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Old 03-24-2015, 07:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by bluebird90 View Post
While some car companies do it, having the batteries inside the bus is a bad idea. In an overcharging state or high draw they give off bad gasses. I have been there when a few batteries exploded. (Yes they will). in an enclosed space like a bus you will go unconscious fast.

One possibility if space is limited is to have the batteries in a case under the bus but accessed thru a hatch in the floor inside. that way you can put them anywhere but have them safely outside of the living quarters.
2nd, I to have had a battery explode
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:48 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the input, everyone!
Im going to be looking for a case to put under the bus to hold them. It will be 8, Trojan T-105 batteries, so it needs to be pretty big. Might have to make it.... Plus I would like to insulate it with some of this extra rigid foam I have. I'm thinking right behind the chassis batteries.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:16 AM   #23
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check out there L-16, you would only need 4. less is better. AGM if you got the cash
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:11 PM   #24
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Use a battery maintainer to keep them charged when the bus is parked between trips, a charged battery won't freeze.
Second that -- without doing any calculations involving insulation, heat loss, etc, it seems to me that energy would be better spent re-charging batteries so they're freeze resistant rather than warming them to avoid a freeze-prone (discharged) battery from freezing. This of course if you can obtain energy as electricity instead of heat equally easy.
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Old 03-25-2015, 02:25 PM   #25
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The batteries will be getting power all the time thanks to the solar panels, so I'm not worried about them discharging so much they freeze.
I've been looking at the L-16's, but they seem to run about $320 per battery, and though they do have double the ah capacity, $320 is more than double the price of $130 for a T-105...
Im assuming the L-16s must have better performance? Any reason why I should prefer the L-16s for the extra $$$?
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:01 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by charles_m View Post
The batteries will be getting power all the time thanks to the solar panels, so I'm not worried about them discharging so much they freeze.
I've been looking at the L-16's, but they seem to run about $320 per battery, and though they do have double the ah capacity, $320 is more than double the price of $130 for a T-105...
Im assuming the L-16s must have better performance? Any reason why I should prefer the L-16s for the extra $$$?
Good questions. The Trojan L-16-RE-B and Trojan T-105-RE seem fairly comparable to me in terms of rated AH per weight or volume. The L-16 doesn't have double the capacity of the T-105, however: they are 370 and 225 respectively. At altestore.com the T-105-RE for $175 has the better dollars-per-AH value. Are you comparing the same battery technology/construction (-RE or -IND suffix, or standard type with no suffix on the part number)? That arbitrarily-chosen vendor offers the T-105 at $150 and the T-150-RE at $175 for example. It would be apples vs oranges to compare T-105 to L-16-RE-B.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:17 PM   #27
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if you can design your battery bank in one series it would be the best, 4 3 volt batterys lets say. with eight 6 volt batterys you will have 4 series. more parallel connections introduce too many paths for the electrons to choose from when entering and leaving the strings. some cells will be chronically undercharged decreasing the life of the bank. there is so much to learn about batterys and taking care of them,but it will save you in the long run.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:08 PM   #28
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if you can design your battery bank in one series it would be the best, 4 3 volt batterys lets say. with eight 6 volt batterys you will have 4 series. more parallel connections introduce too many paths for the electrons to choose from when entering and leaving the strings. some cells will be chronically undercharged decreasing the life of the bank. there is so much to learn about batterys and taking care of them,but it will save you in the long run.
I think you're alluding to the surprising effects that can result from the layout of the parallel connections: if the feed from a bank of parallel batteries is connected in the obvious/naive way, ie the positive and negative both to the first battery, then jumpers from there to the next, and so on, then that first battery supplies more of the power when there's a load (and thus discharges deeper than the others) and also receives more back during charge cycles (and thus is over-charged, or is properly charged while the others go under-charged).

Once Upon A Time, I read a great electrical engineering write-up about why the above is so. It's a result of the "parasitic" factors which we usually assume to be zero: resistance of the wire to lugs, lugs to clamps, clamps to battery posts, cables from one battery to the next, etc. I can't find that reference now to save my life. But Wholesale Solar has a good write-up about battery maintenance which includes a light mention of this phenomenon and how to minimize its effect under the heading "Avoid multiple parallel strings."

At some point a person who wants a 12 volt 1400 AH battery bank (for example) has to confront the reality that he can use six Surrette S-1860 2-volt cells in series, or he can use a series-parallel combination of six pairs of T-105, or four pairs of L-16. There might be budget, physical space, local availability, unit weight, or other reasons to choose multiple parallel strings even though it's not the most ideal in terms of battery life span.

Don't forget that a house battery bank doesn't don't *have* to be 12 volt. What needs 12 volts, anyway? There are a few little convenience items like car USB chargers and slightly higher-power items like the water pump, Fan-Tastic vent, etc. Some lighting, maybe. But anybody who cares to have that much power on hand is almost certainly putting most of it through an AC inverter to run a fridge, air conditioner, computers, etc. Inverters for 24, 48, even 96 volt batteries have only a marginal difference in cost. Since the true 12 volt loads are so little, get a dc-dc converter to step the bank voltage back down to 12 volts for those few things. Or even just find a way to run those things off the inverter (it's ugly, but deserves a mention).
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:17 PM   #29
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As far as I know, because of the nominal voltage of cells in lead-acid batteries being 2V, there is no such thing as a 3V battery. My system will be 24V, so that is no concern to me anyway, additionally, I have already devised a wiring system for using 8 batteries in two, 24V parallel strings that will ensure even charging. It requires symmetry in cable lengths for each of the two strings. Ive got about 25' of thiiiiick 00 awg wire that Ill be using as well that I pulled off a scrap bus. Equi-distant runs of cables for all batteries and terminals to prevent any batteries from working harder than others. I might even rotate the once a year or something.
Honestly, unless Im missing something, I think the T105s are the best bet for the money until I can upgrade to a Lithium setup like Natster was talking about.
I do wonder what would convince me to change my mind....
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:14 PM   #30
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Just a couple things I didn't see anyone mention.

All batteries are not created equal. Tolerable temperature extremes, off gassing, safe storage practices, discharge %s that should not be exceeded to maintain a long battery life - these all vary depending upon what kind of battery you ultimately choose. No one has mentioned that apples are being compared to oranges here...

I am not saying either are bad for the purposes they are designed for. ( I will say lead acid batteries in living areas, or areas that are not in a sealed box and vented to a higher non-combustible area ARE a bad idea)

So which do you need, and which suits you purposes and set-up the best? Lead acid? Lithium Ion? AGM? Deep cycle? How many volts each? Wired in series or parallel? Are you using an inverter? A charge controller? Do you have a heat sink for when the batteries reach full charge? Do you need one? Want one?

Your choice also needs to consider your intended use. Batteries used as occasional back-up and the battery storage of a 24/7 PV array will have very different characteristics.

Also consider your wiring runs if you are powering your bus with 12v from batteries. You will need different gauge wires for long and short runs. How much power are you willing to drop on those long runs? Do you need to locate your battery bank mid-ship?

If you don't know the answers to all of these questions, it's time to do a little more research before you spend the big bucks on overkill, or overspend on batteries that won't last long in the environment they are set up in. All batteries have pros and cons. Make sure the ones you choose have pros for the environment you will be using them in.

My experience- I lived in the boonies, 100% off-grid for a couple years in a 3br mobile home that was wired with 12v outlets and lights powered by a small PV array. I think it was engineered and wired by the three stooges. I learned first hand what I should never do again because I had excellent examples. I am not an expert by any means, but I do know that the things that I mentioned, were all things that caused problems when they weren't applied properly in the set-up I moved into. I wish I hadn't lost all those pics. Some day I'll start a "don't do this" thread if I ever do find them!
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