Monday, July 3, 2017

Batteries & Solar Power

For a number of years, I have used a gadget called the Orion PowerPack to supply power to my telescope mounts (clock drive, pointing computers).  It no longer recharges.  Same problem several years ago was fixed by replacing the sealed AGM battery inside.  Did it again, but the suffering in getting the case back together made me look to see what a new one would have cost.  Orion and Amazon sell what is clearly the same product with Meade's name, and new is only about $40 more than the battery I bought at BatteriesPlus.  If I had checked this before going down to BatteriesPlus, I would have just bought new.  My time is worth more than $40 for sure.

Anyway, reassembled (with a few places where the case isn't quite as closed as it should be), and it recharges just fine.  This led me to another project.  Before my stroke, I had ambitions of having AC power in the telescope garage.  I had bought all the parts that I thought I needed--and it appears that I had done so.  The solar panel (15W) is connected to a battery minder which is charging a car battery sized AGM .  A DC to AC inverter is giving me 120VAC.  I was just using it to recharge the PowerPack and run an electric sander (192W), which I was using to clean up some asphalt spots on the concrete floor.  I can certainly run an LED light out there.

My long-term goal is an electric garage door opener.  Peak demand is probably the determinant of how many batteries I will need.  In the event of complete chaos, I will have at least one place with electricity.


JLW III said...

Is your inverter full sine-wave of modified sine-wave? The latter is pretty much a flip-flopping square wave at RMS value. Some electronics don't like it. See here.
When it comes to batteries, ask a man with a boat.

Clayton Cramer said...

Modified sine wave. I bought cheap as an experiment. Made in China might mean cosine wave!

Clayton Cramer said...

Interesting. After many hours of charging, the Power Tank's "charging" LED was lit, nut not "Fully Charged". The wall wart wasn't hot, but I moved into house current and "Fully Charged" immediately lit up. Next inverter will be full sine.

Clayton Cramer said...

Curiously, pure sine wave inverters can be had cheaper on Amazon than Harbor Freight.