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Posts posted by PaulinNorthcliff

  1. 10 hours ago, Richard Mackay said:

    This forum must be the biggest in RE in South Africa but correct me if I'm mistaken..

    So having said that I find the lack of interest in electrical power utilities disappointing. We are nowhere near being able to do without the grid without a massive outlay of capital which only the obsessed will pursue (not the prudent!)

    It seems to me that everyone with a PV panel, inverter & battery has a pipe dream of going off grid so takes little interest in the utilities. I beg to differ! 

    Richard, you're right, and you're wrong...

    Some of us saw this trainwreck coming a long time ago and started working on our own solutions. Becoming power (or water) independent is a long and gradual process to which you must devote decades.

    We also may or may not have had a long history of trying to sway official policy and direction, to little effect.

    If you wait for policy to shift you should get used to cooking over an open fire and going to bed when the sun goes down.

  2. 5 hours ago, Gnome said:

    More elegant than me, but the facts are there: https://stormhighway.com/surge_protectors_ups_lightning_protection_myth.php

    OK, so I'm imminently unqualified to enter into a technical discussion on this... but...

    As Malcolm explained it to me... the Sinetamer monitors the incoming sine waveform and as soon as the waveform starts to trend upwards (ahead of the coming spike - I'm led to believe that this is measurable) beyond a set parameter, it cuts the link!


  3. On 2020/10/07 at 4:06 PM, Gnome said:

    I can confidently say this product is snake oil.  There are two types of lighting damage.

    Direct strike, which is lighting connecting directly to your electrical supply, which frankly is billion+ volts so there is absolutely nothing that can save you there.  We had one of these when I was a child and the TV, fridge, phone, amplifier etc. literally exploded into pieces from the amount of power.  Forget about protecting against that with electronics, the power coming in was so much it ripped apart the plastic & metal housings throwing things around.  The same can be seen when lighting strikes the ground.  It burns a hole in the ground and rips the ground open.  And soil isn't even a conductor.

    Indirect strike, the most common where high voltages flow, typically through an earth wire into the house wiring (due to the high voltage current is flowing through multiple paths including back into the house wiring).

    Indirect strike can be protected against by a combination MOVs, GDTs, TSVs and transformers.  But there is no way you can monitor a line for a lighting strike then disconnect.  Current moves at very close to the speed of light.  By the time any software sees the spike it is already moving through.  MOVs, TSVs. GDTs etc. work by clamping at a specific voltage (they have a response time, TSV being the fastest).  These response times don't work on the principle of monitoring, it is an intrinsic property of break-down caused by voltage, thus it can occur at the speed quoted in the datasheets.

    So yeah, that sinetamer can help you deal with continuous brown-outs and voltage spike that lasts multiple milliseconds, but lighting doesn't fit into that category.

    Also they don't state the terms and conditions in their "warranty".  If you have a R100m piece of equipment connected I guarantee they don't have an insurance policy that will cover that.  That is exactly why surge protectors have very, very strict terms and conditions regarding their warranties.

    Can't say. Was recommended to me by Malcolm Koertzen from Segen. They don't supply Sinetamer so would appear to be neutral (groan) in this.


  4. 3 hours ago, Solaris said:

    The way I did it was to start small and build up my system over time. It is not always the right way to do it, but it worked for me. Some may argue that getting the biggest and best of everything will cost more now, but save you in the long run. This is not always necessarily true. While buying one big 20kw inverter will mean less wiring, having two 10kw inverters will mean that you can still have 10kw should one of them fail. Having 2 MPPT’s means that I can still use one of them if the other one needs repairs. To me a system running at 50% is better than the whole system being down. I personally prefer to have separate inverters and MPPT’s not the all-in-one setup, but this is just my personal preference. Once again this is because my system can still operate at 50% while the faulty component is being repaired. 

    One of the most important things I learned (on this forum) is about the placement of solar panels. For years I had the understanding that panels have to face north for the best production. I was wrong. I learned that if you face your panels not only north, but also some east and some west, you get much better solar production. Granted it is a little more difficult to get the whole system balanced out, but it is well worth it to have solar production from 6:30 until 17:30. 

    Couldn't agree more.

    I started with a 2Kw Growatt direct inverter and 8x250w panels. This allowed me to cut 10kwh per day out of my bill, and learn a ton of lessons. I added a 5Kw Goodwe, 2x2.4Kw Pylons and 22x250w panels. Recently put in a further 4.6Kw Kodak direct inverter and another 12x330w panels. All three systems entirely separate but linked to my mains.

    If one or even two go down or need to be decommissioned it's no biggie.

    It's not the most economic way to do things, but it worked for me and allowed me to experiment.


  5. 4 hours ago, Richard Mackay said:

    I'm wanting to install a water tank between the house and the street. The house is 2m lower than the street and there is a wall to support the embankment.

    Behind the wall is enough space to install the tanks if the ground is excavated. Is it ok to do this and if so can the tanks be buried in this area??

    Hmmm... so let me tell you what happens to buried tanks when they are empty, and it rains heavily.

    Buoyancy happens!

    They rise up out of the ground like spirits from a graveyard on Halloween (topical, see?).

    Don't ask me how I know this.

  6. OK... so I'm maintaining a watching brief on this one. I've not even updated the software on my Goodwe 5048ES yet, and draw almost zero data from it.

    This is a hurdle I have to overcome sometime in the future (after connecting up my 5th array of panels, and finishing off the drip irrigation system in my vegetable field, and the plumbing from my well to the main water tank, and, and, and...).

    I'm hoping that some clever guy is going to set himself up as the Goodwe expert and I'll be able to hire him to come do all of that for me 😂

  7. I see the City of Joburg and all of it's 'services' (water, electricity, waste) now style themselves SOC (State Owned Company). What the hell? They are paid for and owned by the Ratepayers (you and me). They are not supposed to turn a profit. And yet they are run 'for profit'. They NEED to sell you electricity because they turn a large profit on it!

    They would rather see us sit in darkness than sacrifice a revenue stream.

  8. Flying in the face of the national crisis which is the failing of the national electricity generation capacity, the refusal of national and local authorities to gratefully accept ANY extra watts flowing into the grid by over-producing domestic generation systems is illogical and counter-productive at best, and treasonous at worst.

  9. 2 hours ago, plonkster said:

    Aaah, so it's pre-emptive, not reactive. I bet it is expensive..

    Yep. About 5 or 6K a unit. At the end of the day still cheaper than blown inverters.

  10. A neighbor tells me that he once had a chunk of  concrete about the size of a 5l paint can lying in the bottom of his pool (with a corresponding hole about a meter below the normal, now drained, water level). It looked for all the world like a cannon had blown a hole in his pool, from inside the earth! Eventually they figured out that there was a major lightning strike on the Berario side of the koppie, and the current had travelled through the ground and decided to pick his steel reinforced concrete pool shell to reappear through.


    I had a tall silky oak in my driveway literally explode a few years ago when it was hit. About 5m off the ground a large junction in the stem blew apart as if someone had strapped ANFO to it. Blew meter-long shards of wood through my tiled roof. Serious stuff.

  11. 11 minutes ago, Coulomb said:

    Wow. I used to think that we had strong lightning in Queensland, with some researchers at a local university specialising in it.

    But I think South Africa blows us away! ⚡🌩😯

    I sit on a mound of dolorite with thick iron veins running through the rock. One of the highest points in Jhb with crisp, dry air. The lightning here is epic.

  12. I'll try remember the name of the product again. My mind is a huge pile of unordered factoids. They occasionally pop up at the most inopportune moment. The way the product works (as I alluded to) is by monitoring the waveform of the incoming power and when it identifies a certain pattern of buildup it opens the circuit before the voltage surges.

    Malcolm at Segen told me about it.


  13. Earlier this year I had a major lightning strike on the koppie across the road from my office. It hit me through the earth and blew EVERYTHING, Main DB, electric fence, cameras, pretty much anything plugged in... also my two (two month old) Kodak 4.6Kw direct inverters (through the connection to mains). Blew them internally beyond repair. Insurance (eventually and reluctantly) replaced everything.

    I had a long chat with the technical manager at Segen Solar and the only thing that can apparently arrest a lightning spike coming through the earth cable is a piece of equipment that can sense the impending wave form rise and instantly sever the connection. Ordinary overload protection is too slow.

  14. 16 minutes ago, Solaris said:

    IMHO load shedding is not going to get better, it is only a matter of time and it will get worse. I want to be be ready for when (not if) it gets worse. I also waste about 5kwh to 8kwh of solar per day as the batteries are already full by 10am even after the geyser is hot and all washing loads are done. Adding batteries is the only answer for all the solar going to waste. 

    One thing I have learned in this country is that we cannot depend on government. We must not have the mentality of: ”the government must provide for us” We need to provide for ourselves. And the sooner we get off grid, the better for us. 
    But like I said; this is just my opinion, feel free to disagree. 😊

    I'll see your 5-8Kw, and raise you... Currently I throw away 17-20Kw per day. But yesterday, in Joburg, I only just filled my batteries enough for the night.

    Lesson: Have more than more than enough!

    I'm going to connect up another 2Kw per hour array (array #5) right now.

    (Damn... this drug...)

  15. 15 hours ago, 0 |>\/\/3|<|<3Я said:

    Thanks Paul. What inverter do you use and do you rely on third party management software?

    My Axpert King with the right cable is allowing the Pylontech BMS to manage my 2x US2000 batteries very well. Would want to stick to the Pylontech BMS when adding the 1x US3000 as the new master this week.

    Do you find that your batteries deplete at the same rate in percentage of capacity, thus the stack as a whole, or does your 3000 run longer than your 2000's, thus batteries depleting individually at the same absolute rate?

    I have a Goodwe ES5048 running the batteries. It communicates with the batteries, but I believe that the Pylon Master battery (the 3000) runs the show. They discharge and charge all together. I started with two 2000s and then added another two 2000s (second hand/6 months old), then added a 3000 after about 3 or 4 months so I can't really judge how they perform. The Goodwe app tells me that the battery bank state of health is 98%.

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