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Super-capacitor Batteries


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This still tickles my funny bone. Bought 6 x 2.7V  500 Farad supercapacitors and busy building a boost-pack.  Charged it to 14.0V last week Thursday and today it is at 8.74V so little over ½ of i

The Sirius product is NOT a capacitor. It seems to be an LTO battery, but why don't they tell us what it actually is? It's so fishy I would not touch it. I'm sure this is discussed on this thread

Just ordered 6 x 2.7V 500F capacitors and a 6 string protection board for my experiment. See whether we can make a "tractor battery". So long as its charge lasts a day it is fine. I am sick and tired

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1 hour ago, mohammedbera2 said:

Hi guys anyone  tried and tested the " Sirius supercapacitor batteries "

From what I have read, they do perform very well, but there are some concerns about whether they are really super-capacitor based (or if the lithium cells included actually account for most of the performance), and whether they will really last as long as advertised. I think there is a thread about it on the AEVA site.

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8 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

"The Engineer" spoke to me about capacitor batteries. Not my interest right now, but maybe Plonk can chat to him?

I saw the battery at Solar Africa and spoke to one of the people of the company who's importing them. Trouble is they won't let you look inside, and of the photos I've seen, what is inside has no markings on it and is either capacitors or lithium cells. However you look at it, the advertised capacity is much larger than is presently available as capacitor technology in the physical space these things use. I doubt it will help to go take a look... the local people just import them and don't know any better about the innards than we do. Here is the thread at AEVA. Also, @weber did some homework around this.

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6 hours ago, plonkster said:

I think there is a thread about it on the AEVA site.

Yes, here:

http://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5486

The conclusion is that they are not supercapacitors at all, but LTO (Lithium Titanite Oxide) batteries. They're possibly OK as a battery, but why lie about what's inside them? They certainly won't have supercapacitor-like life (millions of cycles).

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  • 3 weeks later...
22 minutes ago, plonkster said:

Looks like the fire started in the middle module. Any idea if it was in the Lithium Titanate cells, or in the contactor so haphazardly thrown into the back?

I don't know any more than what I posted. But those cells must have gone off with a hell of a bang to bow the lids like that.

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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

I assumed that was because of the heat? It's mild steel, right?

The material is so thick, I'm thinking it has to be aluminium. Sure heat would soften it, given time, but something still had to push it upwards, and thereby pull the tops of the sides towards each other. Notice there are no screws near the middle of the lid at the back.

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  • 2 months later...

I think it is time to put the record straight.  You only have to look at the wires at the back against the wall to realise this was a questionable installation.  Fact is, it was originally one Sirius Energy module (3.55kWh) installed using 25mm sq Cable.  Another Module was added (Total 7.1kWh) without changing the cable size. A third Module was added  to the same 25mm sq cable. You now had potentially 221Amp at 48Volt available. The Setup of the inverters were also incorrect and the Low/High Voltage settings for the Modules were not done correctly.  The end result was not pretty.  The cables actually got too hot and shorted out. There was no protection installed between the Modules and the inverters.  (Can anyone point out the Fuse Holders and Fuses?). This same installation was redone by a qualified and trained installer using exactly the same Modules with proper cabling and proper settings and the client is extremely happy.  What is interesting though is that there was a DC Arc but no fire.  If this was lead acid, oh boy, it would have been ugly.

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I'm NOT arguing nor debating, just answering one question.

35 minutes ago, Hercules Weyers said:

Can anyone point out the Fuse Holders and Fuses?

image.png.f90d15b25eedbc3da9b13e6266695b39.png

 

I do have a question, what about the test done here? 

 

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3 hours ago, Hercules Weyers said:

Can anyone point out the Fuse Holders and Fuses?).

Blue is the fuse. Pink is the BMV shunt. Of course it is impossible to say if it was the right kind of fuse (it looks okay) and whether a single fuse was sufficient (probably not).

Selection_053.png.f64a2f0d01a228771ffbbc172ecec8ab.png

I think the main reason I was quite ready to believe that the fire was caused by one of these modules (middle one most likely from the flame pattern) is because we've seen the video TTT linked above, and the hot-glue insulated terminals on the back combined with a loose ABB contactor. But I was also told that this was a "demo" model of sorts. And I did note on later youtube videos that the terminals seems to be on the front now, so clearly this was improved.

My skepticism about them really being capacitor modules remain. We don't know what is in them. I've heard various claims about it being "capacitor cells", with absolutely no material as to what that might be. So my best guess: The bulk of the capacity is from some kind of lithium chemistry. So it's possible that it's not a bad battery... it's just not going to make the advertised millions of cycles. I'd love to be proven wrong... preferably with a proper documented deconstruction :-)

Edit: Further to that, another reason for my skepticism: We've been through this before. They were called lead crystal batteries and thousands of cycles were promised. In the end.... they weren't bad batteries, they were exceptionally good AGMs. But they didn't live up to the claims.

Edited by plonkster
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47 minutes ago, plonkster said:

... it's just not going to make the advertised millions of cycles.

You are quite diplomatic.

I throw down the gauntlet and call BS.  :D 

Had a some solar people telling me about these amazing batts. My response was as follows:
1 000 000 cycles / 365 days = 2 739 years if you draw them flat once a day - for one needs to re-charge using solar to save - the Bible is 2000 years old.
Ok, lets quadruple that, I run it 100% DOD 4 times a day: 1 000 000 cycles / 1460 = 684 years - generations of families can use the same bank hard for nearly a 1000 years.

Yet it says 45 years plus life expectancy?

image.png.c136f1fcb30700030ff4fdc9a99f9930.png

 

IF this was even remotely true, this solution would have solved Eskom's woes if every home in SA has such a bank for cheaper than Me-dupe-U and Kusile!

Dang, it will solve the USA, Europe storage problems also. 

It is like unlimited power from magnets, I swear, 1 000 000 cycles at 100% DOD!

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6 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

1 000 000 cycles / 365 days = 2 739 years if you draw them flat once a day - for one needs to re-charge using solar to save - the Bible is 2000 years old.

I've never looked at it that way. Well, I can nitpick your age-of-the-Bible bit, there are bits that are twice as old, but certainly the the canon was finally established around 1900 years ago, so close enough :-)

Remember that the self-discharge on these units are quite high. Or so I was told. Unlike a lead acid that you can charge and three months later it is still more or less good, or an LFP that can do that for 6 months or longer, I believe these self-discharge over the space of days. That alone blows the efficiency numbers out of the water (it's like claiming my geyser is 99% efficient at heating water... which it is if you ignore the standing loss of 2kwh a day). Maybe that is why multiple cycles per day might be expected.

From the bits I have seen: The inside looks a bit like those PowerWall things everyone is building, though a tad neater. Blocks of cells in series/parallel. Go look at a Tesla battery... except that we know the chemistry, and that it is water cooled, it's pretty similar, blocks of cells. But in this case we're explicitly told that these cells are special. They are capacitor cells. But they don't act like capacitors (non-linear discharge curve and bounce-back on disconnect). So all of it appears to be marketing spin. Which makes you wonder... why not just market it for what it is?

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I'm sorry @Hercules Weyers, but you appear delusional when you claim:
(a) there was no over-current protection (thanks @plonkster), and
(b) there was no fire—only a DC arc. :lol:

You also imply that the owner is certifiably insane, by claiming they had the system redone "using exactly the same modules". Can you provide any evidence for this? Or for any other of your claims that weren't already disproved by the available evidence before you made them?

Edited by weber
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Fwiw, I did some research last night. Apparently there is a kind of Hybrid cell, essentially the top half of a cap and the lower half of a lithium battery, and they do charge faster than lithium (a little bit) bit nowhere near capacitor rates, and they do last quite well (around 15k cycles)... BUT they are still too expensive, and unlikely to be what is used in this battery. And even if that is the tech used here... it's still Lithium based.

At the moment the highest capacity supercap is made by Maxwell Technologies. It packs 3000F at 2.7V and is roughly the size of a soft drink can. If you stacked a similarly-sized case full of those, you would apparently only reach around 200Wh... if you could discharge them down to zero. So it is definitely not capacitors... and I doubt it is hybrid cells at that price.

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@plonkster, You really should have a winky-face on that, not just a smiley face. People who don't actually watch the video might think you're serious. :lol:

The guy in the video is either the best deadpan comedian of all time, or he doesn't realise what he's saying. "We'll fit it all in this box. <only fits the capacitors>" "It can run this LED for half an hour" "Of course you can't run anything with it at night, but we could use it to charge a battery ..." :lol:

If he'd used the $70 he spent on supercaps and instead spent it on a battery, he'd be way ahead.

Edited by weber
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I see Julian Illet (another popular youtuber) did something similar. So the reason I posted that: It does show that you can build very good small-battery systems with super-caps. That is one problem that's always plagued small systems: A max discharge rate of maybe 0.2C. You always had to size it around that. Building one where the supercap does the job of battery, you can build real high-power small-battery setups that literally only lasts minutes once the sun sets, but can provide high starting power for things like power tools.

I'm saying supercaps can be useful little devices... especially if you're building such a little box for a after-the-hurricane-emergency generator thing :-)

But yes, my post was meant to be a little funny, should have used a tongue in cheek emoticon. It's not the same thing as the big old thing we're actually talking about in this thread.

Edited by plonkster
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  • 4 months later...
3 hours ago, Dr Jones said:

Thank you all for a great job looking behind the smoke and mirrors of the Sirius scam!

Did anything come from the FeNi idea that The Terrible Triplett tried so bravely to get started?

Welcome Dr Jones. Nope, it went nowhere.

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