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Question: What battery is best for living off the grid?
Trojan 105
Gell cell sealed
Costco deep cycle
Other

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Oregonconversion
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« on: November 30, 2009, 09:17:37 PM »

I am going to be living with as much free power as I can from the sun and wind. What battery will give me the best longevity and performance? I want these puppies to last for 10 years!


I have narrowed it down to these batteries. Please let me know if you reccomend something else.

Trojan 105s. Nice because they are more efficient being a series parallel system, but how efficient?
Costco $70 deep cycle batteries (#14 I think) most bang for the buck.
Gell cell batteries. Twice the price.. But less maintainance and I won't have to vent. Any other benefits?

Btw I am running a 12V 3000 watt inverter and want about 1000AH for about $1000-1500

thanks in advance for your responce.
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 09:38:01 PM »

I voted for Gel because they are maintenance free and can be put about anywhere in any position.

But I did see some big a$$ cool batteries made specially for solar/wind systems at a scrap yard in Fort Collins, Co. Weighed about 200 lbs each and were lead acid. Guy had them for ten years or more but were shot.  I believe there were 10 of them.

What you got for solar & wind power now or just in planning stages?
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 09:50:25 PM »

For what you say you wanted to use them for then i voted trojan 105s. I just bought 4 of them today. where at do you live? i live in salem and i got them from batteriesnorthwest for $50 each. Im a little worried about using them to start the bus but im getting ready to start a tread about that Smiley
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Joshua Chapin
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2009, 09:57:32 PM »

Oh ya with 4 of the trojan 105s, im getting 450AH. 4 of them cost $200 + $16 for two 2-O jumpers so grand total of $216.

If you double that you will have 900AH for $432

and so on.....

Thats way less then you thought you needed to spend if your close to Salem
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Joshua Chapin
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 10:14:07 PM »

You get what you pay for.  If you want a cheap battery that will work, but have to constantly be checking the water, make sure they are properly vented, clean the terminals regularly, and wait a long time for them to charge back up-then the Trojan T105's are the ones for you.
If on the other hand, you get a battery that is expensive, but never have to check water since it is sealed, they don't need venting and can be mounted in any position (except upside down), never have to clean the terminals since they don't out gas, and the will take as much amperage charging as long as you don't over volt them- then the Absorbed Glass Mat-like the Lifeline batteries are for you. 
I replaced my two standard deep cycle 8D watered batteries with Lifeline AGM 8D's four years ago, and I have done ZERO as to maintenance to those batteries-they just keep on working.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 10:17:51 PM »

That's a good price! Are they referbs? I can get the blue top optima batteries for $50 and they are referbished.
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 10:36:27 PM »

Ya they are referbs but have bought all my batteries there for over 7 years with no problems.
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 10:47:17 PM »

Tom, if you don't mind me asking, where did you get the Lifeline AGM 8D's and how much each?
Thanks
Jack
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 04:30:22 AM »

Jack, you can figure the cost of a AGM battery at around 3 bucks a AH you get more bang for the buck with a golf cart battery they are around a buck for each AH.
All depends on what you want I guess I am the only one here that hasn't had good luck with the Lifeline battery and fwiw you can install it upside down you see it all the time in Prevost.  
You can buy the same battery made by the same company for less money named Concorde only difference is a warranty you pay big bucks for the warranty on a Lifeline battery I am not going to waste any more money on AGM after 3 sets at over 1800 bucks.
Lifeline is good about replacing batteries under warranty I will hand that to them.
Mounting batteries on the inside of your coach AGM is the only way too go but I can buy a lot of water for the 1200 bucks difference in the price


good luck
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 05:43:22 AM »

It all comes down to dollars per amp-hour per year.  I think that if you religiously dedicated one to two hours per month, every month, for battery maintenance, lead acid wet cells like the T-105's would be the best value.
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2009, 06:14:23 AM »

I use 4, 12 volt, floor scrubber batteries (acid). they are hooked up series and parallel to give me 24 volts, which feeds a 4500 amp inverter with 100 amp smart charger they have worked great the last 5 years. I paid $200 Cnd each   
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2009, 07:41:45 AM »

I favor the Golf Cart type batteries for the economics.  Yes, you need to watch the water, but that is not a huge deal

No matter what your choice, YOU ***MUST*** monitor "state of charge" if you plan to do a lot of off grid "camping".  You can't do this with a voltmeter (you can if you let the batteries sit for 24 hours without input or output).  Get a state of charge meter like this one:  http://www.bogartengineering.com/.  Then, never let the state of charge get below 50%.  If you do that, most any DEEP CYCLE battery will give you good service.

BTW, with a wet system, you can check the specific gravity of each cell in order to determine if there is a battery problem.

Jim
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2009, 08:12:39 AM »

For some reason when I used 8 golf cart batteries in series and parallel the terminals and cables corroded like crazy.  I took everything apart and cleaned all the corrosion off and used a battery spray, but it happened again in a month or two.  I checked the water and it was always good.  It may have been all of the cables I used to connect the batteries I don't know.

I bought some used AGM batteries cheap and they seem to work fine.  I did get battery cables all the same length this time and wired to common studs.

Same inverter/charger for both sets of batteries.  I do know golf cart batteries work for lots of folks.  I had a bad experience.
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2009, 08:20:49 AM »

I bought the Lifeline batteries straight from the factory in Irwindale, Ca.  If I remember right, they were about $450.00 each-which works out to be less then $1.76 per amp hour-not that much more then the watered battery (the 8D's put out 255 amp hours). The only thing I don't like about the 8D's is the weight- 165lbs.  Next time will use either the 220amp hour, or the larger 300 amp hour 6v batteries to get around 1500 amp hours since my refrigerator is going to be a home type.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2009, 08:52:23 AM »

TomC call and get a price now close to 600 bucks for new stock and about 550. for old stock


good luck
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2009, 09:50:58 AM »

I use 4, 12 volt, floor scrubber batteries (acid). they are hooked up series and parallel to give me 24 volts, which feeds a 4500 amp inverter with 100 amp smart charger they have worked great the last 5 years. I paid $200 Cnd each   


I have 4 6volt ones hooked up the same way. Got mine free from a tow motor place. Been in use since May.

I also in a separate bank have 6 gel cells 12 volt used when I got them and I have been using them for 2 years. The do however need replaced.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2009, 08:46:28 AM »

After a bad experience and learning the proper way to maintain wet batteries, I swear by them. I check my water levels weekly and constantly monitor the charge level, which is something I didn't do before (charge level) and ended up replacing the entire bank in a year. If you don't mind regular maintenance, the Trojans are your best bet for the money, and take Jim's (Safetyman) advice to heart and get the proper meter. My $.02 worth, Will
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2009, 08:56:09 AM »

I'm very interested in this idea but for both my daughters house and the anti-KOA, Menards here in this area, it's like home depot, has now started carrying 400 amp wind turbins for 499 and also 80 watt solar panels for 499, I'm very interested in offsetting some of our utility costs by maybe a combination of the 2, I'm thinking about the battery end of it, we already have a 1000 watt freedom inverter that could be used, so I'll be watching and reading closely.
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2009, 02:49:53 PM »

I'm very interested in this idea but for both my daughters house and the anti-KOA, Menards here in this area, it's like home depot, has now started carrying 400 amp wind turbins for 499 and also 80 watt solar

400 amps at what voltage?  If it was 240 volt AC it could power an entire house and then some.  I doubt the city would ever let me install one of these.

I'll have to see if the Menards in my area has these.
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009, 02:59:11 PM »

400 watts not amps, sorry, my mind is gone lol at 12 volts, same as nicks wind turbine
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2009, 03:04:51 PM »

I don't think the solar in your area specially winter time will be worth the expense at least that small of a unit.
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2009, 04:16:09 PM »

I had figured that 1000 watts is a good starting point, this area has a lot of solar usage and even more wind turbines, I just hadn't taken the time to check into them in the past to any great degree, I had built a solar heater that hung from a window about 20 years ago based on a design I found in the Mother Earth News that worked quite well in the winter, we used that for a couple of years then it got damaged and not replaced. 
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2009, 12:55:53 PM »

All I know about batteries is the same as snakes. Both will bite you before you know they are there!! I guess I went to simple. I got a good deal on 6 autocraft deep cycle maint free 12 volt. Got 6 for app. $400.00. Did I go wrong?
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« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2009, 08:23:05 PM »

I love my 8D AGM's
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« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2009, 08:39:32 PM »

Well it sounds like I want sealed gell batteries. I think maintainance free sounds great. Also the charge rate. And the fact that they do not need to be vented and will not corode my stuff.

GO DUCKS!
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« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2009, 08:46:54 PM »

Gell batteries are touchy about charging make sure your charger will work AGM batteries are not there is a difference in the 2 batteries 

good luck
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2009, 05:43:39 AM »

I wouldn't recommend anyone buy gel batteries because they are so picky on charging and such.  AGM batteries are much better and most sealed batteries are AGM these days anyhow.

My inverter has both gel and flodded settings and the manufacturer of my AGM batteries recommended using the gel setting.
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2009, 08:29:11 AM »

I have a xantrex RV3012 so I don't think I'll have a problem charging
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2009, 03:31:42 PM »

My starting batteries are Interstate 31's (2) and my deep cycle are Lifeline 8D (2).  I can set the inverter/charger that has 3 stage charging so both sets of batteries are happy on the same setting.  I don't believe you can do that with GelCells.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2009, 09:54:14 PM »

These are large, heavy STORAGE batteries and not based upon automotive starting battery technology or infrastructure like size or case dimensions.

The are a nominal 1.2 VDC PER CELL and you need ten (10) of them for a nominal 12VDC system, or 20 for a 24VDC system and so on.

They are old technology.  The nickle iron batts were called Edision Cells, which gives you an idea.  In theory they should last practically forever.

Alkaline, not acid.  Crazy things require a layer of battery oil on top of the electrolyte to keep the O2 in the air from reacting with it.  Require equalization.

Actually enjoy being totally flat discharged, then overcharged to prolong life.  They will boil if properly charged and require LOTS of distilled water.

Could you make your own nickle iron cells?  Dunno.  Have no idea where you can find NEW nickle irons right now.  $Expensive$ when you could.

Heavy for their capacity and size.  If you have lots of physical space and a strong floor, nickle iron batts would be the batt of choice.  Freezing doesn't hurt.

Nickle Cadiums are not considered ecologically friendly.  Ni Fe batts love being left in a state of partial discharge with no harm.  Good luck.  HB of CJ (old coot)
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2009, 11:03:02 AM »

Hey HB, Aren't those the bats that the phone company used back in the 60's and 70's for their remote switching stations? Probably even before then, I just remember a large heavy 'Alkaline' battery that required a lot of them in series to generate 120V DC for their equipment. I could be mistaken, mind isn't what it used to be LOL Will
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« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2009, 06:47:58 AM »

Hey HB, Aren't those the bats that the phone company used back in the 60's and 70's for their remote switching stations? Probably even before then, I just remember a large heavy 'Alkaline' battery that required a lot of them in series to generate 120V DC for their equipment.


Phones are 48vdc.  All phone company facilities run on this voltage, even the 20+ story towers in major cities, not just remote sites.  And they all run on the batteries all the time, it's not a standby-type system like a UPS.

Most facilities use conventional lead acid batteries.  When the offices were built, properly segregated and vented rooms were incorporated for the batteries.  Nowadays, AGMs are used almost exclusively, because they have a lower lifetime cost of operation than any other type (flooded or gelled), and as the flooded batteries are retired, they get replaced with AGMs when practical (you pretty much need to change out the whole battery room in a matter of a few days, without ever disconnecting the power).

Remember, phone installations are a "float/standby" applications -- the batteries spend almost their entire lives on float, and they discharge deeply only on the rare occasions when commercial power is lost.  That's a different battery construction than the sort of deep cycle usage needed on a coach.  NiFe or NiCd are actually poor choices for this type of service; they need to be discharged completely on occasion to maintain their capacity, and do not tolerate constant float well.

The exception in the telecommunications world are remote off-grid installations, which are usually solar-powered.  These installations often use AGM batteries, but you will also find gel, NiCd, NiMH, and Li-ion in the field as well.  You won't find NiFe, as that technology was phased out of existence in most of the world years ago; I believe only China still manufactures NiFe batteries.

This whole thread has inspired me to write on the topic; look for my article on battery technologies in the January issue of BCM.

-Sean
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« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2009, 07:20:48 AM »

I read about how great the AGM batteries are on this board and no one ever seems to have a problem with AGM battries but me.
I am still working on my battery compartment where one vented taking out the other 5.
 I have found out they do have problems sometime with the AZ heat and charging, I saw another RV that had one vent SAT at the RV dealer.
I like the idea of no corrosion and adding water but they just don't work for me and all the 300amp Lifeline I have had seem to hesitate till they have a full load and I am not the only one that notices that talking to the guys at Copper State and AZ Wind and Sun that is a common topic among  RV owners with 2 or 4 of the AGM .
Mine either vented and blew up or blew up and then vented but it was a mess and still is.
 


good luck
 
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« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2009, 07:46:25 AM »



Sean

 must have been a few years since you were in a central office.
now all are computer run with standby battery for the processor.

A 1,000 port non-blocking switch runs off a 200watt power supply.

uncle ned
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« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2009, 08:20:24 AM »

I read about how great the AGM batteries are on this board and no one ever seems to have a problem with AGM battries but me.
I am still working on my battery compartment where one vented taking out the other 5.
 I have found out they do have problems sometime with the AZ heat and charging, I saw another RV that had one vent SAT at the RV dealer.  ...


Clifford (and all):

I did not include this in the article, and in hindsight perhaps I should have, but it is unequivocal that one potential drawback to VRLA batteries (that includes both AGM and gel) is the possibility of a condition known as "thermal runaway."  When a VRLA battery undergoes thermal runaway, it basically explodes, and I would guess this is what happened in your case.

The most common root cause of thermal runaway is excessive charge voltage/current under high heat conditions.  This is one reason why it is recommended that you have a temperature-compensated charger, with a temperature sensor properly positioned on the batteries.  Also, battery compartments for VRLA batteries should be temperature-controlled; whereas flooded batteries should always be outside the personnel space for gassing safety, VRLA batteries are often better off inside the personnel space to take advantage of the climate control.

Constant float is another factor that can "prime" a VRLA battery for a thermal runaway.  Studies have been done on this:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/v337108736332440/
http://telephonyonline.com/wireless/mag/wireless_thermal_runaway/

This should be a consideration for anyone who spends a lot of time connected to a power outlet, where the batteries are on constant float (as opposed to away from power, where the batteries are regularly cycled).

I advise anyone, whether they have VRLAs or not, to disconnect the main battery charger when storing their coach, and, instead let the batteries cycle down, then top them up every couple of weeks to a month.  Constant float is generally not good for batteries; in applications such as telecom where it is unavoidable, the batteries are watched religiously, and have different construction to tolerate this service (I do not recommend telecom batteries for bus conversions for this reason).

must have been a few years since you were in a central office.


A few, but not many, and I am still well connected.

Quote
now all are computer run with standby battery for the processor.


At the risk of derailing this thread, the most common class-5 offices (for the lay folks, those are the telephone switches at the end of your home phone line) are the Lucent #5ESS (a product on which I worked when I was at the labs), the Northern DMS-100, and the GTE GTD-5 EAX.  All three of those switches, while "computer" controlled (we called them "processors"), are 48 VDC battery powered.  Remote modules for those systems, which comprise now the majority of rural end offices, are also 48 vdc powered, including the computer controls.

The 5ESS, BTW, is controlled by a computer that AT&T briefly tried to sell as a stand-alone general purpose computer, the 3B20D (redundant duplex model; 3B20S was the simplex version).  We had to create 208-vac power supplies for them for this purpose -- the 3B20 is a 48-vdc system.  Now that's 25+ years ago, but most of those switches are still in service, and the 5E's made today are still based on a 3B processor.

Quote
A 1,000 port non-blocking switch runs off a 200watt power supply.


Sure.  And in a "real" certificated carrier's facility, it will be a 48VDC supply.

Even modern "Internet" switching hardware, such as ATM switches and gigabit ethernet devices are available with 48-vdc supplies for installation in carrier facilities.  When I was still working, deploying major network infrastructure nationwide for DSL networks, we ordered all our Cisco equipment with 48-vdc supplies.

You can, and some do, buy modern digital POTS switches with 120-vac supplies.  But  generally speaking, you don't find them in major carrier class-5 offices of, say, 20,000 lines or more.

-Sean
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« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2009, 08:51:01 AM »

Thank you Sean you are the 4th person to explain that to me the LifeLine rep told me that they should never be mounted in or near the engine compartment unless they are design for starting.
FWIW I did have temperature probes on mine when it happen. 



good luck
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« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2009, 09:02:29 AM »

Central offices, back in the day, also usually had a group of smaller batteries in a 130 volt string for carrier repeater supply.  That may be what Will remembers seeing. That was my bailiwick for many years.
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« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2009, 10:23:39 AM »

Central offices, back in the day, also usually had a group of smaller batteries in a 130 volt string for carrier repeater supply.  That may be what Will remembers seeing. That was my bailiwick for many years.


Again, I did not want to derail the thread with a bunch of (potentially uninteresting to most here) minutiae about telephone offices, but yes, there is also a 130vdc supply, as that also happens to be, among other things, the required voltage for the "coin collect" signal for payphones.

Working in the telecom industry develops one's battery knowledge and skills -- I still have tools with scorch marks on them  Wink

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