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Gallery of Installation pictures => Owner Installed system pictures => Topic started by: dRdoS7 on February 14, 2013, 03:26:58 AM

Title: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on February 14, 2013, 03:26:58 AM
Hi,

Here's my install.

Finished it in Dec. 2012.

12 x 250w panels, Midnight Classic 200, 4 x 260ahr 12v batteries (48V bank) & 3000w 240V inverter

Very low usage, about 500w average.

Runs fridge/freezer, freezer, TVs, PCs, internet & phone connection. Also some lights and GPOs in the garage.

Reduces grid usage and allows more export from a 1900w grid-connect inverter.

After the Solar production stops, it will run on battery until it's down to 50V. A NC relay, controlled by the Classic, switches the grid supply to the inverter off at 54V and back on at 50V. Hopefully that will give a good battery life. I've found we can run between 3 - 7 hrs., depends on whether our grand-children are here (early night for all if they are). The inverter will supply the load and hold the batteries at 50.7V, so not too much charging happening.

I like to keep a good reserve in-case the grid is off for any reason. Saves missing recording those important TV shows!

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dgd on February 21, 2013, 04:10:56 PM
So the main loads are the fridge/freezer and freezer, the other loads would not amount to much..  The 3 to 7 hours is  the limit due to battery capacity?  You are probably only another set or two of those batteries away from being off-grid completely  :D
dgd
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on February 22, 2013, 04:55:19 AM
Hi,

I did have thoughts of going off-grid. I worked out that I could have pay-back for the current system in about 7 years. My calcs rely on me exporting to grid from my other system, which we use less of now.

We have few other items like AirCons & Oven which are intermittent and large use (relatively). I'd have buy a genny, and/or larger inverter, and more batteries. It just didn't make much $$ sense at the moment. I'd also have to make changes to the existing wiring, which I don't want to touch. My "Solar/Grid Hybrid" runs totally separate circuits which I installed in 2008 when I was running off a UPS. I did this as protection against the occasional black-out which caused our Digital TV Recorders to lose their time setting and not record, very annoying to the wife.

Still, in the future when I have to replace the batteries or the price of electricity has gone up 200%, I may re-assess.

dRdoS7.

Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on July 20, 2016, 10:33:35 PM
Hi,

Still, in the future when I have to replace the batteries or the price of electricity has gone up 200%, I may re-assess.

One of my AGMs has failed, after not quite 4 years.

Choice was LiFePO4 or NiFE. Same total price for a 48V 200ah bank.

NiFe won. I hope I made the right choice, or I am a dead man!

Ordered yesterday, delivery expected in 4 -5 weeks.

I calculated that the current systems have saved us just over $8500 (inc. reduced usage Aug 2010 to Dec 2012, no payments for electricity since Dec 2012 + rebates for feed-in). The total cost was $12,500 (1 in 2010 & 1 in 2012).

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dgd on July 20, 2016, 10:46:05 PM
So why did you choose NIFE instead of LiFePO4?
If cost is not a factor then I would have thought the more compact maintenance free greater DoD usage of LiFePO4 would have been the choice.
Just the maintenance and water usage of NIFE would have made them less attractive for me.

Dgd
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: mike90045 on July 21, 2016, 03:18:15 AM
The water usage with NiFe is rough, but you cannot make a mistake and kill them. 
( ok, don't use them for target practice )
 but the worst drawback is the 5 year electrolyte change out.  That's going to be a mess.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on July 23, 2016, 02:42:30 AM
Hi,

NiFe require less electronics (ie. no more than I have now) to look after them, and as you say "Hard to Kill". LiFePO4, on the other hand, require balancing, LVD & HVD, and can be killed easily, though it probably would require the user to be a complete fuc*wit to do that!

I have read that they don't use much water, and electrolyte doesn't need to be changed that often. I will be running them within narrow voltage limits (43-59v), due to my inverter, so they won't be getting overcharged. I may lose some KwH, but shouldn't have water loss problems.

I'll post back when I've got them setup & running, and again later, when I see how they are performing. 12 months use should give me an idea on water usage at least.

dRdoS7

EDIT: I also managed to sneak a WbJr through at the same time. Actually ordered it in advance of buying LiFePO4, and not "really" required now, but I'll be able to monitor usage better now.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: russ_drinkwater on October 10, 2016, 04:50:28 PM
What breed of inverter are you running?
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on October 11, 2016, 04:13:33 PM
Hi,

What breed of inverter are you running?

One of these: http://www.mppsolar.com/v3/pip-lu-series/

Still waiting for my batteries, apparently there was some delay (duh!), and they have now passed through customs. I think he didn't order them as early as he said. Talk about a slow boat from China.

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: CDN-VT on October 11, 2016, 09:41:02 PM
important TV shows!

Really , Not over here !!
Maybe Auzi


Nice work !
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: russ_drinkwater on October 13, 2016, 04:10:44 PM
Had a quick look appears to be a taiwanese made inverter.
One of my mates runs one and swears by it.
Often thought about getting one for a secondaary backup or for my mothers riser chair in case of blackouts!
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on October 13, 2016, 10:00:48 PM
Hi,

important TV shows!

Really , Not over here !!
Maybe Auzi


Nice work !

AFL & Cricket for me.

I assume you meant Aussies/Oz. ;D

Plus, my wife has become hooked on the Yank Pawn (not Porn), and House Renovation shows.

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: CDN-VT on October 14, 2016, 12:26:02 AM
Aussies/Oz ;)

Yes , So AFL is American Football ?
Cricket yes <i see

Im a F1 dude . Webber & Smiley now  ;) Mr Daniel Ricciardo

VT
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: russ_drinkwater on October 14, 2016, 06:00:02 AM
F1 is a 9mm submachine gun used by the australian army! ;D
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: RossW on October 14, 2016, 07:32:42 AM
NiFe require less electronics (ie. no more than I have now) to look after them, and as you say "Hard to Kill". LiFePO4, on the other hand, require balancing, LVD & HVD, and can be killed easily, though it probably would require the user to be a complete fuc*wit to do that!

I've only been running LFP (LiFePO4) for 2 1/2 years so still fairly "new" at it.
I don't have "extra" LVD - my inverter has a minimum voltage and it will cut out if I ever get to that. (I never have). None of my loads draw directly from the batteries, so if it doesn't go through the inverter, it doesn't go.
Additionally, the inverter will call for the generator to run if it gets below a set SoC, or voltage. My LFP have never got close to the minimum voltage.

For maximum, the charge controller has a maximum cutoff too. I do have a small set of balancers (charge-shifting devices) - they can move a maximum of 2 or 3 amps, which is enough. Even without them, I would be fairly comfortable running with none - and just a cell *MONITORING* system for a few bucks... it can call me if things are getting whacky.

NiFe wasn't going to work for me last I looked, because of the huge range in volts between discharging-but-still-ok and charging-but-not-yet-full. The old inverter wouldn't handle it, but some nowdays will.

Quote
I have read that they don't use much water, and electrolyte doesn't need to be changed that often. I will be running them within narrow voltage limits (43-59v),

That's "narrow"??  (My LFPs don't get below 51V or over 56.5V)

Quote
I may lose some KwH, but shouldn't have water loss problems.

That's the other thing that I considered. I don't really have enough PV for winter and run the genset a fair bit.
Cycle efficiency of 95%+ for LFP means significant running cost savings over even lead, and NiFe are less efficient again.

Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on October 14, 2016, 08:16:30 PM
Hi,

So AFL is American Football ?

AFL = Australian Football League


Quote
I will be running them within narrow voltage limits (43-59v)

That's "narrow"??  (My LFPs don't get below 51V or over 56.5V)

I have read that Nife can be 0.95 to 1.75 /cell, that's 38v to 70v! So, yes it's "narrow".

While the Classic would have no problems, my inverter certainly would.

I have been told that running them at the settings I use for my SLA (ie 49 - 58V) will not reduce their capacity.

dRdoS7

Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on November 28, 2016, 05:52:57 PM
Hi,

Finally received my NiFe batteries (2 weeks ago).

I'm told I need to charge/discharge them for 15 cycles before they become useful (90%), plus 100 cycles until they reach full capacity (110% according to the email).

Mostly cloudy skies during the last 2 weeks has not been conducive to much more than supplying power, let alone reasonable cycling up to 1.6v/cell.

The limited cycling I can achieve has only given me an hour runtime, not sparkling, and I'm copping some flack from the boss.

A problem, which I had not had before is that my inverter beeps non stop when either the low (42v) or high (59v) alarm points are reached, and can't be disabled. The actual shutdown points are low=38.4v and high possibly=60v. can't find the high in the docs., and I've emailed the maker. I may need to do a test. I might disable the beeper with some blutac.

The timber "supports" are there as I noticed the shelving sagged a bit (3mm) when I put on the front row of batteries. I was assured they are 176kg/shelf rating, the batteries are 130kg/shelf, and the back row sits raised on a rack which is supported on the outside edges, rather than the shelving itself. I think I'll make some nicer looking steel ones, when I get a "roundtuit".
 
dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: russ_drinkwater on November 29, 2016, 03:17:17 PM
I have a small ( 10 amp hour) edison battery which runs some led lights during blackouts here in summer.
Since I put the battery together and mixed electrolite and added to cells have been very slack on its maintenance.
Felt guilty the other day and got the battery off its shelf and gave it a clean up. It was very low on fluid and required nearly 1 liter of distilled water. I did test it before cleaning etc and it was showing 14.2 volts even with the low fluid level.
If it was a fla there would have been plate damage I am sure.
Gave it a bath and a drink as well as a trickle charge and she was as good as new.
I have noticed that the stainless steel connecting bars do get discoloured from the salts and also around the terminals of each "cell".
You will need plenty of grease to prevent fouling.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on November 29, 2016, 03:51:19 PM
Hi,

I have a small ( 10 amp hour) edison battery which runs some led lights during blackouts here in summer.
Since I put the battery together and mixed electrolite and added to cells have been very slack on its maintenance.
Felt guilty the other day and got the battery off its shelf and gave it a clean up. It was very low on fluid and required nearly 1 liter of distilled water. I did test it before cleaning etc and it was showing 14.2 volts even with the low fluid level.
If it was a fla there would have been plate damage I am sure.
Gave it a bath and a drink as well as a trickle charge and she was as good as new.
I have noticed that the stainless steel connecting bars do get discoloured from the salts and also around the terminals of each "cell".
You will need plenty of grease to prevent fouling.

I used to have an APC UPS, and turned it off while we went away on holidays. We got back home, I turned it on, and it was dead. The batteries had expanded, and I had to drill out the case rivets to remove the swollen cells (4 x 12ah SLA). Batteries probably were on their last legs anyway, went to external packs instead.

I'll use a bit of Vaseline, the supplied bars are MS (copper coated & plated), I was expecting SS. 20mm studs & nuts: seems a bit of overkill, smeared all over with Vaseline. My AGMs used 8mm bolts.

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: mike90045 on November 30, 2016, 03:40:36 AM
........
A problem, which I had not had before is that my inverter beeps non stop when either the low (42v) or high (59v) alarm points are reached, and can't be disabled. The actual shutdown points are low=38.4v and high possibly=60v. can't find the high in the docs., and I've emailed the maker. I may need to do a test. I might disable the beeper with some blutac.........

What are your calculated voltage points for charging? 48V NiFe should be about 65-66V  Few inverters can take that voltage, but it's only a couple volts above lead acid EQ voltage.

And how do you plan to get water into those rear cells ?
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on December 01, 2016, 04:30:44 PM
Hi,

What are your calculated voltage points for charging? 48V NiFe should be about 65-66V  Few inverters can take that voltage, but it's only a couple volts above lead acid EQ voltage.

The seller told me to charge to 1.6v/cell. I have the bank set up as 36/4 ie. 36 cells in series, and 4 in a separate series string, parallel. Absorb is set to 57.6v, and have room to go higher if required.

Quote
And how do you plan to get water into those rear cells ?

There's plenty of clearance to access the fillers with a hose.

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: australsolarier on December 02, 2016, 04:23:45 PM
dRdoS7,

once you are all set up and going, i am interested what the efficiencies  of your nife batteries are.

when i was a boy a friend if mine gave me an old nife battery. they came from tanks. and yes they were fully covered with a greasy material, i mean everythig.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on December 03, 2016, 12:22:47 AM
dRdoS7,

once you are all set up and going, i am interested what the efficiencies  of your nife batteries are.

when i was a boy a friend if mine gave me an old nife battery. they came from tanks. and yes they were fully covered with a greasy material, i mean everythig.

Yes, first few days it was around 20%, so far, the best I have had is 36%. I am measuring Ah in/out with a WBJr. I do see a slight improvement: yesterday (late afternoon) I ran for 2 hrs solely off battery, then back on solar charging, another 1 hr as the sun was going down.

More sunny days ahead *should* help to get heaps in to them.

Hope you said "tanks" to your friend for the battery!  ;D

You would have seen why my BTS wasn't reading?  :'(

dRdoS7
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: australsolarier on December 03, 2016, 01:19:20 AM
haha yes, i suspected as much (the battery sensor not working). never mind.

yes that greasy nife battery was from army surplus and very cheap at the time. the case was all metal and everything was greased. it was a real dust collector. my parents forced me to give it on to some other hopeful future solarist.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on May 15, 2017, 07:37:39 PM
Hi,

dRdoS7,

once you are all set up and going, i am interested what the efficiencies  of your nife batteries are.

Finally, after many months of trialling different battery configs, to allow me to keep using my "current" inverter, I have a setup that works.

For the last month I have the following:

IN = 2403 Ah
OUT = 2058 Ah
EFFICIENCY = 86%

I was (well still am, but I got around it) limited by the High (62v) and Low (38.5v) cut-outs of my inverter. I could have bought a new one, almost did, there was a run out model going really cheap, but they had run out. 24v 3000w SuperCombi. Missed it by that much!

Eventually, I worked out that my Classic could be charging 40 batteries (@ 67v), and my Inverter could be running off 35 batteries (@ 58v) at the same time. When the Classic voltage drops below 57v the inverter runs off 40 batteries. This allows me to get the max charge in at the highest voltage, and go down to the lowest voltage to discharge.

I tested it out swapping between (virtual 35 & 40) banks of batteries manually for a (very) short time, and it worked perfectly. So I installed a couple of EMRs and SSRs, plus 2 controllers. I am using my "old" AGMs as a Float bank to allow switching without effecting the inverter. I may need to wire in a dummy load to the 5 batteries not being discharged while charging, I notice that the voltages between the groups of 10 batteries is uneven, that may help. It probably won't hurt even if I leave it as is.

Been mostly dismal (Autumn) weather the last month, which is probably why the Eff. is so high. I would expect that once it's Spring, that it will drop, as I'll be putting a lot more, but not taking much more out than I do now. I use a timer to only run off solar/battery during Peak tariff times. Probably raise the End Amps, which at the moment is not being reached, and is set very low anyway. I'll have to watch/record to see what the amps are when the battery reaches 100% SOC plus about 10% or so. A week of sunny weather in November should do nicely. Last November I was only interested in getting the max in to the batteries to "condition" them.

Water usage is excellent ATM. In all (3 top ups), I've used 86 litres since Mid November. I bought a Water Distiller, and make my own: I wasn't going to pay $1.30/litre! I did buy 25 litres first off though, as I hadn't bought the Distiller originally. I run it with a timer which is set to operate at night (not sucking up my possible solar exports), and after peak tariff ends. I've made about 90 litres so far. I have a stock of about 30 litres. I was recording the actual power usage and cost, but I left the meter unplugged for a couple of weeks, and it lost all the readings. I know it makes 3.8 litres each time, runs for nearly 4 hours, 15 cents/kWh, and is 750 watt. So a lot cheaper. I use tap water, I could use water from my tank, but I'd have to walk too far from the garage (and back). Quite a bit of gunk left after each run.

I am running the distiller from the grid, over summer I could run it from my off-grid, but it needs some sort of controller so it only operates once the batteries are full, may be too much trouble/cost to set that up. I may look at if I ever get around to using Arduino to record the charging and battery voltages.

Thanks,

dRdoS7.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: ralph day on May 16, 2017, 07:36:13 AM
Don't wait until you're in float to run the distiller.  I have one that is an opportunity load controlled by my Classic 250.  It starts operating when in absorb (or shortly before or after...you decide), and carries on into float mode.  In absorb the charge current is decreasing  leaving you an opening for an opportunity load.  I make a year's worth of distilled water in about 2 months this way.  But then I only use about 100litres per year.

Ralph
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on May 16, 2017, 11:51:10 PM
Hi,

Don't wait until you're in float to run the distiller.  I have one that is an opportunity load controlled by my Classic 250.  It starts operating when in absorb (or shortly before or after...you decide), and carries on into float mode.

I'll need to free up Aux 1 first, as I use that to operate a relay which switches the grid off/on, depending on the battery voltage (Diversion). Aux 2 has WBJr.

Definitely better to use Solar than grid, but have to then decide whether I want full(ish) batteries, or water. I guess it doesn't necessarily have to finish the "cook" one go, wouldn't matter if it ran over 2 or more days. I'm not Walter BTW.

Thanks,

dRdoS7.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: ralph day on May 18, 2017, 08:30:44 AM
In the past I've put a digital timer on the relayed circuit for the still.  There won't be enough power when first hitting absorb, it might be 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour before the still could run un-interrupted.  See when that is, in my case 13:00hrs when absorb started at 12:00noon.  If the still runs continuously you're not extending your charge cycle at all...just using the power available in your system.

I'm retired now, so I just run the still when I remember, and ther's enough power to do so.  I put a big 12vdc toggle switch to control the controller to relay 12vdc input.  It's even got an red led light so I can see if  the controller is in diversion at a distance.


Ralph
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: dRdoS7 on January 18, 2021, 09:26:42 PM
Hi,

An update.

So the main loads are the fridge/freezer and freezer, the other loads would not amount to much..  The 3 to 7 hours is  the limit due to battery capacity?  You are probably only another set or two of those batteries away from being off-grid completely  :D
dgd

I installed ~4kW of panels in 2018, and upgraded to a 5kW inverter.

I had transfer switches installed, early 2020, so now I am able to run the whole house from Solar/Batteries.

My NiFe cells started failing early 2019, I returned them this year, after receiving a full refund late 2020.

I bought 18 x 280Ah LFP, installed them in Nov. 2020. Haven't imported any electricity since then. Well, actually we did import a small quanity when the loads went over 5kW a few times, but that only occured when running the oven (with base load + kettle). Inverter switches to by-pass for 10 minutes, then reverts to battery.

It will interesting to see how it goes during our winter.

dRdoS7

Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: boB on January 19, 2021, 06:04:25 AM

YaY !   Progress ! 

Better than a poke in the eye anyway.

Keep us posted.

 Winter here of course and ready for summer
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: australsolarier on January 25, 2021, 10:56:34 PM
dRdoS7,
just wondering what went wrong with your nife batteries.
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: RicardoL on March 09, 2021, 06:42:24 AM
I've been wanting to go solar for about 2 years since I got my house. will be watching this and buying from solar wholesale when I'm ready. Something like in this blog https://websolarguide.com/backyard-revolution-review/
Title: Re: 3000w install in Australia
Post by: australsolarier on March 09, 2021, 02:27:05 PM
ricardol
and what are you planning on buying when you are ready?