Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Discussion about OutBack Inverters in Off Grid Applications

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Corndog
Forum Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:02 pm
My RE system: Off Grid
2 x Outback Flexware- VFX3648 Inverter
Mate 3
Power Hub 10
14 x Hanwha solar panel 345 watt
Midnite CI150 Charge
13 KW Diesel Gen
Batteries- Surrette 550 6V x 16
Location: Ontario Canada

Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Corndog » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:34 am

Hello,

Our system is off grid however when looking at my inverter setting it shows Grid Support / Tie In. This is how it was set from the start .. What should this be set to ?
Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 2.27.17 PM.png
New so very new !!

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Greg T Fordan
OutBack Technical Service
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Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:56 pm
My RE system: Radian, FM80, FNDC, 48V batt bank

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Greg T Fordan » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:47 am

Your AC Input Select Priority is selected to Gen, so you're good to go.
That Grid Input mode and Grid tie fields have no bearing/effect.
Curious. Do you have a non-Outback charge controller? How do you sustain battery life and support loads without running a generator?
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

Corndog
Forum Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:02 pm
My RE system: Off Grid
2 x Outback Flexware- VFX3648 Inverter
Mate 3
Power Hub 10
14 x Hanwha solar panel 345 watt
Midnite CI150 Charge
13 KW Diesel Gen
Batteries- Surrette 550 6V x 16
Location: Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Corndog » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:58 am

Midnite Classic .. and yes I do have a 13 KW diesel gen .. charge controller was as per installer ..
New so very new !!

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Greg T Fordan
OutBack Technical Service
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:56 pm
My RE system: Radian, FM80, FNDC, 48V batt bank

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Greg T Fordan » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:08 pm

Corndog wrote:Midnite Classic .. and yes I do have a 13 KW diesel gen .. charge controller was as per installer ..
I figured that. Your power flow in Optics looks like there is a bottomless pit of energy coming from the battery bank. The CC icon is greyed out O:) That is always the case when the charge controller is non-Outback.
Greg T Fordan
EngTech
Outback Power Technologies

Corndog
Forum Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:02 pm
My RE system: Off Grid
2 x Outback Flexware- VFX3648 Inverter
Mate 3
Power Hub 10
14 x Hanwha solar panel 345 watt
Midnite CI150 Charge
13 KW Diesel Gen
Batteries- Surrette 550 6V x 16
Location: Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Corndog » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:51 pm

Thank you ..

That just shows you how NEW I really am !!
Cheers
New so very new !!

jbakker
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Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:47 am
My RE system: 2 VFX3648 Inverters 2 FM60 150VDC Charge Controllers Mate3 3.4 KW of panels 15kw JC Onan NG Generator made in 1975 I love that generator almost as much as my wife.
7 banks of 14 cells each from a 2017 Chevy Volt. Parallel for the AMP Hour. 7 Chinese made BMS systems.
Location: Goderich Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by jbakker » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:19 am

Do you like the Midnite CC unit?
I had a FM 60 die on the weekend and am getting a Midnite 150 to replace the old FM 60.

I will install a second shunt to monitor this new CC as well.

Corndog
Forum Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:02 pm
My RE system: Off Grid
2 x Outback Flexware- VFX3648 Inverter
Mate 3
Power Hub 10
14 x Hanwha solar panel 345 watt
Midnite CI150 Charge
13 KW Diesel Gen
Batteries- Surrette 550 6V x 16
Location: Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Corndog » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:14 am

Hi Jbakker,

I honestly cannot comment. I have zero experience with any charge controller. Sorry.
Maybe someone with more knowledge and experience could chime in.

Cheers
New so very new !!

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Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
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Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate3, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank
Location: Arlington, WA

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:42 am

jbakker wrote:I had a FM 60 die on the weekend and am getting a Midnite 150 to replace the old FM 60.
I am curious to know why you would pay more for a controller that does not directly communicate with OPTICSre? You can get an FM80 for less than the Classic 150. FM80 has 1 cooling fan that is super simple to replace. The FM60 had 1 fan that was super difficult to replace. The Midnite has 3 fans to do the same amount of work. The Classic does have some cool features but the extra fans, higher price, and no OPTICSre seem like a deal killer to me. Otherwise, I'm sure it will work just fine as a replacement for an FM60.

If you have a FLEXpower 2 setup there should already be a shunt for the FM60 that you are replacing. I suggest you double check on that before buying another shunt.

Sorry to hijack your thread Corndog. It looks like Greg already handled your question though so I hope you do not mind.

Thanks,

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Renewable Energy Project Engineer
http://alphaenergy.us/

jbakker
Forum Guru
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:47 am
My RE system: 2 VFX3648 Inverters 2 FM60 150VDC Charge Controllers Mate3 3.4 KW of panels 15kw JC Onan NG Generator made in 1975 I love that generator almost as much as my wife.
7 banks of 14 cells each from a 2017 Chevy Volt. Parallel for the AMP Hour. 7 Chinese made BMS systems.
Location: Goderich Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by jbakker » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:29 am

Sorry about taking over your thread as well.
Kurt you have good points and I do like the Optics RE setup.
I have played with the FM60 units and the Midnite units and find the Midnite units to be better.
Any new install done in Ontario by my co-worker is a midnite. Code requires Arc Fault.
Does the FM60 and FM80 unit have this built in?

150 operating voltage
Max current out: 96 amps
ETL listed to UL1741 and CSA
Type 1 environmental rating
Terminals are rated for 75 C
Exclusive HyperVOC extends VOC limits
12-72V battery
Built in DC-GFP and Arc Fault
Detector
Solar, wind and hydro MPPT modes


I wish to go Grid Tie in the future and have to add Code required equipment and this unit is a start, I will need to add the rapid shutdown system as well.
I will be able to monitor and control unit via the cloud as well like the Optics RE set. I know it will be a pain to have to separate cloud accounts but not an issue with me.
Thanks for your advice Kurt
Am thinking of the Wiz Bang Jr as well.
Will see eh.....

Corndog
Forum Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:02 pm
My RE system: Off Grid
2 x Outback Flexware- VFX3648 Inverter
Mate 3
Power Hub 10
14 x Hanwha solar panel 345 watt
Midnite CI150 Charge
13 KW Diesel Gen
Batteries- Surrette 550 6V x 16
Location: Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Corndog » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:19 am

This is all great learning for me !! Thread is not hijacked at all. I too am in Ontario and the same reason my installer went with the midnite.. code and cost..
New so very new !!

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Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
Posts: 1351
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate3, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank
Location: Arlington, WA

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:55 am

jbakker wrote: Code requires Arc Fault.
Does the FM60 and FM80 unit have this built in?
No the FM60/80 do not have Arc Fault built in. You have to use an external solution like OutBack's ICS+ arc-fault/rapid shutdown combiner box. The funny thing is Midnite's solution does not have a UL or cUL listing. Technically it should not pass code but I know inspectors in Ontario have been perfectly happy with it for years now so that is good news.

With a mix of both Midnite and OutBack gear meeting rapid-shutdown could be tricky. I don't think Midnite's SOB solution works with charge controllers yet. I've heard the powerline comms can get messed up when DC coupling with a Classic or an FM. If you plan on using the SOB I suggest you verify with Midnite before buying anything. With the proper breaker setup, I'm pretty sure OutBack's rapid-shutdown solution will work as long as your code does not require module level shutdown. You have to use the OutBack ICS+ combiners for every PV array though.

Since you have OB/Midnite charge controllers the Wizbang Jr will probably be of limited value. If you have one shunt that covers all current to the battery then it could curtail the Classic but it wouldn't do anything to the OutBack gear. If it cannot see all the current to the battery your end amps will not be accurate.

Hopefully, your code cycle is not requiring module level shutdown yet. If that is the case it would be a good idea to get your system inspected/approved before the code changes.

Thanks for letting me know why you went with the Midnite controller!

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Renewable Energy Project Engineer
http://alphaenergy.us/

jbakker
Forum Guru
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:47 am
My RE system: 2 VFX3648 Inverters 2 FM60 150VDC Charge Controllers Mate3 3.4 KW of panels 15kw JC Onan NG Generator made in 1975 I love that generator almost as much as my wife.
7 banks of 14 cells each from a 2017 Chevy Volt. Parallel for the AMP Hour. 7 Chinese made BMS systems.
Location: Goderich Ontario Canada

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by jbakker » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:40 am

Thanks for your thoughts Kurt. I always read and think on the advice given by others much smarter than me.
I did see that the MidniteÔÇÖs have no UL or cUL listings but here in Ontario if an inspector sees a new install with Outback FM60/80 he wonÔÇÖt pass it. Midnite he will pass it. I have no idea what there logic is on this. We donÔÇÖt ask.
I do have a FNDC and I can add more shunts to it. I am currently not using it.
I still have one FM in the system and its getting long up there in age as well. The plan is when funds allow replacing it with a Midnite as well.
In Ontario as far as I know Module level shut down is not required yet.
I find the pricing for the shutdown modules to be expensive.
This project to go grid tie is a process that will take time and Money. This could all change over the next year. I am in spot where do I keep the 4 48 volt panels are in my system or replace with all 36 volts panels like the rest of my system.
I am also in a mid-life crises as to do I stay at my current job (no further chance of advancing) or seek other employment. So lots to think about over the summer, but I will enjoy the fact that it takes me 3 min to drive to the beach and I will enjoy that!

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Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
Posts: 1351
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate3, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank
Location: Arlington, WA

Re: Inverter Setting for Off Grid

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:45 am

jbakker wrote:I always read and think on the advice given by others much smarter than me.
I hope you are not accusing me of being smarter. My wife can attest to my complete and utter lack of reasonable intelligence. :)
jbakker wrote:In Ontario as far as I know Module level shut down is not required yet.
I find the pricing for the shutdown modules to be expensive
Hopefully you can get the system approved before module level is required. If your current system has passed an inspection I would hope that it is grandfathered in so to speak. In that case, you can keep it simple with a new Grid-Tied PV array with micro-inverters.
jbakker wrote: ...it takes me 3 min to drive to the beach and I will enjoy that!
Now you're talking! I constantly have to re-calibrate my attitude to focus more on appreciating all the awesome things in life instead of getting bogged down by my 1st world "issues".

Cheers!

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Renewable Energy Project Engineer
http://alphaenergy.us/

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