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Generators & Electric Motors General Discussion

Absolyte Gel Cells


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  #1  
Old 09-06-2004, 06:40:33 PM
werfymmot
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Default Absolyte Gel Cells

Does anyone have any experience with these GEL CELLS? I have a lead on 2 - 6 volt cells, about 5 years old, used at a telecommunications repeater site, at a very good price vis-a-vis new retail price..

I would like to use these for cabin lights in the evening rather than the genset.

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  #2  
Old 09-06-2004, 07:44:31 PM
Harold Hunt
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

I don't have specific experience with the brand you mention, but I do use "gel cells" for a few uses. Gell cell is a generic term for starved electrolyte lead acid battery.

I use them in a 4 cylinder race car that does not have a charging system and when they get too worn out to crank they go in the single cylinder garden tractor.

How many amp hour are these cells? A 17 AH will crank a 98 CID 4 cylinder for 10 starts before it needs recharged. Don't charge them too quickly or overcharge them, since the electrolyte just dampens the plates there isn't much room for loss. These batteries have pretty long life, any word as to why these are being changed out? The cost would need to be low enough to take a risk they are worn out.

A 12V 17 AH battery is ~ $ 40.00 for a basic unit, more for high draw applications. Check out Hawker energy systems, Panasonic , Powersonic. Also check out electric car sites for info, they use these batteries for some applications.
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  #3  
Old 09-06-2004, 09:44:47 PM
Jan
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

I'm not familiar with that brand but I use Gel Cell batteries daily.What I would recommend for the use your suggesting is to buy a large computer backup. They make them from 200 watts ac to at least a 1000 watts ac, are fully encased and to recharge you simply would plug into your gen set in the day time. The 1000 watt unit weighs about 80-90 lbs. runs about $950 new, you can buy refurished with new batteries for $179 and cheaper yet at hamfests for approx. $75. Hamfests are gatherings for ham operators and if you go to a search engine and type in hamfests northeast or your areas location it will prob. give dates of hamfests in your loc. anyway Gel Cells are a great way to go and can last upwards towards 10 years if charged properly. They had a big discussion on SMOKSTAK , this site June 20, 2004 but I believe it has run out of pages, anyway the discussion was very positive on gel Cell batteries. Good luck Jan
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  #4  
Old 09-06-2004, 11:45:20 PM
werfymmot
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

thanks for the information.

These are 1055 ah (20 hour rate) per 6 volt unit with 3 - 2 volt cells in a unit. they are changed out of the repeater sites to ensure uninterupted service as they have been used in (my terminololgy) extreme conditions. We live in mountainous terrain with winter temps dipping to well below -40 degrees F and have been connected to solar arays to keep them topped up. they are available through a reputable battery manufacturer and have been checked out for faults. Expected life is another 8 - 10 years in a cabin use setting,hooked up to solar rechargers. they had a design life of 20 years and sell for $1680.01 US now. resale price is $200 Cdn (~ $150 US) so I am thinking this is a good bet as a new RV deep cycle battery runs about $150 Cdn. and has 1/2 the life expectancy of the gel cells.

hope this explains a bit better.
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2004, 12:19:08 AM
Andrew Mackey
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

sounds like a good deal. is 12 VDC going to be enough voltage though? I know 12VDC bulbs are available, but how about appliances, or heating devices for that matter?Do not charge the cells at more than 10% of the amp rating - you will burn the plates and the electrolyte out of them
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  #6  
Old 09-07-2004, 01:48:22 AM
Jim Lane
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

I have had some experence on cells of this type. They are used is railroad signaling equipment, remote mountaintop repeater sites. I have seen these in Very large computer backup systems or U.P.S. The Absolyte cell is made by GNB battery and is very powerful. They can go up to 3000Ah /cell. The UPS have them in packs that look like what would go in a electric lift truck. If you have a mod.# you should be able to find all of the specs here. www.gnb.com/ That price sounds like a real good to me. How much to these weigh? they can get really heavy. Electric trucks use these for the ballast. Connect these to a good inverter and you can get 3000 watts easy. To check for all of the particulars on this kind of setup check. www.homepower.com/ or any of the solar energy sites on the net. Also be very careful when making connections to any of this eqiupment if it is short circuited with say a wrench it short circuit current can be over 3000 amps. Take precautions and DON'T wear any RING or WATCH. Later Jim L.
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  #7  
Old 09-07-2004, 09:13:32 AM
Jan
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

Good safety advice from Jim Lane, I had no idea you were talking about such large batteries. Go for it , it sounds like a great buy,Your next move if converting to AC is to a good unit, but with such big batteries stay away from the computor backups like I suggested before. If you conn. batteries rated higher than recomended it quickly burns the unit up, so I'm told. If you have a refrigerator you might consider disc. the defrost unit in it, they have defrost coils that look like heating units in ovens and your ice cream will keep better. I really have no good reccomendations on inverters. Good luck and let us know what you ended up with. Jan
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2004, 09:20:40 AM
John McPherson
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

I have used gel cells off and on at times over the years with good luck, but they do not like a fast charge, so a regular charger from the hardware store is out of the question, but a solar charger should work fine. Considering the consolidations, mergers and take overs in the past decades, there are very few battery manufacturers left producing lead acid batteries, including gel cells. So, if you were to look at other brands thinking you would have a better battery, chances are pretty good if the ratings are the same, they were made by the same people. This is not to put down the batteries, they are what they are.

For cabin lighting, they will work, and you can certainly find the regular Edison Mazda type bulbs in 12 volt versions easy enough. I know a scrap dealer who gives me a supply of old lawn tractor headlight bulbs for my barn and am pleased with them as lighting. The only down side is 50 watts is 50 watts, at twelve volts that bulb is drawing over 4 Amps, which does not sound like much, until you put a short string together, 5 bulbs is about 22 Amps. Figure generously the amount of battery capacity you might need. For ventilation, you can remove the radiator cooling fans from a front wheel drive vehicle or two, and they can be propped in windows, or attached to a rafter. You change direction by changing polarity.

The other thing is to keep the batteries dry, and clean as it does not take much for a discharging path to develop between the posts. I usually spray my batteries down with WD 40 to displace the water and acid after first wiping them down with a clean rag.

You can extend the life of the deep cycle RV batteries and regular lead acid automotive type batteries with a desulphator: many of the solar power groups have had discussions and links to pages where you can buy a ready made unit, or construct one of your own. I am waiting for parts to arrive so I can finish mine.

Apparently they have not had a good track record reconditioning the gel cells with a desulphator in solar power news groups, but after reading the other posts here it has become very obvious why.
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2004, 09:45:50 AM
John McPherson
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

For a cabin like that I would either pull a propane fridge out of an RV or by Kerosene unit to keep the ice cream cold.

A 20 pound propane tank will gve you at least week, and they are plentiful enough.
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2004, 11:59:43 AM
edurand
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

VERY briefly, the most important thing to assure long life for gel cells is to NOT overcharge them and never leave them sit around discharged.

You can buy prepackaged chargers especially designed for gel cells. They charge the cells using constant voltage (13.6-13.8 Volts for a 12 Volt battery).

With this kind of charger, there is no possibility of over charging your batteries and you can leave the charger connected all the time without harm. Actually, the best thing you can do is to leave 'em on the charger.

If you want to buy a charger, you can try one of the larger electronic parts houses. The chargers specifically say that they are constant-voltage, and for gel cells.

If you can't find one locally, couple of outfits that carry them are: mouser.com and digikey.com.

Anyhoo - that's my two-bits worth.

Take care - Elden
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  #11  
Old 09-07-2004, 07:14:56 PM
Jim Lane
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

How many watts of power do you need to run your cabin? Inverters of the high end quality usually stop around 3000 watts when you have 12 volts to power them. If you can provide 24 or 48 volts. you can go above 6000 watts 240 volt single phase. The higher the voltage the less current is used and the less voltage drop in the system and in DC this is critical. Although the charging systems are a bit more complicated but really basic. If you want to go with 12 volts, I would use something like Xantrex ProSine 2000, it has a onboard 100 amp charger for the batteries and will produce 2000 watts continously 5400 watts surge also you can stack them and get 240 volts for larger things like pumps. This is similar to the systems used in high end Class-A motorhomes. Also I would not rely on using a generator to charge them as it is very inefficant to use 120 volts to run a large battery charger to charge batteries. I would set up a solar array at least 200 watts through a c-20 controller to keep them topped, you can always add as these are always getting cheaper as new ones come out. If you want a generator, I built a unit with a 8hp. Kohler turning a Leece Neville 555 alternator. It is rated at 130 amps and can charge any 12 volt bank with no loss. For low voltage lighting there are alot of options, you can use the new LED lighting it takes getting used to the color a bit or there are many kinds of 12 volt flourescent fixtures made for RV's that will work or low voltage fixture made for home use can be converted. However unless you are using the LED's it is better to just run the inverter and light with the new compact flourescent lights that just screw into any fixture, they are cheap. There are many sites that have info on this kind information on what you need. It is really simple. Check out this site, I have bought from them. www.backwoodssolar.com/ Jim L.
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2004, 08:40:48 PM
werfymmot
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

thanks everyone for the info and advice. I will have to digest this over the next few weeks, off to the cabin for a bit of fishing this weekend, so will be able to ponder the layout on site.

FYI I have a propane firdge linde up and do not expect to use the PV/gel cells for much more than lights. As others have said there are frequency/temperature issues with flourescents and consumption issues with incandescents. which way to go ?? Will be looking into LEDs etc, ?? thanks again...Eric.
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  #13  
Old 09-11-2004, 09:28:18 AM
John McPherson
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Default Re: Absolyte Gel Cells

Incandescants will be least jarring to your senses, and the snowmobile/lawntractor types do draw about 3 to 4 amps each, however they are reflectored, so areas where you are working would be well served with 2 overhead. elsewhere low current types are readily available. Aesthetics are not going to be easy to deal with unless you resort to strictly the RV/marine mazda types. The advantage here is the relatively inexpensive bulbs.

Flourescents can be used, even at low temps, but they require expensive electronic ballasts, however there may be some circuits on the web you could build if you are handy with a soldering iron.

LEDS can work in some applications, but white LEDS are very expensive. Not to mention not a true white either. However the ultrabrights are configured into poly lights that can be used in emergencies and to mark landmarks like door jambs etc. But they do not draw excessive current but have the drawback of required voltage regulation, and in some instances with white and blue LEDS, static control.

The only other problem with LEDS, is that in a multiple LED projection, as from a flashlight, because there are separate lenses on each one, you do not get a sharpness in item you are illuminating.
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