Winter Battery Blues

We received a call from an off-grid customer who's batteries suffered from severe winter battery malnutrition! No matter what kind of system you have, a few simple steps will help you get through winter comfortably.

1. Check your water! Don't overfill, 1/4" below the filler neck is fine.
2. Review your monitor operation. It's amazing how many people forget to look at their emeter or trimetric, review the functions and understand them. Now's the time before the rains and fog come.
3. Double check your string input volts and current to make sure the system is still operating within normal specs.
4. Check out your generator and fuel supply.

Without a doubt, thrift is an admirable quality, but feeding your batteries well is your best investment! Your solar charge will not likely keep up with demand, but don't be tempted to only run your generator to put back enough kilowatt hours to get by. All batteries should be fully charged once a week and flooded batteries equalized once a month. Yes, you'll need to run your generator, but if you follow your battery manufacturer's instructions for bulk charge voltage and absorb time, and don't let your SOC fall below 50%, you'll acheive long, happy lifetimes on that expensive battery bank.
(Efficiency tip: If you have a washing machine, do your laundry during the end of bulk charge and absorption cycle when the charge current is low and you have extra kw headroom on your gennie.)

If you need help doing a thorough maintenance and checkout of your system, feel free to give us a call. Have tools, meters and water, will travel!

Technology in charge controllers, inverter/chargers and auto gen starts has made leaps in the past 10 years. If you're considering upgrades, let us help you make choices that are right for your system and budget.