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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/23/2016

It took some finagling (there is not a lot of room in there) but I finally got the new battery rack all put together and ready for duty.

For a while I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to get it to fit into the back of the shed without removing the conduit I have running on either side. When I measured to ensure I had room, I measured wall to wall, but there are two lines of conduit running along either wall that eat up about 1.5" each. When the time came to put the rack together I found the fit very tight, and then when the time came to put in the main shelving supports I simply couldn't get one aligned.

It took me a bit of figuring but I eventually sussed it out. The shelf support was hitting the bottom of the conduit on one side, preventing it from sliding over just a bit more so I could bolt it together. I pondered the idea of moving the whole thing up a few inches but that really didn't appeal since it runs around the entire back of the shed, so finally I just red-necked it and chopped out a half inch of the conduit that was in the way. (This conduit isn't your typical gray pipe; it's more a 6" wide conduit "run" of plastic that my solar guy salvaged from a prior job.) That did the trick, and I quickly got the support shelves on.

Next came the shelves themselves and that in turn led to a new problem. Again, since the space was so tight I couldn't "walk" them into position from either end, I had to come from the front. Naturally there were many obstacles --the existing Interstate batteries, my computer and its table, some paint cans I'd had up there for prior tasks. Took me some time to relocate everything and I managed to knock several things over a couple of times while doing so, but eventually I had enough room to maneuver. It took a lot of wrestling (those shelves are heavy!) and I had to resort to one of my little 4-pound sledgehammers a couple of times (great tool by the way) but I got'em on there!

At that point I had to bolt things together. Now, as it happens the Outback instructions only talk about installing bolts to hold things together--they didn't talk about any nuts, nor were any in the package. I'm sure it wasn't an oversight or anything because in other places in the documentation where some other bolts are used the instructions are quite specific and clear over the right nuts, locking washers, etc. to use. But here, for the "main bolt" used to hold things together -- no nuts.

Now it's probable that they figure that once there's a ton of batteries (literally) on each shelf those bolts ain't gonna go anywhere, but when there aren't they're somewhat loose--I could knock some out just by banging the shelves a bit. So I decided to spend a bit of $$$ and go buy some nuts for these connectors. They wouldn't hurt anything and I felt a bit better that there was less that might fall if the shelves were whacked in some fashion. Took a bit of time but I got it done.

So now it's all put together and ready for the new batteries! We're planning on moving them down the hill and onto the shelves this coming Saturday (two days away)--the weather forecast is pretty good but it doesn't look so hot we'll die of exertion. While I'd love to get them all in place and hooked up I'd honestly consider it a "win" if we just get them in place and hook them up next week.

We'll see. This has been a LOOOONG time coming... So exciting!

Steven in Colorado


The shelves! That cable across the front is the data line from the Outback equipment; that seemed a good spot to tuck it while I moved Big Heavy Things around.

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