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Axpert/Mecer lightning surge


Johan van der Merwe
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Good day all.

I had a lightning strike last week. My system consists of a Mecer/Axpert 5Kw on 48 Volt, 15 panels (265W) and 4 PSS batteries (100ah). Normally I will disconnect the inverter when there is a storm but was not in time. The moment when the lightning strike, the inverter switched off for about 5 seconds and then gave an alarm. Sure enough, code 6 was displayed. We are off grid so the next morning I switched on the inverter and everything seemed fine from the solar panel side. The inverter charged the batteries like before. However, when the "house" side (load) was switched on, back comes the alarm with code 6.

I opened the Mecer/Axpert to look for any damage. I must also note that I did smell burned electric components directly after the strike. I cannot see any visible damage on the components. I did install my solar system but is a novice when it comes to electronic devices. My guess is that the surge came on the house's side and not from the solar panel side. The batteries seem fine and the solar charging side of the Mecer/Axpert. I must also mention that the bread machine also took a hit from the lightning strike, it was still plugged into the wall socket. The only thing that does not dovetail with my theory is that one of the solar panels melted its junction box with the bypass diodes the next day. If the surge came from the panels surely the batteries and solar charging side of the Mecer would have been damaged.

Can I try to fix the inverter myself? The machine is not under warranty.Code 6 is a error code, you cannot reset the machine.

If not, can anybody recommend a good repair technician? I am from North West (South Africa)

I am including some images.

Thanks in advance, looking forward for some input from the wise men on this forum.

IMG_20200314_155034R.thumb.jpg.ececd8f6221ff029bdb092377b0bcf4e.jpgIMG_20200313_143427R.thumb.jpg.97b6d6bda4786aaef32263eb2d4c212f.jpgIMG_20200313_143436R.thumb.jpg.b5246da4a102b5452c9acc60fd28e9ed.jpgIMG_20200313_181056R.thumb.jpg.67ac192de9700fc285941b7a36390419.jpg

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5 hours ago, Johan van der Merwe said:

I must also note that I did smell burned electric components directly after the strike. I cannot see any visible damage on the components.

The components to check for damage aren't immediately obvious from above. The usual suspects are the 16 MOSFETs, jammed almost against the right hand side of the case, and the IGBTs and diodes, a little easier to see, lined up along the left side of the left heatsink. Sometimes the damage is really obvious (blackened areas, legs blown off), but sometimes the damage is subtle (e.g. hairline crack in the semiconductor's epoxy).

6 hours ago, Johan van der Merwe said:

I did install my solar system but is a novice when it comes to electronic devices.

In that case, I suggest you don't attempt to repair it yourself. A desoldering station is really handy, for example, and you need to check many surface mount devices.

Hopefully your building insurance will get it replaced.

 

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I have an MKS ii 5kW with 14x350W panels and 4x3.5kW pylontechs as a hybrid system. Also had a lighting strike near the house into a tree 10m from my inverter inside the house. All the HDMI ports on TVs and DSTV decoder and computers are gone and the display on my Axpert. My panels are well earthed with copper peg and conducting concrete. Had power the whole night and this morning it charges fine. So it seems that all is good except the dead display. Is there a fuse on the display or should I replace the display card and/or display.

Regards

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1 hour ago, JGel said:

Is there a fuse on the display or should I replace the display card and/or display.

I don't believe that there is a fuse there. The display is a modular thing; IF you can get a replacement part (start with the people that supplied your inverter), it should be easy to replace. Likely it will be the whole display / buttons / LED that you replace.

Or maybe, with decent monitoring software, you can live without the display altogether.

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