Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
Well it's looking like the time is rapidly approaching when my six, 11 year old Power Battery 6 Volt L16 batteries need replacing. New, the bank made up a 1125 AH battery pack that has worked beyond my most hoped for expectations. Now however, when under a 100A load, the voltage drops to 11.5 within seconds, even though the SG is still showing full charge, and when the load is removed, the voltage comes right back. All cables etc are tight and like new. It's as if the batteries have developed a much higher than normal internal resistance. AND, today I noticed for the first time, that each and every one of the Positive battery posts is pushing up, bulging the top of the battery upwards around the post. The neg posts have also slightly pushed up, but nothing at all like the positive posts. That to me seems very strange. The plastic top around the posts hasn't yet cracked, but I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen any day now. What would cause the battery posts to push up vertically out of the batteries? Old age? :D
Anyway, since the Surrette factory is here in Nova Scotia, I'm considering a single string of their 2 volt cells, S-1380, and wondering if anyone has any experience with them. I'm well aware that in the past there have been real scary stories about Surrette batteries, but lately they seem to have eased off. Still it is a concern for me.
Thanks for any input.
Wayne
http://rollsbattery.com/public/specsheets/S-1380.pdf

Comments

  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    Well it's looking like the time is rapidly approaching when my six, 11 year old Power Battery 6 Volt L16 batteries need replacing. New, the bank made up a 1125 AH battery pack that has worked beyond my most hoped for expectations. Now however, when under a 100A load, the voltage drops to 11.5 within seconds, even though the SG is still showing full charge, and when the load is removed, the voltage comes right back. ... It's as if the batteries have developed a much higher than normal internal resistance. [/url]

    One possibility is that active material has fallen off the plates, reducing the cells' capacity.
    BTW, you did check to confirm that all cells are going down in voltage equally rather than one individual cell in a string showing a very big voltage drop?

    One cause of the posts popping up could be accumulation of dreck on the bottom of the cell or growth of the plate material past the original bottom edge, allowing normal thermal expansion and chemical expansion to force the inter cell connectors and the posts upward. Kind of like frost heave.

    When the cells are fully charged, the coup de fount effect could cause a short term voltage drop which should return to "normal" for that load current after a minute or less and not reappear until after the batteries are once again brought to full charge. It does sound like your problem is internal resistance instead. But that should kick in immediately, not after a few seconds. Possibly the meter is just slow to react?

    I wish them an honorable retirement at the recycler. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Thanks inetdog, No, I didn't check individual cell voltages as there are 3 strings of two in parallel, and as the SG is as high as it ever was, and equal in all 18 cells, so assumed it would be a common problem, especially after noticing the bulged tops around the + terminals. I truly consider myself very lucky to have them last as long as they have, and fear I'll not get that long life again, but who knows. Still no abnormal voltage drop running smaller loads like water pump, washing machine etc, just the microwave, electric frying pan etc where there was never a problem before.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    wayne,
    it certainly sounds like they've had it, but who could ask for a better lifespan? you could check for a failed cell too, but it would only serve to take out one of the strings and unless you can find another used battery to replace it, the string wouldn't be back up again. in any case, they are short lived for this world.

    in light of surrette being nearby then i'd go for it. it'll still be a pain if you encounter any problems, but being closer may help in getting it resolved quicker and cheaper. that will be your call though.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Thanks Niel, so far it looks like that's the way I'll go. Hopefully the old ones will hold out till early Summer, but we'll see. I'm really looking forward to one single string for a change, and will likely go with some sort of hydro-caps, they'll pay for themselves in saved distilled water purchases over the years, especially if I only have to get 6 instead or 18!
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    wayne,
    check anyway for a bad cell as that could drag down the other strings. being surrette is close that should you find one with a bad cell in it then maybe they could dig up a crappy battery to sub until the replacing of the bank?
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    niel wrote: »
    wayne,
    check anyway for a bad cell as that could drag down the other strings.
    I did today check each of the 18 cells for any differences etc in SG but each and every one showed fully charged, high SG, so I figured if there was a bad cell, it would have shown up in SG reading. I'll check the voltage across each of the 6 batteries tomorrow.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    I'll check the voltage across each of the 6 batteries tomorrow.
    Preferably under load....
    (Since you may be looking for high internal resistance.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 957 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Hi Wayne

    As ING bank says: "Save your money!" I had hydrocaps on my Surrette batteries. After a couple of years they died, one by one. Upon researching more about them, how to revitalize etc i found out that the catalyst only works for a limited number of amp hours of charging...roughly the number of amp hours I had done. That was with Hydrocaps, the brand named ones. They are still on the batteries because they are a great big handful of cap to unscrew, not a little finger and thumb twist to remove. And expensive! Now Water Misers might be the way to go, but I have my own distiller, so water is not a problem. In the summer, with the most cycling and charging (least utility power used) I might use 6 litres of water per month. My little still can make that in 1.5 days.

    My humble advise would be to try Water misers if you're going to specialized caps, or find a 1 gallon distiller and produce your own water as a dump load.

    Ralph
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Thanks very much Ralph for that eye-opener on the hydrocaps! I had no idea!
    Perhaps a good project would be to build a tiny electric distiller and only operate it when batteries are in float. :D
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    today I noticed for the first time, that each and every one of the Positive battery posts is pushing up, bulging the top of the battery upwards around the post.

    The most common cause of premature battery failure is sulfation. That is obviously not your situation because your SG is high. In an attempt to avoid sulfation it may be that some of us are overcharging our batteries. That would manifest as bulging positive battery posts.
    BB. wrote: »
    When equalizing, the split hydrogen and oxygen molecules tend to go different places. The hydrogen tends to out-gas into the air... The Oxygen tends to bind into the positive plate and create lead-oxide. This causes the positive plate to swell and can sometimes be seen as bulging battery walls and seeing the positive post(s) being forced up through the top of the battery case.

    The part I am not sure about is how fast this happens (a few weeks to months of excessive equalization--or over the period of years).

    If your bulging posts result in premature battery death, then you have been overcharging. But I'm not so sure your battery death is premature. I would be thrilled to get 11 years from my L16s.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Well vtmaps, you may very well be right on the overcharging, most of the time the voltage is right up there via the tiny hydro, then when the sun comes up the MX-60 goes right to float. Going to have to try and use more power from now on.
    Now there's a statement regarding electricity use: "Going to have to try and use more power". Think I may have developed a real bad case of Conservitis. Is there a cure? Hahahaha
    If it weren't for the occasional real heavy loads, shop tools etc, I could reduce the battery size, but on the other hand, if I can get anywhere near the life out of the future Surrettes, I'll be one happy camper!
    Now, shortly off to check battery voltages under heavy load. Will report back.
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    If I make a box with water in it and put slanted glass on top to cover it, if I collect the condensed water off the glass, is this distilled water?
    Thanks
    gww
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,212 admin
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Wayne, you could go with Water Miser Battery Caps instead (I guess there are more models than NAWS lists here--the taller caps may work better). Basically just a mechanical filter instead to collect the mist and drip it back into the cell... Supposed to be 80% as effective at conserving water vs hydro caps, without the whole catalyst issue.

    GWW, yes, a the water collected off a glass plate would be distilled. You could get a cheap TDS (total dissolved solids) meter to verify the water is "clear" dissolved minerals. Filtered rain water is supposed to be OK too (I would let the first rains wash of the roof first).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,462 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Water miser caps conserve battery acid, and return it back to the cell. As the gas bubbles rise to the top and pop, they spray a tiny droplet of acid up (and out). Some of this makes it past the plain vent cap, and you see the residue of it on the top of the battery. You wipe it up, and then you add distilled water. And you now have slightly diluted acid.
    They don't wear out, and work as advertised.
    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 ,

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Thanks guys for your info and ideas. I like the Water miser caps idea and also the very simple solar distiller suggestion. This Forum is filled with awesome folks!
    OK, made the measurements on the battery bank.
    Cut off all charge sources leaving voltage at 14.4. Checking individual batteries, voltage was between 7.01 and 7.03.
    Added 100 amp load and voltage instantly went to 13.6.
    After 30 seconds, voltage had fallen off to 11.8, 5.83 to 6 volts per battery and seemed to be holding there under that load.
    Clamp meter showed roughly 33 amps discharge per string.
    After 5 minutes, disconnected the load and immediately the voltage went to 12.4, and within 3 minutes had gone to 12.8.
    Reconnected the PV and hydro, MX-60 initially pumped in 61 amps, hydro 10 amps. The MX 60 right away switched to Float.
    I'm now sure of two things. Yes, the batteries were being overcharged, ALTHOUGH it's been 3 months now since water was added, and the level is still high enough to make it not worth while adding any at this time. And 2), the batteries have developed a higher than normal internal resistance.
    Oh well, after 11 years they owe me nothing at all. They've been very loyal travelers through a significant portion of my life, and who knows, they might just last till Summer arrives :)
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    I also have and recommend the water miser caps. The manufacturer sells three heights... the taller they are the better they work. I bought mine from the manufacturer because NAWS doesn't carry the tallest cap.

    I've seen some folks on the internet complain that the caps don't save much water. That may or may not be true... they don't recombine hydrogen and oxygen. Their strong point is that they save battery acid and prevent corrosion.

    By the way, the catalyst-type caps that do recombine hydrogen and oxygen have a very limited life span because the sulfuric acid mist damages them.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Good points vtmaps. Thanks!
  • Sun DogSun Dog Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Wayne, the sad thing is that even though Surrette is in your backyard you will likely get a better price from a US distributor :grr
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    Sun Dog wrote: »
    Wayne, the sad thing is that even though Surrette is in your backyard you will likely get a better price from a US distributor :grr

    Unfortunately I don't doubt that one little bit. There's something VERY wrong with our system. What ever happened to so-called "Free Trade"?
    Years ago my Uncle needed a new farm tractor At the time the one he wanted was being built in Ontario Canada. It was $1000.00 cheaper for him to order it through an outfit in England!
    Not kidding. It was one thousand dollars cheaper to have the farm tractor shipped across the ocean to England, have the paper work processed there, then have the tractor shipped back across the Atlantic to Halifax, than it would have been for him to purchase it here in Canada!!
    We are continually being screwed that way at every turn and in every way! grrr is right! :grr
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Bill
    Thanks for answering my question and pointing out about the rain water.
    gww
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    wayne,
    if you want go to with a distiller that would be the #1 thing to do for them. if you get one be sure to make several runs with it to get any possible impurities out of there. you might think #2 would be to buy the distilled water at the store, but i have found the distilled water sold near me was not pure as a tds showed 2ppm. this is probably still acceptable to use, but over many years this builds up in the battery. My 2nd choice would be to boil it to kill anything possibly living in it and after it cooled back to room temperature put it through a zero water filter.
    http://www.discountfilterstore.com/water-pitcher-zerowater-zd-013.html?fsource=pricegrabber
    i had used this with the result of 0ppm in it making it better than the store bought distilled. it even came with a tds meter.
    now i'm not advocating buying it from that link per say, but only wished to show you what it looks like. i even forgot where i bought it from (i'm getting old at least in my mind i am:confused::p), but some of the major stores do carry it.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Interesting thoughts on "distilled" water Niel. Thanks. I had assumed distilled water was pure, but I guess like everything else, if vendors can get away with crap, that's what they'll sell you.
    BTW, shut off my hydro overnight to see how the batteries handled the 2 freezers, fridge, air exchanger, sat receiver etc by themselves, expecting the batteries to be run down this morning. Well it seems that they still have reasonable capacity in spite of high internal resistance. At the moment, with the computer, satellite receiver and air exchanger running, both freezers and the fridge resting between their normal cycles, battery voltage is 12.47. With one of the freezers running (additional 10 amp load), batt voltage drops within seconds to 12.3, and is down to 12.2 by the time it stops, but then makes its way right back to 12.47, so there's still life there, as long as I don't demand too much at any one time. After all these years, truly incredible batteries that have served above and beyond the call of duty. Think I paid roughly $1500 for them way back when. That's roughly $11 per month spread out over their life. Definitely no complaints there! Oh that I were younger, wouldn't I cut those grid lines in a hurry!
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    that's not bad for 11yr old batteries. i think you can take your time looking for replacements in light of this info. i do think you needed to cycle the batteries a bit once in awhile so try to do that in the future for the new ones.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?
    niel wrote: »
    that's not bad for 11yr old batteries. i think you can take your time looking for replacements in light of this info. i do think you needed to cycle the batteries a bit deeper once in awhile, so try to do that in the future for the new ones.

    Agree on both points Niel. Things are looking far better than I had expected. The sun is about to burst up over the Eastern horizon, pelt us with it's radiation and put the MX-60 to work, so all is good here today :)
    Hope you have a great day Niel!
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    you caught me editing my bad english.

    i certainly hope it's a good day as i'm overdue for one, but still, i'm thankful it hasn't been worse.:-)
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Peace be with you Niel!
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Rolls (Surrette) S-1380 experience anyone?

    Checked the MX-60 at 11:30am and found it in Float, after having pumped in 1.4 Kwh. Looking not to bad after all, in spite of higher than normal internal battery resistance. Makes me happy. :D
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