Where to locate them----batteries

medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
Another beginner question:blush:

I have a 1 room cabin I am installing this system in; anyway, where should I locate my battery/batteries? I'm thinking it is not a good idea to locate them in the cabin d/t the gas(es) they will put off when they are being charged. I have thought about building a cabinet/compartment for the batteries, that I would make accessible from the outside via a door and put in vents in the exterior door. The cabin is elevated off the ground so there is about 18 inches of space under the floor which I could place the batteries. Basically, right now there are numrous options. I need some input from others so I don't do something rather stupid and/or dangerous.:cry:

Thanks for your input.

Comments

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    Why not use AGM, they are safe to be in the cabin, no gassing. The expense of building a custom space for wet cells should cover the cost difference to buy AGM's, plus its a time savings as well.
  • medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries
    Why not use AGM, they are safe to be in the cabin, no gassing. The expense of building a custom space for wet cells should cover the cost difference to buy AGM's, plus its a time savings as well.

    I may in the future purchase the AGM's, but for now I already purchased a 120 Ah Deep Cycle lead acid battery. As per others' advice, I decided to go with a cheaper battery(ies) initially just in case I ended up trashing them learning about all of this.

    I was thinking I could build this custom space out of wood (plywood and 2x2's, etc. and silicone to seal the seams) I have left over from building the cabin.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    your talking about a 150 dollar battery, time savings alone you suggest you get an AGM, use the one you have for your truck.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    The short answer is, as close to the load(s) as possible. You want to keep the wiring to the loads as short as possible to reduce line loss as much as possible. (The bigger the draw, the more the line loss,,, the longer the wire, the larger the line loss, the lower the voltage, the greater the line loss)

    You want the battery(ies) to be where they are coolest,, even cold is fine. (A fully charge dbattery won't freeze until at least -40) Battery CAPACITY goes down with temperature, but battery LIFE goes up with colder temps. You want to have them accessible so that you can water them and keep the cables clean.

    I have my batteries under a bench in my work room/office,, in a styrofoam box, that is vented to the outside with the aid of a voltage controlled fan. They sit on a castered cart so that I can roll them out to service them.
    http://store.altestore.com/Batteries/VentilatorsBattery-Fans/Powervent-12V-Battery-Box-Ventilation/p2287/?source=froogle

    You should always be concerned about gassing of batteries when they are charged, but at the kind of charging rates I suspect you are going to be working with I don't think it is a huge concern. If you have high charging currents, lots of cells, the gassing is potential serious problem. You haven't told us what kind of batteries/panel capacity etc that you are planning on using. You could also use sealed batteries so that off gassing/water use wouldn't be a problem.

    Your biggest concern, IMHO, would be proper fusing. Any 12 volt battery has enough energy to start a real fire real quick. Think about the cigarette lighter in your car. Fuses (or breakers)on all wires feeding the batteries, as well as those for the loads.

    Icarus

    I suggest that you look a the following links: http://www.batteryfaq.org/
    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm#Lifespan%20of%20Batteries
    http://www.rpc.com.au/products/batteries/car-deepcycle/carfaq4.htm#charge
  • medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries
    your talking about a 150 dollar battery, time savings alone you suggest you get an AGM, use the one you have for your truck.

    That's a better price than what I can find locally; where can I get a 120 Ah, AGM battery for $150? I'm assuming this includes the shipping and everything.:roll:
  • medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries
    icarus wrote: »
    The short answer is, as close to the load(s) as possible. You want to keep the wiring to the loads as short as possible to reduce line loss as much as possible. (The bigger the draw, the more the line loss,,, the longer the wire, the larger the line loss, the lower the voltage, the greater the line loss)

    You want the battery(ies) to be where they are coolest,, even cold is fine. (A fully charge dbattery won't freeze until at least -40) Battery CAPACITY goes down with temperature, but battery LIFE goes up with colder temps. You want to have them accessible so that you can water them and keep the cables clean.

    Sounds like maybe the best place to put them is under the cabin, directly under where the inverter is going to be setup.
    icarus wrote: »
    You should always be concerned about gassing of batteries when they are charged, but at the kind of charging rates I suspect you are going to be working with I don't think it is a huge concern. If you have high charging currents, lots of cells, the gassing is potential serious problem. You haven't told us what kind of batteries/panel capacity etc that you are planning on using. You could also use sealed batteries so that off gassing/water use wouldn't be a problem.

    Currently I only have one 120 Ah battery and may get a second to hook up paralell to increase the capacity, I'm not sure on this yet. The battery is still essentially new; it was used for one weekend. We have 2 lights (13 watts & 18 watts) that we are using for about 5 hours each evening. We will be adding a small FM radio/CD player in the next couple of months. This summer we also plan to use a fan which uses 65 watts for about 10 hours each night. As of now, we plan to recharge the batteries each day using a solid state smart battery charger (3 stage charger) using our generator. Down the road we will add solar panels, charge controller, etc.
    icarus wrote: »
    Your biggest concern, IMHO, would be proper fusing. Any 12 volt battery has enough energy to start a real fire real quick. Think about the cigarette lighter in your car. Fuses (or breakers)on all wires feeding the batteries, as well as those for the loads.

    Fusing is interesting, which I had not addressed yet and need more information. My plan has been to have maybe 3-4 circuits for the cabin (maybe less, not sure yet) and have been thinking about using a breaker box for this. Can I just run power from the battery to the inverter (this has a fuse in it already), then run the power from the inverter to the input side of the breaker box, then run the output to the various circuits oposite the breakers? Or are you saying there needs to be a fuse of some sort between the battery and the inverter and between the charger and the battery?

    Thanks in advance!!!
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    Couple of observations,

    Consider a 12volt car radio type stereo with a built in Cd. Might be more efficient than inverting to a 120 vac unit.

    Also consider a 12 vdc ceiling/paddle fan. I have one that is three speed, draws ~1/2 amp (6 watts) on low,,, 1 amp on high. Reversible and moves lots of air.

    I would fuse between the battery and the inverter. If you use a large auto type fuse right at the battery, you protect the wire between the battery and the inverter from any harm,, such as mice or rats. You can then feed the inverter into an AC breaker panel.

    I also suggest that you might wire a number of 12vdc circuits. In our house we have a dual system,,, some of the house running on 120 vac, other things running on 12vdc. The 12vdc circuits are fused through a Square D QO breaker box. The QO series are the only breakers generally available that are DC rated (48vdc max)

    Personally I wouldn't put my batteries under the house. It would make them much harder to service, and add two more holes in the floor for mice to get in. Our house is very mouse proof,, making sure that all the holes are covered with tin, or caulk or something. Like I said, mine are under my bench, with a simple Zepher fan that makes sure that they vent as needed. Draws ~3 watts.

    Tony
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,363 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    1 battery, How much is the charge? I'd bet that on a daily basis, you would be fine, with it in the room. What is the body size of it? Would it fit in a marine group 27 battery box? My concerns would be:
    1) spill from a case spliting open.
    2) fumes from over-charge.
    We all know batteries would never be overcharged ! Keep a nice piece of polished brass or copper near it, acid fumes would quickly show in the finish. I suspect the cabin is large enough to vent normal charge gasses, unless you have super-sealed the room so there is no air leakage. If somehow, you get the battery boiling along, you would have toruble indoors, mostly from acid mist/fumes, even then, I doubt gas will built to problematic levels.
    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 ,

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    Best shopping is to go to your local battery shop, Here in Lakeland we have Battery US, I paid 120 each for my AGM's ( 6V 205ah ). When I went there they had new/old stock 12V 100ah for 35 bucks each ... I almost bought them because they were so low cost ... when I went back a few weeks latter someone else had snagged them

    Using Google I found, but its always lower cost to buy battery local.

    http://www.provantage.com/eaton-bat-0122~7EXID1AM.htm
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    I agree with Mike,

    I don't think the battery is big enough to off gas enough to cause danger. Even two of them in Parallel is pretty small. If you had ~200 watts of PV you would be charging at ~10% of capacity,,, right in line with the recommended range of ~5-13%. So unless you are very tightly sealed,, I wouldn't worry about gas explosion.

    Having said that,, most systems grow with time,,, bigger batteries, more panels, larger generator based charger etc. If you are in the design/build stage now try to take that into account. A battery area that is accessible, that will allow for intake and exhaust venting (at least in the future) will allow you to keep the area clean. In one of my battery set ups, I can wash the batteries down with a hose to keep them clean, and to clean up any acid drips from watering or testing SG. The other I have to wash them down by hand which is much more trouble.

    Tony
  • medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries
    icarus wrote: »
    Couple of observations,

    Consider a 12volt car radio type stereo with a built in Cd. Might be more efficient than inverting to a 120 vac unit.

    Also consider a 12 vdc ceiling/paddle fan. I have one that is three speed, draws ~1/2 amp (6 watts) on low,,, 1 amp on high. Reversible and moves lots of air.

    I would fuse between the battery and the inverter. If you use a large auto type fuse right at the battery, you protect the wire between the battery and the inverter from any harm,, such as mice or rats. You can then feed the inverter into an AC breaker panel.

    I also suggest that you might wire a number of 12vdc circuits. In our house we have a dual system,,, some of the house running on 120 vac, other things running on 12vdc. The 12vdc circuits are fused through a Square D QO breaker box. The QO series are the only breakers generally available that are DC rated (48vdc max)

    Personally I wouldn't put my batteries under the house. It would make them much harder to service, and add two more holes in the floor for mice to get in. Our house is very mouse proof,, making sure that all the holes are covered with tin, or caulk or something. Like I said, mine are under my bench, with a simple Zepher fan that makes sure that they vent as needed. Draws ~3 watts.

    Tony

    I hadn't thought about using an auto radio, that's a great idea and I agree it most likely will be more effecient.

    Running 12 VDC circuits in the house is an idea...I hadn't thought of it. Can I use the same wiring...romex...then what type of outlet/plugs would be used? I'm thinking that using regular outlets and plugs would create the potential for confusion and the possibility of plugging in the wrong type of device into the wrong outlet.

    Putting the batteries under the cabin wouldn't be an issue right now as there is nothing around the bottom and I can easily reach down and pull the tray out to maintain the batteries. As for the holes...I am thinking I could fill around the wire with either acrylic caulk and/or expanding foam. I could also put some steel wool in/around the holes.

    In the subject of mice, you said your place is fairly mouse proof, what ways are you utilizing to achieve this? I'm very interested in this as well. I've been told to hang moth balls around the base of the cabin on the outside, but I'm not sure this will do much. I had also thought about using the ultrasonic devices, but not sure if they work either.

    Can you tell me more about your ceiling fan? It's brand, model, where you obtained it, etc.?

    Thanks
  • medic29medic29 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries
    mike90045 wrote: »
    1 battery, How much is the charge? I'd bet that on a daily basis, you would be fine, with it in the room. What is the body size of it? Would it fit in a marine group 27 battery box? My concerns would be:
    1) spill from a case spliting open.
    2) fumes from over-charge.
    We all know batteries would never be overcharged ! Keep a nice piece of polished brass or copper near it, acid fumes would quickly show in the finish. I suspect the cabin is large enough to vent normal charge gasses, unless you have super-sealed the room so there is no air leakage. If somehow, you get the battery boiling along, you would have toruble indoors, mostly from acid mist/fumes, even then, I doubt gas will built to problematic levels.

    I'm not sure about the first question, "How much is the charge?" From the use this last weekend, I didn't take the battery down below 80%. The size of the battery is the size of a large Marine battery or Car battery; it would fit in one of those plastic battery boxes with the lid. I was thinking about getting one of these so I can keep the battery covered and protected.

    I have the same concerns as stated above. Actually, I have determined when we brought the battery down I must have gotten some of the acid on the sweatshirt I was wearing as it is discolored and the front layer of material is basically missing.

    The cabin is a 20' x 20' single room. Right now it is very vented as the roof is on but the eves are still open and haven't been sealed up yet (a project for next weekend I think). The siding isn't on yet so there is some air movement via the walls, not a lot, but some. We will be wrapping some plastic sheeting on these areas in the near future. I seriously doubt it will ever be air tight.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Where to locate them----batteries

    I think Mike's question is, how high is the charging rate? Significant potential for gassing at higher amperages.


    Here is some interesting reads on battery gassing :http://www.battcon.com/PapersFinal2002/VaccaroPaper2002.pdf
    http://www.powerbattery.com/pages/default.aspx?pageid=51
    http://www.cdtechno.com/custserv/pdf/6739.pdf
    http://www.ecozen.com/batdict1.htm
    T
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