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Burnt plastic of the Credit Card variety and Imeon 3.6



So, 2 years since the last Blog post, so many new lessons to impart...

After the last battery debacle, I had almost given up on PV Solar, so became very quiet on the forums and just concentrated on my new toys (Camping). The Axpert and the rubbish Calcium batteries just ticked over occasionally giving us UPS like power when no Grid available and would switch it over on some weekends to reduce my municipal bill - nothing major.

In June this year our local provider started really messing with the supply, neighbours lost fridges, PC's and lots of electronic stuff kept breaking. The Axpert itself would keep kicking in to UPS mode at least 3 times a day, for anywhere from a few seconds to about 3 minutes. Well, one day it was just too much and the Axpert gave in to the dreaded "smoke release"... For 2 months we just bypassed and were losing all the lovely solar power, even if only to charge the bad batteries.

So here I go again...

Decided to go on-grid this time when I found a second-hand Imeon 3.6 on this forum (hence the melted plastic Credit Card). Now, after reading the specs, I thought this would be a simple replacement for the Axpert (although I was aware from the specs that I would have to change my panels into a series array from a 3 x 2 array).

So far, so good - Installed the unit, swore plenty of times at the plugs that the Imeon comes with (I used heavy duty cables everywhere, which don't really go with the tiny AC and PV connectors that the Imeon comes with). Then I really swore at the battery connector, a 16/18mm 250A Anderson plug... I have my own crimping tools, but nothing this large - ended up having to wait until a Electrical Wholesaler was open and pleading nicely to get this crimped.

Finally, all connected, up and running and all looks good for a bit... Until the first night... Middle of the night the Imeon just switches off??? Here I start swearing and rushing out in the dark, only to see that the battery voltage is so low that the Imeon did it's job and shut everything down... Wrong settings..

After bypassing the invertor for the evening I got my hands on the basic software and did a bit of reconfiguration... This time everything worked as it should (even with the rubbish batteries)...

The next challenge appeared when I see that the Imeon is only getting about half of the power from the panels than the Axpert got. After a check of connections and looking around (and some questions on the forum), it seems that the MPPT can't get the best out of my panels due to the lower voltage range (roughly my panels generate 30VDC each, making a max of 160VDC). So it appears that I need more panels to allow the MPPT controller to work properly and in it's range (150-400VDC)...

Look out for the next episode, I bought some panels this week and will install soon...

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