Gen Support on G inverters

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Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:51 pm

I've used the "Generator Support" function (under ADV/FX/GEN on the Mate) on my GFVX inverter using my Honda eu2000 generator and it works well. There's a poster on the NAWS forum who apparently spoke to some one at Outback who said Gen support does not work. The documentation of this by Outback is inconsistent at best. It is well documented in the GFX inverter operators manual, is an option on my Mate and seems to work very well.

It has been discussed previously on this forum. For example in this thread.

The best I can piece together is that this feature was at some point slated to be included in all Outback inverters but never was implemented n the VFX inverters.
The G inverters are notoriously picky about their generator power input - requiring grid quality power. But clearly the experience of myself and others is that Gen Support can work on these inverters with the right generator.

Any insights from Outback engineers or others here about the history of this and why it is so poorly documented and why some Outback employees might not realize that it is an option on some of their inverters?
mtdoc
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:16 pm

In case anyone is interested, I made a short video of generator support functioning on my GVFX 3648. It's a nice feature which allows me to use a small fuel efficient generator when necessary (poor sun, low battery) but still run occasional large loads which exceed the generators capacity. It also can allow me to run loads that exceed the capability of either the inverter or generator alone - though in reality I would never use this feature. It was hard for me to come up with enough loads to even test this -- all lights, 2 space heaters and a toaster oven... :roll: Apologies for the poor quality of the video. It was done on the fly with one hand on the iPhone.

Here's the link to the video: http://youtu.be/cTJVDrXLh4k

A couple of points. I show the settings on the Mate and the mate status meter but mostly I show the Wattplot software status bar on my netbook because this is has more detail and is clearer than the Mate screen IMO. The top numbers under FX-1 are from left to right: the battery voltage, inverting amps, "buy" amps which is amps coming from the AC source (in this case the generator), the AC voltage in and out, and the load amps. The second line under DC-1 is the battery voltage, state of charge, battery temp, shunt measured amps to or from battery - red means battery is discharging.

I start out with a load of about 28 amps at 120VAC. The generator is supplying about 9 amps and the inverter the rest. Then i turn on a space heater and the amps increase to 39 amps at 120 VAC. Then I turn off the generator at the transfer switch. The inverter carries the entire 39 amp load for a while then I turn the transfer switch back and after a pause of 20 seconds or so the generator input kicks back in to help out the inverter. I'm guessing the pause is to give the generator a chance to warm up if I was using an auto start system.

From there I go outside to generator and my utility AC disconnect which is turned off. Back in to show the display again and turn off the generator input again.

So - based on my experience - the GVFX3648 does generator support just fine with a Honda EU2000i. It would be nice if this feature was implemented on the VFX inverters since it is most useful to someone off grid full time (though I suppose the GVFX could be used). I remain confused about Outback's inconsistent history with this feature.
mtdoc
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby gww on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:07 pm

I am no tech guy but I have been watching you and chris argue this out. I to have two gvfx 3648 inverters. I have also read this site fairly well. I don't intend to go off grid but do intend to use my inverters in hbx mode. Keep testing and I will try to keep learning. I am interested in outbacks ideals on this also.
Thanks
gww

Is your selling disabled? I thought the inverter was either in pas through or taking from the batteries when it was in hbx?
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7. outback mount, panel and sub panel
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10. couple more cc, doc wattson
11. 800 ah, 48 volt fork truck battery

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:01 pm

gww wrote:I am no tech guy but I have been watching you and chris argue this out. I to have two gvfx 3648 inverters. I have also read this site fairly well. I don't intend to go off grid but do intend to use my inverters in hbx mode. Keep testing and I will try to keep learning. I am interested in outbacks ideals on this also.
Thanks
gww

Is your selling disabled? I thought the inverter was either in pas through or taking from the batteries when it was in hbx?


Cool. You should try out Gen Support on your inverters. It would be great to have more data about how it works for others with GVFX inverters. :smile:

Selling is disabled when in Gen Support mode. I was not using HBX.
mtdoc
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby gww on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:21 pm

I can't try it out for a while as nothing is installed yet. I have lived in a different state due to work but move back to MO this fall. Every thing is bought and I have built a panel rack but I don't retire till around sept. I hope you got it all figured out by then and that others chime in. My generator is a box store 5500 watt that won't start due to bad gas. I don't think I will get rid of the grid due to wanting air conditioning. But, you never know. I would like to know my options. Maby I will rent a honda and try it next winter if no one else does before then.
Thanks
gww

PS I am thinking of trying to get a "cheep?" 48 volt battery charger to run off my cheep generator incase I have inverter problims. Got any leads?
gww
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My RE system: 1. installed
2. 5640 watts mx panels
3. 2 axial flux Hugh Piggot 500 watt turbines
5. 2 gvfx 3648 inverters
6. 1 mx 60 charge controller, 1 fm 80 and 1 morningstar ts60 pmw
7. outback mount, panel and sub panel
8. mate
9. 4 place hub
10. couple more cc, doc wattson
11. 800 ah, 48 volt fork truck battery

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:55 pm

gww wrote:PS I am thinking of trying to get a "cheep?" 48 volt battery charger to run off my cheep generator incase I have inverter problims. Got any leads?


Well, I have one of THESE Meanwell chargers and it works well. It only puts out 17 amps though so it will struggle to charge a large battery bank.
mtdoc
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My RE system: Array 1: Sanyo HIT225 X 8 on Wattsun tracker. Array 2: Evergreen ES-E-225 X 12 on shed roof. Midnite e-panel with Outback GVFX3648, FNDC and Midnite Classic 150 X 2. 436 AH AGMs. PSX-240, Honda eu2000i X 2.

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby gww on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:29 pm

Thanks for the link
gww
gww
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Posts: 344
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:30 pm
My RE system: 1. installed
2. 5640 watts mx panels
3. 2 axial flux Hugh Piggot 500 watt turbines
5. 2 gvfx 3648 inverters
6. 1 mx 60 charge controller, 1 fm 80 and 1 morningstar ts60 pmw
7. outback mount, panel and sub panel
8. mate
9. 4 place hub
10. couple more cc, doc wattson
11. 800 ah, 48 volt fork truck battery

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby gww on Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:48 pm

gww
OutBack Guru
 
Posts: 344
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:30 pm
My RE system: 1. installed
2. 5640 watts mx panels
3. 2 axial flux Hugh Piggot 500 watt turbines
5. 2 gvfx 3648 inverters
6. 1 mx 60 charge controller, 1 fm 80 and 1 morningstar ts60 pmw
7. outback mount, panel and sub panel
8. mate
9. 4 place hub
10. couple more cc, doc wattson
11. 800 ah, 48 volt fork truck battery

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:07 am

gww wrote:http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3547&p=39921#p39921

gww


Yep - I've seen that thread before. It is referring the the VFX inverters not the GVFX/GTFX aka the "G" inverters.

Gen support was never implemented in the VFX inverts but it was in the G inverters. The question is why the ambiguity in documentation and from Outback.
mtdoc
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby jnh on Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:28 pm

mtdoc,

Thanks for the video, and interesting details on this little-known feature! A few questions, when you have time:

How did you settle on 10.0A AC as your FX2->Gen->ac2 input current limit? Is this all the Honda EU2000i can reliably handle in Gen Support mode? With a sustained output rating of 1600VA, I would have thought this generator could supply a little more, maybe 13A or so? Or would operating it too close to the margins cause it to trip offline when a large load comes on, and the inverter can't ramp up its output quite fast enough to stop the generator from seeing that surge?

Did you try starting any large motors in this mode? We have a well pump that pulls at least 40A for a brief instant when first starting, possibly more (going by a clamp-on ammeter's Peak reading, which may not be sampling fast enough to see the full peak), but never for long enough to trip a 20A breaker, and my GVFX3524 starts and runs it fine even while supporting other large loads. I wonder if a brief but heavy startup transient like this might be enough to disturb the inverter/generator phase-lock. Perhaps there are some limitations to Gen Support that prevent Outback from advertising it as a supported feature...

Was the GVFX's battery-charging feature turned on also? Will it automatically revert back to charging the batteries once AC-Out load drops below 9A?

I have an EU1000i (rated 900VA continuous, 1000VA peak), and wonder if it's worth exploring this option with such a small generator. In theory it should be able to handle 7.0aac (840VA at 120V), but that wouldn't leave much room for potential load transients the inverter might not be fast enough to pick up.

As set up now, my generator powers only a separate 24VDC charger (Iota DLS27-25, which I had to adjust down to 23A rather than 25A DC-out to avoid overloading the tiny Honda), operating in a sort of "series hybrid" mode rather than "parallel hybrid" like yours. Load on the generator is constant regardless of which loads are running, but of course going AC->DC->AC is less efficient during times the inverter current exceeds charger current.

The power factor of this Iota unit also isn't so good, though, typically 0.73 or so. My eu1000i will support 720W / 980VA for hours without complaint, but should be able to manage a little more with a true active-PFC load. What sort of power factor are you seeing with the GVFX's charger?

I guess the 108V Ac-out voltage showing on your Wattplot screen toward the end is normal when an FX inverter is loaded to its maximum? I've never noticed mine drop below 119V when running off-grid (with its output adjusted to the 125V maximum), but it's may have never been run at max load.

Is your EU2000 set up to run on propane or natural gas? Just curiuos about that metal attachment on its side that briefly shows up in the video.
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby mtdoc on Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:02 am

jnh wrote:How did you settle on 10.0A AC as your FX2->Gen->ac2 input current limit? Is this all the Honda EU2000i can reliably handle in Gen Support mode? With a sustained output rating of 1600VA, I would have thought this generator could supply a little more, maybe 13A or so? Or would operating it too close to the margins cause it to trip offline when a large load comes on, and the inverter can't ramp up its output quite fast enough to stop the generator from seeing that surge?


I just randomly chose that value for the demo. Yes - 13A should work fine as well.

Did you try starting any large motors in this mode? We have a well pump that pulls at least 40A for a brief instant when first starting, possibly more (going by a clamp-on ammeter's Peak reading, which may not be sampling fast enough to see the full peak), but never for long enough to trip a 20A breaker, and my GVFX3524 starts and runs it fine even while supporting other large loads. I wonder if a brief but heavy startup transient like this might be enough to disturb the inverter/generator phase-lock. Perhaps there are some limitations to Gen Support that prevent Outback from advertising it as a supported feature...


I've used it to support my 1 hp septic pump which has a similarly large inrush current and it seems to work fine.

Was the GVFX's battery-charging feature turned on also? Will it automatically revert back to charging the batteries once AC-Out load drops below 9A?


No - battery charging was not on then but I have used it that way and it works fine.

Is your EU2000 set up to run on propane or natural gas? Just curiuos about that metal attachment on its side that briefly shows up in the video.


Yes it has a tri fuel kit from Central Maine Diesel. Runs on gasoline, lpg or nat gas.
mtdoc
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My RE system: Array 1: Sanyo HIT225 X 8 on Wattsun tracker. Array 2: Evergreen ES-E-225 X 12 on shed roof. Midnite e-panel with Outback GVFX3648, FNDC and Midnite Classic 150 X 2. 436 AH AGMs. PSX-240, Honda eu2000i X 2.

Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby Tom D on Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:03 pm

mtdoc wrote:
gww wrote:I am no tech guy but I have been watching you and chris argue this out. I to have two gvfx 3648 inverters. I have also read this site fairly well. I don't intend to go off grid but do intend to use my inverters in hbx mode. Keep testing and I will try to keep learning. I am interested in outbacks ideals on this also.
Thanks
gww

Is your selling disabled? I thought the inverter was either in pas through or taking from the batteries when it was in hbx?


Cool. You should try out Gen Support on your inverters. It would be great to have more data about how it works for others with GVFX inverters. :smile:

Selling is disabled when in Gen Support mode. I was not using HBX.


Not sure about selling being disabled with the GVFX3648. "Gen Support mode" isn't a term specifically used in the installation manual, and the manual doesn't say that selling is disabled. In the Radian where there is a separate AC input for the generator I expect that selling to the generator is disabled. A GVFX only has one AC input bus that serves either the grid or, if connected, a generator. An external transfer switch could be used to switch the input from grid to generator, but the inverter would not know if the AC source is the grid or generator, so the same sell set points would apply to generator as to grid. The MATE AGS commands do work to start the generator using the 12V auxiliary circuit, but this doesn't prevent selling power to the generator. The GTVX Programming Manual says "neither the GTFX nor the GVFX is designed to be used with a generator. They are strictly for grid-interactive usage."

To the best of my understanding, if GRID-USE is enabled the grid or generator is electrically connected to AC In and the inverter could sell power to the generator if the charge controller is outputting power and the battery voltage is above the GTVX Float set point (or Absorb set point if it is in an Absorb cycle). Even if HBX mode is enabled, the AC input source is connected to the inverter charger after the battery voltage drops below the hbx-use griduse point and remains connected until the battery has been above the hbx-drop grid set point for the time set in hbx-drop grid delay. During this time the inverter could try to sell power to the generator briefly if the battery voltage rises above the inverter charge set point and Sell RE set point. If using the generator instead of grid as the AC source, the Sell RE set point should be changed to be higher than all of the inverter and charge controller charge voltage set points.
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby Mike Curran on Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:38 pm

Tom D - Re your suggestion: "If using the generator instead of grid as the AC source, the Sell RE set point should be changed to be higher than all of the inverter and charge controller charge voltage set points."

This is an older thread that I would never have seen but for your post today (thanks!). I've set up my AC input to my GVFX's with a transfer switch that would allow me to connect a generator (as you also suggested) but have never "bit the bullet" to buy a generator. I never even considered the implications of my GVFX trying to sell back to my (future) generator until seeing your post. Anyway, long story short, I'd suggest setting "Grid tie authority" in the ADV/FX/SELL menu to "No sell" rather than changing the sell voltage setpoint, when running a generator as AC input. Seems simpler, to me anyway. Can you see a downside? - Mike
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby blackswan555 on Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:31 pm

When you do
but have never "bit the bullet" to buy a generator.
Remember that "G" series inverters do not play nice with normal generators ( non inverter)
Tim
My comments are based on my experience and research, They are not endorsed or checked by Outback.I am an independent British electrician living in Spain, So please take this into account when reading /acting on my post`s.
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Re: Gen Support on G inverters

Postby Tom D on Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:24 pm

Mike Curran wrote:I'd suggest setting "Grid tie authority" in the ADV/FX/SELL menu to "No sell" rather than changing the sell voltage setpoint, when running a generator as AC input. Seems simpler, to me anyway. Can you see a downside? - Mike


Mike, your idea is better. Same effect but simpler. I didn't notice that setting.

Tim's input about type of generator is apparently important. OutBack tech support people say that in general you can't expect a generator to charge through a GVFX inverter, but this customer's Kohler 15RESA does.

One surprise to me was that when the transfer switch is connecting the AC In to the grid the ADV/MATE/AGS/EXERCISE does not turn on the generator. However the hot key AC IN/AC IN/ generator start does work if the AUX circuit is connected to the generator start circuit, regardless of whether the grid or inverter is connected to AC In.
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