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Paul..A question.. A mate of mine tells me that these dry cell batteries need to be discharged regularly.. How do you make sure that happens?Is he correct?

Obviously they will discharge at night but now Im thinking if I have too many batteries all hooked up then that may lead to battery damage.. What do you reckon?

 

Sometimes, we discharge our batteries (flooded lead acid) down to about 75% capacity (25% discharged), before they are recharged. At other times, they get discharged to 50%. It all depends on the day. Usually, I only draw about 10 amps for about four, maybe five hours. That isn't a lot, considering that is being pulled equally from four (4) batteries, the bank totaling 510 AH. Until I move there full time, during the day, they only have to recharge. Nothing is drawn from the bank during daylight hours. 

 

Personally, though I would not go below 50% DOD (Depth Of Discharge) on lead acid batteries. 25% - 50% is the most I will ever take mine. That is what I have learned from other guys who are off-grid / solar gurus. I am still a green horn concerning this. I figure they have learned over the past couple of decades, and I should probably listen to them.  

 

In my case, I have "too many" batteries connected for my array. However, with the number of hours I have, daily, to recharge them, the array does fine. The array usually has plenty of time - and sun, to recharge them in one day. When rainy season arrives, that will be a different story. But, I have a plan in place to add seven (7) more panels prior to the rain arriving full force - in May. 

 

 

Do not discharge the battery unnecessarcy, it will decrease the lifespan - of every battery type. An average life span of a good battery is around 4 years. You can prolong the lifespan by not discharging more than 80% ( meaning you only will use 20% of the battery capacity each cycle - so you need to size the bank accordinlgy). And yes, a battery can have a life span of 10 years if you always keep it full, but this is theoretically.

 

I agree in not discharging them unnecessarily. But, you can discharge them more than 20%. 50% is a typical number used for FLA batteries. Like I said, I will stay between 25% and 50% on mine. 

 

If you get into Nickel-Iron batteries, they say you can get many, many years out of them. In fact, they say that some of Edison's batteries still hold a charge today. They are around 100 years old!

 

 

My problem always was (and is) the power storage, which is the battery and does not make the solar (and wind) feasible (yet), but is a hobby of mine. Actually the best would be hydro storage (but who has land to build a dam!!!!)

 

I disagree. I think solar is quite feasible. Of course, not having another option makes it more so where ours is running.  

 

It is a great feeling, knowing we are getting free energy from the Sun, even though it has cost to get that energy started and stored. Here is an image of temporary lighting set up for the contractor:

IMG_0300r.jpg

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you need a charge controller like this one   http://www.cdrking.com/index.php?mod=products&type=view&sid=18416&main=167     The voltage output of a solar pannel is higher  than the 12

Ok, so I'm trying to get a handle on this solar deal and want to figure out what parts do and are required so I came up with a couple scenarios to educate myself.   Scenario 1:  I buy a panel, say 1

Don't fix the air-cons. Learn to live without it. Trust me, anyone can. In fact, I can't stand walking into an area that has air-con. Then, I have to walk back into the heat - and I really don't like

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It is a great feeling, knowing we are getting free energy from the Sun, even though it has cost to get that energy started and stored. Here is an image of temporary lighting set up for the contractor:


I envy you..that your batteris arelasting long. I run my little projects here, but calculating the ROI, I would be better off with the rates from th grid, but regardless .... it is fun to experiment.

What batteries are you using? Solarmaster (local)?
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Maybe I should clarify something. My batteries are fairly new. I have had them about six months. They were purchased about a month prior to then. 

 

They were made in Taiwan, actually. I do not have the brand name present at the moment. Never really thought of it before. 

 

Do note: I am in Cambodia, not the Philippines.


With the reliability of the grid, it simply is not feasible for me to even consider going grid-tied, even if I could. (No utilities where the farm is.)

 

Personally, we produce our own power, thanks to the Sun, and I never have power cuts (brown outs) at the farm. :)

 

I honestly do not see how it would be cost effective, in SE Asia, to go grid tied, personally. The whole idea is to have reliable, stable power. That simply is something we do not get here.

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In the picture is one of my projects - as you can see this is still an early panel (maybe 10 years old) just to get some experience. It powers my outdoor lights (I converted a halogen for solar, so I get more out of the light area)

light post-15665-0-19708200-1388396296_thumb.jpg

panel post-15665-0-55712700-1388396212_thumb.jpg

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Early this month, I purchased a Morningstar SunLight SL-10L-12V controller on eBay. (The seller would not ship directly here, so I had it routed to California. I expect to receive it in another week or two, here.) I will connect a single 100 watts panel to it, along with a 50ah battery, as well as several (probably three or four) 10 watts, 12vdc flood lamps.

 

This particular controller was designed, and will be used specifically for lighting control. Set it and forget it - well, mostly.

 

Morningstar_SunLight_SL-10L-12V.jpg

 

How many watts is that panel?

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Word of advice on this little things - I had my share. The electronics are very sensitive to humidity and because I have my controller outside (since my battery need to be outside, as they are flooded type), they tend to malfunction. What happend it did not control the flow correctly, so once the sunset kicked in it reversed the flow and startet to charge the panel. The poblem was that the battery got discharged too much over a prolonged period.

 

Now I have a Landstar, which s rated IP66 (waterproof). No poblem now. These things are easy to come by nowadays, even in the Philippines. It used to be much harder.

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JamesMusslewhite

I just like a small unit that would be able to power my laptop so I can still annoy members when I am at the farm. :biggrin_01: 

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SkyMan

This particular controller was designed, and will be used specifically for lighting control. Set it and forget it - well, mostly.

Is this for your second array? It's not the same as the other pics.
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Is this for your second array? It's not the same as the other pics.

 

Correctamundo. This one will be completely separate from the main array that is already up, and the "battery charging" array I will build soon. 

 

(I have two other controllers that have already arrived. They are PWM controllers as well. The only MPPT controller I will have, will be the "Kid". I will swap the ProStar 30m out for it, when it arrives. I will build the "charging" array and use the ProStar with it. 

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What happend it did not control the flow correctly, so once the sunset kicked in it reversed the flow and startet to charge the panel.

 

Does your panel NOT have diodes in it? If not, I would buy them and wire them into your junction box on the panel, no?

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No, that is the purpose of the controller. Maybe new panels have that build in, but I would not know. But with the controller I have now this should never occur.

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No, that is the purpose of the controller. Maybe new panels have that build in, but I would not know. But with the controller I have now this should never occur.

 

Yes, I realize that. But, if your panel had diodes in it at that time, the reverse issue you had, would have never occurred, right? 

 

I guess, when it comes to alternative energy, especially in my case, where I am 100% dependent upon the Sun for all our power, I become a bit paranoid. I would rather have redundant coverage, than not enough. If I short my battery bank, for example, I am a bit far out, certainly from anywhere that supplies appropriate batteries (7 hours away by bus), to simply run there and buy replacements.

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Off topic: Do you have a water stream close by? I was studying pico hydro to generate power, but I have no stream here, so I am now stuck with sun, wind, biomass, pyrolysis (plastic) and I am studying now tidal optios (because I am living by the sea).

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Off topic: Do you have a water stream close by? I was studying pico hydro to generate power, but I have no stream here, so I am now stuck with sun, wind, biomass, pyrolysis (plastic) and I am studying now tidal optios (because I am living by the sea).

 

During rainy season only. There is a dyke between the farm property and the provincial (dirt) road servicing it. I will experiment with something during this up coming rainy season, if I can finish everything I want to concerning the solar arrays, first.

 

See the dyke in the background of the attached picture. It still had quite a bit of water in it, then. Now, it is almost completely empty. 

IMG_0206.jpg

 

 

And, of course, the rice fields at the farm are drained from one point while they are overflowing during rainy season. That water flows quite quickly. Then, it is also drained just before harvest. 

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