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Old 05-19-2019, 09:40 PM   #21
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I would not recommend using used starting batteries for your house battery bank. Starting batteries do not handle deep discharge or discharge over a long period of time. If they have used deep cycle batteries they may be ok but you run a much higher risk of battery bank failure. The cheap price is probly not worth the hassle of continuously replacing failed batteries in your bank.

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Old 05-20-2019, 09:47 AM   #22
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I would not recommend using used starting batteries for your house battery bank. Starting batteries do not handle deep discharge or discharge over a long period of time. If they have used deep cycle batteries they may be ok but you run a much higher risk of battery bank failure. The cheap price is probly not worth the hassle of continuously replacing failed batteries in your bank.

Ted
I was looking for only deep cycle.

I'm kind of of a different opinion than most about replacing the bank. I think AGM was the big thing a few years ago, now lithium is, and in a couple years there will be something better. So I think we're all going to replace our banks whether we realize it or not.

I could spend $2400 on batteries that may in fact last me 2 years with no problems, or I can spend $100 now and another $100 later if and when they go bad. I'm opting for the latter, because replacing batteries is a super easy job. So say I replace them 5 times in 2 years and spend 600 in batteries during that time, I'll say mission accomplished. Something will render lithium obsolete soon.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:22 PM   #23
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If they have matching deep cycle batteries, I'd go for it. For less than $100 you can screw up your first set and test your system. If they fail at some point, you can purchase new ones
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:42 PM   #24
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I would not recommend using used starting batteries for your house battery bank. Starting batteries do not handle deep discharge or discharge over a long period of time. If they have used deep cycle batteries they may be ok but you run a much higher risk of battery bank failure. The cheap price is probly not worth the hassle of continuously replacing failed batteries in your bank.

Ted

How many batteries are you planning on using in your battery bank?

I get the idea that you want to test the system first, before spending big bucks on batteries, but if you don't know the pair of batteries is good (and matched well enough) how can you tell if the problems are your batteries, or the rest of the system?

I'd rather spend a little more on some new (but cheaper) batteries where I've got a better sense of their performance - so I've got a decent real-world sense of how my system charges them, how long it takes, what voltages they'll hold, etc. etc. (Plus, my time running back and forth to the junkyard, testing batteries, etc. is worth something too.)

(For example, a pair of these for $200.)
https://www.batteriesplus.com/batter...le/12/sli24mdc
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:48 PM   #25
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Decent looking batteries, thanx for the link!
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How many batteries are you planning on using in your battery bank?

I get the idea that you want to test the system first, before spending big bucks on batteries, but if you don't know the pair of batteries is good (and matched well enough) how can you tell if the problems are your batteries, or the rest of the system?

I'd rather spend a little more on some new (but cheaper) batteries where I've got a better sense of their performance - so I've got a decent real-world sense of how my system charges them, how long it takes, what voltages they'll hold, etc. etc. (Plus, my time running back and forth to the junkyard, testing batteries, etc. is worth something too.)

(For example, a pair of these for $200.)
https://www.batteriesplus.com/batter...le/12/sli24mdc
Not nearly ready for them ATM, but I now know where to get them. About 20 miles from me.
Which, by Texas standards, is right in the neighborhood, just around the corner..!
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:02 PM   #26
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Decent looking batteries, thanx for the link!Not nearly ready for them ATM, but I now know where to get them. About 20 miles from me.
Which, by Texas standards, is right in the neighborhood, just around the corner..!

Just to be clear, that was about ~5 mins or searching on Google.
I can't say that those are the best bang for the buck, just the first thing I found that looked decent. (I know my conversion will /have/ a battery bank, it will be deep-cycle batteries of some sort. . .and that's about where my planning ends.) I don't want to imply I'm any sort of expert.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:00 AM   #27
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No worries!
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Just to be clear, that was about ~5 mins or searching on Google.
I can't say that those are the best bang for the buck, just the first thing I found that looked decent. (I know my conversion will /have/ a battery bank, it will be deep-cycle batteries of some sort. . .and that's about where my planning ends.) I don't want to imply I'm any sort of expert.
I'm not about to invest in batteries w/o doing my homework first! Just commenting that, for the price, they have potential.
'Course, a functional battery must have potential...
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:48 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
How many batteries are you planning on using in your battery bank?

I get the idea that you want to test the system first, before spending big bucks on batteries, but if you don't know the pair of batteries is good (and matched well enough) how can you tell if the problems are your batteries, or the rest of the system?
This is the main question. You need to know your voltage/amperage/and battery requirement before anything.

If they have 6 volt golf cart batteries there. That's what I would be looking at. Maybe they a 36 volt cart in that will have all 6 batteries in good shape. Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll have a pair of carts that are similar in capacity.

I personally doubt it, because every electric cart that I've ever worked on, the batteries were trashed due to lack of maintenance and poor charging habits. And I highly doubt somebody would scrap an electric cart that had good batteries in it.

Maybe you can find a battery bank out of an electric fork lift, sky jack, etc. in there? I would think those would have a better chance of being usable.

Like said previously. The voltage can be decieving, and isn't a measure for battery health. You need to make sure the amperage capacity is the same among all the batteries, and the only way to do that is with a good load tester. I'm not certain if that northern tool or harbor freight unit would cut it. Most of those 100 amp load testers are pretty inaccurate.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:52 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
How many batteries are you planning on using in your battery bank?

I get the idea that you want to test the system first, before spending big bucks on batteries, but if you don't know the pair of batteries is good (and matched well enough) how can you tell if the problems are your batteries, or the rest of the system?
This is the main question. You need to know your voltage/amperage/and battery requirement before anything.

If they have 6 volt golf cart batteries there. That's what I would be looking at. Maybe they had a 36 volt cart in that will have all 6 batteries in good shape. Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll have a pair of carts that are similar in capacity.

I personally doubt it, because every electric cart that I've ever worked on, the batteries were trashed due to lack of maintenance and poor charging habits. And I highly doubt somebody would scrap an electric cart that had good batteries in it.

Maybe you can find a battery bank out of an electric fork lift, sky jack, etc. in there? I would think those would have a better chance of being usable.

Like said previously. The voltage can be decieving, and isn't a measure for battery health. You need to make sure the amperage capacity is the same among all the batteries, and the only way to do that is with a good load tester. I'm not certain if that northern tool or harbor freight unit would cut it. Most of those 100 amp load testers are pretty inaccurate.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:02 AM   #30
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If you are looking for cheap batteries and are patient, Interstate battery stores will sell you their blemished batteries at a cut rate. They are new and work perfectly but do not look perfect. The stock is always changing so if you know what you want and have the time to wait for it you can get a good deal.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:45 AM   #31
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If I'm reading all your intents properly... then I think you should snag a load tester (not a bad thing to own anyways) and go take a crack at a few of them and see what you get.
Brand matters less than the specs, if you can find same brand same spec then beauty.... but if not match the specs.
sure they are used... sure they aren't the "best" item for the job. But if they take a load and don't break the bank it's a start. Depending on the batteries themselves and your willingness to learn/experiment, rehabbing them isn't out of the question. Obviously in a controlled setting, with adequate measures in place.

but depends on your comfort level, knowledge base, and willing to learn....
I mean worse case what are you out? a couple cases of beer? but how much can you learn? what takeaways will you be able to put into you "final" electrical build out? if doing the trial and error thing outside of the bus in the garage while proving your used gear, prevents you from flattening a $1000 battery bank, then I say go for it.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:06 PM   #32
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Your choice in inverter isn't going to make a difference in 'evening them out', at least not the inverting portion of the unit. If the inverter has an integrated charger then one might be better at dealing with batteries of mixed make/state, but that's just conjecture on my part. I really don't know.

But charging is your main issue with mixed brand/age batteries, not the quality of the power you're pulling from them (aside from likely never getting peak voltage from your bank). You won't be able to equalize them properly when charging, and trying to get the weak-links up to full charge could cause you to overcharge others in the string. So you'd have to be careful in that regard.

If you have 6 or 12v to choose from, then it sounds like you haven't decided on whether to run one string of 12s, or 2 strings of 6s. With two parallel strings, the differences in the internal resistances of your mutt batteries will be further magnified. With one string of 12s, if one of your $12 batteries goes tits up, your system's toast until you replace it. So either way there are complications.

I've heard people say it's wise to start with flooded (read inexpensive) batteries up front anyway, as someone new to solar will likely kill their first bank before they get up to speed on the learning curve. So maybe $12 batteries make more sense if you look at it from that angle. So long as you're OK with your system going down at any particular moment, it's not like you're out much.

I would, however, decide ahead of time on exactly what size batteries you ultimately want to run (in both physical dimensions & amp-hours), and in what configuration you wish to run them (parallel, series, both), and then find the batteries to fit, rather than fitting your system around the batteries you find. Definitely don't mix chemistries (all flooded or all agm, but not both).
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:32 AM   #33
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Excellent advice above! Another thing to consider is the $$/time investment in cables. A bank of any size (six or more batteries) takes a bunch of cables. Whether buying or making them, doing it only once is preferable.
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:17 AM   #34
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Good point. Installing a used cranking battery to start a vehicle is a very different application than installing a used cranking battery for deep cycle house use. New cranking batteries are generally not recommended for house use so used are definitely not generally recommended.
Having said this Iíve read of a few vandwellers who successsfully use Wal-Mart cranking batteries for house use. They are experienced, know what to expect, and prefer to replace a cheap battery often rather than buy expensive deep cycle batteries.
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Old 05-26-2019, 10:30 AM   #35
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Some really good points in this thread. Starting out in solar with used batteries has some benefits. Especially if the system is going to be changed anyway. I have noticed a lot of newbies degrade their first set of batteries. They sometimes get turned off to solar after facing the expense of another set or they might take better care of the new set. One issue I’ve seen several times is batteries sitting for a long time degrading while the system is built. Last year I met a couple who left the batteries two years without a trickle charger. This is one possible drawback to buying a kit that includes batteries.
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Old 05-26-2019, 01:00 PM   #36
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I found these molded battery cables on the TC2000 I bought. They keep everything neat and tied close together. I've seen them for up to 4 batteries. Run about $10 a battery, not too out of line with separate cables.
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