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Old 05-19-2019, 03:14 PM   #1
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Scrap Yard Batteries

My local scrap yard has a ton of used car and golf cart batteries for $12 each, and I'm wondering if I can use them in my build.

I'm building a box for them under the bus and I'm thinking if I get a good inverter maybe it will smooth out any differences in the batteries. I'll probably end up with different brands also. I know it's not ideal, but can it work.

I'm planning to run a 12V system with 600Ah of batteries to start.
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Old 05-19-2019, 03:52 PM   #2
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It's important to have batteries that match in brand, size, and condition. I would need to take each battery I wanted from there and put it on a charge and test machine to see their current condition. I killed my group 31 by overcharging it.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:03 PM   #3
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It's important to have batteries that match in brand, size, and condition. I would need to take each battery I wanted from there and put it on a charge and test machine to see their current condition. I killed my group 31 by overcharging it.
There were several matching batteries so I'll be sure to get those only.

What's a charge and test machine? Can't I tell if it holds a charge with a multimeter?
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:37 PM   #4
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Test with a battery load tester. Something like this:
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...1634_200611634
A multimeter will show voltage which is helpful but will not tell the actual health of a battery. Some unscrupulous seller could charge up a weak battery to show 12 volts on a portable multimeter, but put it in your vehicle and try to fire it up only to find that the battery can't handle the load.

Unless you can't afford new, I'd stay away from "used" battery(ies).
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Test with a battery load tester. Something like this:
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...1634_200611634
A multimeter will show voltage which is helpful but will not tell the actual health of a battery. Some unscrupulous seller could charge up a weak battery to show 12 volts on a portable multimeter, but put it in your vehicle and try to fire it up only to find that the battery can't handle the load.

Unless you can't afford new, I'd stay away from "used" battery(ies).
Ah, gotcha. I'll definitely pick up a battery load tester to check the health of the batteries.

But am I correct with my assumption that a good pure sine wave inverter can handle these old batteries and give me clean power?
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:39 PM   #6
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So long as the batteries will provide power, a good sine wave inverter (matched to your load requirement) will provide the AC for you.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:31 PM   #7
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There were several matching batteries so I'll be sure to get those only.

What's a charge and test machine? Can't I tell if it holds a charge with a multimeter?
You won't be able to test it to higher degree than a parts store will. O'Reilly's and most of the part stores will hook it to a machine that puts a load on the battery and determines it's condition and how much life is left in it and then charge it. This service is free.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:34 PM   #8
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But he'd have to buy them first, to be able to get them bench tested.
Go for it, provided they'll refund any duds.
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
You won't be able to test it to higher degree than a parts store will. O'Reilly's and most of the part stores will hook it to a machine that puts a load on the battery and determines it's condition and how much life is left in it and then charge it. This service is free.
Yeah but I think a battery load tester is a good idea. 20 bucks at Harbor Freight with 20% off isn't bad. Then yeah I can take them to O'Reilly's to get charged if they're good. But I should test them before buying them even though they're only 12 bucks
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Old 05-19-2019, 06:36 PM   #10
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Ah, gotcha. I'll definitely pick up a battery load tester to check the health of the batteries.

But am I correct with my assumption that a good pure sine wave inverter can handle these old batteries and give me clean power?
Yes they will provide power, how are you recharging the batteries? It isn't a question of whether the batteries will power on or not, it's how long they will last if they are now compatible batteries.
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