Desulfators, catastrophic fuses, buss bars, oh my!


Eight months and fifteen thousand dollars later, I am still not finished.



Last night’s landmark (in lieu of project completion) was the final interconnection and torquing of the battery bank itself. With no charging in about a year and prolonged exposure to the elements, bank voltage was measured at 49.63V, the rough equivalent of 12.4V on a twelve-volt system. Which really ain’t too shabby, and utterly miraculous given the combination of neglect and rough-housing these things have endured since coming into my ownership. But that’s all I had to show for the effort: four significant digits. An electrochemical “Hello, world!” The first clumsily-uttered syllables of a precocious infant. Proof of life inside that unbelievably massive, toxic aquarium, the soft machine containing (at full charge) nearly one-quarter megawatt-hour. Antony & the Johnsons should sing a ballad in homage to this monstrosity.

Tonight, after escaping from the afternoon heat for many hours in the *other* container, I worked by flashlight, slowly pushing closer to completion. Whatever criticisms I may hurl at myself publicly, I am trying for the first time in my life to actually do everything right on this project. Every little step calls for introspection, “what-if” contingency anticipation, reconsideration of the previous three steps, and painfully cautious execution. Usually I just rush through things, after the motto, “We’ll fix it in the mix.” The stakes are too high now. There might be a caustic sink hole in the ground to show for miscalculation. Or permanent blindness. Or worse.

Tomorrow I’ll pull down the protective plywood sheets I put up this morning, connect the desulfators and then figure out what to do next.