Battery water?

Now that distilled water has hit $3/gallon locally, I'm wondering if using reverse-osmosis purified water (home filter setup) would be okay. Any thoughts or comments?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,867 admin
    Re: Battery water?

    Boy--good question... You probably would have to contact the manufacturer for your RO unit to figure out A) what its output is (dissolved solids) and B) you may need to measure/sample the water output quality (maybe using resistance) to make sure the RO filter has not failed (would hate to see you dumping "RO" water into your batteries turn out to be just tap water--and cause your batteries an early death).

    Another way would be to use a water distiller... Either you would buy a ready made one (or a stove top one here) ($300-$700+ for a home unit seems to be the entry point), or make your own. It appears that you should be able to make distilled water at home for ~$0.38 per gallon (assuming $0.12 per kWhr for utility power) or less (depending on your power source/fuel type/distiller type--if you assumed $1.00+ per kWhr for off grid solar power, then you are getting pretty close to the $3.00 per gallon you are paying).

    The above links--I know nothing about the products, services, or the retailers.

    Otherwise, you can also look for solar still plans (assuming you can keep it, and the output water clean enough for your battery).

    The other way to approach the problem, reduce your water needs. Other than adjusting the charging voltage and/or a new controller that supports float (assuming you have some long term non-use of your battery system--such as a vacation home)... Looking at some form of "Water Miser" caps may help. In theory, either type of cap may reduce your distilled water needs by "up to" 90% (don't you love the "up to" caveat--possibly reduction of water use of ~50-80% for not non-catalyst type caps?).

    Lastly, there is always the AGM battery option--the next time you need to replace your batteries...

    $3.00 per gallon seems pretty high--are there other sources you can find for "bulk" purchase ($1.00 per gallon seems to be the "low" price for grocery stores around here on the mainland). Of course, transportation and storage may be an issue too for your water purchases.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery water?

    Trojan’s instructions (ref: http://www.trojanbattery.com/BatteryMaintenance/Watering.aspx):
    Important things to remember:

    3. Do not use water with a high mineral content. Use distilled or deionized water only.
    Rolls’ instructions (ref: http://www.rollsbattery.com/content/renewable-energy-bulletins-solar-wind?q=node/47)
    Preventive Maintenance

    …Distilled water is preferred but local water (not chlorinated) maybe acceptable if it is not "hard" or does not contain high iron levels. Use of non-distilled water can cause mineral build-up in the battery cell.
    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Battery water?

    Filtered rain water works also, since it has no minerals but may have some dust.
  • RedfordRedford Solar Expert Posts: 38
    Re: Battery water?

    I just watered my batteries this morning!

    I'm lucky to work in a Lab that has an R/O system that I can get all the deionized water I could ever use from, it's very pure. Perhaps try the local place that tests your drinking water or the sewage treatment place should also have a water lab. I'm sure if you stopped by with a gallon jug they would hook you up.
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 629 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery water?

    You can get TDS meters on eBay pretty cheap, just search "tds meter". It will let you know how your R/O is doing anyway so I would strongly recommend getting one. If your TDS was under 25 ppm I might use it in a battery, 50 might be pushing it. For reference in our last house our well water had a 1850 ppm of TDS, after the R/O it was close to 120 ppm TDS I actually had a second R/O behind then first for a while, that brought our water to about 20 ppm.

    You can also buy relatively inexpensive electric distillers on eBay, search "water distiller", I got mine on eBay for $75. I used it to make water for our last bank of batteries, it typically put out 0, maybe 1 ppm water no matter what you put in it. I would make water in winter when it was cold and store it for summer, the extra heat wasn't wasted then :)
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • VolcanoSolarVolcanoSolar Solar Expert Posts: 56
    Re: Battery water?

    Thanks everyone for the interesting leads to follow.

    There's water and there's water -- I should've mentioned I live in rural Hawaii and so it's not well water or municipal water but rather, rain water collected from our own roof, and stored in a 10,000-gallon vinyl-lined tank. However, our friendly neighborhood volcano puts out sulphur dioxide, which turns it to acid rain when the winds blow our way, but it sounds like acidity isn't a problem in this situation. (Copper plumbing is a different story.)

    $3 per gallon IS the cheapest, that's at Wally World and local grocery stores. Welcome to Hawaii.

    Solar still and/or testing with a TDS meter seem to offer the most promise. Or maybe, being filtered rainwater, I don't need to worry about it.

    I have the Miser caps, but with 24 L16 batteries the need is still there. They're only a couple years old, bought before the prices shot up, hope I don't have to replace them any time soon :cry:

    We're completely off grid, but if tied in the local rate is .40/kwh and climbing -- talk about motivation to go solar!! -- the only way it would make sense to do an electric distiller off-grid is on days when the system is topped off and the sun is still shining -- not too many days like that though (2,000 watts of panels / typically 8-12 kwh/day total)

    - Ted
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,307 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Battery water?
    the only way it would make sense to do an electric distiller off-grid is on days when the system is topped off and the sun is still shining -- not too many days like that though (2,000 watts of panels / typically 8-12 kwh/day total)

    - Ted


    You could look into a solar water distiller (thermal, not electric) say a black 20 gallon cement mixing pan, and old sliding door (for the glass) and a collection trough.
    or here are some other plans for a homebuilt:

    http://www.i4at.org/surv/sstill.htm
    http://www.thesietch.org/projects/distiller/index.htm
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
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    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
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  • VolcanoSolarVolcanoSolar Solar Expert Posts: 56
    Re: Battery water?

    Any recommendation on brand or type? There's 100 different listings on ebay...

    Thanks
    Brock wrote: »
    You can get TDS meters on eBay pretty cheap, just search "tds meter". It will let you know how your R/O is doing anyway so I would strongly recommend getting one. If your TDS was under 25 ppm I might use it in a battery, 50 might be pushing it. For reference in our last house our well water had a 1850 ppm of TDS, after the R/O it was close to 120 ppm TDS I actually had a second R/O behind then first for a while, that brought our water to about 20 ppm.
  • VolcanoSolarVolcanoSolar Solar Expert Posts: 56
    Re: Battery water?

    Nice and simple, I like that first one.
    mike90045 wrote: »
    You could look into a solar water distiller (thermal, not electric) say a black 20 gallon cement mixing pan, and old sliding door (for the glass) and a collection trough.
    or here are some other plans for a homebuilt:

    http://www.i4at.org/surv/sstill.htm
    http://www.thesietch.org/projects/distiller/index.htm
  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 629 ✭✭✭
    Re: Battery water?

    I didn't buy from either of these place but these are two of the three I have. They are all within a couple ppm of each other. As the tds gets lower they all get closer, it's at the high end they start to differ more.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/TDS-METER-0-9990-PPM-Water-Quality-TESTER-TDS-EZ_W0QQitemZ290273401496QQihZ019QQcategoryZ1277QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Digital-TDS-PPM-Meter-Tester-Hydroponic-Water-Purity-A4_W0QQitemZ230306052441QQihZ013QQcategoryZ20684QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
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