Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

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I do art shows and I set up my booth with 14 3w LED bulbs powered by a single deep cycle marine battery with a 150w inverter. I used the system for two days and it performed flawlessly. Recharged after the first day and waited a week or so after the first weekend to recharge. I recharged battery overnight and the next day I set up my stem and the almost immediately the alars goes off on the inverter. I kept everything hooked up and the inverter did not shut off for hours and everything seemed right except for the alarm going off. I chose ignore the alarm because I did a voltage test on the battery after charging and it was around 15v. The inverte finally shut down and when I got home I recharged the battery, hooked up the lights and the alarm goes off right away. I connected the battery to the charger and it said it was back down to 10%charge. This could not be right because I had the battery on the charger overnight. I unplugged the charger and plugged it back in and it said 100%. The problem is that every time I connect the lights to the battery I get the alarm right away. Is the battery bad? I am not overloading the inverter. Help please, thanks.

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  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    how many hours each day was this on for and what is the capacity of the battery?

    i will say that you should never leave a battery discharged any longer than a few days at best as bad things happen to the battery.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    And what was the battery voltage when the inverter alarm was going off...

    Also, measure the voltage at the battery and at the DC input to the inverter. If you are using alligator clips for the inverter to battery connections--You should think about bolting up ring lugs or similar. Clips are not very good at carrying lots of current and can be variable in performance.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • swamphox
    swamphox Registered Users Posts: 2
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    The first day I used the battery, I used it for about 5-6 hours and the battery was at 75% when I connected back to the charger. The next day I had it connected for less than 8hrs. It then sat in my van for 4 days until I connected it to the charger. I don't know what the voltage was when I connected back to the charger after the 4 days.

    Should I have lugs for charging as well as for the inverter?Attachment not found.
  • bill von novak
    bill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 891 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery
    swamphox wrote: »
    The first day I used the battery, I used it for about 5-6 hours and the battery was at 75% when I connected back to the charger. The next day I had it connected for less than 8hrs. It then sat in my van for 4 days until I connected it to the charger. I don't know what the voltage was when I connected back to the charger after the 4 days.

    Ah, it's a starter battery. They don't last very long to begin with in any kind of energy storage application. It's likely that you left it dead for long enough that it's not going to significantly recover; they really have to be stored fully charged to get any life out of them.
  • CATraveler
    CATraveler Solar Expert Posts: 98 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    Suggest you buy a $5 digital volt meter so you can better monitor the battery. Your charger seems marginal. 15V is high and represents surface charge. Meaningful voltage occurs when the battery is at rest for a number of hours. 12.7V is 100% charged and 12.1V is 50%. Get a 3 stage charger which will taper down to 13.4V which is the float charge, remove the charger and the voltage will drop to 12.7V in a few hours.

    Then with a fully charged battery log the voltage every hour with the LED's which should start at 12.7V. The purpose is to establish a baseline for future reference. Note: Loaded voltage will be lower and does not represent SOC. Inverters are inefficient so lugs can help, probably not needed for the charger. The battery is probably OK but take it to a auto store that will do a free load test.

    I estimate that you use 30AH for 6 hours so the battery should be good for 2 days and at that point you're at 50% SOC - ie 12.1V. Charge every night if you can.

    Measure the voltage when the alarm goes off. However if the battery still has enough power for the day then the alarm may be misleading.
  • CATraveler
    CATraveler Solar Expert Posts: 98 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    BTW You might be better served with 12V LEDs and eliminate the inverter.
  • Shadowcatcher
    Shadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    I will second the switch to 12V and ditch the inverter, The best ones and quite efficient the less than/cheep, waste a good bit of your charge. If you do have to replace the battery get a full deep cycle.
  • Wolf Harper
    Wolf Harper Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Battery powered LED lighting system problems with battery

    Yeah I'll third that motion. 12v LED bulbs are not that hard to come by.

    If your light fixtures are all Edison E26 (you know, like almost every household light bulb, ever), you can get those in 12v CFL or LED bulbs with that same base - often called ”RV" bulbs. I have a bunch for the caboose project I am working on. I find them at Amazon or SuperBrightLEDs.com. I prefer the latter because they have several color temperatures, so I can get a color that looks incandescent.