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Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage

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Three years ago I was planning to move to a different house, so I had disassembled my Solar Power System and stored it in the shed that the gear had been setup around. So it's been 3 years and I am realizing that I am staying here in this house, and now I am putting everything back up.

The old system was arranged around a shed that was at the opposite end of the house from the location that I was actually using the power at my computer desk in the living room. The wire to carry the power from the batteries was over 110 feet long. I have re-purposed this wire to carry AC power for the computer and entertainment system. The decision was made to move the Solar Power to the other side of the house so I don't need to run another long expensive wire along the house. The main power wire will be less than 20 feet long in this rebuild. I'm already pretty far along with this project and I may be using some power from it in a few days.

Last week I built a fairly large weatherproof cabinet that will contain the batteries and electronics, plus it will be the base to hold up the first 6 of 10 solar panels. Been waiting on the paint to dry on this so I can get the panels mounted on it, maybe this afternoon.

The two 6 volt Trojan T-105 batteries were only 1.5 years old when stored in a picnic cooler. But my exwife would never turn anything off and ran the batteries low frequently. When the system was shutdown the batteries were showing signs of problems and I was trying to sell a house and did not have time to try and fix it.

Yesterday I started looking closer, Voltage measured 2.3 volts, popped the tops off the batteries and hated to see Dry Plates in all six cells. Forgot to check the water over the years. Got some filtered water and was pleasantly surprised to see that the water was actually even with the plate tops and only small parts had dried out. The cell caps had a smoky looking residue on them

Grabbed a battery charger and charged each battery individually at 6 volts and then in series at 12 volts. Still working on all that but it is a simple charger, not even one switch on it. As soon as I can get the panels mounted I will start trying to drive the voltage up even higher.

Will be working on it today and will have some pictures and a report this evening . . .

  Over the years,  I have been both amazed, and confused by batteries.  Some bounce back
from amazing abuse, and some die from one accidental flat discharge. 
  Hope yours will amaze you.
  I have seen that smoky residue as well, just scrubbed it off and put the caps back.  Never seems
to re-occur after that.
  Good luck.

The charger is taking the batteries up to 5.9 volts and then they drop back to 5.5 volts.
Tropical storm Gordan is wandering around in the area and keeping things a bit rainy at times. It looks like I am On Track to have a few days of No Sun after I get the panels installed.

This project is going much faster than I thought it would, I guess it's because everything is already made. I am charging batteries now but don't have a way to use the power yet.

The Solar Panels were originally mounted on the shed on the lefthand side of this picture. Charge control and the batteries were inside the shed and there were four 12 gauge wires going all the way across the back of the house to my computer desk on the lower righthand side of the place. I'm not sure why I did it that way instead of what I am doing now as everything is much simpler this time.

Everything is now on the side of the house. I'm in the middle of a large neighborhood so the system is between two houses facing directly South. The main power cable to the Point Of Use will be less than 20 feet long this time compared to 110 feet from the shed.

I had to spend half a day clearing this area, not used at all, only go there to cut the grass. Placed brick on the ground to help keep the wood dry then built the cabinet on top. This is everything so far, and at this point it's a stand-alone 12 volt battery charger. There will be some doors added to the front openings. In this location it does not get full Sun till 10:30am because of a nearby Crepe Myrtle tree that really needs a good trimming. The tilt of the panels is easy to adjust, but think I'll set it on the Fall Equinox September 22 and leave it there year round as these Amorphous panels don't seem to be sensitive to angle very much. There will be 4 more solar panels added on each side of the fence to help get more Sun in the morning and evening.
Might be mildly concerned about theft since it's on the ground now.

The electrics are inside the cabinet. Two Trojan T-105 batteries are inside the picnic cooler providing 12 volts at 225 amphours. Still not sure about reviving these batteries yet. The cooler is propped open for Summer ventilation. The cabinet itself has plenty of airflow.
The box on the left provides fused inputs and outputs to the battery.
Center box is a power combiner with ten 4 amp solar inputs, Two 10 amp 50 volt bridge rectifier inputs and a 10 amp 1000 volt bridge rectifier input.
Righthand box is Charge control using a 2 stage Dumpload controller which is capable of about 300 watts of dumping into some 10 ohm resisters.

Still need to put a hole through the cement block on the house to get a wire through to a power distribution box so I can actually use some of that power.
Amazingly enough there are No Clouds this morning so maybe it will have something to do today ?

   Nice woof.  Lots of progress.
   Keeping fingers crossed for the batteries.


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