Frequently Asked Question

Is There A Difference in Storage Batteries? 

There are basically two types of storage batteries, which are being used at this time for electrical home power storage. They either use an acid or alkaline solution in the batteries. We will point out the advantages as well as the disadvantages in each type so that you can draw your own conclusion to the type that you would rather have. This is a very timely question since it will require a very detailed explanation. We will answer it in two parts. Last week we will discussed the commonly known lead acid type and this week we will finish our discussion with the alkaline type. 

There are several major advantages in using alkaline type of batteries. The alkaline batteries are made with nickel cadmium or nickel iron. The major difference between the two is that the cadmium ones has a faster discharge curve however the cadmium is very bad for the environment. The nickel iron does not have any environmental problems. Sometimes these batteries are more sluggish or slower to respond when a load is applied. They also must be broken in or run through several cycles before they reach their capacity. The main advantage that I have found is that you can add to your storage system anytime you desire, as the they do not have any memory and therefore you won't be penalized any time you want to increase your storage system. They both have a solution that does not freeze and therefore you can use them in a cold climate and not worry about freezing. 

The new alkaline batteries can be left unattended for long periods of time and they can be fully discharged without any damage done to their life of a normal 4,000 cycles. Which if properly cared for will last for approximately 20 years in a home power system. It is possible to have these reconditioned, which will restore them near to their original condition. With lead acid type it is impossible to recondition them as they use acid, which destroys the cells, where as the alkaline use, a solution of lithium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and distilled water which does not destroy the cells or freeze. 

From time to time there are some reconditioned nickel-cadmium on the market which cost about one-third the amount of new ones. We have used this type of reconditioned ones here on the DO IT and have better success with them than using the lead acid ones. However as with any used product they have their drawbacks. We feel that if we could afford new nickel-cadmium, then we may use them, however the cost is prohibitive as well as the environmental problems. We are recently installed a set of New nickel iron batteries. These batteries have recently become available from Europe and we are very happy with them to date. We have found that they out perform any other batteries that we have used to date. Our supplier of these batteries runs them through several cycles and supplies them ready to go. This large honorable supplier also guarantees them to have at least 90 percent capacity for at least five years, which is better than any other guarantee on the market at this time. 

We feel that choosing the proper batteries is a very important part of your whole home power system, and with careful consideration you can have a storage system that will give you years of trouble free service.


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