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Solar power, can it be done DIY?


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3 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Very brave to buy from China, no brand, no warrenty, no previous customers according to the blurb. 

I am not going to buy any items for another few months, so at the moment I am just trying to gauge the options and pricing. When I am ready to buy, I will do due diligence on the seller but right now it's not an issue.

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13 minutes ago, Crossy said:

MUST inverters DO do export - but IIRC there's a thread somewhere on problems with the beast, including poor export performance

I seem to recall someone saying that MUST inverters were very noisy... ? 

 

 

/Edit - Found it!  See here.

 

 

Edited by Encid
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1 minute ago, Sophon said:

You could be right. Buying an off-brand can be a risk, maybe it works well and lasts, and maybe it doesn't. But then again, the same can probably be said about brand items.

 

Does your unit have the wifi function, and if so how well does it work.

Mine was 13k5bht from China. Worth the risk at that price, and sold under many different brand names. Works very well but still relatively new. 

 

Be aware the WiFi of most of these inverters communicate via servers in China. Mine doesn't do real time data over WiFi, you want now, you have to look at the inverter screen. But WiFi is just a gimmick after you've set the parameters.

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1 hour ago, patman30 said:

also paid just over $5k for 3 x 15kwh batteries (48v x 300ah) from China

May I ask some questions?

 

1- what was the import duty on these?

2- How long it take from ordering till delivery?

3- And which Battery? Link?

 

:wai:

Edited by MJCM
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2 hours ago, BritManToo said:

Mine was 13k5bht from China. Worth the risk at that price, and sold under many different brand names. Works very well but still relatively new. 

 

Be aware the WiFi of most of these inverters communicate via servers in China. Mine doesn't do real time data over WiFi, you want now, you have to look at the inverter screen. But WiFi is just a gimmick after you've set the parameters.

To be honest, I don't really know what Wifi does on these inverters or how it works. I have seen that Crossy posts monthly stats about his solar production and consumption, and assume that the data comes from his inverter. I would like to be able to see such data, but have no idea how you "extract" it.

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2 hours ago, Encid said:

I seem to recall someone saying that MUST inverters were very noisy... ? 

 

 

/Edit - Found it!  See here.

 

 

Noise really won't be an issue, as the inverter will be located about 50m from our house, but the rest of the post doesn't sound to positive either.

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6 minutes ago, Sophon said:

To be honest, I don't really know what Wifi does on these inverters or how it works. I have seen that Crossy posts monthly stats about his solar production and consumption, and assume that the data comes from his inverter. I would like to be able to see such data, but have no idea how you "extract" it.

This should give you a ´small’ idea

 

 

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2 hours ago, BritManToo said:

Mine was 13k5bht from China. Worth the risk at that price, and sold under many different brand names. Works very well but still relatively new. 

 

Be aware the WiFi of most of these inverters communicate via servers in China. Mine doesn't do real time data over WiFi, you want now, you have to look at the inverter screen. But WiFi is just a gimmick after you've set the parameters.

It seems that your model (the blue one) have been replaced by a new 2022 model:

image.png.e78e5f39d7d88503fd15d3f21b25d0b9.png

link.

 

Some shops still have the older model in stock.

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2 minutes ago, Sophon said:

It seems that your model (the blue one) have been replaced by a new 2022 model:

image.png.e78e5f39d7d88503fd15d3f21b25d0b9.png

link.

 

Some shops still have the older model in stock.

I doubt it, the one I purchased is very popular in China and available under about 10 different labels. EASun, PowMr, Y&H to name just a few.

Edited by BritManToo
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13 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

I doubt it, the one I purchased is very popular in China and available under about 10 different labels. EASun, PowMr, Y&H to name just a few.

Yes, I have seen that. But if you check the different shops, more often than not they will no longer have your model in stock. Some shops still have stock of one variant, but are out of stock of others, the shop from your link no longer have the wifi models in stock. . And the supposed new model is showing up in more and more shops, again under the same labels as used on your model.

 

If you click on the link in my post, that particular shop selling under the Anern label claims that your light blue one is a 2019 model, and they have a different looking model for 2021 and again a different one for 2022. Only the 2022 model is in stock. Maybe the changes are only cosmetic, and the innards are more or less the same.

 

But you could be right, and the "newer" models could be different models rather than replacements.

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30 minutes ago, MJCM said:

This should give you a ´small’ idea

 

 

Thanks, so that would require an inverter with wifi functionality. Or can you somehow plug into the inverters communications port?

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11 hours ago, Sophon said:

Or can you somehow plug into the inverters communications port?

I am not sure about this, but if the inverter has a RS232 or a USB port you in theory could connect a pc to it, but to talk to that inverter that would require software from the Inverters manufacturer.

 

Wifi is way easier, but as @BritManToo already pointed out 

 

Quote

Be aware the WiFi of most of these inverters communicate via servers in China.

If I would setup an Inverter with Wifi, I would create a separate WIFI SSID (a guest network) which will not have access to my local network.

 

https://www.pandasecurity.com/en/mediacenter/panda-security/guest-wifi/

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20 hours ago, BritManToo said:

May I ask why didn't you go for the Half Cell, they are only 100 THB more expensive.

 

And any issues with them caused by shipping?

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1 minute ago, MJCM said:

May I ask why didn't you go for the Half Cell, they are only 100 THB more expensive.

And any issues with them caused by shipping?

2 years back half cells weren't available, not that I can see any advantage to them.

2 of my orders didn't arrive, broken in transit and returned to sender without me ever seeing them.

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13 hours ago, Sophon said:

To be honest, I don't really know what Wifi does on these inverters or how it works. I have seen that Crossy posts monthly stats about his solar production and consumption, and assume that the data comes from his inverter. I would like to be able to see such data, but have no idea how you "extract" it.

OK, from a nurd’s perspective (me). 

 

I think that you’ll find most inverters now come with some form of WiFi facility which enables it to send  data to either your own computer or to a remote server via your router.  

 

Some inverters use an external plug in WiFi module, whilst others have the WiFi facility built into them.

My 2kW Sofar inverter came complete with an external plug in module as shown below. 

20210911_163645.thumb.jpg.7dd0b9bc1c134b81e7d109955a2730b3.jpg

 

20210926_105915.jpg.ad48dcd61db65f65520f5a69568c5754.jpg

 

FYI… In some cases, you may need to purchase the module as an optional extra.    My inverter also comes with a USB + DRMs + RS485 ports so connecting the inverter to your router or PC via cable is also possible.

 

Setting up the communications between the WiFi module and my PC was really child’s play.  The inverter came with a very good instruction manual which was in English.  There was also a very helpful video showing how to set up the WiFi module on YouTube.

 

Being the lazy  old devil that I am, I used the easy option and loaded an app onto my Pc and mobile which enables me to remotely monitor the inverter from anywhere in the world if I wanted to. 

 

Just one point to mention.  Using the applications suggested by the inverter manufacturer means that your inverter data is being sent to a server in China.  In my case, the remote server interrogates the inverter about every 5 minutes.

 

The feedback provided by the application is fairly comprehensive and self-intuitive.  I’ve shown a few screen shots below which I've taken in the past few minutes. 

 

1.. Current Production

723570464_App01.jpg.a5c6540859236637005cc1e4497812fc.jpg

 

2.. Schematic Flow Chart Showing Current Production

1950553717_App02.jpg.b691c5b911b6c082b136d2e209c251f1.jpg

3..  Graph Showing This Month's Production

1808124682_App03.jpg.a74a8dc81e3708b5768bddf7676a9d59.jpg

 

FYI.... There's a lot more facilities and information available on the application.  It's also possible to download all the data into an Excel spreadsheet so that you can produce your own graphs if required.

 

I hope this helps.

 

 

Edited by 007 RED
Typo
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2 hours ago, 007 RED said:

OK, from a nurd’s perspective (me). 

 

I think that you’ll find most inverters now come with some form of WiFi facility which enables it to send  data to either your own computer or to a remote server via your router.  

 

Some inverters use an external plug in WiFi module, whilst others have the WiFi facility built into them.

My 2kW Sofar inverter came complete with an external plug in module as shown below. 

20210911_163645.thumb.jpg.7dd0b9bc1c134b81e7d109955a2730b3.jpg

 

20210926_105915.jpg.ad48dcd61db65f65520f5a69568c5754.jpg

 

FYI… In some cases, you may need to purchase the module as an optional extra.    My inverter also comes with a USB + DRMs + RS485 ports so connecting the inverter to your router or PC via cable is also possible.

 

Setting up the communications between the WiFi module and my PC was really child’s play.  The inverter came with a very good instruction manual which was in English.  There was also a very helpful video showing how to set up the WiFi module on YouTube.

 

Being the lazy  old devil that I am, I used the easy option and loaded an app onto my Pc and mobile which enables me to remotely monitor the inverter from anywhere in the world if I wanted to. 

 

Just one point to mention.  Using the applications suggested by the inverter manufacturer means that your inverter data is being sent to a server in China.  In my case, the remote server interrogates the inverter about every 5 minutes.

 

The feedback provided by the application is fairly comprehensive and self-intuitive.  I’ve shown a few screen shots below which I've taken in the past few minutes. 

 

1.. Current Production

723570464_App01.jpg.a5c6540859236637005cc1e4497812fc.jpg

 

2.. Schematic Flow Chart Showing Current Production

1950553717_App02.jpg.b691c5b911b6c082b136d2e209c251f1.jpg

3..  Graph Showing This Month's Production

1808124682_App03.jpg.a74a8dc81e3708b5768bddf7676a9d59.jpg

 

FYI.... There's a lot more facilities and information available on the application.  It's also possible to download all the data into an Excel spreadsheet so that you can produce your own graphs if required.

 

I hope this helps.

 

 

Thank you for the additional info. In my case the inverter will be 50 m from our house, will that be likely to create problems setting up Wifi communication? My phone can pick up our Wifi signal from that distance, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that the Wifi module can.

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16 hours ago, MJCM said:

This should give you a ´small’ idea

 

 

Off-topic and I do apologize if anyone takes offence but I find the Indian sing-a-song accent absolutely hilarious... :cheesy:

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The installation down by Tha river with the panels mounted (but nothing connected).

IMG_20220804_115150.thumb.jpg.810146f2766542679c9ef5b961542b9b.jpg

 

They are 450 W panels, so with a total of 84 panels that's quite a bit of potential energy being produced. 

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41 minutes ago, Crossy said:

Warning Will Robinson, warning!!

 

image.png.c979d0afd7d8a9e943cf26455e54160e.png

 

https://futurism.com/19606

 

That's scary. and one of the opponents being a retired science teacher no less.

 

Crossy, have you seen my questions from yesterday about the illustration in your pinned topic about different solar installation types? I would love to have your comments, when you can find the time.

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17 minutes ago, Sophon said:

Thank you for the additional info. In my case the inverter will be 50 m from our house, will that be likely to create problems setting up Wifi communication? My phone can pick up our Wifi signal from that distance, but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean that the Wifi module can.

You could always buy a Wifi Extender and place it near your Inverter / in between Router and Inverter to boost rhe Wifi if your Inverter isn't able to pick up the signal!

 

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/5ghz-wifi-repeater-wireless-wifi-extender-1200mbps-wi-fi-amplifier-300mbps-long-range-wi-fi-signal-booster-24g-wifi-repiter-i3420211423-s12651341839.html?

 

 

Edited by MJCM
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9 minutes ago, MJCM said:

You could always buy a Wifi Extender and place it near your Inverter / in between Router and Inverter to boost rhe Wifi if your Inverter isn't able to pick up the signal!

 

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/5ghz-wifi-repeater-wireless-wifi-extender-1200mbps-wi-fi-amplifier-300mbps-long-range-wi-fi-signal-booster-24g-wifi-repiter-i3420211423-s12651341839.html?

 

 

I will keep that in mind. I guess that even a fairly weak signal will probably be OK, as the amount of data being exchanged must be quite small so slow speed should still work.

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Something I have been wondering.

 

In a hybrid on/off grid system, what happens if the grid is off and the house load exceeds the capacity of the inverter? Will the voltage drop, or how will the lack of power manifest itself?

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10 minutes ago, Sophon said:

Crossy, have you seen my questions from yesterday about the illustration in your pinned topic about different solar installation types? I would love to have your comments, when you can find the time.

 

You might have missed an important dotted line ???? 

 

image.png.0687177cbd1c9fb63fb5a14b0f912c85.png

 

Inside the line are the major components that make up an "on-grid hybrid" inverter. They are all in the one box which some call an AIO (All in One). They could just as easily be separate boxes.

 

The MPPT charge controller is a flavour of switch-mode power supply which converts the high voltage / low current output of the panels into a low voltage / high current suitable for charging the batteries. It also has some smarts (the Maximum Power Point Tracking) which adapts it's behaviour to get the maximum energy from your panels as the lighting varies during the day.

 

 The mains-charger is there to charge the batteries from the mains should you (or your programmed behaviour) desire. Maybe you have a time-of-use meter and want to save some cheap energy at night.

 

The "inverter" converts DC from the panels and battery into AC for the house. In this case it's normally running grid-tie but if the mains goes out the output is directed to the "essential" supply to keep your lights etc. operating.

 

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12 minutes ago, Sophon said:

Something I have been wondering.

 

In a hybrid on/off grid system, what happens if the grid is off and the house load exceeds the capacity of the inverter? Will the voltage drop, or how will the lack of power manifest itself?

 

Exceed the available power from your inverter and it will should protect itself by turning everything off.

 

Of course a really cheap unit may just release the Magic Smoke ???? 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Crossy said:

 

You might have missed an important dotted line ???? 

 

image.png.0687177cbd1c9fb63fb5a14b0f912c85.png

 

Inside the line are the major components that make up an "on-grid hybrid" inverter. They are all in the one box which some call an AIO (All in One). They could just as easily be separate boxes.

 

The MPPT charge controller is a flavour of switch-mode power supply which converts the high voltage / low current output of the panels into a low voltage / high current suitable for charging the batteries. It also has some smarts (the Maximum Power Point Tracking) which adapts it's behaviour to get the maximum energy from your panels as the lighting varies during the day.

 

 The mains-charger is there to charge the batteries from the mains should you (or your programmed behaviour) desire. Maybe you have a time-of-use meter and want to save some cheap energy at night.

 

The "inverter" converts DC from the panels and battery into AC for the house. In this case it's normally running grid-tie but if the mains goes out the output is directed to the "essential" supply to keep your lights etc. operating.

 

OK, so what I call an inverter is actually all the elements within the dotted line, of which the actual DC to AC inverter is just one element. So I "just" have to set up the unit in a way that suits my needs. I did say, that I had probably misunderstood something.

 

I realize that this may work differently between different models, but can the "inverter" be set up so that it only charges from the mains if the battery falls below a certain level of charge?

 

With regards to the essential load, can I connect the whole house to both the normal load port and to the essential load port. I assume (I know, dangerous) that the essential port is  limited to the maximum power of the inverter, so I won't be able to just connect the whole house to the essential port?

I don't want to split my circuits into two groups.

 

Thank you for your explanation.

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18 minutes ago, Crossy said:

 

Exceed the available power from your inverter and it will protect itself by turning everything off.

 

That sounds good. I don't foresee a situation where I would exceed 5 kW anyway, but I guess that it would be possible for the grid to be out when there is no sun and I have also run out of battery charge.

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1 minute ago, Sophon said:

OK, so what I call an inverter is actually all the elements within the dotted line, of which the actual DC to AC inverter is just one element. So I "just" have to set up the unit in a way that suits my needs. I did say, that I had probably misunderstood something.

 

I realize that this may work differently between different models, but can the "inverter" be set up so that it only charges from the mains if the battery falls below a certain level of charge?

 

With regards to the essential load, can I connect the whole house to both the normal load port and to the essential load port. I assume (I know, dangerous) that the essential port is  limited to the maximum power of the inverter, so I won't be able to just connect the whole house to the essential port?

I don't want to split my circuits into two groups.

 

Thank you for your explanation.

 

Yes.

 

Yes, but it does depend upon your inverter.

 

If you don't want to split your circuits you can either, not bother using the essential output (and have the lights out when the mains is off) or get an off-grid hybrid with sufficient oomph to supply your whole house and forgo exporting.

 

Note:- There are off-grid hybrids that can export, but they do seem to be generally weak in this area.

 

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