Shelves for 3x 280Ah 48v LiFePO4 Banks?

Gannam

New Member
My 48 280Ah cells arrived a few weeks ago, but I have yet to unpack all of them for balancing due to other projects taking priority. I would like to have a storage shelving solution for the cells and would like some input. I was going to have a cabinet custom made, but a price-tag of over $3500 is far from ideal. I want to ensure that the cells are adequately supported, and shielded from accidental contact. (I have 2 young minions that I want to ensure will not be able to access them.)

I am contemplating getting a shelf from Amazon (shudders). The description states that each shelf can support up to 400lbs, which I doubt, but each battery bank should come in just under 200lbs which I hope is tollerable per shelf. I can get sheet aluminum and have it cut to size so that I can cover the back, both sides, and make a door on the front of the unit for access. I'm looking for input as to whether or not this is worth pursuing, or if there's a better alternative.

*Note: The battery banks and inverter are being deployed in a garage that is not attached to the house. (Construction here is made of Bermuda limestone, cement, and concrete block.) Regulations require that all high voltage/current DC lines be encased in metal conduit/casing if in a living space. Any lines outdoors or in walls can be routed with PVC conduit. I don't know offhand if the inspector would consider the garage to be outdoor space or not, but I'd rather the batteries be encased in metal for our protection as well as the cells themselves. I can attach the diagrams that I drew up for the custom shelf/case if anyone is interested.
 

Roswell Bob

Solar Addict
I have a bunker with 6" concrete walls and ceiling in one corner of basement. Bunker is about 60" wide. I was thinking to pour a 60"concrete shelf and set batteries on that. A couple bags of concrete and some rebar shouldn't cost so much.
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
Costco has steel shelving 6’ x 30” 5’ tall, each shelf is rated at 1000# and I regularly climb on them, and store various contractor tools and supplies.
Alternatively, search for steel warehouse shelving like Home Depot uses for inventory.
Fairly cheap in most towns.
 

Gannam

New Member
I have a bunker with 6" concrete walls and ceiling in one corner of basement. Bunker is about 60" wide. I was thinking to pour a 60"concrete shelf and set batteries on that. A couple bags of concrete and some rebar shouldn't cost so much.
Interesting idea, but I'd like the solution to be movable/modular so that if in the future I need to move the banks I can. Yes, I know it will be far from a quick process to disassemble everything, but I'd like to avoid the need of a jackhammer. ;)



Costco has steel shelving 6’ x 30” 5’ tall, each shelf is rated at 1000# and I regularly climb on them, and store various contractor tools and supplies.
Alternatively, search for steel warehouse shelving like Home Depot uses for inventory.
Fairly cheap in most towns.
I had Costco membership when I was living in Halifax...it's incredible what they have available. I used to joke that it's the only place where you can get a "4-pack of canoes." I'll take a look and see what I can find. (y)

Anything that I get has to be available for online purchase and will need to be shipped to a freight forwarder in NJ before being shipped to Bermuda. Small, light items I have sent via air freight, but larger or heavy items have to come by boat. Everything has a 25.25% duty (tax) put on it plus a wharfage fee...batteries have a 33.33% duty placed on them. I was lucky in that solar items are currently duty-free. I had to provide documentation, fill out several forms, and email several officers to show that the Growatt inverter that I had coming in would not work without the LiFePO4 cells accompanying it. (No battery = no workie.) I was able to get the inverter and cells in duty-free, saving ~$2200, but had to pay duty on the BMS's wiring, etc.
 

mrzed001

Voice of reason
My 48 280Ah cells arrived a few weeks ago, but I have yet to unpack all of them for balancing due to other projects taking priority. I would like to have a storage shelving solution for the cells and would like some input. I was going to have a cabinet custom made, but a price-tag of over $3500 is far from ideal. I want to ensure that the cells are adequately supported, and shielded from accidental contact. (I have 2 young minions that I want to ensure will not be able to access them.)

I am contemplating getting a shelf from Amazon (shudders). The description states that each shelf can support up to 400lbs, which I doubt, but each battery bank should come in just under 200lbs which I hope is tollerable per shelf. I can get sheet aluminum and have it cut to size so that I can cover the back, both sides, and make a door on the front of the unit for access. I'm looking for input as to whether or not this is worth pursuing, or if there's a better alternative.

*Note: The battery banks and inverter are being deployed in a garage that is not attached to the house. (Construction here is made of Bermuda limestone, cement, and concrete block.) Regulations require that all high voltage/current DC lines be encased in metal conduit/casing if in a living space. Any lines outdoors or in walls can be routed with PVC conduit. I don't know offhand if the inspector would consider the garage to be outdoor space or not, but I'd rather the batteries be encased in metal for our protection as well as the cells themselves. I can attach the diagrams that I drew up for the custom shelf/case if anyone is interested.

I am searching for a cabinet/shelve myself.
The batteries and inverters place will be in the heated garage under the house. But there are water pipes everywhere in the ceiling.


First I was thinking about something like this (one half of it) ... seemed like a cheap and good solution

And found strong shelves, with side, back and top metal plate ... cheap.
But the door ... that double door would cost 3 times of all the others together :oops: .


OK, then I found this video:

Look fantastic. But wood. And something higher IP rated would be nice (a pipe burst or splashing water could not get in).


OK, then I found Schneider cabinet. IP55, big, perfect. The price is $2.500 plus shelves ... too much.


Asked 3 companies in the area, sent them this "stupid" plan with the battery weight (size in mm) and to want it IP44-IP55:
shelves.jpg
Not one was willing to build it :LOL:


Now I am thinking about separated cabinets
One for the batteries like this: https://www.newbecca.com/product/43602345452
battery_cabinet_1.pngbattery_cabinet_2.png

And cabinets for inverters:


I was chatting about it with Andy. He wrote has a solution for it and will make it for his shelve.

So I still have the pack on an open stupid shelve ... and waiting and searching for an affordable solution :)
 

Gannam

New Member
I am searching for a cabinet/shelve myself.
The batteries and inverters place will be in the heated garage under the house. But there are water pipes everywhere in the ceiling.


First I was thinking about something like this (one half of it) ... seemed like a cheap and good solution

And found strong shelves, with side, back and top metal plate ... cheap.
But the door ... that double door would cost 3 times of all the others together :oops: .


OK, then I found this video:

Look fantastic. But wood. And something higher IP rated would be nice (a pipe burst or splashing water could not get in).


OK, then I found Schneider cabinet. IP55, big, perfect. The price is $2.500 plus shelves ... too much.


Asked 3 companies in the area, sent them this "stupid" plan with the battery weight (size in mm) and to want it IP44-IP55:
View attachment 62614
Not one was willing to build it :LOL:


Now I am thinking about separated cabinets
One for the batteries like this: https://www.newbecca.com/product/43602345452
View attachment 62608View attachment 62609

And cabinets for inverters:


I was chatting about it with Andy. He wrote has a solution for it and will make it for his shelve.

So I still have the pack on an open stupid shelve ... and waiting and searching for an affordable solution :)
Nice to see that I'm not the only one, lol!

I've attached pics detailing the cabinet build that I was looking to have done. I would have 3 120mm fans on the left panel and the two 120mm holes on top for passive exhaust. The right panel would have the kill switches for each bank and the 4/0 cables exiting on the top. The front doors were to be attached with hinges and a locking latch on the front. I can't mount the ~170lb inverter directly to the wall, as it's limestone and would end up on the floor rather quickly. I'll have unistrut or something similar attached to the rafters and wall, for vertical stability, to hold the inverter securely. The cabinet was to be galvanized steel to mitigate corrosion due to salt spray. (Salt spray is primarily a concern during a hurricane.) The labor for the cabinet assembly being over $2k was the real killer for that idea.
 

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Gannam

New Member
Server cabinets can be handy for this sort of thing.
I can find a NEXXT 15U wall mount enclosure that might fit the cells, but they go for over $200 a pop and will need to be modified and put on a shelf so that they're off the ground. (Only officially support 132lbs for wall mount.) I would also have to have the cells on their side which I'd rather not do. I haven't seen a large 2nd hand rack for sale in a while, and they generally go for a few thousand.

I like the ideas, keep em coming!
 

mrzed001

Voice of reason
Nice to see that I'm not the only one, lol!

I've attached pics detailing the cabinet build that I was looking to have done. I would have 3 120mm fans on the left panel and the two 120mm holes on top for passive exhaust. The right panel would have the kill switches for each bank and the 4/0 cables exiting on the top. The front doors were to be attached with hinges and a locking latch on the front. I can't mount the ~170lb inverter directly to the wall, as it's limestone and would end up on the floor rather quickly. I'll have unistrut or something similar attached to the rafters and wall, for vertical stability, to hold the inverter securely. The cabinet was to be galvanized steel to mitigate corrosion due to salt spray. (Salt spray is primarily a concern during a hurricane.) The labor for the cabinet assembly being over $2k was the real killer for that idea.

I was thinking also galvanized steel for pillars and plates. Have the sellers, have the prices. It is cheap. All steel material is about $400-$500.

I was playing a bit with SolidWorks to make a plan with complete steel thickness for pillars and plates (and statical analysis, bending under the weight, maximal bending of the shelves) ... but give up.
The hard part is to make it really water resistant (without welding everything together).

On the top easy, just a bottlecap going down a little bit on all 4 sides.
The side-rear panels can bend on the ends and overlap. No big deal.
But the door ... the frame has to be this beak nose ... and with a double door that sliding into that ... too much for me

Server cabinets can be handy for this sort of thing.
True. I checked up some and I was in a lot server rooms before. They are deep and not wide.
Also full with holes (and even used ones are expensive)


I like the ideas, keep em coming!
Gun cabinets, safes, filing cabinets. Not joking already checking used items :LOL:

But at the end if I am not too lazy (and buy the small battery and inverter cabinets) then I can weld the cabinet together myself.
... but I am too lazy and too busy for that.
 

Supervstech

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
I get calls all the time from customers needing me to haul away stuff…

I have several panel board boxes, server cabinets, I made a thread on here way back about some recovered parking lot lamp enclosures that are perfect for this…

I will pull up the post…

 

Gannam

New Member
I was thinking also galvanized steel for pillars and plates. Have the sellers, have the prices. It is cheap. All steel material is about $400-$500.

I was playing a bit with SolidWorks to make a plan with complete steel thickness for pillars and plates (and statical analysis, bending under the weight, maximal bending of the shelves) ... but give up.
The hard part is to make it really water resistant (without welding everything together).

On the top easy, just a bottlecap going down a little bit on all 4 sides.
The side-rear panels can bend on the ends and overlap. No big deal.
But the door ... the frame has to be this beak nose ... and with a double door that sliding into that ... too much for me


True. I checked up some and I was in a lot server rooms before. They are deep and not wide.
Also full with holes (and even used ones are expensive)



Gun cabinets, safes, filing cabinets. Not joking already checking used items :LOL:

But at the end if I am not too lazy (and buy the small battery and inverter cabinets) then I can weld the cabinet together myself.
... but I am too lazy and too busy for that.
I have a file cabinet that I can technically use, but the doors on the front would have to be replaced, all internal rails removed, bottom reinforced to support the weight, and shelving built. The cells would also need additional cabling to account for the odd configuration that I'd need to use. I scrapped the idea as it would be far too involved with the unit that I have.

I'd love to see the look on the customs officer's face if I brought a gun cabinet in! (Firearms and munitions are illegal on the island.)
 

mrzed001

Voice of reason
I have a file cabinet that I can technically use, but the doors on the front would have to be replaced, all internal rails removed, bottom reinforced to support the weight, and shelving built. The cells would also need additional cabling to account for the odd configuration that I'd need to use. I scrapped the idea as it would be far too involved with the unit that I have.
Today I use a stupid shelve system. Can hold 400kg on every shelve, 2m long, 4 shelves.
But no plate on any side, no door ... totally open. I do not thrust it, no protection.
Also the shelve plates are wood ... and they bend under the cells weight (cells top-bottom not parallel, terminals have tension).
I had to put 2 more wood plate under the cells. And there are 3 cross beams under the wood plates. One more than in your design :)

I am about to give up the search and buy the small battery cabinet for $100 and 2pcs of "small" cabinets for inverters.
Take the shelve system apart (screwless) and redesign it to 2 parts: bottom battery cabinet, upper inverter cabinets.
Until I have everything I can not put the system in real use, only playing with it. (also searching for thick 4+mm alu busbars for the cells ... again I can buy an alu rod and cut it in pieces .... but only when I have everything together to finalize the setup)

I'd love to see the look on the customs officer's face if I brought a gun cabinet in! (Firearms and munitions are illegal on the island.)
If you would use NMC or LiPo battery you could say it is a bomb bunker or explosion chamber :LOL: Now that would be a face ...
 

Gannam

New Member
Today I use a stupid shelve system. Can hold 400kg on every shelve, 2m long, 4 shelves.
But no plate on any side, no door ... totally open. I do not thrust it, no protection.
Also the shelve plates are wood ... and they bend under the cells weight (cells top-bottom not parallel, terminals have tension).
I had to put 2 more wood plate under the cells. And there are 3 cross beams under the wood plates. One more than in your design :)

I am about to give up the search and buy the small battery cabinet for $100 and 2pcs of "small" cabinets for inverters.
Take the shelve system apart (screwless) and redesign it to 2 parts: bottom battery cabinet, upper inverter cabinets.
Until I have everything I can not put the system in real use, only playing with it. (also searching for thick 4+mm alu busbars for the cells ... again I can buy an alu rod and cut it in pieces .... but only when I have everything together to finalize the setup)
With either my shelves, the Amazon one, or any alternative, I am planning on using a sheet of ply coated with epoxy underneath as an electric insulator. For the Amazon unit I expect it would also help to keep things flat/level and prevent the surface from bowing/buckling. The custom unit wouldn't budge at all with the thick steel plate that I'd use for the shelves.

I'm thinking more about the concrete shelf idea as there's no way it would buckle/bow. Metal mesh in the concrete mix similar to how floors are reinforced would be super solid. Still not sure about doing this though.

I'm going to look into those battery cabinets a little further. If they'd work with the cell configuration that I want and shipping isn't too crazy, I might just go for it.

I gave up on trying to find a reasonable price for custom busbars here, and went for a pre-made solution. 4 stud, 300A continuous 900A, surge, and has screw connections that'll handle 20A. I'm thinking screw connections for the fans...the fans will run only when at least one bank is turned on. This way there will be air movement when power is accessible, but it won't drain the banks if the BMS's go into low voltage protection.

If you would use NMC or LiPo battery you could say it is a bomb bunker or explosion chamber :LOL: Now that would be a face ...
🤣 I could just imagine my wife's response to my phone call asking to be picked up from the PD's interrogation room.
 

Escuimein

New Member
You can use 2x4s and make nice doors for it. Granted 2x4s are very expensive at the moment.
 

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Gannam

New Member
You can use 2x4s and make nice doors for it. Granted 2x4s are very expensive at the moment.
Honestly, that's what I was thinking of doing initially, but after speaking with a local electrician I don't think the inspector would pass wooden shelves it as it would lose structural integrity quickly in the event of a fire. I need the inspector's stamp of approval to keep the insurance company happy. I currently have wooden shelves at the back of the garage. I'm planning on removing the set on the right to make space for the battery bank.

I'm contemplating having aluminum sheets cut, using L-bars to join panels to make a box/boxes, and mounting the cells on their wide side. I'd rather not mount them on their side, but the shallower profile would be better on the somewhat limited space in the garage. The cost of the sheets would be relatively low and I wouldn't be paying anyone to fabricate the box. I could put the boxes on 12" concrete blocks which would lift them off the ground and provide a foundation that wouldn't bend or flex.

The timing of the project is not ideal as we have hurricane Larry en route. Hopefully it'll stay to our East and remain a hurricane for the fish.
 

Escuimein

New Member
You may also consider unistrut in that case for the framing as a diy solution. For my future lifepo4 bank I was planning on using 10' unistrut for the frame and cut to size 3/4 wood panels for the shelving as I can currently buy unistrut for basically the same price of pressure treated pine in 2x4x8. I would insulate the batteries to the shelving if they are metal. Pressure treated lumber tends to bow and will not be perfectly straight but that's the only thing I will dare buy as I live in Puerto Rico and tropical weather will destroy untreated lumber. It did work perfectly for that large Chevy volt battery bank. I used 3" deep patio stepping blocks for the same reason of elevating the shelving in case of water accumulation during a hurricane.
 

Gannam

New Member
You may also consider unistrut in that case for the framing as a diy solution. For my future lifepo4 bank I was planning on using 10' unistrut for the frame and cut to size 3/4 wood panels for the shelving as I can currently buy unistrut for basically the same price of pressure treated pine in 2x4x8. I would insulate the batteries to the shelving if they are metal. Pressure treated lumber tends to bow and will not be perfectly straight but that's the only thing I will dare buy as I live in Puerto Rico and tropical weather will destroy untreated lumber. It did work perfectly for that large Chevy volt battery bank. I used 3" deep patio stepping blocks for the same reason of elevating the shelving in case of water accumulation during a hurricane.
I hadn't considered unistrut for the case framing, but I'll definitely look into it as an option. I'll be using it to support the inverter, so I'll check the price when I pick it up to see if it's cost effective. I plan on using poly boards for compression which will also separate the cells from the case. (I feel compression is necessary when using solid bus bars to avoid stressing the cell's terminals if the cells expand when charged.) Rather than stacking the enclosures, I'll have them lined up against the wall in a row in a similar fashion to what you'd see with Enphase or Tesla units.

I know what you mean about untreated lumber. It has maybe 2 years exposed to the elements here before it's completely unreliable for structure purposes. If I go with the aluminum box idea, I'll definitely have it up on cement blocks. The garage has never flooded, but I know if I don't prepare for it, it'll happen. (I try to prepare for the worst case scenario, within reason, so I won't be surprised or caught off-guard if it occurs.)
 

Brett V

Solar Addict
I used an aluminum truck toolbox. The installation was kinda tight and I'd go a little bigger if I had it to do over, but the end result was nice. It's secure and lockable.
 

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Sanwizard

Photon Sorcerer
I used an aluminum truck toolbox. The installation was kinda tight and I'd go a little bigger if I had it to do over, but the end result was nice. It's secure and lockable.
Very nice. I like the way you installed it so you can stack them if needed, and still have access. I used a very similar box, but its from the top, so I cannot stack.
 

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Gannam

New Member
I used an aluminum truck toolbox. The installation was kinda tight and I'd go a little bigger if I had it to do over, but the end result was nice. It's secure and lockable.
Neat setup! I'd most likely have to order those in if I go that route. What capacity are your cells?
 
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