Battery replacement on one of my solar power rigs

in STEMGeeks3 months ago

I set up a single panel and battery to power a pump that pulls the condensation from my air conditioners, during our humid summers. I did this a few years back, and after pumping thousands of gallons its starting to show signs of age. First thing I noticed was the pump was failing to spin up enough to make suction to pull water from my 55 gallon barrel. This was causing the motor to get really hot, and risking damage to the impellers.

Testing the old battery I disconnected it from the panels and let it sit overnight to see if it could hold a charge. And sure enough it was down to about 10v by the morning. This battery is over 4 years old so it was time for a replacement. I arrived at my local auto parts store and bought a replacement with the same group size to fit into my box. It cost a little over $100 for the replacement including the core exchange. Hopefully it will last me another 4 years. While I was at the auto parts store I bought some new battery terminals.

The ones on the old battery are looking quite oxidized, I could have cleaned them but just opted to replace. Disconnecting a plug for my inverter I kept it for my more powerful rig that powers my landscaping lights. I found out last time I needed to use this setup, the inverter was having trouble on this small setup. It was just designed for the pump so it makes sense.

Making sure the terminals fit first on the battery I place them on the poles. Didnt want to wire it all up to find out the terminals were too big or small.

Putting my new battery in place I get ready to attach the new terminals.

Placing the terminals on always makes me nervous, the spark that comes off of them bothers me and I quickly place the connectors on. Luckily they did spark or anything like that as I shut off everything in the enclosure.

A closeup of the new terminals, I include a fuse on there as well in the case there is a short.

I tighten the connectors and make sure they are snug on the poles. Its important not to let the wrench touch both poles at the same time or you may get a shock or a spark at the very least.

Moving my camera up to the enclosure we see the outside of it before opening. This box has lasted many years and I am really impressed by the quality. Its made by DSE Hibox, they did cost about $50 each but well worth it as its held up to years of weathering.

I initiate the startup procedure, first powering on the solar charge controller, then the solar panel.

With all looking good I get ready to power on the water pump for the first time with the new battery installed.

Throwing the breaker for the pump, it fires on and I can tell by the sound of the motor its getting alot more power now. Within a few seconds it lifts the water up out of the ground where the barrel is and into my above ground storage barrels. I have two 55 gallon barrels above ground that are attached to each other giving me over 100 gallons of water when I need it. I mostly water my plants with it when we get unusually long periods of time without rain.

I moved my camera to where you can see the water flowing into the above ground storage barrels.

An animation showing the water flowing in. Takes about 5 minutes to empty 55 gallons of water.

I talk about how the battery replacement went, while we wait for the pump to finish. But it was quite full and I just ended the video before the barrel ran dry underground. It was a success, and replacement of this battery should make it work for another few years.

Youtube Video Link

Posted with STEMGeeks


Nice piece. Really interesting. Good work with the fuse.

Thanks much, yeah its something that can really save you sometimes. I need to do the same for my other rig with the two batteries.

Great to see you using solar power for rigs.
What with that NASA sticker? I thought NASA would fly not drive.

yeah it was alot of fun bulding it all.

Haha.. different NASA, this sticker is for National Auto Sport Association. Its a group where you can pay to get some track time with your car.. Alot of fun!