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Battery conditioners, monitors and solar...

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  • Andrew Foss
    Force folks, Has anyone and experience or opinions about battery conditioners, so called de-sulfators ? I m wondering, if that s not a worthwhile, step before
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 1, 2002
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      Force folks,

      Has anyone and experience or opinions about battery conditioners, so
      called "de-sulfators"? I'm wondering, if that's not a worthwhile, step
      before replacing my lead acid batteries, which are showing their age.
      http://www.pulsetech.com/

      My Solectria Ammeter just broke and it's back in MA. getting fixed, but
      I'm also wondering about using the Emeter Link 10 or Trimetric? Ideally,
      I'd like to be able to monitor each battery individually, but it sounds
      easiest to just monitor the whole pack.
      http://www.windsun.com/ChargeControls/Trimetric_2020.htm

      Does anyone know what the amphour ratings of the force lead acid
      batteries are? It sounds like SLA batteries can be continuously trickle
      charged w/o a charging controller if the current is less than 1.5% of
      the amphour rating.

      I've done some quick math on using the Unisolar flexible solar panels,
      which are so popular on boats. The hood, roof and trunk of the force
      would support 13 11 watt panels. Each panel can deliver an average of
      2.6 amphours/day(average 5.1 solar hours at SF latititude). Across 13
      panels with 70% battery efficiency that's 23 amphours/day or nearly 20
      miles/day. It's far from being truly self-sustaining, but these panels
      are reasonably inexpensive now I wonder if it would be good to help
      reduce the deep cycle discharge a bit, keep the batteries individually
      and more evenly trickle charged and even in a real pinch 2-3 days in the
      full sun and you can be fully recharged? Any way it would just feel good
      to be able to carry some free charging cabability on board!

      andrew
    • David Roden (Akron OH USA)
      ... All the tests I ve seen are anecdotal. A battery electrochemist will tell you that there is no scientific basis to their theory -- there is no resonance
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 1, 2002
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        On 1 Jul 2002 at 16:09, Andrew Foss wrote:

        > Has anyone and experience or opinions about battery conditioners, so
        > called "de-sulfators"?

        All the tests I've seen are anecdotal. A battery electrochemist will tell you
        that there is no scientific basis to their "theory" -- there is no resonance in a
        battery at any of the frequencies they use. Besides, most ordinary cheap
        hardware-store battery chargers pulse, too.

        Some people report good results from "desulfators," but I'm not convinced
        that they couldn't get exactly the same results by using a battery charger in
        exactly the same way.

        >
        > My Solectria Ammeter just broke and it's back in MA. getting fixed, but
        > I'm also wondering about using the Emeter Link 10 or Trimetric?

        These are used in many EVs. The disadvantage of the Emeter over the
        Solectria / Brusa AH counter is that it's primarily an RE product and not
        really designed for EVs. It requires a special external isolated power supply
        and, in most cases, a prescaler. This increases the price.

        The Emeter's advantage is that it has more built in smarts than the older
        Solectria / Brusa product (the current Brusa meter is fairly comparable). The
        Emeter also can handle higher currents with the prescaler, but this is not
        really important for unmodified Solectria cars.

        Bottom line is that it should work fine.

        > It sounds like SLA batteries can be continuously trickle
        > charged w/o a charging controller if the current is less than 1.5% of
        > the amphour rating.

        Don't believe it. A charger that never shuts off will kill any battery, especially
        the gel batteries usually used in Solectrias.

        As a rule of thumb, the smarter the charge controller (and the more it costs
        <g>), the lower the amoritized cost of your batteries. If you want still better
        service life and range, look into controlling charge at the individual module
        level. (Charge control at the cell level would be even better, but it's
        impractical with the sealed valve regulated modules Solectria use.)

        >
        > I've done some quick math on using the Unisolar flexible solar panels,
        > which are so popular on boats. The hood, roof and trunk of the force
        > would support 13 11 watt panels. Each panel can deliver an average of
        > 2.6 amphours/day(average 5.1 solar hours at SF latititude). Across 13
        > panels with 70% battery efficiency that's 23 amphours/day or nearly 20
        > miles/day. It's far from being truly self-sustaining, but these panels
        > are reasonably inexpensive now I wonder if it would be good to help
        > reduce the deep cycle discharge a bit, keep the batteries individually
        > and more evenly trickle charged and even in a real pinch 2-3 days in the
        > full sun and you can be fully recharged? Any way it would just feel good
        > to be able to carry some free charging cabability on board!

        Not to throw water on the idea, but PV panels are usually rated best-case.
        The surface of a car is not optimum for orienting them toward the sun, unless
        you tilt the car to face the sun as the earth rotates <g>. Do the figures you
        quoted include this deviation from optimum?

        Don't forget that attaching the panels to the car will adversely affect the car's
        aerodynamic qualities, reducing its efficiency.

        PVs might improve battery life by reducing the amount of time they spend in
        a discharged state. However, you could accomplish the same thing by
        plugging in at work.

        I think Tom Hudson has the most practical approach to a solar-powered EV.
        He put the PVs on his house, not his car. He mounted enough of them to
        offset the car's energy use, and bought a grid-intertie inverter. While he's
        away at work, the PVs on the house are stuffing electricity into the grid.
        When he comes home he plugs the car in and sucks it back out --
        essentially using the power grid as a very large battery that never wears out.

        David Roden
        Akron OH USA
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