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Actually Activating NiFe batteries?

 
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Meni Menindorf wrote:
First on my mind.  I am still charging these batteries using the panels straight to the batteries (no controller) and I recently installed a voltage readout and a switch so I can manually turn charging on and off.  I am still somewhat financially challenged, so I can't afford a high end controller with user modifiable parameters.  (Seems like these are all in the $500+ range?). My question: am I damaging my batteries charging them like this regularly?  Or is there a certain approach with my handy manual on/off switch that would help prevent harm?  I have read that these batteries can safely charge up to 17.5V.  I very rarely see mine go above 16.5v (though we will see what the Summer brings). Does this mean I can continue to charge like the neglegent off-gridder I am, and sit on my couch expecting my NiFe to last 80 years?  Or with them sizzling away all the time like an HHO generator, should I expect them to have a 5 year life?



Hi Meni,

Glad to hear from you.
I think the voltage readout and switch are fine for the 'human' managed charge controller
Hovering the voltage around 16.5V is fine. I think at around 16.5V it would be a good idea to cut the switch.
17.5V would also be my maximum limit. It's not forbidden to get higher, but you wil gain very little capacity, but massive water loss.


Yes, you can charge them this way without damage. Just don't let them run dry.
You will not reduce the life of the batteries.

There are only two other things to consider when running without charge controller
- You need to add more water. Question: How often do you need to add water?
- Over time, the carbon build up in the battery (from the added destilled water), will increase slighty faster (how fast? I have no idea)
But at least you can make new KOH (fairly simple) and then the batteries are like new again.
They ware a discussion about refurbishement of NiCad and NiFe here:
https://permies.com/t/130801/information-Edison-Ed-Nicad-batteries


Can't help you with the HHO generation, but nevertheless I find it very interesting!

Latest addition to my battery setup is an Arduino like add-on that implements a "quit by absorbtion current" on the charge controller. It checks
if the absorbtion voltage is reached and the same time if the current into the battery bank is satified.
So absorbtion is dynamically varied according to the weather.

-Can have up to 5 hours absobtion on very bad weather and many loads.
-And just as short as 20 minutes of a sunny day with little power consumption.


Greetings!


 
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Thanks for your feedback Steven.  This is what I am hoping to hear.  Sure seems like they are happy batteries charging like this, and so much easier to work with than lead-acid!  Also I should mention, with all the "sizzling" I have discussed in this post, I still have not seen any observable change in the water level.  All ten batteries still hovering around the max fill level.  I am also not terribly concerned about Carbon build-up, and a freshening of the KOH should certainly solve that issue.  Side note about reconditioning...  I have reconditioned lead-acid batteries with an Eposom Salt solution, and I am astounded by how well this works!  It costs $5-$10 to recondition, and the resulting "mineral battery" as I am calling it, responds much more like the NiFe batteries do.  They don't heat up from solar-direct charging and they continue to give out pretty rad amperage even at 9V.  So stoked it is an option to recondition, lead and otherwise~. I probably never would have bought NiFe if I knew how well reconditioning worked

Sounds like a really fun project with that Arduino!  I am going to make a new post for HHO~. But before I go here, could this be a way to store HHO from my NiFe?  

https://www.hho-generator.de/en/mcgiver.htm
 
Steven Di Maira
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Meni Menindorf wrote:Thanks for your feedback Steven.  This is what I am hoping to hear.  Sure seems like they are happy batteries charging like this, and so much easier to work with than lead-acid!  Also I should mention, with all the "sizzling" I have discussed in this post, I still have not seen any observable change in the water level.  All ten batteries still hovering around the max fill level.  I am also not terribly concerned about Carbon build-up, and a freshening of the KOH should certainly solve that issue.  Side note about reconditioning...  I have reconditioned lead-acid batteries with an Eposom Salt solution, and I am astounded by how well this works!  It costs $5-$10 to recondition, and the resulting "mineral battery" as I am calling it, responds much more like the NiFe batteries do.  They don't heat up from solar-direct charging and they continue to give out pretty rad amperage even at 9V.  So stoked it is an option to recondition, lead and otherwise~. I probably never would have bought NiFe if I knew how well reconditioning worked

Sounds like a really fun project with that Arduino!  I am going to make a new post for HHO~. But before I go here, could this be a way to store HHO from my NiFe?  

https://www.hho-generator.de/en/mcgiver.htm



Regarding lead acid batteries:
Nice the you used the epson salts. (not having done that before)
I do have one of these pulsing devices that charge up to 30v for short peaks. This also to combat sulfation.

One disadvantage that remains is plate corrosion, with lead acid batteries.
Problem is that you cannot undo this type of damage. Over time the plates start to crumple, degrade, break. This is because the active materials are going in and out of the elektrolyte.
(You can check the state of charge with the specific gravity on lead acid.)

The only thing to slow down the plate degradation is to limit the discharge to like 70-80%
Some of the higher quality Lead acid batteries do have thicker plates.
As you know, you have many types like deep cycle, Opz, marine battery, agm, gel or with very thin plates: car battery.

But they all suffer from this problem sooner or later.
See this nice document:
https://www.powerstream.com/1922/battery_1922_WITTE/batteryfiles/chapter15.htm

So, don't feel sorry for having bought a NiFe set

Greetings!












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