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Thank you for the great forum, Safe Driving over the weekend. Sincerely Jason
Chris Hobson

Shenzhen Huaxiao Tech's HA01 battery balancers.

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Fairly soon after I started out with solar I became aware that the batteries were the weak link in the chain and although VRLA batteries were convenient they could not be treated like vented LA batteries and thus periodic overcharging  could not be used to balance the battery bank.

 

I first tried Zener regulators which helped but still did not seem to cope with the very large 260Ah batteries. It seems Zeners need to have a higher bulk voltage than my batteries need for them to really work. 

http://www.evdl.org/pages/hartregs.html 

 

I was still searching for an answer for my battery pack. I noted that Victron had balancers but at over R1k a pop. This was to my mind just not affordable. I discovered these balancers made by Shenzhen Huaxiao and bought 3 from e-Bay at a cost of just over R400 each shipping included.

 

http://huaxiaotech.en.china.cn/selling-leads/detail,1269471206,battery-equalizer-used-for-12V-battery-connected-in-series.html

 

They also produce a 48V unit that would have fewer wires but was more expensive. So I tried 3 HA01s in series and they had an immediate effect. The batteries use to go out of balance at about 93-94% SOC and only go back into balance once the voltage dropped and the SCC dropped into float. With the battery balancers this was delayed and the batteries only went out of balance at SOC of 96-97%. Slowly slowly the period of time that the batteries were out of balance by more than 1% was reduced and about 2 weeks ago the batteries started not sounding the Victron midpoint voltage alarm. Dockarl, an Aussie I had being corresponding with, noted that with the Zener regulators it took time to get the batteries in balance. Perhaps I was being too hasty but I think that the difference of 94% versus 96% between the Zeners and the battery balancers is indicative of that the Zeners were just not coping with the large out of balance batteries.

 

 

(This video probably get an award for the most passive video on Youtube since the only change is a couple of LEDs flashing)

 

The instructions are minimalistic (see the second half of the video) and one needs to concentrate since there is a myriad of wires to connect at installation time.

 

Hope this is of value

 

Chris

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We had a couple of hot days here in the Karoo and battery temperatures climbed to over 30 degrees. Once the weather cooled it took 3 days for the battery temps to drop 7 degrees. Is anyone else measuring battery temps? Is this normal?

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My controller has a temp sensing wire on.

 

Yesterday 17:49:14pm highest was 30deg C, just before temp started dropping again.

By 3:23:14am they where down to 26deg C.

At 08:04:14am this morning they where again up to 27deg C.

At 10:24:01am, still on 27deg C.

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Hi Chris (and all)

 

I have finally taken Chris advice and installed the Shenzhen Huaxiao Tech's HA02 battery balancer.  Chris has installed the HA01.  I sourced with Ed via China (thanks Ed) and have been amazed by the immediate difference.

 

I have a small bank (8x 12V 102ah in 2 48V strings for 200ah).

 

This capture is of PVOutput for yesterday (installed around 14:15 - hence the missing data)

Note the Mid Point Voltage: 2% and more spikes when charging @ 20A off the grid.

 

MPV 20160201

 

This is of today so far

Note the max spike of 0.6%

 

MPV 20160202

 

I would think given Mr Hobson's experience this will get better over time...

 

They are expensive but the peace of mind benefit is a big plus for me.

 

Installation was very easy but you have to be careful.  I have paralleled the banks so I have 16 connections across the 2 battery banks (and you do not want to short out one by mistake.)

 

HA02 Balancer Wiring Diag 20160120

 

Regards

Mark

 

PS: There are no LED's on the HA02 - I assume because it is managing 4x batteries instead of the 2 the HA01 does.

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Installation was very easy but you have to be careful.  I have paralleled the banks so I have 16 connections across the 2 battery banks (and you do not want to short out one by mistake.)

 

I don't think that is a very good idea to connect those batteries in parallel. We had a lengthy discussion about that in another thread. Having 2 strings you should have installed 2 of the HA02's - one per string without any additional connections between batteries in the different strings.

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The manufacturer believes this is fine and a number of users have done similar. 

For example even the BMV702 allows for the 2 strings to be linked at the midpoint.  So you can monitor both as one unit.

 

Can you point me to the thread so I can catch up...

 

Thanks

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The manufacturer believes this is fine and a number of users have done similar. 

For example even the BMV702 allows for the 2 strings to be linked at the midpoint.  So you can monitor both as one unit.

 

Can you point me to the thread so I can catch up...

 

Thanks

 

While the batteries are still fairly new, it should not be a problem, but if your batteries are closer to the end of life cycle and a cell in one battery goes shorted, the other battery in the parallel pair will try to bring the faulty battery's voltage up to its own (balance) and that will cause both those batteries to overheat and which may lead to a fire and / or explosion. If one cell fails in a string of 24 cells (48V) the same thing will happen, but each cell in the faulty string of 24 cells, will only experience a slight rise in voltage compared to a string of 6 cells (12V battery) or even 3 cells (6V battery) or less.

 

That midpoint linking for the BMV is also not the best of ideas, but there is not really any other option unless they add multiple midpoint connections to the BMV or if you measure the midpoint on only one string, which will then only report the midpoint for that string. The best still is not to have parallel strings.

 

The greater part of the balance improvement between your batteries might be because you have connected the batteries in parallel now and each of the parallel battery pairs will try to "balance" each other.

 

Took a while, but here it is.  http://powerforum.co.za/topic/452-bad-news-and-then-some-good-news/

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While the batteries are still fairly new, it should not be a problem, but if your batteries are closer to the end of life cycle and a cell in one battery goes shorted, the other battery in the parallel pair will try to bring the faulty battery's voltage up to its own (balance) and that will cause both those batteries to overheat and which may lead to a fire and / or explosion. If one cell fails in a string of 24 cells (48V) the same thing will happen, but each cell in the faulty string of 24 cells, will only experience a slight rise in voltage compared to a string of 6 cells (12V battery) or even 3 cells (6V battery) or less.

 

That midpoint linking for the BMV is also not the best of ideas, but there is not really any other option unless they add multiple midpoint connections to the BMV or if you measure the midpoint on only one string, which will then only report the midpoint for that string. The best still is not to have parallel strings.

 

The greater part of the balance improvement between your batteries might be because you have connected the batteries in parallel now and each of the parallel battery pairs will try to "balance" each other.

 

Took a while, but here it is.  http://powerforum.co.za/topic/452-bad-news-and-then-some-good-news/

 

I believe the HA02 has a maximum current rating of 10A. If we thus add fuses in the parallel connections it should protect against the parallel string failure/pull down/fire hazard, etc. without the risk of have one battery "disconnecting" entirely from the bank.

 

The cross connections will help for mid point deviations in the true sense anyway, plus the HA02 will offset the rest.

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My 2 cents: Lesser batteries = lesser connections = lesser problems.

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My 2 cents: Lesser batteries = lesser connections = lesser problems.

I agree with you TTT 100%. So much so that if I needed more capacity I would look at 6V and 4V batteries to ensure I only have 1 string. However the man has 8 batteries in two strings  and will continue to do so until one dies. Then when he will be making the decision of what batteries to buy I am sure things will change (One's first set of batteries are the batteries that the dealer/distributor  recommends because at that stage we are all pampoene ripe for the picking).

 

Victron with their battery balancers also parallel the strings. Victron being a reputable company (Plonky you owe me a beer for championing Blue Power) must have done this a few times. I like Edmund's idea of putting a fuse in.

 

post-822-0-91636500-1454428867_thumb.png

 

What I think is important is that most folk have no clue what is really going on with one's battery bank. Yes we know the voltage across the bank but  individual batteries? Even battery voltage is a compromise as we do not know cell voltage. I however am not going to sell the wife and kid into slavery to afford 2V cells for a 48V bank.

 

Once one is measuring (again at a critical time - late absorb, not bulk not float) then one catches a wakeup. It is possible that the battery balancer may cause a failure towards the end of the batteries' life but my feeling is that the lifespan of the battery bank as a whole will be extended. You should have some warning as to imminent failure through stubbornly out of kilter midpoint voltage readings. 

 

P.S. Mark I am seriously impressed to be elevated to the fancy title of Mr. Hobson. Is there a fancy pay increase that goes with it?  

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Interestingly the Victron Battery Balancers are R 1 228.55 incl vat each.

 

Chris, 6v 225ah T105RE's are not that expensive. Price increase was not nearly as much as I expected.

The 6v L16RE-B 370ah batts, are a wee bit more.

 

But dang, they last really long. 

 

Having also started out using maintenance free 'deep cycle' 102ah batts and later the 102's that you can add water to, better but still no cigar.

Them 102's maybe lasted 2 years. Less if they where pushed to 50% DOD for then I was looking at maybe 1 year if I am lucky on a 24v system.

 

Then I got gatvol and moved to 6v T105RE Trojans. Best thing ever. Now I am stick on 225ah, for the panels cannot charge much more ah batts than that. Which is cool!

 

But, as you say Chris, the 1st and maybe 2nd round is always to the supplier. The rest ... that is where we get clever.  :D

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Ja, I agree, the IND17 range is definitely for them cheapskates.  :D

 

On 260ah batt range, I would look at the:

370ah 6v J305H-AC WITH T2 TECHNOLOGY 1200 CYCLES @ 50% DOD

360ah 6v L16RE-B 1,600 CYCLES @ 50 % DOD - WITH SMART CARBON

 

The 16RE-B being better.

 

Provided I had enough panels to charge them at 10-13% of C20 rate.

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I hear all the arguments but as a starter set of batteries thats all I (The Installer ;) ) could afford.

 

I run them to 5% DOD and sometime 10% and top up from Grid.

 

I use the Axpert and basically bypass my max 300W load during the day.

 

Lets be honest:

 

HOPPECKE OPzS solar.power tubular plate batteries (2v) http://www.rectifier.co.za/Batteries/Hoppecke.html

or

12x Trojan IND29-4V Industrial Line-Deep-Cycle Flooded Battery  4 V  1618 A-H $1,475.00

 

Are the way to go but who can afford them...

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Chris ... with i.e. Trojans there are other models for larger Ah's. But there are also maths backing what your panels can charge to saveguard the batteries. It all comes down to maths.

 

Mark, your batts could last 5-8 years if you can add water when they need it. What make are they?

 

 

Was where you are today Mike. You need that starter set, till you get to replacing them. You are on the right track!!!

 

I used to buy at Rectifier et al at so called dealer discounts, till I traced a Trojan dealer to sell nationally with. It was my need at the time, still is, for a long time.

 

If I knew you from here and you wanted i.e. Trojans, I would have talked you out of 102ah batts, forfeited a standard huge profit for a substantial smaller profit, calling it passing it on, because the profit I could have made from 1 set of Trojan batteries that could last you 8-10 years, compares nowhere to what I can probably make from via you on referrals over the same 8-10 year period ... at my risk.  :D

 

Solar is a passion, a favourite hobby, we need to help each other.

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Must say, the Excis batts last the longest of all the maintenance free batts I tried. Before them I believed in the pricier Royals, not as good.

 

I was not impressed with any of them after I tried Dixon DCT105DT's, rated at up to 80% DOD at about R1450 per batt at the time, especially since I could add water and measure each cell.

 

So anyone out there starting out, please do look at these batts: http://www.dixonbatteries.co.za/dc105dt 

Price here would be cheaper than what is advertised on their website.

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Seems they are become more popular

Justin was one of those that also said you can bridge to banks - he decided not to due to the size of the batteries he has... large ah.

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So now Mark you are forced to don the guinea pig ears and try. I think if you fuse the wires one would be safe.

Update:  Max Mid Point V spike today on Grid Charge @ 20A is 0.5% (previously 2.2+%)

 

Yesterday: 0.7%

Monday: 2.9%

Sunday: 2.5%

Saturday: 3.0%

 

OK... weather was very hot the weekend and Monday so I will need to give things a few more days.

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