navitron
 
Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Anyone wishing to register as a new member on the forum is strongly recommended to use a "proper" email address - following recent spam/hack attempts on the forum, all security is set to "high", and "disposable" email addresses like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail tend to be viewed with suspicion, and the application rejected if there is any doubt whatsoever
 
Recent Articles: Navitron Partners With Solax to Help Create A More Sustainable Future | Navitron Calls for Increased Carbon Footprint Reduction In Light of Earth Overshoot Day | A plea from The David School - Issue 18
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Batteries; New ones can't go wrong?  (Read 4789 times)
offthegridandy
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1007



« on: December 26, 2015, 01:32:29 PM »

Back in the summer (July), having saved up for 2 years the golden coin of the realm, we installed a new 1000Amp 24 volt battery.  This being a replacement for our 14 year old 880Amp set. Installation was straight forward enough, I mean the cells only weigh about 60 Kilos each, Ha.  Anyhow in the summer months I'm often away so the battery was connected and all seemed to work.  I had to top up all the cells with distilled water but assumed the cells were shipped with the levels a bit low to avoid spillage! I noted the SG was low and immediately gave the battery a full charge which with absorb time was about 9 hrs total.

As the summer ran in to autumn and I was home more and the PV was less effective I was struck by the thought that the performance of the new battery was less good than expected and that the hrs of autonomy from the genny was not much more than the old cells they replaced. After a full genny charge I noted the final voltage @ 28.8V dropping to 25.4V. As there are always "loads" on the system it's tricky to get "at rest" values but the SG readings were low for a fully charged battery.

Not really believing it possible for the new battery to be faulty, I assumed I had a problem with some element of my kit. Over a period of weeks as time allowed I systematically disconnected an element at a time to try to isolate the problem.

Not necessarily in this order I checked and or replaced the following.

Main battery take of leads, replaced with larger diameter cable,
Main fuse connections checked and fuse replaced.
Main battery switch checked and substituted.
All battery interconnects checked.
Bus bar connections checked.
Genny outputs tested.
PV cells cut from circuit to check for back charging at night,
Current flow in all main cables measured.

Along the way I got a new hydrometer as I suspected the my own might be miscalibrated.
I tested each element one at a time.  To shut down to work safely, first off, the house including computers goes off.  Then shut down the PV arrays one by one, then brake and park the WT and then finally switch of the main battery switch and pull fuse.

I could find no faults and all the readings I took for volts and amps through the system were "in the green"
I then called in a friend who installs and maintains off grid system for a living and he repeated all my checks and tests with the same results.  All the system was good which points to the battery it self although Jed insisted that we measure our house consumption so as to eliminate any unexpected current draw. Jed put a gizmo across the battery for a few days then down loaded the graph of input and output from the battery on his lap top. No suprises to be seen.We also tried installing another straight battery charger to charge the cells separated from the main system.  By this point I'd reconnected the old cells to run the house whilst doing tests and tearing my hair out.

All the above took some weeks to carry out, because after changing each item I then had to run another charge cycle and test the results again. So any way I was forced to the conclusion that the battery it self was faulty.

So I wrote to the supplier, explained the situation, the tests carried out, and invited them to send a technical rep out to  test for themselves. I should explain that before, at or after delivery not one piece of technical info was supplied by them.

I got an answer back in hours, telling me I was a complete ignorant idiot who had ruined the cells by failing to charge or under charging them.  But as a special favour, if I took the cells back they could do a "special charge" that could maybe restore them.

I won't bother you with all the correspondence that then flowed over the next 2 weeks. I kept pointing out that logically if I had carried out all the tests and had the stated results, as they hadn't done any test their view point was just that, an uninformed opinion.

In my 3rd to last letter I fired off a series of questions regarding the condition that they shipped their batteries.I.e
Are the cells shipped full of acid?
And.
Are the cells shipped fully charged?
What is the total liquid volume per cell?
What concentration of acid is used?

The answers came back
Shipped full to 12mm from top of filler neck.
Shipped charged.
Volume acid 11.2 litres.
and 35.6% I think.

A light bulb went of in my head.  When I took delivery the acid level was down and I'd had to add water.  I recalled it had seemed a lot at the time!!  Back in the power house I looked in my log book.  I keep a record of when I top up the cells or owt like that.

Flipped back the page.

27th July 2015. New cells installed, 1280mm water added to each cell. SG reading 1170.

Now I had alarm bells 1280mm water that's, over a litre per cell which would mean that the cells as dispatched were missing more than 10% by volume acid.  I'd effectively diluted the acid strength. Which was why no matter how hard I charged the cells the SG could never get any higher as the acid wasn't there to start with.

So another letter to the wally brain at the suppliers, pointing out above revelation re acid shortage.  They came back and insisted that either I'd removed the acid, spilt it or the carrier had spilt it. As there was no evidence to support their view I gave up asking nicely for a replacement set and threw the consumer protection act at them and threatened them with court proceedings in 7 days  or  else.

Wally brain must have gone and taken advice from someone with a couple of functioning (brain) cells because within half an hr they were back offering to collect the cells that self same day and a full refund rather than replacement cells.  WOW like a major climb down after all their histrionics and accusations of my stupidity. Battery manufacturers are never wrong.  Go and look at their T and C's

It took almost a week and further treats of legal stuff before wally brain actually released my funds back.

So 10 days before Christmas and still got knackered old cells running the house and kilowatts from the WT going to waste as the old cells can't hold a charge for long.

I've just had a brilliant purchasing experience from (hope this OK Mods) from a company called Manbat, they do industrial batteries from 4 depots nationwide.  I emailed them with my specs on charging equipment and house loads and needs for my cells.  They came back with some pertinent questions.  Followed up with competitive quote for suitable recommended 1000amp C5 cells that they had in stock and would get out to us before the XMAS shut down.  Offer was accepted and money sent.  Cells arrived on Monday and installed on Tuesday. Weds AM I phoned the rep from Manbat and thanked them for service and had long chat about modifying charging rates to suite my set up etc. Really good guy who actually listened when having a conversation and then shared his knowledge.

Heaven!! Genny hasn't run since Tuesday, except when I was warming up the hot tub on Thursday.  Now the tub is up to temp the heater cycles on for 10 mins. once an hr and depending on other loads may or may not trigger the genny for support, if so genny runs for 10 mins. then shuts down and then the WT just keeps things ticking over.  I now have a big grin and can at last after nearly 6 months stop obsessively watching the batteries.  I can also now go to the scrappy with 25 number (don't ask) 2 volt cells and get some dosh back in the new year and free up some floor space in the power house.

Was I stupid not to twig it was the battery that was junk from the start? I started from the premise that a new battery can't be "faulty" and so it had to be summat in my kit. 
But little butterfly  "you should not assume" . A logical point would be that the battery was the last thing changed so should be the first suspect. But I have so little time in the summer for any thoughts apart from bogs that is.  Mind if I hadn't made a log at the time I'd have had a harder job winning my case.

So a tale of battery woes with a happy ending, and the moral is don't assume and never give up.


Merry Christmas.

Andy
Logged

8 KVA Lister TS2 Startamatic Genny
24 Volt 1000amp battery bank
Outback VFX3024
4.6 Kw PV array ground mounted
Outback Flexmax 80
2 X Flexmax 30 PV CC
2.5 Kw WT H Piggot design 4.5 Mtr Dia AC coupled
12 Mtr free standing Tower.
u/floor heating from oil boiler cross linked to 12 K wood stove
biff
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12012


An unpaid Navitron volunteer who lives off-grid.


« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2015, 02:02:46 PM »

Good stuff Andy,
            I am glad you got it sorted. Some years ago, Eleanor, one of our Moderators bought a 48 pack and was in bother within a very short time. It took Eleanor months to get any satisfaction out of the supplier and only after she proved that 7 of the cells were of different composition and should never have been put in the pack in the first place. They ended up sending her a new Pack and I think they told her to keep the old one. All is well that ends well.
                                                      Biff
Logged

An unpaid Navitron volunteer,who has been living off-grid,powered by wind and solar,each year better than the last one.
todthedog
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4300



« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2015, 03:39:57 PM »

Good story with a happy ending!
Persistence pays well done Andy.
A very happy new year to you and yours! Grin
Logged

Kidwelly South Wales
gravyminer
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 446



« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2015, 04:41:15 PM »

..... Eleanor, one of our Moderators bought a 48 pack and was in bother within a very short time. It took Eleanor months to get any satisfaction out of the supplier ...

Eleanor used to be pretty active on the Navvi forum and was one of the few who were totally off grid
Does she still post / lurk here ?
Logged

gravyminer
MR GUS
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3419


Officially "Awesome" because Frotter said so!


« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2015, 04:44:33 PM »

Good to hear they backed down & you now know of a good, knowledgeable company that gives a damn.

HOWEVER, you have incurred expense from the "tw@ts" at the other place, & spent time, alternate energy fuels & therefore monies fault finding for the original company.

Therefore I would send them a without prejudice invoice, outlaying time & expenditure.

Likely they will want you off there backs, goods were not fit for purpose from the outset, due to slapdash QC at their end (& thus liability)

Get an agreed goodwill payment to cover problem solving for them.

Note that as they failed to supply detailed info with regards to set up of the components "out of the box" (sic) thy should expect comeback when customers have to "guess".

Estimate your costs & let them come up with restitution in the circumstances.

Don't let bad companies screw good people!

Just this morning I had to tweet a certain bed linen company (300 count fitted undersheet @26.53 purchased October, ripped across top weight bearing seams (likely wrong stitch type on the batch)

..Because they initially stated I'd need the receipt (NO only for a refund) ..but that is ofte enough to scare folk off.
I stated that if they wanted a receipt that would incur extra time at my end & requested as to whom to invoice to cover costs for a situation that should not have got this far down the road from the outset.

Result, return to shop (at my liesure NOT a special fuel wasting trip, 10 costs & exchange).

I would recommend ANYONE at a till takes a few extra seconds these days with a camera phone & gets a good clear snap of a receipt at the till ..too many lost,/ do it later  moments that lead to frustration when sh*tfan (more stress than those few "finnicky" seconds.

If you (a manufacturer / shop sell shonky / mispriced goods & my time is wasted I expect restitution).

Push them whilst they are back pedalling, long term they'll either learn or sink!

NB did they have any instruction on invoice / delivery advice note et al sending you to a web page or "anything" all is good when building up a damning case, their "presumption" that someone buying a product knows best practice is worrying & probably leverage as to their culpability & charging of your "fair" costs to be recovered, ..it'd cost em more in court, did you contact trading standards (or whatever i's known as & get a case number)!?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 05:00:34 PM by MR GUS » Logged

Austroflamm stove & lot's of Lowe alpine fleeces, A "finger" of Solar Sad
Noli Timere Messorem
Screw FITS
Leaf Owner (1st gen)
Justme
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3531


« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2015, 05:53:20 PM »

Good result in the end.


I would hold off taking the cells in as prices are at a low right now.
Logged

Navitron solar thermal system
30 x 58mm panel 259L TS
1200watts solar 120vdc
FX80 Solar controller
Victron 12v 3000w 120a
6kva genny
6 x 2v cells 1550amp/h 5C
24 x 2v cells 700amp/h 5C
Total bank 4350 amp/h 5C
guydewdney
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4321



« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 07:01:47 PM »

woah mr gus. how many antacids do you take a day?
Logged

Pic of wheel on day 1
7.2kW Waterwheel and 9.8kW PV
todthedog
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4300



« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 07:11:41 PM »

Hear what you say Gus, but sometimes life is just too short!

Andy is happy.

Logged

Kidwelly South Wales
desperate
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3474


Backache stuff!!


WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2015, 10:42:13 PM »

Hear what you say Gus, but sometimes life is just too short!

Andy is happy.



Absolutely, sure we don't need to put up with shonky service, but there are limits. Do we really want to create a litigious culture like in the US, where a lot of services are becoming very hard to get because many businesses is scared witless of being dragged through the courts.

Desp
Logged

www.jandhbuilders.co.uk

still a crazy old duffer!
Scruff
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1252



« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2015, 09:39:05 AM »

Good result Andy, brandish your data at the blighters and take no prisoners!  genuflect

I soak test everything before I commit. I never trust a manufacturer. It's always a nice surprise find an honest one. Most specs are based on controlled lab conditions unreplicable in the real world.  Most people just assume a thing works because it twinkles a green led at them. A hydrometer can be your best friend in sorting the promises from the reality.

I like Manbat, I ran a cheapo starter battery by their hand for 4 years and I abused it greatly. Never equalised always balanced, still starts a few bangers when called upon. I only decommissioned it troubleshooting starter motor issues and my new 6v set didn't like being neighbours with a geriatric

You get bad batches of batteries all the time. Entire pallets can be recalled by manufacturers. It only takes a few rogue metals in the foundry.
Logged
offthegridandy
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1007



« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2015, 09:53:46 AM »

Hi guys and thanks for good wishes.

I figure that as all the cells were short by the same amount of electrolyte that the dry stored charged cells had been filled in error with the wrong spec. Ie the measured quantity of acid was for a smaller, say 800 amp cell.  Obviously they couldn't have measured the SG in the actual cell before despatch, as the acid was below the plates. This was one of the logical arguments I used to refute the rantings of their pet idiot.

I propose to write directly to the Managing Director who's address I tracked down.  All the 3 directors are resident in India.  I have checked their ISO 9001 spec and will write pointing out that both their systems for QC and customer service have a hole large enough to run a bus thro. The muppet I had to deal with didn't actually introduce himself in job title terms so I had begun to suspect he cleaned the lavs, but research shows him to be the "manager". I kinda doubted his qualifications for lavy cleaning but management, Pweh I think not.  Hopefully the absent directors will fall upon him from a great height and clean their act up. 

I actually have no beef about the product.  Properly prepped I'm sure they make great batteries.  But with the management in denial that they have a problem I feel that someone should blow the whistlie.

Cheers.

Andy

Logged

8 KVA Lister TS2 Startamatic Genny
24 Volt 1000amp battery bank
Outback VFX3024
4.6 Kw PV array ground mounted
Outback Flexmax 80
2 X Flexmax 30 PV CC
2.5 Kw WT H Piggot design 4.5 Mtr Dia AC coupled
12 Mtr free standing Tower.
u/floor heating from oil boiler cross linked to 12 K wood stove
biff
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12012


An unpaid Navitron volunteer who lives off-grid.


« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2015, 10:25:03 AM »

Sorry GM,
          I was hoping that Eleanor would answer for herself,
        She does drop in from time to time but it has been a while since she has been in.
       Hopefully she will pay us a visit. She was and is the clear voice of reason.
      She is one of the few souls on this planet who proposes to forward my name as a future Poet laureate.
                                                   Biff
Logged

An unpaid Navitron volunteer,who has been living off-grid,powered by wind and solar,each year better than the last one.
offthegridandy
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1007



« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2015, 12:00:55 PM »

Gus,

I'm not going to go after them for out off pocket ex's, life's to short and I won the battle so feel magnanimous in my victory positiion.  Plus I'm going to get the man on the carpet if not sacked. I didn't bother with trading standards, I reckoned I new my case better than anyone else (technically) and know my rights in the law. 

I once took a finance company thro the high court to appeal level where justice for me was done.  The Recorder at the hearing advised that I took legal representation. But after the hearing, he decided in my favour and complimented me on my accurate and succinct summary of case law, which enabled him to find for me in a very quick time.  Oh that was indeed a good day for the little man. The Finance co had 2 barristers plus local Soliciter all ranged against me. Pooh faced they were, especially when I got expenses as well. I danced around the Bull Ring that day.

Good luck.

Andy
Logged

8 KVA Lister TS2 Startamatic Genny
24 Volt 1000amp battery bank
Outback VFX3024
4.6 Kw PV array ground mounted
Outback Flexmax 80
2 X Flexmax 30 PV CC
2.5 Kw WT H Piggot design 4.5 Mtr Dia AC coupled
12 Mtr free standing Tower.
u/floor heating from oil boiler cross linked to 12 K wood stove
gravyminer
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 446



« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2015, 08:32:03 PM »

Sorry GM,
          I was hoping that Eleanor would answer for herself,
        She does drop in from time to time but it has been a while since she has been in.
       Hopefully she will pay us a visit. She was and is the clear voice of reason.
      She is one of the few souls on this planet who proposes to forward my name as a future Poet laureate.
                                                   Biff


Good to know that Eleanor still visits and has the ear of the panel that chooses the poet laureates Biff -


Then theres Biff, yer man with the cats
says he's solved the problem of rats
but the reason I think
he's bigging up Blink
is cos Diese has said 'make her fat'


Sorry Andy, thread jacker alert,

I am totally in awe of you going against 2 barristers and not only winning but getting expenses as well. That is a seriously good result that goes beyond being well prepared  genuflect
Logged

gravyminer
offthegridandy
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1007



« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2015, 08:35:39 PM »

If you give me paper with words on and ask me to sign, I'll take as long as necessary to read every word!! Me, I love the law, it's all writ down somewhere.
Logged

8 KVA Lister TS2 Startamatic Genny
24 Volt 1000amp battery bank
Outback VFX3024
4.6 Kw PV array ground mounted
Outback Flexmax 80
2 X Flexmax 30 PV CC
2.5 Kw WT H Piggot design 4.5 Mtr Dia AC coupled
12 Mtr free standing Tower.
u/floor heating from oil boiler cross linked to 12 K wood stove
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
Simple Audio Video Embedder
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!