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Get Powered Up! Certified Energy Manager Jeff Yago answers your alternative energy questions

Wondering about a great new energy-saving device
you found on the Internet? Then CLICK HERE!

Sorry. Jeff no longer answers questions online.
This will remain as a searchable
resource for all BHM website visitors.



Archive for the ‘Trickle Charger’ Category

 

Gel-Cell Battery Charger

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Jeff:

Thank you for all of your help in the past. Is there a particular charger you would recommend for charging a small battery bank of 2 Gel-Cell batteries (183aHr, wired in parallel)? I would really need one that is capable of trickle charging over a couple months unattended, as well as the ability to set a dip switch or other selector to have it charge regular auto/ marine flooded lead acid batteries.

I almost purchased a Samlex SEC1215 but figured I should check w/ the expert first.

Respectfully,

Matt Houghton

Matt:

There may be a charger that does both, but it does not seem very energy efficient. Most battery-maintainer type “trickle chargers” are very small and use very little electricity. They are designed to just off-set the standby losses for a battery bank not being used, and they are designed to use only a tiny amount of purchased electricity.

There are larger battery chargers that have switches to select from heavy charging to lower charge rates, but most do not go as low as you are needing and even if they did, they most likely would require much power to run in this low charge mode since you are dealing with larger capacity electrical components not being used at their rated output. There is nothing wrong with having two chargers on the same battery bank. Keep the trickle charger on full time, and use a larger charger when you need a fast re-charge after a heavy deep discharge.

The following link is for the unit I have used on several projects with good results. Its not a high dollar model, but seems to do a good job at a fair price.

http://www.batterytender.com/default.php?cPath=11

Good Luck,

Jeff Yago

 

Battery bank transport and storage

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Hi Jeff.

You have given me advice in the past and it was much appreciated.

I have a small home solar setup which uses two MK/ DEKA 183 Ahr gel cell batteries. If I am moving what is the best way to transport the batteries? MK/DEKA does not make terminal boots to cover the terminals; this pretty much means I can’t set anything on top of them that would risk creating an ‘arc’ between the battery terminals. Also, I might be living in an apartment for awhile and have to store my PV equipment. Any advice about keeping the batteries healthy while in storage (w/ out a steady supply of sunshine)?

Thanks again for your sage advice.

Respectfully,

Matt H.

Matt:

Almost all deep cycle batteries are shipped with a protective plastic insulator “cap” over the positive terminal. I am sure any battery supplier in your area would give you one as they throw them away by the bucket load.

Once a battery has been in use, its not good to let it discharge and stay that way for long periods. You could hook up a portable battery charger about every 3 months to replace the charge that will be lost just sitting around.

An easier way might be a small battery maintainer charger. These are about the size of a pack of cigarettes and cost about $15. They are electronic and put out a very tiny charge which you leave connected all the time. These are designed for things like a generator starter battery which may sit idle for months but needs to stay fully charged.

Good luck!

Jeff Yago

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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