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Prepaid electricity meter fails after installing a Sunsynk Inverter


vanwyk.za

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We have a problem with our prepaid meter after installation of the Sunsunk inverter and solar panels. It keeps on displaying Fault when we try to load electricity. In Pretoria when we now buy electricity it keeps on saying Arears Amount - it then recovers an 'arrears' amount. We tried R200 and it recovered and arrears amount of R120 and for R50 it recovered an arrears amount of R30.

Anybody else have this problem?

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First guess would be that your inverter is exporting power into the grid, but that the meter is recording this export as purchased power (and even dipping into arrears) because it cannot distinguish between import and export.

Before anything else I'd suggest setting the inverter's work mode to "zero export to load" (not sure of Sunsynk menu terminology - I think it's "Limit to Load"), at least that's the Deye phrasing). Basically, not limiting to "Home" load, you should set it firstly to limit to the essential backup loads.

This should stop the exporting as a first step.

Edited by GreenFields
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Just now, GreenFields said:

First guess would be that your inverter is exporting power into the grid, but that the meter is recording this export as purchased power (and even dipping into arrears) because it cannot distinguish between import and export.

Before anything else I'd suggest setting the inverter's work mode to "zero export to load" (not sure of Sunsynk menu terminology - I think it's "Limit to Load"), at least that's the Deye phrasing). Basically, not limiting to "Home" load, you should set it firstly to limit to the essential backup loads.

This should stop the exporting as a first step.

Just checked the manual for Sunsynk. Might be going out on a limb here, might be wrong, but if I'm right, you should probably do this sooner rather than later.

 

1. In the menu, on the "System Mode" page, "System2" tab, tick the box "Limit to Load Only"

- That should cause your inverter to supply the ups backed-up load only, and stop the bleeding.

 

2.You should be able to top up your municipal power at that point until your municipal account is no longer in arrears. Money down the drain, sorry.

 

3. My concern here is - again - I strongly suspect that you are exporting power to the grid through a prepaid meter, which you really don't want to do. If you had the "Solar Export" box ticked on the Mode menu, then, un-tick it, don't use it at all until you get a bi-directional meter that can distinguish between power coming in vs power coming out. Because otherwise your exported power will be counted as purchased power. You'll be paying full price for each unit you send to the municipality as if you bought it from them, even if you're giving it away for free.

 

4. If you had the "Zero Export" mode ticked, then it is likely there is a problem with the installation of your CT coil because it should normally be limiting the inverter's power to the house only, but it appears you've been exporting instead. If this is the case, if you were in "Zero Export" mode while this happened, I'd suggest calling your installer back to check the fitment of the CT coil.

 

I hope this helps.

And I hope actually that I'm completely wrong and that it's something else.

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7 hours ago, vanwyk.za said:

We have a problem with our prepaid meter after installation of the Sunsunk inverter and solar panels. It keeps on displaying Fault when we try to load electricity. In Pretoria when we now buy electricity it keeps on saying Arears Amount - it then recovers an 'arrears' amount. We tried R200 and it recovered and arrears amount of R120 and for R50 it recovered an arrears amount of R30.

Anybody else have this problem?

There is another possibility. If on your ID you are in arrears for other munic debt they also deduct some of the power loaded. It can even be for another property. 

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To all

Thanks for the comprehensive feedback...so two things:

  1. I found that the prepaid meter is behind the inverter- which means it does not 'see' the escom / ciry council line - and therefore does not register the load of the money
  2. Had to switch the inverter 'off' - and link directly to council power so that the meter can 'see' the direct line from council
  3. Also - very embarrassing - we forgot to pay our municipal bill last month...and then council started deducting it off the prepaid electricity..

Learning experience all round...

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My prepaid meter is also connected through the inverter (because all the plugs are on the essential load). When loading prepaid electricity it works about 60% of the time. I could go out and switch the changeover switch to bypass the inverter, but I find it easier to just wait a couple of minutes and try loading again.

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56 minutes ago, vanwyk.za said:

To all

Thanks for the comprehensive feedback...so two things:

  1. I found that the prepaid meter is behind the inverter- which means it does not 'see' the escom / ciry council line - and therefore does not register the load of the money
  2. Had to switch the inverter 'off' - and link directly to council power so that the meter can 'see' the direct line from council
  3. Also - very embarrassing - we forgot to pay our municipal bill last month...and then council started deducting it off the prepaid electricity..

Learning experience all round...

Get your installer to put a dedicated plug point on the grid side for your meter's CIU.

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I also experienced the same with my CIU. I have conventional meter and I use CIU for the reading. It stopped working post the solar installation as the plugs are on essential load.

I then connected the CIU to the plug in domestic room that is on the non essential load and it worked. I don't understand the science behind it though.

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12 minutes ago, PB15 said:

I also experienced the same with my CIU. I have conventional meter and I use CIU for the reading. It stopped working post the solar installation as the plugs are on essential load.

I then connected the CIU to the plug in domestic room that is on the non essential load and it worked. I don't understand the science behind it though.

The inverter is not directly connected to the grid on the essential side. Only the non essential has nothing between it so comms go through. Just accept it. 

Essential comes from DC from the battery / solar to get 220V AC in simple terms. No direct connection to grid. 

Edited by Scorp007
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On 2023/03/14 at 8:59 AM, YellowTapemeasure said:

Get your installer to put a dedicated plug point on the grid side for your meter's CIU.

I also have to make a plan to do this ^^^.

Easiest is to flip onto bypass, topup and then back (only as a short term fix).

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5 hours ago, Zubz said:

I applied for a prepaid meter at Mogale City (Krugersdorp) about 10 days ago. They sent me a quotation of R3123. All my plugs are on the Essentials side. Is this going to be an issue for me?

Difficult to say as we don't know which meter you will get. Some have issues, others not. In any case - if your CIU (the unit you use to see # of units etc and recharge) needs to be plugged in then get your installer to install a plug for you that is connected to the grid side so that it maintains connection with the street box. If your CIU does not need to be plugged in (like mine) then you should be fine

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Hi, had similar issue but there is a very easy way around this, for all those that aren't getting rid of Eskom in totality.

I installed a plug point right next to the DB linked to the Oven breaker. The oven is on Eskom only, and my DB is split to feed Geyser and Oven from grid and then rest goes through failover switch to the Inverter.

If I now have zero issues getting readings or topping up, I simply plug into this plug, works perfectly.

Edited by Eurard
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37 minutes ago, mzezman said:

Difficult to say as we don't know which meter you will get. Some have issues, others not. In any case - if your CIU (the unit you use to see # of units etc and recharge) needs to be plugged in then get your installer to install a plug for you that is connected to the grid side so that it maintains connection with the street box. If your CIU does not need to be plugged in (like mine) then you should be fine

Which model Prepaid meter do you have?

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The dedicated CIU plugsocket sounds like a very expensive workaround? I also have all the plugs on inverter. That means the earth leakage can be downstream of the the inverter and work correctly. That upstream single CIU plug would need its own earth leakage to be compliant.

I've got the keypad in the garage, where the sub DB is not on essential load, but already has the EL.

Edited by Volta
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  • 1 month later...

Hi, 

I run my entire home off a 3 phase inverter in Jhb. I have to bypass the inverter to load prepaid electricity vouchers. I keep this purely as a backup. I noticed that the CIU sometimes takes hours to re-establish a connection. Does anyone know how to force or reset the connection? 

Assume a long term solution is to have one plug which is always directly connected to the grid for the prepaid meter CIU. 

Regards 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sorry to hear that your prepaid electricity meter failed after installing a Sunsynk Inverter. It's possible that the installation process or the interaction between the inverter and the meter caused the issue. I would recommend contacting a professional electrician or the manufacturer of the Sunsynk Inverter to diagnose and resolve the problem. They will have the expertise to determine if there was a gas electric switch error and provide you with the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

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On 2023/03/28 at 7:29 PM, Volta said:

The dedicated CIU plugsocket sounds like a very expensive workaround? I also have all the plugs on inverter. That means the earth leakage can be downstream of the the inverter and work correctly. That upstream single CIU plug would need its own earth leakage to be compliant.

I've got the keypad in the garage, where the sub DB is not on essential load, but already has the EL.

You are allowed to have a dedicated plug for a specific item with label that it is not to be used for any other item. In such a case AFAIR it need not be on an E/L. This is common that prepaid won't work if through the inverter. Enough reason and safer than to put a dedicated socket of 16A on a 30-40A stove circuit. 

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10 minutes ago, Scorp007 said:

You are allowed to have a dedicated plug for a specific item with label that it is not to be used for any other item. In such a case AFAIR it need not be on an E/L. This is common that prepaid won't work if through the inverter. Enough reason and safer than to put a dedicated socket of 16A on a 30-40A stove circuit. 

It must be a 'dedicated' dedicated plug though - either red or black with the bevelled earth pin.

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