid can expire, but there is no issues with the matrix/case

    drawback is the low voltages, and the poor efficiency in charging. But you can have a 90% drawdown and not kill the battery....

    Replacing the liquid every 10 years, is better than replacing the battery every 5 ...

    rick in North Georgia, USA

  24. #24
    So if you have a charge controller with the battery choices of

    Gelled
    Sealed
    Flooded


    Would these batteries even work with one of those choices?
    But not likely to die free

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BornFree View Post
    So if you have a charge controller with the battery choices of

    Gelled
    Sealed
    Flooded


    Would these batteries even work with one of those choices?
    Yeah, use flooded, turn off temperature regulation, turn off equalization, set absorb and float. Most people right now on solar set absorb to 3.4 or 3.45, float to 3.4 or below. So since I'm on a 24 volt system, mine is set to 27.6(8x3.45) and 27.2(8x3.4)
    And there is no need to EVER get to 100%.
    These batteries don't like to be 100% full and left to set. It's bad for them. Just the opposite of lead acid. Some who have monitored it found that "overall coulomb (current) efficiency of the battery around 99.5%"
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickd94 View Post
    A good read,

    but I still prefer my Nickel Iron batteries

    Current thinking is that they have unlimited lifespan - the liquid can expire, but there is no issues with the matrix/case

    drawback is the low voltages, and the poor efficiency in charging. But you can have a 90% drawdown and not kill the battery....

    Replacing the liquid every 10 years, is better than replacing the battery every 5 ...

    rick in North Georgia, USA

    Nothing wrong with them, except what you stated, and their extreme weight, and having to handle battery acid, and outgassing.

    Note that my batteries are rated for more than 4000 cycles, that's 11 years, and on solar they don't know how long they will actually last, as the oldest ones haven't been around long enough to expire. Some of the oldest show no sign of deteriorating in power, some show that they are down up to 10% after 5-6 years - and they were probably being charged too much before people found the lower charge points worked better.

    To be truthful the lifepo4 can be drawn down to almost 100% but only if they are perfectly bottom balanced so that one isn't bottomed out while others still have juice, so no one does that...it's too risky for that last bit of power. Same as getting them 100% full- there isn't enough power to justify cramming them full and risk overcharging a cell.
    Last edited by bbbuddy; 06-20-2017 at 12:59 PM.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  27. #27
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    Running a 48vdc 48kw (1055 ah) bank of FLA industrial batteries here. They are now approaching their 10 year of use. While they are starting to show their age, it looks like there still may be a few years useful life left in them.

    Been watching LiFePo4 tech for a while now. Looks like a 200 ah set can now be purchased for a little less than was paid for the set being used now. We have a 3.4 kw array and Outback inverters and charge controller. Looks like we can reliably run the LiFePo4 batts harder so this bank may well work for us. Thanks for the post!
    Tom Reed

    Ignorant and free has never been and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by buttie View Post
    Running a 48vdc 48kw (1055 ah) bank of FLA industrial batteries here. They are now approaching their 10 year of use. While they are starting to show their age, it looks like there still may be a few years useful life left in them.

    Been watching LiFePo4 tech for a while now. Looks like a 200 ah set can now be purchased for a little less than was paid for the set being used now. We have a 3.4 kw array and Outback inverters and charge controller. Looks like we can reliably run the LiFePo4 batts harder so this bank may well work for us. Thanks for the post!
    Buttie, since you won't need batteries for a bit you might want to keep an eye on these Czech batteries. https://www.he3da.cz/copy-of-vyhody

    They are very interesting, with even better parameters than the lifepo4. Just not on the retail market yet, although they project to get another factory for retail up and running this year.

    If I hadn't needed batteries I might have held out for them. They are even more energy dense, and are projected to cost the same OR LESS than lead acid. 5000 cycles.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  29. #29
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    Hey, exciting times! I like your handle too.
    Tom Reed

    Ignorant and free has never been and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

  30. #30
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    Just to offer some perspective from 'back when' on Edison batteries, I too considered them and ended up finding them inappropriate for the parameters of the system I designed. Contributing to the decision was their inherent inefficiency; the charge/discharge efficiency was somewhat less than 65%. They had a self (internal) discharge rate of between 20-30% per month. That translated to me as wasting some 55-65% of incoming energy. The math indicated I would have to really oversize the array and generator power to use them. At the time, finding charge controllers (and more importantly to me) inverters with input parameters wide enough to accommodate Edison batteries were nearly impossible to find.

    Things may have changed on the controllers and inverters available, but I believe the inefficiencies still stand. My perspective would be to think three times before opting for Edison batteries. Good luck on your projects. Hope this helped.

  31. #31
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    Edison & Controllers, etc

    I am running :
    Magnum MagnaSine Inverter / Charger - 4000W
    max 24V battery 120/240V/60Hz hybrid inverter /
    charger.

    8 REC 250 Watt Solar Panels

    MidNite Classic MPPT Charge Controller - The
    MidNite Classic 200

    Nickel Iron (Ni-Fe) Battery - Amp Hours Capacity:
    300; Battery Voltage: 24

    So using the big names in the industry for Ni-Fe
    Vendor was IronEdison.com

    rick in North Georgia, USA

  32. #32
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    Respectfully requesting an update.

    Tom

    ==


    .

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    Thanks for all the information. We're currently on a leased grid-tied solar system in an all-electric home. Poor design but that's the types of homes they built back in the 80's....friggin ALL ELECTRIC!

    Our electric bill went from $1200+ a month without solar to $400ish with solar (including the lease payment!! I would love to be TOTALLY off the grid at some point in the future and this is just the kind of information I've been looking for.
    THANKS!!
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    White Mountains area, AZ
    Posts
    4,690
    Hi Tom !

    There isn't much to report. The batteries will be going on a year in service on April 1st.
    They stay within .007v of each other.

    These batteries are so amazingly easy!
    Nothing has changed since my last post, other than this winter I had to disconnect them once to take out of the cooler they live in, because the lightbulb under them burned out.

    No big deal, each battery weighs about 25 pounds. Took less than an hour to disconnect, lift out, replace bulb, and put back together. That's the only work they have needed all year. Oh, I did check connections once too. Electric connections can get loose over time so I just double checked. They were fine.

    I have the batteries in a cooler on a plywood platform with a 40 watt incandescent lightbulb under the platform so I could plug in the light for heat when it got really cold outside. I've only had to do that several times, when it was going to be well below freezing, like under 15 degrees. I have a wireless thermometer in there with the batteries so it's easy to keep an eye on the temp. They shouldn't be charged if they drop below freezing.

    By next year I hope to have them in their permanent home inside the house we're building.
    I haven't had a bit of regret about buying these. It's almost like being on the grid!
    Attached Images
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  35. #35
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    yankee baptist land
    Posts
    16,606
    Last I checked about a week ago that Czech company is still around but hasn’t got their factory running yet.
    ” Watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man”
    Luke 21:36

    COLLAPSE NOW: avoid the rush

  36. #36
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Western Montana
    Posts
    5,195
    Quote Originally Posted by bbbuddy View Post
    Hi Tom !

    There isn't much to report. The batteries will be going on a year in service on April 1st.
    They stay within .007v of each other.

    These batteries are so amazingly easy!
    Nothing has changed since my last post, other than this winter I had to disconnect them once to take out of the cooler they live in, because the lightbulb under them burned out.

    No big deal, each battery weighs about 25 pounds. Took less than an hour to disconnect, lift out, replace bulb, and put back together. That's the only work they have needed all year. Oh, I did check connections once too. Electric connections can get loose over time so I just double checked. They were fine.

    I have the batteries in a cooler on a plywood platform with a 40 watt incandescent lightbulb under the platform so I could plug in the light for heat when it got really cold outside. I've only had to do that several times, when it was going to be well below freezing, like under 15 degrees. I have a wireless thermometer in there with the batteries so it's easy to keep an eye on the temp. They shouldn't be charged if they drop below freezing.

    By next year I hope to have them in their permanent home inside the house we're building.
    I haven't had a bit of regret about buying these. It's almost like being on the grid!
    Thank You for the prompt reply.

    I'm happy for such a positive update.

    Perhaps I'll follow suit.

    All The Best,

    Tom

    ===

    .

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    White Mountains area, AZ
    Posts
    4,690
    Quote Originally Posted by jed turtle View Post
    Last I checked about a week ago that Czech company is still around but hasn’t got their factory running yet.
    Yes, they are planning to build in Nevada next year I believe. Have you watched the video of Jan (the inventor ) smashing- drilling, just trying to wreck one of his batteries, and it just keeps working?
    He says the production cost is down to about ONE SIXTH of current lifepo4 batteries, so the retail price should be amazing.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    White Mountains area, AZ
    Posts
    4,690
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowMan View Post
    Thanks for all the information. We're currently on a leased grid-tied solar system in an all-electric home. Poor design but that's the types of homes they built back in the 80's....friggin ALL ELECTRIC!

    Our electric bill went from $1200+ a month without solar to $400ish with solar (including the lease payment!! I would love to be TOTALLY off the grid at some point in the future and this is just the kind of information I've been looking for.
    THANKS!!
    Shadowman, as long as you don't mind "managing" your power usage instead of just mindlessly using it, being off grid is terrific. Use power hogs during the day, like doing the wash, etc.

    It helps that we are in Arizona, too.....
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    the chrono synclastic infidibulum
    Posts
    1,963
    i read somewhere that forklift batteries are the best to use. they last upwards of 20 years and are made to be discharged and charged everyday.
    ========================================
    DONT BLAME ME! IM NOT MY FAULT!
    the biggest thing that we have learned from history is that we haven't learned anything from history!
    Veritas vos liberabit

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    White Mountains area, AZ
    Posts
    4,690
    Quote Originally Posted by kytom View Post
    i read somewhere that forklift batteries are the best to use. they last upwards of 20 years and are made to be discharged and charged everyday.
    Like any other lead acid battery, they require a lot of maintenance, like watering, equalizing, etc. As we age I didn't really want to be checking the electrolytes monthly, watering, etc. Plus, they are incredibly heavy. Not something you're going to ever move once in place.

    I thought about getting them for our "final" battery set up, and the maintenance turned me off.

    The lifepo4 batteries are just so easy, it's like magic. Check the voltage once in a while, takes a couple of minutes with a multimeter. No acid, no watering.
    And I can move them by myself as each one (6cells in parallel) weighs about 25 pounds. If I take them completely apart each cell weighs 4+ pounds. If one cell goes bad in years to come, I can replace it, or break down the batteries to 5 cells each, easily.
    That can be done with forklift batteries, but not easily.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack, a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

    ("Anthem" by Leonard Cohen)

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