SkyBox Functional Q's

True Hybrid Energy System

SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:36 pm

Just sold a New 6.1KW grid-tie system utilizing the SkyBox, as the Owner wants that ability to add storage in the future.. 1st One for Us!.. a few Q's that I didn't glean from the last months training sessions:

1. What is the PV input limit? I understand that the AC is 5KW in any direction/devices, but what about PV... I'm wanting to run (2) strings of (10) 305W STC ea. for a total of 6.1KW.. Some derating present w/ partial shading during Winter Months & a low-slope roof.. The voltage window fits well at around 400V input.. Please advise.
2. Are the (2) PV inputs for 2 unbalanced / diff spec type strings or do they need to be "symmetric" in their specs? Are they MPPT?
3. This customer has a nice 6KW portable Gen that they've been using for loads backup via a MTS on their Main Panel.. We don't plan to do the "Backed-Up Loads Panel" just yet, as we're not doing batteries right away.. Q: Would we still run the "manually controlled" Gen input into the SkyBox or wait until we have the "BUL's Panel"? Will this Gen input feed back onto the Main Panel?... probably not since it's grid-tied and needs that connection to disconnect during an outage per IEEE... Please advise.

Thanks for your design assistance on this! ... We've got 2 more coming soon that we also feel the SkyBox is a good fit :) .. Excited for this New / Diverse Offering for our Hybrid Customers!
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Gwendoly Espe on Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:39 pm

1. What is the PV input limit? I understand that the AC is 5KW in any direction/devices, but what about PV... I'm wanting to run (2) strings of (10) 305W STC ea. for a total of 6.1KW.. Some derating present w/ partial shading during Winter Months & a low-slope roof.. The voltage window fits well at around 400V input.. Please advise.


You can put more than 5kW, but the inverter will only utilize 5kW.

2. Are the (2) PV inputs for 2 unbalanced / diff spec type strings or do they need to be "symmetric" in their specs? Are they MPPT?


The PV is combined across the PV ON/OFF switch. The inverter will MPPT the resulting combined PV voltage.

3. This customer has a nice 6KW portable Gen that they've been using for loads backup via a MTS on their Main Panel.. We don't plan to do the "Backed-Up Loads Panel" just yet, as we're not doing batteries right away.. Q: Would we still run the "manually controlled" Gen input into the SkyBox or wait until we have the "BUL's Panel"? Will this Gen input feed back onto the Main Panel?... probably not since it's grid-tied and needs that connection to disconnect during an outage per IEEE... Please advise.


You could do a MTS (manual transfer switch), but there is a risk of back-feeding the generator with PV since the Inverter will not know if it's Grid or Gen off the grid input. The tolerance of the Grid input is tighter than the Gen input as well. Generally speaking, the Inverter will use Grid or Gen input, not both, so you can not connect the generator to the Gen input in hopes to feed the main panel off of the generator.

I will need to ask about behavior on grid/gen switch with a backup load panel with no battery, just to make sure. Myself or someone else will follow-up on Wednesday on this question.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:53 pm

Gwendoly..
Thanks for your prompt input!...

On 3.
AltPowerRob wrote:You could do a MTS (manual transfer switch), but there is a risk of back-feeding the generator with PV since the Inverter will not know if it's Grid or Gen off the grid input. The tolerance of the Grid input is tighter than the Gen input as well. Generally speaking, the Inverter will use Grid or Gen input, not both, so you can not connect the generator to the Gen input in hopes to feed the main panel off of the generator.

... We'll just do a "Normally Closed" contactor in-line on the Grid-Interactive PV Breaker @ the Main Panel, which we'll have "held open" upon any Gen input (via the MTS).. This will solidify any issues of push back from the PV onto the Gen or from the Gen (simulating grid) into the SkyBox.. Once we add batteries, then we'll "break-out" a backed-up loads panel & bring the Gen's input directly into the SkyBox (as designed).. then the SkyBox can manage everything :)...

I will also await your further input on if we did the backed-up loads panel 1st (before adding batteries) & then just bring the manual Gen inlet directly into the SkyBox.. This setup would not have AGS, but would allow the Owner to manually turn on the Gen & then the SkyBox would recognize it & feed this AC Power where it wanted/needed?... Does this make sense?
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:00 pm

Also... On 2.
AltPowerRob wrote:The PV is combined across the PV ON/OFF switch. The inverter will MPPT the resulting combined PV voltage.

.. If the SkyBox combines, then why do we need a combiner ahead of this? Isn't the new RSD-1 (designed specifically to communicate w/ the SkyBox) also a combiner/RSI? .. We will have to have Rapid Shutdown, so maybe this new RSD-1 equipment will just make the combining redundant?.. or does it just serve the RSD function & pass the (2) independent PV strings onto the SkyBox for combining?... Please advise.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Gwendoly Espe on Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:21 am

I will also await your further input on if we did the backed-up loads panel 1st (before adding batteries) & then just bring the manual Gen inlet directly into the SkyBox.. This setup would not have AGS, but would allow the Owner to manually turn on the Gen & then the SkyBox would recognize it & feed this AC Power where it wanted/needed?... Does this make sense?


You're correct, without batteries the AGS function would not be reliably operational, but would allow SkyBox to accept the Generator after a manual or external automatic device starts the generator. This would be a source to the backup loads panel, however during this... the PV is only used for battery charging to prevent back-feeding the generator.

.. If the SkyBox combines, then why do we need a combiner ahead of this? Isn't the new RSD-1 (designed specifically to communicate w/ the SkyBox) also a combiner/RSI? .. We will have to have Rapid Shutdown, so maybe this new RSD-1 equipment will just make the combining redundant?.. or does it just serve the RSD function & pass the (2) independent PV strings onto the SkyBox for combining?... Please advise.


It is also a combiner. This box provides the means of disconnect and Rapid Shutdown capability. It can also be used to combine, if needed. If you need the means of disconnect or RapidShutdown, then you can combine at the box and have the conductors controlled from there. If neither of these are required in the area of installation, then presumably you can have two strings connect directly to the SkyBox. Depends what is required where you are.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:19 am

Looking for a spec sheet and/or Quick Start Guide on the SkyBox's RSD-1.. We are awaiting its' arrival & I need to do some layout / configuration planning.. I could not find it on the website? ...... Thanks!....... Rob
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:48 am

Hi Rob,

Spec sheet can be found on this link http://www.outbackpower.com/products/safety-compliance/rapid-shutdown-kits/item/skybox-rapid-shutdown-kit.

Quick start guide is not there yet. You will have no more than 2 PV strings going into the combiner. Both positive and negative conductors will go to the appropriate fuse holders. The fuse holder bus is split with 3 fuse holders for positive and 3 for negative.

-Kurt
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:18 am

hi, rob.
I was able to get a pdf copy of the quick start guide for the skybox rsd-1 from my outback rep. also, isn't colorado on the 2017 nec requirements? I believe the this rapid solution kit only meets the 2014 requirements unfortunately. best, Andrew
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:32 am

hi, rob.

update>>>I tried attaching this but the file was too big and wasn't allowed on this forum; rats.

"I'm not sure if outback has made any revisions on this but here is a copy of the quick start guide that I received about a month ago.
best, Andrew"
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Re: SkyBox Bypass option

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:51 am

I'm curious... is skybox capable of bypassing "grid" ac input to the backup panel if or when the inverter needs some troubleshooting or maintenance? I realize most grid-hybrid inverters nowadays have this function via bypass lever. do I need to install an external bypasss switch for the backup panel for worst case scenario? thanks, Andrew
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Ampster on Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:12 pm

My limited experience with a Skybox is that you do not need a separate bypass. The Skybox is capable of running without batteries unlike the Radian which I previously used. I have turned off the battery breaker when doing some maintenance on the pack and the critical loads panel continues to be fed from the grid. That is one of the benefits of the Skybox in that the Balance of System components is reduced compared to the Radian.
I have had some situations where I have turned off the grid and the Skybox does not automatically go into backup mode. My Skybox has been in constant fault mode for the past 45 days and I haven't finished diagnosing if that might be the cause. A reset or restart of the inverter often cures the issue. I am in the process of connecting a string of PV Panels and when that is done I will try to chase down that issue if it continues.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:22 pm

Ampster,

how about if for some reason the skybox breaks down and is inoperable for indefinite timeframe? will the backup panel loads be isolated from the battery and the grid due to lack of bypass option? or is external bypass necessary to avoid this? Andrew
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Ampster on Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:25 pm

That is a good question that I have wondered about myself. All the connections are made in the lower BOS section and the actual relays are located on the circuit boards in the upper section. My understanding is there are no user serviceable parts in the upper section so if something goes wrong you have to swap out the entire 90lbs. upper section instead of changing a circuit board like I did with the Radian. I assume that the relay between the grid and the load is a normally closed relay so if the system is dead your panel would be connected to the grid. Actually no one is in the house today and I will try turning off the battery and inverter to test my assumption. Stand by, if it works I will answer shortly, If not it will take a while since my Internet connection is on the critical loads panel and I will have to reboot everything.

The best technical answer needs to come from Outback support and therefore I will leave it up to them to provide the answer to our question.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:17 pm

alorentz wrote:hi, rob.
I was able to get a pdf copy of the quick start guide for the skybox rsd-1 from my outback rep. also, isn't colorado on the 2017 nec requirements? I believe the this rapid solution kit only meets the 2014 requirements unfortunately. best, Andrew

Andrew... The State of CO is on 2017, but some other AHJs are still on 2014.. just depends.. some don't even know what a RSS is :).. others will strongly enforce it. Thanks!
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:27 pm

Ampster wrote:That is a good question that I have wondered about myself. All the connections are made in the lower BOS section and the actual relays are located on the circuit boards in the upper section. My understanding is there are no user serviceable parts in the upper section so if something goes wrong you have to swap out the entire 90lbs. upper section instead of changing a circuit board like I did with the Radian. I assume that the relay between the grid and the load is a normally closed relay so if the system is dead your panel would be connected to the grid. Actually no one is in the house today and I will try turning off the battery and inverter to test my assumption. Stand by, if it works I will answer shortly, If not it will take a while since my Internet connection is on the critical loads panel and I will have to reboot everything.

The best technical answer needs to come from Outback support and therefore I will leave it up to them to provide the answer to our question.


Ampster...

I am most curious on this as well.. It makes sense to me that if the AC Interconnect Grid Relay is NC, then upon Inverter and/or Cct. Board Failure, the Grid inter-connectivity would still be present and therefore no Bypass Needed.. Same assumption could be made for the AC Gen input on this device.. If these relays don't "fail in NC position", then an external bypass would be needed ahead of everything for maintenance / safeguarding upon Inverter/Board Failure (all in one upper section as you mentioned earlier).. I am too awaiting OB's clarification on this, as this would be utterly important since we're now feeding a BULP vs. just injecting back into the grid, as in the typical GT case..

FYI...I'm awaiting arrival of our 1st SkyBox anyday, as I've got a client install awaiting :).. Will post more as this progresses, but the more we can know ahead of install, the better!
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Ampster on Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:52 pm

Sorry for the delayed response from my experiment. I turned off the breaker for the 48v pack and the lights stayed on. Then I turned off the Inverter by touching the on/off button on the screen and the lights went off ie. the load to the critical loads panel was dropped. I tried restarting the inverter without closing the 48v DC breaker and that did not send power to the panel. Nor did hitting the "Use Grid" button in the Grid Tile. The only thing that worked was restoring power via the 48v DC breaker. Therefore I must be wrong about the state of the relay. There could easily be other settings that I could have wrong that causes the relay to close when the Inverter is turned on when there is no DC. The only thing I did not try was to turn off the grid breaker and see if that reset the relay. I hope Outback can shed some light on this.

For me the good news is that I am using Lithium batteries (reconfigured Nissan Leaf modules) with a stand alone BMS. I plan on installing a contactor on the DC circuit as a fail safe voltage cutoff if the pack or a cell hit the LVC or the HVC settings in the BMS. That way I know that I won't be disconnected from the grid if there is an event that causes the BMS to open the contactor.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Ampster on Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:07 pm

Kurt Lundquist wrote:...
Quick start guide is not there yet.......

-Kurt

I might be able to wait until the quick start guide is done. I have some time before I get my solar installed and have to pull my permit, but I have one question. Part of the answer may be based on what version of NEC my local County building department is following. I will have one string and therefore don't need the combiner box. Can I just use the small switch standalone without the combiner box? I know internally all that would be required is to break the normally closed jumper inside the Skybox to start the rapid shutdown process.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:46 pm

based on 2014 nec requirements all dc strings OUTSIDE of 10 feet array boundary must be less than 30v within 30 seconds of rapid shutdown initiation so I believe you're going to need the combiner box as well. the box is designed to be mounted outside rooftop or just below as long as it's within that 10 foot boundary so it can isolate and shut off the pv output down stream from the combiner. lastly, pv strings WITHIN that 10 feet around the array is excluded; although all that changes drastically for the nec 2017.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:49 pm

thanks for the update on the experiment. that's a real bummer if that's the case. I wait to hear from outback before I get proactive and install a external bypass switch to remedy this. that would really defeat the purpose of having a "true hybrid inverter system."
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Gwendoly Espe on Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:03 am

Ampster wrote:That is a good question that I have wondered about myself. All the connections are made in the lower BOS section and the actual relays are located on the circuit boards in the upper section. My understanding is there are no user serviceable parts in the upper section so if something goes wrong you have to swap out the entire 90lbs. upper section instead of changing a circuit board like I did with the Radian. I assume that the relay between the grid and the load is a normally closed relay so if the system is dead your panel would be connected to the grid. Actually no one is in the house today and I will try turning off the battery and inverter to test my assumption. Stand by, if it works I will answer shortly, If not it will take a while since my Internet connection is on the critical loads panel and I will have to reboot everything.

The best technical answer needs to come from Outback support and therefore I will leave it up to them to provide the answer to our question.


How do we address AC bypass functionality?
Must do an external bypass to get power to backup loads (in case the SkyBox is ever de-energized). Something like a GSLC. Just like with the Radian, using a pre-wired bypass isn’t conducive to stacking—you’d want to make your own external bypass. You must have a subpanel if you need backup capabilities, in these cases an external bypass is recommended. Conversely, you don’t need a or have a subpanel , then you don’t have backup capabilities. In these cases, you won't need a bypass.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:35 am

hello everyone. I have couple of questions regarding the class 2 power supply skybox rsd-1.
first, do I locate the power supply converter within the rsi unit itself? if so, do I disassemble the metal back din mount plate of the converter?
I say this since the 24v negative conductor is not grounded and should avoid contact with the rsi chassis.
secondly, do I need to provide 48v input source to this converter as well? within the quick start guide, it only connects to the output portion of the converter to power the rsi. if this is the case, how long will this power supply converter last? thanks. Andrew
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby Gwendoly Espe on Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:14 am

hello everyone. I have couple of questions regarding the class 2 power supply skybox rsd-1.
first, do I locate the power supply converter within the rsi unit itself? if so, do I disassemble the metal back din mount plate of the converter?
I say this since the 24v negative conductor is not grounded and should avoid contact with the rsi chassis.
secondly, do I need to provide 48v input source to this converter as well? within the quick start guide, it only connects to the output portion of the converter to power the rsi. if this is the case, how long will this power supply converter last? thanks. Andrew


Hello,

The rapid shutdown system needs 24V source. If you have 48V batteries you can use that as a source and use a 3rd party converter to step it down to 24V. This is the power supply converter (batteries being the power supply and converting it to 24V). As far as I know, there isn't an official location for this unit. I can't speak to where it should go, but I bet it is possible to place it in the RSI or in it's own box etc.

I hope this helps bit.
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby alorentz on Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:48 am

I'm a bit puzzled here. so skybox rsd-1 comes with a power converter. so, why is the wiring diagram so vague with this whole thing? one would think if outback is going to supply the power converter with a fuse, the wiring diagram would include exactly where and how vs a simple floating image of a converter output going to the j1 of the rsi with no other input information. I'm assuming since the converter came with a fuse that it needs to be wired close to the battery source? as in, near the skybox itself? I'm also assuming that this converter can handle the typical voltage spikes from the charging of the batteries from the skybox as well?
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Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:08 pm

alorentz wrote:hello everyone. I have couple of questions regarding the class 2 power supply skybox rsd-1.
first, do I locate the power supply converter within the rsi unit itself? if so, do I disassemble the metal back din mount plate of the converter?
I say this since the 24v negative conductor is not grounded and should avoid contact with the rsi chassis.
secondly, do I need to provide 48v input source to this converter as well? within the quick start guide, it only connects to the output portion of the converter to power the rsi. if this is the case, how long will this power supply converter last? thanks. Andrew


I just received our RSD-1 & all associated packages today.. I went through everything and it's pretty straightforward (although we haven't begun to wire up things on-site).. OB sends a 24vDC power supply with the RSD-1. It literally is designed to snap right on the din-rail within the SkyBox (not sure if there's room, but I'm assuming based upon this design & the fact that I just sat through several sessions w/ the OB engineers @ the AEE dealer conference discussing this whole setup & all the engineering/thoughts that went into it before being produced..).. This powers supply has an input range of 18 - 75V DC (typ. 48V batt. bank nom.) & of course is 24V DC output.. It comes w/ a fuse-holder wire lead for tap of the 48V DC buss.. Should all work just fine :) If you've used the ICS+ combiner / RSI system in past configurations (with the FM100 or with the FM60/80 RTB setup), it's essentially the same, as the RSI switch / control cct. all operates on 24vDC... Also, note that by "bonding" the enclosure w/ an EGC, and then snapping the little din-rail power supply onto the metal din-rail, it is "bonded". This is independent equipment grounding from the (-) lead, which is also needed for the DC cct. (in & out) of the converter.. Don't use the EGC path as the cct. negative.

Also, The SkyBox RSD-1 combiner (which is very similar to the ICS+ setup), now is configured w/ (6) fuse holders for the strings (3 of which are for the + strings & 3 for the - 's). Both the pos & neg are now switched through the combiner / contactor. There is NO AFCI in this box now, as it is built into the SkyBox itself (from what I understand).
Rob Bennett
Principal, E.I.T.(CEM(EE)), Designer/Master Electrician
Alternative Power Solutions
AltPowerRob
Forum Whiz
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:30 am
Location: CO Springs, CO
My RE system: DC-Coupled Grid-Tied w/ Battery Backup & Multiple Arrays: Outback Radian 8048A Grid-Interactive w/ Discover LiFePO4 6.6KWH battery (monitoring locally w/ Schneider Conext Combox/SCP). 6.4KW Total PV on (2) Arrays: (1) DC-coupled w/ (18) SW300s on (3) strings of (6 ea) via an FM100 CC & (1) w/ (3) SW300s w/ Enphase Micros Grid-Tied direct. 7.5KW 30A 240V Portable Gas Gen manual inlet for occasional longer-term outage backup. Monitoring w/ Optics, Conext & Enlighten.

Re: SkyBox Functional Q's

Postby AltPowerRob on Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:58 pm

Back to the Bypass Scenario... We're used to doing off-grid applications using the Radian, in which we use the internal bypass switching for the AC Gen to go directly to the loads panel.. With this G-T w/ Battery B/U & Gen scenario, what would be the manual / external bypass setup recommendation? I've been thinking this through a lot since the AEE Dealer Conference (where I spent some significant time w/ Bo on this product) and I'm still not sure whether I should be setting up the Gen or the Utility to bypass to the loads panel, should there be an inverter failure.. I guess I'm leaning towards Gen, as the client would still be setup properly if they decided to "cut the cord" in the future... I also looked at having both the Gen & the Utility bypass option, but that gets pretty complicated w/ the use of multiple bypass switches (double throw switches, etc..)... Anyone's thoughts are appreciated!
Rob Bennett
Principal, E.I.T.(CEM(EE)), Designer/Master Electrician
Alternative Power Solutions
AltPowerRob
Forum Whiz
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:30 am
Location: CO Springs, CO
My RE system: DC-Coupled Grid-Tied w/ Battery Backup & Multiple Arrays: Outback Radian 8048A Grid-Interactive w/ Discover LiFePO4 6.6KWH battery (monitoring locally w/ Schneider Conext Combox/SCP). 6.4KW Total PV on (2) Arrays: (1) DC-coupled w/ (18) SW300s on (3) strings of (6 ea) via an FM100 CC & (1) w/ (3) SW300s w/ Enphase Micros Grid-Tied direct. 7.5KW 30A 240V Portable Gas Gen manual inlet for occasional longer-term outage backup. Monitoring w/ Optics, Conext & Enlighten.

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