Not all batteries are created
Batteries are the core if
not the heart of your system be sure to start with the right stuff! Batteries,
next to generators
are the component that are most often skimped on, but can make or break your
system. The damage to batteries are the single most often failure within an
When itís time to
purchase or change batteries please remember that all batteries are not created
equally. Batteries are purpose constructed; they are optimized and constructed for specific applications and therefore
perform worse within other applications depending on their initial design and application they are put to.
If the battery you are looking to use off-grid is also rated with cranking
amps, the battery is probably not a true deep cycle battery but a compromise
formulations such as used for RV and boating applications.
Quality is a decisive
factor in performance. Fresh batteries in good condition offer all of their rated
runtime and recharge after use. Improper battery types, batteries with
inappropriate design and aging batteries, which have been discharged and
recharged many times, accept less of a recharge over time which results in
shorter runtime. Severely degraded batteries and ones with manufacturing defects
can fail prematurely or even explode.
Initial vs. Lifetime
Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Sears and others sell "deep cycle" marine battery for
as low as $60 which may seem
like a good deal. After all, they are deep cycle batteries... However, the
use to which you will put these batteries will kill these batteries within
two years. Your cheapest alternative is probably a golf
battery if you are starting off on your own and expect to make mistakes and
think you might damage or destroy your first batteries start with these.
Otherwise, allow us to supply you with quality batteries built to last many
years. We deal with a number of manufactures and will find the most
appropriate battery for you at your location and application.
Adding New Batteries
If you intend to purchase what you can afford now and add more batteries later,
think again. Mixing old and new batteries is never a good idea. Batteries age
over time, when connected as single battery bank the batteries act as and are
treated as a single battery resource. The limit of this resource is the
oldest, weakest battery within the array. Batteries within a battery bank should
all be identical. At minimum the batteries should be of the same
construction and rating. If your system is set up and configured to work with
several battery banks a new, separate, battery bank can be set up with different batteries.
What happens, and why is it
the new battery that's been added that fails first? As mentioned in the
previous paragraph, your charging system sees your battery bank as one battery.
Within the battery bank the new battery which is much more chemically and
electrically active will overcharge before the 'old' batteries come up to charge
and during the discharge cycle they will discharge and over-discharge before the
others. This over-cycling will destroy the
new battery or batteries. There are are other reasons such as differing output
and resistance between batteries but the above example loosely defines the issue
of all of these issues.
Follow the link 'Battery
Replacement' at the
left side of this page.
We've become battery
experts over time, there's a LOT to batteries and battery maintenance! It
is our hope that our information assists you and prevents early battery failure
within your system.
Inverters consume power while they wait for a load to come
on. Most inverters are
equipped with an automatic shut off feature that reduces the amount of standby
power required. This is frequently called "sleep mode," or
"standby," or "power saver" or... An inverter, even in the sleep mode will
continue to consume battery power! Don't leave your inverter in a
situation that can drain your batteries flat.
inverters and some solar charge controllers have a low voltage disconnect
feature. Because batteries should never be taken down as low as the
factory default settings on these devices we strongly suggest you raise cut-off
level to about 75% discharge. (Voltage will vary depending upon the type of
batteries and the nominal voltage of your battery bank.)
Each time a battery is
charged or discharged some of its life is consumed. Some processes take more
from the battery than others. The harder your battery is charged or
discharged more your battery life is worn away.