Jon, This is actually beyond my wildest expectations. I think the relationship between the battery and the capacitors is like the relationship between concrete and steel.
Neither the battery nor the capacitor is perfect by itself. The capacitors have limited (compared to a large battery) power storage however can provide nearly unlimited amounts of surge amps. The battery holds a lot of power yet cannot provide any surge amps without a nasty sharp reduction in amp hour capacity along with destroying the plates inside the battery. Together they produce a "super battery".
That is a good call on the fusing. I appreciate your friendly reminder. I hadn't even considered protection and was focused on trying to minimize losses of any kind. I never even thought about fusing this because its tied to the batteries directly. After reading your post and giving it some thought I really should have some type of fusing installed.
I'm not sure how I would fuse cell to cell in the capacitor bank. If I use a lead acid battery as an example there is no fusing between the individual cells inside the battery itself. Is fusing between cells necessary? A friend suggested that I alter the aluminum I have currently hooked up to make it thin in the center. Then the capacitor to capacitor links would physically melt/blow and should provide some level of protection. The question would be how thin should they be made in the centers.
I don't know what the proper value would be to select for a fuse between the capacitor bank and the battery. This capacitor bank is able to provide insane levels of current however I never expect to draw those levels of power.
Since I am getting 100amp shunts I guess 100amps would be the proper value for my testing. I would have to replace these fuses once I attach more batteries and loads in excess of 100amps however. I am open to any input on proper values for the fusing.
Please everyone keep in mind that I'm very new at this. As I stated before I'm just an average person with a screwdriver and a multimeter. If anyone sees anything I am doing wrong please let me know. Chances are I honestly don't know the proper way. This is especially true if you notice anything that is a fire hazard or a personal safety concern.
Some people have questioned why I am doing this at all. I have had lots of people tell me that simply adding another battery (or batteries) would do the same thing. The reason I am doing this experiment comes down to something called Peukert's Law.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peukert%27s_law
This law defines the relationship between current draw and overall capacity of the battery. It would be impossible (impractical) to design a battery bank around the 20 hour rate that most battery manufactures use. My battery is a 100AH battery so the example given on wikipedia works perfectly for my system.
I am attempting to violate this law and produce a practically sized battery that can be charged completely daily for maximum battery health yet can provide all the power that I need.
I was doing some math on this last night and currently I'm seeing approximately a 40% increase in battery capacity. This cannot be due entirely to the capacity of the capacitors and must have more to do with the peukert effect.
Keep in mind that the capacitors are constantly charging and discharging as the battery voltage changes. The capacitors don't work like a battery and only respond to changes in voltage. The more the voltage sags (or increases) the more current the capacitors produce or accept. I key up the radio and the voltage sags which causes the capacitors to discharge. When I quit transmitting the battery attempts to return to its unloaded voltage and in the process of doing so it recharges the capacitors for the next blast. Unlike a battery these capacitors can do this millions of times at nearly 100% efficiency.