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Author Topic: The satisfaction of a good old rewiring session  (Read 3511 times)
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« on: September 24, 2019, 09:50:14 PM »

Inspired by Nowty's tale of epic system reworking, I decided it was time to tidy my act up, and sort out several years of accumulated wiring and hackery in our system. I was about to add some more PV, and it seemed a good opportunity to rip everything off the wall and organise it properly. Our off grid setup has grown from a couple of panels and dubious inverter to something rather more elaborate - partly because our needs have expanded and partly because I like playing with the kit.  This time around I wanted to get it to the point where it wouldn't have to come off the wall for a while. I even labelled some of it in case I get run over by a bus.

Our main input has so far come from 40 old BP solar panels, 80w each, that we came by when a friend spotted a church in Belfast pulling them off the roof to replace with bigger panels. They had no use for them, and apart from needing a good clean, they are perfectly fine. They do a good 3kw, and together with another couple of small arrays dotted about, we've been managing with 4kw.

We've also been running a 3kw Bornay turbine, on a 9 metre mast, that I found in the back of someone's shed (the Bornay not the mast). It puts out about 500v AC that is then rectified before being fed to an elderly Aurora inverter, which is then ac coupled to the output of our Multiplus inverters. Lossy, but for now it is reliable so I leave it alone. I had the Bornay rewound not long after we got it as sitting in a shed for years hadn't agreed with it and it had earth leakage, but since that financially painful experience it has been fantastic, andregularly manages more than its 3kw rating.

The various solar arrays come through a collection of Victron mppt controllers, charging an 840Ah tubular plate pack at 24v. It's getting on a bit, but we nurse it along and it is doing ok. Three 24/3000 Multipluses in parallel then feed power out to our cottage and a small holiday cottage next door. Monitoring is done with a BMV-712, and a Color Control unit that I swapped for something, and which is a great bit of kit.

We've thermal stores in both cottages, which are fed by navitron solar thermal setups and woodburning stoves, but the addition of a Solar Iboost+ means that the turbine and new solar array both dump everything bar the first few hundred watts into immersions, first in one cottage and then the other. In winter we'll probably switch off the iboost and use the power, as fires will likely be lit anyway, but for most of the year its very handy. Despite being installed a bit further away from the immersions than marlec recommend, it works fine.

Over time all the DC side cabling has grown to the point where its finally sized for safety, and busbars have made life a lot easier for connecting in the inverters and mppt's. All the arrays have separate isolators, as does the battery. The wind turbine is a grid tie unit putting out around 500v into an old Aurora inverter, which seems happy with the AC from the Multis.

We were monitoring it using an AC current sensor, but it was really clunky - the interval made reading the output very hit and miss. This I've sorted by replacing it with one of the Carlo Galvazzi energy meters, which gives a far better idea what is going on, as the live from the turbine passes through it rather than a clamp. This summer I put in another 4kw PV array, which is fed through a cheap 5kw grid tie inverter and another energy meter to have it show up in the victron monitoring software.

and the enormous but very sturdy old Platinum inverter, which will take up to about 600v from the PV.

Rather than build another frame (the older panels are aligned for winter) I went for the plastic bucket option this time as it was quick, and the output has been great over summer. Having seen Nowty's setup, I decided to tidy all my AC side too, and put all the energy meters, switches and MCB's in one consumer unit.

Just this week, I came across a couple of older 120V Multiplus units, both 24v, 3000w jobs, and they seem very happy running with site transformers to step up from the output and step up to feed AC in to run as chargers.  I wanted to monitor them too, but couldn't afford to go down the Victron Color Control route, so decided to experiment with the Venus open source software running on a Raspberry Pi. It turns out to be astonishingly simple to do, and the 25 Pi runs just like a CCGX, albeit without a screen, but perfectly accessible on the local network. It recognises all the kit quite normally too.

The next step is to hive off the smaller cottage, add a bit more PV to its roof, and run it from one of these grey multiplus units using a bunch of 6v 225Ah batteries that have been scavenged and persuaded to the same level of charge. Certainly plenty to run the more limited needs of a holiday cottage.

9.2kw PV -  Victron 150/70, 100/50, 150/60, 150/35 MPPT; 3x Victron Multiplus 24/3000/70; Color Control GX Monitoring; 1000ah@24v traction batteries - 50 tube solar thermal - 3kw Bornay Inclin grid tie/ac coupled wind turbine - wood cooking & heating. 28kw Ponast pellet boiler.
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 05:19:35 AM »

Wow, what a set up!

5.12kw PV system with Solar edge
7.2kwh Pylon tech battery storage
18kwh Heater Storage
Solar I boost charging 12kwh 210 ltr OSO system tank
Deep insulation, air leak controlled home
Zoned & Balanced CH wet system
Hive 2
Low energy bulbs
Wood fired cedar hot tub
Masanobu Fukuoka garden
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Posts: 4389

« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2019, 06:18:25 AM »

 genuflect genuflect genuflect

Kidwelly South Wales
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