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Maurizio, you hit the nail on the head!!! :D

Is there another way? :P

SilverNodashi - how long is a piece of string? :P

Want to move my solar DB board to a new location and ensure it safe.

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You see, I DID it, under supervision, and it looks k_k. :P

Seriously, the 'system' has become too 'complicated'.

If something goes, and their is a fire or other disaster, I am pretty sure there will be no insurance cover, unless I have certificates.

And the electricians I used before, sorry, they did NOT understand DC nor anything about earthing and solar inverters.

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I had meant; under supervision of qualified electrician who is to issue CoC.

At least in Johannesburg there are no many qualified electrician with sufficient DC knowledge to handle solar installations.on their own. The standard routine is for the solar installer to do the job and then for his qualified electrician to drop by, check things out, change one circuit breaker or two (extra material to be paid by customer) and issue a CoC. In the next few months the electrician will be called back 2-3 tiems because of power trips but then customer will have no choice but to pay a call out fee plus the time/material to do the job.

I am lucky enough to be friend of a qualified electrician who has his own solar installation. He has been supervising me and he has often corrected me (earthing comes to mind: he insisted for an earth spike near solar panels, connected to house ground, so that even in the event of cable theft there would still be a working earth) when I was not too sure of what I was doing. When he is not happy about something my friend points that out to issues I must resolve before a CoC can be issued.

I still have to resolve a couple of issues unrelated to solar installation before CoC will be issued: earth leakage problems dating from time house was built and first CoC was issued (a couple of plug points were left out of E/L possibly due to faults in wiring and these were discovered during split of neutral bars).

Reality is that splitting a 3-phase db board to add an inverter on one of the phases is not a half day job and possibly an electrician nightmare.Most importantly it is not a job which can be left to general staff.

Reality is that nowadays staff is less qualified than has ever been and results are ... unpredictable.

I found out the hard way: in a section of my ceiling hidden away I had discovered that conduits had been disconnected/cut and wiring was running unprotected next to the conduit. Why? no need to use a lead that way !

When I called the electrician who who had wired the house he apologized, informed me that he was busy for the next couple of years wiring up power-lines for Eskom and suggested I buy some trunking at Builders and chuck those loose wire inside that trunking. I decided to do the job myself the proper way (all I needed was pvc weld) but that meant spending many evening inside the roof rewiring everything from scratch. And at the end of it all I came out of the roof with >50m of extra wire (x 3) which had been wasted for no reason at all.

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I do not connect to the DB board, my system is off-grid. I do use Eskom as backup to save on batteries, so it is much simpler. DB board is single phase.

And I did do the original under the supervision of electrician/s, but they knew less than I. ;) 

For as you say, solar / AC electricians are scarce. Earthing a off-grid system ... complicated.

Ps. Had same problem with open wires found in ceiling. My Dad nearly got electrocuted looking for a roof leak. I was not at home.

So ja, we are on par it seems to me, for after we built on top of the house, I had a few 100m of wires, for none of the original house was done properly, so it all had to come out.

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I admit I was very lucky with my earth spike.

After I had purchased the spike everyone warned me it was not as simple as knocking a peg into the ground that and sent me pages and pages of instructions on earth spikes at Eskom substations. They even asked a soil surveyor to come take soil samples of where I wanted to put the spike.

I could already see the cost of the ground matching the cost of the solar installation so before following those instructions I dag a hole, put a layer of coal at the bottom an knocked the peg at the centre of it.

Then I called my friend electrician who after testing asked me where to disconnect earth from spike from the grid earth.

I told him I hadn't joined yet and he was surprised because my earth spike was exactly the same as grid earth,

I guessed the clay ground came to my rescue.

A spike, a bucket of coal and a hammer was all I needed :)

 

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We also are on clay.

I can do that! Send me details of this earth spike hole of yours please!?

Everything, the diameter and depth of the hole you dug, the spike length, size, thickness and type of metal, the amount of coal and thickness of the layer you put in ... everything.

And I CANNOT break anything bar my back, but it is good exercise. :D

When is your electrician friend coming to Cape Town? I HOPE he is male, for I like my wife. :P

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I did not dig the hole or knocked the spike either .... my gardener did. I need to double check with him on Tuesday when he come again.

Now that I think a deep hole was the initial plan, when I had to put some sort of powder in the hole (to hold moisture? I will look for that page in ACDC catalogue) and place the spike in the middle

When the guy at ACDC heard that soil is moist even during drought and 15m away I have canes growing he told me I did not need that powder.  At that point the plan changed because my hole did not need to be as deep as I had initially anticipated.

I will look for invoices because there are a coupe of spike accessories as well.

earth wire: I must have invoice of that somewhere as well. It is quite thick but my original concern was panels + lightening strikes (which in my suburb are quite bad - we even have a lightening warning siren from the school nearby).

Coal: one hth bucket full of coal which was being moved from room to room in the house for 2 winters.

I was originally told dig a hole as deep as the spike, put the coal at the bottom of the hole and then put the powder up to the top of the spike . But then since I did not need to use the powder (and dig a deep hole) I decided to have the top of the spike 0.5m underground (so that nobody would damage the earth wire while gardening) From there the spike was knocked all the way. After that I remembered about the coal which was ti be at the bottom. ooops! :D

Not knowing how to take the spike out I told my gardener to dig a 10cm  radius around the spike for a depth just sufficient to get rid of that bucket of coal. :D

At that point I was quite convinced I had wasted the spike and I needed to buy a new one and start again.  But there was no time since my friend electrician was going to come by so i connected the earth wire,

From what I remember the simplest test about quality of your earth spike is to compare voltage between phase / neutral with voltage between phase / spike earth.

I am not sure what difference range is allowed but I remember I had exactly the same voltage (up to 1 or 2 decimals).

After I find invoices and I talk to gardener I will follow up.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2016/03/12 at 1:56 AM, The Terrible Triplett said:

We also are on clay.

I can do that! Send me details of this earth spike hole of yours please!?

Everything, the diameter and depth of the hole you dug, the spike length, size, thickness and type of metal, the amount of coal and thickness of the layer you put in ... everything.

And I CANNOT break anything bar my back, but it is good exercise. :D

When is your electrician friend coming to Cape Town? I HOPE he is male, for I like my wife. :P

Eventually ... :D

I found ACDC invoice for earth spike as in  http://www.acdc.co.za/getPage.php?page=220

I used ER1216 plus ERA1, 2, 4 (R 89.25+23.80+21.25+22.10 excl.)

Also 10mm green/yellow wire to panels and to db board where I joined to

Initially they recommended earthing mat plus earthing compound  http://www.acdc.co.za/getPage.php?page=494

but when I mentioned I had clay they suggested I first tried without it.

 

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