DIY Battery Handbook Initiative

mrzed001

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Yes, not a step by step guide - a best practices guide to prevent fire/bloated cells/potential other safety concerns. Something succinct, base on all the issues that we've seen in threads like the ones in the "up in smoke" forum.

That was the main reason for the Up in smoke :)
A best practice guide or recommended solutions collection is a big first step. A base for everyone.

I am just thinking one step ahead.
With a single static hierarchical page (all endpoints are links to wiki page or forum page) it is possible to build a complete helper for users.
And the best: it does not have to be done at once. Every piece can be done by other people and added when ready.

(ps: as I said in some topic: this forum is the "industry standard" in DiY battery solutions. Everyone cite this all over the world. So it would be better if all the important "standards" are not scattered all over the forum, but collected in one place )
 

upnorthandpersonal

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it does not have to be done at once. Every piece can be done by other people and added when ready.

Yes, exactly. We have to establish an outline and some guidelines - but there will obviously be more than one editor. Check out the INCOSE Se Handbook as an example of a document written in such a manner.
 

mrzed001

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Yes, exactly. We have to establish an outline and some guidelines - but there will obviously be more than one editor. Check out the INCOSE Se Handbook as an example of a document written in such a manner.

Count me in :)

I am making right now a complete solar overview with all the possible solutions and schematics from the base GT (microinverter, string inverter), OG (with and without grid support) to the more complex hybrid solutions like AC coupled, DC coupled, one unit hybrid ....
This is an another topic that needs explaining, but I can put that aside :)
 

Steve_S

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Many folks do not like to RTFM - some join and post PM's within minutes of joining because they can't even bother to look at the forum materials. I wrote up the Luyuan Tech Basic Lifepo4 Assembly Guide and yet many won't look and ask the same questions in a never ending cycle. (No, don't plagiarize it) Amy Wan @ Luyuan even had the guide printed and includes it with orders to help folks out because many do not think to do more research than what seems "obvious".
 

upnorthandpersonal

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Many folks do not like to RTFM - some join and post PM's within minutes of joining because they can't even bother to look at the forum materials.

Yep - I know... This is always and will always be a problem. But I have to believe that out of the 35 000 members this forum now has and growing, the majority will be able to read a best practices document before building their own battery. At least it could become a link that can be pasted every time a new user shows up with the same questions.

No, don't plagiarize it

Different scope anyway.
 

DJSmiley

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It doesn't need to be as drawn out as stated.

A few picture diagrams can cover the goofy configurations.

4s 8s 16s are the same thing, just different voltages.

Putting cells in parallel within a pack is the same thing to XsYp - each group of "p" cells becomes one "s".

It's easy to simplify.

And there is no need to redo work that has been done already.

OverkillSolar for example has a very good manual, which also covers parts of balancing and pack configurations. The basics remain the same for any BMS.

There are some more specific topics towards DIY which can be covered, but I don't see much benefit in covering topics twice.

Also, there is already some decent information, both here, but eg also in the guides written by @Steve_S for example, and in various topics.

Problem is: cover too less: Important things are forgotten, thus causing issues
Cover too detailled: People just won't read and open a topic about overcharged cells... since they didn't take the time to read before they screw up

It's almost impossible to find a balance between this.. A 'in-a-nutshell'-kind of would be an option, with links to more specific information. But even on the nutshell-version you need to cover pretty much a lot of information, since you have to assume the audience is anywhere between someone who designs their own PCB, but doesn't have any LFP experience (but does properly understand V/A/Ah/resistance and so on) and someone who barely knows how to replace a bulb, but has seen 'a friend with his RV building a cheap LFP set'
 
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curiouscarbon

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This idea is cool and would benefit from at least two axes of awareness in its writing.

1) how much money available for project
2) how much hacking/coding interest for project

some people have few money lots coding, some few money few coding, some lots money no coding. some lots money lots coding. each one of these four combinations feels like it would result in a different handbook
 

mrzed001

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Yep - I know... This is always and will always be a problem. But I have to believe that out of the 35 000 members this forum now has and growing, the majority will be able to read a best practices document before building their own battery. At least it could become a link that can be pasted every time a new user shows up with the same questions.

And many many more only reads the forum.
But yeah, some do not read even the basic manuals.
And how do you explain that to users: pleeeese do not put cells in the battery on the wrong order (like in the 5p16s where the cabin burned down)

First for this handbook (or recommended solutions collection) we need a structure. A list of topics to explain.

Another "stupid" idea ... a topic group like the Up in smoke ? (heavily administered)
A Best practice or recommended solutions or ... there is already a Frequently Asked Questions section.
@svetz and you put a lot of work into it already. That could be a good base.
Would rename it to FAQ and recommended solution (or something more cheezy like FAQ so you do not burn down your house)
 

svetz

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A Best practice or recommended solutions or ... there is already a Frequently Asked Questions section.
@svetz and you put a lot of work into it already.
Suspect you mean this thread: Battery FAQ and this top-level battery wiki, but I believe they're a different nature than what UpNorthAndPersonal is thinking:
top balancing, compression, matching and environmental controls, fuses, etc
Closest sub-part might be the compression wiki. There's also Incrementally adding DC batteries for mixing/matching old cells with new cells.


And many many more only reads the forum....But yeah, some do not read even the basic manuals.
Sadly, there's nothing you can write that people who won't read will read. Fortunately, Will has some videos on building batteries too.
 

mrzed001

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Suspect you mean this thread: Battery FAQ and this top-level battery wiki, but I believe they're a different nature than what UpNorthAndPersonal is thinking:

Closest sub-part might be the compression wiki. There's also Incrementally adding DC batteries for mixing/matching old cells with new cells.

I mean there is already a Forums -> General Discussion -> Frequently Asked Questions
section where is already a lot from your work (the battery FAQ too)

Could it be a good place for this best practice or recommended solutions posts?
(I fear that nobody would read a big and long pdf ... not even if it sings and dances :) )

Sadly, there's nothing you can write that people who won't read will read. Fortunately, Will has some videos on building batteries too.
I think a lot of people are simply overwhelmed.
There is such a huge info hill in this forum that most simple ignore it (and do not read back old posts).
Too lazy to read it all. Or thinks it is too much work (search and evaluate).
And so the same problems, the same questions pop up topic to topic again and again. (easier to ask than to search)
 

Sanwizard

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Those would be very clearly presented in topics such as 'top balancing'. We know this information is spread out all over the place and there are multiple ways to do this, etc. The document would give the one that is considered safest (safety would be a primary focus in general) and will not go into nuances.
I love the idea. Your probably going to need a section for 12, 24, and 48V systems though.
Perhaps put a table of contents together to start comments on what should be included.
I thought the pictures on how to determine cell manufacturer came in handy for instance. Best practices to keep safe from fire would also be nice, and tou could link to Will's videos on the subjects, like best wires, cable and fuse sizing, breaker types, battery power switch requirements, pre-charging, etc.
 

svetz

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I mean there is already a Forums -> General Discussion -> Frequently Asked Questions
section where is already a lot from your work (the battery FAQ too)

Could it be a good place for this best practice or recommended solutions posts?
Oh! I see what you meant now. It could be. Originally it was the only place, but then the resources section came along and then the wiki.

At one point there was an effort to copy the FAQ into the Wiki but it fell by the wayside and the two diverged making it a bit messy. I know a lot of people don't like the FAQ section, I've seen comments like "no one knows it exists". But at least the search finds stuff there, not sure it does on the wiki or resources.

Probably something to talk about. There's actually a few references written by different people that could be merged into something holistic.
 

upnorthandpersonal

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I think a lot of people are simply overwhelmed.
I've seen comments like "no one knows it exists"

That's the main issue I would tackle with this: all the information is here somewhere, but a person new to the forum (and batteries) will have a hard time finding this information due to the simple fact that threads on the topics tend to dive into details that don't really matter (for beginners) but can confuse the heck out of them.
If we focus on the basics first (with the aim to take it from a safety point of view) then that would be a 'recommended start' for a person new to the topic. Once they get familiar with this they can go on a deep dive if they want, but at least there will be a document to fall back on that focuses on those aspects that are often lost in pages long discussions in threads, or are hard to find, or have a bunch of different opinions based on som specific requirements.

Since batteries are by far the most expensive and potentially risky component in the whole solar set-up, I think it makes sense to put the basic guidelines and best practices in a document that does not deviate from the core issue (safety) and without umpteen options based on specifics. For example, I would only focus on LiFePO4 and skip all the other chemistries since LiFePO4 at this time is the best practice for DIY lithium packs and make it very clear why this is the case.
 

mrzed001

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I love the idea. Your probably going to need a section for 12, 24, and 48V systems though.
And please-please-PLEASE let there be a 220-240Vac non US part too :)
I know most of the users are from US. But more and more from EU, Asia, Africa, Australia, ...



That's the main issue I would tackle with this: all the information is here somewhere, but a person new to the forum (and batteries) will have a hard time finding this information due to the simple fact that threads on the topics tend to dive into details that don't really matter (for beginners) but can confuse the heck out of them.
If we focus on the basics first (with the aim to take it from a safety point of view) then that would be a 'recommended start' for a person new to the topic. Once they get familiar with this they can go on a deep dive if they want, but at least there will be a document to fall back on that focuses on those aspects that are often lost in pages long discussions in threads, or are hard to find, or have a bunch of different opinions based on som specific requirements.

Since batteries are by far the most expensive and potentially risky component in the whole solar set-up, I think it makes sense to put the basic guidelines and best practices in a document that does not deviate from the core issue (safety) and without umpteen options based on specifics. For example, I would only focus on LiFePO4 and skip all the other chemistries since LiFePO4 at this time is the best practice for DIY lithium packs and make it very clear why this is the case.

Totally agree. But we need a ... frame. Something to hold it all together. To be user friendly, reusable, searchable, linkable ... likeable :)
We could jump from one problem to the other, then the next in a total different part of the system ... but it would be a mess (again an overwhelming pile of information that noone reads).
I think we need some structure :)

Again a "stupid" idea: for start a simple pic with a system, where user can click on parts and relevant posts/handbook/FAQ page/... come up
 

upnorthandpersonal

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How about something like this for a basic outline:

- LiFePO4 chemistry
- Balancing
- BMS
- Bus Bars
- Terminals
- Fixture
- Fuses
- Cables

Best practices for all of them, not going into any details. Focus on safety. Just the bare minimum to start with, no controversies. For example, I know it's popular to parallel cells and balance them, but from a safety point of view, it would be best to do it one cell at a time. More advanced methods such as series with BMS, disconnect, then parallel and balance can lead to many issues. For one, suppose someone makes a mistake, you're having an issue with all cells. When you do one at a time and you mess up, you ruin that one cell only.

In the end, the user will always be able to find other information in the forums, but this would be presented as the least amount of risk.
 

upnorthandpersonal

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I've made a start:


As mentioned before, the idea is not to go into all details and options but have a guide that focuses on safety and is non-ambiguous and to the point. Comments welcome!
 

Bob B

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I would add a safety area with some bullet points.

....or in the prerequisites are add that a bonus would be to use non conductive tools or try to insulate them .... accidental shorts seem to be one of the common mistakes.
 
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