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I just realized I am being foolish.  I don't have a backup generator, inverter, auto turn on or batteries.  What do I need to know and what would be the best products for a smaller setup?

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Thanks so much for the replies Bullwinklell and TC.

 

I realized it's dumb to debate between $200 on a backup generator & wall alarms etc & fuel + maintenance + worry when the lights go out, and just spending $300 for a simple battery backup system.  I had no idea they could last ~10 years, with the occasional charger or inverter replacement.

 

Bullwinklell, I like your UPS idea, but wouldn't just buying a charger and an inverter be about the same price as a UPS?

 

A few dumb electrical questions -- when you install a GFCI outlet for your pumps, and you are using a battery backup system, I assume you want to place the GFCI after the battery system, right?

 

Also, is it okay to connect two pumps to one battery backup, through a power strip, as long as your inverter is rated appropriately?

 

Finally, is using surge protectors (vs. simple power strips) a good or bad idea?

 

probably but I knew a business once that had a cupboard full of old ones that I presume had batteries that no longer charged. I figured it might be possible to recycle the charge controller and inverter within by just adding a large external bettery.

Greener said:

Thanks so much for the replies Bullwinklell and TC.

 

I realized it's dumb to debate between $200 on a backup generator & wall alarms etc & fuel + maintenance + worry when the lights go out, and just spending $300 for a simple battery backup system.  I had no idea they could last ~10 years, with the occasional charger or inverter replacement.

 

Bullwinklell, I like your UPS idea, but wouldn't just buying a charger and an inverter be about the same price as a UPS?

 

I think I would have to answer I don't know or it depends to most of the questions.  To find the answers I would probably have to go searching on other forums.
Thanks anyway.  Maybe someone else here knows?

What I did was to create an insane birds nest of extension cords, powerboards, and cables running to batteries. I stuck the entire thing in a dressing table draw and put it outside wrapped in a plastic bag and under an old coffee table.

 

Generally speaking, just do everything different from that, and you should be right.

 

I've had no problem with the surge protection and overload protection on the powerboard, but I have no saftey switch, I dont touch the water, and don't let anyone else near it.

 

Most of this mess is because, like so many others, this system is a test system that stayed longer than the few weeks it was designed to. 

 

Plan all your safety stuff before anything else.

 

I presume a  GFCI outlet is what I call a safety switch. The thing that would allow you to test for live wires with your tongue without all the pesky dying. If so I'm pretty sure if it was on the far side of the battery it wouldn't notice an earth leakage, so wouldn't offer any protection. 

So I'd put my safety switch between the inverter and the fish.

 

If you dont have protection from your mains outlet it might be a good idea to add second one at the mains outlet and before your charger etc.

 

Depending on your setup, you might only need a 50 amp hour battery. that might only cost 50$

 

How much power does your system use?

 

 


Greener said:

A few dumb electrical questions -- when you install a GFCI outlet for your pumps, and you are using a battery backup system, I assume you want to place the GFCI after the battery system, right?

 

Also, is it okay to connect two pumps to one battery backup, through a power strip, as long as your inverter is rated appropriately?

 

Finally, is using surge protectors (vs. simple power strips) a good or bad idea?

 

you probably shouldnt need surge protectors because I think the battery  and the charger smoothes everything out, but I have one in my powerboard and there are no issues

 

and I have multiple pumps and thing on my powerboard with no issues. My $35 150 watt inverter has overload protection so it just stops working if I plug too much in. It also cuts out if the voltage gets below 10 volts and above 14

 

I'll check re: safety switches and batteries and inverters on fieldlines.com and get back to you. They know everything about this stuff.

Ha!  Ok I will watch for birds nests.

 

My system will start off using 165 W, for two pumps.  I'm hoping they'll be able to provide all the aeration I need.  If not I will buy bigger pumps rather than air blowers.  

 

I still need to look into batteries, I want something that will last plenty long (24 hrs or more) but also be able to handle more draw if I need to go with bigger pumps later.  I'm willing to splurge a bit on this now that I know it can last ~10 years.  The piece of mind alone will be worth it.

 

Do others agree that a good battery backup system can last ~10 years, with some maintenance (like occasional discharging of the battery, and replacing the charger & inverter once or twice)?

 

I should say that I've directed traffic here from a side conversation about this stuff we were having in the discussion "Need Aerator and airstones".  I had posted a link there to a discussion about GFCI problems with timers etc: http://www.talkingreef.com/forums/misc/3170-timer-tripping-my-gfci.... 

 

Also yes, I think that with all of the break points in the GFCIs, battery+inverter and timer the use of surge protectors isn't really necessary.  If anyone disagree though please speak up!

 

did something just get censored? 

 


re: 
Do others agree that a good battery backup system can last ~10 years, with some maintenance (like occasional discharging of the battery, and replacing the charger & inverter once or twice)?

 

yeah please chip in here if you know about this stuff. I read that if the battery is full all the time it should last for ages, but someone please chime in here if you know about such stuff.

 

I did my best to ask about the safety switch thing on fieldlines.com and have this from the forum I used to learn stuff for the windpower bit of my blog...

 

 

 

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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 08:38:17 PM »
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The device in your Circuit Breaker panel is called a Ground Fault Breaker. I'm not sure if this would work with an inverters square wave output or the floating ground system that most inverters have since the ground and neutral are not bonded together.
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 09:37:56 PM »
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the pump should be double insulated.
connect the pump ground to the ground, not the inverter ground. 
this is acceptable for stopping the shock hazard.

the gfci may or may not trip due to the square wave charging up the internal capacitance of the pump.

I dont know what that means but thought I should share it.

 


 


 

Bullwinklell -

 

Concerning utilizing an old UPS with a dead 12 volt battery, I came across this awhile back.  We've got several old ones with bad batteries here at the office so I'm going to pull one out and give it a try.

 

http://www.urbanaquaponics.com/content.php?128-Inexpensive-Aquaponi...

 

Great link Kelee, thanks for sharing.  Please let us know how this goes for you.

 

It looks like this is an easy & cheaper way to set up a battery backup system, but I have a few questions:

 

-- What is the quality like of the chargers and inverters used in typical UPS systems?  Would you be better off (i.e. would the system be much more reliable) by just buying a charger and an inverter?  It sounds like these need to be replaced every few years anyway, so I'm wondering if those in an old UPS might be needing replacement and you are setting yourself up for problems not far down the line.

 

-- Are inverters in UPS units true sine wave or square wave?  It sounds like the square waves can cause problems with GFCI outlets.

 

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