Inverter battery question?

Cdn_Gringo

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Apr 29, 2014
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Is there a rule about not adding water to the cells of a battery bank while those batteries are being actively recharged after a 25% drain? I know one has to be careful of sparks as the batteries are probably producing some hydrogen while charging.
 

Olly

Bronze
Mar 12, 2007
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It is probably more to do with over filling them rather than anything else. There is some expansion of the plates during charging plus gas generation.
Best to wait until the charge is nearly done , then fill them.
Olly
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
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And check them often. I have Trace batteries and I have to top them off almost weekly.
 

windeguy

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Jul 10, 2004
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And check them often. I have Trace batteries and I have to top them off almost weekly.
I have always wondered who actually makes those batteries. I know for a fact that TRACE, when they existed as a company, never made batteries because I called them.
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
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I have always wondered who actually makes those batteries. I know for a fact that TRACE, when they existed as a company, never made batteries because I called them.
No idea. I bought them because they were cheap and my inverter barely gets used. Other brands are going through the roof.
 

2020

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Apr 10, 2012
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Las Terrenas
Besides cost, can someone tell me why people don't use batteries for an inverter that is maintenance-free? (no topping off of water required)

CONSUMER REPORTS:

"

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
​

AGMs are built to better stand up to repeated draining and recharging cycles than standard batteries. They are becoming standard equipment in more cars because modern features such as fuel-saving stop-start systems, electronic safety and convenience features, and power outlets for mobile electronics all increase the demand for power.
But AGMs can cost 40 to 100 percent more than highly rated conventional batteries. Consider buying one if you sometimes don’t use your vehicle for long periods and the battery loses its charge. An AGM battery can better tolerate a deep discharge, and it is more likely to fully recover if it is accidentally drained. "
 
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JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
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Your inverter is not working properly, high generation will cause batteries to overheat and dry.

JJ
Nah, they're not overheating at all. Stone cold. The inverter is set at 10a charging, which is the lowest setting available.
 

bachata

Silver
Aug 18, 2007
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I have an inverter in my mom's house Santiago, when it was first installed brand new in my home before I moved to US the first set of four batteries last me six years.
But since I move to US I installed in my mom house and downgraded the batteries banks to 2 they don't last so long.

I barely have to add water.
Currently thinking to buy two batteries as it was out of service for several years.
No se estaba yendo la luz.

JJ
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
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Did you check the charging voltage? A higher than normal voltage will cause the water(acid) in the batteries to "boil off".
No, TBH I haven't. I haven't worried about it too much because I only add an ounce or so every two weeks.
 

Cdn_Gringo

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Apr 29, 2014
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As I mentioned already, I have been pretty good at checking the fluid level in my inverter batteries and topping up with distilled water as necessary. Unfortunately my area has frequent power outages some for 6-8 hours at least. Thus my batteries see fairly heavy use. I try to limit the power drain on the batteries during these outages and very few times has the inverter shown less than 50% charge left. However the batteries are now about 3 years old and are showing signs of wear. The charge doesn't seem stay above 50% for as long as it did in the past and recharging seems to be taking longer than before. I know that I will have to replace the batteries eventually but would like to get as much use out of the current ones for as long possible. My question is this: I do not have a specific gravity tester so do not have a way of gauging the acidity of the fluid in the batteries. Having only ever added water over their lifetime, is there any advantage to adding new battery acid solution instead of water for the next few top up or so?
 

windeguy

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Jul 10, 2004
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And check them often. I have Trace batteries and I have to top them off almost weekly.
And remember: Trace (the US company) no longer exists and they never made batteries. A DR company assumed the familiar name and sells batteries and inverters with Trace on them. I suspect the batteries are from Haina, perhaps? Or some other random supplier. I use Trojan T 105 batteries since I have not found a better alternative for my purposes.

The reason wet cell lead acid batteries are topped off with distilled water when fully charge is so they do not overflow as they charge up and leak acid.
That would mess up their chemistry (the electrolyte would become diluted) and acid leaks are never nice. There is also less hydrogen in the air in float mode when fully charged, reducing potential explosions but that is not the main reason to fill when fully charged, rather expansion of the electrolyte which happens when charging is the reason.
 

windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
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As I mentioned already, I have been pretty good at checking the fluid level in my inverter batteries and topping up with distilled water as necessary. Unfortunately my area has frequent power outages some for 6-8 hours at least. Thus my batteries see fairly heavy use. I try to limit the power drain on the batteries during these outages and very few times has the inverter shown less than 50% charge left. However the batteries are now about 3 years old and are showing signs of wear. The charge doesn't seem stay above 50% for as long as it did in the past and recharging seems to be taking longer than before. I know that I will have to replace the batteries eventually but would like to get as much use out of the current ones for as long possible. My question is this: I do not have a specific gravity tester so do not have a way of gauging the acidity of the fluid in the batteries. Having only ever added water over their lifetime, is there any advantage to adding new battery acid solution instead of water for the next few top up or so?
3 years under those conditions is quite good. The amount of times you discharge to 50% is in the hundreds before the batteries start to suffer.

Battery manufactures NEVER recommend adding more acid. Never.
Only distilled water.

A specific gravity tester is good to have so you know if you need to preform an equalization charge ( if your inverter supports that).
The idea is to get the specific gravity of all cells to be equal so they don't work against each other and cause premature failure of a cell
and hence the battery. Frankly, I don't go it, but THEY say I should.
 

windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
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I have an inverter in my mom's house Santiago, when it was first installed brand new in my home before I moved to US the first set of four batteries last me six years.
But since I move to US I installed in my mom house and downgraded the batteries banks to 2 they don't last so long.

I barely have to add water.
Currently thinking to buy two batteries as it was out of service for several years.
No se estaba yendo la luz.

JJ
I also a battery bank size trade off. Once. The four batteries died MUCH faster than 8 of them die. Those discharge/recharge cycles on a smaller bank of batteries really wears them out. 8 batteries work for me in the main house and 4 batteries for some apartments. Now that we have DR style 24/7 power!
 
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JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
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And remember: Trace (the US company) no longer exists and they never made batteries. A DR company assumed the familiar name and sells batteries and inverters with Trace on them. I suspect the batteries are from Haina, perhaps? Or some other random supplier. I use Trojan T 105 batteries since I have not found a better alternative for my purposes.

The reason wet cell lead acid batteries are topped off with distilled water when fully charge is so they do not overflow as they charge up and leak acid.
That would mess up their chemistry (the electrolyte would become diluted) and acid leaks are never nice. There is also less hydrogen in the air in float mode when fully charged, reducing potential explosions but that is not the main reason to fill when fully charged, rather expansion of the electrolyte which happens when charging is the reason.
I'm not concerned with whether or not they are a US company but their batteries do not come from Haina. Maybe you're thinking of Cometa?

Trace is Trace International. They have an office on Roberto Pastoriza and the batteries are manufactured in Puerto Rico. They are available in most stores where batteries are sold and they are sold in other countries as well.

Their website is https://traceinternational.com/

And their FB page is https://web.facebook.com/tracesolar/

Cdn Gringo, a gravity meter only costs a few dollars on Amazon. I have a battery charger that has a recondition function that seems to have helped with old batteries in the past, but like Windy says, those cycles really are tough on batteries and even more so when they get almost totally discharged.

One of the reasons I bought my generator was to recharge batteries before they go too low, but up till now it's just been collecting dust.
 

zoomzx11

Gold
Jan 21, 2006
8,367
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Besides cost, can someone tell me why people don't use batteries for an inverter that is maintenance-free? (no topping off of water required)

CONSUMER REPORTS:

"

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
​

AGMs are built to better stand up to repeated draining and recharging cycles than standard batteries. They are becoming standard equipment in more cars because modern features such as fuel-saving stop-start systems, electronic safety and convenience features, and power outlets for mobile electronics all increase the demand for power.
But AGMs can cost 40 to 100 percent more than highly rated conventional batteries. Consider buying one if you sometimes don’t use your vehicle for long periods and the battery loses its charge. An AGM battery can better tolerate a deep discharge, and it is more likely to fully recover if it is accidentally drained. "
Using AGMs in my car. Wonderful battery.
 

JD Jones

Moderator - Covid 19 in DR & North Coast
Jan 7, 2016
6,219
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Using AGMs in my car. Wonderful battery.
I use an Optima gel battery in my Prado. 800 amps of instant power to start the engine. I'd never use them for my inverter though.

What brand AGM do you have, Zoomy?
 

fuchs4d

Active member
Mar 7, 2004
266
118
43
Trojan T 105
Bought falsificated Trojans around 2010 in San Pedro from a local electrician. Super offer for a complete system including installation. Too good to be true.
Got suspicious because the stickers with the product name were not properly aligned and later verified that the originals look somewhat different. Maybe someone has stickers printed and attaches them to some no name chinese imports. The seller denied any wrongdoing and said he bought them as originals, whatever that means. Same as discussing with a street vendor that his Nike shoes are originals for the price. They will always pretend that they sell originals and probably also believe it.

Alexander