As most of you know, we live off-grid. We rely on our generator and solar panels to charge our batteries, which in turn, power our life.
Because Sir Knight fixes electric forklifts, we use industrial, deep cycle lead acid batteries in our system rather than the Trojan LT 316's most commonly used in off-grid applications. These batteries provide us with a huge amount of storage and have worked well for us for many years.
About a year ago we began to notice that our battery didn't last as long as we would have liked, and that it took a charge too quickly, indicating that it had a severely reduced charging capacity. We limped along with our dying battery through last winter, with the intention of replacing it in the spring. Spring came, and with it, the sun, which kept our battery charged to full capacity, lulling us into a false sense of battery security. And then, the bottom fell out of our off-grid world - our generator died and the sun sank into the autumn sunset and our battery slowly faded into powerless oblivion.
Sir Knight, realizing our precarious position, brought home a beautiful "new" battery! One of his customers bought all new batteries for their fleet and discarded the old batteries. One of the discarded batteries was only about a year old and hadn't seen much use so Sir Knight discharged and charged it and loaded it into his van and brought it home.
One Saturday morning, our neighbor arrived with his self-loading log truck to help us remove the old batteries out of the shouse and install our new battery. Switching batteries is not my favorite task because it requires moving nearly every piece of furniture in our shouse! Our batteries live in our bathroom/utility room, which is on the far end of the house, as far away from the front door as you can get! The batteries are huge (ranging from about 1500 pounds to 3000 pounds each) and require a decent amount of room for maneuvering. After we cleared a path through the house, we brought in our pallet jack (doesn't everyone have one?) and put a special "roller tray" on it that Sir Knight fabricated for moving our batteries. We rolled a battery out of our bathroom, through the shouse and to the front door. From there, Sir Knight chained the battery and hooked it onto the grapple of the logging truck and our neighbor pulled the battery off the pallet jack and through our front door. After moving both batteries from the bathroom, we were ready to bring the new battery in - a far bigger chore than we had anticipated!
|Miss Serenity wheeling out an old battery|
|Using a self-loading log truck to drag the battery out|
Because we have an arbor in front of our door, we had to jerry-rig a couple of battery roller trays outside to get the battery to the front door so that we could pick it up with the pallet jack. A pry bar, a couple of oak beams and a wish and a prayer later, we had the battery on the pallet jack - at an angle because the new battery was 1/2 and inch wider than the old batteries and wouldn't fit into the roller tray! Finally we rolled the new battery into place, plugged the SB connector into our house system and flipped the switch. Let there be light!!
|Ready to move the new battery into the "Shouse"|
|Miss Serenity and Sir Knight guiding the new batttery|
|"Shouse" Surfing - it's a new thing!|
|One new battery in position|
|I take the tablecloth off of the battery when charging so |
that the hydrogen can gas off the battery