New consulting relationship with GreenTecAuto begins
What actually goes wrong with the batteries????
A look at todays Hybrid and EV battery packs
Battery packs exposed
Keeping Warm In New England
Plugging into the SUN
50A 600VAC transfer relay
AC source transfer relay is finished
Adding some new batteries
All weather dish movers
Almost ready to wire things up
Assembling the parts for the load manager
Beating on the system/ use it or loose it
Better solar absorber plate
Better Specific gravity instrument
bringing in the batteries
Burgers are better
California or bust! Solar modified mobility scooter
Canning pot
canning season is here again
Concentrate the heat test #4
Connecting battery bank #2
Cooking some hotdogs
Crappy luck with the weather
Designing a simpler and lower cost solar tracking amplifier
Equilizing the batteries
Everything is working again.
Finally installed
Finally nearing completion of the battery enclosure
multytracker 1
First test
Getting a BIG solar plug
Getting some experience with DC
Getting started on the final wiring
Getting too old to be slinging 120 lb batterys into the rack
Giving the batteries a workout
Hot water tank as energy storage component test 1
Hot water test 2
Identifing the wires, and mounting the Inverter panel
Insulated hibachi reaches baking temperatures
keeping the head cool
keeping warm.
Sue Dabrowski (my better half) makes some solar eggs
Lightning the super fast EV minibike
Looking the data
Main structure of battery rack is finished
Making some stewed tomatoes
making the connection to the existing wiring
making the DC pos buss bars
More improvements to the dish
Multy purpose tracker 1
New tracking amplifier
No more throw away batteries please
Not very encouraging test # 3
Old Rear projection TV lens makes solar furnace
power distribution box fabrication
preparing to connect the big loads
Reading Specific Gravity accurately
running off grid all day
Running on batteries
Second test
Snow melt prep for test 2
Snow melt test one A close look at the process
solar cell adhesion test #1
Solar cells on my Insight ????
Solar cooker gets some wheels
Solar cookout in 20 degree weather
Solarfest 2013
Solarfest is next weekend so it is time to tweak the tools
Solar powered wood burner X-Y stage
Solar powered wood burner focus and lens assembly
Solar teaching toys
Solar tracking with no electronics" Solar Puppet"
Starting the rewiring
The 7 foot circle of sunlight moves to rear deck.
the final high current connections
the finished load center and charge controller connections
the heavy lifters arrive
The new batteries are finally installed and working
The snow is returning???
The snow keeps on coming, need to figure out a good way to keep the panels clear
The sun is dropping 1KW/SQ meter
The transfer relay is wired in and working.
Tracking the sun Big Time
Mikey's solar panel snow sweeper
Vertical and horizontal trackers installed, drive wheel controls
Very interesting heating element
Who pulled the plug?
Wood burning art ?
Yuck, more snow
Making a small solar concentrator
Building MIMA and the plug in adapters
Converting a telephone truck to electric
DIY dual pulse Capacitor Discharge Spotwelder
Chevy Bolt EV joins the family
Getting in shape while making electricity
Replacing gasoline with solar electric lawn equipment
What is Genesis One?
How to stop the aging process DIY
MIMA Install Day 2005 a Big Success!
Building a hybrid car grid charger
Tapping into the Wind
Expanding MIMA with the Distribution board ( users projects )

Giving the batteries a workout

Giving the batteries a workout
exercizing the batteries

With the crappy weather, and the out of shape batteries, I have some work to do to get them back in shape. Today was nice and sunny, so I kicked up the charge controllers equalization voltage, and let the chargers make them boil.
When a battery gets sulphated, the voltage rises when under charge since the plates are partially insulated with sulphate. The charge controllers will pump everything they can gather from the sun into the batteries until the equalization voltage is reached, and then they throttle back the current to maintain that voltage. During this process one is supposed to look at the specific gravity and record it. When the specific gravity has peaked or risen to the correct 1.280V/cell, temperature compensated value, the battery is back in shape. My first batch of batteries from the telephone truck had a low specific gravity, and from the first run test they also have severely reduced capacity.
I also seem to have overfilled the cells as the correct level should be 1/8" below the bottom of the fill well. I had it up to the bottom, so I had diluted the acid, again reducing the specific gravity, so I need to boil off some of that water.

After struggling with what I thought was going to be a good quality Hydrometer, and finding that the float always stuck to the side of the tube, I decided that unless I wanted to try and fix that problem by modifying the thing,I should look into another way to accurately measure the specific gravity.
I ordered a refractometer from Napa, and should get it tomorrow. This actually measures the SG by looking at how the heavier acid bends or refracts light. The same device can check the SG of water glycol antifreeze, and it only cost $59.
Other more expensive devices use a resonating vibrating tube which changes frequency with specific gravity, but spending over $1000 just to measure SG seems like an overkill.Time will tell.
I finally pulled the frozen batteries from the electric yard cart, and will get them ready for equilibration after the first set is as good as it gets. The tricky part of this equalization process is that as the batteries desulphate, their voltage drops, which increases the current that the charge controllers will put into them as the charge controllers try to push the pack voltage to the target equalization voltage. To avoid overheating the cells, warping plates, and boiling the acid too vigorously, I need to watch the current and temperature, turn down the equalization target voltage as things improve. This will need to be done on the other string of batteries, and getting them both into the same shape is going to be pretty tricky. One reason they do not recommend mixing batteries of difference life histories.
Looks sunny for the next day or two, fingers crossed.