eatthosediapers (eatthosediapers) wrote in off_grid,

On Car Batteries

Does anybody have any experience with or know of any online resources/books about using CAR BATTERIES for power.

i have known people from time to time who have powered various projects with car batteries, but i'm having trouble finding info. i'm guessing that this is due to the potential hazards related to messing with plastic boxes of sulfuric acid.

ideally im thinking: powering lights/fans/small electronics, or pretty much anything.

any info helps. thx!
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My husband and I have used a lawnmower battery, a boat solar panel, and an inverter while camping to charge and run our laptop, ipod, and cellphones. It was a rather informal setup but worked just fine for two weeks. I could find out more specifics if you want them. Alyclepal
i'm totally interested. you have any pictures of the setup? and what about did this stuff cost you?
A few pages of Pat Frank's 'Alas, Babylon' details how to keep a car battery charged. A used paperback should cost next to nothing, if money is tight.
i'm using 12 volt marine batteries charged with solar panels right now, what is it you want to know?
yeah i think so. these are deep cycle, correct? and i've heard you can charge them with solar panels or even wind turbines. what's your setup consist of?
i've got 3 sets of these

and i've got 4 115 amp/hour 12 volt marine batteries from walmart

i've got a television/dvd player designed to run on 12volt
i use a car radio for music
the setup comes with lights and you can get 12 volt fans from the camping section at walmart.

basically anything thats designed to plug into a car will work.
marine batts are better than regular car batteries, I think... You need a battery that can 'deep cycle' but car batts don't like to be run flat.
I'd rather see someone use a generator. Why? Because car batteries are dangerous - for many reasons - but especially because they have large exposed contacts that pose an immense hazard for unaware adults, children and pets. Please consider purchasing a generator of some kind instead, even if it is hand-cranked.
I am in my third year getting electricity from the sun for my ground floor flat in the London suburbs. I keep a blogg on livejournal here

The batteries are an essential part of the setup. They act as flywheels to smooth out the variations in panel output as clouds pass, they act as converters, converting the characteristics of the panels which are constant current sources to constant voltage sources, and they are my reserve. I have built them up gradually and now have around three and a bit days reserve, and in fact i have just ridden out a week or more of poor conditions without major loss of supply.

Regarding the safety considerations, the batteries are housed in a steel cabinet which can be secured shut to keep children and other unskilled persons out. The batteries are vented to the outside to deal with hydrogen which is produced under heavy charge.

Back in the blogg there are some involved technical discussions bouncing around the comments about electric shock protection methods, both from the 240 volt output from the system and the precautions to prevent dangerous voltages appearing on the battery terminals or associated parts.

There are also fibreglass or wooden battery boxes available from caravan and recreational vehicle suppliers which keep the terminals out of harm's way


December 9 2007, 13:02:13 UTC 9 years ago

CHECK WITH A TRUCK STOP or wall mart I have one that I convert 12v to 110v ac. it works great get one that will superseed your needs It will be better on what ever you plug in. Safty first follow the directions.
:) you want to use deep cycle marine batteries or golf cart batteries :) :)
A typical car battery cannot handle being discharged very much with out degrading the plates inside too many times. I got my deep cycle marine battery (125 amp hours) at WalMart for $94 That included core charge and a battery box to protect it and make sure it was vented properly.

That is the cheapy route :) and I have a very very simple lifestyle... not the typical American lifstyle.

ah ... and do not discharge the deep cycle marine battery below 50% or you will start to ruin the plates :)

What "appliances" are you planing on running on this system?
I have a 350 watt inverter ... it cannot handle anything over 4 amps.
Start looking at the info on your dvd player, tv, etc that you want to run off of the battery to see how many amps it takes.

For example... My deep cycle marine battery is 125 amp hours ... I do not want to discharge it below 50% ... so I can run my portable dvd player for 31.5 hours ... but that does not include lights, etc .... When I decided to move off-grid I downsized my life dramatically!
It was worth it, but not everyone will agree...

my off-grid blog: