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Old 01-18-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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Thumbs up On the adviseability of multiple backups.

To make a long story short, after a week of hard rain and no sun, my generator failed just as we got a foot of heavy snow/ice mix. Since I'm still in the middle of recovery from that, I won't post it all here, but check these threads:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread....t-powered-post!

http://www.coultersmithing.com/forum...php?f=48&t=688

I found another use for an electric car - I have the power going the other way just now.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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First link I clicked appears to be written in Greek.

Second link I clicked had pictures of stuff covered in a strange white substance.

Sounds like you are definitely getting some "mileage" out of your Volt. Glad you aren't going to freeze in that weather. Stay safe DCF!
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:27 PM   #3
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It's stories like this that remind me of why I moved to Florida back in '79 - '80. It does make me think a bit harder about my own energy situation and the possibilities here.

I'm still sitting on those panels and a Trace inverter, so if the balloon goes up, it's all about going commando on htem and doing exactly as I please to provide my own power. The whole-house generator has enough fuel for quite some time, so I'll have what I need to install the panels on the roof, but I need a hell of a lot more battery power. I am thinking about a huge UPS unit I'll be removing from the MPPF in a couple of months, and I may simply use those if they are new enough.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #4
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If you can score the batteries from a big UPS, the first thing to check is that they aren't lead-calcium - which for example, the phone company uses. They won't take cycling much at all (10-30 full swings and they are dead utterly, losing more than 10% capacity per full cycle).

Most of these are only meant to run a little while, till the big diesel out back kicks in. If they have to do a full cycle (because the diesel happens to need work just then), they replace the batteries most often, since most of these huge UPS owners can just pass the cost along to us.

Sorry if it seemed like greek. The guys on that first forum are all engineers who dig Volts, so I speak their language when there.

Ancona - I've been in the middle of a few hurricanes. You can keep FLA, a little snow once in awhile is a small price to pay for none of those. Even Sandy just broke up on the mountains and was a non-event here.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
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I'm not sure DC, but I'll post when I find out. The last UPS I salvaged out there had lead acid.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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There are several variations on lead-acid, which is what I was going on about. Some batteries use calcium in the plate alloy and are "maintenance proof" - your car battery is that type. Those won't deep cycle for many times. Many batteries, to get a large peak output use many thin, instead of a few thicker plates - and they don't cycle for as many times either. The plates just fall apart and the paste falls out.

In fact, in my own system, I use a couple of "deep cycle" trolling batteries (from walmart) as a peak provider across my real "submarine" lead acids, and they only last about a year. When I did this with my L16 (golf cart batteries) I got 12 years out of them, vs the 6-7 most people get. Those wallmart batteries with only 100 ah or so actually have more plate area (lots of thin plates) than my big 500 ah deep cycle batteries do, and thus die in fewer cycles as the plates warp or fall apart.

In actual tests here, a truck type lead acid only lived through about 20 cycles before losing over half its capacity. While an L16...a few thousand. The Rolls-Surrettes I use now have a 20 year guarantee....all are "lead acid" generically speaking.

I once bought some surplus phone company batteries. They were NOT long lived in cycling.

BTW, my little honda is back in action. Sitting it next to the woodstove with the covers off overnight did the trick. And I got enough sun today such that even with only a few panels cleared off - I got full charge on the house. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny too, and I might be able to "pay back" the Volt if I go out on the roof and move some more snow. I have a 4-6 foot deep pile in front of the panels in front of the house, which sadly, will be rock hard after tonight's hard freeze. All that junk has to go someplace.
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Post mortem on the coultersmthing thread linked above. Short version - all is well, and I'm the only guy in an 8 mile radius with power. Went out today and stocked up on cheap stuff from stores without power to run their coolers. Bonus!
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
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*Update*

DC, I lookd in to it and called the facility manager [we golf together sometimes] and he said they are "surrette" batteries of the most premium variety. Remember, this is NASA and this building is a level 100,000 white room that is used to prepare satellites for space flight. When shit is hooked up for extensive testing, they cannot have even the remotest of possibilities that poqwer fails. They have quadruple redundant system protection, hence the awesome salvage opportunities. You would not believe some of the shit I have actually cut up and simply sold for weight.

Sometimes it makes me sick.

By the way DC, I'm not trying to sound like an arrogant asshole, I just have a very odd job and access to a lot of buildings and systems that are.....well.......the only ones on the planet. I have the priveledge of working next to flight hardware very few folks get to see anywhere except on TV after they have lit the candle. We get a little numb to it sometimes and that can seem a bit arrogant.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:36 PM   #9
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Cool on the batteries man, grab them if you can, I'm loving mine! They are head and shoulders better than any other lead-acid's I've tried, which is most all of them.

And I already knew you're not a jerk, man.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:41 PM   #10
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I sure can seem like one sometimes. ; - ) Not everyone can deal with me, so I am one of those cats who you either like or do not like, there is usually no middle ground with me. Some say I am a dick because I'm painfully direct and will say things others see as hurtful, but were simply honest observations. I'm not a big "feelings" guy, so my only women friends are pretty hard core ladies. Actually, I have more women friends than men.....go figure. The older I get, the less I give a shit about what people think, which can cut both ways I guess.
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