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Tip 6 Off-Grid Battery Bank Topic: Batteries in Springfield
Tip #6 Micro VS Macro -?
Hint: - Micro battery banks are the answer
My findings in more than a decade of experiments show that the mainstream battery bank is simply not the answer (on so many levels).
It's been found that a large battery bank is also potentially dangerous when the ah (amp-hour) rate is increased exponentially.
There is a better way.
Once upon a time, I followed all the advice I could get my hands on concerning solar, wind, batteries, controllers, inverters, the science of wire distance/drop, ad infinitum and nauseaum.
So just like EVERYBODY else, with only one viewpoint that regurgitates itself all over the Internet, I built that large battery bank of more than 40 over-priced 6v batteries.
This did NOT work for me.
I tried 12v banks, 24v banks, and 48v banks. I tried using different gauge wire, building a couple of solar trackers, and more.
Still, poor results.
Here's what works. In the same instance that you would never park the battery to your flashlight at the other end of the house, is the same reason I'll give toward credence that micro is preferable over macro battery banks.
Micro-Battery Banks work better because they're basically item-specific and easily controlled taking less time to troubleshoot if problems should arise!
The lessened number of appliances and task-oriented hardware ensures a healthy battery in time of unexpected need.
The first micro battery bank made here was created and/or discovered by accident.
After moving a bank of batteries that no longer were expected to be needed, I became busy with other projects.
Having left two solitary 6v batteries in series created a solitary 12volt "battery" because of the series connection; also left were two lights connected to the battery (12v 16.5' strip lights).
I was pleasantly surprised that weeks later, the single battery (6v x 2 = 12v) was showing exceptional results (unlike the other larger battery banks which were by morning leaning to the 12.2v mark).
Having the lights and solitary battery had suddenly become appreciated because I needed light within the location at the time.
So I left that bank and those lights alone (figuring I'd get to them when time permitted).
That bank has been running on maintenance-free auto-pilot for years now without ever a hitch!
Consider those micro battery banks as your insurance. If ever needed, it's an easy task to pool your resources; and if that day should arrive, you know your batteries will be healthy and fully charged due to their load being light (no pun intended).
The voltage following each night at that first micro battery bank was the highest of all the other battery banks when checked pre-dawn. Whereas the other battery banks range around 12.1v or 12.2v or 12.3v (under loads) by dawn, the micro-battery bank showed higher!
This is my 2018 Advice to any prospective off-gridders out there:
When a battery bank can go a week without sun or other power input, that's a "done" battery bank, now leave it alone and go build another one.
This is advice for Ohio climes.
In sunnier places such as Florida, Arizona, Southern California, etc. only a few days are requisite for reserve power due to the lower States possessing more hours of reliable sunlight.
When you finally get to the point where that load amply takes care of itself, walk away.
It is better to have a fully charged battery that is barely used,
than to have a battery over-used, and short-lived.
Whereas a large battery bank, although still leaps and bounds safer than the monopoly's AC electricity, having been transformed into smaller micro battery banks, just made battery power even safer.
Imagine this scenario:
You have an impressive power bank supplying energy to all the appliances in your home.
However, if one solitary cell should go bad in that power bank, your entire house is thrown into an unreliable state.
Let's say for instance that one of your appliances, a large inverter for example, went bad due to having a short. That solitary short can potentially affect your entire bank's energy, hence your entire home's energy.
Whereas a micro battery bank is easier to troubleshoot, easier to remedy, and it doesn't take down your entire home!
If one of my battery banks ever incurs some unforeseen problem, it shouldn't require a great undertaking to not only identify early on (before the damage), but also, in a pinch, I can always jump the load to another battery bank while the problem is figured out.
Whereas in a large battery bank situation, If something should fail, I now am reduced to entering the danger zone of the large battery's potential energy, but then what? Troubleshooting could go on for hours in an attempt to locate the underlying problem.
Furthermore, if the micro battery bank happens to be a 12v bank, in a pinch a bus, car, tractor, or other emergency boost could be expedient to bring up the battery bank in time of need.
In closing (I'm about to drop a jewel so listen up), for those of you that are off-grid and finding it difficult to maintain your 12v battery bank or the items that require 12v, here's a trick:
I'll give a recent example of what happened and then I'll explain how to remedy the problem if it ever occurs to you.
During those times of limited sun and wind, your battery banks may become low.DO NOT KEEP GOING IN THAT DIRECTION.If you see your battery banks at 12.4v and there's no forecasted sun, or if you find out too late and need to sever loads to save the batteries, then this trick will help anyone with multiple battery banks.
12v battery banks can become a nuisance at times due mostly when powering higher voltage items or even 12v items with a high amp draw.
48v battery banks however offer some stability in that it takes more to draw them down (since they're already closer to the 120v inverter goal).
The 12v loads here were in jeapardy of being completely turned off to save a battery bank.I didn't want the items turned off because they were mostly cameras, microphones, DVR, lights, speakers (basically the entire 12v loads in the entire building).
PROJECT HACKADOODLE DOO
Need a bump from AC to 12v that is stable?
1.) Grab a computer power supply.
2.) Cut and remove the end connectors leaving only wires.
3.) Bundle up the yellow wires.
These yellow wires will become your 12v power supply wires.
Twist the stripped ends together
4.) Now twist the solitary green wire with any one of the black wires.
5.) All of the other remaining black wires can be stripped and twisted together.
6.) None of any other wires will be needed and can be individually taped.
Here's what your module should look like:
You just built a stable 12v power supply (now hook the black group of wires to your negative busbar and the yellow to the positive).
This will NOT charge your 12v battery bank so leave the battery bank out of the loop using your quick disconnect or breaker disconnect.
This power supply can be connected to a battery bank's inverter, or shore power, just plug in as you normally would (a wall socket).
NEVER have a charge controller in the loop. Disconnect the Controllers and any Direct Connection to the battery bank (if running a 12v battery bank as the primary source via direct connection).
Likewise, any battery bank's 110v inverter will suffice (regardless of base system voltage).
****IF ANYONE IS SQUEEMISH AROUND ELECTRICITY OR WOULD PREFER TO HAVE AN EMERGENCY 12V POWER SUPPLY BUILT FOR THEM, CONTACT ME AND I'LL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO BUILD ONE FOR YOU.
Cost including power supply is $55.00 and not a gerbil less.