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Old 04-17-2013, 10:31 PM   #16
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


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Good to know. So basically something like these?

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/DC-4-5-30V-10...item3cd0182b21

or this:
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Analog-Amp-Pa...item19c857fe38

I could install them on a blank panel that would go into my server rack. Would look pretty sharp.

Edit: Actually to keep things simple think I could just do the AC output side, and use these:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/High-Quality-...item257bf20a87

Would that be fine? I'd want the back to be in some kind of electrical box of course, and possibly fused (as oppose to relying on the 15 amp breaker or any fuse in the UPS).
First looks better as it's clear that the meter can be put outside the box where you place the shunt. You will need to install properly crimped lugs on the battery cable where you cut it. I assume you are dealing properly with ampacity of the cables, have the batteries in some sort of box that vents to the outside, etc., etc. This isn't rocket science but it does have the potential to burn down and/or blow up your house (office) if not done properly.

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Old 04-17-2013, 11:30 PM   #17
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


Yeah I am using premade cables but it's kinda limiting as I can only get them in a few sizes, so I will probably be buying a crimper to make my own. Using 4awg right now, but if I buy the stuff to make my own I'll probably go with 2awg as they do get a tad warm and I'll want to upsize if I add more draw. They'll also be traveling a bit further since I plan to put the inverter-charger in the server rack and not next to the batteries. Idealy I don't want any equipment near the batteries.

For hydrogen, I do have a hydrogen sensor that I'll be installing in the server room once I enclose it. I should do this sooner than later. It will alert me on my phone, email and computer monitor, like all other alarm points that I've set such as AC failure and battery voltage.

Currently the batteries are just vented within the room/house but I am considering my options as far as venting outside. The challenge is finding a way to not lose so much heat in the process if I do vent outside. Or in the case of summer, gain too much heat. I will probably look into a small HRV or something. I don't imagine I need anything too excessive for venting though. Even if I try to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, it's very hard to contain it enough to be able to light it. It dissipates quickly. Definitely I don't want to enclose them in an air tight container though. When I build my battery rack they'll be completely open, and there will be a plastic vented shielding to prevent potential foreign objects from somehow falling on them. It actually surprises me that the batteries where I work are completely exposed like the are. You drop a wrench on there and if you are lucky it will simply vaporize, but most likely it will cause an explosion from the sheer energy force that would be involved in such short circuit. We're drawing 1500a, I imagine those batteries can supply much much more if asked to, such as in a short circuit situation.

Scary stuff, and I'm definitely taking safety as a #1 concern while playing with this stuff at home even in small scale.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:50 PM   #18
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


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Yeah I am using premade cables but it's kinda limiting as I can only get them in a few sizes, so I will probably be buying a crimper to make my own. Using 4awg right now, but if I buy the stuff to make my own I'll probably go with 2awg as they do get a tad warm and I'll want to upsize if I add more draw. They'll also be traveling a bit further since I plan to put the inverter-charger in the server rack and not next to the batteries. Idealy I don't want any equipment near the batteries.

For hydrogen, I do have a hydrogen sensor that I'll be installing in the server room once I enclose it. I should do this sooner than later. It will alert me on my phone, email and computer monitor, like all other alarm points that I've set such as AC failure and battery voltage.

Currently the batteries are just vented within the room/house but I am considering my options as far as venting outside. The challenge is finding a way to not lose so much heat in the process if I do vent outside. Or in the case of summer, gain too much heat. I will probably look into a small HRV or something. I don't imagine I need anything too excessive for venting though. Even if I try to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, it's very hard to contain it enough to be able to light it. It dissipates quickly. Definitely I don't want to enclose them in an air tight container though. When I build my battery rack they'll be completely open, and there will be a plastic vented shielding to prevent potential foreign objects from somehow falling on them. It actually surprises me that the batteries where I work are completely exposed like the are. You drop a wrench on there and if you are lucky it will simply vaporize, but most likely it will cause an explosion from the sheer energy force that would be involved in such short circuit. We're drawing 1500a, I imagine those batteries can supply much much more if asked to, such as in a short circuit situation.

Scary stuff, and I'm definitely taking safety as a #1 concern while playing with this stuff at home even in small scale.
RS --You're on a good track and I'm happy to help all I can. As for crimping, we, in 3rd world countries can't afford $300 crimpers. A hammer and a drift or probably even a #3 Phillips head screwdriver will do just fine. Insert cable into lug, set the cable on something hard (concrete or preferably a block of steel -- vice?). Then punch it hard in the center of the part of the lug that you push the wire into. Pull hard on the wires afterwards to make sure they're tight.

Tell me a bit more about your setup and goals? I'll read it tomorrow.

Phil
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:27 AM   #19
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


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RS --You're on a good track and I'm happy to help all I can. As for crimping, we, in 3rd world countries can't afford $300 crimpers. A hammer and a drift or probably even a #3 Phillips head screwdriver will do just fine. Insert cable into lug, set the cable on something hard (concrete or preferably a block of steel -- vice?). Then punch it hard in the center of the part of the lug that you push the wire into. Pull hard on the wires afterwards to make sure they're tight.

Tell me a bit more about your setup and goals? I'll read it tomorrow.

Phil
Wow did not realize they were that expensive. I will have to try your idea. Or another idea, what about soldering? Or will the heat melt the insulation?

This is my current setup:



There's a cover I put on there, the goal is mostly just so the batteries are protected from anything that could fall such as a hand tool or something. It's NOT air tight. (would be dangerous) The black box is the inverter-charger, that would be further, and into a server rack.




Future goal is to build a very solid wood rack next to the server rack to properly hold the batteries off the ground so it's tidier and more dense. (Can add more in the future).

Basic concept:

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Old 04-18-2013, 09:01 AM   #20
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


If you put the shunt on the DC line from batteries you can measure power draw V*I going into inverter. Then if you pick up one of those killawatt AC power meters (about $30) you can measure power out of the inverter. Compare the two and you'll understand how efficient your inverter is. Might be useful to know as then you can relate your battery AH to an AC load holdup duration which is typically the objective of a backup system. As you increase battery on front end you'll be able to compute the back end impact.

If you are regularly adding water to cells you might have too aggressive a charger (more than float). I have a DC sump pump setup and I used a Xantrex marine charger and it has worked great. Prior to that I used the charger that came with the pump (aquaknot) and it boiled off the electrolyte in a few months. Since getting a smart charger I rarely have to top up liquid (maybe add an ounce per year).

Just be sure battery have some volume around them. They shouldn't outgas much if it is a float setup but you don't want to restrict flow of hydrogen gas.

Last edited by curiousB; 04-18-2013 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:16 AM   #21
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


http://www.mcmaster.com/#battery-ter...impers/=mdhjn4
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:31 PM   #22
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


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Al - The $33 version looks great for the occasional 4/0 crimps I need to do. Thanks. It's precisely the technology I described, but I think well worth the $33.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:31 PM   #23
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


Going to have to check our local electrical store for those, I might use that. I'll probably be able to get the connectors there too.

I just connected my new batteries to a charger, I'll make sure they're fully charged up before hooking them up. I'll also test water in the two others.

Now just to make sure I'm on the right track:

1: With batteries fully charged I just have to make sure it's over the plates, but not too high. So if it's low, add a bit more water. They must be at full charge otherwise adding water might weaken the electrolyte.

2: Use of hydrometer indicates the "health" of the battery, if the value is too low, battery is degraded beyond repair assuming I'm testing at full charge.

I've been reading all sorts of stuff online too, and there's some scary advice out there. One guy said to add salt water. Wouldn’t that cause premature corrosion of the plates? Not to mention chlorine gas. Also saw a youtube video of some redneck guy using an antifreeze container to store the water. Thought that was funny.

I bought a jug of distilled water at the grocery store, and once I use what I need, I'll drink the rest and just buy another jug next time. If I let it sit I imagine over time the water will get contaminated by the jug's plastic.

Also when I'm doing this maintenance can I let the batteries plugged into the charger? They are at a float charge. I know for telco batteries they definitely do not disconnect them to do maintenance. They are connected via large bus bars and don't have a master disconnect. There are breakers but they are feeders to actual equipment.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #24
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


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Going to have to check our local electrical store for those, I might use that. I'll probably be able to get the connectors there too.

I just connected my new batteries to a charger, I'll make sure they're fully charged up before hooking them up. I'll also test water in the two others.

Now just to make sure I'm on the right track:

1: With batteries fully charged I just have to make sure it's over the plates, but not too high. So if it's low, add a bit more water. They must be at full charge otherwise adding water might weaken the electrolyte.

2: Use of hydrometer indicates the "health" of the battery, if the value is too low, battery is degraded beyond repair assuming I'm testing at full charge.

I've been reading all sorts of stuff online too, and there's some scary advice out there. One guy said to add salt water. Wouldn’t that cause premature corrosion of the plates? Not to mention chlorine gas. Also saw a youtube video of some redneck guy using an antifreeze container to store the water. Thought that was funny.

I bought a jug of distilled water at the grocery store, and once I use what I need, I'll drink the rest and just buy another jug next time. If I let it sit I imagine over time the water will get contaminated by the jug's plastic.

Also when I'm doing this maintenance can I let the batteries plugged into the charger? They are at a float charge. I know for telco batteries they definitely do not disconnect them to do maintenance. They are connected via large bus bars and don't have a master disconnect. There are breakers but they are feeders to actual equipment.
just a small note, dont bother drinking distilled water. it has basically nothing in it that is useful to your body, plus it tastes like you are licking pavement
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #25
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Adding lead acid batteries to a bank for more capacity


Yeah I know it wont do much, but it's not like I'll use it for anything else so may as well drink it. :P I then refill with filtered water and reuse a couple times. Britta directly in fridge makes water taste funny, depending on what kind of pizza I have in there. LOL

I decided to put on my safety gloves and glasses on (maybe overkill but better safe than sorry eh) and open up the caps of the old batteries to see what I'm dealing with. Never actually looked inside one but kinda had an idea what to expect. I see that the holes have a cylinder shape that goes down about an inch, is the idea to get the water right up to the rim of the bottom part of the cylinder? Just enough so that the water is slightly touching it?

This is what the first battery looks like, does this look good? I did not add any water.



The other battery had a bit less water so I added some. It's tricky to really see how equal they are though. I almost need to put some kind of float in it so I can be sure to equaly fill them. Or does any excess water not really affect anything? As long as I don't overfill of course. Good news is the plates were not exposed at all. That means I'm not produce much hydrogen either.

I opened up one of the new batteries and it looks to be about the same level as the one in the picture. Maybe a tad more.

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