Plans on how to build a battery box

solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭
I made a deal with a pattern maker to builld me a battery box. It is going to be outside in the weather in the front of my home so I want to try to keep it from bieing an eyesore. I think I will build a plarform off the ground a couple feet so I can take care of my batterys and try to keep them above the snow. the record temp is -26F that I used as a basis for my GT system. I need ideas on what materials to use. Want it big enough to hold up to 12 L-16 6 volt batterys, but will probably be getting 8. . Anyone got plans for a good box, what materials to use and how it could be heated? S:Dlarvic

Comments

  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,970 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Hi SolarVic,

    Nice name ! OH, In a few years, I may cellarize my batteries, or at least in a north-facing berm. If you could get the battery box well connected to the earth it would be much better thermally. My current Power Room is in a sea cargo container. It is insulated, but still gets a lotta radient heat in the summer. I force myself to give the power room PRIORITY with A/C in the summer, altho this is usually from a lot of XS solar. I would rather give the dewlling priority, but the battery bank comes first, the electronics next, and then the dwelling.

    Regarding YOUR box, perhaps a site cast box, a transformer vault, or perhaps a largish concrete septic tank (I am only partially kidding). Possibly you might want to consider room for 16ea L-16s ? A little room to grow ?

    Do not know the config of your house, perhaps the battery box could be a conc block box added onto the side or back of the garage if you have one ...

    Others will have better ideas. Forget if you are off-grid etc.

    Good Luck, VIc
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    solarvic, I have 24 L16's in a box that is ~ 9' x 2.5' x 2.5'. Floor of the "Bat Shack" was reinforced to hold the weight. Box is lined with EDPM pond liner to contain any spills. Were I to do it again. I would have dug a hole in the side of the hill so I had at least a little earth tempering.
    " a transformer vault, or perhaps a largish concrete septic tank" is not as far out there as it might seem! Keeping you batteries at a 65-70F range is a GOOD thing.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Front of my house faces east and usually by noon is shaded at ground level. My utility room is in front also so was thinking of locateing the batterybox outside of utility room. I have an unheated crawlspace basement but am too old to deal with the batterys down there. Have arthritis and missing a kneecap. Why I was thinking of getting them off the ground a couple of feet so it would be easier for me to take care of them. I don,t think I will have that much of an overheat problem. More worried about keeping them warm in winter. Audringer Pond liner sounds good. box builder was thinking of a piece of rubberized roofing for acid containment. Was thinking of getting plastic roofing sheathing for insulation inside box. Trying to think of a way of getting some heat in it also. I am open to any ideas. S:Dlarvic
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,994 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    I'll try to get a photo and post it of my battery box, It lives outside, I don't have a heavy demand in the winter so I just live with the lower capacity. I do place some 2" 'blue board' insulating poly? around the batteries in a loose configuration.,

    It's basically 4x4 feet square, if your looking at it from the side at one side it's 7 feet tall(more later) with a hinged shed roof starting about 28" above ground and going across to about 18" on the other side.

    ...but you said 7 feet?, on the other side, counter balance by the batteries, I have an electrical cabinet, starting about 30" off the ground, and 4 feet across, and cantilevered about 14" out. it houses my power center(AC,DC disconnects and charge controller) and inverter, and someday an additional Rogue inverter, when I get another breaker for the solar side.

    This setup works out pretty well for short wire runs, yet isolated containment.

    Battery-box.gif?t=1266973271

    The 4x4 less framing was to accomadate 12 golf cart batteries, it might squeeze in 16. The height was for a 22" tall forklift battery. I framed the walls so they are only 2" thick, for some reason I was thinking I needed an extra couple inches for something. Also the wall in front of the hinged door is only screwwed in with a couple screws to make moving in a large battery easier.

    With out batteries it is just a tad heavier on the battery side and a bit tippy, but it doesn't take much to make it very stable. It also has joists? every 8 -10 inches.
    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
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,970 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    OK Vic, Thanks for the additional info, BUT, as you know, with good ground coupling, the batteries will get less cold, altho, in your climate, you would probably need to sink them several feet into the soil. As long as the batteries are fairly well charged, there should be no cold damage, altho you probably are concerned about loss of capacity.

    Raising the floor of the box will help one tend the batteries, but will make the space less well coupled to the ground. I dunno, difficult issue without making it a bigish deal project. My current R-13 insulated power room with its separate R-19 insulated battery box does OK, The lowest I've seen the electrolyte temp is 11 degrees C, with the outside temps in the low-to-mid 20's for a few days. I am more concerned about summer heat in our location. Many successive days of 100 F or more.

    Missing knee cap, makes one cringe to even start to think of that !

    Think that you are on grid (?) Good Luck, will see how you progress on this. anotherVic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Vic, I am grid tied. I already had most of the offgrid equipment as I was going to be offgrid at first. Changed my mind to be GT when Pa. Updated and aproved Net Metering. Got a gas well a couple years ago and decided to set up a back up since we have been having more power outages than previous. Think I will dedicate a couple circuits to the battery system to make some use of the free gas from the gaswell. Probably the well pump ,utility room. furnace and and see how that works. Won,t be doing much till spring is over and it warms up a little. Just want to get the batterybox built soon as the man that is going to build it for me wants to do it now or soon. Thinking of summer so bought a ductless air conditioner and attic vent fan today. Is a harbor point 12,000 inverter system @ 115 vAC with a panasonic compressor. 30% off income tax up to $1500. S:Dlarvic
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Photowit. Never thought about putting inverter and electronics outside. Got some of the electronics already mounted inside. I was thinking of a way to get some heat in the battery compartment but am wondering if there is that much value and enough heat to help much. I was thinking of putting a T at the end of the conduit after it enters battery boxfrom inside house. Put a vent fan on one end of the T and let it suck warm heat from inside of house. . Supose it would lose most of the heat before it got in battery box. I would like to see your picture of your battery box. Sounds interesting. Solarvic
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Awhile back Home Power had an article where they installed hydronic heat in there box. I don't know, free gas, small water heater & pump???
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,994 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Here's a photo of the actual battery box and electrical cabinet.I'll add the former drawing for discriptive use;
    bb.jpg?t=1267052370
    Battery-box.gif?t=1267052606
    FWIW - I couldn't remember my user name for my web site, so I got a Photobucket account, Today my junk mail went from 3-4 to 14!

    Sorry for the poor photo quality, it's a section of a photo I took to show the tool box/work table I built, that you can just see the 'roof' of at the bottom. Some day I'll get some real photos up, likely the day after I hook up the extra combiner box in the photo, which will be the day after I mount the Rogue charge controler in the electrical cabinet, the day after I mount my 30 year old panels on the 3rd frame on the left of the 2 shown, etc, etc,...

    As to heating the box, I've read that heat tape works on DC as well as AC(amp based?), that you just need to cut it to the correct lenghth for the voltage, 12 volt 1/10th the lenghth, 24 volt 1/5, 48volt 2/5ths. with the thermostat working fine.

    I believe this is from Home power 10-12 years ago, and we're talking about my memory...lol. Remember it's heating so it'll draw a good bit, but in a very confined area, it might be worth considering (and investigating, ie please don't trust my memory!)
    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
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,224 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Plans on how to build a battery box

    Pw,

    The tires make it look like a "mobil" battery box!

    Tony
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