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Lockdown Upgrade Project Completed


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Hello All

I have finally finished my lockdown upgrade project. Unfortunately I cant find what I did with old photos of my install pre upgrade but everything was replaced and re-installed

Original System

  • Axpert King 3K
  • 2x Vision 200AH Gel Batteries
  • 4x 330W Solar Panels (Risen)

All was installed, signed off and COCT registered but there was very little safety included. I am not sure if regulations changed in the last 2 years or if the original installers just cut A LOT of corners. My solar shared the sub-DB in the garage and only had a circuit breaker which was way overrated for the 2S2P setup. There was no battery disconnect, no fuses, surge protection or change over switch.


Upgraded Setup

  • Axpert King 5K
  • 1x Narada 100AH 4.8KW Lithium Battery
  • 12x 330W Solar Panels (4x Risen, 8x Spec' matched Canadian Solar)

I did the electrical side myself and got an independent to install the additional panels. While I could have potentially brought in a buddy and done this myself, some things I would rather "pay the guy". The system was then re-signed off by a 3rd party.

As it was lockdown and I was bored, I decided to add everything I wanted / should have had initially...

  • Battery disconnect, fused
  • Solar combiner box, fused with a DC surge protector (on back order)
  • AC DB with surge protection for the inverter, change over switch and return disconnect
  • Visual displays of voltage and amperage for AC In, AC Out, Battery and PV (makes life easier when working on the system or needing a quick glance)

 

All in all, I am very happy with the upgrade.. I am 3 days in and projecting to be about 60 to 70% off grid in winter and 90% plus in summer. The only items left on grid are my geyser (smart geyser, uses very little power), stove, microwave and washing machine.

Some pics of the install...

 

 

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Full setup in garage

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"AC DB Board" with current displays

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PV Combiner - Bottom row is waiting for the DC surge protector to arrive

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Battery with it's disconnect

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Sub DB - Eskom powered, pre inverter

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Alternative Supply DB Board inside the house

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In-progress image of the cable re-route project. I was not popular during this part of the job

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Original 4 Panels.. They are being moved to the higher side this week to avoid shadows, we ran out of time on Friday

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2nd garage new set of 4 panels

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4 new Roof panels (rails still need to be trimmed)

Ta Garage.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, SteveFury said:

Nicely done looks better than some socalled professional installations I have seen you could hide more of the cables with trunking. But I like your voltage display board. 

I considered trunking the battery cables but I am going to lift it slightly off the floor and also want to be able to clean behind, so figured that could be out of trunking as it would not last very long

Also did not want to trunk to the bottom of the DBs as the thickness of some of the cables would have resulted in some tight bends making it hard to work in the trunking for other things.

The big winner for me, what having a 70mm conduit installed between the house and the garage when we built the garage. The guys installing the panels loved that one too!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Having run the system in for a little while now, I have tweaked a little.

1 - Changed the geyser from a 4kw element to a 2kw and added it to the inverter. Needed something to take advantage of excess capacity.

2 - Add a changeover relay linked to my home automation to switch one of my kitchen plug circuits from Inverter to Eskom when needed.

 

The idea on the geyser (200L) is to heat it to 60+ degrees in the afternoons, making it last through evening showers with enough heat to cover us in the mornings too

The plug circuit is what is used for the kettle, toaster and other high draw appliances that may be plugged in / used at the same time as the geyser or other peak periods.

One last light circuit still to be added but I must say, the DB filled up quickly and I thought it was going to be over kill 🤣

IMG_3782.jpg

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Hi Jay-Dee,

   How is the geyser working out with the 2 kW element, I have a 3 kVa Victron system and also thinking of swapping out the 3 kW element with a 2 kW element, so that I utilize only solar and not draw from the grid

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3 hours ago, Tariq said:

Hi Jay-Dee,

   How is the geyser working out with the 2 kW element, I have a 3 kVa Victron system and also thinking of swapping out the 3 kW element with a 2 kW element, so that I utilize only solar and not draw from the grid

It is working extremely well..  I run a smart geyser controller (QwikSwitch) which I retrofitted to the geyser a while back. When I was running a 4kW element with the controller, I was heating for about an hour in the mornings and 45 mins in the afternoon again. The controller monitors the temp on the outlet pipe while still keeping the normal thermostat.

With the change to the 2kW element, I am allowing the geyser to heat from 1pm to 4pm daily.. I have set the outlet limit to 60 degrees and the thermostat to 70 degrees with the theory of heat as high as possible for free and it will last until the next morning (with 2 showers in the evening and 2 in the morning if needed - 200L geyser)

So hot days or 2 shower days, it finishing heating by 3:00 ish and on colder days or 4 hour days it finished just before 4pm and it is always hitting the 70 degree internal cut off before the 60 degree outlet.

I have had it in for 2 weeks and the only thing I can "warn" about is to make sure you have no other high consumption draw at the same time. My concern was out cleaner and the kettle, which was the primary reason for the change over switch on that circuit as mentioned above

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