Can't charge lithium batteries when cold?

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rgk1
rgk1 Solar Expert Posts: 135 ✭✭✭
All the lithium batteries I see say they cant be charged when temps are freezing.  How can you charge an electric car in cold climates?
4-Risen 320 watt in series/parallel, 8-215ah 6 volt GC2 batteries in series, Exeltech 1100 watt/48 volt inverter, Tristar 45 MPPT controller.
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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Here is a Tesla in Norway... Driver has a OBD monitor of some sort so he can see more details "inside" the car's electrical systems and sensors:

    https://insideevs.com/news/381384/cold-weather-effects-on-model-3/

    Basically, charging power is severely with near 0C cold soaked battery bank--And something like 1/2 the reduced "charging" power goes into heating the battery system (some models of Tesla specifically have battery heaters?).

    Some other background:

    https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/9kw-stator-heater-on-when-supercharging-hypocritical-waste.181005/

    It looks like (guessing) that the motor stators are heated (traction motor is "energized" but not turning--That energy is being turned into heat, which is then moved to the battery pack--I think) and the "coolant" loop goes to the battery bank to help heat them (no specific battery heater in this model?).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
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    They use heaters.  When battery pack is insulated it does not take much power to keep batteries warm.  Once car is in use the self heating of cells provides all the heating.
  • rgk1
    rgk1 Solar Expert Posts: 135 ✭✭✭
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    Guess that makes sense.  Was hoping to move to Lithium from FLA but mine live in outside, unconditioned space.
    4-Risen 320 watt in series/parallel, 8-215ah 6 volt GC2 batteries in series, Exeltech 1100 watt/48 volt inverter, Tristar 45 MPPT controller.
  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2021 #5
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    Charging LFP at cold temps causes lithium plating on graphite anode side.  Beside consuming available lithium reducing capacity of cell it can also create metal dendrites that can punch through separator creating shorting paths within cell. If the shorts get bad enough the self heating can cause a cascade thermal runaway of the cell.  

    Ion migration slows down the colder the temp on cells.  This increases cell impedance and terminal voltage drop reducing ability to deliver higher currents.  Best if you can keep cells above +10 degs C.


  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    rgk1 said:
    Guess that makes sense.  Was hoping to move to Lithium from FLA but mine live in outside, unconditioned space.
    I was all too happy to move my lithiums into the crawl space. It stays a relatively consistent temp year round. And the cables are shorter. Now the Rubbermaid deck box which used to hold 8 L16s actually has yard tools in it.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    I hope that's not a crawl space under your house.  Fumes from a damaged battery are poisonous, and if one catches fire, its going to take out much of the building.
    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 ,

  • softdown
    softdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,825 ✭✭✭✭
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    Living in Colorado's second coldest region - it did not take long to realize lithium battery shortcomings. These people fawning over a future of electric cars saving the planet are deluded:
    Lithium batteries are terrible in freezing temps.
    You can't charge most lithium batteries when it is freezing.
    Lithium batteries are charged by fossil fuel burning power plants. With plenty of losses in the power grid due to resistance etc.

    Not to mention that full charges and full discharges are also harmful. Prolonged full discharge destroys the battery.

    Having said that - my next bank will be lithium. They are waiting for this bank to die. Why did I go lithium? They store a long time without the damage that lead acid does. They last longer and I, hopefully, over reacted to covid. I sought batteries that could last well over a decade if used properly. But I still recommend lead acid in many applications.
    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
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    mike95490 said:
    I hope that's not a crawl space under your house.  Fumes from a damaged battery are poisonous, and if one catches fire, its going to take out much of the building.
    I appreciate your concern, Mike. If I disappear you can rest assured it was one of several other risks that life puts in front of me on a regular basis.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    I wish/hope for a long life for all of our members here.  o:)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • papab
    papab Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭
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    softdown said:
    Living in Colorado's second coldest region - it did not take long to realize lithium battery shortcomings. These people fawning over a future of electric cars saving the planet are deluded:
    Lithium batteries are terrible in freezing temps.
    You can't charge most lithium batteries when it is freezing.
    Lithium batteries are charged by fossil fuel burning power plants. With plenty of losses in the power grid due to resistance etc.

    Not to mention that full charges and full discharges are also harmful. Prolonged full discharge destroys the battery.

    Having said that - my next bank will be lithium. They are waiting for this bank to die. Why did I go lithium? They store a long time without the damage that lead acid does. They last longer and I, hopefully, over reacted to covid. I sought batteries that could last well over a decade if used properly. But I still recommend lead acid in many applications.
    Sure, some are overrating the goodness of electric cars, but they are part of the solution.
    In most cases I don't think it would be that difficult or expensive to build something to keep your batteries above freezing.
    26% of our Electricity in CO is from renewables.  Even if the power is from non-renewables, an electric car is still cleaner than a gas powered car. 
    Full discharges are bad for lead acid too.

  • softdown
    softdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,825 ✭✭✭✭
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    ^^^An issue with heating lithium batteries is the toxic fumes in the event of a fire. Even mild heaters have been known to catch fire.

    Pretty sure folks have their mind made up on this.

    What gets me is the percentage who think it is a done deal with no real downside. Well, as it turns most of us live in climates featuring freezing conditions.
    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
  • softdown
    softdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,825 ✭✭✭✭
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    Not to mention what happens in extended traffic delays. Who tows 50 broken down electric cars?
    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
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2021 #14
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    There was a recent misinformation picture of a EV getting charged from a generator on the road side. It made me grit my teeth. The point was that EVs are a joke and still reliant on oil fuels.

    But seriously I and some others couldn't do an EV regardless of how much we were in love with the technology. We are probably rural. Past that we might be off grid. We couldn't install enough panels to charge it in the winter or another time. Lord knows we couldn't buy or charge an electric tractor. So screw us - move - I've heard that before, go to a different place so say city people. They have no idea that an F250/F350 or equivalent for country work has to do work because we can't get fuel or its so expensive we get driven off our land? Am I stretching this too far? Oh, no. Many folks have no idea from where their food comes.

    These are just things to come.

    We eat well. Good for us. But seriously from where will your food come when Safeway, HyVee, Walmart, etc run low and what will you do? Blame inflation? That will get you nothing. You need to make best friends with a neighbor that has livestock and sharpen a knife (oh, noooo). And the store gas pumps shut down b/c they are out of fuel?

    This is a curious time. It's hard to store fuel. But meat is always available if you plan.

    We like our ribs well done with a hint of sauce and a double hit of cayenne.

    Oh, and by the way, I love my lithium batteries. They make so much other stuff possible. And I save the distilled water for, eh something else. The pickups?
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • rgk1
    rgk1 Solar Expert Posts: 135 ✭✭✭
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    Agree about the bigger, true work vehicles. Without getting too far in the weeds on this JRHill is correct.  I am in the transportation industry (over-the-road trucking).  Work requires energy.  The harder the work, the more energy required.  We are a SMALL company and still run about 12 MILLION miles a year for the fleet. Travel 5-600 miles a day with a battery powered truck total weight as much as 80,000 pounds! I don't see it with any battery technology in the pipeline.
    How long does it take to charge a car?  How long would it take to charge a truck? How many large trucks do you see on the interstate when you travel?  Where is the energy going to come from to charge even a fraction of those?  Sorry folks, fossil fuel is here for quite some time to come.  That  being said, my next vehicle will probably be an electric.  Wish I could charge it with solar while its parked at home... at night.
    4-Risen 320 watt in series/parallel, 8-215ah 6 volt GC2 batteries in series, Exeltech 1100 watt/48 volt inverter, Tristar 45 MPPT controller.
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    mike95490 said:
    I hope that's not a crawl space under your house.  Fumes from a damaged battery are poisonous, and if one catches fire, its going to take out much of the building.

    I originally let this go as I didn't want to start an argument. But I need to respond now lest others get weirded out when they read this thread. I did my research beforehand on LFP storage. For sure, these batteries are a heavy hit to the wallet. So lets start here:

    [SimpliPHI LFP]
    Non-Toxic & Non-Hazardous Cobalt-Free LFP Chemistry
    No Thermal Runaway with Fire Propagation
    No Heat Generation, Mitigation, Thermal Monitoring or Toxic Cooling

    Yup, there are dangerous lithium batteries (chemistry). Explosively so. So I did a more than a bit of planning before moving them inside. And I had to locate them to a temperature controlled place as it can get really cold here a few times per year. At this point over a year I am confident that the charge and draw programming and physical overcurrent protections are sufficient to protect the batteries and the warranty. Having said that I am sure if I were to shoot into the bank with a .308 or drive a grounding rod through the case it could be a problem because there is a BUNCH of energy stored up in those boxes.

    I need to add this: other than the chemistry and quality of construction/ materials/QA, a big part of the lithium battery is the BMS system. I've learned that an amount of failures are not the battery but the BMS. When the BMS gives up the ghost the battery is useless. And that's a good thing. My gosh, people, do your research. Don't buy cheap lithium batteries.




    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    your house, your choice.   Safe until something goes wrong.
     FLA & AGM have well known failure modes, and I'd put neither under my house

    https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-205-types-of-lithium-ion

    " Thermal runaway270°C (518°F) Very safe battery even if fully charged "


    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 ,

  • MJSullivan56
    MJSullivan56 Registered Users Posts: 42 ✭✭
    edited December 2021 #18
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    I have a pair of LFP batteries in my basement. Total 10.8kWh. The key thing for me is that they meet UL 9540A. I have no worries whatsoever. Neither does NASA. Yes you’ll pay a lot more than DIY, but if you live in the north it’s the way to go. See: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/eval_safety_ener_stor_sys_ul9540a_pbrazis.pdf 
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    I have a pair of Li batteries in my basement. Total 10.8kWh. The key thing for me is that they meet UL 9540A. I have no worries whatsoever. Neither does NASA. Yes you’ll pay a lot more than DIY, but if you live in the north it’s the way to go. See: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/eval_safety_ener_stor_sys_ul9540a_pbrazis.pdf 
    Well, thanks. I felt like I was stepping out on my own on this with comparisons to FLA and AGM in the basement. Ah, not. And even older versions of lithium, no, not.

    But the reference to Battery University is worthy. Good resource.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    Mike, you've got a lithium bank in series? Wow, you should keep them outside.

    {48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)}
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Mike's bank (main bank?) are NiFE -- Nickel Iron batteries--Not Li Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4).

    I have not heard of any special toxicity issues with NiFe (relatively non-toxic electrolyte, Ni and Fe, no hydrogen generation). Nickel is somewhat toxic (skin contract to food/mouth not great--Even the US coins (Nickels) are somewhat toxic if swallowed.

    LI Ion have some "combustion issues". LiFePO4 are difficult to ignite from normal electrical and mechanical failures. However, most Li Ion (I think) have issues if they are involved in a fire--Besides Lithium burning, there can be Hydrofluoric Acid acid generated in a fire... HF acid is not something to take lightly (very toxic, not something you can easily "decontaminate" a home after a fire).

    -Bill "from what little I know" B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    Bill, thank you. "However, most Li Ion (I think) have issues if they are involved in a fire"  When it comes to that point we will be long gone. We have probably 50# of various high power reloading powders not to mention the primers and Oxy-Ace in the shop and the fuel tanks outside and the various rigs. I'm not too worried about the batteries. But we live safely++. We have what we need. And we don't live in the hood.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Gin83
    Gin83 Registered Users, Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 3
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    The same thing goes for lithium batteries. When your batteries internal temperature drops below 32 degrees, the lithium cells are unable to accept the same amount of charging current (warmth) as they did when the temperature was warm. Don't charge your lithium batteries when the battery temperature is below freezing.
  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
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    It really does not take much power to a heating pad in battery box to keep LFP cells above 15 degs C if box is insulated well.
  • NANOcontrol
    NANOcontrol Registered Users Posts: 263 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2022 #25
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    Those $13 12V 10A 110-220V AC LED switching power supplies can be connected directly to a PV array as low as 60V and will still start up and provide 8A. Connect to one of those thermal limiting heater pads and you are set to warm up each morning without using any battery power.  Thermal mass can take you a long way.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,780 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    RCinFLA said:
    It really does not take much power to a heating pad in battery box to keep LFP cells above 15 degs C if box is insulated well.
    It may not take much in Florida but a cold garage in Alaska is a different story.

    In a cold place like Alaska the battery needs to failsafe and shut-down it's positive terminal to eliminate any possibility of damage from charging at cold temperature. 

    This alone (lights out) can be enough of a design flaw to pick another battery chemistry!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 291 ✭✭✭
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    I replaced my L16s with SimpliPhis two years ago and moved them inside. I've taken a lot of flack for putting the batteries inside. We're in south central WA where I'd probably be safe, most of the time, with them outside except for those nasty sub-zero hits a few times per winter. Frankly, I consider a wild fire risk from stupid use of outside burning, a camp fire, tannerite, a tracer round (all of these from the city people who come here to do things they can't legally do at their full time home) or the dreaded dry lightning as more of a risk than a battery failure that the BMS didn't contain.

    There are inherent risks to living off grid in a remote area. A chain saw is way up there. Less is kitty or Mr bear behind me while out in the woods or the pickup sliding off the trail.. The SimpliPHIs in the crawl space... not so much.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Coyyote
    Coyyote Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭
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    Has anybody had any experience using thermostatically controlled mats used for germinating seedlings?  Relatively inexpensive and use 20-40 watts. Thought about strapping them onto the side of the battery. 
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Coyyote said:
    Has anybody had any experience using thermostatically controlled mats used for germinating seedlings?  Relatively inexpensive and use 20-40 watts. Thought about strapping them onto the side of the battery. 
    I think the lithium batteries that have internal heaters, like Battle Born, use something very similar.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Coyyote said:
    Has anybody had any experience using thermostatically controlled mats used for germinating seedlings?  Relatively inexpensive and use 20-40 watts. Thought about strapping them onto the side of the battery. 
    Battery heaters;

    https://gatehousesupplies.com/gto-r4130-ac-battery-heater-kit-for-gp-series-operators/
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,780 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Coyyote said:
    Has anybody had any experience using thermostatically controlled mats used for germinating seedlings?  Relatively inexpensive and use 20-40 watts. Thought about strapping them onto the side of the battery. 
    My wife has been doing that for 10 years or so. She is a member of this group below. They have good research on this also. You can search their data bases. The ones in California and Hawaii are extensive.

    You still need a very well insulated box or sunroom. They also use solar hot water on a wall for a lean2 type enclosure. You need to be there because the ditch plan is to bring them in if something goes wrong.

    https://extension.unr.edu/master-gardeners/default.aspx
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net