Off Grid Home Forums Technical Discussion additives or gadgets to fix or renew batteries Reply To: additives or gadgets to fix or renew batteries


Thanks for the comments. We’ve lived off-grid for 8 years. I was designing electronics for lighting control and phase control of AC appliances in San Diego. About 20 years ago I got interested in solar and windpower electronics and started learning about commercial systems. I ended up studying nightly for about ten years before building simple shunt controllers and wind turbines using Hugh Piggots axial flux design. I met my wife 8 years ago and we both wanted to get back out into the country, so we sold everything and moved into the White Mountains of Arizona, about 4 hours drive northeast of Phoenix (we live about ten miles outside Show Low, Az.).

Now, since I had studied and built off-grid electronics I thought I had it all together (lol). We moved up here and found out that all the technical data in the world does not help in real world scenarios of living off-grid. In fact, alot of it was just downright wrong. For instance, how big your battery bank needed to be. I had always calculated that 300 watts continuous draw would only require 1000 amp/hour of batteries and give us a couple days of no sun/no wind without any problems. Well, this didn’t take into account the up to 50 percent loss in capacity when the batteries got below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Now I find people out here (we are all off-grid in this area) who have been told by the solar store that all they need is 8 Trojan T105’s to run a 2400 sq foot house! And they only need 800 watts of solar! Lol!

End result is that they are always running a generator to charge the batteries just as the sun goes down. When they hit a cloudy day or worse yet snowy day, their batteries last a few hours before the inverter low voltage cutoff takes effect and they are out of power. They then go out and fire up the generator. They spend roughly $200 to $400 per month in fuel and end up spewing out more hydrocarbons than someone grid-tied does, even though they are only using a tenth of the power of the grid-tied household.

At that point I decided to focus most of my time into teaching people the proper way to build a reliable system that they would not have to do anything with but check battery water levels and never have to run the generator (as it should be).

So I spent the next 8 years up here working up the most hassle free and most practical ways of running a house off-grid and also dealing with heating issues when it’s 5 below zero outside without using propane or kerosene. It’s been a real learning experience. Water has been another issue. Most people up here are hauling water in 275 gallon cubes, most of which ends up down the toilet. I figured there was a better way to do it, so I started working on water recycling systems for graywater which would be used a second time for flushing the toilet. I have also found concentrated solar to be very useful in recycling water and making power at the same time, while heating through radiant floor heating.

For a living I work on electronic systems for the new electric cars that are coming out now using the solid lithium polymer batteries. Regenerative braking systems, and charging systems. Our partner is Caleb technologies which will be supplying the new electric cars with their batteries. We are hoping to have cars that get more into the 300 mile per charge range shortly by using better designs for regenerative braking and motor power control systems.  If you are interested in seeing some of these things, I do a video update a couple times a month showing what I am working on and how it is progressing. I will post a link to them as I upload them.

Anyways, that’s my story = )