Troy Rhodes

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since Feb 17, 2011
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Recent posts by Troy Rhodes

So, how did things go over the winter??

How did the stove go, etc etc etc. 

Youtube has changed the deal. Pray they do not change it further.

Some very big youtube content creators saw their income take a huge cut after the advertising boycott.  This produced an aha moment for many of them.  They were digital share croppers.  While they might be "successful," their continued financial success depended on youtube keeping the same rules in play.  Risky...

So, a number of them, like Cody's lab for example, started a patreon account so they could have a direct relationship with the people who enjoyed their content.  If youtube changes the money rules, it now affects them much less, or not at all.  If youtube becomes unpopular, they can migrate their content to another venue, but the revenue stream still goes directly to them via Patreon.  Youtube never touches the money.

If you get 10,000 people who watch your videos regularly, and 5% of them like it so much they want to send you a couple bucks a month on patreon, that's $12,000 a year.
9 months ago
I would plant it and be done with it (except for watering...).  The more times you move it, the more times you set it back.

Willow water wouldn't hurt anything.

In my experience, the faster they go in the ground, the better they do.

11 months ago
For sure, you need to remove at least 1/2 of the leaves.

I would even cut the top half off, and then remove some leaves.

If you can give it 75% shade the first week or two, along with regular watering (but not overwatering).

11 months ago
Yup, it's normal if the water is hard and/or has iron in it.

The Berkey will not remove hardness.  That takes reverse osmosis filtration.

Every pay extra for the fancy mineral water in the bottle?   Guess what's coming out of your tap...extra fancy mineral water.

Not all mineral water is good for you, but most of it is. 

If you have any concerns your public health department likely has inexpensive water testing for the common problems.

11 months ago
All lead acid batteries share certain charge characteristics.  VRLA AGM batteries are no exception.

During the charge cycle, hydrogen and oxygen are produced. In VRLA batteries, these gasses are allowed to build up pressure--to a point.  This allows the oxygen and hydrogen to recombine and form water.  That's what makes VRLA batteries "maintenace free".   If the charge rate, and discharge amount are not carefully regulated, the pressure build up exceeds safe pressures and the valve vents the excess pressure.

That's where your water went.

Either the discharge levels went too deep a few times, or the charge protocol that the inverter is using does not use an appropriate protocol for your particular AGM. 

If the charge rate is faster than optimal for your pack size/brand/type, this will cause outgassing and loss of water.

If it doesn't monitor battery temperature, it's not using a sophisticated charge protocol.  This will result in over or undercharging and shortened life.

If it doesn't have a very specific charge protocol for your specific brand of AGM VRLA battery chemistry, it's not using a smart protocol.

Here's a quote from a good battery page:

"Using normal target voltages to charge a battery that is colder than approximately 25ºC (77ºF) will result in an undercharged battery, which will deliver lower performance, reduced life and a higher life cycle cost. Applying normal target voltages to a battery that is hotter than 25ºC may result in an overcharged battery. This condition could lead to the drying out of VRLA battery cells. With flooded cells, the result will be excessive outgassing, increased battery maintenance in the form of more frequent watering and reduced battery life due to thermal stress. In fact, some battery manufacturers and charger manufacturers recommend not charging a battery that is 50ºC (122ºF) or hotter."

I would highly recommend a state of charge meter for your battery pack:

This gives you another (and better) method to determine if you are charging or discharging too fast, too deep, proper equalizing, etc.

Another potential problem is if one battery gets hotter than the others, it will charge differently and fail sooner.  Periodic careful equalizing minimizes this effect. 
Sometimes the first or last battery in a string of batteries suffers more than the rest of the string.  Complicated...

1 year ago
I am keenly aware of how AGM batteries work.

Every time you use your battery bank, you discharge it.

I want to know HOW MUCH you discharge it in a typical 24 hour cycle.

How is your battery bank recharged?

Thanks in advance,

1 year ago
In your first post, you ask if you should add water to your batteries, and then in your next post you say they are maintenance can't be both.

Note that AGM batteries do not normally have any liquid electrolyte, and adding water would almost never be a good idea.

I think you got good advice to contact the manufacturer.

Good luck, and I would like to know what you find out.

How far do you normally discharge your battery bank?

How was/is the battery bank monitored for depth of discharge?

Thanks in advance,

1 year ago
There are many solutions.  There are very few "wrong" answers.   I'm pretty old school, so I get that for sure.  Sometimes the simple solution really is the best solution.

Certainly, there are examples of automation that is more work, more money and less effective in the end.  For some harmless entertainment, go look up the youtube channel Shitty Robots

to watch automation run horribly amok.

On the other hand, it's hard to find people who know anything about animals to fill in if you're on vacation, or in the hospital for a week.

On the third hand, reasonable estimates suggest that 1/4 of all the jobs in north america might be replaced by automation in next decade or two.

It might be an important skill to develop to understand microprocessors and automation....

And if you enjoy it and you're learning something, good on you.

Good luck and have fun along the way.
1 year ago
Backwoods Home magazine wrote a very useful and accessible article a while back.  Here you go:

Borst engineering has an interactive worksheet that accounts for, I think...everything.  I haven't worked it, but casual inspection suggests this will yield useful and accurate estimates.

Keep us posted!
1 year ago