Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Protecting batteries from freezing.

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Protecting batteries from freezing.

    I was wondering if anyone could give me some information on protecting a series of six volt batteries connected to an invertor and generator from freezing. She lives up north in BC and we are trying to get her set up for living off the grid on the cabin she just built. Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    Keep the batteries charged. Mine have never frozen and they've seen -45. They don't have much juice at that temp but I don't wait to get the heat going at that temp, either.

    I keep my batteries in a containment enclosure inside the living area so that the batteries are warm while I'm there. Warm batteries work better for charging and for using the stored power.

  3. #3

    Default

    Do you use a venting system or are they AGM batt's? I've always thought like you, they belong inside because of freezing issues. And like mentioned, delivering more current. Curious what you have for venting. Might save me wasting a few brain cells one day instead of re-inventing the wheel.

    Thanks, Bob

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    When I'm equalizing I crack a nearby window. For everyday use I don't do anything. I've never smelled the batteries and have no issues after 10 years with them inside. They aren't in a small room, either. They're in an open loft, in a big plastic box like a fish box. That's for any leakage or condensation. I thought about venting, I just never did it and at this point I see no reason to.

    I have 4 flooded L-16 batteries in series/parallel for 12v output to the inverter.

  5. #5

    Default

    Solar or wind? I've been studing off-grid systems and am liking wind a lot, where there is a wind. Solar in northern Alaska has me concerned. How to keep snow off PV panels etc. Plus wind would likely work better in the winter. Seems like more wind available then. But likewise you can't beat the sun in the summer.

    My opinion? A mixture makes sense for year round habitation.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    Solar. In south central Alaska solar works really well for about 4 months a year, marginally well for 2, not very well for 2, and is essentially dormant for 4 months. If you live where it's windy you have that potential but I know nothing about wind generators in the cold. I suffer through the dark times with diesel power to restore the batteries.

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks so much for your input Mr.Pid and Bob. Could you please explain what you mean by equalizing? My daughter's cabin has a loft in it so I am thinking she might be able to keep the batteries up there. Could I ask what kind of container you keep them in? Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    Equalizing is literally overcharging the batteries for a specified amount of time to "boil" the electrolyte. This mixes the fluid and removes deposits from the lead plates. Here are a couple of links for you to read. Most home power inverters have built-in battery chargers and different charge settings. One or two of those settings will be for equalizing. If you're using a small inverter and an automotive battery charger you probably don't have an equalization option.

    http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/257/DocServe.aspx

    http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm

    My plastic box is just that. A big plastic dry box with a hinged lid that I bought at Lowe's or Home Depot.

  9. #9
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Excellent links. Thanks so much again. Any more tips would be greatly appreciated.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    Conservation is always the most important thing. Use the new low wattage light bulbs. Or wire some 12v lights right from the batteries. The difference in battery life between charges is amazing. Inverters hum when they're on. I don't notice it during the day but I do when I'm trying to sleep. I turn mine off at night. A few 12v lights come in really handy!

    I found the box that I have.
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...000000230-3725

  11. #11

    Default System

    Quote Originally Posted by BIGBOB View Post
    Solar or wind? I've been studing off-grid systems and am liking wind a lot, where there is a wind. Solar in northern Alaska has me concerned. How to keep snow off PV panels etc. Plus wind would likely work better in the winter. Seems like more wind available then. But likewise you can't beat the sun in the summer.

    My opinion? A mixture makes sense for year round habitation.
    Your best bet may be a hybrid system. PV panels can be used in the winter, their output will suffer with the lack of light but they will produce power. Just as you can go snow-blind on a cloudy type day they will catch ambient light, just don't produce much power. When using solar panels in the winter months set the angle to the ground at 90* this allows wind to blow snow off the surface and decreases surface area.
    Combine this with a small (say 400-600 watt) wind generator and you can reduce your dependence on a generator: If you have winds of 12mph !

    Fully charged batteries won't freeze until temps fall below -90*. The problem is most batteries have a self discharge rate of 4-6% per month. And even 10% discharge changes the freeze temp A LOT.
    In the fall coat you wind generator blades with a couple of coats of RAIN-X it helps reduce icing on blades. In case of an ice storm. Once the temps get super cold the blades experience nearly no buildup at all.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  12. #12

    Default

    Lots of info here: http://scoraigwind.com/ Some consider this guy the grandaddy of modern wind. Look carefully and you'll find a PDF on a small turbine, easy to build.

    Another that has step by step instr. easy to understand. Oh, they sell premade kits also. For what I consider reasonable. http://www.otherpower.com/otherpowerfront.shtml

    More http://www.greeleynet.com/~cmorrison/WindMachine.html

    Did I mention I like wind? http://www.windstuffnow.com/

    Lotsa reading there. Info on solar is easy to find, although you can't exactly build it yourself like the above. If you have a stream closeby, holler, micro-hydro is another favorite.


    Bob

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •