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Nickel iron batteries, a long term prep ?
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Mr. Fox



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 491
Location: In the Dark

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Sam... It was an elderly gentleman who we'd originally gone to see about a lathe. His wife had recently passed away, and was having a good clear-out. I think he'd got them from a friend who worked for a firm that serviced the hospitals etc. and had planned some sort of homebrew turbine but never got it finished.

I'd recently read of Ni-Fe cells with regard to Edison, via that Edwin Black book, so instantly didn't want the lathe or whatever anyway and took the lot. Wink

They're 45 x 45 x 250 mm (ish), translucent with with blue tops and M16 terminals, labelled 'AlCad 45Ah'. Like this, only double the size, so 'square' viewed from above:



and with flip-top caps (the ones above are Ni-Cad, BTW - industrial waste!).

There's a good summary of that book here, incase anyone's particularly interested in the shady side of Nickel-Iron cell development:

Quote:
Thomas Edison had spent $3.5 million between 1903 and 1910 (equivalent to $71 million today) perfecting his nickel iron battery. He claimed it was half the weight of lead acid and had twice the energy density. Electric cars equipped with it were demonstrably superior to the competition, which were powered by what we today know as Exide batteries, then controlled by a group of cartels, which sought to monopolize all forms of automotive transportation from bicycles to automobiles, gasoline and electric.

Just as Edison and Henry Ford were about to go into business together to offer a low cost electric car comparable to the Model T, a suspicious fire destroyed nearly all of Edison's West Orange, New Jersey research facility, curiously bypassing areas where the most flammable chemicals had been stored. Within months World War I would engulf Europe and eventually America and the dream of the electric car would fade into obscurity, a curious, forgotten footnote of history.


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adam2
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sam_uk wrote:
Adam2 can you provide any links to people who manufacturer or sell these 'superior' lead acids?

I do think this is relevant as a comparission regarding the longevity of Nickel Irons..

Paying over the odds for a Nickel Iron battery that is likely to last 25 years + still seems appealing to me. I know I can afford them now. I may not be able to afford a new bank in 7 or 14 years time.

That peace of mind is worth a lot to me, so long as the longevity claims are substantiated.


These do not seem to be as readily available as in years gone by, but here is one supplier, in Germany.

http://www.sinetech.co.za/printdocs/opzs.pdf

20 years claimed lifetime.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sam_uk wrote:
Adam2 can you provide any links to people who manufacturer or sell these 'superior' lead acids?

I do think this is relevant as a comparission regarding the longevity of Nickel Irons..

Paying over the odds for a Nickel Iron battery that is likely to last 25 years + still seems appealing to me. I know I can afford them now. I may not be able to afford a new bank in 7 or 14 years time.

That peace of mind is worth a lot to me, so long as the longevity claims are substantiated.


Longer lasting lead acid cells are now available from wind and sun.

http://www.windandsun.co.uk/products/167/.aspx

I have used this supplier regularly and can recomend them, though I have not purchased any of these batteries.
The design life of 15 years might well be exceeded with careful use.

(and yes I know that this is an old thread, but the points raised are as relevant today)
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In view of the recent concerns re power cuts, partly prompted by a TV programe, I thought it worth reviving this old thread.

Nickel iron cells or batteries have a very long working life, the main drawback, as noted near the begining of this thread is the very variable voltage.

A voltage regulator solves that, but adds expense, complication, losses, and unless duplicated adds a single point of failure.

Technology moves on however and there are now some excellent LED lamps on the market that give constant light output over a wide range of voltages.

For a very small system, one could use 1 watt LED torch bulbs that work one from 1 volt up to 9 volts.
5 nickel iron cells would be nominly about 6 volts, ranging from about 9 volts on charge, down to about 4 volts at end of discharge, ideal for such lamps.

For a larger system, 3 watt LED lamps are available that work from about 10 volts up to about 30 volts.
15 or 16 nickel iron cells would be ideal for such a system.
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Mr. Fox



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a few G4 base lamps with a built-in regulator and SMD 5050 LEDs that work well, good for ~8 - 30V and cost about 1.50 each.

We're currently playing with 99p voltage regulators (Input 4-35V - Output 1.23V-30V) and LED strip.

I use the infra-red remote RGB controllers (<2) to get 3 dimmable channels of warm white, then stick 3 x 2.5M strips and the controller to a length of batten - so you get a moveable remote controlled strip light that you can flip over, depending on whether you want a direct working light or a nice ambient light.

NiFe batteries are still going strong, btw - fed on a diet of abuse, neglect and a tiny amount of distilled water. Smile
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be a bit doubtful about the long term reliability of 99p voltage regulators, but at such a low price spares or replacements would be affordable.

Such regulators would greatly increase the usefullness of nickle iron batteries.
A 24 volt nominal battery (20 cells) would vary between about 35 volts on charge and about 16 volts at end of discharge.

LEDs have improved very considerably in the last few years, they are now a serious alternative to fluorescent or CFL lighting.

I suspect that the smaller CFLs and smaller linear fluorescent lamps will be obsolete soon.
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