Figure it's a good idea to write about this one, since we did so much about the construction. :D
The battery bank that we originally installed about 2 1/2 years ago is giving up the ghost. In general it is my fault. The batteries we bought were maintenance free ones. I did a good bit of communication with wholesalesolar.com to figure out what would be best for my needs and that was their recommendation.
NEVER listen to them. :D And, by the way, their customer service completely sucks ass. Diarrhea elephant ass as a matter of fact.
As it turns out, the equipment I bought had factory presets that are perfect for flooded lead acid batteries but the opposite of right for maintenance free batteries. It has to do with charge rates and equalizing charges. The ones I bought are supposed to be good for from 4 to 8 years depending on use. WELL.... not if you charge them wrong.
I would swear that I read all the documentation that came with the batteries, but I missed that one. When I contacted wholesalesolar.com their reply was a terse one stating that I had probably ruined my battery bank and since I'd had a local electrician order the main system for me they would be absolutely NO help with tech support.
I am currently finding help elsewhere so that I don't ruin the next 3 to 5 K worth of batteries.
DO NOT USE wholesalesolar.com FOR ANY REASON, any previous recommendation I have made is hereby nullified. Even when I sent them the pdf file of the receipt for the purchased batteries they would not so much as send me a data sheet so I could figure out exactly what I'd done wrong.
They no longer answer my emails.
I am now working with a very nice man that I met through the Surrette/Rolls main web site. That company makes the best battery for the buck. Flooded lead acid and crazy rechargeable. I am currently educating myself to a large degree on proper battery maintenance and charging info. The new fella is from Pagosa Springs and seems to realize that this is a large investment and worth the effort in education to ensure repeat business. I'm actually paying him up front for knowledge so that he need not feel cheated if I go a different way.
At present we run the generator at night to bump up the batteries and they'll hold until we get a new set.
I was thinking we could use substation batteries that the fellas from that dept are gonna let me have but you can only discharge them 20% of total and I know we won't manage that low a usage level especially in the winter time.
By the way, thanks to Mike at Solar Bear Electric for his help with the generator. We'd be hurting pretty bad at the moment if he hadn't been there for us.
Back to your regular programing. :D