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Thread: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

  1. #1

    Default Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Yep I'm a noob and no I'm not a e-tech. I am building a Storm Shelter out of a 10' diameter by 20' long tank. It will be buried and have access to a 120 volt line from the house and (2) 12 volt Optima car batteries charged by a high quality trickle charger and a 40+ watt solar charger.

    I am more of a mechanic/metal fabricator and I need some help on the lighting inside. The inside will be painted white with some shelving being natural color plywood. I was planning on using Led Puck lights but since I've started doing some research, I had no idea there was so much to hooking up a system like that.

    I was planning on running the main lighting with the 120 v supply from the house and some separate "emergency" lights from the 12v batteries, but now I'm not sure if that's the right direction. The lights need to be compact, not like a regular bulb fixture, and there's no way to do any type of recessed lights. The shelter will be connected to the inside of my house so I will be using this space as more of a man cave with a work shop so I'm looking for more of a 4k range light.

    As I said, I'm not really interested in "building" some elaborate system but I could use some direction and advise.

    I would appreciate the help. I also have some pictures of the current state of shelter but I'm assuming you have to have more than 1 post to upload pics.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    I rely on 12v DC for emergency power, also. I have been experimenting with LED replacement bulbs designed for automotive fixtures. They may be had in many configurations. Amazon has quite a few. Folks also use them in RVs.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I rely on 12v DC for emergency power, also. I have been experimenting with LED replacement bulbs designed for automotive fixtures. They may be had in many configurations. Amazon has quite a few. Folks also use them in RVs.
    This is what I was planning on doing. Use a automotive type Led for emergency use (no electricity), however this will be used far more for a workshop/mancave than an emergency shelter so I would like something more permanent for constant use.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedombyforce View Post
    Yep I'm a noob and no I'm not a e-tech. I am building a Storm Shelter out of a 10' diameter by 20' long tank. It will be buried and have access to a 120 volt line from the house and (2) 12 volt Optima car batteries charged by a high quality trickle charger and a 40+ watt solar charger.

    I am more of a mechanic/metal fabricator and I need some help on the lighting inside. The inside will be painted white with some shelving being natural color plywood. I was planning on using Led Puck lights but since I've started doing some research, I had no idea there was so much to hooking up a system like that.

    I was planning on running the main lighting with the 120 v supply from the house and some separate "emergency" lights from the 12v batteries, but now I'm not sure if that's the right direction. The lights need to be compact, not like a regular bulb fixture, and there's no way to do any type of recessed lights. The shelter will be connected to the inside of my house so I will be using this space as more of a man cave with a work shop so I'm looking for more of a 4k range light.

    As I said, I'm not really interested in "building" some elaborate system but I could use some direction and advise.

    I would appreciate the help. I also have some pictures of the current state of shelter but I'm assuming you have to have more than 1 post to upload pics.

    Given it's a storm shelter and not a bomb shelter, you likely only need the lights for a limited amount of time, say 12 -24 hours max. I am assuming off at night or very dim, and perhaps evening dimmed so that gives you 48 hours in the shelter or so.

    Be very very careful with high quality trickle chargers. Many that say they are are not. It should drop down to 13.2V to keep the battery 100% charged. I would measure it to make sure. Make sure you have a good solar charger as well or the solar charger can boil off the battery too if in parallel with the AC charger. That said, 40W is not going to do much in the remnants of storm clouds.

    If I was doing this I would run all your lights off of 12V. Get a 13.8V power supply for the AC side and use two diodes (like in a dual battery car system for RVs) to parallel the output of the 13.8V supply and the battery supply. As long as you have AC and the batteries are not charging from beyond a trickle (I.e. over 13.8V), then the AC will power the system and the batteries will take over as soon as the AC supplies. Essentially an instantaneous transfer switch. If you want the maximum efficiency, you could wire a dpdt switch across the battery diode if you know the AC is dead. I am saying DPDT cause when you do bypass the battery diode, you want to ensure the AC is disconnected from the load (and batteries).

    You now have a simple reliable DC system and now need to pick your lights.

    100AH batteries or smaller? I am going to assume 100AH. That gives about 1200wh per battery but would not want to use any more than say 900 before charging (asap). That gives 1800 watt hours in the bank. Over 24 hours, that is 75 watts. If you want to discharge the battery less, you could drop down to say 50 watts. Scale accordingly for battery size, desired run time, etc.

    10 * 20 feet = about 3 * 6 metres = 18 square meters. At 100 lux, more than enough for a shelter, roughly need 1800 lumens (18 * 100) but for reflection losses, etc. let's call it 2500 lumens. 2500 lumens with say 50 watts means you need to hit 50 lumens/watt. Even simple linear regulator based 12V lighting strips are well over that. Stick on lighting 12V strips off EBAY are likely even over 50 lumens/white (just make 100% sure). Unfortunately they are resistive so when the battery is high, they draw more power but also good as the battery runs out they draw less.

    If you want something quality, you could use stick on LED sign modules from the likes of Sloan, USLED, etc. In neutral (4000-4500K) some of them are hitting 80-90 lumens/watt. Waterproof, UL, etc.

    The nice thing about strips is there are a lot of LEDs which will make a nice diffuse light source without worry about heat sinking, etc.

    You could pick up LED modules and LED drivers and hit 120 lumens/watt+, but it does not sound like that is the level of trouble you want to go to.

    Now we come to dimming ..... if you go with 12V modules, you can buy a Philips Advanced dimming driver for 12V. It requires a 0-10V signal for dimming.



    OR ....


    We can throw all that out and you can run a high efficiency DC-AC inverter with a built in transfer switch and figure out a way to mount a couple of Philips L-Prize bulbs and then just use a standard AC dimmer. You care probably going to want AC for some stuff anyway!


    Semiman

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    I'm thinking something like the new CabLED for landscape lighting from Home Depot mounted along the edges of the shelving. A friend of mine is having his house remodeled and I helped his dad put some on the shelving in the new master bedroom closets. With a white ceiling and the strips on top of the shelves facing up, it should give a very good amount of indirect light.

    About CabLED, they now have a new landscape lighting version which is black and is meant to be powered by a 12 volt source such as a Malibu landscape lighting transformer but I believe it will run of battery power as well. The kit should be located in the low voltage landscape lighting area. The older, white CabLED kits that they stock in the fluorescent/under-cabinet/track lighting section use a 24 volt driver.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by SemiMan View Post
    Given it's a storm shelter and not a bomb shelter, you likely only need the lights for a limited amount of time, say 12 -24 hours max. I am assuming off at night or very dim, and perhaps evening dimmed so that gives you 48 hours in the shelter or so.

    Be very very careful with high quality trickle chargers. Many that say they are are not. It should drop down to 13.2V to keep the battery 100% charged. I would measure it to make sure. Make sure you have a good solar charger as well or the solar charger can boil off the battery too if in parallel with the AC charger. That said, 40W is not going to do much in the remnants of storm clouds.

    If I was doing this I would run all your lights off of 12V. Get a 13.8V power supply for the AC side and use two diodes (like in a dual battery car system for RVs) to parallel the output of the 13.8V supply and the battery supply. As long as you have AC and the batteries are not charging from beyond a trickle (I.e. over 13.8V), then the AC will power the system and the batteries will take over as soon as the AC supplies. Essentially an instantaneous transfer switch. If you want the maximum efficiency, you could wire a dpdt switch across the battery diode if you know the AC is dead. I am saying DPDT cause when you do bypass the battery diode, you want to ensure the AC is disconnected from the load (and batteries).

    You now have a simple reliable DC system and now need to pick your lights.

    100AH batteries or smaller? I am going to assume 100AH. That gives about 1200wh per battery but would not want to use any more than say 900 before charging (asap). That gives 1800 watt hours in the bank. Over 24 hours, that is 75 watts. If you want to discharge the battery less, you could drop down to say 50 watts. Scale accordingly for battery size, desired run time, etc.

    10 * 20 feet = about 3 * 6 metres = 18 square meters. At 100 lux, more than enough for a shelter, roughly need 1800 lumens (18 * 100) but for reflection losses, etc. let's call it 2500 lumens. 2500 lumens with say 50 watts means you need to hit 50 lumens/watt. Even simple linear regulator based 12V lighting strips are well over that. Stick on lighting 12V strips off EBAY are likely even over 50 lumens/white (just make 100% sure). Unfortunately they are resistive so when the battery is high, they draw more power but also good as the battery runs out they draw less.

    If you want something quality, you could use stick on LED sign modules from the likes of Sloan, USLED, etc. In neutral (4000-4500K) some of them are hitting 80-90 lumens/watt. Waterproof, UL, etc.

    The nice thing about strips is there are a lot of LEDs which will make a nice diffuse light source without worry about heat sinking, etc.

    You could pick up LED modules and LED drivers and hit 120 lumens/watt+, but it does not sound like that is the level of trouble you want to go to.

    Now we come to dimming ..... if you go with 12V modules, you can buy a Philips Advanced dimming driver for 12V. It requires a 0-10V signal for dimming.



    OR ....


    We can throw all that out and you can run a high efficiency DC-AC inverter with a built in transfer switch and figure out a way to mount a couple of Philips L-Prize bulbs and then just use a standard AC dimmer. You care probably going to want AC for some stuff anyway!


    Semiman


    The thing is though this will be used on a regular basis as a "man cave", basement, or workshop... whatever you want to call it. I need something with significant light preferably from the 120v source coming from the house. I do appreciate your reply.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by yuandrew View Post
    I'm thinking something like the new CabLED for landscape lighting from Home Depot mounted along the edges of the shelving. A friend of mine is having his house remodeled and I helped his dad put some on the shelving in the new master bedroom closets. With a white ceiling and the strips on top of the shelves facing up, it should give a very good amount of indirect light.

    About CabLED, they now have a new landscape lighting version which is black and is meant to be powered by a 12 volt source such as a Malibu landscape lighting transformer but I believe it will run of battery power as well. The kit should be located in the low voltage landscape lighting area. The older, white CabLED kits that they stock in the fluorescent/under-cabinet/track lighting section use a 24 volt driver.
    Thanks... I will definitely check that out. sounds like that may be a good emergency light set up.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    With the right DC-powered lighting, there's no reason that the primary lights can't also be the emergency lights - perhaps using but a fraction of them when mains power is out to conserve juice in the backup batteries.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedombyforce View Post
    Thanks... I will definitely check that out. sounds like that may be a good emergency light set up.

    Only caution is the efficiency of these strips is quite low. These are the warm white and they are on the order of 41 lumens/watt according to the suppliers website. That is pretty poor efficiency for a battery powered system.

    Something to keep in mind.

    Semiman

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Check out RibbonFlex Pro, from Lee Valley.

    Also available (in a limited selection) at Home Depot.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Since you will mostly be using this as a workshop and only infrequently be using it as a storm shelter, I would recommend ditching the solar panel and instead using some cheaper and higher capacity batteries. I don't think it would be wise to spend money on expensive optima batteries if they will rarely be used.

    They're aren't the most compact, but if you have room for some philips hue bulbs I would highly recommend installing some of those with some basic light sockets. With no outside light, being able to tailor the color temperature to the time of day I think would greatly improve quality of life in the shelter.

    I think you would need about four bulbs which would use up most of the power in two optima batteries over the course of two days with the average amount of use in an otherwise lightless bunker.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    This is how I'm seeing it:

    Just inside the tube on the right (if you're right handed, or on the left if you're lefty) you have two perfectly normal light switches. Of the two, one is hooked up to battery number one and the lights on one side of the tube. The other connects to the other battery and lights the other side of the tube. When you walk in you swipe them on, when you walk out you swipe them off, no fuss. After a while you'll be able to switch them even if it's completely dark.

    Each battery has its own charge maintainer which keeps it topped up as long as you have power. It runs one side of the room. The loss of any one component is annoying but you can still use the room.

    Around the floor you run a conduit, a couple of 120V outlets, you use these for general shop purposes. If you lose power you lose these, but you know that up front.

    Separate from this, two 12 volt circuits that allow for a radio, task lights, a 12V DC -> 1.5 V. battery charger, whatever you need. These can be switched or always live as you prefer.

    For good measure you bolt a couple of candle lanterns to the walls, heck, with a 10' ceiling maybe even a pair of candelabras. Each one has matches or a lighter sitting with it, maybe a box of spare candles on a shelf somewhere.

    The ceiling lights are just two strips of 5050 smds. You run a stripe down ether side of the ceiling. This gives you area lighting. For task lighting a couple of stronger fixtures that you use as lamps. If you have shelves or a work area maybe separately switched strips of smd leds over the shelf or area in question.

    All the parts are readily available, hookups are simple, and with a pair of car batteries you could probably light that place independently for a week. If the grid goes down you hook up the solar panel. If it's cloudy every day, you carry a battery outside and charge it with your car. In a pinch you can carry one outside and jumpstart your car. One thing though. Batteries can outgas. Set them up so they can do this and not rot anything important.

    There is a chronic problem with emergency equipment that people forget it until they need it, and by then it's kind of weak. An advantage of this setup is that the 12 volt system is an integrated part of your normal routine. If something dies you will notice and fix it because it will inconvenience you.
    Last edited by Ken_McE; 04-01-2013 at 04:15 PM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    I use AGM SLA batteries because in my situation I could not find a safe way to deal with off gassing. IMO they are better for emergencies as they are LSD and require less attention than flooded batteries.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Samy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    I have lots of 5050 SMD LED strip lighting (60 led/metre) in warm white and I also like to install a cheap PWM dimmer because this reduces the overall brightness as the 5050's can be very bright and the other reason is that they reduce power consumption considerably. You can get the RF remote control dimmers for less than $10 delivered and the manual turnable dimmers (which i prefer) for less than $4 delivered from ebay. The dimmers are worth it and the strip lighting is just so flexible and practical for a variety of installations - also it's cheap and bright!

    cheers

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I use AGM SLA batteries because in my situation I could not find a safe way to deal with off gassing.
    Do you have an opinion about the Optima batteries?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    For best battery life in deep discharge application, use Optima Yellow Top, not Red or Blue. But with infrequent use, it probably does not matter much.
    For good battery maintenance when on solar, plan for a panel wattage equal to or larger than the sum of the 12 volt AH rating of your batteries. With your AGM batteries, you can go much higher than that. The trickle charger may not be the best thing to use with the AGM batteries, depending on its exact voltage setting. AGM can tolerate trickle overcharging, but not a high overcharge current for extended time. Use a good solar Charge Controller and separate panel(s) rather than an integrated charger and panel.

    Look at marine LED and fluorescent surface mount fixtures for 12 volt input (10-14 actually) good control and light distribution as well as integrated switches. For light quality you may be happier with T5 fluorescents than some LEDs and the efficiencies are comparable.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by inetdog View Post
    For best battery life in deep discharge application, use Optima Yellow Top, not Red or Blue. But with infrequent use, it probably does not matter much.
    For good battery maintenance when on solar, plan for a panel wattage equal to or larger than the sum of the 12 volt AH rating of your batteries. With your AGM batteries, you can go much higher than that. The trickle charger may not be the best thing to use with the AGM batteries, depending on its exact voltage setting. AGM can tolerate trickle overcharging, but not a high overcharge current for extended time. Use a good solar Charge Controller and separate panel(s) rather than an integrated charger and panel.

    Look at marine LED and fluorescent surface mount fixtures for 12 volt input (10-14 actually) good control and light distribution as well as integrated switches. For light quality you may be happier with T5 fluorescents than some LEDs and the efficiencies are comparable.

    Stating panel wattage = AH rating without knowing anything about the load size, how often it will be used, etc. does not lead to working solar solutions. I have a 1.5 watt solar panel on a 20AH battery ...... used very infrequently that works awesome (remote shed). Then again I have implemented 460 watts of solar on 230AH for another lighting project. It all comes down to usage.

    The 12V fluorescent fixtures tend to be pretty low efficiency. Simple LED strip lighting would be more efficient and easier to implement.

    High efficiency T8's are actually more efficient than T5s with a wider rage of options. That said, the OP was looking for tight to the ceiling and these may not be the best. The high diffusion is nice, but you are forced into either high power draw and/or dimming ballast/controller system. 12V options for large linear fluorescents are limited (and expensive).

    FYI, there are lots of transportation lighting options (for lighting the inside of trailers, truck cabs, etc.) that run off 12V. They are much cheaper than marine products which while usually nice, are quite expensive.

    Semiman

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_McE View Post
    Do you have an opinion about the Optima batteries?
    I don't have any experience with Optimas. I have one high quality 80 Ah agm but recent developments and site deficiencies have caused me to move in another direction. I'm currently using smaller agms for my daily and emergency needs...it's complicated. I'm moving forward in small steps...

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by SemiMan View Post
    ...FYI, there are lots of transportation lighting options (for lighting the inside of trailers, truck cabs, etc.) that run off 12V. They are much cheaper than marine products which while usually nice, are quite expensive.

    Semiman
    For solar I like automotive LED bulbs mated with marine fixtures, buses, switches and connectors. Other than the bulbs, automotive outlets, connectors, etc are far too lossy for my solar apps. Designs for 13.5v charging systems and a full tank of gas aren't very compatible with solar/marine systems, IMO. Apples and oranges. YMMV.

    12v cigarette lighter/outlets are a typical example. One may buy an automotive outlet for as little as $3. They are lossy and a bad deal when compared to the cost of one's batteries. I normally use Anderson Powerpoles but if I absolutely need to use a 12v cigarette lighter outlet I'll buy one designed for marine use. It will have a larger contact area and be made of materials that will do a better job of coping with corrosive environments. They are also designed to handle more G shocks than automotive sockets as the are designed to be installed on boats crashing through waves. I have one that even locks the plug into the socket.

    Marine gear costs more on the surface but lossy automotive parts diminish the performance of the rest of one's system which imposes it's own costs. I try to think about how each part will interact with the whole system and choose which category to buy from on a part by part basis.
    Last edited by Sub_Umbra; 04-08-2013 at 12:33 AM.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Samy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    For solar I like automotive LED bulbs mated with marine fixtures, buses, switches and connectors. Other than the bulbs, automotive outlets, connectors, etc are far too lossy for my solar apps. Designs for 13.5v charging systems and a full tank of gas aren't very compatible with solar/marine systems, IMO. Apples and oranges. YMMV.

    12v cigarette lighter/outlets are a typical example. One may buy an automotive outlet for as little as $3. They are lossy and a bad deal when compared to the cost of one's batteries. I normally use Anderson Powerpoles but if I absolutely need to use a 12v cigarette lighter outlet I'll buy one designed for marine use. It will have a larger contact area and be made of materials that will do a better job of coping with corrosive environments. They are also designed to handle more G shocks than automotive sockets as the are designed to be installed on boats crashing through waves. I have one that even locks the plug into the socket.

    Marine gear costs more on the surface but lossy automotive parts diminish the performance of the rest of one's system which imposes it's own costs. I try to think about how each part will interact with the whole system and choose which category to buy from on a part by part basis.
    I agree with the Anderson connectors! I use them where ever i can too!

    cheers

  21. #21

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    For solar I like automotive LED bulbs mated with marine fixtures, buses, switches and connectors. Other than the bulbs, automotive outlets, connectors, etc are far too lossy for my solar apps. Designs for 13.5v charging systems and a full tank of gas aren't very compatible with solar/marine systems, IMO. Apples and oranges. YMMV.

    12v cigarette lighter/outlets are a typical example. One may buy an automotive outlet for as little as $3. They are lossy and a bad deal when compared to the cost of one's batteries. I normally use Anderson Powerpoles but if I absolutely need to use a 12v cigarette lighter outlet I'll buy one designed for marine use. It will have a larger contact area and be made of materials that will do a better job of coping with corrosive environments. They are also designed to handle more G shocks than automotive sockets as the are designed to be installed on boats crashing through waves. I have one that even locks the plug into the socket.

    Marine gear costs more on the surface but lossy automotive parts diminish the performance of the rest of one's system which imposes it's own costs. I try to think about how each part will interact with the whole system and choose which category to buy from on a part by part basis.

    Notice I said "Transportation" not automotive. Most transportation lighting is hard wired. There is nothing wrong with proper automotive connectors. They are efficient and they are not lossy or unreliable. A lossy connector = heat, something people in automotive do not go for at least on purpose. Proper automotive/transportation connectors also must stand exceptional vibration and also corrosive environments, just not immersion. Of course, they are normally a fraction of pure marine stuff as the volume is so high. I don't consider a light socket a "connector".

    That said, connector losses will be but a fraction of the losses from a high efficiency LED versus a low efficiency LED "bulb" or 12V fluorescent fixture. Connector losses are likely to be also a fraction of wiring losses.

    Anderson connectors are great, but unless you have a proper crimp tool, best to buy them pre-assembled. You could solder them, but given the connector has no strain relief without an additional shell, soldering makes for brittle connections.

    Semiman

  22. #22

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_McE View Post
    Do you have an opinion about the Optima batteries?
    Follow what INETDOG said, make sure you get the proper Optima battery designed for deep cycle applications.

    They are a good battery and will give you long life if treated well. Most chargers do not treat batteries that well unfortunately. You are best with a high quality lower current battery charger running off AC, and then for your infrequent solar needs, buy a good one you can rely on, but as this will rarely be the charging source, you probably do not need to worry as much about it. If solar was your primary charging source, then I would be putting more money into the solar charger.

    AGM are nice as a maintenance free technology, but if you are willing to take the time to maintain your batteries, flooded are cheaper for the same capacity and can give very long life.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Fixed Lighting for Storm Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by Sub_Umbra View Post
    I use AGM SLA batteries because in my situation I could not find a safe way to deal with off gassing. IMO they are better for emergencies as they are LSD and require less attention than flooded batteries.
    I always remind people that even AGM batteries should be vented. If your charge controller goes into a fault condition, an AGM battery can dump out a ton of gas too.

    Semiman

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