Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No Electric Bills=Battery Maintenance

When you have no electric bills you have to do maintenance on the battery system.  Mike checks the water and acid level in our batteries on a regular basis so they stay in good shape.  Unfortunately he spilled acid all over the batteries a couple of weeks ago.  Thankfully it didn't splash back on him and he was able to neutralize the batteries by using baking soda.  But now Mike is concerned about the floor of our shipping container.  Friday was a perfect day to take out all the batteries and make sure everything was good.

This is always a little nerve racking as it is a time consuming job and we have to shut down the house.  We have to run the generator to keep the refrigerator running.

Mike takes off the side of the battery box so we can take the batteries out:

The hard part is lifting all the batteries out. They are heavy and just kind of awkward.  I came up with an idea to use the hooks we have on our bungees and Mike came up with the idea to hook them to a strap.  Teamwork:):)  By making a carrier we can move the batteries much easier:

Easy right…only 24 out and then back in again:

It's a good thing we got around to this.  As you can see the damage from the acid on the board that was beneath the batteries:

We take the old board out and Mike uses a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize any acid that is left:

Princess Niki finally decided to see what we were up to:

I get the fun job of using a wire brush to clean all of the battery terminals while Mike goes down to the barn to get a new piece of wood to put under the batteries:

Mike pours acid into the batteries to make them last longer:

Mike checks the charge on each one of the batteries to make sure they are all good.  He thought we would have to replace some of our original batteries by now but they are all good:):)  I'm happy to say our 6 1/2 year olds golf cart batteries are still going strong:)

Once all of the batteries are cleaned, checked and filled we start putting them back inside the shipping container:

All the batteries are in place…time for the wire hook up:

Mike ordered some new lugs for the batteries to make it easier to hook up and also to use less wires.  Mike is cleaning the wires that we don't need anymore:

I get to sand off any corrosion on the terminal ends:

Mike added all of the new lugs and starts the wire hook up:

Hooking up the batteries to each other on the front row:

Mike putting the battery wires in series to turn the 6 volt into 12 volt from front to back:

Mike tightening the new lugs:

The is the new set up.  One lug with both wires inside:

The old way where the wires could wiggle:

It took us  most of the day but our battery system has been checked, maintained, and put back online:

It all went well and we are up and running again:)  It's not so bad to do the maintenance we just have to keep Mike from spilling the acid, lol.

That's all for now…have a wonderful week.



  1. y'all Make me tired just watching all you do! :)


    1. Nah…we are in slow mode now, lol.

  2. Normally you should never have to add acid to an in use battery, just distilled water. With that many batteries, are you running a 24v or 48v charge controller? Mike needs one of those bulk battery watering jugs with the push spout. Just be careful that the spout doesn't touch the top of the battery plates as it could bend and short out the battery. You might want to consider either a passive or fan powered ventilation on that battery box. Batteries hate getting hot and the sulfuric vapors are never a good thing. Batteries are always a love hate relationship..lol

    1. I meant to say 24v or 48v inverter. I like those new vent covers on your batteries.

    2. I will have to wait for Mike to explain but I will get back to you later:)

    3. We have a 12 volt inverter. We do have battery vent with a fan in the box. We put that in about 4 years ago. You can't see it in the picture because the lid is hiding it. Yes those covers are pretty nice. I iwsh they were on all of the batteries.

      Mike has a watering jug but he didn't like it because it made a mess. We may have to look for a better one. Any suggestions?

      We usually add just distilled water but Mike has added some acid a few times. Since our batteries for a "solar" set up have lasted longer than the average, I imagine Mike will continue to do what works for us:)

    4. Most good auto parts stores should have the "automatic" type in stock. Places like Harbor Freight have them, but they are cheap quality.
      I did a Google search for "battery fill bottles", and it mistakenly suggested a battery operated spray unit (like you might use for the garden), and it got me to thinking, that this might be a good idea anyway....though Mike would want to take off the pressure tip, so that the spray didn't splash the acid in the batteries. The long handle would keep the acid from his hands and face....and the container would hold quite a bit of distilled water....it even has a strap to hold the container.


      There were other fill bottles on that google search....he should check them out....well worth the investment, for the safety alone!

    5. This is the filler I use. I just put in a random Tenn. zip for local pricing.

      If Mike has an IR temp gun, I would suggest he check the battery connections with the inverter under a load. Make sure to re-check all the wire connections after a couple of weeks to see they are still tight. A loose connection can get ugly, I'm sure Mike knows this.

  3. OK mama Jaxson here this is to Mike~~did you not learn anything from your eye injury in FL buddy? Please put some goggles on next time you are messing with or pouring acid. OK mama Jaxson stepping off the safety soapbox now. :)

    Nice to see good pics of Lisa & Miss Niki one doing the grunt work the other being sure it all gets done to her satisfaction. :D

    You know who LOL

    1. Hi Jaxson…do you want me to hit him, lol?

  4. How often does this maintenance need to be done? What is the acid, where does it go, and why isn't Mike wearing gloves?

    1. Normally the batteries need to be filled with distilled water. Mike checks the batteries each month to see how they are doing sometimes more in the summer. The batteries get quite a workout in the summer when we have lots of sun and typically more electric usage.

      Mike likes adding the acid to give the batteries an extra boost. Most people don't add acid to batteries but Mike feels it has given our batteries some extra life. It goes in the same spot as the distilled water, in the caps that unscrew in top of the battery.

      I know..no goggles and no gloves. Does he ever learn…grr!!

  5. Ditto what Gary said about the acid and the battery water jug. I had mentioned the water fill jug previously, as they are well worth the investment. I'd also recommend getting a "battery tool", for cleaning the terminals and connectors...it costs a couple of bucks, and is much easier than a regular wire brush.

    For the most part, the batteries, if operating properly will give you about 8 years of service, based on the lead in them. Those golf cart batteries have thicker lead, so may last even longer. But, I'm wondering if you are not getting false readings with the new acid in the cells, as the acid will change the specific gravity of the battery, which is what you are basing the charge on. Normally, as Gary mentioned, you should only be adding distilled water to the batteries, as they generate the acid from the chemical changes in them. The initial acid fill is to start the process, and shouldn't be needed this far down the road....especially if maintenance has been done,and the levels are maintained.

    I also agree that a vent fan would be a good investment, if you don't already have some way of clearing the battery vapors from the box....even a little turbine vent that is wind driven would work fine.

    Mike may also want to invest in some cheap knee pads, which are easier on the knees than the sheets he appears to be using.

    The new connectors look great.

    Now, you just have to set aside a day each year to do this as an annual maintenance, and you will get years and years out of those batteries. Of course, you'll have to do monthly checks on the levels, and connections, but an annual overhaul like this is very good!

    1. Mike's battery jug leaked and we never replaced it. We did pick up a battery tool to connect to the drill for next time.

      Mike redid the readings this week and the are all reading good. Actually golf cart batteries on a full solar set up have a shorter life expectancy. So far our "original" batteries have exceeded the norm:) Mike will do it his way as ling as it keeps working:)

      The vent fan is there but it was hidden behind the lid of the battery box.

      Mike does check the levels monthly and we will do a full check and clean each year:)