Nickel Iron Batteries real data

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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by weber »

That mud is most likely a mixture of iron hydroxide and nickel hydroxide. Potassium carbonate is highly soluble in water. It won't be precipitating out.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

I think its Iron carbonate edisons regeneration of cells used the steel case with pos & neg shorted to regenerate pushing carbon out of the Iron carbonate
which would be in contact with the case.
The other case you can get made is a steel one plain steel mig welded a lip around the top inside to support the white cell top.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by weber »

Yes, the iron and nickel hydroxides will turn to carbonates after they have been exposed to air for long enough, same as the potassium hydroxide.
2OH⁻ + CO₂ → CO₃⁻ + H₂O
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

An update:
I have been running 36 cells in parallel with my 48v VRLA bank for a few months now.
For the past 4 weeks they have been getting cycled at discharge rates of around 5 to 8 amps and get charged at up to 20 amps
when the lead acid banks are getting their 56v bulk charge.
When first connected they supplied around 20% of the load now with more cycling they are getting to providing about 30%
As only 4 cells are new (have total of 41) and one has been cleaned and been refilled with new electrolyte I have been looking at
potassium hydroxide suppliers and find that for about $100 you can buy 25Kg which does about 25 cells for me (200Ah)
so $200 would replace all cells with some leftover.
Some cells gas more than others the one with new electrolyte does not gas very much (the new ones are the same) so when I get time I am going
to do discharge tests to find the weakest cells and clean and replace their electrolyte to see if they improve.
It is clear that if you can get cells at a cheap price you can add capacity to an ageing lead acid bank.
At light discharge rates the cell voltage is 1.3 to 1.4 volts so a 1000Ah bank should be able to supply around 40 amps 2000 watts and be at these voltages.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi,

Have you weighed any of your cells?

I weighed 4 of mine a couple of weeks ago, and found that two which have not been touched are about 13kg. One has 1/2" of crap in the bottom, the other has none.

The other two, from six I flushed and renewed, only weigh about 12.5kg.

The specs are 14kg for a 200Ah.

Waiting for some replacements. The seller has received new ones, and was going to charge them before sending to me. Hopefully this week.

Did you try the place you bought your new cells from for some KOH?

dRdoS7

EDIT: I should add that of the six I renewed, only two seem to working OK. The other 4 still "drop off the cliff" when discharging. I'm only running 35 cells ATM. Not quite making it through the night. The bank only discharges to 44V (inverter low). If needed, the inverter will go to 40V before it trips.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by russell_drinkwater »

Be warned anyone thinking of purchasing Iron Edison batteries that the cases will split and fail in less than 5 years!
Absolute waste of money. I purchased a small 10 amp unit to experiment with and use for some leds in the house.
Nearly $300 and the cell cases literally fell apart!
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi,
russell_drinkwater wrote: Mon, 09 Mar 2020, 05:58 Be warned anyone thinking of purchasing Iron Edison batteries that the cases will split and fail in less than 5 years!
Absolute waste of money. I purchased a small 10 amp unit to experiment with and use for some leds in the house.
Nearly $300 and the cell cases literally fell apart!
Warranty? Did you get them replaced?

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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by russell_drinkwater »

The warranty is 6 months.
So I would suggest no-one in their right minds buy Iron Edison Batteries.
Very expensive for the bank I needed, between $10,000 and $15,000!
So I am very glad I did go ahead with the purchase.
I may be wrong but I am of the opinion that the earlier non chinese edison batteries had stainles steel cases?
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Sorry to hear of your experience.
Original edison cells are in steel cases and the case was used to regenerate the battery.
My cells are in a partly clear blueish case and are second hand showing no signs of problems with the case
except for the one that sustained physical damage causing a crack.
You could get steel not galvanized, bare steel cases made for them.
One thing to note is not to have them in direct sunlight UV radiation will cause problems.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi,
russell_drinkwater wrote: Tue, 10 Mar 2020, 14:02 The warranty is 6 months.
Are you in Australia?
So I would suggest no-one in their right minds buy Iron Edison Batteries.
Very expensive for the bank I needed, between $10,000 and $15,000!
Did you contact IE?

I thought they had a 10 year warranty.

I would have thought they'd be keen to hear of that problem.

Maybe the manufacturer has been skimping on something, and saving themselves some money!

Not unknown to happen.
So I am very glad I did* go ahead with the purchase.
* not?

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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

I have had some more time to work on charging the NiFe to 1.6 volts but not having them connected to the PIPs
as the 60 volts or more is beyond there ratings.
I have an Esmart3 MPPT connected to 9 x 250w panels which in mid summer give nearly 40 amps
the charger has a controlled output that can be set for time of day , PV volts and battery volts.
I have a relay on that output that drives a 125 amp relay.
I have set the charger to turn it off under 56.4 volts it is on at this voltage and above.
So the two PIPs and the Esmart start charging all batteries when it gets to 56.4 volts the Esmart operates the relay
this disconnects the NiFe from the lead acid and the PIPs .
The Esmart then continues to charge the NiFe to 60 volts which is 1.66v per cell (36 cells).
When the Esmart is finished bulk charge it drops back to 54.6 volts float and turns off the relay connecting the NiFe back to the lead acid bank.
I will let this run and see how it goes.

Initial observations show the NiFe are supplying 100% of the load when solar power is not enough
and even charging the lead acid if a load causes a drain on them this may reduce cycling of the lead acid.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Here is some good reading
Attachments
FinalRevisedNickelIron.pdf
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi,

Ever since I read about them, then bought a set, I've thought they should make massive NiFe batteries for grid storage here in Australia. PNG might be a good source of Ni, I read they may have a state owned mine shortly. Not that we don't have enough here ourselves, but they might be cheaper, and they owe us a bit of money. Also we might have a bit of Fe to spare in the not too distant future seeing our major customer is not going to want to buy from us. Though they probably own many of those mines, so are technically buying from themselves, not us. Here in Victoria there's a underused De-sal plant that could probably make decent water for the batteries.

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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

After reading that that document I went out to test the black residue in the bottom of my cells with a magnet
it is magnetic so hematite there is not a great amount of it so they should be ok.
Also I connected another cell to make it 38 the Esmart3 kept going up to 64v but was saying 57.8 on the display
so very likely a bug in the unit but nice for NiFe I am going to change the battery side capacitors as they are 63v
they did not complain or get warm but I can not expect them to survive for long.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Here is some experimental data
for those who understand chemistry even more interesting
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Have found out some information regarding the regeneration of NiFe cells
not only do you rinse them out and replace the electrolyte you also give them a flogging
a high current charge that has them boiling (gassing) but not heating up
now looking at manufactures recommended charge currents these are close to doing this.
Now lithium hydroxide as an additive appears to lengthen the time between electrolyte changes
and reduces gassing.
Some people have used sodium hydroxide as an electrolyte.
I found examples of people pulling old cells apart cleaning the plates and bringing them back to life.

I have found the weakest cell in my lot and will see how I go restoring it but have to get some KOH.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi
paulvk wrote: Tue, 12 May 2020, 19:43 Have found out some information regarding the regeneration of NiFe cells
not only do you rinse them out and replace the electrolyte you also give them a flogging
a high current charge that has them boiling (gassing) but not heating up
I thought 1.9V/cell.

After I'd cleaned & renewed mine, I put a string of 4 in parallel with 6 (maybe more) in the main bank.

Really had them bubbling.

Jumper cables got quite warm! Had to use 2 sets in parallel.

Didn't do any good for most of them, maybe 2 out of the 6 seem OK.

Currently I'm running 35, so can't get individual cells low enough to see if they drop off the cliff, as the other faulty ones did.

Still waiting for replacements. :x
I have found the weakest cell in my lot and will see how I go restoring it but have to get some KOH.
When you have replaced the electrolyte, could you weigh the cell? I'm interesting in comparing it to my 200Ah cells. The untouched ones are about 13kg.

Thanks,

dRdoS7
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Have not weighed them , the regeneration needs to be done at least 3 times
and needs 60 amps min to be going through them for half an hour let them rest for 1 hour in between
I have a couple of microwave oven transformers that I should be able to get a 3 volt winding onto
and I have a variable transformer , also some 250 amp diodes so going to try one cell.
I think I found some glue to use 3M 4693 thin , 3M 4693H thick as with all 3M products its expensive around $50 a tube.

Edison's instructions for regeneration had the cell fully discharged with both pos & neg shorted using the steel case
as an electrode so if a cell seems no good maybe cut it open put it in a bucket use a steel plate see what happens.

My old cells have not got a lot of black in the bottom and the one cell that was split that I washed out and replaced the electrolyte
appears to be working ok
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Now its summer the 12 panels are putting 40 amps into the cells and getting to 1.7 volts per cell.
Water use is about 10 liters per month , I purchased a 4 liter still off ebay it draws 700 watts and doubles as a fan heater , great in winter, the water is free (almost) as I run it during the day off solar power , during winter I made over 100 liters of water.
I have some cells that have less capacity than others this is taking time to sort out changing electrolyte has not made much of an improvement to them.
For more than a month the system has remained off grid with the NiFe bank keeping the voltage up by supplying 100 Ah over night so 4800 what hours.
The Esmart3 has been dutifully charging them, automatically disconnecting and reconnecting from the inverters and lead acid banks at set voltage.
If I write some more code for the Nextion monitor it could handle the job much better and monitor if the NiFe bank needs to reconnect due to power requirements at present I have to wait till the NiFe bank voltage drops below the bulk charge for the lead acid bank which takes a while.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Here is a quote from the Edison Manual of Storage Battery Practice.

"Edison batteries usually are sent out in a discharged condition, requiring an initial forming charge. This consists of a twelve-hour charge at the normal rate , and in addition a repetition of this charge is required after every twelve or fifteen complete discharges, or an equivalent thereof, until four such overcharges have been given the battery. This forming process is important to insure proper capacity and long life. After this treatment is completed, the battery should be over charged once every two months."

This is missing from info from present manufactures.
Below is the charge rates from Edison with capacity in Ampere hours next to cell by me
B2-8 AMPS 56AH
B4-16 112Ah
B6-22.5 157.5Ah
A4-30 210Ah
A5-37.5 262Ah
A6-45 315Ah
A8-60 480Ah
A10-75 525Ah
A12-90 630Ah

Now it can be seen from this that the charge rate is 1/7 of the capacity in amps, so for example a 200Ah cell should be charged at 28.5 amps.

So now when you change the electrolyte you discharge cell fully and do forming charges again .
I had some cells that showed poor capacity maybe 40Ah for a 200Ah cell after one forming charge the cell gave 130Ah.

I have read posts in other forums of people disappointed in their NiFe battery but I expect they have not done the forming charges.

Now an inverter to work with NiFe battery would need to perform the long charges periodically.

When the sun comes out for a while I will be able to do more charges/discharges and get more data.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by coulomb »

paulvk wrote: Sun, 25 Oct 2020, 14:51 Here is a quote from the Edison Manual of Storage Battery Practice.
Cool stuff. I used to have a small set of NiFes way way back, from Direct Disposals. I bet if I knew this information I could have gotten better life from them. They did OK anyway.
Now an inverter to work with NiFe battery would need to perform the long charges periodically.
I think nearly any inverter with equalisation facilities could do most of it, except for the important step of setting the charge rate to C/7. I assume that normal charging is a lot higher current than C/7. It would be bad to have an automatic twelve hour charge at normal charge rates :shock:

So I think a small computer (Pi, Arduino) would have to control it. It would send commands to change the charge rate, perhaps enable utility charging (12 hours of sun is pretty uncommon), initiate the equalisation charge, wait the 12 hours, then reset the settings to normal. Preferably with facilities for postponing it if it's not convenient right on schedule.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

It is an important step and I can not see why it is not in the present manufactures instructions.
I have two cell going through another 12 hour charge these were the first to drop below 1 volt on the last discharge test
but I did get more than 100Ah out of them problem is its wet and cloudy for the next week so not much I can do,
do not want to use the grid for the whole 12 hours!

If MPP Solar were more responsive I could work with them to get an inverter to work with NiFe/NiCad.
I think if I had a victron unit they might have worked with me but they are just so way more expensive.
Also there seems to be no SCC unit capable of charging NiFe/NiCad as the voltage range is 44v to 72v
for a 48v battery, the Esmart-3 I have only does it because of a design flaw, the software max volts
is above the capability of the hardware to report so while I can set the software to 60 volts
the hardware can only get to 58 volts so it just keeps charging getting to 64 volts with
38 cells and its max capability of 40 amps note the current sensing works ok so it limits to 40 amps.

I do not like using a Pi for tasks like this way too much code running that is unnecessary.
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by paulvk »

Its summer (almost) and regular charge of 30 to 40 amps is going into the NiFe's which is what they should be charged at by Edison's documentation from 1900's.
I am going to measure water use in a cell over each week for the next few weeks.
I have paralleled some cells that show less capacity than the rest.
The power bill came in for the grid it was $184 , 10kWhr per day , last year 20kWhr per day so half if that was to continue it means
a saving of $1000 a year or more. Note use includes hot water which is grid on off peak one.
This is happening because the NiFe's support the system staying at or slightly above the lead acid banks float volts resting them
till later when they start to provide power.
At present the NiFe's are at %75 & 61.2 volts charging at 31 amps 28 deg C
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Re: Nickel Iron Batteries real data

Post by dRdoS7 »

Hi,
paulvk wrote: Mon, 26 Oct 2020, 07:35 If MPP Solar were more responsive I could work with them to get an inverter to work with NiFe/NiCad.
I think if I had a victron unit they might have worked with me but they are just so way more expensive.
Also there seems to be no SCC unit capable of charging NiFe/NiCad as the voltage range is 44v to 72v
for a 48v battery
The Midnite Classic would suit you, if you want to spend the money.

dRdoS7
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