Oh, what a busy day it was yesterday...
First, the "ecstasy" - I just doubled my solar panels from 1kW to 2kW! Amazing what a difference that can make! I could now run the furnace straight off the panels if needed, or even my portable AC unit. But mostly the batteries now get a proper charge rate for a change, even while my normal loads are present.
Funny what can thrill a person. I felt like a kid on Christmas Day when I heard the fridge start and I watched the solar input spike up to 1600W to handle the inrush and the batteries kept charging! Maybe not quite as impressive as a major grid-tie installation, but I like it. Here are the new panels, 6 Kyocera KD185s:
There are occasionally some thin shadows from all the antennas I have in the air, but only at the later parts of the day. During midday no shadows at all. I have a little more room at the end of the rails - maybe I'll finally mount the Harbor Freight panels permanently and put them back to work too!
But there was a major "agony"! I've been far too lazy and put off the watering a bit long... *Beats head with a cluebat...*
Finally got around to checking the batteries yesterday afternoon and I had at least one cell in each battery (8 T105s) where the plates were - if not exposed, there wasn't ANY water over them. They looked good and wet, and just the smallest amount of water added covered them. Not sure if that counts as exposed or not... Took 2 gallons to fill all 24 cells to capacity!
At the moment I see no ill effects - voltages and reaction to charging looks the same as always. Haven't tried a big load test, might have to let the system run off-grid overnight and see how it does. Anyone have more experience with this sort of thing? I realized I only knew this was a Bad Thing - but not really just what happens. A little net searching tells me simply that the exposed plates can't recharge thus the sulfation hardens. Perhaps I caught this just in time? Or is there something that may weaken / worsen over time?