“Bullet-Proof” Batteries for Bunkers, Bug-Out Locations, Emergency Shelters & Remote Systems. The Best Batteries for Prepping

Emergency preparedness, energy independence and interest in bunkers, shelters and bug-out locations is growing at an accelerating rate; battery storage is a key component of a successful shelter.

Whether you’re sheltering in place (bugging-in), or going to a safe remote location (bugging-out), you want your critical systems and equipment to be operational when supplies are scarce and you need them the most.

New battery types available can provide over 5 times the lifespan of regular batteries, without freezing, drying-out, off-gassing, or needing frequent maintenance. They are already being adopted for use in remote telecom relay towers, mining, marine, and military applications. Their longer lifespans also mean lower lifetime costs since the time between replacements is extended by years to decades.

If you get to your “safe” location, and nothing works, and you have no power for critical equipment, you are in serious trouble!

Power needs for locations can range from a few lights, communication and tools, to more sophisticated shelters.

Power needs include:

  • Lighting
  • Communications
  • Computers
  • Refrigeration for food and medicines
  • Freezer for food and ice (ice has many uses)
  • Entertainment
  • Cooking appliances
  • Medical equipment like oxygen concentrators and CPAP
  • Fans and air exchange systems
  • Water pumps and filtration
  • Electric livestock fencing
  • Security systems
  • Powered door systems
  • Sump Pumps *
  • Lighting
  • Communications
  • Computers
  • Equipment battery charging (electric drills, etc)
  • Powered door systems

*Approximately 90% of the underground locations under 30 ft depth have water ingress problems, either from the water table or from rain.

An unexpected loss of power could mean flooding or even loss of breathable air in some situations. Even people with simple systems often require power for a CPAP, circulation fans and lighting.

Typical deep-cycle batteries are rated by the number of charge and discharge cycles that they can handle, at 50% depth of discharge capacity. Depending on the quality, 500 charge-discharge cycles for a low-cost battery, to around 1,200 cycles for a premium brand are the normal lifespan expectation (2-5 years). Lower-cost flooded batteries often off-gas dangerous fumes, which can cause fires or explosions in unventilated enclosed spaces. They also require regular maintenance, which can give your location away to potential threats, or require you to visit frequently. Flooded, AGM and GEL batteries are vulnerable to freezing, which can break the casing and kill the batteries. These batteries can also degrade quickly from internal corrosion and sulfation, when left only partially charged for an extended time.

The solution is to use a more durable battery for prepping, bunkers and bug out locations.  Eliminate the pitfalls of older, less reliable battery chemistries. Avoid the over-reliance on Internet connectivity, complexity, high cost and narrow temperature ranges of lithium ion battery systems.

Consider more stable chemistries like silicon dioxide aka “lead-crystal” batteries, and carbon foam / lead carbon batteries. These improved batteries have ultra-long deep-cycle lives, don’t off-gas, and don’t require maintenance.  They have longer shelf-life and are not as vulnerable to EMP events or electronic failure because they do not require complex Battery Management Systems to function.

And importantly, these batteries do not require a connection to the Internet so you can keep your location safe and private!

Silicon-Dioxide (SiO2) AKA Lead Crystal Batteries:

A variety of sizes are available for different applications in a selection of voltages, but the most common are 12V and 6V batteries.      

Originally developed in the 1970’s by the US military, to be a liquid-free “dry” battery that could literally be shot and not leak its contents; these went from an early-stage, low-output weakling to a hard hitting contender, using modern nanomaterials.

Silicon-dioxide (SiO2) batteries boast among the best temperature ranges and high cycle-life of any lead-based battery. Averaging 2,800 cycles at 50% depth of discharge, these outperform most premium batteries by 2-3 times their lifespans.  By reducing sulfuric acid content by over 95%, these contain virtually no liquid inside to freeze, spill, or off-gas. The result is a battery that resists sulfation and corrosion, even if fully discharged. SiO2 batteries have an impressive -40C/F to +65C/149F temperature range; making them ideal for remote arctic or desert locations. The non-corrosive electrolyte is more environmentally friendly in this 99% recyclable battery. These are available in a wide variety of sizes and voltages.

The SiO2 batteries can charge in about half the time of normal deep-cycle batteries, conserving generator fuel and reducing your exposure to carbon-monoxide. Generator noise and exhaust can attract unwanted attention. Paired with solar, hydro or wind generation, a SiO2 battery bank is well suited for a self-sustaining, secluded off-grid retreat.  

SiO2 batteries are excellent for winter or summer high temperature use in off-grid homes, bug-out locations, underground shelters, cabins, cottages, marine and RV’s, scooters and golf carts. They can handle extreme temperature conditions without heating or cooling systems. They are extremely well-suited for outdoor applications; such as remote monitoring, security systems, trail cams, emergency lights, mobile equipment, water pumps, electric fences, UPS backup systems and communication relays.

  • Temperature range: -40C/F to +65C/149F Great for sub-freezing conditions to high desert heat.
  • Charge time: Fast 4Hrs from fully depleted. (0.25C rate)
  • Cycle Life: 2,800 Cycles @ 50%, 1,500 @ 80%. Can be discharged 100% and recover full capacity
  • Shelf-life: 2yrs without trickle-charging
  • Max Discharge Rate: Up to 9C (9 x rated Ah capacity <5 Secs) High surge cranking power.

Firefly Carbon Foam Batteries:

Oasis Carbon Foam batteries were developed in the R&D labs of heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Tractors (CAT) in 2000. Firefly Oasis batteries were adopted by heavy equipment, and industrial markets. Firefly Energy bought the patents and manufacturing in 2010, and made these batteries available for the electric vehicle, luxury yacht, and marine markets in 2012. Azimuth Solar Products opened up distribution for North American off-grid and consumer use in 2018.

These batteries deliver performance similar to lithium-ion at lower cost!

The microcell carbon technology resists the sulfation that reduces battery life, while increasing the charge-plate surface area for much faster charging (1C rate / 1hour), high current output, and deeper discharge capability. Carbon Foam batteries can recover from sitting partially charged for extended periods without corrosion damage (often the killer of regular lead acid batteries). Boasting a similar cycle-life to lithium batteries, without the drawbacks of charging damage in sub-freezing temperatures. They rival lithium ion at lower cost; however, they do not have the lighter weight and smaller size of li-ion.

Firefly batteries come in two sizes of ruggedized battery: Group 31 multipurpose 12V, 116Ah, and L16 – 4V,450Ah power-storage battery. These are designed as AGM, sealed, zero-maintenance batteries with the advantages of extreme cycle-life, faster charging from fully discharged @ 1hr vs 7-10Hrs for standard batteries.

 G31: 12V 116AhL16: 4V 450Ah
Temperature Range-20C / -4F to +50C / 131F-20C / -4F to +50C / 131F
Charge TimeVery Fast: 1 hour from fully depleted (up to 1C rate)
Cycle Life3,900 Cycles @ 50% DoD
1,150 Cycles @ 80% DoD
4,900 Cycles @ 50% DoD
1,475 Cycles @ 80% DoD
Discharge RangeCan be discharged 100% and recover full capacity
Shelf life2 Years without trickle charging
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)n/a720A

Applications: Off-Grid, RV, Marine, Residential power back-up, Commercial-scale banks, water-well pumps, electric vehicles, trucks, and heavy equipment batteries.

Faster charging for both battery types significantly reduces fuel consumption by backup generators, when wind and solar are not available, or shorter sunlight availability in winter. The recommended 7-10hr charging rates for standard lead-acid batteries require a lot more generator run-time than the 1-4hr rates for these advanced options. This is also an advantage for RV’ers facing restricted campsite hours to run a generator, or don’t want to be shackled to shore power when you want to be on the move.

Lead Carbon Batteries by Sacred Sun & Narada:

With some of the industry’s best cycle-life performance at deep discharge, these battery systems are designed for high-capacity banks for off-grid homes, telecom, and commercial applications. These batteries are capable of high cycling and Partial State of Charge (PSOC) conditions without degradation. Similar to carbon-foam batteries, Lead Carbon AGM batteries can provide extreme cycle-life lithium-performance at about half the cost of lithium. Unlike lithium batteries, these do not require a BMS (Battery Management System) to prevent failures from imbalanced cells, as they self-balance. They have no risk of thermal run-away, a condition that can cause lithium cells to overheat and burn.

These modular design of the battery banks allow for simple to setup systems that can be configured as  12V, 24V, or 48V sets, with 500 to 5,000+Amp Hour capacity. 6kWh to MWh scalable systems.

  • Cell Sizes: 2V 500Ah (10hr) to  2V 2000Ah (10hr) Capacity
  • Temperature range: -15C/F to +45C/F
  • Charge time: 0.1C to 0.2C, (5-10hr rate)
  • Cycle Life:   5,000+ Cycles @ 50% DoD, 3,500 @ 80% DoD
  • 15yr+ Design Life at 70% DoD: 4,200 Cycles                             
  • High Discharge: 0.4C: 400A Max Continuous Discharge for 1000Ah cells

Standard Lead Acid Batteries

These batteries come in Flooded, AGM and Gel varieties. Flooded battery banks often need a watering system, proper venting and regular maintenance to prevent sulfation damage. They are prone to freezing damage when temperatures drop below -18C if not kept fully charged, and can suffer from electrolyte loss and break-down in hot conditions. Checking and topping off the electrolyte levels adds additional complexity and danger of splashing or spills. The vapors from these batteries tend to corrode nearby terminals and electronics. AGM and Gel, (VRLA/Sealed), batteries eliminate the need for regular maintenance and ventilation at a higher price, but still have temperature and lifespan limitations. Well known batteries of this type include Trojan, Outback, Interstate and Rolls-Surrette. The cycle life of these batteries commonly range from 600- 1400 cycles @ 50% depth of discharge.

Nickel-Iron Batteries

Nickel-Iron Batteries have exceptionally long lifespans, but require weekly maintenance and a lot of ventilation. They are lower in efficiency, with a self-discharge at about 1% per day. If left unattended, they can dry out or lose their charge relatively quickly. They are a higher cost and much heavier and about 9-times larger than a lead-acid battery of the same power storage capacity. Charging efficiency is only approximately 65% of the power put in, vs approximately 90% for most other battery types. Many solar charging systems are not compatible with the narrow voltage requirements of these batteries.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries can charge quickly and have a great cycle-life capability. They are more compact than regular deep-cycle batteries. A limiting factor is that they can only be charged above 0C/32F.  Unless lithium cells are above freezing temperatures, lithium ions will electroplate onto the anodes, lowering capacity, and permanently damaging your batteries. A lithium Battery Management System (BMS) will shut off charging at freezing temperatures, so for winter-time, your batteries could be either quickly drained, or damaged if not kept in a heated location. Lithium Ion batteries used in vehicles or Tesla Powerwalls have a heating system built into the power pack to overcome this; drawing extra power off the charging system. Another consideration for Lithium-ion Batteries is that BMS systems for most DIY or retail li-ion batteries are often limited in their power output. You may have a large battery bank but may only be able to draw 50-100A current per battery on a continuous basis.

Tesla Powerwalls and some other lithium banks require Internet connectivity to work and manage. Most of these must directly communicate with the manufacturer on a regular basis for updates and diagnosis or they could stop working. This may compromise the security of your location. Tesla Powerwall batteries require installation and maintenance by a certified technician.

Available soon: Lithium Titanate, LTO Batteries:

Lithium Titanate, or lithium-titanium-oxide batteries have the highest cycle-life of any battery currently available. 20,000 -30,000 cycles at 100% DoD! They can be fully charged in approximately 6 minutes and output current at 10 times their capacity rating, They are the most thermally stable of available lithium chemistries, and are not subject to thermal runaway; no fire risk.
Unlike other lithium-ion batteries, these do not require heating to be charged in freezing temperatures, with a charge and discharge temperature range of -50C/-58F to +65C/149F.
These are not as energy-dense as other lithium chemistries, but are still only about 2/3 the weight of a lead-acid battery with the same power capacity.  Their fast discharge and recharge cycle ability has made them extremely useful for high-cyclic use, where frequent recharges are needed. Applications where these batteries are being used include Amazon’s robotic inventory systems, and high-output applications such as turbine ignition systems for military jets.
Azimuth Solar Products has recognized that their extreme safety, temperature range, and 25 to 50+ year durability makes these ideal for rugged, reliable systems, which can withstand intense use and environments.  Scalable battery packs (12V, 24V, and 48V) are under development for production in Canada this fall. These will be available in standard 100-150A charge/discharge capable packs, and high charge/discharge rate packs with 400A+ capability. Information available on request.

Final Thoughts

There are battery chemistries and concepts still in experimental and development stages. Graphene super-capacitors, salt-water batteries, thermal storage, flow batteries, and other lithium variations are some examples. Many of these are either years away from commercialization or have proven to be too expensive for consumer use or only suited for large utilities.

Having batteries that can go long intervals without charging or maintenance, are sealed for use in confined spaces and that can last several lifetimes of a regular battery; will save you money, time, and possibly your life, in the long-run. For specifications, whitepapers and other additional information, please contact Azimuth Solar Products Inc. [email protected]  Toll-Free: 1-888-252-2452 This is the Canadian website. For the US website, go to www.azimuthsolarproducts.com

Banner for article Extreme Cycle Batteries for RV Boondocking Marine by Azimuth Solar

Extreme-Cycle Batteries for RV Boondocking, Marine, and the Long-Haul

Extreme-Cycle Batteries for RV Boondocking, Marine, and the Long-Haul

Longer-Lasting, Safer, and More Powerful: they can save you money, time, and frustration

Every so often, it’s time to replace your deep-cycle batteries for your RV, sailboat, or off-grid battery bank. This rarely happens at a convenient time or location; often it’s unexpected, after a long hot period, or freezing temperatures. Even with regular maintenance; water top-ups, and electrolyte balancing, the best flooded lead-acid batteries will eventually succumb to electrolyte break-down and sulfation due to age. GEL and AGM batteries eliminate maintenance, but cost more and can degrade quicker.

Battery replacements jump twice a year, during the hottest weeks of summer and during the coldest weeks of winter (or when people start taking their RVs and boats out of storage).

When batteries start to fail, you may find yourself running your generator more often, or having critical equipment fail overnight, like refrigerators, CPAP, communications and radios, bilge and water pumps, winches, autopilot, fresh water makers, or lighting.

There are new marine and RV battery choices with greater reliability and range to suit your budget and keep your equipment and appliances running. These can provide over 5 times the lifespan of regular marine and RV batteries, without freezing, drying-out, off-gassing, or needing frequent maintenance. They are already being adopted for marine and off-grid use and increasingly for remote telecom relay towers, industrial, and military use. Their longer lifespans also mean lower lifetime costs since they can last for well over a decade.

Battery Lifecycles:

A battery’s lifespan is measured by its “Cycle-Life”; how many times it can be charged and discharged before it wears out. Normally, lead-acid batteries are only discharged up to 50% of their power capacity, to improve their overall lifespan. Discharging them 100% can reduce their cycle life to as little as 10%.  Low-maintenance, sealed batteries (GEL and AGM), can range from 500 – 1200 cycles @ 50% DoD. If the batteries are not recharged promptly, their usable capacity, measured in Ampere-hours (Ah), will be quickly reduced by sulfation. (If you don’t refill the “gas-tank”, it will shrink!) A 100Ah battery can turn into an 80Ah battery, or become useless if left too long without a recharge. As some experts say, “Batteries don’t die, they’re murdered!” Excessive hot or freezing temperatures can also significantly reduce the capacity and lifespan of lead-acid batteries. This means, at best, your deep-cycle batteries will need to be replaced every 3 years of daily deep-cycling or every 6-9 years for seasonal use. Many people, however, have purchased deep-cycle batteries and expected them to last for a decade of boondocking, only to kill them quickly with too high or freezing temperatures or by over-discharging them. To prevent freezing, most people remove their batteries from their RV or sailboat, and store them in a warm indoor location. This can mean hours of awkward heavy lifting, with the additional delights of spills and corrosion to clean up.

Some RV owners and almost all boat owners have their RV batteries inside. How many of you have to move cushions, empty storage cupboards or shelves, just to add distilled water (another thing to store),  to your flooded batteries, every couple of weeks or so?

The solution is to use a more durable battery for Marine and RV use, especially at anchor, boondocking, and dry camping.  Better batteries help you avoid over-reliance on shore power and generators!

Our Top Two Picks for the Best Batteries for RVs, Marine and Camping:

1. Silicon-Dioxide (SiO2) aka Lead Crystal Batteries:

Group of SiO2 Batteries

A variety of sizes in both 6V and 12V are available for a wide range of applications.

Originally developed in the 1970’s by the US military, to be a liquid-free “dry” battery that could literally be shot and not leak its contents; these went from an early-stage, low-output weakling to a hard hitting contender, using modern nanomaterials.

270Ah 12V SiO2 Deep Cycle 8D Battery by Azimuth Solar

270Ah 12V SiO2 Deep Cycle 8D Battery

Silicon-dioxide (SiO2) aka lead crystal or crystal batteries boast among the best temperature ranges and high cycle-life of any lead-acid battery. Averaging 2,800 cycles at 50% depth of discharge, these outperform most premium batteries by over double their lifespans.  By reducing sulfuric acid content by over 95%, these contain virtually no liquid inside to freeze, spill, or off-gas. The result is a battery that resists sulfation and corrosion, even if fully discharged. SiO2 batteries have an impressive -40C/F to +65C/149F temperature range; making them ideal for remote arctic or desert locations. The non-corrosive electrolyte forms a nearly solid, non-toxic crystalline material that cannot spill or leak and is more environmentally friendly in this 99% recyclable battery. Since there is no fluid that can freeze and expand, the batteries are highly resistant to freezing conditions and can be mounted on their sides for normal use.  The non-corrosive electrolyte also prevents sulfation and premature loss of battery capacity, so these batteries can be discharged 100% without loss of capacity. The SiO2 batteries can charge in about half the time of normal deep-cycle batteries, conserving generator fuel and reducing your exposure to carbon-monoxide and noise, enabling you to adhere to strict generator run time rules in many RV parks.

These batteries are available in a wide variety of sizes and voltages. Common sizes for RV and Marine, include 6V 260Ah GC2 size, 100Ah 12V G27 size, 12V 108Ah G30H and 12V 216Ah or 12V 270Ah 8D sizes.

6V 260Ah EFSL SiO2 Battery

6V, 260Ah RV/Golf Cart GC2 Battery

SiO2 batteries are perfect for winter or summer high temperature use in RV’s, motorhomes, vintage trailers, sailboats, fishing & marine use, scooters, off-grid homes, cabins, cottages, and  golf carts.  Also excellent for outdoor applications; such as remote monitoring, security systems, trail cams, emergency lights, mobile equipment, water & sump pumps, electric fences, UPS backup systems and communication relays.

 

  • Temperature range: -40C/F to +65C/149F Great for sub-freezing conditions to high desert heat.

    bank of 6V 260Ah SiO2 batteries by Azimuth Solar

    bank of 6V 260Ah SiO2 batteries in an RV

  • Charge time: Fast 4Hrs from fully depleted. (0.25C rate)
  • Cycle Life: 2,800 Cycles @ 50%, 1,500 @ 80%. Can be discharged 100% and recover full capacity
  • Shelf-life: 2yrs without trickle-charging
  • Max Discharge Rate: Up to 9C (9 x rated Ah capacity <5 Secs) High surge cranking power.

Link to Soneil Energy.

2. Firefly Carbon Foam Batteries:

Photo of Firefly Oasis Carbon Foam G31 and L16 Batteries

Firefly Oasis Carbon Foam G31 and L16 Batteries

Oasis Carbon Foam batteries were developed in the R&D labs of heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Tractors (CAT) in 2000. Firefly Oasis batteries were quickly adopted by the heavy equipment, industrial markets. Firefly Energy bought the patents and manufacturing in 2010, and made these batteries available for the electric vehicle, luxury yacht, and marine markets in 2012. Azimuth Solar Products opened up distribution for North American off-grid and consumer use in 2018.

These batteries deliver lithium-ion performance at lower cost!

The microcell carbon technology resists the sulfation that reduces battery life, while increasing the charge-plate surface area for much faster charging (1C rate), high current output, and deeper discharge capability. Carbon Foam batteries can recover from sitting partially charged for extended periods without corrosion damage (often the killer of regular lead acid batteries). Boasting a similar cycle-life of lithium batteries, without the drawbacks of charging damage in sub-freezing temperatures they rival lithium ion at lower cost; however, they do not have the lighter weight and smaller size of li-ion.

Firefly batteries come in two sizes of ruggedized battery: Group 31 multipurpose 12V, 116Ah, and L16 – 4V,450Ah power-storage battery. These are designed as AGM, sealed, zero-maintenance batteries with the advantages of extreme cycle-life, faster charging from fully discharged @ 1hr vs @ 7-10Hrs for standard batteries.

 

G31: 12V 116Ah L16: 4V 450Ah

Temperature Range

-20C / -4F to +50C / 131F

-20C / -4F to +50C / 131F

Charge Time

Very Fast: 1 hour from fully depleted (up to 1C rate)

Cycle Life

3,900 Cycles @ 50%
1,150 Cycles @ 80%

4,900 Cycles @ 50%,
1,475 Cycles @ 80%

Discharge Range

Can be discharged 100% and recover full capacity

Shelf life

2 Years without trickle charging

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)

720A

n/a

Applications: Marine (sailboats, catamarans, yachts, runabouts, fishing, trolling), RV (boondocking, dry camping, trailer, motorhomes), Off-Grid, water-well pumps, power back-up, electric vehicles, commercial, and heavy equipment batteries.bank of 4V Firefly batteries by Azimuth Solar

Link to Firefly Energy.

Road Vibration:

Starter, low cost AGM and flooded batteries do not do well in portable use. The road vibration overflexes the lead plates and spills the corrosive liquid ( flooded batteries), prematurely killing the batteries. Both SiO2 batteries and Firefly carbon foam batteries can withstand road vibration and rough sea turbulence much better than their flooded competitors.

chart comparing life cycles vs DoD of competing batteries by Azimuth Solar

Other Common Battery Types:

Standard Lead-Acid Batteries:

These batteries come in flooded, AGM and Gel. Flooded batteries need a watering system, proper venting and regular maintenance to prevent sulfation damage. They are prone to freezing damage when temperatures drop below -18C if not kept fully charged, and can suffer from electrolyte loss and break down in hot conditions. Checking and topping off the electrolyte levels adds additional complexity and danger of splashing or spills. The vapours from these batteries tend to corrode nearby terminals and electronics. AGM and Gel batteries eliminate the need for regular maintenance and ventilation at a higher price, but still have temperature and lifespan limitations. Well known batteries of this type include Trojan, Outback, Interstate and Rolls-Surrette. The cycle life of these batteries commonly range from 600- 1400 cycles @ 50% depth of discharge.

Nickel-Iron Batteries

These batteries are very heavy and bulky and are not suitable for marine or RV use.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries can charge quickly and have a great cycle-life capability, BUT they can only be charged above 0C/32F.  Unless lithium cells are above freezing temperatures, lithium ions will electroplate onto the anodes, lowering capacity, and permanently damaging your batteries. A lithium Battery Management System (BMS) will shut off charging at freezing temperatures, so for wintertime, your batteries could be either quickly drained, or destroyed if not kept in a heated location. Lithium Ion batteries used in vehicles have a heating system built into the power pack to overcome this, however, this can drain your batteries in cold conditions. Another consideration for Lithium-ion Batteries is that BMS systems for most DIY or retail li-ion batteries (Battleborn, Superstart) are often quite limited in their power output. You may have a large battery bank but may only be able to draw 50-100A current per battery on a continuous basis. Most lithium batteries are not well suited as starter batteries for this reason (marine use).

Final Thoughts

Having batteries that can go long intervals without charging or maintenance, and that can last several lifetimes of a regular battery; will save you money, time, and possibly your life, in the long-run.  Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), Carbon Foam or Lead Carbon Batteries are our picks for the Best Batteries for RV batteries, Marine batteries and Camping batteries. New chemistries like silicon dioxide / lead-crystal batteries, carbon foam / lead carbon batteries are worth considering; their advantages are worth the higher up front cost. These improved batteries have ultra-long, deep-cycle lives, don’t off-gas or require maintenance, have long stand-by charges and have greater temperature ranges.

For specifications, whitepapers and other additional information, please contact Azimuth Solar Products Inc. Canada: azimuthsolar.ca US: azimuthsolarproducts.com  [email protected]  Toll-Free: 1-888-252-2452

Showroom Closure Due to COVID-19

The Azimuth showroom has closed due to COVID-19. At this time we are still able to ship orders and our shipping/receiving staff are doing their best during limited hours to make sure your orders arrive as fast as possible. If you are local to us and looking to pick up your order, we are doing curbside pickup only at this time by appointment. Please call 236-420-4228 to schedule that. Our phone lines are answered by our answering service who e-mail and text our cell phones with your messages. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience!

Azimuth Solar Products Response to Covid 19

Azimuth Solar Products Response to Covid 19

We are concerned about our employees and customers, so we are limiting in-person contact as much as possible during this difficult time.

As of noon today, all of our staff will be working from home and our showroom and pickups will be by appointment only. Please call 236-420-4228 or email [email protected] .

Products may be ordered thru our websites or by email or phone.

www.azimuthsolar.ca  – CAD funds

www.azimuthsolarproducts.com – USD funds.

All our supply chains are still operational. We are still shipping product daily via Post, Courier and Freight. Management will be handling all shipping and receiving to limit in person contacts.

Our phones will remain forwarded to our answering service and we will be returning calls via personal cell phones and email.

We have implemented extra sanitizing measures and all packages and products will be wiped down with sanitizer before shipping.

We holding prices of in stock items at this time. Clearance items are still at clearance pricing.

Thank you for your support! Take care everyone!

Shari McDowell &  Matthew Longman.

Azimuth Solar Holiday Hours 2019

We are open limited hours and by appointment from December 21st to January 5th and reopen with regular business hours on January 6th at 8 am PST.

  • Monday, December 23rd open 10 am – 2 pm
  • Tuesday, December 24th – by appointment only for shipping and receiving
  • Wednesday, December 25th – closed
  • Thursday, December 26th – closed
  • Friday, December 27th – by appointment only for shipping and receiving
  • Saturday – Sunday closed
  • Monday, December 30th – by appointment only for shipping and receiving
  • Tuesday, December 31st – closed
  • Wednesday, January 1st – closed
  • Thursday, January 2nd – by appointment only for shipping and receiving
  • Friday, January 3rd – by appointment only for shipping and receiving
  • Saturday and Sunday closed
  • Monday, January 6th – open regular hours 8 am – 4 pm PST.

We will have a skeleton staff handling email inquiries, quotes and sales during this time. Most of our staff is off for a 2 week holiday to give them a much-needed break. Non-time critical inquiries may be handled after the holidays on January 6th. Phone calls will be forwarded to our answering service, but we will be checking messages daily and returning any time-sensitive phone calls.

Have a wonderful holiday!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Staff of Azimuth Solar Products!

Getting the Most out of your Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) Batteries – Charging Instructions

The Charging Parameters for Lead Crystal/SiO2/Silicon Dioxide Batteries are a bit different than regular lead acid batteries. To Optimize your charge efficiency, if you can, it is better to manually set the charging references.

The State of Charge chart is for zero or minimal load on the batteries, if there is a load on the batteries, then the voltages would be lower.

State of Charge Parameter for EFSN SiO2 Batteries

State of Charge Parameter for EFSL SiO2 Batteries

Bulk/Absorption Charging voltage range is 14.4V – 14.7V, with 14.6V optimal.
Float Charging voltage 13.5V – 13.8V.

For SiO2 Batteries, the Maximum/Optimal Charging Current is 25% of Ah capacity. This can be expressed as a 0.25C, C/4, or 4-hour Charge Rate.
Charging at lower current is fine, but these batteries actually charge more efficiently at the maximum rate. This also minimizes run time for a generator, and reduces fuel use, and reduces RV and boat docking time for shore power AC charging.

When the battery is fully charged, there is often an initial “surface charge” voltage normally starting at around 13.5V with no load, and will stabilize at around 13.05V after 4-6hrs. Or you can run a small load on the battery for a brief period to dissipate the surface charge for a more accurate voltmeter reading. This is common with most lead-acid batteries as well.

This should help you fine-tune your charging and monitoring systems to get the most out of your silicon dioxide/SiO2 battery.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

person sitting in chair in front of an RV

Why do my Batteries Keep Dying in my RV? A Case Study, Running a CPAP and Electric Refrigerator from Solar & Batteries.

It is important when RV dry camping that you have enough power storage (batteries) and production from solar and/or a fuel generator to power all your needed appliances, medical devices and equipment. You need to do the math before you go to avoid unexpected problems that can result in your CPAP quitting in the middle of the night or your fridge defrosting and your food spoiling.  Know before you go. 

Background:

Customer has a new travel trailer with a factory installed 100 Watt solar panel (installed flat on the trailer roof), PWM 30A charge controller, 1000W inverter and one 12V 100Ah deep cycle silicon dioxide battery.

They tried taking it out for a weekend without plugging in (off-grid/boondocking/dry camping) and the battery ran out of power the first night. They wanted to be able to camp away from power for up to a week and to use their fridge, CPAP and fan every day. They mostly camped in the summer and were willing to locate the trailer to get good sunlight on the rooftop solar panel.

A quick analysis of the system showed why they were having issues.

The customer was a heavier power user and this system was sized for a light power user, or a user who mostly camped in powered campsites.Continue reading

PV Positioning Infographic

How to Optimize the Power Efficiency of your PV Solar Panels

Whether you have already converted to solar power or you are considering the switch, it is important to understand the best positioning and angling of your photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate the highest levels of power. Orienting your PV panels correctly varies with different locations around the world and is essential to getting the most out of the sun’s power to meet your solar energy needs. This blog post will provide valuable orientation tips as well as some insight towards the topic of solar panels and their ability to produce electricity on cloudy days.Continue reading