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themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN

Need generator recommendation

I need to charge 4 deep cycle batteries in the middle of a river on Wednesday. Removing them to take them to shore is nearly impossible. Does anyone have any recommendations for a generator that could run a min of 24 hours on one tank of fuel and run a battery charger for that long? To remove them I would have to disconnect everything, hoist them down 50 feet from their perch, get a tug boat to bring them to shore, find a shop to charge/test, re-tug them to the perch, hoist and reconnect. I'm thinking the generator may be easier. Thanks



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

Most generators will only run ~6-8hrs max on a tank when loaded 50%. Your best bet is probably a campsite type of inverter generator with an "extended run" setup (basically a modified air-tight cap with a hose which feeds from a larger canister).



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to themagicone

Do you need the 24 hrs because that's how long you expect the batteries need to charge, or ???

8 hrs is about what I'd expect from an everyday generator - so looking at refuelling 1-2 times.

What about just bringing 4 fresh, fully charged batteries, and swapping?



Tursiops_G
Technoid
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-06
Norwalk, CT
kudos:1
reply to themagicone

How big are these batteries?
How big of a Generator do you need?
Where would the Genny sit for the duration of the run?

If 24 Hrs is an absolute minimum with no refueling breaks, perhaps a Propane powered unit with a 50# or so LP tank would suffice... (?)

-Tursiops_G.
--
If You're Unsure, "RTFM"... If You're SURE, "RTFM" Anyway.


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN
reply to themagicone

There is a perch for a gen set. I was just told they should take 24 hours to charge, I doubt they would take that long myself. They are just standard car battery size - not sure about voltamps, etc. Just need enough voltage to get the solar panels to take over again.



KA0OUV
Premium
join:2010-02-17
Jefferson City, MO

1 recommendation

reply to themagicone

Honda eu2000i. There are extended run kits for them, but I don't know if you can get one in Minneapolis/St. Paul or not. Genset has built in 12V charger that may charge your batteries and the Genset would stay on eco-throttle and give you extended run time.

Is your system 12V or 48V?

A good Smart Charger should be able to get lots of amps into the batteries in a few hours. May not have to be on the perch too long.

Good luck.



Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
reply to themagicone

It sounds to me like something is shot or undersized. If they ran down, the solar array is too small, if the solar won't charge them, then either solar or the batteries are shot. ym2c


Shady Bimmer
Premium
join:2001-12-03
Northport, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to themagicone

Is this a one-time exercise, or something that will be done repeatedly?

If only one time, perhaps it might be both faster and lower cost to simply replace the batteries. The cost of acquiring a generator along with the required amount of fuel vs. new battery purchase.

Even if this is to be a repeated exercise, unless it is to be frequent perhaps keeping a second set of batteries to swap might still be easier and more cost effective?

If a generator is the only (or best) option, would it be "manned" for the full 24 hours? If so, would short breaks for refueling be acceptable? As already noted most tanks on portable generators are sized to run 4-8 hours before refueling is required.


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN
reply to themagicone

We don't know the condition of the system yet but it ran for nearly a year without any issues. It's been down for 9 days in sub-zero temp so batteries are probably fully drained. We got a lot of snow so chances are the panels got covered and didn't get enough juice to the charger. I'll propose to them that I just bring new batteries with me. That may be a lot easier.


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN
reply to themagicone

»Not really an office but this is what I did this week



Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Cogeco Cable
reply to themagicone

If it has been down for 9 days in sub zero temps, you likely have bigger problems.

A fully discharged battery can freeze.

Do not charge a frozen battery, it is dangerous. Both fully discharging and freezing a battery are bad for them.
--



Raphion

join:2000-10-14
Samsara
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by Cho Baka:

If it has been down for 9 days in sub zero temps, you likely have bigger problems.

A fully discharged battery can freeze.

Do not charge a frozen battery, it is dangerous. Both fully discharging and freezing a battery are bad for them.

Seconded.

I'm Floridian, and haven't seen snow accumulate on the ground in all my life, but it seems to me that your panels are steep enough that snow wouldn't accumulate on them. Long term overcast could have run it out of power, but the solar should have recovered it when the sun came back, unless something is broken. I think you'll find the batteries frozen and split open, or something else in need of repair. Examine the batteries closely before attempting to charge. Good luck, it looks like a well setup station.

themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN

It was an undertaking. I had to re-engineer everything to get it mounted. All they shipped me was a power box, some cable and 2 solar panels. Built it in a shop, took it apart, boated it across the river, hoisted it up by hand and then spent 3 days bolting it in place. At first I didn't have the front braces but even slight wind was causing vibrations. Those braces secured everything into place.



tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:5
reply to themagicone

Assuming your batts didnt freeze/split, I`d vote for a small Honda generator.. Not gonna take much juice at 120v to charge those batts, so wattage isnt an issue, runtime and reliability is. Not too large as well..

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)



chamberc
Premium
join:2008-08-05
Irving, TX
reply to themagicone

You can almost bet the batteries are toast.



pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to Raphion

said by Raphion:

I'm Floridian, and haven't seen snow accumulate on the ground in all my life, but it seems to me that your panels are steep enough that snow wouldn't accumulate on them.

I lived on the coast of Lake Erie for most of my life. Trust me, it's not uncommon at all for snow to accumulate on perfectly vertical surfaces. Highway signs and traffic signals completely obscured by heavy snow are a regular sight.

Ever seen one of these? »www.easyreachinc.com/home1/compo···98a3.jpg

Agreed the batteries are roached, were they lead acid? Maybe some under voltage protection should be considered.


Booost

@151.190.40.x
reply to themagicone

said by themagicone:

It's been down for 9 days in sub-zero temp so batteries are probably fully drained.

DO NOT recharge those batteries. They might be frozen and recharging them could cause them to explode. You really don't want to be covered with sulphuric acid.

iknow_t

join:2012-05-03
reply to themagicone

said by themagicone:

We don't know the condition of the system yet but it ran for nearly a year without any issues. It's been down for 9 days in sub-zero temp so batteries are probably fully drained. We got a lot of snow so chances are the panels got covered and didn't get enough juice to the charger. I'll propose to them that I just bring new batteries with me. That may be a lot easier.

if you put Teflon boat wax on the panels, that should fix that problem. it will have to be done on a regular basis, maybe once every 2 weeks.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to chamberc

said by chamberc:

You can almost bet the batteries are toast.

Freezing the batteries doesn't necessarily destroy them. When they freeze the case can crack which of course ruins them. If the case is not cracked and the battery thaws then it can be safely recharged.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

The pressure from the frozen electrolyte often damages the internals of the batteries - deforming plates, usually...

Once a battery has been discharged and frozen; it's no longer trustworthy... It may be ok; but that's far from certain; and in a remote a location as this sounds like, I'd change them on spec...



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

The only way to know that is after it thaws to see if it will charge and if it appears charge up to then check it with a battery checker/analyzer. That will determine the condition.



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 recommendation

A routine analyzer may or may not show physical damage - the definitive test would be a full load discharge; using a load bank.

In normal circumstances, I'd agree with you, thaw, recharge, and test; and evaluate the battery performance...

But given the need for boats, hoists, and other extenuating circumstances here; I stand by my "replace 'em" position...



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

I agree. In the OP's case given the logistics he should just replace them. He should investigate a method to be sure the charge is not interrupted or it will just happen over and over.


MrFixit1

join:1999-11-26
Madison, WI
reply to themagicone

This the webcam ?
»www.dot.state.mn.us/stcroixcross···cam.html
If it is , I am glad that it is you and not me Does not look like it will be fun at all .
At least the weather has improved a little .


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN

That's it! I run a field service business and Earthcam is one of my clients. We actually have 2 cameras for that bridge but the other is on land and much easier to work with. Later this week we are doing 3 cameras for the new vikings stadium.



Booost

@151.190.40.x

So what's the plan for today? Are you going to swap-in new batteries, or are you going to risk serious injury by recharging frozen batteries?



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

1 edit

One never should be close enough to any battery frozen or not when applying a charge to risk "serious injury". Full face shield and other PPE are a minimum requirement. Car batteries and large battery banks with multiple batteries are prone to explode from the Hydrogen gas produced charging.

In the OP's case given the location he probably should just replace them.


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN
reply to themagicone

Well I'm heading up there in about a hour. I was thinking about it all night to the point I have a thought that there is nothing wrong except the point to point wireless is being blocked by a barge. Started looking at the construction doc to find they have moved into the path of the link. Not 100% sure but it will be my first thing to look at.


themagicone

join:2003-08-13
Osseo, MN
reply to themagicone

So we had 2 issues - first is the on shore data link was shut off at the circuit breaker. Fixed that easily. Headed up to the pier. Battery voltage 3.2DC. Solar was generating 21VDC. Pulled the batteries and they are shot. Ends are all bulged out. Waiting on what they want to do for new ones.



54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

said by themagicone:

Pulled the batteries and they are shot. Ends are all bulged out. Waiting on what they want to do for new ones.

Recommend a low voltage cutoff.