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  #1  
Old 08-13-2015, 11:46 PM
bopbop bopbop is offline
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I am new to solar power and have more ?`s than answers.
We have recently acquired a seasonal cabin in northern Minnesota. The cabin is on an island with no power near Babbitt Mn. ? 1) Are 2 six volt batteries better than one 12 volt? If so why? ? 2) Will the batteries freeze in winter at 20 to 30 below (Fahrenheit) The cabin will be shut and unheated for days to weeks (depending on weather) We have gas refrig and cooking. To small a lot for septic so no pressurized water system allowed. Have to hand carry water per the county. We only need minimal lighting and 12 volts for heating. Any thoughts will help. bopbop
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:23 AM
wywhitewolf Male wywhitewolf is offline
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1) Depends on how many AmpHours you system needs. 6v batteries would be of a higher AH then 12v batteries. As long as one 12v battery is big enough to handle your needs it would be better. If it is not then it would be preferred to go with two 6v batteries in series over using two 12v batteries in parallel.

2) If they are fully charged they will not freeze until @-92F. If they are only partially charged they could freeze. At 40% discharged they freeze at @ -16F. Not solid answer here but to try and setup something that would give the a maintenance charge when gone. A panel mounted vertical on the side of the house would keep clear of snow in the winter and could provide a maintenance charge to keep them topped off. It would need to be on a separate controller form any others.

WWW
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:44 PM
bopbop bopbop is offline
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First thanks to wywhitewolf for the info. The cabin is vert. logs which makes venting a batt. box difficult if I put it inside. Batt. box outside would be colder in winter. I am considering sealed batts but the cost is far greater. Any thoughts. Also looked into golf cart batts.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:04 AM
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If you're not occupying the cabin over the winter, why not just take the batteries with you when you leave on your last visit of the year, if you're worried about them freezing?
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Old 08-15-2015, 11:40 PM
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I have 8 large 6 volt batteries near the foot of my bed. Completely open and never had any issues. If you don't close them up in a small area or a box, there's no chance of hydrogen to build up and make it a problem. Makes maintenance a lot easier too.. (The heels ain't mine, BTW)

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Old 08-16-2015, 12:18 AM
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I'm with W W W.. Keep them topped off with a trickle charge and they won't freeze. Just make sure that you don't have any loads connected when you leave..

Cold batteries don't work well so plan on letting them warm up for a day or so before using them heavily. Don't even think of putting them outside. They'll never have a chance to warm up if you go there when it's cold.. (And possibly too hot in the summer. They don't like that either..)

Don't consider sealed batteries. The charging is tricky and you can't add water if you need to. One season with incorrect charging and they are junk!

If this is your first system, I suggest golf cart batteries. Once you learn the ropes, then upgrade to better ones. They're cheaper and much more forgiving than sealed units, believe me..

As for how many you need or the amount of panel, that will depend on what you plan to use the energy for and how much. It works backwards from how most think. Calculate your loads, add 20-50% to that, and design the system to fulfill those numbers..
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:50 PM
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what do you think about the 120 amphour batteries like those available at walmart for around 100 bucks???
JVC
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Old 08-16-2015, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvcstone View Post
what do you think about the 120 amphour batteries like those available at walmart for around 100 bucks???
JVC
120aHr.. 25% discharge limit.. A 30aHr. battery..

I use 2 of them for my outdoor lighting on a separate system from the house. Gives me an extra 60aHr. to play with..
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:43 AM
wywhitewolf Male wywhitewolf is offline
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I don't shop at wallmart so know nothing about them. Can you get a link to the specs for them?

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Old 08-17-2015, 07:02 PM
jvcstone jvcstone is offline
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WWW--found this page:

http://answers.walmart.com/answers/1.../questions.htm

apparently not quite what is advertised, but then I know nada about this stuff, and need to find a good primer for total dummies.

JVC
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:11 AM
wywhitewolf Male wywhitewolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvcstone View Post
WWW--found this page:

http://answers.walmart.com/answers/1.../questions.htm

apparently not quite what is advertised, but then I know nada about this stuff, and need to find a good primer for total dummies.

JVC

Marine starting battery and a very poor choice for a solar system. The only thing worse would be an automotive starting battery or a gel cell.

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a...tery_knowledge

WWW
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