Home power system started September 2001 to date

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Home power system started September 2001 to date

by Richard Scherer
(Scappoose, Oregon)

Due to increasing electrical rates, I disconnected from the grid on September 2001 with an Onan gas 6.5KW RV genset, Xantrex DR2424 inverter, and four L-16G batteries connected in series for the 24 volt inverter. The system worked as I had planned, but being new to the operation of an inverter did not pick up the the problem of under charging of the batteries by the inverter during the first 2 years until all four of them died. Learned after that what the 50% capacity voltage reading was, and then stopped taking the 80% capacity before recharging.
The Stratification(acid concentration settling in lower part of batterycase)
became something to deal with by doing an overcharging period(E)about every 30 days. This "E" charging helped to cover up the undercharging by the inverter. I must point out that a full charged L-16 battery should have a Specific Gravity reading 1.250 to 1.275. My preference is 1.260-1.275. These readings will keep the sulfation problem away according to the literature from the battery mfg's.

From 2001, to date, I have been plagued with undercharging of battery cells with an on going dialogue with the battery and inverter manufactures. I have gone through 3 sets of L-16G's, and the new set just purchased (4th set)were L16H-AC. The DR2424 inverter on and off switch failed last year so I install the new Freedom 458 12 volt RV inverter that never was installed into our RV. While not liking the higher amperage flow in both directions, I did like the opportunity to operate the house on only two batteries if one or two of them failed. It has been an educational experience to finally arrive at the fact that neither of my inverters were charging the battery bank to the proper Spgr levels. There was some thought at the start of this house power system that all a person had to do was operate the inverter, and check the cell electrolyte levels each week or so. Not true, the Spgr readings need to be watched to make sure the acid level is maintained at each complete charging.

Keep in mind that the inverter has three charging cycles of Bulk, Absorption, and Float. The Bulk cycle is SUPPOSE to input 80% of the charge, with the Absorption cycle finishing the last 20%. This does not mean all battery cells are fully charged unless by your use of a hydrometer gives you the correct readings.

We do not have a great deal of night time loads on the battery bank other than a couple of low wattage security lights on, and a very small refrigerator. The house bulbs have been changed to the florescent types. The washing machine runs on the second 30 amp c/b circuit when the generator is charging the batteries. The stove and clothes dryer were converted to natural gas as well as the water heater. We have no problem operating all the other appliances off of the 2000 watt modified sine wave inverter. No appliances have failed due to this electrical system.

On 3 July 2002, I started up a brand new Onan 7.5KW diesel generator in order to purchase fuel without any road taxes. During the first year, I was unable to get the Oregon road tax refunded, and had to wait and file for the Federal gasoline
taxes in my IRS filing. Using farm diesel fuel eliminates this tax refund problem from both taxing authorities.

My wife and I live in a rural area on 2.6 acres of land near Scappoose, Oregon. I am a retired aircraft mechanic from Horizon Airlines, with a BSIT degree from San Jose State, two year auto tech certificate, diesel trained mechanic from the US Navy, and over 40 years a member of the SAE. If any one have any questions, my address is: aerorich73@centurylink.net

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