Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Batteries / New Hut

Saturday RN & RV brought me 4 new batteries because one or more of the last four of the old ones that were still standing started going south. I decided that since I had new batteries and still had the lumber from the inside of the Dungeon I'd use the lumber to build a new battery hut. It was supposed to make 75 degrees today and it has as of right now. 75.5 degrees. I was determined to try and get the new hut finished today including blueboard insulation on the inside and OSB board on the outside. I'm afraid that didn't work out to well because around 11:00 I started to feel crappy and that seems to have been getting a little worse since then. Never the less I was determined to at least get the outside finished or get it weather proof one. The later was about all I could handle before giving up. I spent more time sitting in a chair resting than I did working. I still need to go out and round up the tools, but I'm going to have to force myself to do that because of feeling so crappy. It will get done though.
Above notice this is making use of another pallet. I picked a good one with no damage for this. On top of that I put 1/2 inch OSB thermal board with the thermal barrier up and then framed around it with 2x4s. Not much chance this will be going anywhere even in high wind with all the weight of the batteries in the center.

Not really much more than a big box, but it should work well for what it is to be used for. I plan to follow Frann's lead and stucco the outside of it. Will also build a door in the front when I feel better and add an exhaust system for the summer later on. I don't think the area is enough to worry about using it for rain catchment.

All of the panels in the picture are now connected through the charge controller so I should have plenty of juice hopefully even on cloudy days. The inverter and charge controller are also protected from the elements now so no more mixing bowl over the inverter. I still have three panels on the old battery bank and 4 on this trailer + two extra for a movable battery charger so since I'm not running the propane fridge in here anymore and am only using the LED lighting (Got two more) two or three will be more than enough to keep the trailer battery up. I'll take one or two of the panels for the trailer and add them to the old bank once I isolate the other bad battery and start using the little electric Coleman ice chest I got from RN for a fridge. I'll run it off of the old bank and those solar panels and it should do a good job (at least most of the year)

BTW we went to Alpine Saturday for me to get the propane tanks filled. I had two 5 gallon and a 7 gallon one. Turns out that they stop filling them at noon on Saturday and we didn't get there until 12:30 so I was out of luck there. We did go to ALCO and I exchanged the two 5 gallon tanks so I have heat anyway.


  1. Tffnguy

    A warm battery is a happy battery.

    Maybe you could rent out your battery hut or battery bunker to wandering travelers seeking shelter. All jokes aside, what your doing is really a good idea and you have the foresight to set something up away from your house in case something shorts out and you have a fire. Only the box will burn down. When I go off the grid, I will have to copy your design.

  2. cc, as long as it does what I want it to I'll be happy. I really want to build further back on this property and further south to have a lot better view of the valley below. Where the battery box and panels are now they will be closer to where I want to build, but still about as far away as they are from this trailer.

  3. Sorry your not feeling well..must be this hot one day freezing the next junk. I was told the battery boxes should be vented top and bottom..any thoughts on this?

  4. I'd say so Frann, Upper to vent the heat and lower to allow cooler air to enter to replace the hot air that is exiting. I plan to use a fan controlled by a thermostat though and you still need a place for air to enter.

  5. Nicely done! Hope you're feeling better soon.

  6. Cool - looking good.

    What Ah are your batteries? And what watt are your panels? How big is the charge controller?

    We were lent 3 X 75watt panels, and a charge cotroller and an 6Kw inverter (overkill for the alarm) - But the battery burnt out / boiled. Figure our charge controller was faulty?!

    You link all the panels to a single charge controller?

    Really hope you're feeling better - nothing worse than feeling ill and being on your own - always should have someone there to spoil you when you're down... :-)

  7. Dani,
    Sure wish I was there! He would get spoiled a lot from his lil' sis
    Get well soon

  8. Thanks Abby, I'm feeling some better and since its only supposed to get up to 39 today and is windy as heck I'm not likely to get out and do anything to cause me to start feeling worse again.

    Dani, the new batteries are 210 Ah ea and the old ones were 200 Ah. The charge controller is a Harbor Freight and is supposed to be good to 30 AMP. I think its getting over worked though. I think the panels are a mix of 20 watt, 25 watt and 30 watt. I have 3 30 watt that I know of and the rest aren't marked so its a guess on those. I do think the smaller ones are 20 watt and the medium sized ones 25 watt, but that is a guess.

    I never ran a controller on the old bank until about a month or so ago, but won't make that mistake with the new batteries. I did have 8 batteries at the time though at a total of 800 Ah's. I only have 420 Ah in batteries with the new ones. Don't ask how many panels are what because at this time I don't know and with the cold and high wind I won't be out there today to check. ;)

    There is some kind of rule where if you have x number of AH in batteries and only x number of watts in solar then you don't need a controller, but I don't remember what that rule is. If you only have one battery and 225 watts in panels I can see how you could burn up that battery. The rule is for a lot of AH and just a few watts per Ah. I only use a 300 watt inverter and it runs everything I throw at it so I'd say you really are over the top with your inverter. The larger the inverter the more power consumed at the same load. (Even if nothing is being run off of it and its just on)

    I have 9 smaller controllers that can be wired in series to handle up to 40 AMPs so if the HF controller bites the dust I'll switch to them.

    Raye, I'm doing ok, but could always use a little pampering. ;)

  9. Forecast for the next 7 days after it got to 79 yesterday. (A 40 degrees difference between today and yesterday) :(

    Today ---- 38 | 20° F Clear

    Thursday - 45 | 18° F Clear

    Friday --- 56 | 29° F Clear

    Saturday - 67 | 34° F Clear

    Sunday --- 76 | 38° F Partly Cloudy

    Monday --- Mid 70s

    Tuesday -- High 70s

  10. Don't fret you will be posting it is to hot soon! My propane bottle for the heater went out at 4AM so I stole the fridge bottle and put the food in the cooler as should have no problems keeping it cool today.

  11. Frann, at least you can soak down with water in the heat and stay cool enough to get stuff done. Lets see you do that in the winter without turning in to an icicle. ;) I'll take the heat any day! Bet it got pretty chilly changing out the tanks. I hate it when that happens!

  12. You can always add more clothes but you can only take off so much ;0

  13. You can carry a 10 pound heavier sandbag without cloths on than you can with 10 pounds of clothes on.:b