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DIY batteries

 
Posts: 227
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Since batteries are so important to an off grid home electric system, I finally got around to looking up info on DIY battery options. Fascinating stuff.

First up, changing a dead lead acid battery to a working alum battery. John Bedini came up with this DIY protocol, apparently.

http://www.hho4free.com/bedini_alkaline_battery.htm

Any thoughts on this? It seems to have advantages, if the information is true. I'd just like to get your thoughts on these methods.

Next up, speaking of Bedini, is the pulse charger he sells.

http://energenx.com/products.html

So, anyone believe the claims of rejuvenateing old batteries by pulse charging with Bedini's charger? Anyone use or know someone who uses this charger? Pretty expensive, but if used on a home battery bank to extend the life, and it works, it might be worth it.

For the truly hard core, this next link is instructions to build your own batteries at home, Edison batteries included

http://members.shaw.ca/Craig-C/hybridize/BatteryMaking/BatteryMaking.html

This guy is flat out amazing, whether or not you agree with his conclusions. He's experimenting and sharing his results, along with providing directions to build Edison Batteries at home---free of charge. Right or wrong, this guy knows a thing or two about what it's going to take to change the way things are currently headed in this world.
He's not claiming he knows more than battery manufacturers, just that he knows enough to help you build a better, longer lasting battery that manufacturers are unwilling to provide for sale.

And then there are the earth batteries. Next link is to an extremely interesting little project I'm going to do with my children.

http://peswiki.com/index.php/OS:Stephen_Dickens_Magnesium-Water-Copper_Battery

This little battery is pretty cool when you consider it's life span compared to a AA battery's. I don't see these ever running a home, but it seems possible to charge small electronics with them or light enough LEDs to see by night, with a bit more development.

Anyway, hope some of you find the material in the links interesting. If you know something about any of this, please share. There doesn't seem to be all that much info on building batteries with a useful amount of power on the web right now. Or, maybe I'm not searching with the proper key words yet.
 
Posts: 59
Location: The forest, Sweden. Zone 7. Sandy, acidic soils.
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To clarify Edison's batteries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel–iron_battery


NiFe batteries. They are not maintenance free. But if you do spend some time on them they will last indefinitely... as it stands to the current date. They are on the market today. China produces NiFe batteries for the US market. Edison's batteries are still at full capacity after 90-odd years.
 
kai weeks
Posts: 59
Location: The forest, Sweden. Zone 7. Sandy, acidic soils.
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The principal of Edison's batteries are that the electrolyte is in itself the anti-oxidant for the anode and cathode. Hence you avoid the issues of lead-acid and it's sulfication - they are simply not relevant in the NiFe battery. There is no build-up on the electrolytic plates within the battery. The electrolyte solution has to be changed to maintain capacity however.
 
Posts: 62
Location: Shenandoah Valley, VA
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Battery desulfation might help to prolong a battery life that is sulfated. The pulses to the battery can mess with inverters and solar chargers. If you take care of a battery you can keep down the sulfating and get a good life out of your batteries.

I did try a few desulfation devices when I first went off grid. I ended up destroying the batteries because the solar chargers were unable to read and adjust to voltage because of the pulses.

Any time you look into battery chargers look at the power factor and the harmonics they give off. When you run a battery charger off a genset most of the time you need to double or triple the input amps when sizing the genset. The low power factor and harmonics will kill the coils in the head if it is to far out of spec.

The chargers built into the better brands of off grid inverters were made to work with gensets. They have a different design.

My current battery bank on my off grid system are 9 years old and still in great shape. It comes down to proper sizing, maintenance, and not abuseing them and they can last 15 to 20 years. I love my wet lead cells.

I gave up on the thought of having a back up genset. It's much cheaper to have a alternator on a small engine than it is to run a larger engine. Cheaper to repair, replace, and to fuel.
 
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Pulsators work good, if the plates arn't actually shorted out.

Get the one that varys the pulse rates, it will shake off a lot more sulphides.

Best idea is to run these off the wall, or in the car, since it is running all the time.


Battery Minder plus i believe.
These will run the desulphation magic, even when not hooked up to a charger. Does drain slowly, figure a week before you have to hook it back up.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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using wood as a substrate solves the lithium shrinking problem

http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/72201-video-a-battery-made-of-wood
 
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, Idaho (a balmy 7a)
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And here is even more news...dang, it's the same thing.

http://www.umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/battery-made-wood
 
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I have been playing around with alum batteries for about 4 years. I have some in my my basement that are wired up to LED bulbs in my house. So when the power goes out, we still at least have lights. I use old vacuum cleaner wire, which works well for a 25 foot run of wire to a 5 watt led bulb.

In the future I hope to find a deal on a used fork lift battery to convert to alum and try to  run my freezer with. It can be a very cheap way to have some battery storage without it costing you an arm and a leg. As of now I have the cost of an alum battery to about $12 to $15. $10 of it is the money I would have got back from the core charge on the battery.

One of the things I've learned about alum batteries is that they don't hold the full amount that the lead acid battery you converted did. In fact, I now use 11.1 volt charge controllers instead of 12 volt ones. I've had a couple of alum batteries die prematurely (I'm pretty sure they should have lasted much longer). I believe the cause was that the 12 volt charge controllers were over charging them because they run continuously trying to raise the battery voltage to a place that these batteries cannot hold.

One of the things I'm thinking of doing if I ever try an old forklift battery is using an extra cell. A 24 volt system uses twelve 2 volt cells. I believe if you could use 13 cells instead of 12 you could use a regular 24 volt charge controller to charge the battery bank without worrying about over charging the cells. I believe this would be powerful enough to run a chest fridge or freezer, using a 24 volt inverter.
 
Posts: 82
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
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i've been looking into using batteries from an electric vehicle. Some of these battery packs can be bought inexpensively from sites such as Ebay relatively  cheaply.
the only problem i'm having is finding out which to use, there is very limited information as to the number of cells, the cell voltage. and the amperage
 
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