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Thank you for the great forum, Safe Driving over the weekend. Sincerely Jason

RhysMcW

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  1. Forgot to ask where one can reliably buy units, ideally somewhere that at least has decent after sales service. There seems to be quite a price difference between sites like GC Solar, GW store, Weables and Sustainable. Should any of be avoided or preferred etc?
  2. Hi all, I've been running an Infinisolar 3kW Plus (Mecer branded), 4 x 250Ah Gel/AGM batteries, 2 arrays of 8 x 260W panels and a separate DB for the load circuit for almost 5 years now. A little over a year ago I added ICC (Inverter Control Center) to better monitor the inverter. The batteries seem a little tired now and I was hoping to upgrade to Lithium late this year or early next year, however my inverter seems to have issues again. In July 2019 the inverter tripped my main DB (utility fed DB) and as long as the inverter was connected to the utility feed the earth leakage would trip. I took the inverter in to Mustek and they stated that the inverter's "main board" was faulty and needed to be replaced, which took a month. Now I'm having the very same symptoms so I'm assuming the same basic issue and expecting to be told the main board will need to be replaced yet again and of course I've been told there is only a 3 month warranty on repairs so would have to pay again... With the cost of the main board replacements (last year was R4985) I'm seriously considering just replacing the unit entirely. I've considered replacing with the very same model (it has work well in terms of load etc) but was thinking about the 5kW unit (just not it's price). I'm not against changing brands as long as the "other brand" has decent monitoring tools (I really have been enjoying ICC). I'm very partial to hybrid inverters, specifically I like the Infinisolar for the fact that it will feed the load from solar when available with top-up from grid or batteries (depending on setup) and that excess solar will charge the batteries and/or feed to the grid (if configured). I specifically like the load circuit from the inverter as I have the "essentials" connected to the separate DB which the inverter then supplies from solar and/or battery when load shedding (or just grid failure) without having to supply the load to the heavy users like kettle, stove etc. I'm looking for some advice please but my budget is not endless... As stated I would prefer a hybrid inverter that can supply the load form solar and top-up if needed form grid/battery and have the separate load circuit (I've seen this labelled "AC Out" on some brands). 3kW is really enough (we very seldom go over 2500W on the load side and then that is usually for relatively short periods, average between 600W and 1500 W) Parallel capability would be nice, hence me looking at the 5k Infinisolar, but not really essential. Decent monitoring tool, I like to know how much solar is being produced and the load usage and monthly totals etc... What other brands would be recommended that can do the same/better than the Infinisolar? If another brand is also supported by ICC that would be a plus... Should I just replace the unit with the same model, hoping a new one will last, or just pay the approx R5k and have mine repaid again???
  3. Thanks @Jaws, that's pretty much what I was after. Currently my AGM's show, via ICC, as 100% SOC while there is PV supplying charge/float but they drop to <80% within minutes of the sun going down and no PV any more and if grid power fails they drop fairly rapidly to <70% with the load at around 750W and then the batteries SOC slowly drops and typically reach about 63%-65% by the end of a typical just over 2 hour load shed... This is quite a bit worse than when they were new, hence me starting to look at lithium's... I'm not in a major rush to replace my batteries just yet as they're still supplying the load during a load shedding but I'll probably replace them by the end of the year... 6000 cycles is quite attractive, I'd then enable the options to use battery in the evenings until the SOC reached about 75% thereby still leaving plenty battery for the middle of the night load shedding, at which point we're typically only drawing around 500W...
  4. I currently have 4 x 12v 250AH Gel/AGM batteries that are now coming up on 4 years old and are not performing as they did when new (not really unexpected)... I'm running an Infinisolar 3kPlus and 2 arrays each with 8 x 250w panels. The load circuit on the inverter draws between 500w and 900w, depending on what is powered when, with an overall average of around 750w. I only use the batteries when grid power is unavailable and the PV is not producing enough to supply the load circuit. My main aim for battery power is to be able to provide way more than enough to get through load shedding as both myself and my wife work from home so we need our offices powered at all times... With my current AGM batteries performance degrading I've been looking at the possibility of getting Lithium batteries and have been fairly impress with the reviews, this forum and elsewhere, of the PylonTech units. My question is, how do I compare my current batteries with something like the PylonTech's with regard to their kW ratings as compared to what I have (48v 250AH)??? I do understand that the DoD of the Lithium batteries are significantly better than the AGM so my guess is that I could ultimately go with a "lower" kW rating that my AGM's are "rated"???
  5. I had a look around for Ziehl and came across what I think would be the model(s) and wow, they are expensive. I found an online price for an ERF3000 for R6k on special plus shipping of R850. The ERF3000 (and the new ERF4000IP) seems a little overkill for what I need, maybe there is a different model I should be looking at... @Analytical your reply pretty much answers my other post (Infinisolar 3KW Plus Hybrid inverter) regarding using a contactor to let the inverter feed the load to other devices and supply over its rate 3kw, as long as grid power exists, hence the use of the contactor. I think I'm going to continue with my contactor plans for now but I'll still look for something to stop the feed to the grid, hopefully I'll find something simpler than the Ziehl ERF3000 and therefore hopefully less expensive.
  6. I currently have an Infinisolar 3kw+ hybrid inverter with solar panels, batteries and connected to the Eskom supply. Currently the inverter is set in off-grid mode so that it does not feed back to the house and grid. This is quite a waste as the solar energy produced is way over what we're using on the load circuit of the inverter. I would love to feed the excess solar back to the house/grid but the City of Cape Town makes it extremely uninviting to do so, with their incredibly ridiculous AMI meter "service charge". I would end up paying almost twice as much to the council monthly just to have their special meter so I could feed to the grid, but yet I would be providing power, at a low credit value to me, that they would then sell on to another consumer, would typically be my closest neighbor, at the normal consumption rate and they didn't even have to do any work to get the power. Why is it that government "systems" in this country discourage consumers from producing power, especially when our only main line energy provider is so useless... Anyway, enough ranting for now.. I can't remember whether I read it or heard someone mention that you can get/install/fit something I think was referred to as "reverse power flow blocking" or something like that. Is this something I could install with my system and then be able to set my inverter to grid-tie mode and get to use the excess solar energy in the rest of the house, without actually feeding back to the grid?
  7. I agree I could do that but then I'd be slightly worse off, in terms of use of the solar energy, unless I'm not understanding correctly. If I split the arrays to separate MPPTs then I'd only have the one array feeding the inverter and therefore the load circuit and the separate MPPT would basically just be keeping the batteries charged. I only use the batteries when the Eskom feed fails..
  8. @DeepBass9 Yes, both arrays are running into the same inverter, it only has the one solar input option. The setup seems to work pretty well, if I isolate the arrays (separate fuses) during varying times of the day from sunrise to sunset I can see the different the array not ideally facing the sun makes. Shortly after installing the whole setup (early Feb 2016) I wanted to test both the solar generation the anti-islanding feature of the inverter so I set it to grid-tie mode and turned on the oven and kettle, microwave and geyser (those items not on the inverter load circuit). I have a simple digital ampmeter inline from the Eskom to inverter cable and and noticed it showed up to 9A feedback to the house, over an above the 3A that was fed to the load circuit, which was fairly impressive. I still had an old non prepaid meter back then so was not concerned that my meter would have an issue if any current was pushed back to it but with the stove, kettle, microwave and geyser all running I didn't get to see the meters disc move in reverse (would love to have seen that though). I then switched off my main breaker outside that feeds from the council to the house, to test the inverters anti-islanding, and the inverter instantly stopped feeding back to the grid and had switched to supplying the load from the solar only (with battery available if solar was insufficient). I'm pretty happy with the system and its performance so far. I've posted a topic under the Inverters section (Infinisolar 3KW Plus Hybrid inverter) about something I'd like to do but not sure yet if the inverter will handle what I want.
  9. Hi, I'm looking for a little info/advice regarding an Infinisolar 3KW+ Hybrid inverter. I'm running one of these at home with solar panels and batteries and a separate DB that the inverters load circuit supplies. This inverter fed DB has all the important circuits in the house connected like lights, office and of course the TV cabinet... On average I run between 1.3 amps to 3.8 amps through the inverter load circuit, depending of course on what is running. What I would like to do is add a contactor to the DB and have the contactor activated by the Eskom feed and therefore the contactor would be off when there is no Eskom power. My intention is to then add in most of the rest of the house, probably excluding the stove and geyser, so that on the good solar days the solar is also supplying things like fridge, kettle, microwave, vacuum cleaner and whatever else my be running. My idea about using the contactor is so that when Eskom is off then the "less essential" devices in the house are also off and therefore the inverter is only supplying power to the essential devices, whether it be via solar or batteries. This is mainly for non-solar or low solar times and the batteries are used to supply the load circuit and therefore the batteries won't get depleted so quickly by the heavy power using devices. My questions regarding the Infinisolar inverter is thus... Devices like vacuum cleaners, and other motors, have a relatively high startup power draw, be it for a short time, and my concern is what the inverter will do at that time if the power draw spikes above the 3KW point? If I'm understanding the spec sheet correctly it states "Nominal Output Current" as 13A and "Maximum Output Fault Current" and "Maximum output Overcurrent Protection" as 51A so in theory it should cope with this??? My other concern is lets say the vacuum is running, among the other usual devices, and the total draw is at 2.5KW and then the kettle is turned on which is rated as 3200W. This would take the load well over the 3000W spec but well within the fault/overcurrent value. Would the inverter draw the extra current from its Eskom feed and supply the load with the extra or would it just go into fault mode and shut itself down??? I've searched for any kind of information regarding this but can't find anything useful. It would be great if anyone could answer this for me, whichever way it turns out. I wouldn't want to try what I want to do and end up with a blown inverter or something...
  10. Hi all, Thanks to the admins for the join approval... I've been looking for a forum like this for a while... Just an intro, will post questions in other sections (hopefully the correct sections)... I have 16 x 250W panels in 2 banks of 8 in series and situated on my east and west facing roof sides. I had read quite a few articles on the whole east-west setup and decided it was the way I wanted to go and seems to work pretty well. I don't have enough north facing roof the mount that number of panels anyway... The panels connect to an inverter, started with an Axpert but changed to an InfiniSolar 3kw+ (plus - for searches) and 4 x 12v 250ah AGM batteries in series as 48v. I have setup a separate DB off the inverters load circuit and from that supply the lights, offices and a few other important plugs (like the TV unit) and have left the kitchen (stove, fridge microwave, kettle etc), the geyser and some other plug points in the house on the Eskom/council fed DB. The plugs fed from the inverter load DB have the flat earth pin (typical of office UPS red plug setups) so that things like the vacuum cleaner cannot be plugged in... The inverter also has a connection from the Eskom/council DB. We typically run between 1.3A to 3.8A on the inverter load circuit, so well within the 3kw spec of the inverter and have no issues during load shedding. I've been considering adding some panels to my north facing roof, but purely to run the pond pumps and would then want to upgrade my pond too, but with the water issues in the Western Cape I don't really want to be putting in a larger pond that would need to be kept topped up, so this is still on hold (planning more rain water storage tanks then may look at it again).
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