*New Alt Power Forklift Batteries*
For Many years now I have used the old faithful "27DC-6" 12 volt Deep Cycle Batteries from Wal-Mart to power my home's Alternate power grid. As I say at the start of almost every alt power article, I when I first started in Alt power, I Never intended to get off the grid, it just worked out like that. Also, as I have said many times in many articles, I used to think that to have an alt power system I constantly had to "mess with it".. nothing is further from the truth. Every month or two I check the water in the batteries, and that's about all I do to it. Once a system is set up properly, you just kinda forget about it.
I am Horrible about leaving lights on in the house, leaving TV sets on, etc. But that's OK, because tomorrow, God will send me more power, Free :)
As I said, The "little" 27DC-6 Batteries were chosen for SMALL systems when we first all started experimenting with Alt power YEARS ago, because they were available almost everywhere.. We could simply say "Go to Wal-Mart, and Buy this, and do this with it".. it helped a lot of people get started in Alt power, and the first step is the hardest. Those batteries served (and still serve) their intended purpose, but I was to a point where I needed more. When you have an Outback True Sine Wave Inverter, and a battery building, and Seimen's solar panels in every clear space in your yard and on your roof.. you need some serious batteries. Again, the Deep Cycles from Wal-Mart were NEVER intended to do what I have been doing with them. I am amazed they last as long as they do (about 4 years, used HARD).
I recently switched to the larger, 6 Volt, Forklift batteries. These batteries are not only larger in size, they are over 200 Amp hours each! My System is 24VDC, so I have to series connect 4 of these batteries together to make one HUGE 24VDC battery, and then I connect that battery to my System's battery buss bar. I do this multiple times to make a battery bank to power my house.
(As you can see, the 6VDC Forklift Batteries [back-ground] are much bigger physically than the "EverStart 27DV-6" 12VDC batteries [foreground]
DO NOT hook Batteries (or Battery banks) of different amperages to the same buss bars!)
(Each wire going to one of the Buss Bars is another Series of 4 Forklift Batteries, making up my battery bank)
These batteries were actually built to withstand being deeply discharged multiple times, and then quickly recharged. Of course, charging the Batteries using a Trace C-40 Charge Controller babies the batteries, which is one reason even the 27DC-6's last so long. The House runs MUCH longer between recharges now than it did, and I only have to check the water every other month, rather than every month. Again, these batteries were actually made to take the punishment that running your whole house on Battery/Solar power can cause them.
You may be tempted (as I was) to keep buying the 27DC-6's long after your system has outgrown them, simply because you have so many of them, and you don't want to "waste them". Bite the bullet and move up to better batteries, they pay for themselves in the long run, and you can use the old 27DC-6's as a backup battery bank, or give them to someone else starting out in alt power.
Someone on a kiddie survival site commented that we were trying to maintain "suburban lifestyles" when TSHTF "with all our alternate power". First, I live WAY out in the country, not in Suburbia. The frequent power blinks and outages this far out is what got me started in Alt power in the first place. Second, the Whole family can watch a DVD, or listen to an audio book, for about the same power as one person sitting in a room reading (it costs me nothing to power the Hi-def widescreen after all, the power is "free" now that the system paid for itself in power bill savings... See my power bill [below]). I don't know why people think you HAVE to suffer if an ice storm hits, or a hurricane has come through and knocked out the commercial grid... maybe you aren't considered to be "Surviving" unless you are wet and bored and miserable? That's just ridiculous, and these kiddies need to grow up and stop reading "end of the world survival fiction".
(My Power bill is "Zero" about every forth month when they actually read the meter)
(Sometimes I even get a refund check for a penny or two)
Alt power gives me TIME. I don't have to hunt candles, or worry about finding new candles, or lamp oil, or wicks, or setting the house on fire when a lantern or candle falls into a curtain. I can store a LOT of compact fluorescent bulbs in the same space taken up by ONE bottle of lamp oil (and fluorescent bulbs don't smoke or stink). We can literally save HOURS of time every day by just flipping light switches rather than lighting candles and lamps, by using the microwave rather than firing up the Coleman stove or grill, etc etc... this is time I can put to MUCH better use if a disaster has struck. See my other articles where we were watching Lord Of the Rings on DVD, and eating Steak and Shrimp, while watching our unprepared neighbors (on our security cameras) shiver in their car down the road a ways, trying to keep warm when the last Ice Storm rolled through and knocked out power (and blocked roads, and knocked down trees and towers.. hey, we've been TELLING them to prepare.. maybe now they'll listen.. Naaah, they didn't).
Power also lets me use my Security system which doesn't sleep, or get distracted, and that frees up more people to WORK. I can also charge batteries for my neighbors as a Barter item (yes, we've done it several times). Sorry, Mature Survivalists don't "have" to suffer to feel like we're "Surviving". These kiddies that think you HAVE to suffer to be "real survivalists" need to grow up. Maybe it ain't as "Cool" as the movies and fiction books, but I sleep a lot better in my Select Comfort bed than on a rock, and it actually takes me LESS effort to live like this, PLUS I save money day to day by having alt power.. I mean, survival is about "Daily living" as much as it is Surviving Disasters.. I have to "live" every day, Disasters only happen once in a while...
I've done my share of sleeping on rocks when I was younger, No thanks. I'm glad I'm older and wiser now... and I prepare so that my children don't have to sit in a car that's low on fuel to stay warm in an emergency. They sit cross legged on the bed watching movies with the rest of the family, and saying "Dad, didn't you GIVE them an Inverter and Batteries last year? What did they do with them, Eat them? (actually they sold them).
Upgrade to better batteries, You don't HAVE to "suffer" to be "real survivalists", despite what the kiddie survival sites say... having plenty of power gives you a HUGE edge during ANY disaster.
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