Battery use and lifespan

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  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭
    It is South West CO in the San Juans so not too far from you, Softdown. Unfortunately, for now we live in Atlanta so I rely quite a bit on a couple buddies out there.  A truck or side by side with chains doesn't even stand a chance of getting close to the cabin.  A side by side with tracks will only do a little better. My one buddy has a Tucker Sno Cat and that thing is the ticket!! It will go anywhere, anytime. 

    I have actually had an alpine lake specialist that worked for Colorado Dept of Wildlife for 30 years up there a few times. I could still only get some good guesses out of him.  So often in these lakes the answer is "it depends". I have no doubt the lake could take a couple weeks with no aeration, but I do not want to subject my batteries to sitting a couple weeks at 50 or 60%. If it goes more than 2-3 days I will ask my buddy to go up. 

    Westbranch - I am monitoring it with MyMidnite and I was thinking exactly what you said.  If I see a day of no output I will know what is going on. 

    I do have a remote trail camera up there that runs off of it's own battery power that watches the lake for me.  Every day at 12:00 it sends me a status picture even if there has been no movement.  That way I get daily pics of the lake and can see ice formation, snow levels, holes in the ice, ice off, etc. 

    It has been an interesting ride to get things to this point.

    Here is a pic for reference of the kind of snow we deal with up there.  This is one gate we have to go thru that sits at about 7,500'.  Snow gets much worse at our place. The top rail of that gate is ~5.5' tall. It is either a snowcat or snowmobile or you're not going!! 


  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,873 ✭✭✭✭
    I wouldn't decry a set of snow tracks on a quad or side by side...  I got mine after doing exactly what you show in the pic...  The  truck mechanic I use has 2 Bombardier quads equipped with them and when asked about getting stuck in the hi alpine, same dry stuff you get, he smugly said '' No, I don't get stuck, even when the snowmobilers call me to get them out when the snow is over 10 feet deep...'  https://camso.co/en/article/product-insight/go-further-discover-our-utv-atv-2017-catalog
    I was amazed when I used mine the first time... they raise the whole machine about 3 inches . 2 up and loaded with food etc. never made any marks under the quad. see pic in link above...

    BTW, how do you open that gate?
    Which make of trail camera do you use? How does it hook up to send the pic?


     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,329 ✭✭✭✭
    If the 3rd radio stops transmitting I have access to a helicopter up in A Yosemite at 10,000 feet. It blows a hole in the snow and lands:)
    You guys go out in that stuff?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 29 #35
    If you are using the MYMIDNITE you will know if the panels are ''snowed under'', couple that low input  with  the Weather service IR image of the area which gives you the cloud cover.... easy to know without having a camera using precious power ;



    Major Colorado passes have cameras mounted on both sides and can be publicly viewed. I like to view the pass before my 220-240 mile trek to Denver.  http://www.keno.org/colorado_web_cams/colorado_cams.htm   A DO meter with internet connectivity would be nice though I did not readily find such an item.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭
    Hmmmm....depth of snow should not matter to a snowmobile. I've only done about 1500 miles off trail though. There is a risk at very high altitudes, say ~ timberline or so, that many are unaware of. The snow can be so light that it is impossible to walk. That is why I carry snowshoes. 10,000' should be wet enough to walk on. I've done some helicopter skiing around Durango.

    You might try username Horsefly here. He also has a cabin in that area though it could be 100 miles away for all I know. 

    We have discussed similar battery scenarios here and developed the idea that cold weather and low voltage is far less harmful than normal weather and low voltage.

    I have seen over 1000 battery scenarios here. From "fragile as glass" to "tough as nails". 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭
    I wouldn't decry a set of snow tracks on a quad or side by side...  I got mine after doing exactly what you show in the pic...  The  truck mechanic I use has 2 Bombardier quads equipped with them and when asked about getting stuck in the hi alpine, same dry stuff you get, he smugly said '' No, I don't get stuck, even when the snowmobilers call me to get them out when the snow is over 10 feet deep...'  https://camso.co/en/article/product-insight/go-further-discover-our-utv-atv-2017-catalog
    I was amazed when I used mine the first time... they raise the whole machine about 3 inches . 2 up and loaded with food etc. never made any marks under the quad. see pic in link above...

    BTW, how do you open that gate?
    Which make of trail camera do you use? How does it hook up to send the pic?


    Westbranch - I have to admit, I have never tried a tracked up quad before so no first hand experience.  I HAVE tried two side by sides with tracks tho and they sucked.  I had a set of mattracks on a polaris ranger and my neighbor still has a yamaha rhino on tracks.  While they do perform better on snow than tires, I would not say they did a TON better.  Both of those machines sink in fresh powder real quick and neither will even come close to following a snowmobile in any kind of snow I have seen. I could imagine a quad doing a lot better at half the weight.   

    You have to get the shovel and dig the gate out enough to swing it open!! MAJOR p.i.a.! 

    I have two cell cameras.  One is a piece of junk! The other is a Reconyx PC900. The Reconyx is not cheap, but it is the best and their customer service is outstanding. Last year it ran from September to July on one set of Lithium AA batteries sending me pics everyday. It operates off of a pre paid cell phone plan from ATT for $20 per month. It has it's own sim card, etc. 

    Dave - the helicopter sounds like the way to go man!!!! 

    Softdown - The snow machines do just fine up there.  I just prefer the snowcat.  You are exactly right about it being impossible to walk in the deep powder.  I can only go 100' or so without snow shoes in about 4'  of snow before it feels like I have run a marathon. It is easy to see how you could wind up in big trouble in the back country if you weren't prepared. Horsefly's place is very close to ours! He actually came up and checked the place out this Summer. I wish my battery setup was tough as nails.  I think the three strings hurts me, but there was no other way with GC batteries. 
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 4,873 ✭✭✭✭
    You are right about the sleds being faster, but my experience has been they get stuck in 'tree wells' far easier than the tracked quads, if you venture too close. The tree wells can be > 10 feet deep and virtually impossible to climb out of without assistance. The other big issue is getting out of snow drifts that look flat, but are deeper than one is tall,... that happened right behind our cabin.  We are hellishly wind swept all year...
     The newest quad units have power steering and that makes slow moving turns a lot easier... once > 10 mph the p-s benefit is negligible.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge, Hughes1100 Sat Modem
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭
    Westbranch I just noticed you are in B.C.. That is some absolutely beautiful country up there! If I was ever to live somewhere besides the US, it would be B.C.! 
    I agree 100% about sleds.  I just flat out don't really like them unless it's packed trail. I might have to see what I can do about trying out a quad on tracks! 
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 30 #40
    Wut? Packed trails are just awful. Breaking trail though Colorado powder? Now that is living right! Assuming a long track of course. Snowmobiles only do one thing and they do it exceedingly well. I'd like to see a quad hit 110 on the snow. 

    Call me biased? Guilty as charged. 

    Take that fence of yours? Ten minutes with a shovel and clear that fence easy.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭
    Got to thinking about a couple wish items for your Christmas list;
    1) A (compressor) timer with internet connectivity. 
    2) A lumens(light) meter with compressor connectivity. Sun don't shine? Compressor stays off.

    It may be possible that five hours is asking a bit much in December....our cloudiest month. Then again, I worry too much at times. 

    Your auto shut off point should protect your batteries just fine. Unless we get some freaky weather for a very long time. I think the batteries can survive in winter weather.........

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭
    Here is some more details....

    I originally had two compressors set up.  The 1HP for Summer and an identical, only smaller, 1/3 HP version for Winter.  Went to switch over to the 1/3HP pump and it was defective and "blew up". In the process of shipping a new pump out there to fix the 1/3HP rig. Way behind on snow this year so far so if we can get it reassembled by next week my buddy should still be able to drive up and swap it out.  At max load the 1/3HP setup was only drawing ~350 watts. I THINK my system could handle that fairly easily through any cloudy weather, but then on regular days I would really NOT be working the batteries at all. I was thinking about changing the start time on the timer to one hour earlier in the mornings.  That would give me a solid hour of running off the batteries.  Would that be an improvement or pointless? 

    Buddy was up there yesterday and cranked the panels up to 63 degrees. 

    I do like the idea of a connected timer! 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 1,616 ✭✭✭✭
    FWIW, my guess is it's better to not use battery power if you don't have to. Maybe if you were in a desert that might not get a cloudy for 6 months, it might make sense to cycle the bank periodically. In your location though, I suspect you get enough cloudy days that you'll cycle often enough naturally.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭
    350 watts would be easy if you can beat the clock. If you can't, I might dial the compressor back to 3.5 hours for awhile. See how it goes. The lack of accessibility is concerning. 

    I just hope you keep us updated.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 150 watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Wbuffetjr1Wbuffetjr1 Registered Users Posts: 65 ✭✭
    Estragon - Understood!

    Softdown - I will keep you guys updated for sure.  If it comes down to it, we will get the smaller pump up there in the snowcat.  Just hoping to do it the easy way. 
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