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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / Dedicated Battery Storage Shed, Looking for Designs
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Old_Skewler
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 16:19
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I am considering building a 4ft x 6ft shed for the installation of my off-grid renewable energy system.

I am likely going with the following equipment, that will be stored in this shed:

- Magnum Inverter
- Victron Solar Charger
- Generator Auto Starter
- Battery BMS
- Disconnects
- (4) 12V 200ah batteries, Lithium

I suspect I would need to build this to be lockable, water proof and insulated?

Any designs of photos of similar sheds?

Thanks in advance!

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 19:03
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At the local building center I always see in the book rack one on 'Sheds and Storage Buildings' (or some-such title). Lots of pics and plans.
Ive seen a bunch online too.
Then there are pre-built sheds, worth looking at to get a real-world feel for the footprint/space.
Id suggest getting bigger than you initially think so you have room for tools and some building maintenance materials.

Tim_Ohio
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 19:17
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Maybe look into the smallest steel shipping container possible. Iā€™d think it would be more secure then anything else.

Tim_Ohio

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 19:23
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Do you ever see your self needing a bigger shed?

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 19:56
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LOL
Do I ever see myself NOT needing a bigger shed!
Long ago somebody said,"Nobody ever builds a garage or storage building big enough".
Sure seems true to me.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 20:38
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With that list of equipment I'd be thinking concrete bunker!

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 20:39
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Prety much sums up my point.

I have a 4x6 shed that I built as a power building it stores 2 generators and a while bunch of other crap I cant even get to with out un packing it. Oils, hand tools, tarps, extension cords, hoses, a cement mixer, propane tanks, gas, diesel and plumbing pieces are just some of the things in there.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2022 22:31
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Note that a gen will produce vibration and need ventilation/air flow unless water cooled, all around access for maintenance and exterior exhausting.
4 x 12v 200ah batteries, even in lfp, will be pretty heavy.
If you intend for 12v be aware that paralleling 4 bats is not really recommended. 2s/2p for a 24v bat-bank would be better, or 4s for 48v.
4x 12v 200ah bats will require quite the solar array. There are 'worksheets' to figure it out, you MUST; it is not an option.
A solar array will be a visual advert.
If you are worried about security Paul is right. Slimeballs with cordless tools can cut through a wall in minutes. Years ago I heard about using rebar run through the studs as 'saw breaks', still a good idea but those intent upon thievery, especially if remote, will likely consider the more hardened your structure the more your stuff is worth getting to.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 05:28
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I personally would recommend a Solar Shed of no less than 8'x8', with a Shed Roof. In the Long Run you may find 12x8 would be more suitable. Don't do like I did and have to Add ON to the building later. See Below

Roof angled for Best Solar angle in March/September for your location, cover that with a White Tin Roof and Bi-Facial Solar Panels.

- You want the room to work inside with the equipment (including in foul weather).
- Regardless of where you are, Insulate the building to keep summer heat out and winter warmth in. LFP Batteries cannot be charged below 0C/32F and only up to 0.25C until 10C/50F.
- Steel Door with Latch Security Plates, No Windows.

My Powerhouse.
Mine is now combined with my Pumphouse that houses the well head & 50 Gal pressure tank, which has to be heated in winter (I'm up north by Algonquin Park). The whole structure is 14x6.

- Frost Protected Slab Foundation with 1/2" Radiant Pex within the concrete for use with Solar Radiant Heating.
- 2x4, 24oc, Structure with 3.5" Thick XPS Foam sheet between studs and 1" Foam between studs & exterior sheathing for a Thermal Break.
- Roof 2x6 with 5.5" PolyISO between rafters. Cool Roof system employed, so there is a thermal air breaks between cladding & shell.

The Radiant Pex was installed for Future Use.
I use a recovered Direct Vent RV Furnace Propane Fuelled and requires on 12V from a 20' wrecked camper... It keeps the building at 50F very nicely and quite cheaply as well thanks to the insulation.

My Solar System started with a Heavy Lead Bank 22kWh) which I finally decommissioned yesterday ! I've been on LFP / LiFePO4 since 2020 and now am in the Final Stage with the system configuration and doing the final Renovation to the powerhouse. *

* LESSON LEARNED WITH LFP
Part of this involved a Long Battery Pack shelf for my 5 Packs (3x 24V/280AH & 2x 24V/175AH) which up until now were on a shelving system. The Temp Differences in winter are typically 1C between each pack with the bottom pack closest to floor being coldest & the top packs being warmest. Given that I only heat to 10C/52F I can "SEE" the charge input difference between each pack as a direct result of the Temperature Difference, the coldest is slowest to charge and the last to finish. So the solution is one 8' long cabinet-shelf that is 27" High to put the packs on.

Weight is tricky. In my case, each 24V/280AH pack weighs in at about 45kg/100Lbs and the 175's about 35kg/77lbs. They are heavy but not like the pile of 140Lb Lead Beasts I had been using.

Important Point !
Whatever you build, appreciate that one spot within the structure will be heavy due to the batteries and the related gear. Over a couple of years that CAN cause the building to shift, 1100 Lbs of Lead Battery proved that! You have to think about how that weight will be distributed and how it will affect the structure as it settles and through freeze/thaw cycles. I built mine on a prepared (excavated, filled & compacted) base and still had a "bit" of shift, had it not been properly prepped it would have gone cockadoodle. BE AWARE OF YOUR BASE !

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 05:35
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I should add, do NOT use Fiberglass Insulation, that only provides a home for rodents & insects and holds moisture/damp. For BATT Insulation use Rockwool like ROXUL. Foam Insulation is great IF you can get sheets cheaply, spray can also be done affordably but it's not as simple as one thinks (/me foam guy).

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 06:54
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Roxul dosnt keep rodents away and carpenter ants will nest in foam. The best way to keep animals out of insulation is to not let them in. Keep the population down outside the building and they wont be tempted to get in.

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 09:13
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Quoting: Old_Skewler
I am likely going with the following equipment, that will be stored in this shed:

- Magnum Inverter
- Victron Solar Charger


Plenty of thoughts on the shed.... my recommendation would be stick with Victron for both the SCC and the inverter. Magnum makes a good inverter but IMHO Victron is nicer especially setting it up. Just installed a system for a neighbor last summer, all Victron... robust, very nice equipment and a breeze to set up. Victron is known to "play well" with lithium. There is a necessary interface between the inverter and a laptop with their software installed on it. Once the interface is plugged into both it takes just a minute or two to set the batteries charging parameters and load sharing, etc. We were done with the setup so quickly we went back over it to make sure we didn't miss anything! The SCC can be setup via Bluetooth and an app on your phone. Both the inverter and SCC will come up via Bluetooth on your phone for monitoring. If you have wifi it can be monitored from anywhere. Price wise, very little difference in cost between the Magnum and Victron.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 09:44
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I am a believer that an energy shed should be just an energy shed and not used for general storage. If there is a fuel burning generator involved I store the extra fuel in another location dedicated to fuel storage.

I am also a believer in using all one brand for the solar power handling equipment. That will usually allow for easy integration for data collection and remote control.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 10:00
Reply 


Also Agree on trying to stick to One Product family like all Victron, or even a good Growatt AIO (All in One) Solar Charge Controler / Inverter / Charger units which really make things much easier.

I have Midnite Solar Controller, Samlex Inverter, JK-BMS for my LFP Packs and a whole lot of "kit" in between it all (read $$$), plus integration (software monitoring & control) is a PITA. IF I was building my system "today" it would be with a stackable Growatt AIO, delivering 240VAC.

Most Important Rule that applies is "Keep It Simple" and the simpler the better.

Growatt Offgrid Storage Inverters.
http://www.ginverter.com/Off-Grid-Storage-Inverters.html#product44

Notes
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 11:33
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Here is ours. 12x7x7. Attached to our 16x16 storage shed. 2x4 wall with 1/2ā€ plywood, 2ā€ recycled foam, tyvek, 1/2ā€ air space, and cedar lap siding milled on site. Thanks to Steve_S, got a 12 volt rv wall heater 12,000btu from a totaled rv for $35.00. Keeps power room at 45 degrees. Located in upper Michigan.
Many thanks to Steve_S and the forum members on this site.

Notes
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 11:45
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Hope this works.

Notes
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 11:52
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Pics.
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Notes
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 11:54
Reply 


Few more.
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Notes
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 11:56
Reply 


Battery box
2CD6C75AB7684FD8B.png
2CD6C75AB7684FD8B.png


scott100
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2022 13:47 - Edited by: scott100
Reply 


Here's ours. Since those pics were taken I've since added a Victron smart shunt. I also plan on adding a 120v 24v dc battery charger with a plug outside to hook in my generator, if needed. Never thought this would be needed but had second thoughts after 3 weeks of overcast and rain last fall. We conserved and made it fine, but if I had the charger, I would have just run the generator for battery charging occasionally, and not worried about it.
IMG_20200628_1817543.jpg
IMG_20200628_1817543.jpg
IMG_20200911_1649598.jpg
IMG_20200911_1649598.jpg


Old_Skewler
Member
# Posted: 7 May 2022 20:00
Reply 


Thanks everyone for the GREAT feedback! Lots of good stuff to unpack and some updates on my end. After much research I had landed on a Magna Power System only to find out that it is backordered for about a year.

I am then forced by financial limitations to slightly downgraded to a SunGoldPower AIO package LF-PV 6kW with Charge Controller + (1) EG4 48V 100Ah battery with the option of doubling battery capacity down the road. I really liked the Sensata Magna Series but it would cost me about $4.5K for everything while the SGP AIO package runs about $1,500 and it is on stock. I can't beat that.

Regarding the shed, i also appreciate the feedback. I've decided to double the length (4 x 12) and create two separate compartments: (1) 4x6 uninsulated and vented for the nat gas generator and another 4x6 insulated space for the electrical gear and batteries. I have a close concrete contractor friend visiting from Florida and he'll help me with the foundation. After than I will frame the new shed, add two separate doors and create two spaces inside. This is the plan for now but this could change.

For insulation I will try either rigid foam board or spray foam. I will only insulated the electrical gear side of the shed so I hope price won't be an issue since the shed is so small.

Lastly, thanks for the photos of sheds! It will come handy down the road!

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 8 May 2022 13:17
Reply 


Kinda like your dual shed idea. Maybe consider making the partition between them a 'fire-wall'?

Old_Skewler
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2022 10:19
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Quoting: gcrank1
Maybe consider making the partition between them a 'fire-wall'?


I don't know much about fire proofing a wall but if doable and easy for a novice then I would consider it.

Do you happen to have any idea how I could easily achieve this?

Nobadays
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2022 10:57
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Quoting: Old_Skewler



Double 5/8" gypsum/sheet rock is commonly used as fire blocking.

Old_Skewler
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2022 10:59
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Quoting: Nobadays
Double 5/8" gypsum/sheet rock is commonly used as fire blocking.



As simple as that? That seems very doable. I thought it would have to be cinder blocks or something else.

Thanks for clarifying it!

travellerw
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2022 20:27
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Seems like a lot of work and expense for just battery and electronics storage (especially with lumber prices).

I'm just using old job boxes I bought at auction. One for batts and one for the electronics. Best of all they are fire "proof" so if something goes horribly wrong its contained to the box (with limited oxygen).

Ok.. Maybe best of all is the price.. They run about $100. So cheap and cheerful.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2022 21:08
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Pics Trav?

Old_Skewler
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2022 08:45
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Quoting: travellerw
Seems like a lot of work and expense for just battery and electronics storage (especially with lumber prices).


I am glad you found a cheap and cheerful solution that works for you. But to assume every situation matches your scenario only creates a great point of view for judgements.

travellerw
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2022 09:43 - Edited by: travellerw
Reply 


Quoting: Old_Skewler
But to assume every situation matches your scenario only creates a great point of view for judgements.


Wow.. Not sure if you just had a bad day, or have no idea how online forums work. You asked for advice and I gave advice based on my experience (helped build about 100 off grid systems).

Anyway, I will post a picture of the boxes I'm using in case its helps someone else in the future. Job boxes are designed to be outside so they have high quality finishes that last for years in all weather. They are lockable (with hidden latches to stop someone from cutting off the lock). Being made of steel or aluminum means they are fireproof and will contain a runaway if it happens. Its easy to drill holes and add grommets or weatherproof electrical clamps. Being metallic, they can be grounded to add some safety.
Jet842481JobsiteT.jpg
Jet842481JobsiteT.jpg


gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2022 14:09
Reply 


Thanx Trav
Btw, your inputs are always worthy of consideration.

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