I have seen a lot of "prepper" topics, regarding when the SHTF. Here's one I have not.

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Battery systems.

    Okay, folks. Let's say that you, me and a gazillion others are aptly prepared for a SHTF scenario. Governments collapse, people start killing each other for what they have, many go into their bunkers to wait this out. Whatever happens, happens. WHAT happens, really doesn't matter, as long as it results in no more businesses operating as we knew in the past. No more supplies. No more grocery stores. No more solar, wind and hydro companies.

    But, also, no more battery manufacturers. Even China got caught up in this, my SHTF scenario.

    Good panels will last 20 to 25 years, maybe longer. Even cases of new, unopened solar panels, I suppose, wouldn't hurt to have extra panels stored.

    I have no idea how long wind turbines will last. That isn't my forte - and not enough wind in Cambodia to concern myself with owning one. However, a proper prepper is prepared (I just had to say that) and will have spare parts for his wind and / or hydro generators.

    Controllers will probably last 10, 15 years? Even so, you could work out how to fix that, or build a new controller, even if only a simple one to allow regular charging of your batteries. Keeping a new one boxed away somewhere, probably wouldn't be such a bad idea either.

    But, the one thing you can't just keep on a shelf, can't keep boxed up waiting to be used and unused indefinitely, is batteries. Once your battery system dies - it dies. Even if your FLA batteries will list oh, 10 years, eventually, they WILL have to be replaced.

    Remember now, we are in a SHTF scenario where NO one can get these items. So, what then? Do we plan ahead (like, today?) and buy some Edison NiFe batteries? (I have heard some of Thomas Edison's very own batteries have lasted over 100 years.) For me, that would seem to be the only logical conclusion to this. I mean, even with all this new technology. I don't believe ANY manufacturer has come up with batteries that will last a century. (Please do feel free to correct me if I am wrong here.)

    What got me to this point was, over the past month or so, I have begun looking at new batteries to buy. But, since I am on some alternative energy forums, some prepper forums, some off-grid living / homesteading forums, etc., it finally hit me to throw this question out there. (This is the only forum I will start this thread on, by the way.)

    So, after my poll even, asking what type of batteries others would go with, none of us took that into consideration. What if...

    I mean, if we don't have batteries for our energy systems, we might as well not have the systems at all. There is no way to store any energy generated, without the batteries present. So, again, what do we do in this case, folks?

    Ideas? Input? Discussion, please?
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  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

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  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    You COULD store lead acid batteries long term, by storing them dry. Do not fill them until needed.
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  4. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    How long can you store them, dry? Thanks for the input. If that will work, great idea.
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  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I believe we have some battery professionals on here, I will leave that answer to them, but I know of no reason why they would break down, if stored dry.
  6. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    We have changed the acid out in lead batteries before. You should get a few more years out of them.
  7. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Changing out the electrolyte won't renew the plates. Capacity and reliability issues will result.

    A better option is to rebuild lead acid storage batteries, if you have a type with a rebuildable shell.
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  8. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

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  9. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    A minor drawback with Nickel-Iron batteries is the charging loss. Essentially, you have to put 2 Watts in to get 1 Watt out. Which really just means they take a little longer to charge up, or if you want fast charging capability you have to double your energy harvest, whether it's by wind, sun or mini-hydro.

    Ni-Fe batteries are definitely home buildable. Much of the "cost" of off the shelf batteries is optimization for minimal size and weight, look-pretty, etc. If you have the shelf space, you can build them "inefficiently" at very low cost.
  10. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    By the second or third year we better have learned to live without electricity. You can live without it. My solar has never been anything but transitional in my mind on the way back to 1800.
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  11. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Or we build small localized power grids by then.
  12. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    In the land of the blind the one eyed man whilst be king.
    Initially it will be those that have stocks of energy and a means of production.
    Later it will be those that know how to fix it.
    finally those that know the science behind it and can create it.
  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    ....I'll be emperor KELLORY the first!?!?:eek::cautious::whistle::cool:[LMAO][kneelsuckers]
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  14. William Warren

    William Warren Monkey++

    You're correct: a lead-acid battery without the acid is just a few plates mounted in a form. They last, almost literally, forever. To keep a reserve stock of lead-acid batteries, you would need the unused batteries, a viable way to store the acid, and a supply of uncontaminated water. You'd also need a way to measure the amount of acid and water needed to fill each battery when it's placed in service, and a hydrometer to maintain the electrolyte while the battery is in use.

    It's possible to make other "wet" batteries, and even some "dry" ones, in a home workshop, but not in any quantity that would be meaningful: preppers who plan on having electricity available in the long term would do well to plan on lead-acid units.

    Of course, as another monkey pointed out, the larger issue will be that batteries are used to maintain a lifestyle which is dependent on electricity, and it's far more likely that, after the zombies are destroyed, people will simply rediscover oil lamps, candles, pens, paper, and post offices.


    William Warren
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  15. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Buy the batteries dry (motorcycle and ATV batteries generally come this way) or drain them completely, rinse with distilled water and dry, put them on the shelf in the dark (to prevent UV degradation of the plastic shell) and they will keep damn near forever. If they are dry, no chemical reaction can take place. Lead is very stable and does not easily oxidize; why lead made for good drain pipes long ago. Store extra sulfuric acid (battery acid) in case a jug or two gets compromised somehow. This has been discussed a little bit before on this site,

    12 v lead acid batteries can be reconditioned or re-manufactured to some degree. They aren't that complex internally and the top can be cut off the plastic shell to get the plates out. Worst case, one could possibly melt the lead, separate the lead sulfate and reform some crude plates. It would be easy to keep it as 12 volts, but with a big reduction in cold cranking amperage and amp-hour capacity.

    If we were to truly end up in complete grid down for extended time, cars and trucks would likely run dry on fuel. I would suggest scavenge every lead acid battery you can. Sure they are not deep discharge and consequently not good for solar energy storage, but if you have a whole bunch more in parallel such that the none are discharge below 80-85% you could get a fair amount of mileage from them. (you don't want to go below 50% discharge for deep cycle batteries or life really drops off.)

    A trick about buying 12 volt batteries. When replacing them in your vehicles, often a battery 1, 2, or 3 group sizes larger can fit in the battery box in the engine compartment. Buy the biggest battery that will fit. The cost is generally the same for a group size 24 vs a 27 as a significant cost for the manufacturer is the warranty. I recently put a new battery in a Ford Escape and went up 2 sizes. The larger battery had almost double the cold cranking amperage as the spec battery the "book" said to use and it was the same price at WallyWorld.

    Also, if you can fit in a group size 27 or 31, consider maybe using a marine battery. Last year I replaced the battery in my compact tractor. There was tons of room and I could fit a deep discharge size 27 marine battery into it which also had way more cold cranking amps than the "spec" battery. Price wasn't much different though the warranty wasn't as good with the deep discharge. Now the tractor can be used as portable power and if the battery is discharged pretty deep on occasion, it is not a problem reducing battery life the way just a modest number of full discharges on a regular high amperage car battery can be compromised. There is a trade off between cranking amperage and ability to deep discharge in battery design. You can't have both so pick one, unless you can fit a larger battery then you can effectively get both worlds.

    Stay charged.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  16. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    There are numerous ways to store energy, though there are always inefficiencies and the trade offs revolve around efficiency, cost, complexity, reliability, etc. Here are a few that come to mind.

    1. Use the electricity for electrolysis generating hydrogen. Use electric motor to compress the hydrogen for storage then use either a fuel cell or power a gas engine.

    2. Use electrify to pump water up a significant hill to a much higher elevation storage. When power is needed drain water back down through a water turbine.

    3. There is some development of battery systems for stationary applications that is looking interesting.

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  17. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    This is what I'm starting to look at. Until yesterday I didn't know there was such a thing. BUT it definitely has perked my interest. If I can produce a quality home built battery bank lasting until my kids get old? Yeah, sign me up. A longer charging time shouldn't be a deal breaker because we have long sun days I'm thinking, but like I said, I still have a lot of reading to do.
  18. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    After putting some thought into it, I think I would rather have batteries that have a good shot of lasting the rest of my life, rather than ones I know I would have to replace - at a point where there may not be any to replace them with.

    In today's "solar world", the cost of panels has dropped so much that, it is quite easy to "over panel" to make sure my thirsty bank gets all the charging it wants, as long as I am able to keep my appliances up and running.
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  19. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    By the way, thanks for all the input. It's great to have such a variety of responses to this thread.

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  20. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

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