Electronics > Power/Renewable Energy/EV's

efficient way to disconnect battery when voltage drops?

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It is inconsistent. I've got two pieces of stripboard in my garage - the garden light timer, and the charge controller. Both made in exactly the same way, and housed in the same room. The bell board is only slightly older, but seriously corroded - while the charge controller is entirely untouched by corrosion. Microclimate matters. But it's certainly a concern. Even if you buy an off-the-shelf unit, we all have horror stories of the 'quality' of low cost electronics.

Personally, I'd make it myself, because I know then that even if it does go wrong in a few months I can fix it and make it better. I'd also make sure to include a fuse though, just in case! This has actually been on my to-do list for a while: Making some test boards, applying different means of corrosion protection, and exposing them to the harshness of good British weather.

Electrolysis, I am sure, also plays a part in corrosion.   Different components may use different metals which could contribute.  It's not so much the 'off the shelf' part, it's the part that claims like "Weather resistant" should be able to handle more than a 2 year lifespan inside.  So making it myself gives me A) exactly what I want, B) helps me learn what is going on, C) gives me a lot more satisfaction, D) allows me to fix it if something goes wrong later.

On one project, I used the nail polish method & some shoe-goo to protect (or pot) all the components from vibration and it's installed on a motorcycle and has held up very well; it is not well protected, gets moisture, water splashes, rain, etc. and has held up rather well.  The wire at the far ends are the only thing that have given me a problem so far.... so I think for inside a shed or under the overhang where it never gets water on it, it will hold up, provided I don't run into an electrolysis issue.

Red Squirrel:
Anything you buy or make you'll probably want the whole setup to be in some kind of outdoor/wet rated Nema box anyway.   The battery, charge controller, and any other controls.  May also want a small heater in the cabinet to keep it at a half decent temperature, just need to figure out the best balance as if you use the heater too much you're just using up the battery, but if you don't heat it at all the battery could freeze when it's low.   May even be worth insulating the box with some fire rated insulation. 

I use a small incandescent light bulb with a thermal switch to keep it from near freezing temps.  This has worked well.   The box it's in is a large ammo box that is sealed and insulated.  During the winter, I close the lid, during the summer I remove the lid & use a small (thermally controlled) 12v fan to keep things from over heating.  So on top of the individual bits (like the battery disconnect) being inside their own sealed project box, they are inside another, which is then inside a building under a roof protected from the raw elements...

Every little bit adds up; which is why I try to save as much power from every thing....  .8 amps vs 1 amp isn't much different, but when you look at a dozen things, that's over 2 amp savings...  same applies when I'm dealing with 100ma vs 80ma -- it all adds up.


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