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Author Topic: Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex  (Read 145942 times)
biff
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« Reply #270 on: July 24, 2012, 07:29:03 PM »

Good stuff Outta,
              Hopefully we will get a look at you in the near future.It sometimes takes a week or 10 days for juicy news items to drift across the pond to Donegal.We will be keeping an eye out for you,especially your lightweight yellow battery bank.
                                                                      Biff
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Outtasight
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« Reply #271 on: August 11, 2016, 09:07:57 AM »

Well that escalated slowly - to paraphrase the inter-social-web.

I turn my back on this forum for 4 years and suddenly this section is full of people with their 48kWp to 500kWp off grid systems.

I came back after remembering there's somewhere you can use REALLY great emoji (way better than from my smartphone on Twitter).

 Grin  whistlie wackoteapot norfolk flyingpig sh*tfan facepalm

We need all of these for UK energy policy debate right now.
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3.58kWp & 800Ah LiFeYPO4 off-grid(ish). See 'Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex' (in "Show Us Yours")
biff
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« Reply #272 on: August 11, 2016, 09:24:20 AM »

Good to see you back again Outta,
                   I trust that everything is well with you. Loads of questions for you but don,t worry if you don,t want to say.
   I am curious as to how your yellow east European super batteries did. Did they live up to your expectations,? genuflect
  The battery world has made many great leaps forward and the flow battery might be the one to put your money on.
                                                                 Biff
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stannn
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« Reply #273 on: August 11, 2016, 10:28:41 AM »

Yes, welcome back Outtasight. We've missed your insight Grin and humour.
Stan
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2.45 kWp PV (Navitron supply), 40 evacuated tubes (Navitron supply), Clearview 650 log burner with back-boiler heating cottage and water, 2 off 50W border collies, 1 off 35W cat, 1 off 25W cat.
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« Reply #274 on: August 11, 2016, 12:36:11 PM »

fabulous  to hear from you again , Outa  Wink
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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 #275 on: August 14, 2016, 09:45:26 AM »

Good to see all the "usual suspects" still here.

The lithium battery has worked out rather well and in fact I got a second 400Ah pack to run in parallel with the first.

In true bodger style the new cells sit on a fetching oak coffee table that was going 'cheap' at Homebase.



This takes me up to about 20kWh of storage and the rest of the system around it looks like this:



There's some new switchgear and after 8 years the installation has become a bit less 'temporary' with the addition of a metal consumer unit to replace the 4-way adaptors and a meter screwed to a breadboard (not an experimental circuit board but actually a board for bread).

But the changes were mostly driven by a power upgrade and shift in usage.  In Feb 2016, our gas boiler broke and I decided to scrap my gas supply and go electric only in the house.  If we're going to ween off of fossil fuels, it has to start at home.  And so it did.

But this dramatically increased the amount of electricity I need and the 3kW inverter wasn't butch enough any more.  It also had the disadvantage of not allowing me to switch the multiple off grid loads to be grid connected in the numerous 'greenouts' I've endured.  Greenouts are like blackouts but caused by intermittent or inadequate renewables.  So I tried out a new and quite cheap 6kW UPS inverter.



It's a low frequency type (unlike the Cotek SK3000 which was a high frequency type).  This makes it less efficient and has massive transformers in it, a bit like the Victron Multiplus or Quattro which I've used in a project but this inverter was just 700.  The Victrons run to about 3500.

This is essentially a big UPS.  It connects to the grid and has switchgear inside to select either grid power to the output or inverter battery power.  It can optionally charge the battery too, as the inverter is bi-directional.  It can't export energy to the grid (the Victrons can) and the charger isn't great, so I ended up buying three heavy duty switch mode power supplies to form a modular 2kW programmable battery charger.

chargers

More bodgetastic stuff to come, but I must go off to our usual car boot sale today to see what junk I can pick up for next to nothing.
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3.58kWp & 800Ah LiFeYPO4 off-grid(ish). See 'Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex' (in "Show Us Yours")
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« Reply #276 on: August 14, 2016, 10:04:10 AM »

I know Fairway,
            I am sure you could see the longing in mine eyes.
  I did not have the nerve to invest in those yellow beauties when Outta did and he went
  and got the same again. It take confidence. I still have my 2 ton of lead acid so i cannot complain
  but some time ago, i bought a lecky car and stuck 8 x 100ah sealed lead acid batts in it. The tyres
  went almost flat and it squat on it,s suspension. I remembered Outta,s yellow treasures and thought
  that they would just be the job.But the money, ! They don,t come cheap.
                                                  Biff
                               
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MR GUS
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« Reply #277 on: August 14, 2016, 11:01:22 AM »

Good to see you still living dangerously Outtasight! (by that I mean what under modern parlance much favoured by gvt "services" wanting to spin something) ..we are all clearly potential subversives if they wish to have a go at us right.

Yellow perils ticking over nicely evidently.  extrahappy
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« Reply #278 on: August 14, 2016, 03:03:01 PM »

Some 1637 daily cycles on the original battery pack and still grinning.

I've still only got the very basic battery monitoring system (BMS). There was no need for a battery management system. The difference being all that meddling with the cells to actively balance them that a battery management system tries to do (usually with fire engine calling results).

With these cells, you bottom balance them once in their lifetime and that's it. They don't go out of balance.

I still have the CellLog8 watching each individual cell on the original pack. But it just serves to trip the inverter when the low battery threshold is reached, as over discharge will damage them immediately and permanently. 

The second battery pack has a prototype 'per cell' monitor on it but actually I just use the left-over Smartgauge monitor I used on the lead acid pack to monitor the pack voltage and control the chargers.



The SoC gauge on the Smartgauge doesn't work with lithium packs but it can switch to read just voltage on the display and it has two threshold alarms that I could use to drive a contactor in the consumer unit. The contactor controls the AC supply to the battery chargers. When the battery gets low-ish, it enables the chargers. They are also connected to a timer switch that turns them on during Economy 7 hours only. So on bad solar days, the Smartgauge decides when to allow the battery chargers to run from Economy 7 electric.



The other high voltage alarm on the Smartgauge turns the chargers off when the pack voltage rises to a certain level. This isn't "full battery" level, but rather a level where enough energy has been put in to get by on and then the solar can do its stuff again.

The inverter will switch to UPS bypass if AC is connected to its input. The timer and a contactor do this. But if I want to force the system to stay on battery all night, I can switch the AC off either by cancelling the timer 'on' program on the timer or just kill the supply with the master breaker (but I have to remember to turn it on again later, whereas the timer will do this automatically).

The battery only charges when the inverter is in bypass. The chargers don't like a lot of load ripple and trip out if the inverter is running and a large load is put on it.

The UPS is a cheap design and doesn't sync the incoming mains to the inverter phase, so at random, when the switchgear in the UPS switches, it can cause a massive phase mismatch surge. To stop false tripping of the master breaker, I had to buy a special Type D 20A one that has a high surge margin.  The 32A ring main supply breaker at the house consumer unit had to be upgraded to a Type C (normal ones are Type B).

The right-hand half of the consumer unit is just the distribution for the the inverter output, which still goes to parallel off grid wiring around the house.



The rest of the gubbins on the board are a grid kWh meter and the inverter output kWh meter and a Owl monitor, then a battery disconnect for the solar chargers.
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3.58kWp & 800Ah LiFeYPO4 off-grid(ish). See 'Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex' (in "Show Us Yours")
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« Reply #279 on: August 14, 2016, 03:56:09 PM »

The outside hasn't changed too much.



There's still the random assortment of panels around the house and on the garage, now totalling 3.585kWp (in theory).  A slight upgrade, as I bought a 305Wp panel for 185 from a solar installer who had surplus. That forms the shade on the wall over the kitchen window.



Another more significant 'upgrade' was moving the pair of 200Wp panels to be on the garage roof.  This reclaimed the patio for plants and also means that those panels don't suffer the shading from the garage in winter. The sun gets so low in the sky from November to the end of January that the lower half of those panels on the patio were always shaded.



While one pair of portable 40Wp panels are still on an A frame and move about as the seasons change.  These and a another pair of 40Wp panels mostly try to do something in the late afternoon western light.

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http://solarbodge.blogspot.com/
3.58kWp & 800Ah LiFeYPO4 off-grid(ish). See 'Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex' (in "Show Us Yours")
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« Reply #280 on: August 14, 2016, 04:43:19 PM »

Outta. That is excellent news on the cell front,
                                  Just needing the one controller and the single discharge to the bottom. I compliment you on sharing this with us.
   A lot of folks are like myself,reluctant to dig the hand into the pocket and fork out but fair play to you, you have gone and put the money down on the cells and
   succeeded in making it work. genuflect
                                   Biff
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« Reply #281 on: August 14, 2016, 05:51:01 PM »

Brilliant.... bodgeneering a plenty  genuflect
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« Reply #282 on: August 15, 2016, 06:56:31 AM »

Outta fabulous.  It makes me happy just to see your work. Grin
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« Reply #283 on: August 15, 2016, 09:08:44 AM »

Thanks all.

I recently bought a PS4 and if energy were a game, I'd hope to have bagged the "Top Bodger" trophy by now. ralph

As it is, I'd be content with the crew bonus power-up in 'World of Tanks'. If you're playing in British tanks, they get a 5% boost to skills if you buy them 'tea and pudding'.

More to come.
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http://solarbodge.blogspot.com/
3.58kWp & 800Ah LiFeYPO4 off-grid(ish). See 'Cobbled together PV in W.Sussex' (in "Show Us Yours")
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« Reply #284 on: August 15, 2016, 09:16:11 AM »

This we have to see Outta, fingers crossed!
                          Biff
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