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Message started by William of Orange on Nov 27th, 2007 at 4:47pm

Title: Top Tip For Winter Battery Care !!!
Post by William of Orange on Nov 27th, 2007 at 4:47pm
Hi, This time of year is hardest on the batteries we rely on living off grid. To help your batteries survive and keep them fit there is a few things we can do thiswinter.

Warning First. Never work on batteries on your own always have someone near you. Where safety goggles and rubber gloves when carrying out any maintainance. Have a supply of baking soda at hand to neutralise any acid spills. Always disconnect your batteries from the inverter and chargers whilst carrying out maintainance. Always use insulated tools and do not use naked flames or smoke.around batteries.

1.Wet Lead Acid Batteries need to be topped up to there correct level with distilled water only. The best time to do this is approximately 2 hours after a full charge.
2.Make a visual and physical inspection of all interconects and cables. clean and retighten dirty or loose connections.

Top Tip 1. Most people who topup charge there batteries by use of a generator usualy only charge them to about 80% full using a bulk charge from there inverter so when the batteries get to 14.4 volt in a 12volt system the generator shuts down. Usually because its not woth running the genny at reduced load for the next 2 hours of absorption charge . However this means the batteries never get above this 80 % charge. The clever way to get around this if you have solar panels is to run your generator in the morning so that the batteries have received there bulk charge by approximately 12 noon, switch off your genny  then this gives your solar panels the chance to complete the absorption charge taking your batteries to 100 % over the next few hours of good sun. Do this at least twice a week.

Top Tip 2 If you have not got battery temperature sensors fitted to your batteries and inverters and charge controllers you are again not charging your batteries fully. For lead acid batteries for every degree below 25 degres c you need to increase your bulk voltage setting by 0.03 volts in a 12 volt system 0.06 volts in a 24 volt system. This may seem trivial, however lets say our batteries are around 10 degrees c this time of year. 15 degress less that standard setting thus for a 12 volt system you should increase your charge to 15 x 0.03  = o.45 volts which would mean charging your batteries to 14.85 volts rather that 14.4 volts. The colder it gets the higher you raise your charge voltage. In a 24 volt system normally set at 28.8 bulk  volts you would have to set to 29.7 volts to get the same charge as a summer setting in 25 degrees C  If you cant easily alter your charge votage but have a equalise setting using a digital multi meter manually overcharge the batteries to the required setting one a week till the higher voltage is achieved.

Remember consult your own batteries specific data for bulk and absorb settings and never over charge gel of AGM batteries only Wet Lead Acid Types. Hope this is useful. ;)

Title: Re: Top Tip For Winter Battery Care !!!
Post by Nobrot the Great on Nov 28th, 2007 at 10:49pm
Hi Bill
Thanks for the top tip 1,did as said and inverter was showing '4 lights' all day with power tool useage.Gave the genny a service whilst at it.
As for top tip 2,went for a lie down in a dark room after trying to understand.

Cheers for the info


Title: Re: Top Tip For Winter Battery Care !!!
Post by William of Orange on Nov 28th, 2007 at 11:51pm
If you list your inverter/charger I could see
A.. If it has a battery temp sensor compensation system.
B.. If its easy to adjust the bulk and float settings.

Xantrex DR,PS and SW inverter chargers all have BTS options.
All outback units do also.
I know Studers are popular out here and Ill look at then On Line

Glad your saw tip 1 work well ! ;)

Title: Re: Top Tip For Winter Battery Care !!!
Post by Nobrot the Great on Mar 2nd, 2008 at 11:01pm
Top Tip 3...
Give your panels a dust down once in while,it's amazing how much  dust sticks to the panels and the difference it makes to charging.

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