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Solar Project: Finishing Up Odds and Ends

Last week we had lovely weather and a break from the rain. We took advantage of it to put some finishing touches on our solar project.

First was to add an exhaust fan to the battery box to vent heat and hydrogen gas (a by-product of the batteries when they charge). A lot of people seem to like the Zephyr Power Vent, which can be installed as part of a vent pipe. It uses 3 watts of power and moves air at 6 CFM. It would be handy if one was venting from a basement, say, to the outside, but our battery box is already outside. Plus, it's pricey, about $110.

Instead, we got a DC cooling fan which Dan installed in the back side of the battery box. It uses 2.1 watts and pushes air at 43.6 CFM. It was $12.



The fan connects to the charge controller, which will regulate it.

Dan's roof design for the box allows air in under the roof eaves, but he also added air intake holes on both ends of the box.


To monitor temperature inside the box, we added a Remote Temperature Sensor.


This also connects to the charge controller and enables the controller to optimize battery charging according to temperature. It was about $30 and seemed a good investment for better battery management.

Another task was to check the specific gravity of the battery cells with a hydrometer. The battery manual gives details on the specific gravity. Battery cells were topped off with distilled water if needed.


Lastly, the batteries were connected. You may recall that they are 6-volt, 235 amp-hour golf cart batteries.


I showed you a diagram in my Solar Pantry Project: Batteries post and explained that by wiring pairs of batteries negative to positive (series connection) and then wiring the pairs together with all positive on the one side and all negative on the other (parallel connection), we now have a 12-volt, 705 amp-hour battery bank. Another task completed.

We're getting close to power day!

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