Batteries really can disappoint you BiG TiMe!

CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
Ok, so I have a set of moderately used FLA batteries that I've been keeping on float charge for the past 8 months "just in case" I may need to use them one day should we have an extended blackout that my 260Ah AGM's can't handle. They are 4x50Ah 12v multi-purpose batteries designed for infrequent deep cycling.

Decided to run a capacity test on them today to see how much usable power they could still deliver.

To my dismay they could barely make 30% of their rated capacity at the C/10 rate, 25% at the C/5 rate and 15% at the C/1 rate.

This was despite a good SG reading of 1.27 average and a good resting voltage of over 12.7v per battery...

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,576 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Use them or lose them. This happens all the time since the beginning. They have lost capacity. The first symptom is "my batteries really charge fast"

    The other thing is that you may have lost electrolyte being upside down below the equator.....
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • CALLDCALLD Solar Expert Posts: 230 ✭✭
    The other thing is that you may have lost electrolyte being upside down below the equator.....

    Hahahaha yes I was wondering if there was a downside to being here other than having to endure "winter" this time of year...
    No the only problem with these batteries is inferior quality I believe.

    Running a similar test on my AGM's as we speak and so far all is looking good.

    Think my best bet with those FLA's are the nearest pawn shop...
  • ApplesApples Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    The other thing is that you may have lost electrolyte being upside down below the equator.....

    Indeed, my good man. Batteries manufactured in North America are abhorrent of sub-latitudinal axial vortexing. The only thing I've ever seen bring them back once they've been subject to such severe treatment are multiple applications, mind you, of the rare and expensive turbo-encabulator lead plate resuscitation algorithm.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,348 admin
    You are really a "Bad Apple"... :D

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ApplesApples Solar Expert Posts: 39 ✭✭
    Are you suggesting I stick with my day job?

    Dang. Harsh crowd.

    sombrero.gif
  • lkruperlkruper Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    Use them or lose them. This happens all the time since the beginning. They have lost capacity. The first symptom is "my batteries really charge fast"

    The other thing is that you may have lost electrolyte being upside down below the equator.....

    I am considering a small (126 - 225) battery for backup purposes. I don't think it will be used much, for example, in the past 5 years it would have used one time for about 12 hours.

    Odyssey advertises that their AGM batteries will last 8-12 years on standby. I have been told that FLA batteries last longer than AGM batteries. How long will FLA batteries last at a moderate temperature and kept at float? The most action they would probably get is exercising them while testing my backup system from time to time. Is there a specification that documents the loss of capacity in % per year down to 80% of original capacity at float?

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,348 admin
    Back to basics... No battery based system is going to be "worth it" for 12 hour usage in 5 years. Unless it is worth it to you.

    12 hours--Not enough to do much for a refrigerator/freezer. Not even really needed to pump/store water. Lighting? Radio? Computer+Cell phone? Heart Assist machine? Oxygen concentrator?

    A small genset (like a Honda eu1000i or eu2000i), a siphon hose, extension cord, possibly a bicycle lock, and a car with 1/2 a tank of gas could be more practical--But like batteries, a generator is an unknown until you use it.

    If it was for lighting, I would get some small/efficient LED flashlights, some AA (alkaline or lithium) or CR 123 Lithium cells, and a small radio (try to standardize on your cells between devices). You can also get USB chargers for cell phones/small computers that run from automobile or even battery packs (AA or rechargeable).

    The smallest amount of power you can use during an outage lets you keep the backup power devices small too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • lkruperlkruper Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    Back to basics... No battery based system is going to be "worth it" for 12 hour usage in 5 years. Unless it is worth it to you.

    12 hours--Not enough to do much for a refrigerator/freezer. Not even really needed to pump/store water. Lighting? Radio? Computer+Cell phone? Heart Assist machine? Oxygen concentrator?

    A small genset (like a Honda eu1000i or eu2000i), a siphon hose, extension cord, possibly a bicycle lock, and a car with 1/2 a tank of gas could be more practical--But like batteries, a generator is an unknown until you use it.

    If it was for lighting, I would get some small/efficient LED flashlights, some AA (alkaline or lithium) or CR 123 Lithium cells, and a small radio (try to standardize on your cells between devices). You can also get USB chargers for cell phones/small computers that run from automobile or even battery packs (AA or rechargeable).

    The smallest amount of power you can use during an outage lets you keep the backup power devices small too.

    -Bill

    All of what you say is true and makes sense. However, I am not considering this for just a 12 hour outage. Our cabin is in an area where this is one road out and which can get washed out with a flash flood. I am making plans in case the El Nino happens this year, in which case we could likely lose power for much longer. Here is my plan.

    1) Small Inverter/Generator and extension cord with gas can. - in place.

    Note: Already have 55 gal of water and backpacking freeze dried food, normally heat in fireplace, practicing cooking.
    Have backpacking stove with fuel, Propane canisters for BBQ, lots of batteries for Coleman electric lantern,
    half a dozen oil lamps with fuel, battery powered emergency radio. Should be able to keep satellite TV and DSL modem
    going no problem with genny.

    2) Manual transfer switch - acquired ... bids for electrician received, read to be installed in the next month or so.
    3) Next phase being considered - Small battery (225 - 450 AH) sized to allow for overnight power so we don't need to listen to the generator
    to be kept on float with three-stage charger and charged with generator. --- Not really cost effective or necessary, but nice to have.
    4) Add solar panel and charge controller to plan for an extended outage. If I have 10 gallons of gas stored for the generator, that will last 10 days.
    It would be unlikely that we would be stranded for that long, but the cost of this addition would only be another $500 - 750 or so and I would have
    a new hobby.



  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,576 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You said in case El Nino happens this year. It better happen or there will be boats on the dirt in all of our lakes.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,265 ✭✭✭✭
    FWIW...storing batteries in a cool environment really helps longevity,

    This is why off grid Canucks rarely sing the blues......j/k...sort of.
    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
  • lkruperlkruper Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    You said in case El Nino happens this year. It better happen or there will be boats on the dirt in all of our lakes.

    Having flash floods now.... I think El Nino is here ... so long as the weather pattern holds.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    lkruper wrote: »
    Odyssey advertises that their AGM batteries will last 8-12 years on standby. I have been told that FLA batteries last longer than AGM batteries.

    There are deep cycle batteries, both flooded and AGM, that are specifically designed to live long lives on float. Typically, they do not have the cycle-life that typical deep cycle batteries have. They are widely used in the telecom industry. Some of the better ones will have their rated output for 20 years of float.

    These type of batteries are often used in parallel configurations... they are an exception to the rule that parallel batteries are less than optimal design. Parallel batteries work just fine if they are rarely cycled.

    As 'softdown' mentioned, keeping any battery cool can add years to its life.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • lkruperlkruper Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    vtmaps wrote: »

    There are deep cycle batteries, both flooded and AGM, that are specifically designed to live long lives on float. Typically, they do not have the cycle-life that typical deep cycle batteries have. They are widely used in the telecom industry. Some of the better ones will have their rated output for 20 years of float.

    These type of batteries are often used in parallel configurations... they are an exception to the rule that parallel batteries are less than optimal design. Parallel batteries work just fine if they are rarely cycled.

    As 'softdown' mentioned, keeping any battery cool can add years to its life.

    --vtMaps

    I wonder if anyone has ever dedicated a small fridge to hold their agm batteries.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    I would need a walk in reefer, but winter temps take care of that for free... 'sides moving 1800# of batteries x 2 is more than a one man show...:cry:
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,265 ✭✭✭✭
    Kept hearing Californians whining about the drought. So they get some rain. Whining intensifies. Californians....

    j/k
    lkruper wrote: »

    Having flash floods now.... I think El Nino is here ... so long as the weather pattern holds.

    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
  • lkruperlkruper Solar Expert Posts: 115 ✭✭
    softdown wrote: »
    Kept hearing Californians whining about the drought. So they get some rain. Whining intensifies. Californians....

    j/k



    I'm disappointed. I was hoping the power would go out so I could deploy my generator :)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,348 admin
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AguarancherAguarancher Solar Expert Posts: 282 ✭✭✭
    Down here in the desert we don’t get rain in the summer, we get downpours and cloud bursts. When that happens you stay out of the washes and head for higher ground and just let Mother Nature have her way, because she Always wins..
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