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Watering System (Or remove many caps & wear a forehead lamp)

~All images below are clickable - click them to see a larger higher quality image~

If you’re going to have an off-grid system, batteries are the heart of it.

On batteries, chances are that you’ll end up having some FLA’s (Flooded Lead Acid), as they are the most available & most economical to run. If you can, get forklift batteries, as their lifespan is far longer than just about anything else you can buy.

Once you have these batteries, the primary maintenance you will do will be watering the batteries. When it comes to water, you have a couple of ways you can go; one is to used distilled water, that you buy at a store, which is great, the other is to use well water, if you’re lucky enough to have GOOD well water, as in not too much rust, etc, in the water itself.

At my home, we have used our well water to water our batteries for over 7 years. In that time, I’ve learned that a good watering system is one of the best things you can own.

If you just add water to a battery, it’s a time consuming, tedious, and slightly dangerous task. Here’s why:

Typical batteries are 2 volts per cell, so to have even a 24 volt battery, you have to open (12) cells to inspect & add water. Now, unless your battery is a real MONSTER, chances are that you’ll probably have more than one battery, so double that- now you have 24 cells to inspect.

When you open these cells to inspect them, you’ll need a light strapped to your head to see into the hole well enough to know how much water is enough, and a pair of safety glasses.

So, you take off (24) caps, look into each hole, and try to get the right amount of water into each hole. While you’re pouring this water, it will splash, and some of what comes up will be acid from the battery. It makes holes in clothes, fast.

Or……you can buy a battery watering system.

These ingenious devices aren’t cheap, and it took me YEARS to get to the point of believing that I would need one, but after I did... I wish I'd have done it years ago.

Here's how it works:

There are special valves that fit into each cell individually, and all of them are attached to a small tube that feeds each cell's valve water.

The tubes come together & fit into a small contraption that has a hose fitting on one end, and the tube fitting on the other. Inside of this, there's a little wheel (water flow

indicator) that spins when water is passing through.

So, you hook the hose up to your hose bib, or hard plumb it, either way.

You turn on the water.

Listen for the little wheel to stop spinning.

When it stops, you're done.

And ALL of your cells are topped off perfectly.

So, how do you know when your battery needs watering again?

You can install a little "electrolyte level indicator" LED in one of the cells. If the light is lit, you don't need water, but if it's out, turn on the spigot. It'll take you MAYBE 3 or 4 minutes to water the batteries, instead of at least an hour by hand, no safety glasses or headlights needed!

This'll cost you $600-800 depending on where you get it from, but I'm TELLING you it's a great thing to have. It will extend the life of your batteries for certain, and save you a ton of time. This is what I purchased for my batteries, from Kevin at Commercial Battery Service in Spokane, WA. He's an Honest guy who knows what he's talking about.

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