Best RE Batteries

adam1984adam1984 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
I have heard great things about Rolls and Sun Xtender Batteries. Although expensive, it seems they are a great bang for your buck. Are these 2 batteries some of the best, and if so, are there other good brands out there? Are trojans in that group? I understand there are different models but i was looking for an overview of the best battery manufacturers as far as quality and cost go.
Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    Trojans are excellent batteries and often less expensive per Amp hour than Surrette/Rolls and more readily available.

    Don't overlook Crown & Deka as well.

    Surprisingly, several people on the forum have had good experience with "no name" golf cart batteries from places like Costco or Sam's. Maybe not the long-term quality of a T105, but on a cost/power/time scale quite competitive.

    The only batteries I've ever had bad experience with were Interstate.
  • hillbillyhillbilly Solar Expert Posts: 334 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    I would guess that you'll likely hear a bit of a range of opinions on which batteries are "the best"; but all the ones you mentioned are certainly up there in terms of high quality batteries. I think you could probably narrow it down a lot if you decide whether you want sealed batteries or not (yet another topic). It also really depends on what kind of system you are using them in, and how much money you can afford to drop on them.

    The "best of the best" tend to be VERY expensive, particularly for large AH reserve capacities for full off grid power supply. These can last a VERY long time if treated well, or fail very quickly if not. Some manufacturers like Surrette, Trojan, and Crown offer a few different levels of price and construction... with many folks swearing by the "price point" models they offer. I think Trojan recently upped the warranty on their popular T-105's for example, which I think says something in favor of their durability.

    In terms of "best", there are a lot of criteria but I'd say it probably helps to decide what's most important in your purchase:
    -Most AH/$$$
    -Longest life span
    -easiest to maintain
    -lowest initial cost
    -size and weight ...
    etc

    You can compare specs which helps a bit, particularly comparing the AH capacity at whatever discharge rate best fits your needs, plate construction, physical dimensions and warranty. This can still be quite a guessing game however since a lot will depend on how well they are cared for, and if they are of appropriate design for the system they are placed in.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    c&d even comes to mind as well there may be more. even cell towers need batteries to back them up and are usually good for less cycles with the deep discharges and they may be brands we don't usually talk of. they are all pretty darn expensive when you boil it all down because cheaper ones just need replaced more often. it is better to make mistakes on cheaper batteries though.;)
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    Don't overlook improvements in operation when it comes to improvements in life expectancy. If you look at the different vendors and products, such as the venerable PentaMetric, knowing how badly you're treating your batteries, and not treating them so badly, makes them last longer.

    That said, ones first set of batteries should =not= be an expensive set. "Plan to throw one away", as they say about many things.
  • JESSICAJESSICA Solar Expert Posts: 289 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    I hope I do not interrupt the thread. But, talking about batteries, Can someone recommend a GOOD but not too expensive battery tester capable of showing real voltage, amps., and so forth, of my battery bank (24 volts)?
  • bryanlbryanl Solar Expert Posts: 175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    Look at the warranties and cost. Those are measures to hang your hat on. The premium (not Trojan) batteries listed have very good warranties for RE solar to match their cost.

    Batteries are commodity items and brand and other marketing hype mean very little unless backed up by some hard measure.

    How long your batteries will last and how well they serve your needs depends primarily upon how you use and maintain them.
  • SCharlesSCharles Solar Expert Posts: 123 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    I bought C&D forklift batteries, 1800 a/h. When I shopped, they were by far the least expensive of the really good brands, including the well-known "offgrid, solar batteries." Although, I must admit, I could order them from a battery co. within forty miles of my house and thus haul them myself in my pickup, avoiding delivery costs and part of the shipping...this was a major factor in my choice. I had to pay shipping to the co., but it would have cost me as much again to have them locally delivered from there.

    Meanwhile, they are still going here after almost 20 yr. During that time, neighbors and others around here have gone through two, three, and in one case, five different banks of batteries in that same time. And I'm talking about name-brand major batteries designed for PV installations.

    I didn't choose them knowing any of this, except that they were the only locally available batteries, but it was a great choice, even if made in ignorance.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    SCharles brings up too good points; availability and transport.

    Obviously if a particular brand isn't easy for you to obtain it's a bad choice. Batteries are heavy and expensive to ship. One problem with forklift batteries (or even some of the larger "standard" types) is that they may be impossible for you to put in your particular location. Space and accessibility are issues that need to be considered.
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries
    JESSICA wrote: »
    I hope I do not interrupt the thread. But, talking about batteries, Can someone recommend a GOOD but not too expensive battery tester capable of showing real voltage, amps., and so forth, of my battery bank (24 volts)?

    Testers don't show amps, except for the very expensive ones that will show amp-hour capacity.

    Do you mean a battery monitor?
  • JESSICAJESSICA Solar Expert Posts: 289 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries
    tallgirl wrote: »
    Testers don't show amps, except for the very expensive ones that will show amp-hour capacity.

    Do you mean a battery monitor?

    I have 2 voltmeters (Sears Craftman), and my Outback mx60 has some "monitor" functions. Neither shows battery amps, nor amps actually going out of my batteries. I thought that a good tester could do that.

    P.S.: For 3 years I have used 4 Interstate GC batteries I bought at Sam's. Except for the fact that recently I have had to water them more often, I think that, for their price ($70 each), they are exellent batteries (6 volts, 110 amps)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    You have several answers:

    Battery Monitor (Victron Energy is another brand)
    DC Amp*Hour / Watt*Hour meters (used for radio control and small battery equipment)
    DC Clamp Amp Meter
    Or a current shunt (high power precision resistor that you measure voltage drop across)

    A "battery monitor" typically monitors current through a battery (charging and discharging) so you can read at a glance the estimated current state of charge of a battery bank (in percent, Amp*Hour, etc.). It "totalizes" the flow in both directions (count up to 100% when charging, count down when discharging, resets to 100% full based on full voltage, low current for XX minutes, etc.).

    An amp meter just indicates the current flow (and perhaps current direction--depends on meter).

    Battery Monitors are really nice as as a complement to measuring specific gravity and/or resting voltage to determine state of charge.

    For AGM and other sealed batteries, you cannot use a hydrometer--so a Battery Monitor is almost mandatory to monitor the state of charge of sealed batteries in real time.

    Battery Monitors are not perfect... So double checking with volt meter and hydrometer, plus making sure you fully charge the battery bank every once in a while (to reset to 100% full) is helpful.

    Also batteries age--So an old battery at 50% state of charge on the meter may not have 50% power left if it is sulphated.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JESSICAJESSICA Solar Expert Posts: 289 ✭✭
    Re: Best RE Batteries

    Thanks, Bill.

    The "DC Clamp Amp Meter" you suggested is exactly what I was looking for.
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