L16-REB Performance

MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
For people who follow this stuff in June, I replaced our 64 Trojan L16-Ps' with Trojan's L16-REB (6v).

While I had planned to replace the 5 year old batteries in 18 months, I decided to advance the job to hedge a possible loss or diminuation of alternative energy tax credits and take advantage of the 7 year warranty. The older batteries carried only a 2 year warranty.

Before moving ahead, I spent several long conversations with Trojan engineers to understand the potential benefits of these batteries in a larger Off Grid system application. They were very helpful and asked for my feedback on how they performed.

The performance of these batteries has been dramatically better that the older version. What is most striking, I have not had to add water since they were installed amost 5 months ago. The older batteries required watering (8 gallons or so) every 3 months. Water levels in these batteries have not changed since installation.

We'll see how they perform this winter under heavy air handler use but so far, I'm really impressed with Trojan's very reliable technology. Not cheap but certainly well built and durable.
Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    I will be lurking on this one! Thanks for post and I am sure you know that increased water usage along with other factors is a crystal ball into the demise in this old battery topology. A signpost for writing a big check if you will. Water use is also lowered considerably when new batteries are installed, for about 9 months and then returns to what is expected.

    You just can't tell that to most people as they will stop checking the levels and a cycle of bad results often follow!
    Is the Monsoon done for the year? Did you look at the L16 2v cells?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Hi Dave,

    The older L16Ps' needed water every 3 months from the get go. So, I figure these critters may be a step up. At least, Trojan says they are in every respect. You're right about people not watching the levels. If you aren't judicious it's a costly mistake.

    I considered the 2 volt batteries but since I was set up for 6 volt and the solar guys were busy, I went ahead with 6 volt again. I mulled it over a lot.

    Do you think I did the right thing?

    I still can't decide whether to pull the fuses on the four desulfators. I've always considered them "decorative".

    Summer rains were great this year but gone now. Instead of the 4-6 inch downpours we had steady 2-3 inch drenching showers. As you know those are the best. We're getting some nice fall rains to keep the feed from curing too soon.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Hi Mangas,
    I think you did what made most sense for you. The 2V L16's from Trojan are rediculous and loose the maintenance advantage that the Surrettes and others have. The string reduction is always there but so is the hassel of rewiring and downtime.

    Yes on the decorative! The X chargers use what is called boost mode to do the same thing. I don't get it and just do 4 EQ's or more per year. Depth of discharge and good maintenance have always been the keys to long life. I have a group 29 gel that is 20 years old and cycles daily 10% for yard lights.

    Not much of your monsoon made it up this way and that is good as we don't get the percipitation. Instead we get humidity and lot's of lightning. We had one lightning storm this year that was as bad as I have ever seen in the tropics. Those were not really as bad as you could see them on the radar and steer the boat out of their way, most of the time. This one had the thunderheads hitting the ground and the heat lightning up in the sky every second lighting up the thunderheads moving through. I would rather not see them! Know what I mean?
    Enjoy the fall!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • andyrudandyrud Solar Expert Posts: 60 ✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    Hi Mangas,
    I think you did what made most sense for you. The 2V L16's from Trojan are rediculous and loose the maintenance advantage that the Surrettes and others have. The string reduction is always there but so is the hassel of rewiring and downtime.

    Yes on the decorative! The X chargers use what is called boost mode to do the same thing. I don't get it and just do 4 EQ's or more per year. Depth of discharge and good maintenance have always been the keys to long life. I have a group 29 gel that is 20 years old and cycles daily 10% for yard lights.

    Not much of your monsoon made it up this way and that is good as we don't get the percipitation. Instead we get humidity and lot's of lightning. We had one lightning storm this year that was as bad as I have ever seen in the tropics. Those were not really as bad as you could see them on the radar and steer the boat out of their way, most of the time. This one had the thunderheads hitting the ground and the heat lightning up in the sky every second lighting up the thunderheads moving through. I would rather not see them! Know what I mean?
    Enjoy the fall!

    What is ridiculous about 2 volt Trojan batteries and what maintenance advantage do you loose? I am about to buy new L16s and am trying to decide what batteries to buy.

    Andy
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    andyrud wrote: »
    What is ridiculous about 2 volt Trojan batteries and what maintenance advantage do you loose? I am about to buy new L16s and am trying to decide what batteries to buy.

    Andy

    Just look at one and compare it to a Surrette L16 2V cell ! I could tell you but it is best for you to know!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • andyrudandyrud Solar Expert Posts: 60 ✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    Just look at one and compare it to a Surrette L16 2V cell ! I could tell you but it is best for you to know!

    Thanks for the non answer. I looked at the Trojan L16 2volt and they look OK to me. A heck of a lot better than the interstates I have now. There is nobody around me that has a Surrette for me to look at. Trojan seems to have a good reputation. Are you saying they are junk?
    Andy
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    I think, in general, Surrette has plates that are 2-3 times thicker than the TROJAN batteries. (I don't know about specific models--You will have to look that up)

    Many folks believe thicker plates will give a longer cycle life.

    Of course, bad battery maintenance (over/under charging, boiling dry, storing under 75% state of charge, lots of cycles below 50% state of charge, one or more cycles below 20% state of charge, filling with well/tap water, etc.) all hurt.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Since I am on grid, I can only guess that well cared for Trojan batteries may last 8+ years and Surrettes may last 15+ years.

    Others here will have to give their experiences.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • andyrudandyrud Solar Expert Posts: 60 ✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    BB. wrote: »
    Since I am on grid, I can only guess that well cared for Trojan batteries may last 8+ years and Surrettes may last 15+ years.

    Others here will have to give their experiences.

    -Bill

    Can be very confusing. Interstate L16 6V batteries last 5 years or longer and sell for about .55 cents an amp. Trojan L16 6V last 7 years or longer and sell for about .90 cents an amp. Surrette L16 6V batteries last 10 years or longer and sell for about $1.40 an amp. From an economic point of view ,with these numbers, a person could conclude that the Interstate batteries might be the better buy! I think I will probably go with the Trojans, they seem to be in the middle price range, made for RE applications, and if I screw up some how with maintenance I would not be out as much as I would with the Surrettes. What do you think of this logic?
    Andy
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    I think you are correct in your thinking.

    One person here suggested taking into account one vs three battery change outs and that you end up running on a "end of life" battery bank 3x longer with the less expensive bank.

    Also, from the numbers,a 2x larger bank may last 2.2x longer (because of shallower cycles/fewer cycles). Again the cost benefit ratio approaches unity (1).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Looks like no one is seeing the very obvious physical differences of these 2V volt batteries. Look at the top of the Trojan and compare it to any other 2V battery! I am not trying to be a pain but rather point out a difference that dramatically effects maintenance.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Tojan told me their newer REBs' have thicker plates than my older Ps'.

    I know the Surettes are excellent batteries.

    But, since I replace what I use every 7-8 years I went ahead with the flooded cell Trojans. The short replacement cycle this time was purely a hedge. I work mine awfully hard, especially in the winter.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Three caps (need to check all three, or just one?) and smaller battery lug on Trojan vs one cap and two bolt holes per lug on Surrette?

    Trojan looks like to can dense stack (handles at top of case). Surrette need access to two sides of case to attach lifting rope/clamp?

    You really have me guessing here. ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,175 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Bill wins the cupie doll! Why would one buy a battery with three cells to check when there are batteries with only one cell for roughly the same capacity? Why would one design a battery this way? Are there just three of the 6V L16 cells in parrallel rather than series?

    This has nothing to do with Mangas's selection on the 6V L16's. I would love to hear what Trojan says but I have lost so much faith in seeing what they did here with the 2V L16. Maybe there is some better explanation than my worst fear. Is this the converse of "less is more" design?

    As for my non answer previously, this has to be fun for me also. If you want instant answers I have an option for those folks! Clienthood!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,485 admin
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Hmmm... Sounds like a quick and dirty engineering upgrade... Virtually the same case moldings and plates--just change the bus bars to three parallel cells instead of three in series. :cry:

    Well, that was not nice...

    And there goes Dave trolling for customers again with his good advice... Bad Dave, Bad Dave.:p;):D

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    Well, I sure have to agree it's not fun watering 64 flooded cel batteries at 192 cels.

    With the apron, goggles, gloves and water filler, I look more like a mad scientist than an alternative energy practitioner. . .

    But then, it's halloween.

    By the way Trojan now offers two post designs on the REBs'.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    Mangas wrote: »
    With the apron, goggles, gloves and water filler, I look more like a mad scientist than an alternative energy practitioner. . .

    As if there's a difference...
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    So, what are the options folks use to water their batteries? I'd bought a pair of 1 quart fillers, but can't use them with the Water Miser caps (the cap spaces the filler tube too high, and nearly floods the cell)

    (Not the hydrocaps, just filters out the mist, and lets it drip back into the battery)

    Currently, I'm using a qt gatorade bottle, refilled from a 2.5 gallon jug of DI water. Sometimes I end up watering the battery tops instead of the filler hole. I'm thinking of some sort of high mounted bottle, and length of tube, and a flow control of some sort, which would let me fill cells as long as the bottle lasts. Any other ideas ?

    Mike

    wind-sun_2125_5608132
    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 ,

  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    I just use a funnel and a gallon jug of distilled. I don't have recombiant tops though.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • jeffkrusejeffkruse Solar Expert Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    :confused:

    Don't you all use some configuration of a turkey baster?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,752 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance
    jeffkruse wrote: »
    :confused:

    Don't you all use some configuration of a turkey baster?


    Ones I've tried, all dribble, and takes 3-4 shots to fill a cell. too slow.
    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 ,

  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    I use a Plewes automotive battery water filler bottle that controls the top up levels. Used em' for years. Never had a problem. Keep two spares.

    I remove the water miser caps first, rinse them in a bucket of distilled water and re-install.

    No mess. No spills.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: L16-REB Performance

    At full charge, I believe the new L16-REB 6 volt runs 1.265 SG which is slightly lower than my old L16-Ps.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
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