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Battery Backup (while Renting)


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I'm looking for a battery backup solution but it needs to be portable because I am renting.

I need it for 2 TVs, 2 consoles and a soundbar. The setup peaks at about 770W. Usually it draws around 270W to 550W.

I would like to get through load shedding slots (2.5h) with this but the area also has unstable power delivery. Power cuts out for 5-10min from time to time. (Once or twice a week maybe).

The obvious starting point for me was looking at something like this:

https://www.geewiz.co.za/long-run-ups-inverter-battery/5373-mecer-2400va-inverter-2x-100ah-batteries-8-hour-battery-life-kit-1440w.html

Mecer 1440W + 2x 100Ah trolley

Napkin math says I can get around 1.7h at 600W to 50% discharge.

I suspect that I could add 2 extra 100Ah batteries to the setup but I'm not sure how the charging circuit would cope with that.

 

Given a budget of around R20k, what other options should I be considering for my requirements?

 

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I'm not based in SA so can't really help with pricing advice directly but looking at the equipment in consideration and having a lot of experience with power cuts in ZIm here are a couple of thoughts:

  • The mecer option is a great starter inverter for essential electronics as your loads are. It is small and cheap and very portable. It is not suitable for any motors such as fridges. This is would be very easy to install yourself. The other option would require some design and building.
  • Batteries I would personally suggest you stay away from lead acid technology if you can help it, knowing the use the batteries will probably see. Revov for example offer secondlife batteries that are roughly 30% more expensive than the SLA equivalent in terms of storage capacity but they have a warranty for 3000 cycles versus 600 for the AGM ones in the link above. I know that Revov is planning to release a 12V battery soon but there are other reasonable options already on the market.
  • Yes you could build a portable version of the Growatt and it does have the ability to take in solar which could be a nice benefit long term. It is also capable of running motors which is nice back up if you start getting long cuts- you can connect up your fridge. However it will be bigger than the mecer so may not fit well in the living room.
  • Fan noise on these inverters when they are running can get annoying especially if they are in the living room so think about potential other places if you will be spending a lot of time in the same room. When I say noisy think old school computer fans, the noisy ones.

Batteries are the most expensive part of a UPS back up system and normally the first things to fail so it pays in the long term to get the best quality and warranty you can afford.

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Thank you kindly for the detailed feedback @Shadders. I really do appreciate it.

 

The Mecer unit does seem like an easy plug and play option. My only 2 concerns with it are the capacity and the noise. I suspect any solution that I install in the living room is going to have a noise factor to consider.

I definitely would like to get some kind of lithium battery setup instead if possible.

My budget and my requirements might be changing as I've just come off 6 hours without power.

I might have to look at a more complete solution. What I'm planning to do is speak to the owner about getting the DB board prepped for an inverter solution.

Hopefully I can then just get a inverter and battery setup hooked up to that and remove it if/when I have to move to a different property. (Is this a sensible solution?)

The BD board is in the garage btw, so this will also help with moving the noise out of the living/working areas.

If I go that route, would something like this be a reasonable kit?

https://www.solarwaysuppliers.co.za/product/5kw-sunfree-10-lite-back-up-pack/

I've heard good things about the Freedom batteries. Not sure about Sunfree though?

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On 2021/05/20 at 3:34 PM, TheV said:

Thank you kindly for the detailed feedback @Shadders. I really do appreciate it.

 

The Mecer unit does seem like an easy plug and play option. My only 2 concerns with it are the capacity and the noise. I suspect any solution that I install in the living room is going to have a noise factor to consider.

I definitely would like to get some kind of lithium battery setup instead if possible.

My budget and my requirements might be changing as I've just come off 6 hours without power.

I might have to look at a more complete solution. What I'm planning to do is speak to the owner about getting the DB board prepped for an inverter solution.

Hopefully I can then just get a inverter and battery setup hooked up to that and remove it if/when I have to move to a different property. (Is this a sensible solution?)

The BD board is in the garage btw, so this will also help with moving the noise out of the living/working areas.

If I go that route, would something like this be a reasonable kit?

https://www.solarwaysuppliers.co.za/product/5kw-sunfree-10-lite-back-up-pack/

I've heard good things about the Freedom batteries. Not sure about Sunfree though?

I haven't heard of sunfree. Freedom Won yes, I can't say I've seen problems posted on the forum but my knowledge is not exhaustive. It is not modular setup so I would lean towards the second option you mention as you can do it in stages. Plus both products have quite a few users here so there's a good support network.

Here in Zimbabwe the landlord typically pays for the solar system and install and the battery(/ies) belong to the tenant. For renters house priorities are borehole then solar system, after price of course. Most landlords are happy to put something in as it makes their property more attractive.

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21 hours ago, Shadders said:

I haven't heard of sunfree. Freedom Won yes, I can't say I've seen problems posted on the forum but my knowledge is not exhaustive. It is not modular setup so I would lean towards the second option you mention as you can do it in stages. Plus both products have quite a few users here so there's a good support network.

Here in Zimbabwe the landlord typically pays for the solar system and install and the battery(/ies) belong to the tenant. For renters house priorities are borehole then solar system, after price of course. Most landlords are happy to put something in as it makes their property more attractive.

Thanks for the feedback.

We had someone over today to look at the db board and draw up a plan to present to the owner.

Once/If he approves the plans then we can look at what gear we need to get for the system.

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10 minutes ago, GPA said:

I had this unit built .

I only power a plug & lights phase , 

One 4 core cable in and out of the DB board. So in theory its quick to remove when I move.

 

 

PHOTO-2021-04-10-17-45-20 2.jpg

Thanks for sharing. That looks quite nice. Do you mind sharing the components and costs on that?

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I am Renting a house, I have a 5kw Kodak installed on a computer stand with a Lithium battery SA battery, I run all the electronics including the fridges on the inverter. I have 9 solar panels connected. Everything is temp installed. 

I run extension cords from the inverter I have installed a cable running to a plug in the house and I have limited AC charge to 10A. 

I have 2 small db's installed on the trolley, 1, has ac input double RCD and a AC output Earth leakage going to 1 Double plug point on the trolley. On the other side I have a DC trip switch for the solar panel string. 

The battery has its own DC isolator. 

All the tv's computers and networks are connected to the system. I also run the tumble dryer and washing machine on the inverter during day time

All the equipment used to be installed in my house in Pretoria before lock down. We moved to cape town in the middle of lockdown because my wife got transferred. I removed everything and installed it on the computer trolley, Oh yes the wheels could not handle the 50KG battery. 

I am use to the fans by now. the traffic in front of my house is more irritating. 

You can run a full backup system temporary, I have a very nice uncle i am renting from and he has no problem with me putting the solar panels on the roof. this is the only part that I made sure is done properly cape town winds will steel the panels if they are not installed properly. 

 

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5 hours ago, TheV said:

Thanks for sharing. That looks quite nice. Do you mind sharing the components and costs on that?

Was about R60k all in ...

I’ll find the invoices over the weekend 

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On 2021/05/28 at 9:54 PM, GPA said:

Was about R60k all in ...

I’ll find the invoices over the weekend 

Thanks. I would not mind seeing more detail on this setup.

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On 2021/05/28 at 6:13 PM, Krokkedil said:

I am Renting a house, I have a 5kw Kodak installed on a computer stand with a Lithium battery SA battery, I run all the electronics including the fridges on the inverter. I have 9 solar panels connected. Everything is temp installed. 

I run extension cords from the inverter I have installed a cable running to a plug in the house and I have limited AC charge to 10A. 

I have 2 small db's installed on the trolley, 1, has ac input double RCD and a AC output Earth leakage going to 1 Double plug point on the trolley. On the other side I have a DC trip switch for the solar panel string. 

The battery has its own DC isolator. 

All the tv's computers and networks are connected to the system. I also run the tumble dryer and washing machine on the inverter during day time

All the equipment used to be installed in my house in Pretoria before lock down. We moved to cape town in the middle of lockdown because my wife got transferred. I removed everything and installed it on the computer trolley, Oh yes the wheels could not handle the 50KG battery. 

I am use to the fans by now. the traffic in front of my house is more irritating. 

You can run a full backup system temporary, I have a very nice uncle i am renting from and he has no problem with me putting the solar panels on the roof. this is the only part that I made sure is done properly cape town winds will steel the panels if they are not installed properly. 

 

Thanks for the feedback. Good to hear that these type of solutions are indeed possible.

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One thing I Forgot to mention. Your normal wall outlet is rated at 16A 16x240= 3840w normally most houses has a 20A breaker on the plugs 20 x240= 4800w.  

I have melted the plug socket and wall plug when we were pulling to much current from the wall plug. Usually my max load is around 3kw but the kids decided to run a oil heater the tumble dryer as well as the normal stuff and that pushed it close to 5kw.  The power did trip but the constant draw and the change of the plug not fitting perfectly caused it to heat up.

You can wire the feed directly to the wires but ensure that you keep the load below the max. depending on the wires some houses does not have bigger than 2,5mm feeding the plugs. A 2,5mm cable is rated to carry 30A. 

 

inverter station.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Krokkedil said:

One thing I Forgot to mention. Your normal wall outlet is rated at 16A 16x240= 3840w normally most houses has a 20A breaker on the plugs 20 x240= 4800w.  

I have melted the plug socket and wall plug when we were pulling to much current from the wall plug. Usually my max load is around 3kw but the kids decided to run a oil heater the tumble dryer as well as the normal stuff and that pushed it close to 5kw.  The power did trip but the constant draw and the change of the plug not fitting perfectly caused it to heat up.

You can wire the feed directly to the wires but ensure that you keep the load below the max. depending on the wires some houses does not have bigger than 2,5mm feeding the plugs. A 2,5mm cable is rated to carry 30A. 

 

inverter station.jpg

Thanks for the heads up. Will definitely try to avoid this.

 

The idea at this stage is to split my db board into essential and non-essential (geyser and stove).

Then have a switch which can toggle the essential portion between the grid and the inverter (so that I can just switch it to grid when I remove the inverter if I leave).

So I should be able to run everything on the plugs as normal without issues (I hope).

I have someone that is going to help me with the install but he is not certified so I'm trying to get hold of someone that can confirm whether the install plan is correct (certifiable) and will be able to inspect and provide a CoC once the install is done.

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Posted (edited)

An electrician came around to have a look at my db board setup.

Looks like I will have to have another db board installed as I can't have essential and non-essential in the same box.

I should get a plan/drawing back from him in a couple of days that I can present to the owner to see if I can get approval for the install.

 

I'm hoping I can ask for some advice or information regarding the rest of the components here...

I figure a 5kw inverter would be more than enough for my needs.

My first question is what is the difference between say a R10k Growatt inverter vs a R20k Sunsynk inverter vs a R30k Victron inverter if they are all 48V 5kw?

I'm not really sure what features or specifications to look at when comparing inverters so I would really appreciate some pointers here.

The second questions is similar but for the batteries. What are the differences between something like Freedom Lite, Hubble and Pylontech?

Any specific reason for me to go for one over the other?

I'm leaning towards building something with a 5kwh Hubble (AM2 I think?). Perhaps start with 1 battery and add a 2nd one if necessary.

Edited by TheV
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On 2021/05/28 at 4:48 PM, TheV said:

Thanks for sharing. That looks quite nice. Do you mind sharing the components and costs on that?

 2 X Pylon Tec US3000 @ R17.2k

1 x Growatt 5000 & Wifi @ R14k 

1 x Cabinet @ R6.3k

Plus some other small items (Wiring Kits , Fuses , DB board , Cable , Wheels, & Installation)

 

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On 2021/06/01 at 9:09 AM, Krokkedil said:

A 2,5mm cable is rated to carry 30A. 

Definitely not.  SANS absolute maximums below.  And btw. the most common cable in SA made by Aberdare has even lower ratings than this.  The recommendation is no more than 20a on 2.5mm, less if it is in a hot roof space.  Both ambient and conductor maximum temperature rating causes these values to be derated.

image.thumb.png.50d8d5b5803f0767d7b260ff624d6c51.png

Edited by Gnome
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