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Thread: Battery thread

  1. #1
    Tech Admin flappist's Avatar
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    Battery thread

    Following on from the discussion in the ON thread.

    There is a lot of hype and bullshit in the whole "renewable energy" arena.
    One of my projects some time ago was to build a viable battery system to keep my servers and network up during outages as we had a few that were several hours long.
    My background is electrical engineering and I used to work in the supply industry so I started researching current (pun intended) technologies to see what I could use.

    I have a pile of LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries I used for various purposes but while they are light and can supply significant current and are quite happy cycling quickly they are pricks of things in that they need to be constantly maintained and will burst into flame if they get angry.

    On the the other hand AGM (glass mat) are easy going low maintenance but are cycle limited so if discharged every day will not last for extended periods.

    Basically building a battery system is like designing a car. You can have a bazillion horse power but it breaks a lot or it can be toyota reliable but basically useless in any but the most banal of environments.
    Unfortunately the solar/battery industry is a lot like maccas car park mechanics. No idea but it sounds good and google/forums back them up.

    If you want to save some dollars are make yourself a bit more independent I can help you with the numbers and tell you if you are being ripped off.

    The main trick is to make sure that all the parts are the right capacity for your application.
    Too small and it will fail, too big and it will choke as will your bank account.

    So if anyone is interested, give me your requirements and I will point you in the right direction.

    Requirements:
    1) average and maximum loads in Watts and VA/VAR if reactive (see point 2).
    2) power factor (do you have motors etc.and if you do not understand then just list the gadgets)
    3) minimum duration required
    4) do you have backup as in mains power or a genset if it all turns to shit.

    Note. These things are bloody heavy. My work one weighs about 220kg. I am not trying to sell you anything but if you like I can tell you where to get this stuff locally so you don't get screwed.
    A velocitatem terram

    Google-Fu, the ancient snowflake art of knowing little, understanding less but believing anything they find on Google as the word of God.

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    Burnout (27th March 2017),defective (5th March 2017),Franco Cozzo (5th March 2017),project 064 (29th March 2017),Road_Warrior (5th March 2017)

  3. #2
    Validated User Road_Warrior's Avatar
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    Interesting. Especially the comments about solar installers. I agree, it is a lot like the Maccas carpark car experts. In my last house (well, I still own it) I got a 2.5kw solar system installed, by a small business (two mates I think, one a sparky and one a solar nerd) who lived and breathed solar energy and let me choose the quality of stuff I wanted and was prepared to pay for. I was very pleased with their workmanship and will use them again for my new house. Cost was lineball (actually may have been cheaper if I recall) with the big name Maccas merchants. The rest of them are just like the carpet, roller shutter and Jehovahs Witness door to door crap merchants. Fucking pests, wouldn't leave me alone.

    Have you seen the standby generators available now that will run off propane gas or piped natural gas? Another option seeing as everyone uses gas of some description

  4. #3
    Tech Admin flappist's Avatar
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    No I haven't seen gas gensets.
    They may be quite useful as gas does not turn to crap as quickly as petrol or diesel.
    A velocitatem terram

    Google-Fu, the ancient snowflake art of knowing little, understanding less but believing anything they find on Google as the word of God.

  5. #4
    James. defective's Avatar
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    Be all right if you can chuck a bbq bottle on there to run them, how many Aussie households don't have a bbq bottle rolling round somewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by Falc'man View Post
    In the words of a wise man: if you don't read the papers you're uninformed, if you do read the papers you're misinformed.

  6. #5
    Rob prydey's Avatar
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    This may or may not be the purpose of this thread, but its about batteries, so thought i'd jump in with some questions regarding power banks and power sources for camping.

    My last camping trip i bought one of these
    http://performance12voltaccessories....mp-you-bastard

    i was pretty green, and although it suited our needs, i feel i got pretty screwed on price, but thats life.

    we are tent based, and pretty basic, so aren't running fridges or complex lighting setups or anything. power was used for charging 3 phones and a single 50cm led light strip. the 'jump you bastard' 18AH lasted our trip, which was 5 nights, however it was also daylight saving so the strip light was only required for a couple of hours each night (0.6a draw). it was also used about 5 times to charge phones. in the future i'd like to build a battery box on my trailer, but for now, funds are tight.

    this easter we are planning another camp trip, however my concern is it won't be daylight saving so lighting will be needed for more time each night. i've noticed these things on ebay, and they seem incredibly cheap for the amount of power they are promoting. i can't help feel i am missing something??
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Waterproo...UAAOSwSlBY0zRb

    could i connect something like this in series with the original 'jump you bastard' unit? i'm not looking at running any other power devices, just the light. are these things up to the task or are they solely for recharging phones?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  7. #6
    Validated User Road_Warrior's Avatar
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    If all you're doing is running LED lights at night and charging the odd phone every now and then, your jump starter should do the job? Personally I'd grab a little solar panel so you could charge it during the day.

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  9. #7
    Rob prydey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Warrior View Post
    If all you're doing is running LED lights at night and charging the odd phone every now and then, your jump starter should do the job?
    yes, the jump starter did do the job but just worried it might be cutting it a bit fine this time around without daylight saving. the led light strip is rated at 0.6A draw. i tested it and it lasted about 20 hours. for 5 nights this gives you 4 hours a night, which doesn't leave much spare capacity for charging other devices. i'm thinking i could just buy one of these el cheapo ebay things to boost capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Warrior View Post
    Personally I'd grab a little solar panel so you could charge it during the day.
    we borrowed a small roll up panel off my brother last easter, and while it was ok at trickling a bit in to your phone, they aren't really that cost effective as a recharge solution, esp given how cheap these power bank things seem to be.


    on a side note, i used the 'jump start' facility on my device on a co worker's BF2 Egas falcon. worked a treat. engine didn't even sound like it struggled. it is rated at 600cca. its a nifty little device, just available at much cheaper prices if you look around. i got ambushed at one of these camping shows, and because i'd only been looking at deep cycle batteries, it seemed like a reasonable deal.

  10. #8
    Validated User Road_Warrior's Avatar
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    I have one of those new-age jump starter units as well, and it recently managed to jump start my Mrs' Territory with a flat battery no problems at all.

    Have a read of this:

    http://www.phonearena.com/news/Fake-...sories_id78146

    I think a decent solar panel for your purposes would need to start at 20W and go from there.

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  12. #9
    Validated User Burnout's Avatar
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    This mob are gaining some traction around here:
    https://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/...ries-australia
    Sniffing around these and similar for 'off the grid' use in an upcoming dwelling. Mate has a genset around 7kva 0.8 power factor as backup.
    BAII RTV A Farmers Rocket.

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  14. #10
    Validated User Road_Warrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnout View Post
    This mob are gaining some traction around here:
    https://www.solarchoice.net.au/blog/...ries-australia
    Sniffing around these and similar for 'off the grid' use in an upcoming dwelling. Mate has a genset around 7kva 0.8 power factor as backup.
    Interesting! At first I thought this was some sort of elaborate scam but no, it's real. I wonder how well the salt water battery performs compared with Li batteries. Their 2.6kwH battery unit costs $2,000.

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