Could use some help with a Battery Bank/Solar setup for a food truck

paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
Hey All-

I have been lurking in the shadows reading and learning for a month or two now.  This is a great site with tons of good information.
I am finalizing some of the plans on a Shaved Ice & Ice Cream truck I am building and I would like a second set of eyes on it.

Unlike most food trucks this will be a really simple build.
The Battery Bank will need to be large enough to power the below items for about 6 hours while we do an event.

Imbera VR-10 Commercial Refrigerator      345 Running Watts
2 LED interior Lights                                      96 Running Watts
Snowie 3000 Shaver 12V                                    39  AMPS
Water Pump  12V                                                  7.5 AMPS

Using some online tools to help me figure out what size battery bank I need I came up with about a 600AH Bank running everything on 12V with and inverter.  That accounted for 85% inverter effeciency and only discharging the batteries to 50% to keep their life as long as possible.

The refrigerator would only be on about a 1/3rd of the time every hour and the water pump maybe 15 minutes the entire day.  The lights as well would only be on for 1/2 the day at most.

I would appreciate any help in refining this build to make it as efficient and cost effective as possible.  

I was also going to put a couple of solar panels on the roof of the truck with the ability to add more later.

I am up for any advice or direction you guys may have.  Please let me know what you think.  

Thank you very much

Jay

Solar Panels
https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Monocrystalline-Solar-Starter-Wanderer/dp/B00BCRG22A/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624544&sr=8-18&keywords=solar+panels

Battery I was looking at (Would need 4)
https://www.amazon.com/Vmaxtanks-VMAX-Rechargeable-Solar-Inverters/dp/B00DDYM1UC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624605&sr=8-1&keywords=155ah+battery

Inverter to Power Fridge and LED Lights
https://www.amazon.com/Inverter-Automotive-refrigerators-microwaves-Chainsaws/dp/B012U2Y4IO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624659&sr=8-5&keywords=krieger+inverter

Charger/Tender
https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-G15000-UltraSafe-Battery-Charger/dp/B00PKIBVU0/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624884&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=coco+genius+G15000

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Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
      Sorry, not going to make any money, because I won't be able to afford your food after you cover your costs.
    Just don't buy any of that stuff,
    Your snow machine is 39A   At what voltage  _____ ?
    96 watts of LED lights ?   Gads, that's enough to blind a camel.

      instead, tell us what your constraints are.  No generator allowed?  Want to appeal to the green crowd?  Have too much money?
    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Hey Mike-

    Sorry man- I don't want to be responsible for any camel blinding. lol.  So let me go into some more detail. 

    The goal is to be able to run the equipment above for 4-6 hours on battery power alone.  
    There are many events that do not provide shore power/do not allow generators and I would like to be able to operate at those events. 
    Also- When I am driving a neighborhood and selling shaved ice it certainly would be nice to not have that generator noise.

    At events I can normally plug into shore power AND I do actually have a Honda eu3000is generator when I cannot.

    I will admit that I don't think the solar panels I picked out would do a whole lot of charging in the grand scheme of things but I have always wanted to get into solar and I thought this could be a fun way to do it.

    3000 Ice Shaver :: 12 Volt :: 39 Running Amps :: No Watts

    Link to the lights referenced above.  I was going to grab (2) of them for the work area of the truck.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N37HZRS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The health department requires the lights to be covered by a shade so a lot of the basic strip lights won't work.  I am up for advice or direction here as well.  

    I appreciate any thoughts or ideas anyone may have.

    Thanks

    Jay



  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The light shade requirement is so an exploding bulb won't get glass shards into the food, and for the fixture to be easily cleaned .

    Batteries, you want big 6V batteries, 400ah L-16 case size, wire 2 of them in series, and charge when the engine is running, get an ambulance alternator installed, or a 2nd alternator from Balmer to charge the big bank,   Solar, you generally only have harvest from 10am -2pm, after that, with panels flat on the roof, your harvest is minuscule and not worth chasing after.

    Lights - look into single tube fixtures, better light distribution, fewer "hot" spots.
    If you have to get 6 hours, look into a block of dry ice for that event, that ends up being a lot of cooling to try to power from battery.

    http://www.balmar.net/   Alternators and regulators rated for 100% duty cycle, not 20% automotive cycle

    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Thanks for the advice.

    May I ask a bit more about the batteries?

    If I take (2) 6v 400ah batteries and wire them in series then I effectively have a 12v 400ah bank correct?

    Why would you go with that setup vs 12v batteries?  What is the advantage?  

    Also is 400ah enough to power everything?

    Thanks

    Jay
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #6
    2, 6v, 400ah batteries in series does indeed, give you 12V @ 400ah  or 4800Wh .  You are allowed to use half that amount.
    But until you measure your loads (AC & DC) in watt hours for your 6 hour run time, I don't know if it's enough.

     Can you get dry ice instead of running the freezer?  How many Wh does the shaver use?  
    you know your usage, I don't. 
    Shaver for 6 tenths of an hour (36 minutes)   39A x 12.5v x .6 hr = 292.5 watt hours

    Battery Connection Schemes   :   Always better to use series wiring to build capacity, than to use parallel batteries. 
    see  http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html    for the long explaination



    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,517 admin
    Note that for off grid homes, we suggest using 50% of battery capacity for longer life. For RV/Industrial use, perhaps using upwards of 80% of battery capacity--As long as you recharge it at the end of the day (fork lift service). And batteries will become just another of your consumables.

    Several things drive battery bank AH/Voltage requirements:
    • Basic voltage for your devices (12/24 volt typical)--If you go with AC inverter, less of an issue (you get the inverter input voltage you need).
    • Continuous current... More or less, you do not want to draw more than C/8 for continuous current.
    • Surge current... Again, more or less, a maximum starting surge of C/2.5 current for a few seconds.
    • Storage requirements... You add up all of the Amp*Hours (or Watts*Hours) and size for a maximum level of discharge. For off grid use, 25% discharge (cabin, full time off grid). For RV, perhaps 50% discharge per day. And for your use--perhaps 80% discharge (but you could run out of power on a hot day, damage the batteries, etc.--But less room/weight committed to batteries).
    • Batteries are very poor at storing energy (vs a gallon or two of gasoline+genset). As Mike suggests, using alternatives (such as dry ice) to reduce fridge usage can be a big help... Turns out, many times, it is the smaller draw * long hours of operation (like the fridge/lights) drive a bigger battery bank than a big/short use load (ice shaver).
    The above are suggested values for Flooded Cell Lead Acid Batteries. For other battery types (AGM), the surge calculations will be different. And if you go with LiFePO4--they are much smaller and lighter--Could be a possible solution for your needs (at 2-4x the cost).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    2, 6v, 400ah batteries in series does indeed, give you 12V @ 400ah  or 4800Wh .  You are allowed to use half that amount.
    But until you measure your loads (AC & DC) in watt hours for your 6 hour run time, I don't know if it's enough.

     Can you get dry ice instead of running the freezer?  How many Wh does the shaver use?  
    you know your usage, I don't. 
    Shaver for 6 tenths of an hour (36 minutes)   39A x 12.5v x .6 hr = 292.5 watt hours

    Battery Connection Schemes   :   Always better to use series wiring to build capacity, than to use parallel batteries. 
    see  http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html    for the long explaination



    Mike I would assume based on your message that I should convert everything to WH and measure it that way correct? 

    So my freezers are actually Nelson Cold Plate Freezers.  They don't need any power while I am driving down the road.

    The Refrigerator is actually what I am using the power for and before I head in the dry ice direction I would like to see if I can power Via Battery.  Thank you for that suggestion however.  I appreciate it.

    I will read this article over now.  Thanks Sir.


  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    BB. said:
    Note that for off grid homes, we suggest using 50% of battery capacity for longer life. For RV/Industrial use, perhaps using upwards of 80% of battery capacity--As long as you recharge it at the end of the day (fork lift service). And batteries will become just another of your consumables.

    Several things drive battery bank AH/Voltage requirements:
    • Basic voltage for your devices (12/24 volt typical)--If you go with AC inverter, less of an issue (you get the inverter input voltage you need).
    • Continuous current... More or less, you do not want to draw more than C/8 for continuous current.
    • Surge current... Again, more or less, a maximum starting surge of C/2.5 current for a few seconds.
    • Storage requirements... You add up all of the Amp*Hours (or Watts*Hours) and size for a maximum level of discharge. For off grid use, 25% discharge (cabin, full time off grid). For RV, perhaps 50% discharge per day. And for your use--perhaps 80% discharge (but you could run out of power on a hot day, damage the batteries, etc.--But less room/weight committed to batteries).
    • Batteries are very poor at storing energy (vs a gallon or two of gasoline+genset). As Mike suggests, using alternatives (such as dry ice) to reduce fridge usage can be a big help... Turns out, many times, it is the smaller draw * long hours of operation (like the fridge/lights) drive a bigger battery bank than a big/short use load (ice shaver).
    The above are suggested values for Flooded Cell Lead Acid Batteries. For other battery types (AGM), the surge calculations will be different. And if you go with LiFePO4--they are much smaller and lighter--Could be a possible solution for your needs (at 2-4x the cost).

    -Bill
    Bill-

    So let me make sure I am really understanding some of what you just said!

    If I had 4800wh to work with you are saying that I could deplete them further than the standard of 50% (2400wh) as long as I have proper and consistent charging?

    You lost me just a little bit with the continuous current and surge current.  Is that Current/8?  If so, what is the current we are referring too?  The current of the device we are powering?  Such as how many watts?

    I will do some more reading up tonight and perhaps be able to answer my own questions and be more knowledgeable tomorrow.  

    Is there a battery type you would recommend for this en devour?

    Thank you sir.  I appreciate it.


  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,517 admin
    edited November 2016 #10
    C = Capacity in Amp*Hours at 20 Hour rate... For example, a typical golf cart battery is 6 volts @ ~200 AH. So, the C/8 discharge rate would be:
    • 200 AH / 8 hour discharge rate = 25 Amp discharge
    Note that batteries have different AH values, depending on the Rate used.... For example a 100 hour discharge may be 240 AH capacity... And the C/5 discharge rate may give you an apparent capacity of 180 AH:
    • 240 AH / 100 Hour rate = 2.4 amp discharge current (100 hours to "dead")
    • 180 AH / 5 Hour rate = 36 Amp discharge current (5 hours from full to "dead")
    The faster you discharge a lead acid battery, the less apparent capacity you will have.

    And, the rules for series batteries... The voltage adds: 2 x series 6 volt @ 200 AH batteries = 12 volt @ 200 AH capacity

    Rule for parallel batteries... The Current/Capacity adds: 2x parallel 6 volt @ 200 AH batteries = 6 volt @ 400 AH

    The total stored energy (Watt*Hours) is the same for either configuration:
    • 12 volts * 200 AH = 2,400 Watt*Hours
    • 6 volts * 400 AH = 2,400 Watt*Hours
    Fork Lift Batteries are discharge over an 8 hour shift, the put on a charger for 12+ hours to bring back to full... That is a different profile than we have for "off grid solar" power systems (so our rules are a bit different).

    You can do calculations in Amp and Amp*Hours (at a specific voltage) or in Watts and Watt*Hours (this "number" is "complete").

    If everything is at 12 volts, you can stay in Amps and Amp*Hours. If you mix 12 VDC and 120 VAC, then we usually use Watts and Watt*Hours as it makes things less confusing. And then convert at the end.

    For example, the math for your system MAY look like this (we don't have real numbers for everything):
    • Shaver for 6 tenths of an hour (36 minutes)   39A x 12.5v x .6 hr = 292.5 watt hours
    • 39 amps * 0.6 hours = 23.4 Amp*Hours @ 12 volts
    • And Watts (power) is P=V*I = 12 volts * 39 amps = 468 Watts (while running)
    And for the fridge:
    • 345 Watts * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/3 duty cycle * 6 hours vending = 2,435 Watt*Hours (on the battery bus) = 812 WH (see next line)
    • Messed up--The above should be = 812 Watt*Hours -- Will leave the rest below with original (bad) number--It is more conservative for a mobile freezer/food operation (forgot the 1/3 when typing in calculator)... -Bill
    The water pump:
    • 7.5 amps * 12 volts * 1/4 hour per day (15 minutes) = 22.5 Watt*Hours per day (dc bus)
    The lights:
    • 96 Watts * 6 Hours * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff = 678 Watt*Hours per day (dc bus)
    Total Battery energy:
    • 292.5 WH + 2,435 WH + 22. 5 WH + 678 WH = 3,428 WH per day (dc bus)
    • 3,428 WH per day * 1/0.50 battery depth of cycle * 1/12 volt bus = 571 AH @ 12 volt battery bank (50% discharge level)
    • 3,428 WH per day * 1/0.80 battery depth of cycle * 1/12 volt bus = 357 AH @ 12 volt battery bank (80% discharge level)
    Note the refrigerator is the largest load here--And the duty cycle may change (hot weather, loading "warm" supplies, etc.) and it could go up to 100% duty cycle for 3+ hours per day.

    A 600 AH @ 12 volt battery bank does seem "doable".

    And the maximum continuous (suggested) discharge rate would be:
    • 600 AH * 1/8 hour discharge rate = 75 Amps "nice number" for continuous discharge (lead acid batteries)
    • Refrigerator 345 Watts * 1/0.85 AC inverter eff * 1/12 volts = 33 amps (dc bus
    • Ice shaver = 39 amps
    • LED lights 96 Watts * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/12 volts = 9.4 amps
    • Total current = 33a + 39a + 9.4a = 81 amps continuous current (ignore water pump--short usage times)
    Note you will want around 10% to 20% rate of charge with a good charger--That would be a 60 amp to 120 Amp battery charger to plug in overnight (and/or use a Balmer marine alternator/or equivalent to help--especially if you are going to have >1 hour drive back to the shop/shore power connection).

    It is close, but could be workable for Flooded Cell Lead Acid batteries supplying your "continuous loads". At least for a first pass SWAG.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not trying to be a smart ass but what about a Fujiwara MC-711 manual ice shaver, that would solve the high current issue. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Fujimarka. ......auto mistake corrected me.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,967 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bill - I think you may have missed the 1/3 duty cycle in your wh calc?
    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
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Bill-

    Wow.  Thank you for all of your input and information.  I had/have more to learn than I thought but you really helped clear things up for me.  

    So overall I think I see two adjustments that we need to make to have some really solid numbers.

    As Estragon pointed out you didn't account for the 1/3rd duty cycle of the refrigerator but then I got to thinking that perhaps you did that on purpose because you know that in the summer it will most likely run more than 1/3rd capacity and you wanted to err on the side of caution.

    Secondly- You calculated the shaver at the .6 of an hour and got 292.5 watts but we didn't multiply that by 6 to cover the 6 hours of run time.

    Shaver : 292.5 * 6 =  1755 WH

    So lets say the fridge cycles for half the time:

    Fridge:  345 Watts * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/2 duty cycle * 6 hours vending = 2,435 Watt*Hours (on the battery bus)

    Which means if my math is right that:

    • 1755 WH + 1215 WH + 22. 5 WH + 678 WH = 3670 WH per day (dc bus)
    • 3670 WH per day * 1/0.50 battery depth of cycle * 1/12 volt bus = 611 AH @ 12 volt battery bank (50% discharge level)
    • 3670 WH per day * 1/0.80 battery depth of cycle * 1/12 volt bus = 382 AH @ 12 volt battery bank (80% discharge level)
    Still by this math going with (4) 12v 155ah AGM Batteries connected in parallel should barely suffice at .5 depth of cycle.

    So if I may ask.  I have been looking at these batteries from a review/price standpoint:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/QTY-2-XTR155-12V-155AH-EA-BOAT-MARINE-RV-BATTERY-DEEP-CYCLE-VMAX-AGM-HI-PERFORM-/272111389089?hash=item3f5b1a49a1:g:ARQAAOSwCypWoGQA        4 of them.

    However Mike told me to connect in Series VS Parallel..  The article he linked to didn't pop up but I still need to hunt it down and read it.  
    With 6v I would have to hook in series AND parallel to get up to 600AH correct?   This way seems to be a good bit more expensive. 

    Could I have your thoughts on this ?

    Really appreciate all of your help.

    Thanks

    Jason Duke






  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    Not trying to be a smart ass but what about a Fujiwara MC-711 manual ice shaver, that would solve the high current issue. 

    No worries-  The reason is I already own 2 Snowie 3000 Ice Shavers and love them.  Great machines.

    Thank you for the idea though!  

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭✭
    My steadfast advice to most newcomers....start with ~$100 golf cart batteries. They are pretty good deep cycle batteries and an inexpensive way to learn the solar ropes. Start with ~four....decent sized bank. Charge them before the event and as soon as possible after the event.  You will probably need more batteries than anticipated. Plus their output will decline over time.

    Trying to charge the batteries with solar during the event has almost insurmountable problems. They will likely see the panels and insist that you park them in the shade.

    The bright side is that there may be very few vendors when gensets are not allowed....and no power is provided. Whew.

    Maybe you have money to burn? AGMs will help you with that issue. AGMs do offer several advantages of course.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) 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
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,517 admin
    I don't think I missed the duty cycles and 0.6 hours on the Watt*Hours calculations (energy usage). Whoops--Yes, I did forget to do the 1/3 duty cycle in my calculator--Sorry... So, while I would suggest it is possible your freezer would run 100% duty cycle (hot days, opening often, placing "warm" items in freezer to bring back down to set point temperature.

    What may be confusing is when I totaled the maximum continuous current (lights+shaver+fridge) all running at the same time--If the peak continuous amps (all loads on and running at the same time) was OK to be supplied by the ~600 AH @ 12 volt battery bank.

    The load calc for the Ice Shaver was that you only use it for 36 minutes (0.6 hours) per 6 hour shift... If you actually have a duty cycle of 0.6 (36 minutes per hour) * 6 hour shift, then my calcs are certainly way low. I have no idea how much it is run for your operation.

    For example, the math for your system MAY look like this (we don't have real numbers for everything):
    • Shaver for 6 tenths of an hour (36 minutes)   39A x 12.5v x .6 hr = 292.5 watt*hours
    • 39 amps * 0.6 hours = 23.4 Amp*Hours @ 12 volts
    • And Watts (power) is P=V*I = 12 volts * 39 amps = 468 Watts (while running)
    And for the fridge:
    • 345 Watts * 1/0.85 inverter eff * 1/3 duty cycle * 6 hours vending = 882 Watt*Hours (on the battery bus) [corrected]
    I may of missed something, or made some wrong assumptions--Please feel free to rewrite the math with the more accurate/corrected numbers. Well, if you do run the shaver 1/2 duty cycle (or more) during a 6 hour shift--I am certainly low on that. But I did mess up the fridge--So it sort of evened out... :(

    Note that Watts is a rate (like miles per hour) and Watt*Hours is an amount (i.e., drove 60 mph * 2 hours = 120 miles driven). (120 miles driven is "like" 292.5 Watt*Hours).

    Regarding the Marine/RV batteries--Those are not really deep cycle batteries and will not last near as many cycles as a true Deep Cycle battery. Second, I really do not like using 12 volt batteries in parallel on a 12 volt battery bus--For various reasons, it is less than ideal to maintain (more cells to check, difficult to do quick voltage meter check of battery bank to find weak cells/poor wiring connections, etc.).

    I would suggest that you are better off with 1 series strings of batteries (i.e., 6 volt @ 600 volt batteries x 2 in series)--But as Softdow says--If battery cost is a killer (what isn't a overhead killer with a small business). starting with 2x 6 volt @ 200 AH in series, times 3 parallel strings for 12 volts @ 600 AH is going to be hard to ignore ($100 per "cheap" Golf Cart battery x 6 for your bank (~$600 total) from Walmart or Costco. Even if you only run them for a few months/one season--You will have a lot of learning on how will they will work for your needs.

    Other options with around ~600 AH @ 12 volt battery banks (these are better batteries):

    Trojan L16RE-A 325 AH Deep Cycle Battery $305.00    2s x 2p = 4 batteries total ($1,200)
    Crown Renewable Power Battery - 2 Volts, 625 Amp-hours $585.00 6s ($3,510)
    Crown Industrial Battery - 12 Volts, 625 Amp-hours $2,122.00 (fork lift battery)
    Sun Xtender PVX-6480T AGM Sealed Battery 6s $350 ($2,100 total)

    You would probably want to get an inverter-charger... They not only work as an AC Inverter, you can plug in AC power at anytime (genset, shore power) and it will automatically start charging your battery bank (and the inverter-chargers can be quite configurable)--But they are not cheap either.

    Outback Power Sealed FXR2012A 2000W 12VDC Hybrid Series Sine Wave Inverter
    $1,629.00
    Magnum MS2012 2000 Watt Sine Wave inverter w/charger
    $1,719.20

    You certainly can look at other (less expensive) options (inverters, separate charger, using MSW instead of TSW inverter, etc.). The suggested unites tend to be much more programmable (and can make installation/configuration easier).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Bill-

    Thanks to you the math makes sense to me and I feel much more comfortable with the process so far.

    Thank you & all who have commented.

    So after looking around today at prices I think I am comfortable going with these batteries:

    http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/l16re-b/

    This battery is just a slight upgrade to the one in your link above and is still a premium Trojan battery.

    Any Reservations?  I would buy 4 of them of course.

    After I buy the batteries money will def be getting tighter for the project.  I was thinking of going with a cheaper inverter for now and perhaps upgrading it in the future if necessary.  How big of an issue can this become for me if I don't go with one of these more expensive units?

    This inverter gets good reviews but is not a pure sine wave inverter.

    https://www.amazon.com/Inverter-Automotive-refrigerators-microwaves-Chainsaws/dp/B012U2Y4IO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1478624659&sr=8-5&keywords=krieger+inverter

    Thoughts?

    Lastly this evening..  When people go to build their battery boxes does it matter the material?  I know the boxes have to be vented so I think I will just vent it right out the side of the truck.  Any thoughts or advice on the battery box process?

    I hope everyone is having a good,safe night.  Thanks for the help and comments thus far. 

    Have a great evening!

    Jay
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭✭
    People give good reviews when they feel they received a good value. Has the quality of the sine wave been tested? Better sine waves will make electrical appliances happier and longer lasting. Also....3000 watt inverters are energy hogs....compared to a 1500 watt or smaller unit.

    Good batteries. Make sure they can't fall over. Batteries only gas as they are being charged.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) 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
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    softdown said:
    My steadfast advice to most newcomers....start with ~$100 golf cart batteries. They are pretty good deep cycle batteries and an inexpensive way to learn the solar ropes. Start with ~four....decent sized bank. Charge them before the event and as soon as possible after the event.  You will probably need more batteries than anticipated. Plus their output will decline over time.

    Trying to charge the batteries with solar during the event has almost insurmountable problems. They will likely see the panels and insist that you park them in the shade.

    The bright side is that there may be very few vendors when gensets are not allowed....and no power is provided. Whew.

    Maybe you have money to burn? AGMs will help you with that issue. AGMs do offer several advantages of course.
    Thanks for the advice Softdown.  I was looking pretty hard at the Trojan T-105 which I think is pretty close to what you were describing but then leaned back to the ones I linked to above.  I would need 6 of those T-105's @ $150. a piece to get 12V & 675ah.  Thats right at $900.00.  If I go with the batteries linked above I would be spending about  $1300 for 740ah.  It seems the more expensive battery is should get me about 1/3rd more life at a 50% discharge rate.

    Hmmm maybe I should save the cash and go with the cheaper batteries.  Is there a big difference between them I am not seeing?  

    I'll look into it a bit.  If there is anything you see or can help me with I would appreciate it.

    If there is another battery you would look at im all ears.

    Thanks

    Jay
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Personally Jay, I would expect problems with your first set of batteries and be happy if they last longer than expected. I might just go with The Sam's Club/Costco route golf cart batteries in place of the Trojans T105, for just this reason. They should have similar capacity. I think Sam's Club at 208 Ah but they are also $90... They also have a higher capacity battery for around $110

    Many people have found these a good value. I do think the Trojan's are better batteries, I just don't know if they are worth the extra for a first time out system.

    Where are you located?

    Also understand that the batteries capacity is rated for a discharge over a 20 hour period. Discharged faster than that will give the batteries an effective small capacity. T105's should have rating's for 20 and 100 hour rates as well as something smaller.

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭✭
    Just looked at the Sams Club GC-2/golf cart batteries. They are made by East Penn and are rated 220Ah @ 6 volt. Sams and Costco seem to take most any battery in exchange for core battery.

    *Think* I read that Costco had a line of "higher performance" golf cart batteries. Seems the batteries have a higher specific gravity. Kind of a slick trick in that this lowers the longevity of the battery. Not Costco's doing...they wouldn't know the intricacies of battery chemistry.

    There are 100 ways for beginners to kill their first batteries. That is why I, and others, tell people to start with affordable batteries. Would you buy a new Porsche for a 16 year old driver?
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) 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
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,074 ✭✭✭✭✭
    With regards to the inverter, the one from Amazon is a modified sine wave, best to get a pure sine wave, IMO, you will be happier in the long run. View Samlex FAQ modified vs pure sine wave to get a better understanding.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You could even split the inverter loads, resistive loads on a mod-sine inverter, motors on the pure sine, 2 smaller inverters sized to their job, vs 1 oversize inverter
    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Guys-

    Appreciate all of your feedback. 

    So lets say I got with (8) of the Sam's club batteries below.  That should give me 12v @ 860ah for about $700 correct?

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-golf-car-battery-group-size-gc2/prod3590228.ip?xid=plp:product:1:6

    That should make it relatively easy to only discharge these batteries  50%.  

    So with that being said what am I giving up on or losing out on not spending the extra $500-$700 on the Trojans?  
                    -Longevity of the battery.. Anyone have a guess on how long these Sams Club batteries will last?
                    -Added Maintenance..  They def have to be vented and serviced on a regular basis
    What are the other downsides you guys can think of and do they outweigh the positive of saving $500.00 or more?

    Inverters-

    So just to be on the same page the only 2 things the inverter is being used for at this time is the refrigerator & the LED lights.  I am pretty sure I can convert those lights to 12v if I decide to and really lighten the load on the inverter.

    Does anyone have any experience with a pure sine inverter that you believe could handle this job for a smaller up front cost?

    I would think with the fridge pulling 345 watts while running and what..? 900 or so peak? that a 2000watt inverter would do the job just fine?  I have read however that poorer quality inverters may not run the fridge even if its rated to do so?  I do have some time before the truck needs to be on the road(building it now) and so I could certainly purchase an inverter and give it a shot and upgrade if needed.

    The company Snowie that I bought my shaver from has been really great in helping me with my truck build out.  On their Snowie Busses they run the same Shaver, lights, music, & a water pump off (2) 12v 155ah batteries and they have no issues even up to 8 hour gigs.  The only thing I am adding in is the refrigerator (Which they don't have on their trucks).  

    Like most startup businesses money has gotten a bit tight but I don't want to sacrifice doing the job the right way to save a buck or two either.  Cant thank you all enough for helping me with this.

    Jay
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Photowit-  Thanks for the advice!  I live in Chesapeake Beach, MD. 

    Softdown- The duracell battery I was looking at is not the one made by East Penn correct?  I was having a hard time finding that exact battery.  Is East Penn important somehow?  Perhaps a reputable battery maker?

    Mcgivor & Mike- Def leaning back towards a pure sine wave inverter, just would like to find one a bit more within my budget that will get the job done.  I def like the idea of have two smaller inverters if the need arises.  I didn't know that was an option.

    Thanks

    Jay
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016 #27
    Well, the big problem is the inverter for the fridge.  That's going to have to supply the starting amps (for 2 seconds) as the fridge compressor comes up to speed. The starting amps are at least 4x and maybe 10x the running amps.

    from another poster:
    I've been shopping for clamp meters recently because I wanted to determine the draw on my 240VAC well pump.  I started out with an inexpensive Chinese meter, the Uni-T 203.  It measured the running AC amperage at 9.9 to 10.0.  It does not measure in-rush (start-up current).  For that I subsequently bought an expensive Fluke 326.  The in-rush for the pump was 36-38 amps, while the running current was 10.0.


    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,414 ✭✭✭✭
    The Duracell batteries at Sam's Club are made by East Penn....a very large battery manufacturer. I like to keep things simple and then say important things three times. Enhanced communication.......

    Solar batteries costs about three times as much and lasts about twice as long. The math makes sense for a lot of people. Those people do not generally include solar newcomers.

    With tax and core charge, figure about $100/battery. With luck and proper care, golf cart batteries have been known to last well over five years. Try to avoid storing them in hot conditions. Hot is anything much over 95 F.

    Opinions vary, I think eight batteries is high for a 12 volt system. Too many paralleled batteries. If you think you need eight, then think about 24 volt. The 24 volt inverters costs the same as a rule. Doubling your voltage from 12 to 24 also doubles the carrying capacity of all involved electrical wires.....much more efficient.

    My gut feeling points towards a single 1500 watt pure sine wave inverter with about a 3000 watt surge capacity. Using multiple inverters makes as much sense as using two automobile engines to power a car. Keep it simple. Inverters burn precious power simply by being turned on.

    The biggest battery killer of them all is probably letting them sit for a few days when they have low voltage.....less than 5.25 volts/battery. When you get them home charge them up......and charging is a very good argument for staying at 12 volts. Lots of gensets have a 12 volt battery charging leg. There are 24 volt charger$ of course.


    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) 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
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,517 admin
    Call it 3-5 years for the G.C. batteries... And many folks kill their first battery bank or so as they make mistakes (for get to plug in and charge, and take out on job with 1/2 full bank, and take dead, forget to check electrolyte in cells, one cell/battery goes dead and takes out the string or whole bank, etc.).

    Good maintenance and logging of specific gravity, each battery's resting voltage, etc.) helps you catch problems early (bad cable, add water before plates are exposed, etc.).

    You might very well get more than 3 years from the bank--But I suggest you have a cu$hion for unexpected co$t$.

    You will want a hydrometer (glass, or one of these less breakable), current clamp meter (this is "good enough" to start for our needs), possibly a battery monitor (shunt based monitor, or simpler voltage based) of some sort, and read up on batteries. The more you take care of them and understand how they are used in your application--The better. If you have the freezer, you can get a Kill-a-Watt type meter and do some actual measurements/testing (hot room, filling with product, etc.).

    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm
    http://www.batteryfaq.org/
    http://batteryuniversity.com/

    I am one of the folks that recommends 3 parallel strings maximum (if possible). But in your case, to keep costs down, perhaps that is best. Depending on your energy needs--3 strings may be enough.

    -Bill

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • paradiceparadice Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited November 2016 #30
    Evening Everyone!  Hope you are having a good evening.

    So let me address the charging aspect of the truck.  I am certainly beginning to see how important it is to NEVER discharge these batteries below 50% & always charging them back up ASAP.

    The truck will be hooked up to shore power each night.  The shore power will provide juice to the entire truck.  The freezers will have power to freeze the plates again and the battery bank will be charged right back up to full.  My uncle will be helping me with the actual wiring of the battery bank.  He has owned his automotive shop for 30 years and specializes in electrical work.  We have not finalized all the details yet but I am pretty sure we will be upgrading the alternator as well.   He is setting everything up so the alternator will also charge the battery bank while the truck is on.  In the event the batteries get down to 50% I will have the option of turning the truck on and letting the alternator help or starting up the generator.  I have a Honda EU3000IS inverter generator that purrs like a kitten.

    I am still a bit torn on what exact batteries I am going with BUT I feel MUCH more comfortable making a decision now thanks to everyone here.  It really just comes down to money.  If I want to keep it cheap then I will go with the Sams Batteries and if I want to drop some more cash I could go all the way up to the Trojan http://www.trojanbattery.com/product/l16re-b/    

    I will stick to your advice if I go with the Cheaper batteries and only start off with 6 of them so I am not stringing 8 in parallel.  I can always add 2 more later if I must.  

    I can't say I know what the hydrometer measures but I will google it and figure it out.

    The clamp meter is just a quicker way to get the voltage correct?  Will I need one of those if the battery bank is hooked up to the shunt based monitor all of the time?  

    Unfortunately I do not have the refrigerator yet but that kilowatt too is pretty cool.  Thanks!

    I will check those links out and study up some more.. I appreciate the help.


    What is the difference between a Solar battery and a Deep Cycle Battery?  Is it simply how you connect to the battery?  The actual terminal style? Perhaps they are the same and are just labeled solar to appeal to that audience?

    Can you have a flooded cell maint free battery or is that only reserved for AGM and GEL?

    Thanks all!  

    Jay
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,380 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What are the chances you can add a cold plate freezer to the truck Fridge to reduce battery demand ?
    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 ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

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