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About WannabeSolarSparky

  • Birthday 18/06/1971

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  • Location
    Parklands, Cape Town
  • Interests
    Amateur solar enthusiast

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  1. For the AC side (Eskom) sensor I currently use (they not in stock at the moment) https://www.pishop.co.za/store/rpiz_ct3v1-3-current-and-1-volt-30a-ac-adapter-for-raspberry-pi-zero?keyword=current&category_id=0 This sensor is more suited as you can measure up to 7 circuits with it - https://www.pishop.co.za/store/rpict7v1-30a-version2---7-ct---1voltage---master?keyword=current&category_id=0 You can use that with raspberry pi3/4 or pizero w ( I use a pi zero w for the eskom side) I tried a self made 9v ac but had no luck so just bought one to save/prevent all the smoke I was creating https://www.pishop.co.za/store/power-other/acac-power-supply-230-vac-to-9-vac For the DC side I am still busy making sensors to measure battery current in and out as well as solar amps and voltage in. The voltage sensor for the battery bank was quite simple. I just made a simple voltage divider to bring the readings down to a voltage acceptable for the sensor and read it into a ESP8266 NodeMCU CP2102 ESP-12E Internet WiFi Development Board which sends the data to influx for use in grafana You can use that same esp8266 to read all the different amps and voltages if you add a ADS1115 16 Bit 16 Byte 4 Channel I2C IIC Analog-to-Digital ADC PGA Converter, that will save some costs DATA Recording and Viewing All the data from the different sensors all get sent wireless to my pi4 into an influx database, and then graphed using grafana also on the same pi4 You can then view the graphs via your browser on the same network. I can provide the grafana json template if anyone wants it. Mobile App Busy designing that at the moment so that I can view all the data from anywhere in the world. All the software including the mobile app are all opensource and free to use/modify as required
  2. Thanks I thought it might be something like that, will have to go learn a bit more about how this stuff on the grid side works
  3. Hi there @Jaws its a custom raspberry pi zero setup with some custom voltage and current sensors feeding data into an influx database and then displayed using grafana
  4. Update: It was road works people damaged an underground feeder cable. Was just weird that there was still voltage (130v) thats why I though something weird was going on. So does this mean that they maybe just broke a single phase of the feeder cable link? Just trying to understand how it works
  5. Edited power meter to show lower eskom voltage range
  6. Hi there I have a power meter monitoring my eskom grid side and my solar side which measures amps frequency volts The power meter is showing 0 hz and the volts are the usual 230v EDIT: my bad, its the voltage thats down, measuring now with multimeter showing 130v energy save lights are working. low amp loads all seem to be working fine e.g. internet modem kettles led come on but takes more than an hour to get up to boiling temp. Microwave comes on, but not enough power to cook. Neighbours all having the exact same issue.
  7. Is the ESKOM grid busy crashing? Or is it just my suburb? Have electricity but no frequency!?! Some energy save lights come on, led on the kettle comes on but not enough power to get it boiling.
  8. Hi Jaco, it indeed does use an ac/ac adapter to measure voltage. pizero w + RPIZ_CT3V1 + sct-013-000 + 77DE-06-09 9VAC/10W Euro plug-in linear AC to AC Power Supply - 230 VAC to 9 VAC After calibration of the code (software side) and calibrated with my fluke meter the accuracy is pretty good compared to the retail devices that are available. I had the Efergy Engage hub kit but the accuracy on that was questionable (fluctuated terribly) and I did not like that my data was going out to the www
  9. This is a bit more advanced D.I.Y. option. There are many people here on the forum that could guide you or advise further :) If you can find your way around using Raspberrypi and some FREE opensource software then you should have a look at: http://lechacal.com/wiki/index.php/RPIZ_CT3V1 Total cost would be about R1200.00 for a basic version and about R2800 for bigger version with a lot more sensors. You can then gather all the data you need and run it through grafana (free data visualisation software) to visualize the data as you need in whatever format you need. See my 1st post here of a basic setup: https://powerforum.co.za/topic/5507-energy-and-solar-monitoring-diy That is just the basics I have setup, but you can expand on that as much as your budget allows to measure everything you need to without having to rely on vendor software and limitations.
  10. So I am ready to take the next step in my off-grid/on-grid solar adventure. You can view my 1st post here Now to start measuring all this eskom power solar battery stuff. I started by looking at all the inverters and the monitoring software they come with. Mixed results on that, some work ok, some are total crap. Solution - D.I.Y. seems to be the way to go on this too. I have looked at some of the forum posts here and also again a load of youtube videos and power forums. My conclusion is that it is 100% better to D.I.Y. and I have settled on the software, hardware etc on doing this. My first setup is now completed and I can start measuring power consumption from various sensors and get a visual representation of the cost of power from eskom. For now I have started off just measuring eskom main power usage, will be expanding this out from here to start measuring individual circuits and then start bringing my solar production and battery measurements into the mix. Currently the stats above come from the following hardware. 1- Raspberry Pi4 4gig as the main influxdb and grafana server. 2 - Pi Zero W at the main eskom db to do usage measurements 3 - RPIZ_CT3V1 - voltage and current sensor board (attached to pi zero W) This initial setup will be further expanded to add sensors to all the main home circuits individually (Lights, plugs, geyser, stove etc) Extra hardware will be an expanded ac current sensor that can accommodate all the circuits and the extra sensor hardware to measure the solar and battery side. To date all this has cost less that the retail equivalents out there (sonoff effergy eyedro vue etc)and I have more precise control over exactly what and how I can measure everything. And of course I can visualize everything exactly how I like using grafana. If you have any tips or suggestions then do let me know and share your sensoring/monitoring experiences with the community so we can all learn from each other
  11. Hi @plonkster When I first did the setup I had nothing, hoping the weight of close to 420kg would be enough, boy was I wrong, the 1st south easter that came over lifted it up quite a bit with the gusts that came around the side of the house, that's why the stay wires were added, they are bolted to the wall at a good angle to provide maximum holding force apposed to the angle of lift generated by the wind Had some days in December with hectic cape winds and it did not lift an inch. For now I will venture to say that it is as solid as its going to get.
  12. Having read many posts here on the forum and watching countless hours of youtube videos over the last 2 years I finally took the plunge on 1st March 2019. Suck It Eskom! Experimental - DIY UPS Off-Grid Portable Solar System Installed On A Tight Budget Design Brief Frame, panels, batteries, distribution must all be fully portable and totally off-grid to allow for moving to a new house. Suitable for rental properties where fixed installations are not possible or permitted by the landlords. Affordable compared to most other scalable solutions. Initial budget R30k, total spent on system excluding DIY time - R27500k At the time of completion the project came in under budget. Further savings can be achieved by doing some serious shopping for available special deals. Most of the items required can be directly imported with little or no Import duties, if you are prepared to wait for import shipping times and take the warranty risk associated with a DIY project of this nature then you would most like be able to build a much bigger and more robust system at a lower cost. System components bought step by step in the following order for full DIY experimental project: Stand alone solar panel frame custom built from off-the-shelf components, fold-able and transportable if needed to move to new home. Research, Design, Purchase and Assembly - 2 days Parts sourced from Builders and sustainable website, can get cheaper direct from suppliers for the main metal parts Cost R2150.00 - Delivered Custom Wiring and distribution designed and assembled by myself from off-the-shelf components. Research, Design, Purchase and Assembly - 2 weeks DB Board and switches from Builders (was on special), meters from china, Cables from Cable distributor in Epping Cpt Cost R1200.00 - Collected In Store 1.04kw Solar ( Renewsys 260 watt x4) - sustainable website, not the cheapest, can now get much better deals elsewhere Research, Purchase and Assembly onto frame - 2 days Sourced from sustainable website special offer at time of purchase Cost R7572.00 - Delivered 24v Battery bank (Aokly 100ah X4 2s2p) Research, Purchase and Assembly - 2 days Cape Town Supplier down the road from me, also available on takealot (wait for specials for best price or contact seller direct). Cost R11200.00 - Delivered 1kw off-grid inverter/ups (no name chinese brand sold locally as Vision GF1000 in SA) This was a tough one, 3 months to research ideal inverter for required experiment, details to follow. 1 day to install and hook everything up and switch on. sourced from sustainable website, may be available cheaper elsewhere This inverter was chosen as it has a transformer compatible with a low frequency 24v 4kw inverter board upgrade for under R3k extra For this upgrade however I would also need to add a decent mppt charger (Will update this thread when I do the upgrade) Cost R5117.01 - Delivered Case Of Amstel Beer To Keep Going It was Hot Work Doing This Sourced From Tops Cost - R260.00 Results and satisfaction to date: This diy solar system has been providing my office electricity supply non-stop now since 31st March 2019 Normal Office Consumption 24/7 at a continuous 290watts AC. During load shedding I run a lead to my lounge which runs my Big screen TV, Streaming PC, Fibre Router and 3 lights as well as my full office keeps running. Batteries have never gone below 75% even during load shedding. On average the batteries go down to 85% and are again fully charged at around 11am. As the batteries are fully charged by 11am the rest of the days solar production was going to waste. From the 1st May 2019 I solved the wasted solar production by hooking up my D3 Dash Miner and setting it to pull 700 watts DC The miner does a nice steady hash rate of 7000gh/s for the hours between 11am and 4pm every day. No more wasted solar production and batteries remain full charged until the sun goes down. Whats Next? Exploring options to do the same type of portable system but this time grid-tied to supplement daily electricity use. I will start another thread on the DIY grid-tie project. Conclusion It does not have to cost a fortune to get started with solar And its actually quite easy if you read the forum and watch some youtube videos. Side Note: Its also a good excuse to have those beers while figuring this all out and getting it done Image 1 - Full Front View - Completed DIY Portable/Movable Solar Panel Frame, Can safely take up to 4 panels up to size 450watts Image 2 - Front View - Completed DIY Portable/Movable Solar Panel Frame, Can safely take up to 4 panels up to size 450watts Image 3 - Side View - Completed DIY Portable/Movable Solar Panel Frame, Combiner Box Panels Wired 4 parallel Image 4 - Side View - Southeaster Protection Stay wires - Completed DIY Portable/Movable Solar Panel Frame Image 5 - Side View - Southeaster Protection Stay wires - Completed DIY Portable/Movable Solar Panel Frame Image 6 - Completed DIY Custom Built/Assembled PV Combiner Box Image 7 - Completed DIY Custom Built/Assembled Distribution Also Portable/Moveable Image 8 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - The Inverter Wall Mounted Image 9 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - The Inverters Simple Control Panel Image 10 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - Wiring To The Circuit Breakers and Distribution Board Image 11 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - The Fuses, Meters, Circuit Breakers and AC Distribution Board Image 12 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - Energy Meters Image 13 - Completed DIY Custom Solar System - 24v 200AH Battery Bank - 4.8KW with usable 1.2kwh at 25% discharge
  13. Hey everyone, nice to finally join the forum. Have been reading threads on here for months now and have learnt a lot from the shared experiences and advice shared with the community, now finally took the plunge to join :)
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