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

Bobster

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  1. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Richard Mackay in Noob + New Installation + Problems!   
    Because in some areas it is just not an attractive proposition. I can export in Johannesburg. IF I pay for the installation of the necessary meter and if I sign up for their resellers tariff which pays about 40c per kw/h and has flat fees of about R600 each month. I would struggle to pay the fees, forget about the meter. It's just not worth my time.
  2. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Richard Mackay in Solar fuses keep blowing   
    Yes. There was a room full of very large batteries. From memory there was massive rectifier circuitry to trickle charge the batteries from mains, so the exchange could run for a period of time without municipal power. There may have been a generator too. This is a long time ago, back in the 70s.

    Early on the Dept showed the new recruits all the wonderful career paths they could follow. We were taken up to a microwave repeater station on a ridge near Overport. There there were no cables, everything was moved around using wave guides - pipes with a reflective lining that could "bounce" the microwaves around corners when required. These had to be terminated, and there were lurid legends about technicians removing the terminator plate and danging a sandwich in front of the now open guid to toast it.

    There was one piece of unterminated guide in the exchange. I assume there was no input into this, but there was a sign saying "do not look down wave guide with remaining eye".
  3. Like
    Bobster reacted to Richard Mackay in Solar fuses keep blowing   
    Don't forget bloudraad!
  4. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from GreenFields in Clueless   
    OK... I don't have the technical chops of some posters here, but I have walked the same path as you. 

    Firstly, a couple of things that will influence the sort of system you buy. How long are load sheds where you live? (Most of the country it is 2 hours, JHB is 4). Does the power come back on timeously or do things sometimes blow up and delay reinstatement? This goes to for how long you will need back up power.

    How much electricity do you use a month? This only gives an average use per day (not peak at any given time) but it does help you and the installer to get a handle on things. If necessary, take your own meter readings.

    Then figure out what is essential (must work when there is load shedding) and what is not. Your installer will address these issues anyway, but do some homework and figure it out otherwise you may get what the installer thinks is best and find it doesn't quite fit. As an example, we have long had a heat pump connected to a geyser. This draws substantially less than a regular geyser element. By default the installer would not have backed this up, but we discussed and it's now on the backed up circuits.

    OK... so the route I went was this
    1) Got a battery pack and inverter of the type that has been discussed here already. We found that with that and some extension leads we could keep on wifi, DSTV, some standard lamps and one fridge during a load shed. In fact (because I had really over bought on the batteries) it could go 8 or 9 hours easy (but it took a long time to charge again). The nice thing about this was that it kicked in pretty much instantaneously when the power went down. The TV set would not flicker.
    2) Tried to keep tabs on when power outages occurred and how long other things stayed up and found that our alarm system would last about 2 hours running off battery and the electric fence 3.5 to 4 hours.
    3) Got a new garage motor with battery backup. This is only going to open the door so many times, but it let us get in and out during a load shed.

    4) Started finding out that all these lead acid batteries didn't last and had to be replaced. And would fail at different times and with little warning. So at this point (I work out of town) I could not be as sure as I'd like that people in the house had easy access/egress or decent security.
    5) Last year when Eskom started load shedding again I figured that this wasn't going to go away soon, that electricity was going to go up at least 10% PA, and I did some sums and saw that a solar system would not be an outright extravagance. I also factored in things like being able to keep a deep freeze stocked because it was unlikely to every lose power.

    6) So now I have the system described in my signature. 3 day installation. DB split into essential (backed up) and non-essential loads. So when there's a load shed nothing changes in the house. On the property we lose the outbuildings (nobody lives in them) and the pool pump and geyser in the guest room. So we can't use the washing machine (which actually doesn't draw much on a cold cycle). The system can still access the grid. As long as there is grid power it will not let the battery discharge below 40%, so we still have more than we used to have in that battery pack. Most sunny days, the battery pack is charged by 11:30 and after that the whole property (including the non-essentials) is run off of solar. If there is a load shed during the day then the solar will back up all the essential services. At night the house is pretty much running off of battery anyway so a night load shed makes not much difference (again, we lose those non-essential circuits).

    For any solar solution (even a solar geyser) you need to adjust your routines to make the most of it. EG I never run the pool pump at night any more. It will deplete the battery too quickly. So it runs in the day, on a timer set for a period when I likely have plenty of solar. In our previous house which had a solar geyser we had to discipline ourselves to use hot water during the day and in the early evening. 

    The system is not cheap. Generators are cheaper in the short run at least. A UPS too, but you may find that the batteries (the most expensive bit) need changing every 2 to 3 years.

    Also try to get a handle on what the various loads in your house are. An electric stove obviously is a big load. So is a geyser with an element. A Microwave can draw a lot of power, but usually not for long. Your kettle may surprise you.

    Try to be disciplined in the way you use power. EG switch off lights in rooms you're not using. Get energy saver lights. Don't do this
    Get up Turn on the kettle Have a shower Turn on the kettle Eat breakfast Turn on the kettle Brush your teeth and feed the dog Turn on the kettle Make a cup of coffee. The discipline aspect will save you some money if you make no changes, and if you have backup power will help you stretch that further. But get a gas kettle if you can, and try not to use things like the hair dryer when you're relying on your backup system during load shedding.
    A point I always make. If there is any change to the wiring in your house get a fresh COC or at least an amendment and give your insurers a copy. Otherwise if the worst happens, a lost adjuster may notice the changes to the wiring, rule that you did not accurately describe the risk or had illegal wiring, and you may then have no claim.
  5. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Goodwe 5048 - Sems portal conflicting readings   
    Well... at night the system DOES draw from the grid. We see this about 3:45 in the morning. 

    I don't like the app on the phone because it doesn't allow much room on the Y axis and so small fluctuations of power are quite hard to see. Try using the browser on your PC - you have more screen real estate and thus more detail.

    The yellow energy LED should blink when you are drawing from mains.

    That said, I'm not a technical guy. I have a Goodwe inverter, but in a hybrid setup rather than grid-tie. So I can't give confident information about how the system should behave. But I would expect the energy LED to blink when the inverter is drawing from the grid (not necessarily when the non-backed up circuits are drawing).

    If you had somebody install for you, then give them a chance to sort it out. If you did it yourself or the installer does not help, then contact
    DavidHavenga Technical Manager for Southern Africa GOODWE POWER SUPPLY TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD.
    +27 60 719 2956 
    [email protected]
     
    He is very helpful. He may take a while to get back to you with a solution as he will look at your system's data to try to understand what is happening.
  6. Haha
    Bobster got a reaction from plonkster in Clueless   
    OK... I don't have the technical chops of some posters here, but I have walked the same path as you. 

    Firstly, a couple of things that will influence the sort of system you buy. How long are load sheds where you live? (Most of the country it is 2 hours, JHB is 4). Does the power come back on timeously or do things sometimes blow up and delay reinstatement? This goes to for how long you will need back up power.

    How much electricity do you use a month? This only gives an average use per day (not peak at any given time) but it does help you and the installer to get a handle on things. If necessary, take your own meter readings.

    Then figure out what is essential (must work when there is load shedding) and what is not. Your installer will address these issues anyway, but do some homework and figure it out otherwise you may get what the installer thinks is best and find it doesn't quite fit. As an example, we have long had a heat pump connected to a geyser. This draws substantially less than a regular geyser element. By default the installer would not have backed this up, but we discussed and it's now on the backed up circuits.

    OK... so the route I went was this
    1) Got a battery pack and inverter of the type that has been discussed here already. We found that with that and some extension leads we could keep on wifi, DSTV, some standard lamps and one fridge during a load shed. In fact (because I had really over bought on the batteries) it could go 8 or 9 hours easy (but it took a long time to charge again). The nice thing about this was that it kicked in pretty much instantaneously when the power went down. The TV set would not flicker.
    2) Tried to keep tabs on when power outages occurred and how long other things stayed up and found that our alarm system would last about 2 hours running off battery and the electric fence 3.5 to 4 hours.
    3) Got a new garage motor with battery backup. This is only going to open the door so many times, but it let us get in and out during a load shed.

    4) Started finding out that all these lead acid batteries didn't last and had to be replaced. And would fail at different times and with little warning. So at this point (I work out of town) I could not be as sure as I'd like that people in the house had easy access/egress or decent security.
    5) Last year when Eskom started load shedding again I figured that this wasn't going to go away soon, that electricity was going to go up at least 10% PA, and I did some sums and saw that a solar system would not be an outright extravagance. I also factored in things like being able to keep a deep freeze stocked because it was unlikely to every lose power.

    6) So now I have the system described in my signature. 3 day installation. DB split into essential (backed up) and non-essential loads. So when there's a load shed nothing changes in the house. On the property we lose the outbuildings (nobody lives in them) and the pool pump and geyser in the guest room. So we can't use the washing machine (which actually doesn't draw much on a cold cycle). The system can still access the grid. As long as there is grid power it will not let the battery discharge below 40%, so we still have more than we used to have in that battery pack. Most sunny days, the battery pack is charged by 11:30 and after that the whole property (including the non-essentials) is run off of solar. If there is a load shed during the day then the solar will back up all the essential services. At night the house is pretty much running off of battery anyway so a night load shed makes not much difference (again, we lose those non-essential circuits).

    For any solar solution (even a solar geyser) you need to adjust your routines to make the most of it. EG I never run the pool pump at night any more. It will deplete the battery too quickly. So it runs in the day, on a timer set for a period when I likely have plenty of solar. In our previous house which had a solar geyser we had to discipline ourselves to use hot water during the day and in the early evening. 

    The system is not cheap. Generators are cheaper in the short run at least. A UPS too, but you may find that the batteries (the most expensive bit) need changing every 2 to 3 years.

    Also try to get a handle on what the various loads in your house are. An electric stove obviously is a big load. So is a geyser with an element. A Microwave can draw a lot of power, but usually not for long. Your kettle may surprise you.

    Try to be disciplined in the way you use power. EG switch off lights in rooms you're not using. Get energy saver lights. Don't do this
    Get up Turn on the kettle Have a shower Turn on the kettle Eat breakfast Turn on the kettle Brush your teeth and feed the dog Turn on the kettle Make a cup of coffee. The discipline aspect will save you some money if you make no changes, and if you have backup power will help you stretch that further. But get a gas kettle if you can, and try not to use things like the hair dryer when you're relying on your backup system during load shedding.
    A point I always make. If there is any change to the wiring in your house get a fresh COC or at least an amendment and give your insurers a copy. Otherwise if the worst happens, a lost adjuster may notice the changes to the wiring, rule that you did not accurately describe the risk or had illegal wiring, and you may then have no claim.
  7. Haha
    Bobster got a reaction from Richard Mackay in Clueless   
    OK... I don't have the technical chops of some posters here, but I have walked the same path as you. 

    Firstly, a couple of things that will influence the sort of system you buy. How long are load sheds where you live? (Most of the country it is 2 hours, JHB is 4). Does the power come back on timeously or do things sometimes blow up and delay reinstatement? This goes to for how long you will need back up power.

    How much electricity do you use a month? This only gives an average use per day (not peak at any given time) but it does help you and the installer to get a handle on things. If necessary, take your own meter readings.

    Then figure out what is essential (must work when there is load shedding) and what is not. Your installer will address these issues anyway, but do some homework and figure it out otherwise you may get what the installer thinks is best and find it doesn't quite fit. As an example, we have long had a heat pump connected to a geyser. This draws substantially less than a regular geyser element. By default the installer would not have backed this up, but we discussed and it's now on the backed up circuits.

    OK... so the route I went was this
    1) Got a battery pack and inverter of the type that has been discussed here already. We found that with that and some extension leads we could keep on wifi, DSTV, some standard lamps and one fridge during a load shed. In fact (because I had really over bought on the batteries) it could go 8 or 9 hours easy (but it took a long time to charge again). The nice thing about this was that it kicked in pretty much instantaneously when the power went down. The TV set would not flicker.
    2) Tried to keep tabs on when power outages occurred and how long other things stayed up and found that our alarm system would last about 2 hours running off battery and the electric fence 3.5 to 4 hours.
    3) Got a new garage motor with battery backup. This is only going to open the door so many times, but it let us get in and out during a load shed.

    4) Started finding out that all these lead acid batteries didn't last and had to be replaced. And would fail at different times and with little warning. So at this point (I work out of town) I could not be as sure as I'd like that people in the house had easy access/egress or decent security.
    5) Last year when Eskom started load shedding again I figured that this wasn't going to go away soon, that electricity was going to go up at least 10% PA, and I did some sums and saw that a solar system would not be an outright extravagance. I also factored in things like being able to keep a deep freeze stocked because it was unlikely to every lose power.

    6) So now I have the system described in my signature. 3 day installation. DB split into essential (backed up) and non-essential loads. So when there's a load shed nothing changes in the house. On the property we lose the outbuildings (nobody lives in them) and the pool pump and geyser in the guest room. So we can't use the washing machine (which actually doesn't draw much on a cold cycle). The system can still access the grid. As long as there is grid power it will not let the battery discharge below 40%, so we still have more than we used to have in that battery pack. Most sunny days, the battery pack is charged by 11:30 and after that the whole property (including the non-essentials) is run off of solar. If there is a load shed during the day then the solar will back up all the essential services. At night the house is pretty much running off of battery anyway so a night load shed makes not much difference (again, we lose those non-essential circuits).

    For any solar solution (even a solar geyser) you need to adjust your routines to make the most of it. EG I never run the pool pump at night any more. It will deplete the battery too quickly. So it runs in the day, on a timer set for a period when I likely have plenty of solar. In our previous house which had a solar geyser we had to discipline ourselves to use hot water during the day and in the early evening. 

    The system is not cheap. Generators are cheaper in the short run at least. A UPS too, but you may find that the batteries (the most expensive bit) need changing every 2 to 3 years.

    Also try to get a handle on what the various loads in your house are. An electric stove obviously is a big load. So is a geyser with an element. A Microwave can draw a lot of power, but usually not for long. Your kettle may surprise you.

    Try to be disciplined in the way you use power. EG switch off lights in rooms you're not using. Get energy saver lights. Don't do this
    Get up Turn on the kettle Have a shower Turn on the kettle Eat breakfast Turn on the kettle Brush your teeth and feed the dog Turn on the kettle Make a cup of coffee. The discipline aspect will save you some money if you make no changes, and if you have backup power will help you stretch that further. But get a gas kettle if you can, and try not to use things like the hair dryer when you're relying on your backup system during load shedding.
    A point I always make. If there is any change to the wiring in your house get a fresh COC or at least an amendment and give your insurers a copy. Otherwise if the worst happens, a lost adjuster may notice the changes to the wiring, rule that you did not accurately describe the risk or had illegal wiring, and you may then have no claim.
  8. Thanks
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Battery charging from grid   
    Ok. The upgrade was applied. No change. I gave feedback to David at Goodwe. He then said that UPS mode is supposed to emulate a UPS and those devices usually charge slowly. 
    He reccomended that for a fast charge I use economical mode with start time 00:00 and end time 23:59, charge at 50%. 
    Bingo! 2.1 kw from the grid into the batteries.
  9. Thanks
    Bobster got a reaction from Pietpower in Battery charging from grid   
    Ok. The upgrade was applied. No change. I gave feedback to David at Goodwe. He then said that UPS mode is supposed to emulate a UPS and those devices usually charge slowly. 
    He reccomended that for a fast charge I use economical mode with start time 00:00 and end time 23:59, charge at 50%. 
    Bingo! 2.1 kw from the grid into the batteries.
  10. Thanks
    Bobster got a reaction from Milkyway in Basic load shedding solution   
    Before I went to a solar hybrid system, I had a UPS and did what you describe - just kept a few essentials going during load shedding. It does make a difference.

    Now, this depends on the layout of the house, but I found that using two extension leads I was able to back up a fridge, two standard lamps and our entertainment systems. This left one outlet open on the UPS and I had a short lead from that to a double sided socket (OK... a very short extension lead) for charging phones and such. 

    What made it all work is a property that all these systems have these days, that they cut over automatically. So the input side of the inverter was just plugged into a wall socket and the box was parked in a corner with the extension leads going around the edges of the sitting room so there was little danger of tripping over them.

    But eventually I decided that it wasn't that hard to look into the crystal ball and see that electricity supply was going to be a problem for 2 years at least. And not just load shedding but, in Johannesburg anyway, all the other outages due to aged and overloaded infrastructure. And the price would continue to go up and that made the economic proposition better or at least less bad. Plus I had twice had to restock the deep freeze after long outages (OK, in the short term the insurance pays, but the insurer giveth and the insurer taketh away or else the insurer would not be in business). So I cut to the chase.

    Solar isn't cheap, but you have to take a long term view of the costs and factor in the soft value as well - keeping the fridges going, keeping the security system on, being able to help out friends and family who are without electricity.
  11. Thanks
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Battery charging from grid   
    I heard from Goodwe.

    1) This behaviour has already been reported and there is a firmware update that can fix it.
    2) But even with the correct firmware the charge current from grid is limited to 10% of the rate current for the battery bank.
     
  12. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Chris Louw in Worth going solar?   
    I'm not off grid. But since my system started running reliably we have have always had power in the house with only a few circuits losing power. 
    The way I put it is that most days we generate most (96 to 97%) of our own power and the lights, security system, fridges etc always stay on. 
    A prolonged stretch of bad weather simultaneously with a long outage would see us eventually shut down. That's long odds though not impossible. 
    So we need to stop thinking in binary terms of being at Eskom’s mercy or going off grid. There's a middle ground that will give you good continuity and save you a good whack
  13. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Worth going solar?   
    I'm not off grid. But since my system started running reliably we have have always had power in the house with only a few circuits losing power. 
    The way I put it is that most days we generate most (96 to 97%) of our own power and the lights, security system, fridges etc always stay on. 
    A prolonged stretch of bad weather simultaneously with a long outage would see us eventually shut down. That's long odds though not impossible. 
    So we need to stop thinking in binary terms of being at Eskom’s mercy or going off grid. There's a middle ground that will give you good continuity and save you a good whack
  14. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Richard Mackay in Worth going solar?   
    I'm not off grid. But since my system started running reliably we have have always had power in the house with only a few circuits losing power. 
    The way I put it is that most days we generate most (96 to 97%) of our own power and the lights, security system, fridges etc always stay on. 
    A prolonged stretch of bad weather simultaneously with a long outage would see us eventually shut down. That's long odds though not impossible. 
    So we need to stop thinking in binary terms of being at Eskom’s mercy or going off grid. There's a middle ground that will give you good continuity and save you a good whack
  15. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Lourens78 in New Installation advice required?   
    Is the idea to go completely off grid? That's expensive. You need enough battery to contend with a period of sustained gloomy weather, enough solar panels to get them charged up in good time, and an inverter that can handle that. Plus probably a generator as a last resort.

    use the first two years for learning what your property draws and when, and how long your system can run the essential circuits. Also use the various apps to identify high loads on the property and decide what to do about them. Consider going to gas for cooking and solar or heat pump for water heating as they are two of the biggest loads in your house. 

    A point I always make. Get a COC (or amendment to your existing COC) from a competent person and make sure your insurers get a copy and know that you have a solar system. Otherwise if the worst comes to the worst they will send out a loss adjuster who will very quickly notice that there are wiring changes that they weren't told about or is not described on your COC and so you have misdeclared the risk to them and so the policy is voided.
  16. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Lourens78 in New Installation advice required?   
    Yes, but I'm saying that you should keep your insurer informed. It shouldn't affect your premium unless you specifically insure some internal components, but it is wise to be in a position where the risk is accurately described. Probably a valid COC signed by a competent person will prevail in the end, but a claim may be held up.
     
  17. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Lourens78 in New Installation advice required?   
    You will get monitoring tools with the Goodwe, and you will very quickly get a good picture of what is happening when. And you will very quickly see the impact of any changes that you make. 
  18. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Grid tie inverter and ac coupling   
    I found the same in Jhb. I could export. They don't pay rebate you very much, but it would make some difference. BUT I'd have to convert to the feed in tariff and that includes a fixed monthly fee and so unless I have a Koeberg on my roof (and I don't) it won't be worth my while.

    My reading of the situation is that COJ don't want to minimise the loss  of revenues, so they have created a situation where they can say "yes, of course you can resell your surplus power", but they know that nobody's actually going to take them up on it.
  19. Like
    Bobster reacted to SiliconKid in Growatt Inverter + Pylontech Batteries : BMS Comms Guide   
    I've recently purchased and installed the following:
    1 x Growatt SPF 5000TL HVM 5kVA/5kW Hybrid Inverter.
    2 x Pylontech US3000 batteries.
    1 x Pylontech cable kit with RJ45 BMS comms cable included.
    I've just spent 5 days communicating with Growatt in China to figure out why I could not get the inverter to communicate with the BMS on the master battery properly.
    After many, many emails back and forward, and far too many hours of research online, I finally got it right today and I think it is worth sharing this information here, in case anybody else needs it, because I couldn't find the right information anywhere on the internet, all in one place, explained properly.
    It turns out that the Growatt SPF5000 has to be connected to the Pylontech batteries differently to the way Axpert inverters are connected to Pylontech batteries.
    Everything I was reading online was saying that you need to plug the RJ45 comms cable into the CAN port on the master battery and then into the BMS port on the inverter, and then you need to set the battery type to Li (setting 05 on Axpert and Growatt inverters) and then choose Li profile L02 (also apparently the same for Axpert and Growatt inverters).
    It turns out, the Growatt does NOT communicate via the CAN port. It communicates via the RS485 port that is positioned below the CAN port on the master battery.
    And in addition to that, it requires a 9600 baud rate, which you can set using the 4 small white dipswitches on the master battery.
    For the Growatt you must set those dipswitches to:  1 0 0 0 (ON OFF OFF OFF)
    When connected to the CAN port and put into Li (L02) mode, the Growatt inverter faults and gives an error 20 and an error 04 constantly.
    When connected to the RS485 port with the dipswitches set to 1000, comms is immediately established and it works as intended.
    I also installed 2 firmware updates on the inverter, that were sent to me by Growatt in China (who were very helpful through this entire process despite not actually giving me the information I actually needed to solve this), but in retrospect I actually wonder if those firmware updates even made a difference because I was able to put the inverter into Li (L02) mode before applying those firmware updates anyway, I just didn't know about the RS485 port and the dipswitches.
    Recommended configuration process
    1. Turn inverter on but run off battery only. Disable A/C input and  A/C output (use isolator switches if you have them).
    2. Go to setting 5 and select battery type = Li. Then select profile L02 (This is specifically for Pylontech batteries). Push ESC to return to home screen. Go back to setting 5 and verify that it was saved as Li.
    3. Now shutdown the inverter and batteries completely. Turn the batteries off using the on/off flip switch, not just the red button on the master battery.
    4. Now make sure that the end of the comms cable on the battery side (it will probably have a little sticker on it that says BAT) is plugged into the RJ45 port labelled RS485 that is below the CAN port. And also make sure that the other end is plugged into the RJ45 port labelled BMS on the inverter and NOT into the other RJ45 port that is labelled RS485 (Yes, I know, it's weird, just go with it).
    5. Now set the 4 little white dipswitches to: ON OFF OFF OFF (1000).
    6. Now turn the batteries back on and then turn the inverter back on.
    You should no longer see any fault codes or the red fault light.
    How to tell that the inverter really is communicating with the BMS properly
    1. You should now see a little Li symbol next to the battery icon on the home screen of the inverter, and that Li symbol should NOT be flashing. When it's not flashing and is solid it means comms is working.
    2. If you go and look at most of the battery values on the status screens or in settings related to battery level (SOC) you should now see percentage values where there were voltage values before. Setting 21 is a good example of that.
    I hope this helps somebody else because the information available online with regards to the Growatt routers is of no help in this regard and most of the information available relates to Axpert inverters, which appear to be very similar to the Growatt at face value, but communicate with the Pylontech batteries differently from what I can see.
     
     
     
     
     
  20. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in Basic load shedding solution   
    Before I went to a solar hybrid system, I had a UPS and did what you describe - just kept a few essentials going during load shedding. It does make a difference.

    Now, this depends on the layout of the house, but I found that using two extension leads I was able to back up a fridge, two standard lamps and our entertainment systems. This left one outlet open on the UPS and I had a short lead from that to a double sided socket (OK... a very short extension lead) for charging phones and such. 

    What made it all work is a property that all these systems have these days, that they cut over automatically. So the input side of the inverter was just plugged into a wall socket and the box was parked in a corner with the extension leads going around the edges of the sitting room so there was little danger of tripping over them.

    But eventually I decided that it wasn't that hard to look into the crystal ball and see that electricity supply was going to be a problem for 2 years at least. And not just load shedding but, in Johannesburg anyway, all the other outages due to aged and overloaded infrastructure. And the price would continue to go up and that made the economic proposition better or at least less bad. Plus I had twice had to restock the deep freeze after long outages (OK, in the short term the insurance pays, but the insurer giveth and the insurer taketh away or else the insurer would not be in business). So I cut to the chase.

    Solar isn't cheap, but you have to take a long term view of the costs and factor in the soft value as well - keeping the fridges going, keeping the security system on, being able to help out friends and family who are without electricity.
  21. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from plonkster in ICC-Solar   
    The general idea is that it's free as in "open" not as in "free beer". Which, as @plonkster points out, means that the vendor doesn't have you over a barrel. Usually there's no license fees for the OS and DBMS, but nobody should begrudge a software vendor a reasonable per hour fee for development or support.

    If you think I'm ripping you off, you have the source code and unless there's a contract between us that stipulates otherwise you can get somebody else in to maintain your systems and see how good a job they do (and know that you can't hold me to any kind of guarantee for the work the other guy does).

     
  22. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Fuenkli in SEMS portal :'(   
    I'll add that I found the goodwe apps don't adapt well to different android phones. EZ manage works fine on my Huawei (though I don't trust the numbers), but the setup menu for changing operation mode is very crowded on my wife's LG. But PV Master works flawlessly on the LG, is hit and miss on the Huawei. My installer told me that in their opinion the apps only work reliably and accurately on iPhone, but if you are using android, and if you have access to a different model of android phone, you might try installing the apps on that.
  23. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from Doom5003 in New to well everything   
    Our useage was averaging out about 14 kw/h a day. So not a lot less than you, and the system could take more load as most days the battery is recharged by midday and the Goodwe derates the solar panels so that they just service the load.

    It still retains a grid connection, so we can play it all ways. Most days it produces most of our power whilst additionally giving us protection against outages. The battery always gets us through the night and then unless the weather is foul we get solar in the morning.

    We can also run it like a UPS and use grid to charge up the batteries, but increasingly I am leaving to it's own devices.

    You can have rules (and this is not unique to Goodwe) like "only run the battery down by 60% if there is grid power available". So that means we would always have 40% in the battery if the power goes out.

    Generally I think what you are aiming towards is a hybrid system. I have a Goodwe, but it's not the only such. So I think what you need as a foundation for the system is an inverter that can be run in that mode. Then you add panels, increase batteries with time and budget.
  24. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from plonkster in Load shedding   
    It's not mandatory everywhere, I guess.  I would think that for programmers boolean logic is essential, but not, for example, for bricklayers or plumbers. OK... it's handy too for certain types of electronics. EG you have 5v on that pin and 5v on the other pin and it's an AND gate and so on the output side you should have...

    I played chess myself, but I never feel like I learned anything from it other than to play chess. But this maybe down to personality traits. 

    I'll also add, having got on the high horse here, that I studied programming at Technikon (at it was in those days) and after I was finished I gleefully chucked out of the window all that stuff in text books that old fogies had thought up, then 2 years later realised that some truths are eternal and got my text books out again.
  25. Like
    Bobster got a reaction from PJJ in Load shedding   
    I'm constantly surprised by this. Maybe there are things that are assumed to be so fundamental that nobody bothers teaching them anymore. "Oh EVERYBODY knows that", and so it drops out of the syllabus. 

    By the time I was 12 I knew about, for example, process of elimination, and I use that nearly every day in my job. I have taught the principle to youngsters and you see their eyes light up in wonder that such a method exists.

    Same generally in my line of work - computer programming. Nobody flow charts any more. Nobody draws up truth tables. Boolean algebra (what we young wags, encouraged by a lecturer, referred to as "booles**t)? What's that?

    I used to work for a man who was a chartered accountant by training, although he made his money in software. He asserted that in any activity there are fundamentals, and if you master the fundamentals then you can meet all future challenges. EG he said that THE fundamental of all accountancy is double entry, and that if you truly understand double entry there is no accounting problem that you cannot solve.

    He also expected people with job titles to know certain things. We once had a customer phone and tell us what a pile of rubbish our system was because the trial balance didn't balance. He asked what the discrepancy was and immediately said "you have transposed two adjacent digits when you captured one of the entries, please check what you captured against the source documents." They were not happy and insisted that he send somebody out to fix it.  He made a deal that I would go to their offices and check, and if it was he had had told them to check then they had to pay for my time.

    Off the phone he explained to me that the discrepancy was a multiple of 9, and every accountant/book keeper should know that if your error is a multiple of 9 then the most likely cause is that you transposed two adjacent digits EG the amount is 1234.56 and you entered 1235.46.
    He was right, and they were out of pocket and chastened.  He had no mercy on them because the guy who called to complain was a CA with 30 odd years experience and so, in my boss's opinion, should have seen the error and realised what the problem was and got his staff to recheck.

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