Friday, January 1, 2016
Mobile Battery Cart - Update
Those of you who have read my June 2015 post about the mobile battery cart will remember the Deka marine battery and the unpainted plywood lid. Since then I have painted the lid to match the rest of the unit and have replaced the Deka battery with two new 6 volt/220 ampere-hour golf cart batteries, purchased from the battery company I work for part-time. The batteries are both contained in ABS battery boxes so they are out of sight and any leakage that might occur will be contained. Having the batteries NOT readily visible is important, lest my landlord or, in the event of some emergency - firemen or EMTs, see them and get upset. Given the way this unit is constructed, it looks clean, organized and purposeful. One would NOT walk up to this and say "why do you have car batteries in your house?" Yes, it's clearly some sort of electrical device, BUT it's NOT scary looking.
Note that since the golf cart type batteries are taller than a marine or car type battery, they will not fit inside the standard ABS battery boxes available at big-box stores like Wal-Mart or at auto parts places - you'll probably need to get them at a battery company as I did. Mine cost me between $7 and $8 apiece. The batteries - made by USA battery - will run between $130-$170 apiece, typically. USA battery uses really hokey "quick release" type battery caps that inevitably leak; since I bought my batteries at a battery shop I was able to get GOOD LEGITIMATE screw-type retrofit battery caps at nominal cost. They're well worth the investment.
This system can provide about 2400 watt-hours of electrical storage - PLENTY for operating lights, amateur and shortwave radios, etc. in an emergency. Given about 300 watts of solar panel capacity, it could provide sustainable "off grid" operation.