Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by chipmunkofdoom2, Mar 7, 2018.

DIY Universal Battery Backup For Your Reef

  1. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    A few days ago (3/2/2018) I lost power in the recent Nor'easter. I had a battery backup system in place, and thankfully it functioned fairly well. However, I had upgraded my aquarium since I had originally planned out the battery backup and the system did not last nearly as long as I wanted it to. The battery took frequent recharges from my car to keep going. I've since re-evaluated my system and in the process, decided to write a post about general-purpose battery backup designed for reefs.

    Read the full article here...
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018 at 10:16 AM
    Tags:

  2. wcharon

    wcharon Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    PR
    Excellent detailed information. Thanks for sharing...
     
  3. Oleshp

    Oleshp Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Ocean City MD
    Exactly what I was looking for to buy me some time to get the generator going! Thanks for the write up!
     
  4. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks very much @wcharon and @Oleshp. I was worried that this might be too much detail, or that it might be too general. But I hope that it will at least get reefers thinking and get a discussion started on power failures and backups.
     
  5. wcharon

    wcharon Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    PR
    At the moment I am using a Belkin Battery backup for a Jebao RW-15 that last around 6 hours but for sure I will be moving to this approach as I will prefer to run the return pump RODC-5500 and a Gyre-230.

    Actually I already put the items in my Amazon cart so I don't forget. Really appreciated.
     
    chipmunkofdoom2 likes this.
  6. spyder813

    spyder813 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2017
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    5,447
    Location:
    Tampa
    Great write-up. I was working with a friend on a Solar Panel connected to a battery to power at least my two wave maker in case of a power outage but I think your setup is a lot easier and practical. Thanks a lot for sharing. This should be on the DIY page as an sticky.
     
    chipmunkofdoom2 likes this.
  7. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks, I'm really glad you found it useful. Charging batteries with a solar panel is not a bad way to go if you have the space and you get adequate sun. Having said that, battery maintainers take up almost no space and are super simple. Just hook them up to the battery and plug them in. The Black and Decker I featured in the post is really cheap too, only $15.
     
    spyder813 likes this.
  8. wcharon

    wcharon Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    PR
    I read in a post before in another thread that a 4 stage battery charger / maintainer is better. Can you please comment on this option?
     
  9. Oleshp

    Oleshp Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Ocean City MD
    Say I have my tank on its on circuit, could I install the transfer switch directly In the circuit instead of messing with cords? And do they make those transfer switches in 20 amp? I hate putting a 15a accessory into a 20a circuit even if it never draws anywhere near that
     
  10. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I haven't used 4-stage chargers before, so I don't know a ton about them. It appears that in some cases, the charger attempts to discern if any batteries are undercharged (this can happen sometimes with battery banks), and it attempts to charge them to the level of other batteries. Some other 4-stage chargers appear to equalize/desulfate on the 4th stage. So it appears to be a case-by-case thing. Battery bank charging is not necessarily a bad thing, but only useful if you have a battery bank. Equalization/desulfation is not necessarily a bad thing either, just make sure the charger supports AGM batteries (or whatever type of battery you have). Different batteries have different requirements in terms of equalization/desulfation voltages.
     
  11. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    This transfer switch from Go Power! is supposed to be 30A. Ignoring the issue of wiring up the circuit itself to the transfer switch, this should handle a 20A load. I'm not sure about the specifics of wiring the transfer switch directly into the circuit though. You might need an electrician for that part.

    How much power do you estimate your tank uses? Running your entire tank on an inverter and battery is likely going to be a substantial load. How long would you want your tank to run on battery power?
     
  12. Oleshp

    Oleshp Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Ocean City MD
    According to my apex, it's about 6a with everything (including heater) on. The wiring doesn't scare me, there's a lot of electricians in my family who will help if needed and I am no stranger to electricity or wiring (I'm an auto tech). FWIW I put in the circuit that the tank is on now. I am thinking of putting 4 to 6 deep cycle marine batteries. I would really at the most need it to last for 6 hours as we rarely travel and even more rarely go more than a few hours away.
     
  13. kecked

    kecked Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    178
    Really nice build. I tried the off the shelf stuff and it laughed at me after a few hours. Thinking to add a generator on a bicycle to charge the batteries! trick charge and work out all in one. The inverter route stinks and is inefficient. Having direct DC pumps is much better. My biggest problem is warmth and hot water bottle helped that a lot.
     
  14. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Ah okay, sounds like you have a pretty good handle on this stuff. Yeah I'm sure you'd be able to hook it up to the circuit. That 30A box will probably be the best bet.

    So 6A at 120VAC is around 720W. Any inverter of 1,000W or higher would probably work just fine. A 2,000W inverter might be best to give you some wiggle room in case you upgrade your aquarium in the future. The big challenge will be the battery capacity. At 12VDC, 720W requires 60Ah of battery. The faster you discharge a battery the lower the real-world capacity is going to be. I have a 100Ah battery, but according to the manufacturer, at a 60Ah draw, the battery will only last for one hour and provide a total of 60Ah, not the 100Ah for which it's rated.

    If we account for battery depth of discharge of 80% and add a 10% buffer for inefficiency, your system would need around 82Ah to run ((60Ah / 0.80) * 1.1 = 82.5). If you got five of the 100Ah batteries I linked to above, then the current draw from each battery would be around 16.4Ah (82 / 5), provided the batteries are wired correctly and discharged evenly. The manual says that those batteries will last for 5 hours at a discharge rate of 17Ah, so five of those batteries would last you around 5 hours. You might be able to get 6 hours total out of them, but you might be discharging the batteries below 80%, which could cause premature wear.

    Any equipment you could have your Apex shut off in the event of an outage would reduce the battery requirement. Aside from being a little expensive though, it's totally doable to run your entire tank for a few hours on power failure.
     
    Fumanchu likes this.
  15. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Yep that's definitely true. On the proposed setup above, you're going from a DC battery to AC back to DC again (in the case of DC pumps). Not very efficient. If you could wire the battery to your pump's battery backup port (provided it had one) that would be ideal and would save a whole lot of inefficiency. Plus, most DC pumps throttle back when on battery backup, which would save you even more energy.
     
    Fumanchu likes this.
  16. Oleshp

    Oleshp Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Ocean City MD
    I appreciate you actually doing the math for me lol. I was guessing at 4 to 6 batteries. Good call with having the apex kill unnecessary items. Thanks again for the info!
     
    chipmunkofdoom2 likes this.
  17. tgp4274

    tgp4274 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    sandwich IL
    could you put up a wireing diagram for the way you wired the relay??
    pleeeeeeeze :)
     
  18. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Yep, sure :)

    Here's a picture of a pretty standard DPDT relay:

    relay_labeled.jpg

    In DPDT (double pole, double throw) relays, like the one pictured above, common is the "output." Normally open and normally closed are the inputs. Coil is the electromagnetic coil that makes the connections. In the case of this relay, there are two states of operation. When the relay has power applied to the coil, one connection is made (Normally Open to Common). When power is not applied to the relay, another connection is made (Normally Closed to Common). Here's a crude diagram of how you would wire this. In my diagram, the live wires are red and the neutral wires are grey, but in real life the live wires will likely be black and the white will be neutral:

    cartoon relay.jpg

    To make this work for our aquarium, we connect power from the utility to the Coil and to the Normally Open (NO) terminals. Connect the inverter output to the Normally Closed (NC) terminals. Finally, connect the output to the Common terminals. In my case the "from utility" and "from inverter" were the male ends (the ones with the prongs) of grounded extension cords. The "output" was the female end (the plug part) of a grounded extension cord.

    Please keep in mind that all the live and neutral wires must be hooked up tot he same poles. In AC-coil relays, it doesn't really matter which side you choose. Just make sure all the live wires and neutral wires are on the same sides. Also, be sure to tie the ground wire from all three sources (the output, the utility and the inverter) together.
     
    Fumanchu likes this.
  19. tgp4274

    tgp4274 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    551
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    sandwich IL
    awesome thanks :D

    so if i understand corectly....
    the inverter is on constently??
     
  20. chipmunkofdoom2

    chipmunkofdoom2 Always Making Something R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    2,729
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    You're welcome :)

    Correct, the inverter would need to be always switched on. I've wanted to put a relay between the battery and the inverter, and only have power flow when the utility fails. But, I haven't thought of anything good yet. The problem is that because the battery supplies 12VDC, the current flow can get pretty high from the battery to the inverter, even at relatively low wattages. I haven't found a relay with a high enough capacity to put between the battery and the inverter. Not one that I would feel comfortable enough with.

    To make sure the inverter is working, I do a system test once a month or so. I unplug the utility cable and make sure the switch goes to battery backup and that the inverter is working properly.
     
    Fumanchu likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
Loading...