Newsletter Archive

E-News Issue #69

17 March 2004

Batteries in Parallel

Smaller capacity batteries are sometimes cheaper (per amp-hour) than larger batteries. I believe this is because the smaller batteries are more 'mass produced'. This cheaper cost sometimes leads customers to place several in parallel to achieve the desired higher capacity rather than purchasing larger capacity batteries.

Ray Prowse, who used to inspect failed systems for the Solar Energy Industries Association of Australia, commented that in every case of system failure, there were batteries in parallel. While this may not be the core reason for the failure, it is an indication of poor practice. Noel from Solar Tasmania subsequently commented, 'Our experience with parallel batteries, even when wired correctly, is don't try … even when they are identical type, age and capacity …'.

The biggest problem with parallel batteries is that they will tend to charge/discharge unevenly, which can lead to sulphation and stratification of the electrolyte.

If you must place batteries in parallel, you should limit this to two parallel strings. Great care needs to be taken to ensure that there are equal current routes through both strings. The positive lead should come off one string and the negative through the other. The cable size must be identical, as should the crimped terminations.

Australian Standard 4509.2 stipulates that '… the number of parallel strings be minimised …'. The standards also stipulate that each parallel string must be fused and earthed (or fused on both positive and negative if the system is floating). So to conclude, we would suggest that you try and avoid connecting batteries in parallel, and to seek the advice of an experienced and qualified solar installer in this regard.

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These inverters have been upgraded by 200W at no cost! Contact us for more details.

Website Upgrade

As mentioned in our last newsletter, we are continuing to upgrade our Website. Pictures of virtually all our Products (including the new CCFL and LED lights) are now on our site. There is now over 300 pages of information, so if you get lost, use our onsite search engine.

Cheers from Dave and all the RPC crew.

Dave Lambert (Director)

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We install solar systems in Northern NSW and Southern QLD.


QLD:
Gold Coast (from Coolangatta to Southport), Nerang and Hinterland (Beaudesert) and out West (Warwick, Stanthorpe, Killarney)


NSW:
Northern NSW (Tweed Heads to Yamba, including Evans Head, Byron Bay and Ballina); the Far North Coast Hinterland (Grafton via Lismore to Murwillumbah) and out West (Casino to Tenterfield, including Drake and Tabulam, as well as Woodenbong and Bonalbo)

For larger system we also go up to Brisbane or down to Coffs Harbour and even Glen Innes. Other places by arrangement.