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Author Topic: Electricity Grid Query......  (Read 1011 times)
jonsamcor
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« on: May 03, 2019, 07:51:07 AM »

Hi all again quick bolt on query.... this relates to some of my other posts.....
Got a call this morning @ 7.05 am from an employee of my local electricity supplier PowerNI (who have a complete state funded monopoly on supply over here anyway)

We are rural.... there are 2 neighbours also supplied from a pole mounted transformer
Said neighbours have complained that their lights are flickering and contacted PowerNI to complain

I am pretty sure that the cause is my gshp which burnt out the soft starter (again) and is operating without one while I am waiting on a new pump being installed..... firstly would this be correct?

PowerNI man asked me at 7am “we think it might be your wind turbine would you turn it off for a couple of days?” !
I said that’s not causing it ........
I told him it might be my gshp......”well could you turn it off for a couple of days ....it will maybe save us a lot of work”
I said not really viable......
He is away to get his boss.....

I want to be armed with something to put the the PowerNI people when the next call comes ....
What could they be doing to their network apparatus to fix the problem?
Would upgrading the transformer to give me a 3 phase supply help / solve it ?
Thanks
Jonny

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Rural Co. Down, Proven 6kw Turbine, GSHP, Thermomax Tubes....and Total lack of technical or useful knowledge
oliver90owner
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 08:14:01 AM »

First question is whether the lights are flickering continuously or only dimming (incandescent bulbs) once at start-up of the GSHP motor.  Not exactly an arduous task.

Perhaps your lights dim, too, as the GSHP fires up?

What power is the main motor?  It is possibly taking as much as six times its normal running current at start up.

My stick welder dims our lights when turned on - but not noticeable when it strikes an arc; even my VFD dims the light on the same circuit at switch-on - but does not make any difference when starting the lathe.
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Paulh_Boats
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 08:42:48 AM »

Jonny,

The correct way to resolve this is for an engineer(s) to visit you and your neighbours and:

1) Verify that that all supplies are undamaged and correct, especially phase and earthing arrangements which can be complex in rural regions.
2) Monitoring of AC voltages in real time, when your turbine kicks in and when your GSHP starts.
3) Results of 2) may prove the PowerNI supply needs to be upgraded, either to you or your neighbours or both. That could mean new supply cables, new transformers.

The GSHP will be taking a big spike of current when it starts, this is normal behaviour for large motors. What power is it?

BTW I have a degree in electrical engineering. These issues cannot be resolved at a distance; switching things on and off only make sense when engineers can make detailed observations at the same time.

-Paul
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jonsamcor
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 09:48:12 AM »

Thanks guys ….
I have 2 gshp (Dimplex) 6KW each (I think!) the lights dim when the one which does the bulk of the work starts up..... when the house calls for heat to UFH or hw…..they dim / flicker on the start up and return to normal it can happen frequently when it is cold.... as the pump comes on more regularly

I think its an issue now because I have burnt out 3 "soft start" boxes on one of the pumps (albeit over a 10 year period) as a temporary fix the pump is connected without a soft start (until it is replaced with a new Ecoforest unit which I understand will not have this issue ?) and hence the neighbours and their recent complaints


I don't notice it as much because all of our lights are LED or low energy.... I would imagine the neighbours have very few of these so notice it more

Should I combine with the neighbours and push PowerNI to upgrade the transformer? Will 3 Phase supply fix or help ?


This crosses over into other threads I started but when I tried to get PV installed onto the roof in the past they said it could only happen if I had a 3 phase supply (Because of my turbine)


Also am I correct in thinking I and the neighbours would be goosed if we purchased an EV because of charging issues ?


Thanks again

Jonny

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Paulh_Boats
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 10:44:03 AM »

Jonny,

As I said an engineer needs to check the supplies. If you are both on the same phase that could explain the problems.

Switching to 3 phase might help, but if the pole transformer is hitting current saturation it will need upgrading.

A neighbourly gesture could be to walk in with a pack of LED light bulbs and swap out their older bulbs. That might help the flickering, depending how the LED is driven internally.

If you both work together that seems like the strongest hand you could play.

Paul
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LED lighting in every room
NO tumble dryer, +370 kWh per year
biff
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 10:44:59 AM »

   Jonny,
   Like Paul says,  
 The correct way to resolve this is for and engineer,s to visit you and your neighbours and ......
  It would also show that you are trying to help your neighbours get the problem sorted.
 And also, your trouble with the soft start will finally be resolved.
                               Biff
  
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knighty
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 10:52:37 AM »

I wonder if the soft starts are burning out because your supply voltage s dropping too low on startup?
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Paulh_Boats
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 11:08:31 AM »

I wonder if the soft starts are burning out because your supply voltage s dropping too low on startup?

It depends on the rated power and construction of the soft start controller.
Some use simple inductors/capacitors and relays, more expensive models would use high frequency digital switching.

The voltage drop might cause the starter to take longer to spin up the motor, hence overloading it.

But its all speculation without test equipment measurements.  police

Paul
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30 tube thermal,
2.3kW PV see:
http://www.solarmanpv.com/portal/Terminal/TerminalMain.aspx?come=Public&pid=17067

LED lighting in every room
NO tumble dryer, +370 kWh per year
jonsamcor
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 11:45:37 AM »

We are all friendly ….. so that should not be a problem
3 detached houses though cost me £1200 to replace all of the halogen with leds a few years ago.....I will just give them the advice !

Think I will try and push them to upg the transformer .....

I will take a couple of pics and confirm size of my pumps ....

I have a Spark coming round to the house tomorrow for a BBQ i will text him to bring some test equipment maybe ...

What sort of person / Qualifications needed to give me the test data ? The powerNI boy didnt strike me as the sharpest ...and i fully expect the fob off....
If I could show the network / transformer was contributing to frying the soft start units then I have something to push with ?

I have retained the burnt out units .... there was no digital swirtching I think just large capacitors...


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Paulh_Boats
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 12:06:48 PM »

If sparky is fully qualified and brings all the toys he can determine your supply type, earthing, phase resistance etc. Those are part of a standard inspection and test of the consumer unit and supply.

Ask him about 3 phase - but he might not qualified for that.

LEDs are cheap these days, try Screwfix.

Paul
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30 tube thermal,
2.3kW PV see:
http://www.solarmanpv.com/portal/Terminal/TerminalMain.aspx?come=Public&pid=17067

LED lighting in every room
NO tumble dryer, +370 kWh per year
ecogeorge
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 05:56:00 PM »

Hi all again quick bolt on query.... this relates to some of my other posts.....
Got a call this morning @ 7.05 am from an employee of my local electricity supplier PowerNI (who have a complete state funded monopoly on supply over here anyway)

We are rural.... there are 2 neighbours also supplied from a pole mounted transformer
Said neighbours have complained that their lights are flickering and contacted PowerNI to complain

I am pretty sure that the cause is my gshp which burnt out the soft starter (again) and is operating without one while I am waiting on a new pump being installed..... firstly would this be correct?

PowerNI man asked me at 7am “we think it might be your wind turbine would you turn it off for a couple of days?” !
I said that’s not causing it ........
I told him it might be my gshp......”well could you turn it off for a couple of days ....it will maybe save us a lot of work”
I said not really viable......
He is away to get his boss.....

I want to be armed with something to put the the PowerNI people when the next call comes ....
What could they be doing to their network apparatus to fix the problem?
Would upgrading the transformer to give me a 3 phase supply help / solve it ?
Thanks
Jonny


This conversation is worrying me  sh*tfan
Younhave admitted it could be your heat pump >>>>>>........
Did you have permission to install -Do you not have to advise of connecting anything bigger than 2.2kw or did i dream that ??
my navitron heatpump (no softstart) pulls >90 amps instantaneous power on start up -on a 80A supply , and yes the neighbours lights flick momentarily, but havent told them i know what it is .........
george.
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Paulh_Boats
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2019, 07:34:42 PM »

George,

Do you have a PME supply and live in a built up area? If so your neighbour could easily be on the same phase - I guess you realise that.

I thought the only rules about fixed appliances was thick/short enough cable, adequate cooling and correct MCB. It sounds like you have a type C or D MCB yes? otherwise it would trip every time!

90A startup is pushing things on an 80A system; thicker meter tails seems like a good idea although that won't help the neighbours.


An interesting story: landscapers at my late Father's house dug up the incoming supply with a mini digger! MEB engineers came along, fixed it with a new cable joint. What surprised me is they fitted an earth rod right next to the join.  They said it was standard practice for every join they make - to ensure the earth/neutral is locked down to the local potential of the buried pipe work and armoured power cables, that are often of unknown condition and layout in our typical 1930s house.

If your neutral voltage moves around, an earth spike might help.

-Paul
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30 tube thermal,
2.3kW PV see:
http://www.solarmanpv.com/portal/Terminal/TerminalMain.aspx?come=Public&pid=17067

LED lighting in every room
NO tumble dryer, +370 kWh per year
jonsamcor
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2019, 07:55:39 PM »

Eco geo
Yes I did because I like my neighbours..... but in hindsight it was a mistake to admit my (totally unqualified) thought, I was amazed they thought it was the turbine....
But I’m still fairly sure it is the new pump ....the supplier tells me will not cause the same issue, I just want to use the leverage for them to upgrade the transformer.....
The power company actively encouraged me to install turbine gshp and solar dhw tubes with grants..... so if there is an issue now with their infrastructure....then they should sort even though through circumstances I will sort it .....
OTOH if I could prove their ancient transformer was the problem and frying the soft starts then I’m in the dominant position.....
Jonny
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Rural Co. Down, Proven 6kw Turbine, GSHP, Thermomax Tubes....and Total lack of technical or useful knowledge
jonsamcor
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2019, 07:58:05 PM »

And Paul B thanks 🙏 I wish I understood half of what you are saying..... hopefully I have sourced a local who can help ....
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Rural Co. Down, Proven 6kw Turbine, GSHP, Thermomax Tubes....and Total lack of technical or useful knowledge
ecogeorge
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2019, 09:28:12 PM »

George,

Do you have a PME supply and live in a built up area? If so your neighbour could easily be on the same phase - I guess you realise that.

I thought the only rules about fixed appliances was thick/short enough cable, adequate cooling and correct MCB. It sounds like you have a type C or D MCB yes? otherwise it would trip every time!

90A startup is pushing things on an 80A system; thicker meter tails seems like a good idea although that won't help the neighbours.


An interesting story: landscapers at my late Father's house dug up the incoming supply with a mini digger! MEB engineers came along, fixed it with a new cable joint. What surprised me is they fitted an earth rod right next to the join.  They said it was standard practice for every join they make - to ensure the earth/neutral is locked down to the local potential of the buried pipe work and armoured power cables, that are often of unknown condition and layout in our typical 1930s house.

If your neutral voltage moves around, an earth spike might help.

-Paul
its only 90A for a fraction of a second on start up -run current is as about  12A
Yes out in sticks , same phase as neighbour. Heatpump  rarely used -rely on 24kw log burner.
George.
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