Off-Grid hiccups


A while back my current deep cycle batteries began to get weak, they would charge up quickly and not hold much of a charge, unfortunately the batteries are the part of the off-grid system that need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis. I am hard on my batteries, that has never been a secret. This next week I plan on buying four 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. In the past I have used marine type deep cycle batteries, they are more heavy duty than regular automotive batteries, but aren’t near as hearty as golf cart batteries.

As my current batteries began getting weaker and weaker, it began creating problems with my inverter, causing it to go into fault mode for a few seconds, meaning it would cut off the power during that time, it only did it during the day when the batteries were charging or fully charged, never at night, it took me a while to figure out where the problem was.

At the same time this was happening, my freezer (to fridge conversion) smoked on me, fortunately I was home and awake, I could hear popping and snapping, when I went to investigate that sound I saw smoke coming out of the back of the freezer unit, I immediately cut off the power to the freezer, it no longer works. I have no way of knowing if this happened as a result of what was happening with my inverter seeming to act up, or if it was just the freezer was old (it was well used when we got it) and it was just its time to die.

We did get another chest freezer, but I cannot risk hooking it up until I get those new batteries. Next week after I have the batteries and get them hooked up and running, I’ll post an update about all of this.

Here are the links to the chest freezer to fridge conversion

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the battery updates. I have been off-grid for 3 years and on my 2nd set of deep cycles. I have 4 x 220ah 12 v batteries for my 48v system. I am not impressed with the lack of reliability and certainly is the weak link in off-grid living.
    Im wondering if anyone on this forum knows about nickel iron (Edison) batteries which have been successfully home made? I have picked up snippets here and there online and I heard of someone who has made them and enclosed the 1.5v cells in 4 inch pvc pipe about 3ft tall. Edison batteries are known for their long life (50yrs I have heard) and perfectly suited to powering an off-grid home from solar.
    It is way too expensive to contemplate buying commercially available product (made in China I believe).
    There is a guy online who has made miniature versions but nobody I have found who has scaled it up and actually shared what they have done.
    Appreciate comments. Thank you.

  2. My fiance’, David , and I have been trying to figure out how to make a little money when we actually get down to our land in Texas to pay for things we can’t grow or make ourselves.

  3. Hi, Wretha, I was wondering what you do to make money to pay for new deep cycle batteries and other things you need that you can’t grow or make yourself?

    1. Hi Elise, thanks for your question, I work and earn money, I don’t claim to be self sufficient, I am off-grid which isn’t the same thing :) Now I don’t have to earn much money because my life is set up in such a way that I don’t have much going out, so I don’t need much coming in.

  4. Hi,
    I find this interesting in that my batteries are just hitting 7 years old and been getting weaker this winter with the same symptoms as yours. I was going to try and hold out until fall before replacing them as I have plenty of sun here in Alaska during the summer to keep them charged. Problem is that my inverter has started going to a default occasionally that is not a common default mode. Neither I or the manufacturer have been able to determine what is causing it and I was looking at sending it out for repair. I hope your battery replacement solves your problem and possibly mine.

    1. Hi Scott L,
      I just replaced those tired batteries, from day one with the new batteries, my inverter is working just fine, I did tear it down, cleaned it thoroughly and oiled the fan, I believe the previous problem of the inverter shutting off and going into fault mode was caused by the dying batteries. If yours is doing that, hopefully you don’t have anything critical attached that would be damaged by the fluctuating power, I suspect it could be the reason why my refrigerator smoked on me, they can’t take shutting off and coming back on over and over, it ruins the compressor.


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