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

isetech

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  1. Today some fool indicated on the radio that eskom are charging ...using an example ...R6 for a R10 service and should increase the price to what everyone else around the world is paying for electricity... Eskom can no longer charge a reduce rate ...they should be charging their worth ...like everything in this country ...you can only smile and say ....eeeeish.
  2. The inverter goes boom ...the first thing we do is look for the warranty. It seems there are few things to consider before you rush out and install a solar / inverter system yourself ...especially if you hope to claim within the warranty period. We are looking into upgrading a system installed at a customers house...I wouldnt even consider an RCT (1 year ...no repair centre) ...maybe a meccer (also 1 year...with a repair centre in Durban and very helpful technical department...but limited spares) but it seems that if plans to spend money on one of the cheapie systems the kodak (2 years and they collect the unit and carry spares for their units) might just be the better option ...with regards to warranty ...but first check the warranty ...you might think installing the unit DIY is easy ...the question is if the unit goes boom within the warranty period will you be able to supply all the correct documentation...for example the MCS installation certificate...and if it burns your house down ...will the insurance company cover the repair costs. 4. Warranty Claims Procedure To make a warranty claim the following information needs to be provided: • Completed RTM Inspection Form • Product Model (i.e. KODAK Off Grid Inverter, OG 5.48) and Product Serial Number (ie. 36101010101) • Copy of the invoice for the inverter • Copy of the installation report and MCS installation certificate The authorised reseller will liaise with the Company regarding repair or replacement. The cost of unit repair or provision of replacement unit will be borne by the Company provided the Warranty has been validated and the Warranty period has not expired. Where repairs must be effected at the Company’s headquarters, the Company will endeavour to minimize the down time for the Goods. All rights reserved by Blue Mountain Energy Ltd. This information is subject to changes without notice. https://thepowerstore.co.za/products/kodak-solar-off-grid-inverter-vmiii https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1776/7837/files/SegenSolar-VoltronicPylonWarrantyValidation_RI_rev_01.pdf?1076 The next question ...what happens if the inverter does boom and you are not home and the house burns down... will your insurance cover damage cost. Lastly ...what causes the inverter to go boom. After watching a video on a 8000 kw unit which goes boom ...the supplier replaces the unit and the guy unboxes the unit ...connects it to his system and the unit goes boom again. This got my attention ...so what is causing all these units to go boom ... I thought my unit was maybe one of a couple unfortunate incidents ...it got old and as most people I have spoken to seem to indicate that its electronic and shyte happens... but i am starting to wonder about this. So what are the mains causes of units going boom - Old age? bugs shorting out the PCBs ? (apparently this is common ...the fan stops the bugs get in and boom) Incorrect connections ?...I am sure there are the incidents where inexperienced people connect the unit and it goes boom. bad batteries ?... one battery goes south and takes the rest down with it... overcharging ...which results in overheating ..which results in batteries running dry if not monitored...I am sure there are other issues which occur to to faulty batteries. But the one i am interested in is overloading ...due to a motor start up...fridge compressor switching on... aircon ...washing machine...chop saw (as illustrated in the video i watched)maybe even the tumble drier... if the maid is not aware of load shedding and its raining outside. ..what effect does that inrush current have on the inverter ...are they designed to withstand the inrush current...if there are 3 units in parallel will it soften the effect of the inrush current....what would happen if the inverter was switched on with a full load...the RCT unit has a 40 amp overload protection. Why does a unit make a funny buzzing sound and then boom... could it be if you switch on the unit under load that it destroys the unit...why has the units not got some form of protection? I noticed in one of the videos i watched ...the guy made it clear that if you connect the PV ...you must make sure the batteries are connected first. So it got me thinking ...how does it work ...there is a charge capacitor which will take a few seconds to charge up ...so in theory you would need to first connect the battery then the mains in ...then the ouptut... with the output isolated at a main switch or nothing plugged in the socket ...if the full load is connected at the time the unit switches on could it go boom ? Surely they would have a delay timer connected to the output to prevent the unit being overloaded during the start up period....if the 5 kva unit is rated for 22 amps why does it have a 40 amp fuse protection?
  3. The new system ...to plan as we learn...and hopefully by the time the building is ready (in 2 months time) we have a much better understanding about solar... inverters and batteries ...no solar at this point in time...but it might be an optional extra. The supply cable from the meter box to the new Main DB will have to be upgraded to a 25 mm x 2 core ecc cable. From the main DB: non essential items to fed from this DB. 60 amp feed to the change over switch (16 mm) 3 x 25 amp feed to the inverters (4 mm ) From the inverters to the changeover switch (3 x 4mm) From the changeover switch to Sub DB 1 (16 mm) From Sub DB 1 to : Sub DB 1 A (10 mm) Sub DB 1 B (10mm) Sub DB 1 C (10mm) Sub DB 1 D (6 mm) Gate (2.5mm) alarm (2.5mm) CCTV (2.5mm) Notes! All stoves to be replaced with gas. All lighting to be replaced with LED. Gas geysers to be considered...**** low voltage shutdown system will isolate geysers during load shedding or power failures. Pool pump ... ****as above The reason for the *** low voltage cutout... geysers...pool pump and other services are fed via Sub dbs in outbuildings...this is the best option to date ...if a better solution is found it will be changed. once i have drawn a site plan with all the power points ...i will complete the list. The inverter will need to be sized to carry 60 amp total ...3 x 5 kva or another option if we can find one...make to be determined. The batteries will need to be sized to carry a load of around 20-30 amps (if possible...still need to figue all this out) during load shedding for at least 2 hours...the load can be reduced to essential services to increase backup time...batteries to be determined. The system will require battery monitoring...voltage ...SOC and temperature at the battery banks. The room is being built with adequate ventilation..humidity (rust and corrosion) and consideration for bugs and reptiles to be taken into consideration as these critters certainly know how to short out PCBs.
  4. Something to consider ...Apparently kodak inverters have a 2 year warranty ...if the unit is faulty during the warranty period ...they will collect the unit form the site...courier it to their service centre and repair it ...and apparently they carry spares for their units which i am told are made up of both solis and voltronic components... making it a better option ...as i mentioned ...this is all hear say ...i can only rely on information shared from distributors....that is why apparently is used frequently It seems that everyone selling inverters are experts.
  5. It is time to upgrade the system... The old system: Installed by others 16 mm cable fed from the meter box to Sub DB (80 amp mcb in the meter box...it should be a 25 mm cable from the meter box) The sub DB made up of : 3 circuit breakers each feeding 1 x 5 kva inverter (each supplied by a 10mm twin+e) 3 circuit breakers each through a timer feeding 3 geysers 1 circuit breaker feeding a manual changeover switch and from there to a Sub DB which splits to various sub DBs on the property. 3 x 10 mm twin + E cables from each of the 3 inverters into the manual changeover...connected together at the changeover switch. Inverters: 3 x 5 kva (48 VDC) connected in parallel. 3 x 48 VDC battery banks (each made up of 4 x 105 amp/hr lead acid batteries) each bank has a 100 amp fuse connected directly to the positive terminal. Cabling used to link the batteries 35 mm flexible cable. Cabling from the battery bank to the copper bussbars mounted below the inverters ...35 mm flexible cable ...all the same length. Will add the setup parameters of the RCT inverters once i download the pics. The system was installed inside a cupboard in the middle of the house ...with poor ventilation. The system lasted around 3-4 years ...then started showing signs of reduced battery capacity... just under 5 years in ...there was a horrific smell and I was asked to check the system... i disconnect the batteries and removed the entire system... and suggested the system is relocated in an outside room with good ventilation. The one unit which was removed and used as a temp. solution for the home office ...worked for one night ...was then switched off...went back the next day to disconnect the batteries because they were gettinging hot ...switched on the unit it made a funny buzzing sound and wouldnt switch on ...took it back to my workshop and reconnected the system to test ...when i switched it on ...it made the same buzzing sound then bang and that was it ...the screen went dim and the fault light came on ...disconnected it. Phoned around and tried to find someone with experience in inverter repairs... a very helpful guy at mustek gave me a number for a person in Durban who has some voltronic inverter experience. I removed the top off the entertec battery and found the water level low... flushed it out and now going to fill half distilled water and half battery acid ...then going to charge it using a 10 amp auto pro 10 ...and see how it responds... if it works i will take the other 11 batteries back to the battery shop and do the tests again ...if any fail the tests ...they will be engraved with a cross... the rest will be stripped and cleaned and filled till they reach 23.7 kg (as per spec sheet) then i just need to figue out how to glue the top back on...so it is easy to remove when required... something to note when purchasing lead acid batteries ...how easy it is to remove the plug to refill the batteries ...i will definitely be paying attention to that if i decide to use lead acid deep cycle batteries in the future... in some cases it is as easy as removing the label... in my case the entertec premium power plus required a hammer and a big screwdriver to break whole top off. The old system is going to be scrapped or sold. If anyone wants to make and offer for the old batteries and 5 kva units ...please pm Then it is time to start designing and building the new system...to be discussed in the next post. Please feel free to comment or offer advice ...as i am new to this whole solar /inverter thing and dont have enough experience to make wise decisions at this point.
  6. I decided to knock the top plastic cover off the enertec maintenance free battery and have a look inside... as expected the water level is low ... the battery is still fully charged after all this time. I have been trying to find someone to look at the RCT inverter ...got hold of Rectron (RCT) they are not interested ....unless i have proof of purchase from them and the unit is still under warranty ...not interested as they do not do repairs. So i contacted Mustek who supply the meccer unit ...very helpful ...they also have technical people who do repairs to the units under warranty ...but because this unit is not a meccer the person gave me a number for a company who handles out of warranty repairs. This is certainly going to help make a decision on which unit to purchase in the future... i wouldnt even consider Rectron unless their price is half that of mustek. Meccer ...RCT same thing just a different name.
  7. Some feedback from the person looking into the inverter...it seems a cap popped and the voltage ramped and boom it is in sy moer in ...another R11 k plus the batteries ...thanks eeeeeiiiishkom ...another R40-R50 K if we go the cheap battery route I am too nervous to test the other 2 inverters. ...and still the big question did the inverter over charge the batteries and destroy them or where the batteries just old and needed to be replaced. ..i suppose we will never know. So how bad is this load shedding...collected some goods at a wholesaler today 12 pm the power comes back on and booooom ...you hear loud noise from the back of the building and only half the lights switch on ...computers and everything nothing ...one phase blew. If you selling generators...solar panels...inverter panels etc etc ... you smiling all the way to the bank ...if not and you run production lines and have staff sitting around because you cant afford a ! million plus generator and the running cost...lets see how many small businesses are going to survive. For most of us its actually a pleasure to have 2 hours of quiet time. America has a fall out with China... suddenly people in China are sick and the economy is taking a massive hit... We have products in China ...suddenly communication has gone quiet....how is this going to affect the prices ...you cant buy inverters for example directly from China at the moment...but you can get inverters from Italy ...but they dont ship to SA. America scratches in everyone's salad ...nobody is allowed to scratch in America's salad.
  8. I wouldnt say they all completely poked ...they could still be used to run my trolling motor on my kickboats for another year or 2 I am sure they are the right thing ...I have used deep cycle batteries for my bass boats and kickboats since 2000. The batteries are enertec 674D 105 amp/hr premium heavy duty deep cycle batteries. Scrap yard offering R8.50 per kg ...the battery shop R3- 400 per battery if swapped out ... had to laugh at the sales guy ...i call on Saturday ...he offers me replacement lead acid batteries at R1700 with a replacement battery... when i take the batteries to get tested i dont tell him i called on Saturday ... ask for a price to replace ...he offers me the batteries at R1850 because i am an installer ...so i ask him if that is without batteries ...his reply no installer price including batteries... I just smiled and walked away.
  9. I am looking into installing a small inverter with a 100amp/hr or 2 ...running a piece of twin and earth to each essential piece of equipment ...installing a blue socket outlet at each point... this way ...the cctv ...alarm...gate... garage door ... router...will all have a pure sine wave with at least 6 - 12 hours backup before the batteries start to drain... add a bit of surge protection and it should also add a bit of protection to the PCB's
  10. Now to figue out the best replacement solution for replacing the 12 batteries ...taking cost into account. I am also need to find a simple monitoring solution that doesnt break the bank.
  11. As expected the hawkins autopro 10 is still sitting at 9 amps and the battery is hot and smells ...i am now convinced the batteries are ready to retire... i am not even going to bother connecting a small load to check how long it takes to discharge. Now i just need to find someone in Durban to look at the inverter.
  12. People talk apples with apples ...markups percentages. Apples with apples... do the research ...spend the time creating a cost sheet ...list all the materials you require for the project and what you exactly you want ...how long the cables must be...scaled layout drawings etc etc etc ...then you can can forward all the information and request a detailed quote... see what it costs to get a consultant out ot prepare a quote. percentage markup... have you seen how quick people call when the product you supplied is not doing exactly what you requested it to do or it is faulty ... Who pays for the product to be disconnected and removed if it is faulty (certainly not the supplier) in the old days ...using crabtree as an example ...they had a few issues with their socket outlets ...you could contact crabtree and get them to send their technician out ot replace the faulty part ...not anymore ...the cost falls on the installer for the entire warranty period ...no matter how many time he has to return. In some cases it is better to get the customer to supply the product ...because then the installer is not responsible for all the work involved in stripping removing ...returning and replacing ...then you can charge the customer full rates....in some cases that little markup is not worth all the hassles.
  13. The inverter is about 4 -5 years old ...it is one of 3 which were connected in parallel been working without any issues...suddenly the batteries became a problem on Friday last week...really bad rotten egg smell and overheating. I removed the entire system ...connected 1 inverter to 4 batteries on friday night as a temporary measure to keep the computers working...saturday morning the 4 batteries started overheating so i disconnected the input and output and switched from the inverter with batteries only connected.. it made a buzzing sound after a couple of seconds on switching on. Bought it back to my workshop set it up with 4 batteries...input and output connected (made sure it was connected right) switched on. The fault light came on the screen was dim and as it clicked on bang ...smoke out the vents on the side. opened it up and noticed the big Movs are blown.
  14. To add to my monday blues... i connected the axpert 5 kva inverter as a single unit to 48 VDC battery bank to test the unit output with no load connected ...the screen switched on ...indicated 51.5 VDC ...after about 2 seconds i heard a buzzing sound ... them poof and smoke appeared out the vents ...i opened up the unit and noticed all the MOV's blown on back left side of the inverter. Anyone know what could have caused this? If the unit was running and a heavy load was applied to the output ...could that damage the unit?
  15. I took the batteries to the battery shop to get tested ...5 of the 6 batteries i took to the battery shop passed the test using a DHC battery system analyzer...good pass for all the tests. So not convinced I requested a load test using the hawkins battery tester. ... 1 of the 5 batteries was still in the green at 105 amp test ...the other 4 were sitting on the fence between the green and red on the analog volt scale. According to the spec sheet (I found when i got back to the workshop)for the enertec model 674D the load test is 315 amps for 15 seconds (above 9.3) All the batteries would have failed. One of the staff members at the battery shop indicated that the battery felt like it was empty... so off to the scale we went... mass 23.7 kg (indicated in the spec sheet) the batteries we were testing ...between 21.5 and 22.5 kg. The spec sheet indicates under grid design - Battery expected design life in a UPS application between 3-5 years under correct operation conditions...the batteries have a date stamp 08/2015. I have one of the batteries connected to a hawkins auto pro 10 to see how it will respond to the hawkins charge ...i dont expect the current to drop to zero... I am hoping to see the battery still charging tomorrow morning and hot... which will set my mind at rest indicating they are fubar and all 12 can be laid to rest. What to do with the batteries... the battery shop is offering a R400 discount on their batteries if we swop out old with new... not sure what the scrap yard will offer for the lead in the battery ...will find out tomorrow.
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