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Mecer 3kva & Esener 2.56kwh - essential powering during Load shedding


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Good day

 

i thought ill introduce myself formally, and start a topic so i can add information and experiences on a regular basis.

LOADSHEDDING is the main reason/cause for me joining, and the main reason i have a backup system. 

started off with a small Mecer UPS, fit for a computer with two small 12v batteries that i used to keep the router going. batteries died as they where about 9 years old. then connected them to 2 x 105Ah Royal batteries that was destined to be thrown out as they where past their 50% lifetime (from a massive server UPS system) they lasted for some time, and I wanted to add more batteries, (i had 6 in total) the small UPS did not have the capacity to charge the bigger batteries, as it only has a 2A charging capability. took almost 10 hours to charge the 105Ah batteries after a 2 hour load shedding. 

purchased a 2400va Mecer LOBO unit. served me well. added 2 more batteries, had to balance charge the batteries every couple of days, as i did not have equal length cables or a Battery balancer connected. 

My Neighbor's lighty is a sparky, and he helped to connect the inverter to the DB in essential and non essential circuits, and connected the inverter to power lights, TV and router. the setup did very well for about 11 months, when i realized the batteries are deteriorating even further. wanting to install a LifePO4, and knowing the current inverter was not suitable to maintain the battery properly. 

luck would have it, down the road from me, a friend decided to upgrade his system, as he works from home (IT) and his rigs are power hungry, and load shedding is hampering his work. he offered me the Mecer 3KVA for a reasonable price, including the manuals, invoice and balance of warrantee (purchased from Mustek themselves)

purchased the inverted. installed and connected the old 105Ah batteries. 

next day jumped in to strip out the DB, identify all the circuits and rewire it accordingly.

2 pole breaker to supply the inverter,

2 pole breaker for the supply to the non essential

Earth leakage to all essential breakers

i dont have a changeover switch. but i am able to isolate the inverted if and when i need to work on it.

 

following week i went out to purchase the Esener LifePo4 battery. since the inverter doesnt have any communication ports, its no use buying a battery with ports. ill just have to monitor the battery myself. 

 

no solar panels installed as yet - only have 600W MPPT capability, which should be enough to carry the base load during the day, and charge the batteries a little not to cycle them during load shedding. 

 

i have ordered a Junctek shunt/monitor through Amazon. no idea when it will arrive. in the meantime i installed a 100a shunt and Volts/Amp meter from Communica for me to track charging amps going to the battery to try figure out what is happening. 

 

i will post my charging findings. aswell as my current settings im playing with in terms of Bulk, Float and equalize. 

 

 

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after spending a couple of days fiddling with charging settings, and trying to understand how the charger is working.

i started recording volts and amps going into the battery after load shedding. and have graphed it as per attachment. - every 5 minutes, this was painstaking, as i had to get up and go record values at the battery every 5 minutes for 1 hour. 

the time indicates minutes. 

bulk charge is set to 28v. although it never reaches that voltage. 

float is set to 27.4v - and at the end (at 50 minutes) I changed it to 27.6v.

utility charge set to 30A. (on 20A it gives a complete different charge curve) still to record and graph it

 

i do believe once i fit panels, the charge curve will change once again. hopefully by end of the month.

Charge algorithm.JPG

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2 hours ago, Flouw said:

after spending a couple of days fiddling with charging settings, and trying to understand how the charger is working.

i started recording volts and amps going into the battery after load shedding. and have graphed it as per attachment. - every 5 minutes, this was painstaking, as i had to get up and go record values at the battery every 5 minutes for 1 hour. 

the time indicates minutes. 

bulk charge is set to 28v. although it never reaches that voltage. 

float is set to 27.4v - and at the end (at 50 minutes) I changed it to 27.6v.

utility charge set to 30A. (on 20A it gives a complete different charge curve) still to record and graph it

 

i do believe once i fit panels, the charge curve will change once again. hopefully by end of the month.

Charge algorithm.JPG

Just a tip that I can give to record values on the screen during charge/discharge if without comms. I use the Open Camera APP on my phone. Pictures or videos can be taken and resolution and file size specified. As long as the inverter screen is on all the time. 

Here is an example of the times you can set and the list goes up to 2h.

IMG_20230316_205955.thumb.jpg.fb712e0fa60d6f144edade0f22836889.jpg

Edited by Scorp007
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12 hours ago, Scorp007 said:

Just a tip that I can give to record values on the screen during charge/discharge if without comms. I use the Open Camera APP on my phone. Pictures or videos can be taken and resolution and file size specified. As long as the inverter screen is on all the time. 

Here is an example of the times you can set and the list goes up to 2h.

IMG_20230316_205955.thumb.jpg.fb712e0fa60d6f144edade0f22836889.jpg

 

 

thank you @Scorp007 for that tip. 

i have set up an old laptop next to the inverter, plugged into the USB comms. screen shut and monitoring it remotely with chrome's remote desktop. this way i can change settings and see when it is doing what. - i work out of the country, and dont want to bore the wife with these things. 

i will set up the screen next time so the laptop camera catches the Volt and Amp meter that has been installed by the battery, and work on a photo/video grab option. this is temporary though, as i just want to make sure the batteries are charging as they should. and after that you tend to forget about the setup. 

 

i am looking at purchasing a 5 or 8 KVA inverter, and eventually move to 48v, and run everything from the Solar during the day, including the geyser. and when load shedding, with no PV array available, it must tone it down to essentials only. 

the following inverters comes to mind:

Deye, Sunsynk and Growatt. 

 

Growatt seems to be up and coming very quickly, and just been hearing good things. ranked at Nr 5 as the most used inverter in 2022, and ranked in the top 10.

 

what i would like to do, purchase the Growatt, connect to AC input, output and PV. excluding the battery. this way i can start harvesting PV during the day, power the whole house, including the smaller 3kva inverter. when load shedding happens, it switches off the non essential items. and the smaller inverter continues doing its thing. during the times with no PV, the larger inverter will continue supplying power in Line mode. (geyser will be put on a timer)

this way i can expand on PV as funds become available aswell. 

WHEN Eskom becomes VERY bad, i can fork out the cash to purchase a large 48v battery. 

 

im open for opinions and suggestions

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Scorp007 said:

 

I have not checked. I would think so on the non essential side if you have grid. 

i think you are misunderstanding. 

the Growatt, i can install with no battery at all. and it can supply UTI or PV when available to all loads.

 

my second smaller inverter will remain for load shedding on essential loads. 

 

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16 hours ago, Flouw said:

i think you are misunderstanding. 

the Growatt, i can install with no battery at all. and it can supply UTI or PV when available to all loads.

 

 

Yes it seems I did. 

Normally you need a battery or grid to use PV like with the Deye/Sunsynk. The high voltage MPPTs like in a Kodak can actually work having only PV as a source. A number of topics about this feature. 

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  • 1 month later...
3 hours ago, Tim003 said:

@Flouw how is the system treating you? Are you able to power the microwave? I see the battery is rated for discharge rate of 1C, have you tested this? 

Hi Tim. 

 

System is treating me well thus far. 

I have not tried the microwave as yet. But my wife did run the hair dryer for a few minutes to dry the kids hair one evening after bath time. 

 

The 4 hour load shedding isnt a problem either. Fridge connected permanently now. Tv and essentials running comfortably. At the end of the 4 hour the battery is reading 26/26.1V. Dipped to 25.8V one evening while some extra computers and playstation etc all was running. Being unaware we had a mssive power outage.

 

I am however looking at another inverter with bigger solar capability. And saw the newer Growcol unit. Also 24v. 3.6kw. But has a massive 4000w solar input capability. Still doing homework on it. Looks like a voltronic copy.

 

Winter is going to have us on our knees with load shedding. 

So i need to weigh up. Another battery. Or solar panels....

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43 minutes ago, Flouw said:

Hi Tim. 

 

System is treating me well thus far. 

I have not tried the microwave as yet. But my wife did run the hair dryer for a few minutes to dry the kids hair one evening after bath time. 

 

The 4 hour load shedding isnt a problem either. Fridge connected permanently now. Tv and essentials running comfortably. At the end of the 4 hour the battery is reading 26/26.1V. Dipped to 25.8V one evening while some extra computers and playstation etc all was running. Being unaware we had a mssive power outage.

 

I am however looking at another inverter with bigger solar capability. And saw the newer Growcol unit. Also 24v. 3.6kw. But has a massive 4000w solar input capability. Still doing homework on it. Looks like a voltronic copy.

 

Winter is going to have us on our knees with load shedding. 

So i need to weigh up. Another battery. Or solar panels....

For what it's worth you can look at posts from me and Chris using an external Epever MPPT that has all the needed voltage settings to charge a lithium. 20, 30, 40A available to use more PV to charge. 

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11 minutes ago, Scorp007 said:

For what it's worth you can look at posts from me and Chris using an external Epever MPPT that has all the needed voltage settings to charge a lithium. 20, 30, 40A available to use more PV to charge. 

I would like to carry the base load during the day through the inverter, otherwise i need to set the inverter to battery first if i have a external charge controller. that will bugger up my backup setup for night time.

but i wil definitely go view your posts

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24 minutes ago, Flouw said:

I would like to carry the base load during the day through the inverter, otherwise i need to set the inverter to battery first if i have a external charge controller. that will bugger up my backup setup for night time.

but i wil definitely go view your posts

You can still use the PV connected to inverter so that you use the normal settings. The external just can keep on charging without the inverter know it. This way you can achieve a SUB mode by only using the external. The inverter will the see no PV and switch to Utility while you are still getting in PV. Thus battery could be filled without the inverter knowing about it if you control the grid on and off. A handy feature of not allowing the inverter to 1st use battery before switching to grid. Even more important in the current stage 6 we are in. 

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  • 2 months later...

Good day.

 

im adding on to my journey. 

 

Inverter: Mecer, SOl-I-AX-3M24.

 

i have sourced some solar panels. -  2 x 320w panels. 

the plan is to run them in parallel, as the VOC on my inverter is 75v. 

VOC per panel is 40.2v.

 

so here is the strange part, that i have noticed some weeks ago actually, but never thought much of it, as no PV was connected. 

the little solar panel icon on the screen is not present. didnt think much, as there is no PV connected. 

however. on startup, the panel will display, and then go away after a while. the same time, im unable to scroll through the screens and see the secondary firmware for the PV side.

to clear up my poor explanation:

on startup, solar panel indicator shows, and i can see the firmware when scrolling, through. the PV shows 27v briefly, even though no PV connected. after a short while, maybe one minute, the voltage drops to zero, the panel icon disappears and i cant see the firmware anymore either. 

is this an faulty MPPT controller? firmware issue? or no issue at all? 

would like clarity on this before connecting PV. 

 

@Coulomb  - perhaps you have come across this? 

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OK... i could not wait any longer. so i connected the panels in parallel. 

tested the voltage - all in spec as per the panels. 

connected the panels to the inverter. and its doing its job. 

 

now to fiddle and play around with settings to find a happy medium. 

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5 hours ago, Flouw said:

@Coulomb  - perhaps you have come across this?

Yes, you can't read the SCC firmware unless panels are connected. The solar charger goes to very low power mode when it doesn't detect solar.

At least, that's how it works on 145 V max MPPT solar chargers; I don't know about PWM chargers, but I'd expect it to be similar.

I don't know why the solar panel stays on for a while after start-up when no panels are connected. Perhaps battery voltage leaks very slowly through to some large capacitor, which takes some time to discharge.

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