November 17, 2023 at 10:00 PM #128886
Bit the bullet today, a bit of a back story, we have been off grid since Dec ’07, most of that time we ran deep cycle and/or golf cart batteries, over the years we have added to and upgraded our systems, as of right now we have 3 separate solar systems. The 2 newest systems are using LiFePO4 batteries, the original system is still limping along on a couple of old deep cycle batteries. Limping is the correct word, it is really on its last legs. The only thing we have hooked up to it is our 12 volt water pump and 2 low voltage but semi-bright LED lights over the sink. The last few days (weeks if I am being honest) our normally sunny skies have been a bit of a disappointment, we have had many days in a row of low foggy clouds that really have kept us from charging very well. Last night I had turned off the water pump so it wouldn’t come on overnight, the batteries on that just didn’t want to run. Late this morning/early afternoon, I decided to turn on the pump and it semi-ran, it would come on then almost go off, it did this a couple of time before I turned it off. A few hours later, that system had enough of a charge that I was able to turn on the pump and let the pressure tank finally pump up fully.
That was the final straw for me, I have been wanting to replace those wet batteries for quite some time now, and the LiFePO4 batteries have really come down in price. I was trying to wait another week to see if the prices would get any better for those batteries, but with today’s performance, I knew I couldn’t wait.
I have been looking at the Weize batteries, the price is right and Will Prowse gave them a thumbs up on YouTube. If you aren’t familiar with him, you live under a bigger rock than I do (LOL). Prowse is well known for buying (or receiving gifted) batteries and other off grid components, pushing them to their limits, testing the claims from the companies about said items, then pushing them to the point of failure. After that, he tears them down to see what their guts contain, specifically if they contain what they claim to contain and to see what ultimately failed.
Just a few minutes ago, I pushed the digital button on one of the Weize batteries from Amazon. I will likely order a second one within the next month or so. That’s one of the nice things about LiFePO4 batteries, you can add new batteries to an existing set as long as you do it within a year or less.
This is the one I ordered https://amzn.to/3G858wB I should have it in hand in about a week, unfortunately, this isn’t fulfilled by Amazon directly, BUT it is being shipped free, and this is the lowest price I’ve seen to date. If they lower the price even more because of the holidays, I’m thinking Black Friday deals, then I’ll definitely order another one sooner.November 20, 2023 at 6:57 PM #128915
Waiting on the battery to get here, I’m trying hard to understand the seemingly new way Amazon shows their shipping, I’ve noticed that the last few months, Amazon will show something has shipped (meaning the carrier UPS or FedEx) has picked up the package, but when I actually click on the carrier’s site, it says a label has been created but they don’t actually have the package yet… I tend to believe the carrier since they ultimately know (hopefully) what they have and what they don’t. I just wish the shipping info was more accurate. Anyhoo, enough whining, I’m very excited to receive my battery.
The deep cycle golf cart batteries that I’m replacing are barely holding up, I can’t remember how old they are, I know they are pretty old though, I’m thinking we took them out of use and brought them back, somewhat rehabbing them to work just for the lights over the sink and the water pump, I am grateful they held up this long, but I’ll be glad to retire them permanently.November 22, 2023 at 4:50 AM #128936
Just learned the battery is supposed to arrive on Friday, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday. I’m pretty excited! I also ordered a Bluetooth dongle that will tell me the wattage/voltage and amount of charge on the battery. I have them on my other systems, it’s nice to be able to stand inside of the SkyCastle and see the state of charge of my 2 other battery banks. This dongle is really designed to use on cars, but years ago I discovered they work great on any 12 volt battery no matter the chemistry. I noticed the listing on Amazon now says it can be used with LiFePO4 batteries. I use an app that shows up to 4 separate dongles.November 25, 2023 at 9:28 AM #128963
Well, Friday came and went, no battery, it’s possible it could show up Saturday, since FedEx delivers on Saturday. Otherwise it will be Monday, assuming it there isn’t another “exception” in the delivery. I did receive the bluetooth dongle that will keep me updated on the SOC of this battery.November 26, 2023 at 6:44 AM #128971
I finally got my battery today, can you tell I’m a little excited??? I went to town, a trip of around 22 miles one way, on my way out of my neighborhood (that takes around 6ish miles) I passed the FedEx truck going in, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I really couldn’t turn around on the main ranch road where I was driving, I might have gone back to get my battery LOL.
It was waiting for me when I eventually got home from town. I was able to put the battery AND all of my groceries in a Radio Flyer red wagon and haul it across the bridge and up the hill to the SkyCastle. It is now sitting on my porch, turns out I need to buy a few more things before I can hook it up, specifically some new wire and connectors. That probably means another Amazon order, unless my BIL next door has some spare wire and connectors that are suitable. I’ll find out later.November 30, 2023 at 8:59 PM #129028
The battery is now in place. Was able to hook it up without having to go to town, make an order, or borrow anything. At this moment, it’s not hooked up to the charge controller, it’s only hooked up to the 12-volt water pump and a couple of 12-volt lights over my sink. The battery came fully charged and it’s still mostly full even though we have used it for several days now. Eventually, we will need to hook it up to a charging source, everything is already in place it’s just a matter of doing it.
I plan on ordering another matching battery in December, that will give us a full 200AH setup for the SkyCastle system. I haven’t mentioned yet that we have names for each separate solar system, the one in/on the house is called the SkyCastle, one outside all by itself is called the Island, and the last one is in/on a garage of sorts, we call that one the Tower of Power. We did that so that if we were discussing a particular solar system, we could call it by name and know which one we were talking about. The Bluetooth battery monitors on each system are also named in the app so that it’s easy to tell which is which.
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