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?
Glad to hear from you.
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
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:
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.