Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Concorde AGM battery problems

I've been trying to post for a couple of weeks, without success.  Finally had to move to Firefox to remove error message.  Still not sure what caused the problem with AOL.   Well, here I am again.

We had a really tough three weeks from Christmas on.  Problem one was the generator.  Our Briggs & Stratton had bad rings and we search all over the country without success.  We ended up by ordering from the dealer in Belize City.  We didn't realize they were special ordering.  I was told it would come in with their regular parts delivery.  We finally got the rings three weeks later to the tune of $240BZ.  In the meantime we were afraid of depleting our batteries even more, so spent the last of our reserves buying a Honda EU generator.  This was another real lesson.  The recommendation from several people was to buy a Honda.  We went to Universal in Spanish Lookout and saw lots of Honda engines, but on Asian bodies.  These were much cheaper than those at the Honda dealer.  We asked lots of questions and found that the reason these are so much cheaper is that they're reconditioned motors and parts for the entire machine are hard to get.  Enough already! !  We bo't the little Honda 300 from the dealer.  It bro't me to tears to spend such dear dollars on another generator, but that's the hazard of living off-grid.  The beauties of this model are, first, it's an electric start.  My muscles cried, hallelujah!  It also functions on demand.  Most generators run all out, all the time.  This little guy starts out at idle and then only increases power as needed.  Thus, it's extremely quiet and very fuel efficient.  This is keeping us functioning, but we are still having battery problems.

We have AGM sealed batteries.  You're not supposed to equalize these, but they won't take a deep charge.  The inverter keeps shutting the generator off.  Elvis and I researched the web and found that there is a way to recover.  He just hasn't been up to try it yet.  Hoping to tackle that problem this week.

Was sad to get an email from Elvis saying that he'd get here as soon as possible, but he had a burglary at his shop and they stole a lot of his merchandise.  Thievery is a huge problem here in Belize.
Our water pump had to be disabled as it wouldn't shut off.  That's what initially impacted the charge on our batteries.  Disabling it meant carrying water into the house.  That's when you regret having a house on stilts (not really).  We were lucky that we have a Rotoplas adjacent to the guest house so we could get water from it.  By using our camp shower, we managed fairly well.  

We pulled the pump and found that the supply hose had ruptured.  Wow, why don't we have a few more problems?   Now comes the real embarrassing part.  They changed the installation of the pump to galvanized pipe, but water still wasn't getting to the pressure tank.  The switch seemed to be ok.  The problem turned out to be the new ceramic filter I installed.  It was impeding the water flow.  That's what caused the rupture in the first place.  That was a really tough $500 lesson.  We're back to the paper filters. 

With company coming from the US this weekend, we're relieved to be functioning again.  Things still aren't perfect, but heck, they never seem to be anyway.  We'll just keep fumbling along.  Two old gringos learning new lessons every day. 


sandy a. said...

even though you are having lots of problems (which i am sorry you are going through all that), it is good that you are posting about it so that maybe others that are having the same problem might learn from what happened to you.
I would like to get a generator for our house here in Maya Beach, but it would just be for when the power goes out (which is regularly).

Dreamer farm said...

Thanks Sandy, That was one of my main reasons for the blog. We've had to do so much hunt and peck, so if I can shortcut something for someone I'll feel I've done some good. So far, we're really happy with our Honda EU which we bo't from Ben-Quip in Belize City.

Greg Jones said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each of your posts about your journey. You are doing the right thing, the USA is heading down a road that will surely lead to a financial crisis that could take many years to overcome. I read all of your entries but would like to ask a bunch of questions, hopefully not asking a question that has already been asked. I was a little confused about your electrical setup. Would it be better to use an inverter from the solar batteries to AC 110/120V so that appliances and other things that need electricity would be more readily available and cheaper? Are water wells common there and how deep do you have to go if you went that way? You haven't said a lot about the insects, are there a million mosquitos out there? What do you suggest or what fuels are more readily available, eg gasoline, diesel, natural gas or propane? Is it a good idea to have chickens? Is it a good idea to have goats? Now that you have been there for a few years, is it hard to get used to that rain, I am from Colorado where we don't get much rain? What part of Belize would you suggest now that you have lived there awhile? I just want to say that you two are real pioneers, you have a lot of inner strength. I want to do what you have done but first will need to search real deep to see if I have what it takes. While I have much know-how, being a General Contractor for 30 years and an owner of apartments, I don't know if I could take living in those conditions. My hat is off to you, Bravo! Thanks, Greg.