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Old 06-03-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lagnar View Post
Since it's basically the same technology - it might burn your house down.
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.
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IMHO the best chemistry is still the Ni-Fe batteries despite their high rate of self discharge.
Thanks very much, Lagnar, for the links to news reports about the Tesla car fires.

This morning I emailed Point Zero Energy to express my concern about the Lithium ion batteries in their new Titan solar generator. Awhile later I received a reply from David Willis, the owner of Point Zero Energy. Here is the email thread.

I SAID

Quote:
Hello.

I'm potentially interested in purchasing the new Titan solar generator to power my off-grid house, but I'm a little concerned about the possibility of fire caused by the Lithium ion batteries or by the charge controller for the batteries. I've been researching Lithium ion batteries vs. lead acid batteries for a couple years, and for awhile it was my understanding that the Lithium ion technology had evolved to the point where it was very safe. However, I'm feeling unsure about that these days because I've seen some recent news reports about Tesla cars that have caught fire. It appears the fires were caused either by the Lithium ion batteries or by the charge controller for the Lithium ion batteries. Here are a couple links:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/fire-depart...at-was-on-fire

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/t...wn-133878.html

Are the batteries and the charge controller in the Titan safe? If so, why? That is, what is different about the batteries and charge controller in the Titan as compared with the batteries and charge controller in the Tesla cars?
DAVID REPLIED:

Quote:
HI,

Thanks for your interest in the titan solar generator.

You have a valid concern with the lithium ion batteries. Because they are inherently flammable, there will always be a larger risk of fire than what you would see with a lead battery. The batteries in the Titan are the same battery chemistry as the Tesla, so if something were to heat them up to 320 deg, then they would ignite. I have not researched the Tesla fires enough to know exactly why they caught of fire, but from what I have looked at, almost all the fires have been due to the BMS (battery management system) that equalizes the batteries. Since the the Tesla is designed to charge very fast with up to 150kw of power. The problem is that the BMS balances all the cells, and if one cell gets full before the others, it has to dissipate the energy going to that cell. At 150kw of power going it, this can generate a lot of heat, and can eventually reach 320 deg.

The Titan has a maximum charge rate for our battery at 2kw (only 1kw with 1 battery connected) rather than 150kw for the tesla, so it would not be able to reach 320 deg with only 2kw of power. Also we have a thermometer inside the battery that will turn all charging off if the temperature reaches 150 deg. So I feel the Titan is very safe.

However if you don't feel comfortable with lithium batteries, we do have a very good solar generator that uses a 10 year life lead based battery

Thanks
David
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:17 AM
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Am I the OP? I received an email that sounded like I may have done something unethical and inconvenienced people. I truly feel horrible if I have done so. I always have a million balls in the air at the same time and I can't always keep track of all of them. I also suffer from short term memory loss and depression. I'm currently working on these things and I sincerely apologize to anyone who I've inconvenienced.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyPrepperLife View Post
Thanks very much, Lagnar, for the links to news reports about the Tesla car fires.

This morning I emailed Point Zero Energy to express my concern about the Lithium ion batteries in their new Titan solar generator. Awhile later I received a reply from David Willis, the owner of Point Zero Energy. Here is the email thread.
I have mixed feelings about Li-Ion batteries. I love them in my flashlights and other small devices, and I love the power curve of them compared to other chemistries. From what I've read about large battery packs, the answer to your e-mail is right on the money. If any one cell goes out to lunch, it could set off the entire battery pack. If any one cell was to short out, it would set off the entire pack. If any one cell was to overheat due to too fast of recharge it could set off the entire pack.

I have seen videos of another similar technology that doesn't have this problem. They drove nails through the cell and it still made power and didn't catch fire.

===
I don't know about you but I have had several Li-Ion laptop battery packs go bad such that they wouldn't hold a charge. They must have a sophisticated charge and discharge control circuit to keep them happy, but they still fail. Although the Ni-Cd ones were even worse.

If a person was to buy a Titan, Goal Zero, or a Power Wall, I think I'd find an out building to house them, and not my home.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyPrepperLife View Post
...
This morning I emailed Point Zero Energy to express my concern about the Lithium ion batteries in their new Titan solar generator. Awhile later I received a reply from David Willis, the owner of Point Zero Energy. Here is the email thread.

...
Interesting you got such a well thought out and to the point response. It certainly speaks to the reputation that Point Zero Energy works to maintain. However it goes to confirm my belief that one should think carefully about having a lithium battery setup. Some extra precautions as to how and where the generator is stored so that if a battery fire does occur that it can be contained.

Every thing has risks. It is how we mitigate them that determines if the gain is greater.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:27 PM
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Interesting you got such a well thought out and to the point response. It certainly speaks to the reputation that Point Zero Energy works to maintain.
I'm attracted to Point Zero Energy's products for a couple reasons.

For one thing, Point Zero Energy is a small, privately held company. Family owned, according to their Web site. I'm more comfortable doing biz with a company like that than I would be doing biz with a large, publicly traded company such as, for example, Tesla.

Another reason I'm attracted to Point Zero Energy is that I'm impressed with its founder and owner, David Willis, the person who replied to my email this morning. I've watched some of his videos, and he appears to be genuinely interested in presenting the facts about the company's products without hyperbole and fanfare. His demeanor makes me comfortable. I'm not a degreed engineer, but I have an "engineering head." I made my living in the field of software engineering for about 15 years. I can spot a genuinely talented and ethical engineer a mile away.

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Originally Posted by MattB4 View Post
However it goes to confirm my belief that one should think carefully about having a lithium battery setup.

Every thing has risks. It is how we mitigate them that determines if the gain is greater.
Right, Matt. I'm on the fence now about lithium ion batteries vs. AGM batteries for my new solar-elec setup. I will be giving it a lot of thought. If I do end up with AGM batteries, it's likely they will be in a system made by Point Zero Energy.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyPrepperLife View Post
I'm attracted to Point Zero Energy's products for a couple reasons.

For one thing, Point Zero Energy is a small, privately held company. Family owned, according to their Web site. I'm more comfortable doing biz with a company like that than I would be doing biz with a large, publicly traded company such as, for example, Tesla.

Another reason I'm attracted to Point Zero Energy is that I'm impressed with its founder and owner, David Willis, the person who replied to my email this morning. I've watched some of his videos, and he appears to be genuinely interested in presenting the facts about the company's products without hyperbole and fanfare. His demeanor makes me comfortable. I'm not a degreed engineer, but I have an "engineering head." I made my living in the field of software engineering for about 15 years. I can spot a genuinely talented and ethical engineer a mile away.



Right, Matt. I'm on the fence now about lithium ion batteries vs. AGM batteries for my new solar-elec setup. I will be giving it a lot of thought. If I do end up with AGM batteries, it's likely they will be in a system made by Point Zero Energy.
My setup is mostlikely smaller than your's. I have 8 Duramaxx 29DC batteries that have been flawless over the past 4+ years with no noticeable reduction in capacity and they have been cycled deep on several occasions. I like the lead acid for safety. I fill mine ever 3 or 4 months. And for more than half the price of a Trojan, it seems like bargain.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:53 PM
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I have two of the lithium GoalZero Yeti’s a 400 & 1000. I don’t have the one with the built in wi-fi. But that might help the OP.

I keep them plugged into the AC when the grid is up, and then plug in the solar panel when the grid is down.

The Goal Zero Yeti 400 / Boulder 100 / keeps our line of sight Internet receiver, Eero wi-fi mesh router, and Arlo wireless security camera system router up when the grid is down for a few days on the single solar panel receiving half a days sunshine each day. I’d swap for the larger Yeti w/WiFi if needed and add more panels.

An automatic switch between grid AC when up and solar when needed would be a nice accessory. Goal Zero also has a home connection kit that looks interesting:

https://www.goalzero.com/shop/yeti-a...tegration-kit/

My Yetis also make a Sine Wave, so I’m curious if I could use one to fake out micro inverters to get the rooftop solar.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:15 PM
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I have a YETI 1000 and during this recent 25% off sale bought a YETI 3000. That sucker is amazing. 3000 watt-hr and weights 66 pounds. I was making toast and coffee with it and only using up 1%. Great for running tools too, as long as they will start up with the 3000 watt surge rating, 1500 watt continuous. The only thing that has a hard time is my air compressor.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:16 PM
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If you have $$$ to spend, buy something YETI. If not, perhaps do the math and put together a system that will provide the power you need for the number of days you will need power.

Why would I say "days"?

Anything that runs 24/7 needs power that is always there. Even if there's a week of clouds and rain or snow. That immediately precludes the quick answer of "a battery big enough to run it 24 hours". First you need to know the hourly/daily power requirements of the device(s) to be powered. The easiest way to determine that for AC-operated devices is with a Kill-A-Watt or similar meter ($25). Some things can be checked very quickly - a wifi repeater probably had a very consistent power usage, so a 24 test will probably tell you all you need to know about its power usage in a given environment. A French-door fridge/freezer with door-mounted water and ice dispensers is a totally different animal and may need a week long test to get an accurate average daily power usage (which will vary with the ambient temperature winter/summer, number of people, etc.). Example: a Samsung 28 cu ft fridge/freezer could be drawing anywhere from 4 watts (single circulating fan running in the fridge area) to 520 watts (defrosters on for both fridge and freezer evaporators).
First you determine how much power is needed on a daily/weekly basis and then you search for something that can provide that power for the timeframe you need it.

By the way the comment "a 100AH battery can provide 1 amp for 100 hours or 100 amps for 1 hour" is not correct.

/technical on/
All batteries produce power by a chemical process, whether lithium-based or some flavor of lead-acid. Those chemical processes have some time and power related limitations. Although the lithium batteries are closer to the "100 amps for 1 hour, 1 amp for 100 hours" image that some people have, it's not exactly true for them either. All batteries have a cycle lifetime, with the number of cycles depending on the depth of discharge and the completeness of recharge. Some military lithium batteries have a "20 year" life, but that's based on very specific control of charge and discharge levels - such as never greater than 80% charged and never less than 20% charged. No, you don't get as much total capacity as with batteries run to their upper and lower limits but you do get more charge/discharge cycles from those batteries.
/technical off/

I'm currently revamping my solar-charged generator, which is a large battery bank charged by multiple solar panels and using a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter to run fridge, furnace, lights for a "Wait until daylight" emergency power source than can provide 8 to 24 hours of limited power depending on the season. As part of the revamp, I'm doing metered discharges on the AGM batteries that make up the battery bank. Although two of the 84AH batteries are at end of life (less than 10AH capacity), three of these nine-year-old batteries still test at better than 90% of their original capacity. The sixth battery will be tested tomorrow, as I'm only removing one or two batteries from the bank at a time - we have severe thunderstorms forecast for multiple days so I want to maintain at least some backup capacity while testing is in progress.

How did I get that much life out of the batteries? Never discharging them below 50%. Always charging them as soon as possible after use. Maintaining them at their minimum float voltage (doesn't apply to lithium) and having a voltmeter accurate enough to test whether the float voltage is 13.65 volts..

Spreadsheets available for download:
limited house backup
12 volt system
http://www.jecarter.us/files/My-Solar-Generator.xls
higher voltage system
http://www.jecarter.us/files/My-Sola...oltage-Set.xls

small 12 volt system for shed lighting
http://www.jecarter.us/files/My-12Volt-Solar-Shed.xls
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