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Author Topic: Batteries, Inverters and building on  (Read 7059 times)
cregy
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2012, 03:50:32 PM »

The genny is a Pramac E3200:
http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5866

Thanks

Rich
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Andy the Inverter Man
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2012, 09:32:34 PM »

Hi Andy

I'm just asking the question re the voltage but know the answer to the second question. No. If I wanted to I would have to put it through the inverter or an AVR.

Will let you know once I have heard back about the voltage output.
Thanks
Rich

Hi Rich,
What I'm saying is....
1) An ordinary UPS (line interactive technology) may not run from your genny.  The only way to be sure is to try!
2) An ordinary UPS or an AVR won't turn the unclean output of the genny in to a nice steady clean sine wave.  They basically pass the mains output from the genny straight through to your load.
3) A double conversion UPS will most likely work from the genny and WILL output a good clean steady sine wave.  Double conversion UPSs are great for powering computers, lights and audio/visual equipment but no so good for anything with a motor in it.

With your genny try connecting an old style filament light bulb and see if its brightness varies.
Add some load to the genny (eg a 1000 watt fan heater) and see if the bulb brightness varies.
That will tell you if the genny output voltage varies.

Andy the UPS, Inverter & Battery Man
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billi
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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2012, 01:15:41 AM »

A small  off grid inverter charger   will accept your geny , no problem ....i know  
, but  would go other route  ,if possible

You will pay more in the end  , going the generator route first and too long

Ask your self  , about your target  and look at the right size battery , PV and see the Generator as a Slave only

Billi

« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 01:34:28 AM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
cregy
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2012, 11:25:57 AM »

Hi Guys

Having read Billi's post I have accepted his wise advice and will see the genny as a slave only.

I am in the process of buying some PV cells from Ivan. It is 3 panels at 170w output. I could go larger if you think I should.

He has said this in one of his PM's:
UPS is a very cheap way to get a pure sine wave inverter of good quality output. BUT you need to make sure they have low quiescent power (ie measure the drain on the battery when it's turned on and not powering anything). Basically, cheap inverter designs use a lot of power (up to 100W!) when they're doing nothing. Good quality inverters will use much less power - maybe as little as 6W, and top notch inverters actually switch themselves off altogether when there's no power demand, and reconnect as soon as a load is applied. Some UPS systems make great off-grid inverters, others do not. 

Also, if you're intending to bank up a number of inverters to produce your peak demand, make sure you can synchronise them. Expensive inverters/UPS have synchronisation cables which force them to synchronise their AC outputs. If you try to bank up unsynchronised inverters, they'll all blow fuses or worse.

Navitron sells MPPT controllers, although I don't think the options are listed. Best to give them a call to ask what's available and what the price is. I'd guess you're looking at £150 or thereabouts for a 30A unit. There is a provista one listed on the website, but it won't cope with the maximum voltage if you're planning to use 3 in series, as it's only intended for 12V and 24V batteries. I think Navitron would supply a STECCA MPPT charge controller - but check that it will cope with 48V battery banks.

Battteries are most important in these systems. Ideally get new, or if they're second hand, make sure they're cheap (ie scrap value) as there's a good chance that they'll be scrap. You need a good size battery bank with offgrid, and with PV in particular, as you won't generate the same amount of power every day.

Taking Ivan's advice, I feel the next step is the batteries. Andy are the batteries you're supplying new. If so could you put me down for 3 and I'll PM you to sort out invoice details, etc.

The next step is the in-between kit! Will the APC units do as Ivan is suggesting or would I be better of purchasing a new one? I'll look into the charge controller with Navitron. Should I purchase battery monitoring equipment, etc please and if so what would you suggest.

This is exciting and I cannot thank folks enough for the help. I know it you give the advice freely but if you are ever in Cornwall a pint or two of cider can be yours!

Rich
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Andy the Inverter Man
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2012, 11:47:38 AM »

Rich,

I think the key thing is to start cheap-ish.  Don't spend mega bucks at this stage.

You say you're buying 3 solar panels.  What voltage are they?
Won't you need 4 of them to get the right voltage?

The inverter I have suggested needs 4x 12v batts in series.  IE 48Vdc.
The batts are virtually new.  They were put new in to a UPS which then failed 2 months later.
I also run time test the batts and I'm a qualified electronics engineer (Bachelor of Engineering).  I've run my own UPS business for 10 years.
Every inverter/UPS I sell has been professionally refurbished, converted where necessary for use as an inverter and soak tested.  And all batts get run time tested.

The inverter (UPS) I'm recommending can be set so it turns itself off if it has less than 10% load.

So what I believe you need is 4x solar panels + controller suitable for a 48Vdc battery bank.  A bank of batts and a 3kva/2.2kW inverter from me.

Andy the UPS, Inverter & Battery Man
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billi
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2012, 11:51:30 AM »

....But UPS Batteries are usually not good  for regular cycle use  ,  ie a waste of money for us off Gridders   Wink
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 11:56:41 AM by billi » Logged

1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
Andy the Inverter Man
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2012, 11:59:35 AM »

....But UPS Batteries are cräp  for regular cycle use  ,  ie a waste of money for us off Gridders   Wink

They certainly are NOT cräp!
And NOT a waste of money.
Remember the original poster wants to get started for a youth project.  He isn't trying to power his entire house or anything like that.
It is too power a few things for a youth project.
And I am NOT asking mega bucks for either the batts or the inverter.

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« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 02:04:39 PM by Samantha (Navitron) » Logged
Eleanor
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2012, 12:12:35 PM »

Cregy, batteries is a whole subject on it's own and I wouldn't rush into buying anything without careful consideration. There are plenty of people here who have used different types of batteries off grid with varying results. Firstly you need to have an idea of the size of bank required and this will depend on how much you intend to draw from it and how much you can put back in. Have you added up the total usage, say over a week, in kWh? eg if you have something like a laptop using 40W (0.04kW)for 3 hours this would be 0.04 x 3 = 0.12kWh. If you can give us an idea of what you intend to use, the number of Watts they consume and how long you will use them for it will be possible to work out a rough bank size taking into account the amount of PV. Also, what is the total number of Watts of everything that could be connected at the same time as this will affect the inverter size. I think you already have the generator just to make up any shortfall? We've run all sorts of stuff from small petrol generators when the batteries are being charged but they've always had AVRs.

We use an Inverter-Charger as opposed to a UPS and it works very well. Are there any H&S issues? I'd have thought that you need to keep the voltage at 12, 24 or 48V and avoid higher battery DC voltages.

As I said, I wouldn't rush into buying anything just yet ...
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billi
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2012, 12:13:56 PM »

Sorry took the cräp   out before your  reply .....

So let us know more about batteries  in UPS ,  type,  model  and costs  and then talk  

Sure, make cregy  a good offer ....would be good

1000 GBP can last  2 years or 4 years or 10  ,if they last 10 years  its cheaper than if only last 2   Wink


Billi



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1.6 kw and 2.4 kw   PV array  , Outback MX 60 and FM80 charge controller  ,24 volt 1600 AH Battery ,6 Kw Victron inverter charger, 1.1 kw high head hydro turbine as a back up generator , 5 kw woodburner, 36 solar tubes with 360 l water tank, 1.6 kw  windturbine
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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2012, 01:44:19 PM »

I think there's some very biased and frankly "wobbly" advice being given in this thread, particularly on battery choice and using "UPS" devices which frankly aren't made for the job.
As any off-gridder will tell you the holy grail of batteries are "flooded lead acid" of some sort - something like a forklift battery would be ideal.
As for inverters, they tend to be grossly oversold, with little thought as to the fate of the often under-specified batteries that are going to feed it - my "shed system" uses a *300w pure sinewave inverter (£60), and proper controllers (a 30amp Morningstar and a 60amp Xantrex) which keep my (lead acid) batteries in fine fettle - I'd suggest that something along those lines will serve you far better than the attempt to flog you secondhand equipment.

As in many things "start backwards" - get the best batteries you can find, then find the best in controllers to keep them in good fettle, and having settled on the size of battery bank, size the inverter accordingly

*300 watts gives me oodles of lighting, a deafening sound system, and I can run a couple of computers, printer, AND my glass-grinder all at the same time off the batteries.... whistlie
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 02:05:44 PM by martin » Logged

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Eleanor
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« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2012, 02:01:55 PM »

Buying the right equipment at the beginning will save money in the long run and avoid a considerable amount of aggravation when things don't work as planned. I would always go for flooded lead acid batteries over anything that is sealed. Our inverter is 1.6kW but most of the time it's only running at around 100W which includes a laptop, radio, a few lights and any incidentals. Having the larger inverter allows me to use a hairdrier occasionally  Roll Eyes and a few other higher wattage items eg fridge and freezer on start up but we do live here  Cool
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« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2012, 02:19:31 PM »

I should also have said that our battery bank is big enough for a 1.6kW inverter and as Martin has said the size of the inverter needs to be matched to the capacity of the bank.
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cregy
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2012, 09:04:29 AM »

Hi All

This thread continues to be a big help and once again I cannot thank you enough. I have a small budget that will be increased at a later date once the proof has been shown so getting this right is important to me and you guys have been great.

The conversation has been turned back to batteries and the importance they hold. I wanted to get hold of 4 x 12v if possible. I have an offer on the cards but before going for that could folks advice me the best direction to go in. I have searched the forums and discovered that more or less I can't win. There is so much advice out there and it is difficult to get to the bottom of it. Folks tell me to work out what I'll be using and go from there but in many ways the starter is simply to get something off the ground. From there we will add and build on. So I suppose whatever I go for I need to be able to build on from there! Adding up the total usage is very hard. For instance:
This week, we charged our hand tool batteries. 9amps 50=-60hzs roughly 6 x 30 mins daily. That is 3 chargers used twice. I would have run an iPad from a usb charger and they run at 10watts.
If we had power we would be running a 12v light system but we only need these early morning or late evening.
If we had the power we would have been running a sound system.
If we had the power we might be running a laptop.
If we had the power we will run a projector once a week during summer.

So measuring power is really difficult and I know setting the system up is that much harder but I'm just hoping folks can give me a rough guide as to where to go.

Thanks for all the help once again.

Rich
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cregy
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« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2012, 09:05:16 AM »

I should also have said that our battery bank is big enough for a 1.6kW inverter and as Martin has said the size of the inverter needs to be matched to the capacity of the bank.

Hi

What batteries do you use please?

Thanks

Rich
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cregy
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2012, 09:06:36 AM »

which keep my (lead acid) batteries in fine fettle

What batteries do you use please?

Thanks

Rich
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