Battery box from a Coleman ice chest?

11 Posts
Oct 15, 2008 04:35 pm
Battery box from a Coleman ice chest?

I'm thinking of making a battery box for 300AH of 12V AGM batteries from a wheeled Coleman 50 quart ice chest (the kind that you'd take car camping).  I was also thinking of cutting out some holes in the casing so I could mount a 1500W inverter and charge controller inside while having the plugs and displays accessible from the outside.

My reasoning:
*Portable for when I move out of my rental house.
*Have the whole thing self-contained and lockable.
*AGM batteries will be kept warm, and the inverter will even act as a battery heater.

My question:
Aside from the inverter, is there any reason to install cooling fans?  Is there any reasonable chance of explosion from the hydrogen gas and a spark from the inverter without a fan?
97 Posts
Oct 16, 2008 01:04 am
Re: Battery box from a Coleman ice chest?

Just my thoughts on this, based on my experiences, didn't mention what kind of inverter it is, but in my case, the inverter has relays for switching power, and yes, they do make sparks.  My inverter also has a cooling fan for battery charging in "low battery transfer" mode and needs open air to provide cooling.  The charge controller is the same.....has a heat sink and needs to vent for cooling the semiconductors in the controller.  I have my batteries in a semi-enclosed box with insulation on the wall side of the box, and find that the battery temperature is a more-or-less constant 60 degrees (live in a northern climate), since the batteries generate some heat of their own with chemical reaction, and internal resistance when working a load.  So, I am thinking that it is not a good idea to enclose the inverter in the box?  If you employ hydrate caps for the batteries or have the maintenance free type of battery, the hydrogen should be  contained and returned to the battery as water.  (All things in life are variable and subject to change...wink)
5 Posts
Nov 7, 2008 03:30 pm
Re: Battery box from a Coleman ice chest?

Might not be a good idea to enclose a battery without sufficient ventilation. You could drill a hole in the side and put in a 12VDC fan from Radio Shack to vent off any gases that would collect inside the chest. My 2 rubles.

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