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Old 05-19-16, 01:44 AM   #51
oil pan 4
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Still can't go down to the battery store in my small town and buy lithium anything.
What do you do when the lithium bricks? Sit in the dark for a week till a new one shows up?

In the US lithium batteries are not being recycled last time I checked, because it costs more to recycle them than it does to build new ones from raw materials.
And they are supposed to be getting cheaper so even less initiative to recycle them.

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Old 05-19-16, 03:45 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Robaroni View Post
What do you do when a single cell goes bad on your lithium battery? How do you detect it?
If you have a lithium battery pack, then you have a lot of low voltage single cells. How do you change it?

With all the problems of L/A batteries they still have a place in home installs.

You keep saying "To go off grid is completely in reach." For whom? Certainly not the person living in the suburbs on a 100 x 100 lot. you can't use your situation as the paradigm for everyone. This is how people get in trouble, you have to qualify your statement.

Rob
First :- Lead acid is a series of lower voltage cells ...... 2.15V as opposed to 3.65v for lithium . So really lead acid has more cells per volt than lithium.

Depending on what sort of lead acid battery you use (IE single cell flooded or sealed lead acid AGM) swapping out a single cell or loosing 5 good cells because one goes dead in a 12v unit is either the same or worse than a single lithium cell going bad.

Second :- Most large format lead acid management systems do not look on a per cell basis , a few do , most rely on you personally checking with a hydrometer for single cells or management burps cells for balance (not best setup for cell life long term.

Third:- Lithium battery management generally works on a per cell basis and most good units can switch out a bad cell, if it goes bad or in charging , more modern lithium "packs" like the Tesla unit run direct PV voltages (350v etc) so run more cells than your average lead acid unit and can operate with several dead cells switched out. Really smart units are linked to the web and could call out maintenance before total battery failure is an issue.

Forth :- several off grid systems operate here in Aus in our larger city's one comes to mind that is a particularly difficult install. Located in Melbourne Victoria Australia , coastal town in a major capital city of mainland Aus

Latitude: 3748′50″ S
Longitude: 14457′47″ E
Elevation above sea level: 25 m = 82 ft

Average weather data

Climate statistics for Australian locations

As you can see not Arctic conditions of cooler parts of Europe/Canada but far from sunny ideal Solar conditions.

Yet with a 14m X 45m plot surrounded by 12m high vibrated concrete and brick industrial buildings and only a single car width lane way a 2 bedroom house was built from recycled building materials for less than $40,000 Aus (average build price for an Aus 4 bedroom home is $360,000).

It uses evacuated tube hot water , 100% battery backed (lead acid) off grid solar , 100% rain water , reticulation system removed (at great pain of council and nashing of teath in protest) , All waste water is processed on site to better than drinking water status on site using composting/worm toilet/reed bed system.

Heating is wood fired with a grain heater planed I believe (I haven't visited the site in many years, have lost touch with them) 3 people lived there , 2 adults and an older teen.

They had a significant garden, one being Vegetarian this was a strong priority , large parts of their diet came from the house plot.

This all "just" out of the CBD (about 5km) in an industrial area on a site no one wanted (to small for a industrial shed, bad access etc, dark and surrounded by sheds scared off most people looking to build a house) block sold for a pittance because of this , in an area just 2km up the road a block half the size sells for $1.1 million with a Victorian style terrace house .

100% off grid is not out of reach of most , Settlers lived in wood shacks in places with permafrost areas for 100's of years "Off grid" .

What it comes down to is what are you happy to live with ? Live in a tent year round and a led light powered by a 12v AGM and solar panel might be enough to keep you happy. Live in a 6 bedroom house in the Arctic circle with energy hungry kids and like to weld with a 250 amp welder every day consuming 30 kw/h a day and your up for some big coin. BUT its not imposable .
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Old 05-19-16, 04:17 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Still can't go down to the battery store in my small town and buy lithium anything.
What do you do when the lithium bricks? Sit in the dark for a week till a new one shows up?

In the US lithium batteries are not being recycled last time I checked, because it costs more to recycle them than it does to build new ones from raw materials.
And they are supposed to be getting cheaper so even less initiative to recycle them.
In a small town here I'd be buggered trying to buy a lead acid other than a car battery yet I can order a lithium cell of most size and type and have it here in under two weeks from most parts of the world ..... postage being much cheaper than to ship a lead acid.

No in America recycling anything is very low just like here in Aust you ship most of your stuff to Mexico we ship it to china or India.

Yet with politicians being lobbied by green groups , legal tightening of environmental laws causing business to find the cheaper option it will happen , look to Europe they went from 2.5% battery recycling to 45% in a few years. Lithium Battery's are full of high value metals , not recycling them is madness.
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Old 05-19-16, 05:27 AM   #54
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You should be able to find 6 volt golf cart batteries. I would suggest that you start out with them first until you learn the ropes..

I've been totally off grid for over 20 yrs..
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Old 05-19-16, 07:13 AM   #55
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Another idea at least for winter time usage would be a combined heat and power unit. Small diesel generator with a heat exchanger and a storage tank to store the heated water. While the engine runs it also generates electricity that could be used to charge your batter bank especially in the cloudy winter months.

Anyway to answer the main question in this thread yes I would like to be off grid at some point or at least not totally dependent on it. I actually plan to build a energy efficient house in the next year or two. If it works out I plan on using the mchp ape ouch along with solar and batteries to do the primary usage of the house. I already have a 13hp 2 cylinder diesel motor and a generator head and 1kw solar.
I'm even concede ring a cistern as I will have 1700sqft hoist and a 2000sqft garage both with metal roofs
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Old 05-19-16, 01:14 PM   #56
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Might I suggest some reading on lithium? I see posts based on an inadequate level of knowledge. By ex. I read "Lithium batteries are made of small individual cells". While in fact there are 1000ah battery cells readily available. Also there seems to be a lack of understanding what a BMS is ... Assumptions based on poor research are rarely pretty to read.

I would like to share a story if I might. Over the last 12 months I've seen two people go off grid. One guy put in a 4,000 dollar pb battery. He didn't go lithium because of confusing reports. This is very sad as he has no real technical training. This battery pack is unlikely to last more than 3 years. Right from purchase the pack sat untended and uninstalled for six months. Ouch right.

Of course with a lithium pack, which would have cost 50% more but given him more capacity and at least double and probably 4 times the lifespan ... no problem.

The second fellow put in 5,000 lbs of pb based battery. Again he did so because lithium is being inundated with PR flack hack bs. He thought, better safe than sorry. His installer, getting a nice commission on the pb battery and none off lithium of course also pushed for that option.

Unfortunately, by the time he built a special addition to his house for the huge battery the cost was pretty comparable to lithium. But having no experience with lead he has no idea the pain in the derriere he has let himself in for. The poor performance. The constant maintenance. Etc.

PS-One might look at
BMS (battery management system) Rec and "mini bms" are neat systems.
lifepo4
SMA inverter sunny boy (some amazing products for off grid/grid tie-even a new inverter designed for high voltage lithium systems)
victron (excellent stuff for smaller systems)
balqon (beautiful lifepo4 batteries for the plug and play crowd)

also you might have a look for posts using
off grid system leaf battery
off grid system volt battery

some neat stuff happening. off grid tech is improving so fast. it's a wonderful time to watch and learn.
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Old 05-19-16, 03:07 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeky View Post
Might I suggest some reading on lithium? I see posts based on an inadequate level of knowledge.

Thank you for this post creeky! I'm printing a copy of it so I can read up on the topics you've listed. I've heard of a few of them and glossed them right over because I am not ready to sever my grid connection anytime soon.

I am more than happy to look at the possibilites out there because, as they say, "stuff happens."
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Old 05-19-16, 03:32 PM   #58
oil pan 4
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In a small town here I'd be buggered trying to buy a lead acid other than a car battery yet I can order a lithium cell of most size and type and have it here in under two weeks from most parts of the world ..... postage being much cheaper than to ship a lead acid.
Why didn't you mention that earlier. That changes everything. If you never have to worry about cold and shipping makes lead acid more expensive than lithium then of course lithium makes more sense.
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Old 05-19-16, 03:43 PM   #59
oil pan 4
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Originally Posted by creeky View Post
Might I suggest some reading on lithium? I see posts based on an inadequate level of knowledge. By ex. I read "Lithium batteries are made of small individual cells". While in fact there are 1000ah battery cells readily available.
With out even searching I know a place that has cells up to 200ah in stock. I would imagine they come in much larger sizes for the backup power supplies if you knew where to look.

I know for my next battery build I am using 60ah or 100ah prismatic cells and copper buss bars.
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Old 05-19-16, 06:04 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeky View Post
Might I suggest some reading on lithium? I see posts based on an inadequate level of knowledge. By ex. I read "Lithium batteries are made of small individual cells". While in fact there are 1000ah battery cells readily available. Also there seems to be a lack of understanding what a BMS is ... Assumptions based on poor research are rarely pretty to read.

I would like to share a story if I might. Over the last 12 months I've seen two people go off grid. One guy put in a 4,000 dollar pb battery. He didn't go lithium because of confusing reports. This is very sad as he has no real technical training. This battery pack is unlikely to last more than 3 years. Right from purchase the pack sat untended and uninstalled for six months. Ouch right.

Of course with a lithium pack, which would have cost 50% more but given him more capacity and at least double and probably 4 times the lifespan ... no problem.

The second fellow put in 5,000 lbs of pb based battery. Again he did so because lithium is being inundated with PR flack hack bs. He thought, better safe than sorry. His installer, getting a nice commission on the pb battery and none off lithium of course also pushed for that option.

Unfortunately, by the time he built a special addition to his house for the huge battery the cost was pretty comparable to lithium. But having no experience with lead he has no idea the pain in the derriere he has let himself in for. The poor performance. The constant maintenance. Etc.

PS-One might look at
BMS (battery management system) Rec and "mini bms" are neat systems.
lifepo4
SMA inverter sunny boy (some amazing products for off grid/grid tie-even a new inverter designed for high voltage lithium systems)
victron (excellent stuff for smaller systems)
balqon (beautiful lifepo4 batteries for the plug and play crowd)

also you might have a look for posts using
off grid system leaf battery
off grid system volt battery

some neat stuff happening. off grid tech is improving so fast. it's a wonderful time to watch and learn.
From what I've seen here I'm assuming Lithium in both large and small formats are copping some bad press in the states , this is very much the opposite here in Aus with access to large format very convenient, pre packaged small format high voltage less abundant with the Power wall units just arriving this month .

Cost for Lithium here in any quality cell is pricey , more so than prices in the states by a good margin, mostly due to volumes imported here (we only have a population of 22 million for the whole country ....

Yet I see BMS are better understood here than over your side of the world , or so it seems by the average punter.

Even with the high prices we currently have I see lithium in large format very competitive with lead acid , I'm just lucky to have access to cheap lead acid.

Volumes of electric and hybrid cars here is low , battery packs will be priced very high for some time here. Parting out crashed cars to to assist in cost recovery then claim the battery might be an option , But not for me yet.

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