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Invertor Trips (Restart need to unplug PV)


Ahmedv
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Hi Most Knowledgeable, 

Very much a newbie in the Solar Space, but have a 5Kva Fivestar PVA, with 1 lithium battery, and 6 x 450w panels. The system has been running well for the last 6 months and has reduced my electric bill and pulled us through load shedding bouts so really happy with it's purpose.

But it's our first winter now and twice my wife switched on the heater, microwave and toaster and the invertor tripped (beeps with error 58) - installer recommended to unplug high voltage stuff and restart the invertor (turn it off and on again hehe) - the first time when I turn it off invertor still had power, so switched mains and disconnected PV negative and restarted invertor and all was well, this morning happened again with the same setup ... my question is do I need to disconnect PV to restart invertor (as PV seems to power invertor as well) which is a little complex for my womenfolk at home, so if so I was thinking of installing a switch on the negative PV input line so they can just turn off and on again (in case I'm not around). Is there any recommendation of a switch / amps I need to worry about - or other idea is can I put in a circuit breaker? Just throwing ideas but suggestions welcome.

Thanks,
New-solar-bie 

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24 minutes ago, Ahmedv said:

disconnected PV negative

Are you using a PV combiner box? If so, you can pull the fuses to turn off PV, if not, I would suggest you get one as it will have earth protection which I would recommend and then pulling the fuses is easier than pulling PV connections. You can also get combiner boxes with a switch.

 

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49 minutes ago, Ahmedv said:

Hi Most Knowledgeable, 

Very much a newbie in the Solar Space, but have a 5Kva Fivestar PVA, with 1 lithium battery, and 6 x 450w panels. The system has been running well for the last 6 months and has reduced my electric bill and pulled us through load shedding bouts so really happy with it's purpose.

But it's our first winter now and twice my wife switched on the heater, microwave and toaster and the invertor tripped (beeps with error 58) - installer recommended to unplug high voltage stuff and restart the invertor (turn it off and on again hehe) - the first time when I turn it off invertor still had power, so switched mains and disconnected PV negative and restarted invertor and all was well, this morning happened again with the same setup ... my question is do I need to disconnect PV to restart invertor (as PV seems to power invertor as well) which is a little complex for my womenfolk at home, so if so I was thinking of installing a switch on the negative PV input line so they can just turn off and on again (in case I'm not around). Is there any recommendation of a switch / amps I need to worry about - or other idea is can I put in a circuit breaker? Just throwing ideas but suggestions welcome.

Thanks,
New-solar-bie 

Even if there is PV and you switch it off with its own switch and from the grid it should still power up. I would not bother to disconnect the PV. It is designed to try and charge a battery from any source available depending on your settings.

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37 minutes ago, jumper said:

Are you using a PV combiner box? If so, you can pull the fuses to turn off PV, if not, I would suggest you get one as it will have earth protection which I would recommend and then pulling the fuses is easier than pulling PV connections. You can also get combiner boxes with a switch.

 

Thanks - don't have a PV combiner box - currently panels are connected directly to invertor - but will research this. Thanks

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13 minutes ago, Scorp007 said:

Even if there is PV and you switch it off with its own switch and from the grid it should still power up. I would not bother to disconnect the PV. It is designed to try and charge a battery from any source available depending on your settings.

If the PV is connected the invertor doesn't switch off (even with the switch). Only switches off if I disconnect PV (e.g. remove negative wire).

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15 minutes ago, Ahmedv said:

currently panels are connected directly to invertor

I started out exactly the same, I think a lot of us do, but I would seriously suggest a combiner box, they are not cheap, but they are worth it for safety because if there is a short circuit or earth leakage in the panels, it can become very dangerous for your wonmenfolk to operate 😉

18 minutes ago, Ahmedv said:

Only switches off if I disconnect PV

My inverters operate the same way, if the battery is flat and there is no ac in, it can run from the panels, so you need to disconnect them to switch off.

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1 hour ago, jumper said:

I started out exactly the same, I think a lot of us do, but I would seriously suggest a combiner box, they are not cheap, but they are worth it for safety because if there is a short circuit or earth leakage in the panels, it can become very dangerous for your wonmenfolk to operate 😉

My inverters operate the same way, if the battery is flat and there is no ac in, it can run from the panels, so you need to disconnect them to switch off.

This seems funny. My Axpert only switches on the display when PV is present. The inverting side is off if the inverter is switched off. It seems strange that the inverter is switched on when in fact you switch the on/off switch to the off position.

When we don't have LS my Axpert is left switched off otherwise you use 25W 24/7 = 600Wh per day that could have gone towards battery charging.

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41 minutes ago, Scorp007 said:

My Axpert only switches on the display when PV is present.

Sorry, I realise I may not have been clear, the inverter side does not run on panels alone, but the machine (inverter in general terms) itself runs, screen, settings etc., so if you need to restart/reboot the machine (because the inverting part doesn't work from the switch anymore) then you need to disconnect the panels (my guess is to reset the relay that switched off the ac inverting in the first place).

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Good suggestion of the combiner box but the inverter should already have a small DB with isolator and surge arrestors and fuses close to the inverter. Thus the isolator is there to isolate the panels from inverter.

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The OP was about putting a switch on the PV and he said he pulled the negative wire and that the panels were connected directly to the inverter, so I figured that small DB you mention doesn't exist or he would have used the switch himself, so a combiner box would do the job instead.

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AFAIK, you must have a DC disconnect between the panels and the inverter that can handle a disconnect under load. Some inverters have this built-in. Pulling fuses should not be done as disconnect, as dangerous voltages can still be present on both ends and disconnecting under load will be a spectacular firework show.

On the original problem. It's sad that this inverter cannot recover automatically, and it seems like the only way to reset it is to disconnect both the PV and grid. The order should be - disconnect grid, disconnect PV, reconnect grid, reconnect PV.

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12 hours ago, jumper said:

The OP was about putting a switch on the PV and he said he pulled the negative wire and that the panels were connected directly to the inverter, so I figured that small DB you mention doesn't exist or he would have used the switch himself, so a combiner box would do the job instead.

Correct - no DB on invertor - connected directly from PV to inverter.

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4 minutes ago, P1000 said:

AFAIK, you must have a DC disconnect between the panels and the inverter that can handle a disconnect under load. Some inverters have this built-in. Pulling fuses should not be done as disconnect, as dangerous voltages can still be present on both ends and disconnecting under load will be a spectacular firework show.

On the original problem. It's sad that this inverter cannot recover automatically, and it seems like the only way to reset it is to disconnect both the PV and grid. The order should be - disconnect grid, disconnect PV, reconnect grid, reconnect PV.

Thanks ... following that order currently - will look into the PV combiner box (although after a quick Google seem very pricey) hehe ...

Any other options - still thinking a DC circuit breaker on the negative PV going into invertor may help until I save up for the combiner box.

Thanks,
Ahmed

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These inverters do have settings to recover from overload [06] Restart when overload occurs and [23] Overload bypass, which switches to line mode if overload occurs in battery mode, but these are disabled by default for obvious reasons... Often it is possible to just restart from the switch, but sometimes not.

4 hours ago, Ahmedv said:

will look into the PV combiner box (although after a quick Google seem very pricey) hehe ...

Yeah they can be pricey, but the safety is worth it. They should come with short circuit protection for your PV lines and earth leakage protection and suitable fuses. As mentioned above, this really should have been part of your installation in the first place to be legal, your electrician should be able to wire this up for you in a little DB, it might be cheaper than buying it complete.

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