2014 09
Table of Contents

Updated: 2014-09-23

I am finally getting around to enclosing the batteries hopefully the outcome will be a sturdy platform with a hinged cover and a custom foam cushion over that turning the battery box into a comfortable sofa.

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I compacted the battery pack as best I could and still leave the proper gap between each battery — there is a door that is next to the batteries that I don't want to obstruct so I had to save space in order to keep that entrance clear.

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The hardest part of this project was locating all the screws, caulking gun (dap glue), mitre box, saw and everything else.

I have everything I need but locating it (in storage) was hell.

I still have to cut the long side and the top, perhaps later this week. Unfortunately it's abut 8' 3" so I have to add a strip on one end to cover everything fully. I might add a strip on each end

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These are (10) 110AH batteries.

I am not much of a carpenter unfortunately but as you can see so much can be done to incorporate improvised power systems into any structure.

I hope this turns out well but we'll know in the next few weeks. I may have to implement some venting if the power converter/charger starts to overheat once I have the entire enclosure covered…

I have investigated purchasing custom foam to cover it and it's fairly expensive. If you want a piece of quality rubber-based foam that won't break down you will spend over $100 easily. I will be obtaining a piece of foam 80" long and 24" wide.

I had been keeping that battery pack fully charged and ready for loss of grid power but I don't use them for anything. This will also allow me to have a source of AC power that is grid independent (I will use the grid to keep the battery pack up during normal times.)

I don't use that battery pack at all so it's just sitting there at float voltage. It's being maintained by a 6A re-purposed laptop charger that produces 15VDC connected to a 35A charge controller (Xantrex) that keeps the battery pack in good condition. I have a box full of these laptop chargers if one fails. So far I've used about 3 in about as many years to keep that battery bank maintained.

I used to use that to maintain the battery back but now I've attached a 75A Charger that stays plugged into the wall. If I lose commercial power I can simply plug it into the generator which will keep the battery pack fully charged. It will charge the battery pack well on very dirty generator power.

The current draw about 6-hours after I powered the converter/charger up is now 1.5A which part of that is for the charge controller and it's display and the rest is maintaining the float charge.

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I can feed in other dc sources to the charge controller as I sometimes connect (2) 230W panels to it and lay them outside in the sun for a few weeks. I don't keep any of my panels in the sun as they will degrade but if I have an emergency I have 2000 watts of power from panels to connect in and I have some portable stands for the panels as well.

As you can see from the pictures above every input is fused. My panels can produce 9A maximum so I have (4) inputs set up to be fused at 10A.

I have a dc generator (50A) that is powered by a Honda GC160 gasoline engine as well as a 10KW AC generator also powered by a Honda engine (the 10KVA generator head from Harbor Freight) which has been working well every time I've used it. I built the 10KVA AC generator using an old pressure washer frame (and the engine was from that.)

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Harbor Freight 10KW generator head

(still missing pictures of the DC generator)

I built both of these generators. The DC generator is using a high output PMA from Mike's windmill shop.

Speaking of Mike, I have (2) of his wind generators I haven't used for 10-years, both are packed away in storage as I didn't want to commit to permanently mount them here. One of the wind generators was sitting broken on a test stand outside for more than 5-years but I never repaired that until recently.

Here it is post-repairs. I have since taken it down and put it into storage. If I need either of these wind generators I can get them up pretty fast as I have the pipe (60-feet x 2" pipe with couplers for each generator), specialized mount, guy wire and cement on hand.

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I just started writing this page, later I will create some photographs of the stuff I have created to power everything all for mostly "emergency" use with the exception of all my network and computer equipment which is running full time from battery power being charged from a wall socket.

At various survival sites over the years I've been known to evangelize about this sort of power system built from salvaged RV parts but people are loath to work with power systems it seems.

Of course my primary heat is wood. That takes a lot of effort to get wood every season but I burn about 6-cords a season.

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I am making some improvised lighting from these tiny 900-lumen (10W) LED chips (white) each one is drawing about 1.9A (12VDC) I have to mount them with heat sink compound and make sure they're safely dissipating the heat as they produce a great deal.

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This is a .75"x.75" aluminum angle to give you an idea of the size.

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These lights are drawing 5.4A (12VDC) but I am feeding them from a charge controller/power supply attached to a 12AH battery which is constantly charging from a re-purposed laptop power supply that can handle 6A easily. They generate so much heat you can't touch the aluminum angle as close as a foot down from the vise-grips. I have used heat-sink compound when mounting the LED chips to the aluminum angle in order to make sure they don't burn up.