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Old 06-29-2011, 09:23 AM
DC Josh DC Josh is offline
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Default 12 volt Deep Cycle Batteries for Harbor Freight 45 watt Solar Kit



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Hello everyone. I am taking my first steps toward learning about solar power and I am looking for ideas as to how you may have set up your kit. Specifically, where is a good source for the batteries? I am assuming I should go new, but I have though about tryinig to find one in the local craigslist ads.

I am not using this to power my home, I am just trying to learn the basics and I picked up the kit during a sale for $148.00 (including 20% coupon).

Any pictures of your set up are appreciated! Thanks!

-DC Josh
www.metro-survival.blogspot.com
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:42 AM
LEPER LEPER is offline
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What is the amp output of those kits. I have one but it was boxed up once I got my first real panel and I dont remember now. The reason I ask is because you need to size the battery to the panels. You want about 10%-12% of the amp hour of the battery as the solar output from the panels. If those panels have 3a of output, you want to have about a 30ah battery. I wont get into details of heat and output reduction here. Too little charging of the bank is as bad as too much. For as little power as you will be producing, I would get the cheapest battery I could. I am still running a few blem or econo batteries that I got for $30 each.

That kit is good for getting your feet wet and actually setting a small system up, but dont expect much from it.
Old 06-29-2011, 10:09 AM
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You might google up UPS batteries. They are usually fairly inexpensive and will last for 3-5 years. Plus they are designed for high rate discharge which would be the type of thing you would be doing with a solar power setup. I noticed a 33ah one for $69.99 at one site.
Old 06-29-2011, 10:41 AM
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Here are the details:

http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt...kit-90599.html

Solar panel kits are a great way to generate plenty of clean, quiet energy, using solar energy from the sun to run TVs, lights, computers, even recharge 12 volt DC batteries. Setting up Chicago Electric solar panel kits is easy. The solar panel kit comes with three 15 watt solar panels - simply connect the solar panels to your own 12 volt DC storage battery, and then use at least a 300 watt power inverter (sold separately) to power your 120 volt AC appliances anywhere.

Weatherproof solar power center works under all light conditions
Includes 3, 6, 9 and 12 volt DC adapter outlets
Easy-to-read LED charge indicator
Includes mounting hardware, lights, 12 volt DC socket and battery clamps
Overweight Item subject to $14.95 additional Freight Charge
Requires 12 volt storage battery and 300 watt power inverter (sold separately).

Maximum current: 3000 mA
15 watts max per panel
Peak voltage: 23.57 volts open current
Panel dimensions: 12.40" x 36.42" x 0.75" each
Shipping Weight: 49.65 lbs.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:09 AM
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Harbor freight is junk. Everyone i know that had one ended up very disappointed. If you are going spend money, buy quality.
Old 06-29-2011, 11:58 AM
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This is just a kit to learn more about the process as stated in the original thread. I know about the other brands. If you can not provide meaningful feedback to the topic posted, then please don't contribute.

Has anyone used the Autozone brand deep cycle?
Can you explain Amp Hours?
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:37 PM
Someguyincali Someguyincali is offline
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I am using two marine batteries from Wal-Mart. They cost $80 each.
Old 06-29-2011, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Josh View Post
This is just a kit to learn more about the process as stated in the original thread. I know about the other brands. If you can not provide meaningful feedback to the topic posted, then please don't contribute.

Has anyone used the Autozone brand deep cycle?
Can you explain Amp Hours?
If you have a local battery place like "BatterieSource" or such that are suppliers of golf cart batteries. These provide the best AH for the money.

Here is info on the amp hours and how to use it. http://overlandresource.com/what-is-...ttery-capacity
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:06 PM
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I have the same kit for over a year. Was $200 on sale then. The lights in kit are close to worthless. I got two sealed deep cycle batt at $125 each. You will need to make sure that output from your charge controller does not over charge your batt type. I have considered getting another kit but every time I do I hear the the $1 a watt stuff is in the way.
Old 06-29-2011, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Josh View Post
This is just a kit to learn more about the process as stated in the original thread. I know about the other brands. If you can not provide meaningful feedback to the topic posted, then please don't contribute.

Has anyone used the Autozone brand deep cycle?
Can you explain Amp Hours?
LOL

Those panels will not properly charge a normal sized deep cycle battery. The max output is only three amps. An average car battery is around 90ah. Ah(amp hours) is the amount of amps availiable from a battery in a set number of hours. That is the simple way to say it. The 10% charge rate I spoke of earlier would mean that you would need 9a to properly charge a 90ah battery. So three of those kits combined. The battery you are looking for is like one in a "jump box" for starting cars when the regular battery goes dead, or something like in one of those electric motorized scooters.
Old 06-29-2011, 02:34 PM
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So a 12 volt Deep cycle is not what I need? I have read that I need one of those over a battery designed for a car starting up.

Here is the battery I have considered:

Duralast/685 CA marine deep cycle battery

Duralast Marine and RV Batteries are designed to get you and keep you on the water! Duralast Marine Batteries are manufactured with the Cold Cranking Amps, Reserve Capacity and vibration resistance to keep you operating in the demanding Marine and RV environments.
Patented grid manufacturing technology produces grids engineered to be more efficient for optimal performance
Best-in-Class vent caps are engineered to be safer and reduce leakage and corrosion
Solidium™ welds are designed to stop corrosion and prevent premature failure
Lifespan™ negative paste is formulated to improve performance and battery life

Part Number: 24MD-DL
Weight: 45.4 lbs
Warranty: 3 YR
Type: Marine

Category: Deep Cycle

Application: Marine
BCI Cold Cranking Amps Value: Tested to BCI Standard
Battery Height: 225 mm - 8 7/8 in
Battery Length: 260 mm - 10 1/4 in
Battery Width: 173 mm - 6 13/16 in
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA): 550
Core Charge Applicable: Yes
DIN Designation: BCI or EN Only
EN Designation: DIN or BCI Only
Right Or Left Hand Positive: Left
Post Location: Top Post
Reserve Capacity (Min): 140
Voltage: 12
Weight (Lbs): 44.8
Old 06-29-2011, 02:37 PM
Someguyincali Someguyincali is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Josh View Post

Duralast/685 CA marine deep cycle battery

Part Number: 24MD-DL
Weight: 45.4 lbs
Warranty: 3 YR
Type: Marine

Category: Deep Cycle

Application: Marine
BCI Cold Cranking Amps Value: Tested to BCI Standard
Battery Height: 225 mm - 8 7/8 in
Battery Length: 260 mm - 10 1/4 in
Battery Width: 173 mm - 6 13/16 in
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA): 550
Core Charge Applicable: Yes
DIN Designation: BCI or EN Only
EN Designation: DIN or BCI Only
Right Or Left Hand Positive: Left
Post Location: Top Post
Reserve Capacity (Min): 140
Voltage: 12
Weight (Lbs): 44.8
That's pretty close to what I use. My alternator recharges them. I have a small solar panel that would supplement on sunny days when I wasn't driving as much.
Old 06-29-2011, 03:38 PM
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interesting post
Old 06-29-2011, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Someguyincali View Post
That's pretty close to what I use. My alternator recharges them. I have a small solar panel that would supplement on sunny days when I wasn't driving as much.
That is his issue. You have an alternator putting out plenty of amperage to keep the battery from sulfating. He only has 3amps, in good sun, for his battery. That is why that battery is too big. For the typical battery, you will need some way for it to make bubbles to keep the lead plate surface clear. You need 10-13% of battery capacity as a charge guideline to make that happen. 2% would be more of a battery "tender/minder" just to keep it from going dead from self discharge. That would be 1.8a for a 90ah battery. 2.5a for a 125ah battery. Not near enough to keep it from dieing an early death.

I have a little panel on a regular car battery for an electric forklift(very light duty hand truck model) that died after three years just because the charge was not strong enough. It kept it going for three years without ever using any other charge method, but is was never taken down more than a few percent. That can also be a problem.

Lots of stuff to learn.

These are very generalized numbers, but they do give you a basis to build from.
Old 06-29-2011, 07:37 PM
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Leper, thanks for the information. So, would you recommend two smaller 6 volts set up in a series to my a 12 volt? I was thinking I could at least run a 400 watt inverter and use the entire set up to keep my cordless tool batteries charged up in my shed.

Also, is there a site that explains basic electrical theory? I am learning a lot, but I am not necessarily getting it from the best sources (i.e. youtube, forums, etc) .
Old 06-29-2011, 11:38 PM
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6 volts will give you more bang for the buck. Mine are 225 AH each and cost $112 each.
Old 06-30-2011, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Josh View Post
Leper, thanks for the information. So, would you recommend two smaller 6 volts set up in a series to my a 12 volt? I was thinking I could at least run a 400 watt inverter and use the entire set up to keep my cordless tool batteries charged up in my shed.

Also, is there a site that explains basic electrical theory? I am learning a lot, but I am not necessarily getting it from the best sources (i.e. youtube, forums, etc) .
you can check out solarguppy.com Some of his links don't work, but there is alot of good info on his site. You could start here. http://www.batteryfaq.org/

You really need to understand that with only 3a output from those panels, you wont have enough juice to keep a battery from doing anything other than going dead from sitting, if you are using a typical battery. Don't get 2 6v if those panels are the only thing you have to charge them. It would make it worse. The battery that those panels will keep happy is one that you could carry with one hand.
like this, pay attention to the specs
http://www.batteriesplus.com/product...XT30CL--B.aspx
Old 06-30-2011, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fepony View Post
6 volts will give you more bang for the buck. Mine are 225 AH each and cost $112 each.
He would need around 23a to be able to charge those. He has 3.
Old 06-30-2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEPER View Post
He would need around 23a to be able to charge those. He has 3.
Gotcha buddy. I said that mainly for his reference. You are correct, he needs more charging amperage.
Old 06-30-2011, 11:56 AM
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FYI, you can get the 6V golf cart batteries at Sam's or Costco for around $75 each.
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