034 Going Off The Grid: What is AGM, Battery Types, Sizes, and MUCH MORE

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034 Going Off The Grid: What is AGM, Battery Types, Sizes, and MUCH MORE

034 Going Off The Grid: What is AGM, Battery Types, Sizes, and MUCH MORE

Working on the art of “going off the grid”, I teach you what is an AGM batter, all the battery types possible, batter sizes, such as group sizes, and MUCH MORE!

This is part of a series that should include.

  • Lower Power Consumption or Energy Use of your home

  • Consider which alternative power option works for you

  • What you need to know about batteries and battery banks

  • Everything you need to know about inverters

  • Many other items that we need to create a great battery bank

  • But what about Generators?


News Segment by J.Bradbury of PreparePDX.com:


I was trying to decide how I would present this information to all of you, and I realized that Steven Harris of Solar1234.com and of Battery1234.com did a terrific job on the audio presented on his websites, so I decided to use his information (and hopefully he doesn’t mind) on most of this topic, with some more detail added by me to unnecessarily expound on the wonderful information that he has provided.  If you decide to purchase ANYTHING that I have discussed today, please go to Steven’s websites and purchase from him through HIS affiliate links, to thank him for all of his hard work.

  1. What is the basic concept for a great use of a battery bank with a generator?

  2. What do you need to know about batteries?  How to choose the best battery for your battery bank.

  3. We can’t use “special batteries”, we have to use what works today.

    1. Battery Types

      1. Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) Batteries

        1. Uses

          1. Car

          2. Lawn Mower

          3. Marine

          4. Golf Cart

          5. 400lb Telcom Batteries (2v)

        2. Normal vs. Maint Free…caps

        3. 65% Sulfuric Acid, 35% Water

        4. Lead (-) and Lead Dioxide (+) Plates

        5. 12v battery is 6 little 2v batteries, and a 6v is 3 chambers

        6. These are spillable!

      2. Gel Cell Batteries or Now called Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SLA)

        1. Uses

          1. power wheels

          2. car jump box

          3. UPS

          4. alarm system

          5. emergency exit lights

        2. Electrolyte is a Gel

        3. Work in any position or configuration

        4. Batteries are old before you get them

        5. Size is smaller than FLA

        6. 2.5-3x price of FLA

        7. Being replaced by AGM

      3. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries

        1. Liquid Batteries, but “non-spillable”

        2. Don’t confuse with Gel Cell

        3. The Electrolyte is absorbed by the AGM material on the plates, like a sponge

        4. Legal on Jet Liners and safe for children

          1. Designed for fighter jets

          2. Can take tons of abuse and be used in any configuration

        5. Great for people with children

        6. These can be freighted without hazmat DOT plackard

        7. Chemistry is better than FLA

          1. more efficient battery

          2. deep cycle by nature

          3. efficiency not worth price hike.  Get for safety only.

      4. Future Battery Options (but not now)

        1. Lithium technology

          1. LiPo (Lithium Polymer)

          2. FeLiO4P (Lithium Phospate)

      5. FLA vs. AGM and Gel Cell Batteries

        1. FLA is half price of AGM or Gel Cell

        2. AGM/GC non-spillable

          1. Children and Pets

        3. I use FLA, Golf Cart Batteries

        4. Battery Sizing and Jargon

          1. Group Sizes generally available

            1. 24, 27, 29, and 31

            2. 24

              1. Small car battery

            3. 27

              1. Mid-sized car or truck

            4. 29-31

              1. Big Trucks

            5. Get 31 if you can, but 29 if you have to settle

      6. Deep Cycle Batteries

        1. Meant to be used from full charge to full discharge

        2. Not car batteries

        3. Construction Difference

          1. Large Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) in Car Batteries

          2. Larger Plate construction in Deep Cycle

          3. 12 times full discharge vs 200

        4. Many times AGM and Gel Cell are deep cycle

        5. Duracell, GC2 Golf Cart Batteries

          1. Golf-Cart Batteries

            1. Robust Construction

            2. Still Cheaper than FLA/ GC

          2. 6 volt batteries

          3. 120 AH (which is good)

    2. Golf Cart (Deep Cycle) Batteries

      1. GC2, GC8, GC12

      2. GC2

        1. 6v, need 2 in series

      3. GC8

        1. 8v, no configuration where this is useful to you

      4. GC12

        1. 12 v battery

      5. I recommend GC2 batteries, specifically the duracell

  4. Basic Electrical Concepts and Jargon

    1. Voltage (Volts)

    2. Current (Amps)

    3. Resistance (Ohms)

      1. 1v will push 1a through 1ohm resistance

      2. V=A*Ohm

    4. Power (Watts)

      1. W=V*A

    5. Capacity (AmpHours)

      1. AH=A*H

      2. Real battery capacity is rated in AH

      3. 200AH=10A for 20Hr, 20A for 10Hr, or 40A for 5H

      4. Slower draw is more efficient

    6. Reserve Capacity (RC)

      1. How long it will last based on assumed current draw

      2. Marine battery for trolling motor with RC of 210min

      3. Golf Cart battery with RC of 120 min

      4. which is better???

      5. Marine: 210min, 25A… GC Batt: 120min, 75A

        1. 210min/60 x 25A = 87.5AH

        2. 120min/60 x 75A = 150AH

        3. Golf cart battery has more capacity

    7. Depth of Discharge

      1. % of battery used

      2. 30% DOD = 70% left over

      3. any DOD above 50% is call deep cycling… familiar?

      4. Car Battery: 100% DOD about 15 times

      5. Deep Cycle: 100% DOD about 150-200 times

        1. 50% DOD about 3-400 times

        2. 25% DOD about 9-1200 times

  5. So What are the options

    1. You should only get FLA or AGM

      1. choose economy vs safety

  6. Recommended Batteries:

    1. Golf Cart Flooded Lead Acid

    2. Marine Flooded Lead Acid

    3. Optima AGM Battery

  7. GC2 Golf Cart Batteries vs Marine Batteries

    1. GC2 Batteries

      1. 64 lb each, need 2, so 130 lbs

      2. more capacity, slightly better chemistry, thick plates

      3. Other:

        1. more room at top and bottom.  for overfill, and the plate scale to fall

        2. Caps easy to remove to add water

      4. Better for stationary use, such as home bank, or permanent mobile bank.

    2. Marine Batteries

      1. 50-60 lbs, easy to move, has a handle

      2. Sponge plates

      3. Other: must pop caps with screwdriver

      4. Better for mobility, something to be toted.

  8. Precautions to take with batteries

    1. Never short between plus and minus

    2. Never place 100% charge battery with 0% battery

    3. Battery H2

      1. don’t worry about buildup in a room, it build up inside the sealed battery

        1. Speed H2 escapes at is: 2000 m/s

        2. problem is maintenance and opening battery or connecting charger

          1. never connect or disconnect charger while on

          2. never open battery with charger on

        3. AGM has platinum catalyst to recombine H2 and O2

    4. Keep batteries off of cold concrete

      1. cools off battery and reduces battery performance

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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