Still troubleshooting battery backup sump pump


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Old 01-30-17, 10:28 AM
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Still troubleshooting battery backup sump pump

Hi all

Instead of adding to my previous THREAD, I thought it makes sense to start anew

Here is my status:
  • Older Little Giant SPBS-12 battery backup sump
  • Brand new battery
  • Tested and proved system functions off just the battery
  • When system engages, alarm sounds--NORMAL
  • Reset on the head unit does NOT silence the alarm -- NOT normal

I followed Little Giant tech supports recommended test and removed the lead to the switch while alarm was on-- did not shut off the alarm

Indeed, only unplugging the head unit silenced the alarm (while pump not running).

Little Giant tech support says it sounds like the reset switch is not functioning, but everything else should be fine. I have a concern as to whether it is going to charge the battery--time will tell. I will need to test over the next few weeks

Here is my new question:

Lets put this aside for a moment, and think on the inherent limitation of the battery backup: how long the battery will power the pump and how long a battery lasts. A friend suggested that, instead of buying two or more extra batteries, why not look into Lithium ion? Anyone know if a deep cycle lithium ion battery would work? What would the pros/cons be?
 
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Old 01-30-17, 11:38 AM
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LI can have higher energy density (more power in smaller size) and they can tolerate more charge/discharge cycles (which is not typically an issue in sump pump backups). Problem with trying to use one in your case is, even if you could find one of appropriate voltage, capacity, etc, it would not be compatible with the charging circuitry and the charge monitoring circuitry in your controller. You would need a controller designed from the get go for LI batteries.

A LI battery of appropriate size would also be a lot more expensive than deep cycle lead acid cells.

Now switching to AGM batteries would be a reasonable step. They don't outgas like liquid lead acid, and they are usually compatible with the circuitry in the controllers. You still need to get one designed for deep cycle operation.
 
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Old 01-30-17, 12:32 PM
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I do a lot with Li batteries of various technologies. They are great but they are a totally different monster than what most people know and can be dangerous if DIY'd incorrectly. There is really no deep cycle lithium battery. There are some more tolerant of deeper discharge but in general lithium batteries are fussy.

Lithiums can be harmed by being over discharged. Once over discharged most lithium chargers will not "recognize" and charge the battery and will give you a bad battery error. Most devices using lithium batteries have special circuitry to automatically turn off once the battery is discharged to a certain point to protect the battery.

Lithium batteries are especially needful of a charger specific to their technology. Charging a lithium battery incorrectly has a nasty way of causing a spectacular fire. And it's not even as simple as just a lithium charger a LiFe (lithium iron) battery needs different charging than a LiPo (lithium polymer). Get it wrong and you've got a spectacular and stinky fire.

In your case old fashioned wet cell lead deep cycle batteries are the best option. They are readily available and are a cheap way to store energy and are cheaper than lithiums amp for amp of stored energy. If you want a step up AGM batteries like CarbideTipped mentioned can be a good option. "Telecom batteries" are specifically designed for extremely long life and tend to be very high quality batteries. Their downside is they can be twice the cost of a wet cell like you'd use on a boat for powering a trolling motor.
 
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Old 01-30-17, 12:47 PM
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thanks for the reply!

I found this site https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/arti...ry-basics.html

From the comments, sounds like AGM is a good choice for my 'backup' battery in that it holds a charge better-- but wet battery, properly charged, should last almost as long?

I am really wishing I had the $$$ for the water backup
 
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Old 01-30-17, 12:51 PM
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thanks! sounds like this falls under the umbrella of 'if there were a better option everyone would be doing it'

 
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Old 01-30-17, 01:59 PM
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Just a comment on water backup. Consider if many people opt for water backup during a power failure how much of a load would that place on your drinking water supply. Your water is one of the few emergency necessities that remains available during an extended power failure.

Having gone through the ice storm of 98 I helped several homes by bring over a generator supplied by my neighbor. There are still issues keeping a generator in a ready to go condition with fuel, but it will charge batteries or run portions of your home like magic.

Bud
 
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Old 01-31-17, 06:40 AM
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I do have the standby generator. I am concerned if we are out of town for any length of time.
 
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Old 01-31-17, 06:58 AM
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My in-laws were in a similar situation. They were prisoners to their home and could not travel if any bad weather was forecast and several times they got caught away from home (on a cruise) and the power went out. A power outage or a sump pump failure allowed their finished basement to reliably flood 3' deep. Power outages from winter storms often took the power out for days and their backup battery systems would go dead... and the basement floods. In the end they installed an automatic stand by generator and redundant sump pumps.
 
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Old 01-31-17, 08:06 AM
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oh boy...

$500 for replacing charger

or

$2000 for water power backup


or

$10-12k for standby generator


Boy these things have ways of getting expensive
 
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Old 01-31-17, 08:35 AM
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In some ways a basement can be like a leaky boat. It'll stay afloat if you keep the pumps running but if you let the bilge pumps fail you can be in for a real mess.
 
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Old 02-01-17, 06:38 AM
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basement would almost be tolerable. This is in garage. If it floods, it takes family room, laundry room and basement with it
 
 

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