Genset Selecton

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Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:48 pm

I haven't been shy about the benefits of an inverter generator for our use. We'll never go back to the constant RPM gas hogs for single, off grid household use. The test case was a Champion 3100 and we still kinda appreciate it. It's way pd for itself in fuel savings. EXCEPT, while motor/gen/controls are good, the plastic cooling shrouds are fatiguing and falling apart along with fuel system silliness, a few pull cords (although it starts on the 1st pull) and just the manual process. General reliability has been good but I expect and demand something to not show signs of decaying after two years of TLC. And this: I can make 3100w surge usable but for the purposes of the 3648 adapting to a VERY minor load like Energystar appliances, the system is best limited to 16 amps charging. So I'm looking to make a major gen set purchase for this season. I can't think of a reason to not get a Honda inverter, bigger than the 3100 surge of the Champion and hopefully more reliable over time than to have jewelry around the unit falling apart.

It seems that one jumps from the 3000 watt range to 7000 with the Honda. Dang, that's an over-kill. We are 120v outlet based and there is no need for more.

Any suggestions to alternatives? It seems like I have to buy knock-offs and babysit, awaiting the next hiccup or buy something completely oversized and expensive - the max output of which we can't use. And yeah, even with an inverter, if you oversize, you will pay for potential you never use...

Thoughts?
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby jbakker on Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:35 am

I would go with the Honda 7000 unit. I am not a fan of Champion units at all.
I see that you only have one Outback VFX3648 unit you can turn the AC input up to 20 AMP'S and that will give you the MAX DC amp output of the VFX.
Charges up battery bank faster and still give you lots of extra capacity for house loads. Since the Honda unit only runs at the load you put on it you will still be saving a fair bit of fuel. As the battery charges up the AC amps will go down and the generator will also slow down.
The Honda will last for years.

Hope this info helps.
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby BruceS on Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:46 pm

I have a VERY tired Honda EU6.5is on the houseboat that I need to replace one day soon. (over 7,000 hrs on ex-hire boat!)
Almost impossible to now get a similar one.
If I go to the newer 7.0 I have to get a new helm control unit plus I've been told because it has injected fuel I can't run it from my main fuel tank.
Something about fuel cooled injectors so need a return line to the tank like a diesel?
Not sure they have a 2 wire ATS facility either yet? I guess in due course they'll over come a few 'problems'.
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby sodamo on Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:10 am

I have the Honda 7000 (year old)
Spec:
AC output
Rated voltage
120/240 V
Rated frequency
60 Hz
Rated current
45.8/22.9 A
Rated output
5.5 kVA

Maximum output
7.0 kVA

I also have aftermarket autostart module: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-Generato ... 3abaa32c2c
Have considered the Harbor Freight predator 3500
https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-watt ... 63584.html
I believe you can parallel these and buy 2 cheaper than Honda 2000.
David
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:25 am

sodamo wrote:I also have aftermarket autostart module: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-Generato ... 3abaa32c2c
Have considered the Harbor Freight predator 3500
https://www.harborfreight.com/3500-watt ... 63584.html


Thanks David.

I was pretty sure that I had noticed an autostart for the 7000 somewhere so thanks for the link. The autostart may have made up my mind for me. I have looked into autostart before but I didn't have the correct generator(s) so reliability would be in question. With my wife having retired this year I think it is time to make the jump as this will be the last step to automating the system.

As for HF, I have become quite picky about what I buy from them - again,with regard to reliability.

Best,
Jim
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby sodamo on Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:04 am

Jim
I don’t have a link, but seem to recall recently reading that Comsumer Reports has rated the HF Predator inverter generators as good as Honda.

I’d like to find way to hook up my Honda to my spare MX60 as a backup.
David
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Posts: 445
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Location: Ninole, Hi
My RE system: Totally off grid
36 Trina 280 & 16 Phono 250 in 48 volt array (fixed) 14080w
4 FX3048T
RTS
4 FM 80 charge controllers
FNDC w/3 shunts
Mate 3
OpticsRE - Piha Kahuku
21 Aquion Aspen 48S (46.2 kw)
24Kw Yangdong Genset (Affordable Generators - Poor support)
10Kw MEP 803a
2Kw Honda 2000i

Davis VantagePro2 Wx Station
On line at: http://www.weatherlink.com/user/sodamo/

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:58 am

sodamo wrote:Jim
I don’t have a link, but seem to recall recently reading that Comsumer Reports has rated the HF Predator inverter generators as good as Honda.

I’d like to find way to hook up my Honda to my spare MX60 as a backup.


This might be what you are referring to: https://shedheads.net/honda-eu7000is-generator-review/ Its not a true comparison but does speak well of the HF Predator. The differentiation made is that the Predator is recommended for occasional use and the Honda for continuous or hi-rel applications. And this is where I have to bite the bullet on the expense. From the end of Oct thru mid Feb I have to run at least once a day to charge the battery bank. Being a 5 hr round trip to the city, breakdowns are not tolerable. Its a 2.5 hr round trip just for fuel.

And it there is one place that I've wasted money in this off-grid project it is generators. The first one was an 8000W B&S that just plain did not work with the charger in the inverter - blew the voltage regulator on every attempt. It became an expensive boat anchor.. Second was the Miller welder/gen which is an excellent unit but I went cheap and got the carborated option instead of the injected gas or diesel options. It is expensive++ to run and far enough from the house that I have to use the 240v stepdown transformer so charging has the be lowered from max. Then the Champion Inverter which runs great but as mentioned above, is starting to fall apart. I almost replaced it in kind except for I know I'll probably only get two seasons out of it and its under powered. The Champion can charge the batteries at 20a but doesn't have enough overhead to cover the start-up of an Energy Star fridge or freezer (and the inverter doesn't lower the charging current fast enough) so max charging is 16a through bulking.

So there it is.... Hopefully this info will help someone to avoid the experimenting I've done.

Thanks for your input, David.
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:50 am

sodamo wrote:I also have aftermarket autostart module: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-Generato ... 3abaa32c2c


Quick question: I watched a review of the 7000 and it said that the "eco mode" must be off to start the generator. If using the above remote control it would seem that I'm screwed and will have to always keep the eco mode off because even if I turn it on after starting, I'll have to turn it back off at the end of the charging cycle so eco mode is off for the next run. Is this true or does the remote control over ride the eco mode just for starting if set to ON?

I have a 7000 on order but may have to reconsider, depending on the answer to the above question.

TIA,
Jim
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby sodamo on Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:32 am

Jim
I don’t remember that being the case. I believe it still started on Eco On.

Nothing in the auto start to change that I’m aware of. Check with Gen- line?
David
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Posts: 445
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:55 am
Location: Ninole, Hi
My RE system: Totally off grid
36 Trina 280 & 16 Phono 250 in 48 volt array (fixed) 14080w
4 FX3048T
RTS
4 FM 80 charge controllers
FNDC w/3 shunts
Mate 3
OpticsRE - Piha Kahuku
21 Aquion Aspen 48S (46.2 kw)
24Kw Yangdong Genset (Affordable Generators - Poor support)
10Kw MEP 803a
2Kw Honda 2000i

Davis VantagePro2 Wx Station
On line at: http://www.weatherlink.com/user/sodamo/

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:13 am

sodamo wrote:I believe it still started on Eco On.


Thx for that. I have pinged the seller for the manual in advance on purchase. I couldn't imagine why Eco Off would be a starting requirement and it would be a major inconvenience for my purposes.
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:15 am

Picking up the EU7000is today. This was no small investment for us - along with the 2 wire start controller soon to be ordered. I couldn't be more excited for this phase.

Refreshing my memory on the Mate3, I thought to start with the AGS SOC and while we still have a bit of sun, set the shut down to 95% or so.

But! And its a big But (wink), I know the FNDC is in need of calibration with SGs and off cal with the SOC. I need to hit the batteries for a 100% charge at their age and then begin the AGS programming. I can do this but thought to ask for input 1st as I'm not the only one who has done this upgrade. Because of occluded sunlight, fires and the fall weather coming in I need to first get as close as possible to full charge. I can't do it on just sunlight now. Then to the programming....

Any input as to steps for a successful AGS deployment?

TiA, Jim
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:32 pm

Hi Jim,

Congrats on the gen purchase. I don't live off-grid but I do have some experience with OutBack and AGS. My suggestion would be to stick to using the 2-Min Volt Start setting to start the gen instead of %SoC. Voltage is pretty dang reliable compared to SoC. You can reduce your inverter Absorb charge timer to 1 hr or less to leave some headroom in the battery bank for the PV array. This works best if you can count on the PV array fully charging the battery bank during the winter.
Also I tend to put the PV charge targets to a couple of tenths of a volt high than the generator charge target to place priority on solar charging.

FYI when the battery bank hits the Absorb stage you should be ~80-90% SoC. A really long/slow charge rate will mean the batteries are at a higher SoC when you first hit Absorb while a fast/hard charge rate gives a lower initial Absorb stage SoC.

Keep an eye on things and fine tune as necessary and per the seasons. Make sure you have the OB battery temp sensor (RTS) installed as well.

-Kurt
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby jbakker on Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:46 am

Hello Jim


Do what Kurt says in regards to the AGS. I have the FNDC and have no love for it. I have used the votolage start set to the 2 min setting and that works great. Looking forward to you letting us know how the new generator works. We love photos eh..........


Good luck.
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6 banks of 15 cells each from a 2017 Chevy Volt. Parallel for the AMP Hour. 6 Chinese made BMS systems (install to be happening soon)

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:41 am

Answer to my own question about starting the EU7kis with ECO on: warm up time. Where did I find the answer? Believe it or not its in the manual. Hah! The manual recommends ECO Off for 2-3 minutes and then switched on. So starting with ECO On just means a little more warm up time. And the Outback inverter also helps by loading the generator softly. Frankly, year around and esp in the winter, I hate the idea of firing any engine and having it immediately go up to operating RPM/high idle before if has a chance to warm a bit. Yeah it can be done but....

The auto start is ordered and I'm pushing the wire today to the FNDC AGM signal. Yesterday I oiled and fueled it and ran it in for a few hours. You've probably heard but its amazing unless you've been around these units. 12' away from the house you can't hear it inside unless EVERYthIng is off. I'm really looking forward to a season of less intervention. Tracking oil changes and keeping the tank full gives me more time to keep the wife happy.
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:16 pm

Quick question: per the above advice I agree that the AGS 2 Min Voltage Start is the best option (thank you!). Going back through my docs it looks like 65% SOC should be around 49.2 (resting) for the Tojans. Factoring in that the batteries are on their third year I can't make up my mind at what the starting voltage should be set.

Any input from those who have been through this setup?

Best,
Jim
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:26 pm

Remote start hooked up and enabled/manually started AGS.... count to 15 and it started - WooHoo, all good. Can't shut it down from the Mate 3 - seems I've seen a bunch of threads on this. Dang,if only I could read the mind of a certain few. Bunches of options come with a price - sometimes the details/dependencies are rather incomprehensible to the end user.

OK I got it - flexnet relay was set to on, not auto.
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby blackswan555 on Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:36 am

You need to get the hydrometer out and read SGs for a true indication of charge.
Also remember there are 3 volt start settings, 2 min, 2 hr & 24 hr, I put them 0.4v apart on a 48v system, I can not remember what my usual settings were, but something like 2min 47.6v, 2hr 48v, 24hr 48,4v to give about 60% SOC IIRC

Note, I can not remember the details but I had issues with using the FNDC relay, Better to use the inverter aux in port 1,

Tim
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:25 am

blackswan555 wrote:You need to get the hydrometer out and read SGs for a true indication of charge.
Also remember there are 3 volt start settings, 2 min, 2 hr & 24 hr, I put them 0.4v apart on a 48v system, I can not remember what my usual settings were, but something like 2min 47.6v, 2hr 48v, 24hr 48,4v to give about 60% SOC IIRC

Note, I can not remember the details but I had issues with using the FNDC relay, Better to use the inverter aux in port 1,

Tim


SG chores are done and the FlexNet reset. The generator starts fine, warms up and connects as programmed. But It does not shut down when the charge cycle completes and I can not force it manually either. I have to go out and pull the fuse in the signal cable. Next time I have do this to shut down I'll wait a minute or so and reconnect the fuse to see it it starts back up.

I have a 12v relay and if I can't make any progress here I guess that is a future step.
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.

Re: Genset Selecton

Postby blackswan555 on Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Go to inverter 1 in hub port 1 for your aux, AGS etc gen start, as I mentioned, can not remember why, Maybe 8 years ago, but using FNDC relay was a problem

Tim
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:57 pm

My thoughts...(skip to #3)

1. Make sure the FN-DC relay settings are outside of your range of operation. Setting the mode to off should help but to be safe set the volt/%SoC on/off out of your operating range.

2. The FN-DC relay is latching style. The coil needs a pulse of power to open and to close. Normal relays have coils that are constantly powered when the relay is in the operating state. Latching relays can stick sometimes so the On or Off doesn't work.

3. If you have a 12V relay use that instead. Wire it from the inverter AUX port if it is free to use. If the coil draw is <200mA you can use a charge controller AUX port.

-Kurt
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Re: Genset Selecton

Postby JRHill on Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:21 pm

Kurt Lundquist wrote:My thoughts...(skip to #3)

1. Make sure the FN-DC relay settings are outside of your range of operation. Setting the mode to off should help but to be safe set the volt/%SoC on/off out of your operating range.

2. The FN-DC relay is latching style. The coil needs a pulse of power to open and to close. Normal relays have coils that are constantly powered when the relay is in the operating state. Latching relays can stick sometimes so the On or Off doesn't work.

3. If you have a 12V relay use that instead. Wire it from the inverter AUX port if it is free to use. If the coil draw is <200mA you can use a charge controller AUX port.

-Kurt


Thx for the inputs. I am drilling down with a vengeance. I need to use the inverter and rewire in the crawl space. Damn. I've said for a long term: I want this stuff to be intelligible if I'm not here. I go under the knife in a few days. This is exactly why I have sought for an easy-to-understand system. The timing sucks - i'm not done yet.
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Posts: 374
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My RE system: -House: FM 80, VFX 3648, FlexnetDC, FlexWare xformer, Mate 3 / Hub, WattPlot/, 2925w SunTech 195, Trojan L16RE-B Batteries. Backup 1: Champion 75531i 3100, backup 2: 11kw Miller Bobcat;
-Well: Grundfos 11-SQF-2 pump, controller & AC switch (CU200, IO101), Morningstar 15a/48vdc Controller, 780w SunTech 195, Trojan golf cart batteries.
-All running since July '11 with no critical problems.


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