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Uses For Dead Car Batteries

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 17:22
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Many “dead” car batteries are actually perfectly good batteries. They just can no longer provide the hundreds of amps needed to start a car. Many “dead” sealed lead acid batteries are actually un-dead batteries that can no longer reliably provide a couple of hundred watts of power needed to keep a computer running in a power outage.

A couple of years ago I decided to add another small solar panel to the collection I have on my roof. I have a 5 and 10 watt. This new one is a 20 watt. It is dedicated to providing emergency power for lighting, a small fan and other misc. small low voltage devices. For this setup I needed a battery since it would need to be able to provide power 24 hours a day. I decided an un-dead car battery would be perfect since the largest load it would need to power for any extended period of time would be less than one half an amp. There is quite a difference between 200 – 600 amps and a half an amp.

The battery pictured above was the one that would no longer start my car.

Charging The Battery

I could have used a linear regulator to charge the battery with the solar panel. The cost of a linear regulator is typically less than a dollar. I decided to go with a charge controller instead because they more efficiently use the available power to charge the battery. You get more run time at night when you use a charge controller.


I did some extensive testing to make sure I knew how well the system would work in an extended power outage. I ran the 10” fan for several weeks, 24 hours a day a couple of summers ago. The system worked fine. Since then I have been running LED lighting out on the patio 24 hours a day for about 2 years.

The rest of the story is here (link below) including another micro-solar setup and a sealed lead acid battery desk lamp. There is also information on sources of component parts for your micro-solar set up:


Did you know…

That you can dehydrate food with a pilot light flame?

You can double the calories and volume of almost any can of food for less than 50 cents?

You can cook with 3 candle flames?

You can drastically reduce cooking fuel consumption with a thermos?

You can make a really good bean sprouter for less than a dollar?

You can use fat as a fuel (fire)?

A modified file cabinet makes a very good Faraday cage?

You can modify a $5 flashlight to run for over 300 hours before the battery dies?



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