I am currently using a gas generator for power out of necessity. I have obtained 3 batteries from the scrapyard where I work. These were from a gov installation of some type and evidently were for telecommunications backup as they are C-D Technology High Rate Series sealed lead acid batteries rated at 88AH (20V). Well, I thought I scored and could just buy a solar panel to charge up the batteries during the day and use them with an inverter at night. Hah!! I bought a 1200w/12v inverter which powers my computer/tv/radio/clock and a few other doo dads just fine. I estimate about a 1000watt draw. The water pump/refrig/water heater I leave to the gen. So now I had to figure out how to charge these things and thats when I came upon this forum. Obviously my little 10A auto battery charger is not going to do it. Either is the single solar panel I was going to buy. I was considering a 65 W panel as thats all I can barely afford. After reading your forum I wanted to ask ...how can you tell what the SOC of the batteries are. How in the world do you know its 101% without paying 800 dollars for a controller? I don't want to ruin these batteries right off the bat. So now I'm considering using the money I was going to spend on the solar panel to buy a good battery charger but then I have to ask...is a 15 A charger going to work (the cheapest) or should I consider a 30 A, so that I could charge these 3 connected in parallel. Or should I just give up until I win the lottery and keep paying 3.50/gal (N. Cal)for a lot of gas.
Thanks for any comment. Bob