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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / NBD: New Battery Day
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rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 04:55 - Edited by: rachelsdad
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This past weekend I pulled my 8 100 lb batteries out of the shed, down to the dock, into the boat, over the water, back to "land", on to the dock, down the dock, over and into the trailer for the last time!


I just purchased 4 used Chevy Volt batteries. According to UPS they will land at my office around 11:00 a.m.

I am working with Bobolink Solar as I have found his wealth of advice to all on this forum and his 1 on 1 assistance with me to be invaluable...common sense and a bit of mad scientist rolled into one!!

As I don't visit the place in the winter and it gets 10-30 below zero several times a winter I will be pulling the Volts every winter too...or maybe just disconnecting...either way my back and hips are way ahead of the game, they only weigh 20 lbs each! Heck I can put them in my pocket!

Still a few bits to get...BMS...harness from Bobolink when I get the battery info to him,then reprogramming MS Charge Controller but frankly I would love to be able to get all in order and install before the winter just to make sure all is good for next spring.

Feels like Christmas!

I'll keep you all posted

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 08:26
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You pulled 800lbs of batterys from cabin, boat,to your car every spring and fall? Dear god thats alot of work for "free power".

beachman
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 08:55
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I can identify with the lugging - exact same situation - boats, etc... but only 2 batteries and it gets tired real fast! Let me know how you make out with the lithium - charging especially. I don't use our place in the winter so winter charging is not a problem. I also take down my 2 panels but next go around will install 4 or 6 in a more sheltered area that I can leave up year round.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 09:14
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Welcome to the Chevy Volt.... lithium club! We also use 4/48v/2kw Volt modules 8kw total. (the 48v modules are about 40# each, still light compared to fla) We use a bobolink BMS to keep the module cells balanced...it works great! We feed these bad boys with 1470 watts of rooftop solar running through a Schneider 60/150 Charge controller and power the cabin with a Schneider 4048 inverter/charger, both hooked to the remote Control panel. We haven't powered the cabin from the generator since the end of June when the solar system was completed.

In the cabin we now use a 10cuft electric fridge, a 7cuft freezer, microwave and even a bread machine on afternoons when we are floating. We bought a new gas range then found out there was no way to bypass the glow bar for the oven (it has to be hot to trigger a shutoff solenoid to the oven gas flow, we thought we could just light the oven...).... but no issue with power! We have yet to even come close to low battery cut-off.

You're gonna like lithium! What's the rest of your system consist of?

beachman
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 10:54
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Wow - quick reply! We have 2 panels with about 510w total (small system). This goes to Blue Sky 2025 cc and to 2 Trojan L16's 6v (to make 12v) - 370 amp hours, (heavy suckers). Then to a box with a shunt for the Trimetric BM system and to the 1000w PS inverter, then to the distribution fuse box for about 4 circuits right now - to plugs and lights around the cabin. Also runs a 12 v Sure Flow pump in loft to run shower and bath utilities. Works really well but I work hard to set up and take down. Lithium sounds like the ticket. Would love to leave the whole mess and just start it up and shut it off in spring and fall.

Right now, have propane refrigerator and stove as well as a few gas lights. Solar was in its infancy when the camp was built. The propane works great and have plugged in the stove to "spark" the burners and oven since no glow plug - works well. Getting tired of lugging propane as well but appliances work so well.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 11:30
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Beachman.... Sounds like a good setup. I guess to avoid the chance of freezing you haul your batteries out? You can't just leave the system in place? As long as fla have a full, or nearly full charge they can be good down to minus 50F-80F. The problem is they will lose power just sitting so unless you can get in there to recharge them, OR, leave your system running, you could freeze them before returning in the spring. Guys around here just let the system run.

Rachelsdad.... what does the rest of your system look like?

beachman
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 12:10
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Yes - could leave them. But, the batteries are costly so while they are relatively new - 5yrs, I would rather not chance leaving them out - even fully charged. I don't think anyone would take them - I'd look for someone with a hernia. The panels are close to water and therefore ice and storm issues.

razmichael
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 12:18
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Beachman - going along with what Nobadays asks - why not leave them? The size of my system is similar to your specs (w 2 Trojan 105s). My cabin is in Quebec and winter temps can easily go to -30C and lower. Last four winters I just left everything up. I turn off the main circuit but keep a "security" circuit running off the charge controller (floods lights, cameras) and have had no issues. Panels are ground mounted so I know they get a lot of snow on them but still seem to be able to keep the batteries charged up well to avoid freezing. They are around 8 plus yrs old now so I will need to replace at some point and will look at Lithium - but the current below freezing charging issue is a negative in my particular use-case (although the chemistry is certainly evolving to overcome this eventually).

beachman
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 12:28
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Thanks all. I actually already lugged them out this year but I think I will leave them and set up a trickle charge over next winter. The panels current location is an issue and I will have to deal with that. I am in NB so it gets pretty cold here too.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 14:29
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For how light, portable and expensive lithium is i would not leave them. It has nothing to do with the temp. If your pannels are removable i would at least take them down too.

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 16:11
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Sorry all...been sitting here looking out my window. UPS comes here 3-4 times per day...No Christmas yet, but there is one more chance.

I have a Midnight Solar MS4024 fed by 9 panels on the roof of the boat house.

The reason I took them was I really feared if they froze and thawed I'd pour acid into the lake.

Whoops...here is the truck..

Holding breath

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 16:12 - Edited by: rachelsdad
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We run the power to the camp via an 85-90' trenched conduit, to the breaker panel.

I have about 30 lights and 6 fans powered by 110 running DC motors...

Come on UPS guy leave the truck!!

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 16:15
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GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

No batteries today!!

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 16:30
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Here is a fan
dcfans.jpg
dcfans.jpg


rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 16:32
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That is 140 year old pine in previous picture!
20190921_083929.jpg
20190921_083929.jpg


Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 18:05
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Nice! Love the boat house ! Good call on the batteries.... need a pan/sealed box to sit them in case they did freeze and split.

So you are running a 24vdc system? Then are your Volt modules 24vdc as well? Guess if they are then 6 cells... instead of 12 on our 48vdc modules.

Our lithium modules are under the staircase in the middle of our cabin. It is enclosed and the modules are in a purpose built box, sitting on 1" of foam insulation then the box sits on 2" rigid foam insulation. Our floors are uninsulated so trying to keep them up off the floor. I have 2 temperature probes taped to different modules then foam over the probes to block the surrounding air from influencing the temp readings.

We plan to leave the modules here as we will come to the cabin multiple times during the winter. Our plan is to leave the modules at around 46vdc then use off them as we warm the cabin/modules back up. Probably will sit a small propane heater under the staircase for the first day to help bring them up to temperature. If we can find a fail safe way to cut charging if the module temp dropped too low we would leave the system on. As it is we will cut power from our panels to the charge controller and from the CC to the bus bar for safety...until the modules are warm.

Hope yours come soon! You will like the no fussiness of lithium.

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 16 Oct 2019 20:54
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Nobadays,

Yup I went with a 24 volt system based on my anticipated use. 3 season, at best, really never any winter use.

At the time made sense.

Old 1880's lumber managers house that somehow ended up here from an abandonded lumber camp

rachelsdad
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2019 07:05 - Edited by: rachelsdad
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Well they came in a day late. They were not quite what was represented, (claimed 2014's..actually a mix of 2012's and 2013's), but Monsieur Creeky said that wasn't a big issue. Very excited.

He's just back from a break but he is going to let me know what to buy as far as the harness and BMS to get this madness installed.

I actually have three here in my office and one on my dining room table at home. Poor wife...but she is pleased that at 60 I no longer hav to trudge those beasts back and forth, (Oh the reason I take them is we cannot get to the batteries during the winter and our panels don't really shed the feet of snow they accumulate).

I am driving everyone nuts here at work as the FLA's are out in the parking lot on the trailer. I have them go out, pick one of those up then come back in and lift on of the Volt modules.

Duckgun351
Member
# Posted: 6 Nov 2019 03:56
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Guys I'm reading this and wondering now if solar might be good direction for me. I have a 1000 square ft cabin I'm restoring. Its located in West Virginia. Electric is available, but have not hooked anything up yet. I will retire there in few years. My wife and I will heat and cook with natural gas. But lights,fridge ect will need power. Our estimate of electric bill is 125$ month. Is it worth going solar? And where does a novice find best info? I added picture of cabin for size reference.
IMG_20190427_121449..jpg
IMG_20190427_121449..jpg


Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 6 Nov 2019 04:43
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I looked at Creeky's options and for me, it would have been 12 of the Volt Modules plus several extras to make it all work, so after much research & debate I went another route to replacement battery bank (8 Rolls S550's).
Check out https://diysolarforum.com/index.php a rebuilt website so it's quite fresh & up to date with many options & approaches.

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