Off-Grid What NOT-to-Do List

2803 Troy Road, Springfield Ohio

Off-Grid Solar and Wind Homestead

Two 48v Solar Arrays in Parallel

We interupt this Web-Page to tell you about something really stupid.

Ready for a Battery Maintenance Mistake?

The time to perform a battery cleaning is NOT recommended without first removing all connections from the Batteries.

Springfield 48v Battery Bank De-Sulfation

Starting from the beginning

Not too many weeks ago I had this great idea to experiment with two of the Battery Banks.

Being slightly retarded I decided to experiment with my best Battery Banks.

It cannot be expressed how much you should NOT do this. When something is perfect, walk away and stay out of the mix!

Yawn. So waking up and feeling experimental (emphasis on mental), I decided it would be a great day to raise the voltages superceding what I ordinarily charge at (Don't ask, there's no excuse).

That, in-of-itself, is not a bad thing (if the batteries were stray batteries that are rated for the voltages increase).

In all honesty, I Know Better!

But like a moth to the magnet, there I went.

So the setup was that each of the Battery Banks WERE set to absorption rate of 14.40 volts with an absorption time of 180 minutes before settling into the float stage of 13.70 volts.

Along comes me and now the absorption rate was increased to 14.70 volts before settling into a float stage of 13.50 volts

What was the effect?


Luckily I caught the error in time and the batteries ended up totally fine with no bloating of the sides.

Basically the batteries received an extended equalize-state, but the water levels went down due to boiling at the higher charge-rate.

This was no big deal. Whereas I ordinarily need to water the batteries once every 3 or-so months, now came an unexpected need for distilled water. And since I don't drive, the disitilled water had to be made the hard way.

My mom brought 4 gallons but that didn't cover the 22 batteries affected.

4 Gallons Distilled

So the wood-burner was fired up and began making distilled water.

Distilling water

*2021 update: The replacement still is a MUCH more advanced store-bought model and comes complete with a cooling chamber and pump for reciprocity.


Will show the larger new still on other pages of this website. These photos show the home-made model that was okay but a lot of the water was lost because the transition from steam to distilled water never was able to come to fruition due to not having a cooling chamber (I didn't know).

Water Distiller

As the water levels were brought back up to their proper levels, I couldn't help but to notice that there was an unusual oily substance over the tops of the two battery banks tested.

The oily substance made the batteries look older than they were.

It was also noticed that although each "dt" (dual terminal) battery comes with a total of 4 terminals out of the battery top (as opposed to a common automotive battery which possesses only two terminals), that primarily the affected terminals were not even those that were being used at all.

Upon closer inspection, there was noticed a strange evil rainbow of color around the un-used terminals; whereas the terminals that possessed connections to them showed the familiar common sulfation (just more of it).

Battery Bank Sulfation

This NEVER happens.

So, in trouble-shooting, because I totally forgot about the experiment after having changed the voltages in the fist place, I went in the other direction.

I checked the loads, wasted time. I checked the orienation to the now-fall sun, they were all needing to be adjusted; more time lost

But eventually I checked dip-switches, and noticed the outrageous settings.

I remember looking up into the mirror and feeling really bad for me.

Well, one good idea deserves another and there I went with great idea $2.

In short, Baking soda is a great neutralizer.

Just don't pour the stuff all over your batteries while they are charging and under load

or bad things will happen and you'll be me,


Jan 25 2020.

The mess is about half-cleaned up!

Springfield 48v Battery Bank De-Sulfation

The replacement brass battery connectors took almost two months to arrive which delayed the cleaning project.

Baking Soda Application

Springfield 48v Battery Bank repairs


Springfield 48v Battery Bank De-Sulfation

Seen are various stages of the Batteries being cleaned (making sure to disconnect all parallel, series, load, and charging connections).

Baking soda dusting and clean water will remove all oily and other residues from the battery tops and terminals.

Two more Battery Banks to go (what a waste of time and money this has been...and at the worst time of the seasons).

As a 2021 update: The 235ah and 325ah Duracell's were replaced with 435ah Trojans and life is much better these days.

Trojan Battery
Trojan Batteries
Trojan Battery Bank
Trojan Battery Bank
Lesson Learned

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