Author Topic: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage  (Read 23135 times)

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Offline oztules

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2018, 04:49:08 am »
yep, I reckon 5kv@40 amps will shake up the crystals if anything will. The best I have seen out of my fencers was 10kv@40 amps.... thats as far as the galligher tester went... it may have been more current than that, don't know.... but certainly looked nasty enough to split any molecule.


...........oztules
Flinders Island...... Australia

Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2018, 06:34:42 am »
In my last post I had fully intended to have a day trying to tickle the batteries back into taking a proper charge, Instead I spent 2 days getting wire into the house and setting up enough connections to use and monitor the power more easily inside.

-- Day 1 --
Hammered a Star Chisel for an hour to make a 3/4 inch hole through the cement block on the side of the house. Pulled twelve 14 gauge wires through there which has a capacity of 15 amps each. They will be used like this...
4 wires for 12 VDC power, 2 Positive & 2 for Negative. 30 amps total.
3 wires for 120 VAC power from a 400 watt inverter. Has wire for ground going outside to  a ground Rod.
4 wires for charging, like pedal power. 2 pairs of wire going out to individual Bridge Rectifiers.
1 spare conductor, possibly a Ground wire.
Also ran an Ethernet cable which is 4 pairs of 24 gauge wire. Two pairs for LED Dump Load indicators and two spare pairs.

-- Day 2 --
I use this power in areas around my computer so everything mounts to my computer desk where I can reach it.
Mounted 12 VDC Distribution box with 50,000 mfd capacitor to prevent surges then 4 fused outputs.
Mounted box with 3 Cigarette Lighter outlets and a single USB output
Modified a Switch Panel and mounted it to control; Lights, Fan, Audio Amplifier, Modem & Router. Six switches leading to a terminal strip, so anything I want to hookup.
I mounted the LED Dumpload Indicators on this switchbox plus some Red LEDs to show if anything is On, showing that power is being used.

It is a lot nicer being 20 feet away from the system because it is easier and less expensive to run all the wiring that I want to experiment with.
Pictures soon, I am working today. Will play with the batteries in a coupla days.
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Offline bj

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2018, 04:36:02 pm »
  Lots of progress.   Envious of the energy.
"Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while"
bj

Offline Pete

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2018, 05:09:42 pm »
Geez Woof, a star chisel, that takes me back. Surely one of your neighbours had a tungsten drill bit that would have done the job?
I once spent many days in the bottom of a well with a star chisel, making holes to put plugs of gelegnite in to blow rock out of the bottom of the well.
I understand the job, I hope the mortar in your walls is strong, and that you didn't make too many cracks in the wall in the process.
Sounds like you are having lots of fun with setting up your system. May the sun always shine on your panels.
Pete

Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2018, 10:21:03 am »
Geez Woof, a star chisel, that takes me back. Surely one of your neighbors had a tungsten drill bit that would have done the job?
I once spent many days in the bottom of a well with a star chisel, making holes to put plugs of gelegnite in to blow rock out of the bottom of the well.
I understand the job, I hope the mortar in your walls is strong, and that you didn't make too many cracks in the wall in the process.
Sounds like you are having lots of fun with setting up your system. May the sun always shine on your panels.
Pete

Hmmmm ... I didn't tell these stories, but since you bring it up . . .

I have a 12 inch long 1/2" Tungsten drill bit and have tried to use that bit to drill through this particular wall in the past, but could not drill through the second Cement Block layer, so I stopped and then made it work somehow a foot further away on the wall. Early in this project I knew that I needed to make this hole and did not want to buy a hammer drill just to make this 1 hole even though my neighbor has one to borrow. So the star chisel was ordered while the cabinet was being built, $22 shipping and all. The Big Box stores did not have them in stock locally.

The previously started hole was too small for what I wanted so I just enlarged it with the Chisel. The second block layer proved to be difficult again the second time and great amounts of chisel hammering were involved untill a soft layer like wood was encountered. Went inside the house and could see where the point was trying to drive through the sheetrock. Then I noticed the power was off for the computer & entertainment center.

What The Fuk, that wiring is not where I'm chiseling. Checked many things, even Pulled the Mains fuse thinking that maybe a Phase had blown, but everything seemed fine after 30 minutes looking. Went back to that one outlet that was powerless and inspected closely. It was 8 inches away from the intended hole and had a fist sized Surge/Noise power filter and a couple of multi-tap power cubes hanging on it. The vibration of the nearby chiseling had vibrated everything apart enough to break the connections. Difficult to see until I got close to it.

Where was I ... oh yeah, I was trying to pound a hole through the wall. Decided to try and finish the hole with the 1/2 inch tungsten bit mention earlier. Since I was only a few feet away from the system cabinet, I plugged the hand drill into the 400w Inverter. First time I've ever tried to do anything useful with the inverter. I was quite surprised that it was working so well with a 1/2 inch bit on concrete and in 2 minutes I had punched completely through the wall. Spent a little more time and enlarged the hole to 3/4 inch with the star drill working from both sides of the wall.

That's the story of the hole in my wall.
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Offline Pete

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2018, 09:11:20 pm »
Love it Woof, stories are great. Glad to hear that you managed to get through the wall without collecting any wiring or any plumbing.
Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.
Cheers
Pete

Offline WooferHound

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Working out the batteries
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2018, 10:33:11 am »
Wokeup today and found my system voltage all the way down to 10.2 volts so I decided that today is the day to try and tickle these batteries back to life.

Removed all the system fuses and disconnected the batteries, then took them out of the picnic cooler and placed them in an open area on the ground. Got a good look inside and the plates are fairly warped and discolored. Got an 80v 10a transformer and wired a large heatsinked diode on the output making halfwave pulsed DC for the battery. Got a 16a Variac Transformer and wired it through the 80v transformer charger to the batteries in series at 12 volts. Attached a Voltmeter to the battery terminals for monitoring.

When turning up the Variac I was able to easily control the battery voltage to anything I wanted, so I dialed it up till it was reading 14.4 volts and let it sit for awhile. After 15 minutes of messing with it all, I shut it down and went to inspect it. The diode heatsink was very warm to the touch and the transformer was getting hotter than that. The batteries had many small bubbles coming to the surface, the first bubbles that I've seen since this project was started. The batteries faded back to 11.9 volts fairly quickly.

After letting it all cool down I decided to pulse the batteries without the Variac and plug 120vac directly to my 80v transformer charger. After 5 seconds the battery voltage had reached over 15 volts and then it blew the Circuit Breaker to my duplex outlet. Reset the breaker and started plugging in the power till I saw 15 volts then a quick unplug. repeated this about 5 times and the extension cord I was plugging started to get warm. Also physically kicking the batteries to shake everything up and help breakup deposits inside.

So far it doesen't seem to be having any effect and the batteries always settle back below 12 volts. Still working on it. May drag out the high voltage Microwave transformer later. If all else fails I might try a 12kv neon transformer on it.
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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2018, 06:48:22 pm »
Worked it all day today. I have dumped a lot of power into those batteries today. Still don't think that I have made a difference. Each cell of the batteries have been bubbling at least once every few seconds. Been trying to keep the battery voltage over 13 volts but the current draw is making all the components run too hot, so I keep the Variac dialed down between 25% and 30%.
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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2018, 10:51:33 am »
OK ,  I'm declaring these batteries DEAD. Resting voltage is below 11 volts now and slowly decreasing.

I have a small 12v Lawn & Garden battery that I will try to use until I can get proper replacement batteries for this system. I got this battery from a garage I was cleaning up last year. It looks old and used but seems to be holding a charge. Just started working with it so I don't know what condition it's in yet. Was sitting at 11.8 volts when I got it a few minutes ago.
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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2018, 01:46:10 pm »
It appears that this Lawn & Garden battery is good. It looks old and beatup but it acts just fine. Pulse Charged it up to 15.6 volts and kept it there for a couple of hours. Unplugged and it settled down to 12.65 volts. It is only a 20 amphour starting battery and old so it won't last long. Installed it into the Solar Power system and it charged right up to 15 volts in a short time. Turned on the charge controller and everything seems to be fine. Haven't had a chance to see if it has any good capacity yet, will give it a good test tonight.
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Offline oztules

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2018, 03:54:19 am »
Woof, I reckon you have given that old battery every possible chance to either recover or go into orbit, it's been beaten cooked fizzed, and a good old fashioned electrocution at 80v or more.... what else can a man do??

So I don't think you will toss it out wondering if you could have done more.

It does gell with my feelings on battery recovery from the dead..... it's a lottery, no science at all, something either works or it doesn't. Any time I have tried, I have met with the same resounding success you have just displayed.... none, nix, nil.zilch etc etc.

Some other folks have been wildly successful, and I don't ......totally ....doubt them, it is just that I haven't had any success at all, and struggle to see how they have blitzed me so bad..... so your results mirror my own attempts.

Anyway, onwards and upwards, the system is getting back together, thats the main thing.


Go woof


........oztules
Flinders Island...... Australia

Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2018, 05:59:13 pm »
New update about my Solar Power system.

I installed this stuff shortly after my last post here.
On the left is the power distribution system. The battery power comes in here and has two capacitors that total 50,000 Mfd to buffer that power and prevent voltage drops when new loads are added. Plus there are 4 fused outputs for the various parts of the system.
On the right is one of my switch banks that control my lighting and fans around my computer area. On the righthand side you can see 5 red LEDs. All of these LEDs illuminate if any of the switches been turned on, indicating that Battery power is being used. Also in with the red LEDs are 2 green LEDs that indicate when the Dump Controller has the batteries at full charge.
At the bottom sitting on my tower computer case is a 12vdc audio amplifier used for inputs from a couple of sources.



That switch bank powers this Terminal Strip where all the loads are connected.



There is another smaller switch bank near the chair my girlfriend sits that powers a 10w LED for her area plus some of the Mood lighting and a couple of extra switches. You can see that I have a coupla red LEDs on it to indicate if any of these switches are on and using the battery. In fact I now have created a Bus I call the Active line. anytime anything is switched on, the active buss goes high and all the red indicators on all switch banks will light up. There is a green LED on this box from another project and is not used here.



All switches in this system use terminal strips for their output so I can change things easily.



Then there is this triple Cigarette lighter output. I use this a lot when creating my LED projects. Inside of it I have placed a Buck Converter which powers the Triple USB charging sockets on the left of the Cigarette sockets. It set for 5v at 1 amp and will charge 1 cell phone really fast.

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Offline Pete

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2018, 02:16:09 pm »
Hi Woof, sounds like you are almost ready to dump the grid. I have tried using large caps as energy stores too. They pack a punch if a short happens anywhere. I have two 50 thousand microfarad caps that I used to smooth a welder rectifier that I built. When I tried to strike the arc they threw a massive spark nearly stronger than the welder itself could put out.
Glad to see that you are enjoying using solar power and converting everything you can.
I use 12 volt LED bulbs at home now, ( my system is off grid) . The bulbs just look like normal light globes but use only 5 or 7 watts. They are great lights. Not like your spots though.
Pete

Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2018, 07:14:34 pm »
I'm really enjoying all of the lighting that I've created and it works great without using much power. But I am asking a LOT from the old 20 amphour Lawn and Garden battery that is out there now. It was found in a garage that I was cleaning out for a friend. It was really dirty, looked very old and the plates were dry. Cleaned it up, put lots of filtered water in it and was surprised that it took a charge and could power stuff fairly good. Then a month later my failing Deep Cycle batteries died and this was the best battery that was available to me at the time.

There is a battery charger out there and if there is a cloudy day, I'll have to power up the charger to get going again. A 5 watt LED light pulls less than half an amp and this battery will not make it through the night with only that light on. I won't let it go below 11 volts, so when it starts showing 10.X on the meter I'll power up the charger for awhile.

Found a nice Volt/Amp meter on eBay for $7 free shipping and should arrive very soon. It will be nice to be able to see the Amp Draw all the time. There are plenty more things that I have, and want to add to this 12vdc power: Modem, Router, and Portable TV. But can't do that with this battery for sure.
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Offline WooferHound

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Re: Rebuilding my Solar Power System after 3 years Storage
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2018, 07:51:29 am »
I got tired of going outside in the cold & rain to plug in the charger, so yesterday I built a maintainer that will keep the battery from going below 11 volts.

Not sure what to call this thing ... a Battery . . .
Maintainer
Backup
Protector

It is a: 12v 3a Transformer > Bridge Rectifier > .1 mfd cap, 2200 mfd cap > Buck Converter > .1 mfd cap, 1000 mfd cap > Diode > Fuse > Battery

The buck converter is set to maintain the battery at 11 volts and supply loads as high as 2.5 amps.
Now I can use all of this stuff I made without worrying about the battery. The solar panels can charge it up it up to about 12.3 volts sitting. Then power will be used from the battery until voltage gets down to 11 volts and the Maintainer will hold it there and supply up to 2.5 amps for the lights and other stuff that I want to run.

Of course the real solution is to get another Battery. Unfortunately that will have to wait till after the New Year for money reasons. Might get a used battery from the Interstate Battery store about half a mile from home.
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