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Victron solutions.


Jaco De Jongh

Question

I have decided to go Blue. A few questions though. They have quite a product range and without spending to much time searching I am just going to ask. 

  1. I want Hybrid, That is called MultiGrid?
  2. I want at least 6kw on the wall, which units.
  3. I want them to share the load , can Victron parallel. 
  4. If they can, what do I need for communication.
  5. I have 6280 watts of panels on the roof. Want to use them all, how many mppt's and recommendation on model please? 
  6. @plonkster, @PaulF007    
  7. Best Suppliers???  
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29 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

I want Hybrid, That is called MultiGrid?

They are all hybrids (except for the Phoenix inverter-only models of course, but you know what I mean). The Multiplus is the basic model. There are a few slimmed-down models right at the bottom named "Compact". Those are still hybrids, just have less stuff (only one AC output for example, and only one input for a temperature probe).

The basic Multiplus has one AC input and two outputs. The second output is disconnected when there is a grid outage. I can explain later if you really need to know more about the second output.

The Quattro is a Multiplus with two inputs. Hence the name, four legs (2 in, 2 out). You use this if you have two AC sources, eg grid and backup generator.

The Multigrid is a Multiplus with built-in anti-islanding measures. Note that the normal Multiplus already has loss of mains detection and this is more than sufficient for safety purposes, but to be legal a Multiplus (and a Quattro) needs an additional Ziehl device. The Multigrid has this additional bit built in.

The Multigrid, however, is being phased out in favour of the Multiplus-II (it is not being abandoned... just over time the one will replace the other). The Multiplus-II started life as the Multigrid-II, and it has anti-islanding built in. So it might be a bit confusing, but what you need to know is that the MP-II is essentially the replacement to the Multigrid.

So far only a 48V 3KVA model is available under the MP-II banner, but more will follow later.

37 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

I want at least 6kw on the wall, which units.

Get an 8kva. I need to explain something more: When running grid-parallel, the Multi is limited to 80% nominal. So an 8kva will give you 6kva hybrid, and 8kva peak when used off-grid.

You don't need a Quattro unless there's two AC sources.

38 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

I want them to share the load , can Victron parallel. 

Yes. Up to 6 units per phase. So up to 18 units in a 3 phase setup. Except for the 15kva, there it is limited to 4 per phase.

40 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

If they can, what do I need for communication.

Simple RJ45 cable. It's essentially RS485. To run properly hybrid (aka ESS), you also need a Venus-GX.

42 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

I have 6280 watts of panels on the roof. Want to use them all, how many mppts and recommendation on model please? 

250V models are a bit costly, so I'd probably look at 2 x 150/70 vedirect chargers.

43 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Best Suppliers???  

Current Automation likely has the best price.

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3 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

, what is your feeling on the EasySolar range.

They are awesome. You should buy one ASAP.

:-P

It's a Multiplus with an MPPT in the same box. Internally it is two products. It is just packaged as one. Sometimes there is a price advantage to doing it this way. High end models have a CCGX built in. @PaulF007 got one of those.

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9 minutes ago, Ingo said:

Apologies but can I jump in here quickly. Please explain the above statement a bit more.

Some countries (Germany, South Africa) requires two disconnection devices, one of which must be a physical switch (not electronic). The Multi only has one switch on the inside, so even though it has active anti-islanding included in the Multiplus, it is not legal for connection in such countries unless you add a second device. The Multigrid has two switches and is legal without the extra hardware.

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56 minutes ago, plonkster said:

They are awesome. You should buy one ASAP.

I have read through the paper work and can seem so see if they can parallel . I would need 2. 

EDIT: I only see two options after a very short period of searching, correct me if I am wrong. 

Option 1:    2 x Easysolar 5000va. (If they can parallel)

Option 2:   1 x 10000va Quattro

                   2 x BlueSolar 150\70 or SmartSolar 250\70 (Can get them at the same price)

                   1 x GX. 

 

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@Jaco de Jongh

If you intend to expand your system you have to have a good think about your foundation architecture, when going the Victron paralleling route.

Victron units can parallel, but they have to identical units, and that doesn't mean identical electrical specs and outside casing, that means identical microprocessors inside.

A 5kVA wont parallel with a 3kVA, and unless it is the identical firmware range it wont parallel with another 5kVA. There are several microprocessors fitted across the range and firmware upgrades wont solve the problem. Be warned and specify that you want to parallel units when you purchase.

It also means that if you choose an 8kVA unit now, your next Victron inverter would be another 8kVA step. Which is quite a financial leap considering the panels and everything.

Now the other thing that can parallel with a Victron inverter/charger on its output is a Fronius PV inverter. (Doesn't have to be soul-mate match, like a Victron unit).

Because the Victron is a a bi-directional device that means the Fronius can also charge the batteries through the Victron when it isn't directly feeding load.

Now, I know that with a Quattro the size of PV inverter has to be less than or equal to the size of the Victron kVA wise, and I assume that is the same for the Multigrid. @plonkster?

So making the assumption that 6kW is your final state, I would consider getting a Multigrid (3kVA with the Ziehl legal stuff already built in) and paralleling a 3kVA Fronius PV inverter with it. A Fronius has 2 MPPTs built into it, be aware it is an advantage that these the Fronius MPPT is a high voltage input, meaning your panels can be much further away without using thick copper. However you have achieve a sufficiently high voltage for it to kick in.( So several similar panels in series).

I think that this is the most cost effective option using highly respected equipment. Be aware though if the Multigrid is being phased out, so getting another one to parallel with it, may be an issue in the future.

As the Fronius is downstream of the approved MultiGrid, I shouldn't imagine there will be COC issues. However legality I think there is also size limit of under 4 point something kVA single phase generation size? I don't know if this applies to a hard capability or if a soft cap is compliant. Somebody can chip in on this...

But if If you cannot back feed back into the grid or need to limit the amount, both Victron and Fronius have add on solutions, with their ESS and smart meter options respectively.

I am hesitant to recommend the all in one solutions, that to me means if something stops working it all stops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by phil.g00
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24 minutes ago, phil.g00 said:

It also means that if you choose an 8kVA unit now, your next Victron inverter would be another 8kVA step. Which is quite a financial leap considering the panels and everything.

Just as some info so that you would understand better.  I have 2 x 4kw Infinis in parallel with 450 Ah battery bank and 3140 Watts PV array in a 400Volt string supplying each Inverter.

i am tired of the infinis giving problems and would like to replace them with victron. I did consider Goodwe , but two suppliers already warned me against them as well.  

I want to leave everything on the roof as close as I can to the current setup. To split the string in halve For a 200Volt string is still easy, but splitting it into 100 volt strings would prove a much bigger mission. So to me its either 2 x 4kw units or an 8kw unit with separate mppt's.  

That way I don't need to change anything to the existing wiring (Except string wiring on the roof), db's or battery setup. 

Hope all makes more sense to you now. 

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The feed-in voltage is a limitation imposed by the MPPT's Voltage.

200V restriction rules out the BlueSolar 150\70 above. The 150 refers to the max input voltage.

250\100 is Victron's highest rating so that will take 2 x 200V strings.

The Fronius feed in voltage is 80 - 1000 V, so it will take things as is, or you can split them but not necessary.

I am not dissing Victron, I am saying your foundation unit will dictate the step size that your scheme will have to expand at if you want to parallel victron inverters.

3140 watts will rarely be clipped by a 3kW inverter, I wouldactually favor over-paneling slightly more even.

With what I suggested you could expand in the future with units that could be paralleled in 3kW steps.

Its also not all or nothing when something fails.

As an aside, I don't see you mention your battery voltage, if you aren't at 48V,  I would also use this opportunity to reconfigure that.

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1 hour ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

Option 1:    2 x Easysolar 5000va. (If they can parallel)

Easysolar can parallel too. As I said... it's two products bundled into one.

You can even parallel the equivalent Multiplus with an EasySolar, you just have to find out what that equivalency is. I've seen at least one such a device in practice: Customer used an EasySolar 5kva (with the CCGX) and paralleled it with another 5kva (sans CCGX).

The trick is to look at the model number, if you want to be 100% sure open the unit and look at the sticker on the processor. You may find that both inverters have a sticker starting with 2624..., that means the inverter part is a MultiPlus 48/5000/70-100 for both, and you can parallel them.

I can send you a list of all the model numbers if it will help, or you can get it yourself on professional.victronenergy.com.

38 minutes ago, phil.g00 said:

A 5kVA wont parallel with a 3kVA, and unless it is the identical firmware range it wont parallel with another 5kVA. There are several microprocessors fitted across the range and firmware upgrades wont solve the problem. Be warned and specify that you want to parallel units when you purchase.

I would be very surprised if you run into a processor mismatch in 2018. Just about everything made after 2014 has the 26-series processor.

 

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2 hours ago, plonkster said:

you also need a Venus-GX.

let me just chime in here, I know you know this plonky but for Jaco

a Venus GX or a CCGX (Color control panel) like the one found in the EasySolar, do exactly the same thing in the sense that you can run ESS.

The nice thing about the EasySolar modules are that a standalone CCGX costs around R7K and a Venus around R3.5K, or you can cheap out like I did you can do it with a Raspberry Pi for R650 :P, thanks to code that @plonkster wrote :D

Edited by PJJ
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1 minute ago, plonkster said:

I would be very surprised if you run into a processor mismatch in 2018. Just about everything made after 2014 has the 26-series processor.

I too was very recently surprised.

Two phoenix inverters, bought 3 months apart this year. Both had 26-series processors, trouble was 1 had the 26 processor from a multiplus with a 100A transfer switch  and the other had the 26 processor of a multiplus with a 50A transfer switch.

As you know the phoenix inverter does not even have a transfer switch, but they could not be paralleled. Even with this artificially inflicted difference.

Parts number the same, repeat order, I contacted Victron and they felt my frustration would exchange the unit but wont  be offering different part numbers.

So I decided I didn't want a crap-shoot every time I expanded the system and decided to start agin with Quattro's.

Guess what?

You can also get two flavors of quattro, depending whether the fan is at the top of bottom of the unit, both 26 and can't be paralleled.

It is the first 5 digits on the microprocessor that must be equal not the first two and the 5th as the manual would suggest.

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Just now, PJJ said:

a Venus GX or a CCGX (Color control panel) like the one found in the EasySolar, do exactly the same thing in the sense that you can run ESS.

Correct. It is an ARM-based computer that runs the ESS algorithm. You can use either the CCGX, the Venus-GX (which is a beaglebone on steriods), or a Raspberry Pi.

FWIW... I didn't write much code to get it working on the RPI. The Venus firmware is based on OpenEmbedded, which was already ported to the Raspberry Pi. Some things were missing though, the remote update feature (swupdate) and the bootloader we use (u-boot), so basically that was the part I had to "smooth over". Oh, and the fact that there is no built-in mk3 port and so on. After that was done, it worked more or less unchanged.

You can get the Rpi version of Venus here: https://updates.victronenergy.com/feeds/venus/release/images/raspberrypi2/

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1 minute ago, phil.g00 said:

It is the first 5 digits on the microprocessor that must be equal not the first two and the 5th as the manual would suggest.

First 4 digits.

Quote

2600 MultiPlus 12/3000/120-50
2601 MultiPlus 12/3000/120-30
2602 Phoenix MultiPlus 12V full power
2603 Phoenix Multi Compact 12/800/35-16
2606 MultiPlus Compact 12/1600/70-16
2607 MultiPlus Compact 12/1200/50-16
2608 MultiPlus Compact 12/2000/80-30
2609 MultiPlus 12/3000/120-16
2610 MultiPlus 24/3000/70-50
2611 MultiPlus 24/3000/70-30
2612 MultiPlus 24/3000/70-16
2613 Phoenix Multi Compact 24/800/16-16
2614 MultiPlus 24/5000/120-100
2616 MultiPlus Compact 24/1600/40-16
2617 MultiPlus Compact 24/1200/25-16
2618 MultiPlus Compact 24/2000/50-30
2620 MultiPlus 48/3000/35-50
2621 MultiPlus 48/3000/35-30
2622 MultiPlus 48/3000/35-16
2624 MultiPlus 48/5000/70-100
2625 MultiPlus-II 48/3000/35-32 (externe sensor max 32A)
2628 MultiPlus-II 48/3000/35-32 (externe sensor max 50A)
2630 Quattro 12/5000/200-2x30
2631 Quattro 12/3000/120-50/30
2632 Quattro 12/5000/200-50/30
2633 Quattro 12/5000/220-2x75
2634 Quattro 12/3000/120-2x50
2640 Quattro 24/5000/120-2x30
2641 Quattro 24/3000/70-50/30
2642 Quattro 24/5000/120-50/30
2643 Quattro 24/8000/200-2x100
2644 Quattro 24/3000/70-2x50
2648 Quattro 24/5000/120-2x100
2649 MultiPlus 24/5000/120-50
2650 Quattro 48/5000/70-2x30
2652 Quattro 48/5000/70-50/30
2653 Quattro 48/10000/140-2x100
2654 Quattro 48/8000/110-2x100
2655 Quattro 48/8000/110-2x100
2656 Quattro 48/15000/200-2x100
2657 Quattro 48/5000/70-2x100-S
2658 Quattro 48/5000/70-2x100
2659 MultiPlus 48/5000/70-50
2680 MultiGrid 12/3000/120-50
2685 MultiGrid 24/3000/70-50
2690 MultiGrid 48/3000/35-50

 

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1 minute ago, plonkster said:

Correct. It is an ARM-based computer that runs the ESS algorithm. You can use either the CCGX, the Venus-GX (which is a beaglebone on steriods), or a Raspberry Pi.

FWIW... I didn't write much code to get it working on the RPI. The Venus firmware is based on OpenEmbedded, which was already ported to the Raspberry Pi. Some things were missing though, the remote update feature (swupdate) and the bootloader we use (u-boot), so basically that was the part I had to "smooth over". Oh, and the fact that there is no built-in mk3 port and so on. After that was done, it worked more or less unchanged.

You can get the Rpi version of Venus here: https://updates.victronenergy.com/feeds/venus/release/images/raspberrypi2/

The only thing @Jaco de Jongh needs to take into account if he does the PiVenus route, you will need to buy a Victron MK3 cable to communicate with any VE.Bus products both for the Pi and for general programming of your inverter, if you have a Venus you can just plug your inverter into the Venus with a RJ45 cable and read data, however you still can't program your inverter, so you would probably want to buy it anyway for when you want to use VE.Configure.

And the price of the USB to VE.Direct cables are a bit more expensive than the straight VE.Direct to Ve.Direct cables you would need for the Venus but not really by a lot.

All in all, the PiVenus works :)

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How is this for irony. 

These are standing under a table in my workshop. Unused units. 1 multiplus 12volt 3000va, 1 multiplus 24 volt 3000va, and the charge controllers tells their own story. 

I have to buy and stuff like this is lying around. The owner wants to much so I can add a fraction and rather buy new. 

Vic.thumb.PNG.c6aaf9db3cf5a9e32075ac03355012e4.PNG

 

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24 minutes ago, PJJ said:

you will need to buy a Victron MK3 cable to communicate with any VE.Bus products both for the Pi and for general programming of your inverter

Since version 2.18 of Venus you can program the inverter using the VRM website, without an mk3-usb dongle (you use the one inside the Venus-GX/CCGX). You cannot however update firmware*, but what you can do is get the supplier to update it so then you can avoid buying the mk3-usb.

In my opinion, if you do this properly (Raspberry Pi, proper power supply, a decent case, and the vedirect-usb and mk3-usb cables), you're going to spend around 2.5k or thereabouts, not counting your own time. And sd-cards aren't as reliable as you might think... they do fail at inopportune times. Compared to a little extra for the Venus-GX...

* Well you can... but you're somewhat on your own. See the venus development mailing list (google is your friend), someone tested and documented it recently. It's there but it's not made available to end users. Get the mk3-usb and be done with it :-)

Edit: It's also officially documented here: https://www.victronenergy.com/live/open_source:ccgx:commandline#updating_vebus_firmware

The issue is that if anything goes wrong with this method, you're stuck. With the mk3 dongle... the inverter is waiting in the bootloader and you just do it again.

Edited by plonkster
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My 2 cents.

1) Grid tied is the surest way of saving, using the latest 48v Multiplus-II. When off-grid then it makes perfect sense to go large inverter/s. With grid tied, peaks on Eskom and array covering the average constant load, the savings all over are much better in my opinion.

2) Recently I used Victron's Excel tool to oversize my new array. It allows for up to 30%. I learnt a few lessons.

I asked the question: Can I do this (see red block in pic below? It says Accepted?
The question made a turn at Victron HO, was then passed to a guy in Victron Germany, was then referred back to Victron SA and then to a Victron dealer who has been in the game for 20+ years.

Three things came out:
Number 1: With my new 150/100, although this combination below is Accepted, it is strongly advised against. 
If the 150v margin is exceeded, there is no warranty whatsoever.

image.png.80959eb397d02a2823a22930cf975e6c.png

Number 2: The PV Amps. 
- The 100 in the 150/100 is the max battery amps, not PV amps.
- Take careful note of the Max PV Short Circuit in the specs of the controller i.e. a 150/100 is max 70amps.
- Check the max array size. 150/100 is 2900w at 24v, or 5800 at 48v.

So the software allows one to over-size, stops you at 30%, see here:

image.png.1da7b9cbb135e359c30135038c2f854d.png
 

Push it more, and the software warns you with a 2nd warning, PV input current.
If you exceed that Max PV Short Circuit, my case 70amps, the controller can blow, again, no warranty.

image.png.ee28c79421b9e8265b0e2f753d9461d8.png

 

Number 3:
What also came out in all the discussions, and you guys know I don't stop just because, is that even though the Excel spreadsheet allows up to 30% over-sizing, that makes perfect sense if the ambient temperature is for like say Europe ... not in Africa.

When you oversize it, and both Victron SA and the dealer categorically told me ... Don't. Do. That. Ever. ... is because the controller will get hot. So hot that you cannot keep your hand on it. I have felt the temps, these things can take, impressively I tell you, for since I moved my 150/35 out of my Windowed cooling system, I could not keep my hand on it for too long. Had to put a fan on it.

Now the controllers CAN take it ... but heat and electronics are not decade long partners. Never in African temperatures.

In the end I settled on 2.1kw because:
1) My old arrays - all sold - showed me I was damn near a balance. See below - peaks are one geyser.
2) And I have a 225ah 24v bank ... am NOT spending more on batteries.
3) This 2.1kw would serve ALL the needs daytime, and I can drop the ESS SOC from 95% to 80%,  and winter is dealt with.

Here is what I got out of a +-1.1kw grid tied system ... all the peaks came from Eskom:

image.png.fc8dfee50de72969a90c30dc4a80067b.png

Everything is in the green:

image.png.1cb7204745e3ff8867c6e34e51059d56.png
 

So guys, use this, or not, me, I am keeping well within the published specs so that the controller can serve me for a decade or more.

Out of interest, the difference between my old 150/35 and the new 150/100:

image.thumb.png.f80246606929e655bdf80b5202155bb2.png

image.png

Edited by Guest
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