Ordered a Skybox

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Ampster
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My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:06 pm

I just ordered a Skybox from Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. As soon as they confirm a delivery date, I am going to cancel my order for a Tesla PowerWall. Several years ago I had installed a Radian and used it for load shifting. Over the past 3 years when I had power outages I was the only one in my neighborhood who had power. I ran the Radian using a pack from a Nissan Leaf. I configured them as a 6P14S pack running at a nominal 56 volts. When we bought our new home in Sonoma, California we rented that other house and I sold the Radian to some guy in Mexico who is running a restaurant near Cabo San Lucas.

I was never sure the Radian could be AC coupled so that is why I did not move it to Sonoma. I had been following the announcements for the Skybox but it wasn't ready last November when we wanted to get the Investment Tax Credit for 2017. Therefore we installed solar panels with a Solaredge Inverter and ordered a Tesla Powerwall. A year later and we have still not received a confirmation from the installer when the Powerwall might be delivered. Therefore when I saw that the Skybox was out I watched the Webinar and some other videos. I still have the Nissan Leaf pack and realized I could set up the Skybox for a lot less than what the Powerwall was going to cost installed. There are some California Self Generation Incentive Program subsidies but the installer community had jacked up the cost of the Powerwall to almost $12,000 and there were a lot of restrictions by the SGIP programs in terms of whether I could use the Powerwall for rate arbitrage as I had been using the Radian. In three years the Radian saved me $900 and I learned a lot about load shifting and programming the Radian. I loved all the data I got from Opticsre so I am looking forward to being in that environment again.

The other thing that I like about the Skybox is that I can incrementally add battery capacity to the Skybox at around $200 per kWh (in 3.5kWhr increments). As I become more familiar with my seasonal loads I can continue to add capacity. In this house I am on NEM 2.0 and it pisses me off that I have to pay Non Bypassable Charges even though they are only a couple cents per kWh. I am retired and this has become a hobby for me. I call it a hobby because I can rationalize some of the expenditure without having to explain the low ROI or long payback. We are in PG & E territory and could easily see some grid shutdowns because of high winds or just plain old grid reliability problems, which is another reason I don't want to wait for the Powerwall.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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Kurt Lundquist
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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:51 am

Let us know how it goes! A friend of mine just got a Skybox. I'm going to help him install it soon. It looks like a very simple/straightforward install.

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

Ampster
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My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:43 pm

Will do. My panel upgrade to 200 Amps is being worked on this week. The critical loads subpanel is up and fed through a gutter so looping through the Skybox will be easy. My 14kWhrs of batteries are ready to go so I am anxiously awaiting confirmation of a ship date.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by ianMc » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:37 am

I read this post and then did a bit of R&D on the skybox. If the model is half as good as as the specs it will be awesome.

Kurt I presume that the units are stackable in single phase and can also be run in three phase?

Well done outback

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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by alorentz » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:49 pm

i just ordered a skybox inverter as well. however, i'm having difficulties getting a hold of outback's rapid shutdown solution or rsd-1 specifically designed for skybox. oddly, i was told the skybox units are available through most wholesale distributors but the the specific rsd-1 was not. anyone having similar issues here? thanks, andrew

Ampster
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My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:11 am

My unit is being shipped in 10 days from Outback. As far as I know there are no units in inventory at wholesalers yet. Your mileage may vary.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by alorentz » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:02 am

anyone have any thoughts on the skybox rapid shutdown solution dilemma? i'm having issues finding a way around the 2014 nec code requirements on this. i can't seems to find the specific skybox combiner box (FWPV3-FH600-S2D); my distributors don't have a clue on this but the outback states they have them - not to public at least. am i missing something here? andrew

Ampster
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:12 pm

I am not sure what the dilemma is?
Last edited by Ampster on Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

Solardad
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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Solardad » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:12 pm

Ampster wrote:".....My 14kWhrs of batteries are ready to go so I am anxiously awaiting confirmation of a ship date.
@ampster What did you end up doing for for battery..Leaf again or something else?

Thanks

Ampster
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My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:18 am

I have some Leaf batteries from another project. After I get a better sense for my loads, I can increase capacity for about $200 kWhr. My first goal is to get through the peak rate period not using the grid.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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Kurt Lundquist
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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:03 pm

alorentz wrote:i can't seems to find the specific skybox combiner box (FWPV3-FH600-S2D)
Hi Andrew,

I spoke with OutBack and they recommended that you ask your distributor for the "SKYBOX-RSD-1" OutBack part number. I believe this part includes the FWPV3 2 Pole combiner along with the RSI box. This is a brand spanking new part so your distributor will likely have to call OutBack sales.

More info on this solution should be posted on the OutBack website soon.

Thanks,

-Kurt

Post EDIT 11.28.2018 with the proper "SKYBOX-RSD-1" part number.
Kurt Lundquist
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Ampster
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Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:36 pm

My Skybox arrived yesterday. I got the mounting plate situated and needed to adjust my lower wireway to accommodate the location of the knockouts on the bottom of the Skybox. Tomorrow more wiring and assembly of my pack. I also hope to mount the main unit if my friend is available to help tomorrow. I still have lots of work including assembling my pack of Nissan Leaf modules.

Initially I will configure the Leaf modules in parallel groups of six and put those sub packs in a series of 6 for a voltage range of 45 to 50 volts. That corresponds to cell voltages of 3.75 at the bottom and 4.16 at the top. I don't know the specifics of the charging parameters so if those numbers don't work I can add another parallel string to increase those ranges by 7.5 volts. Each Leaf module consists of two parallel cells in series with another two cells. There is a center tap so I can check voltage at the parallel cell level. :grin:
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

alorentz
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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by alorentz » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:38 pm

great. are you finished with the roof portion? as in, wiring the array for the pv input? did you go with outback rsd - 1 solution for the rapid shutdown?
i'm still waiting on two skybox unit the the matching rsd-1 for each. it sounds like they're still month out. cheers, andrew

Ampster
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My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:15 pm

alorentz wrote:....... are you finished with the roof portion? as in, wiring the array for the pv input? did you go with outback rsd - 1 solution for the rapid shutdown?
...........
No, initially I am not adding solar since I already have a 5.8 kW grid tie solar array. After I get some more data I will assess the need for more generation or more battery storage. That is why I cancelled my Powerwall order and instead went with the Skybox. With the Skybox I can incrementally add storage or Solar as my needs evolve. When I add solar, I will hopefully benefit from your experience with the rapid shut down feature.
Today I got the Skybox wired to the wireway/gutter and the batteries paralleled for balancing. Tomorrow I will configure them into my pack and hook them up . I still have to mount the Skybox on the wall bracket. If my friend is available we may lift the Inverter onto the bracket tomorrow. When that is done I can cut the main panel feed to my critical loads panel and splice those wires in the wireway/gutter to the Skybox. When that is done I will be ready for commissioning.

Tomorrow I am planning on watching the Webinar on programming the Skybox.

Looking at tasks in the future, I am going to ping support for the pinout for CAN bus communication. The manual says something about a RJ11 to RJ45 adapter but one didn't come in the box. My BMS doesn't use either of those connectors, just a green and blue wire if I remember correctly. That is the next phase of this project, which is to hook up my Orion BMS and see how the interface with it and the Skybox work.
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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BoMagluyan
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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by BoMagluyan » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:58 am

Ampster wrote: ...Looking at tasks in the future, I am going to ping support for the pinout for CAN bus communication. The manual says something about a RJ11 to RJ45 adapter but one didn't come in the box. My BMS doesn't use either of those connectors, just a green and blue wire if I remember correctly. That is the next phase of this project, which is to hook up my Orion BMS and see how the interface with it and the Skybox work.
For SkyBox-supported active battery management systems, we use a physical RJ11 port. The only active BMS that we support at the moment is that of LG-Chem. They have a physical RJ45 adapter. We have the physical pinout, but it likely won't be of much use to you at the moment. Unless your CAN traffic exactly mimics LG-Chem's, SkyBox will stop listening and stop sending/receiving electrons.

What we have told all battery manufacturers is this: I can tell you what baud rate we want to communicate at. We're looking to you to tell us if you want us to use your SOC, V, or charge/discharge limits, or if you want us to use our own. And we're looking to you to tell us what message format you want us to send/receive.
Bo Magluyan
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OutBack Power Technologies, Inc.
17825 59th Ave NE, Ste B Arlington WA 98223 USA
www.outbackpower.com

Ampster
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:52 am

Thanks, I was on the Webinar as Rick, and that answers my question there as well. I fortunately have a CAN enabled charger and will plan on using that to charge my pack. I can interface that with my BMS to control charging parameters. I can also set a timer on that charger to charge the pack at my super off peak rate. I am finalizing my set up and I will make room on my backboard for that independent charger.

In the long term I would be happy to work with support explore feasibility of supporting that functionality over CAN bus. Perhaps I need to reach out to Orion to find out if they would be interested in providing the protocols.

Optionally I can use outputs from the BMS to close a relay (contact closure or 12v) to tell the charging function on the Skybox to start or stop. Is there is an input on the Skybox for that functionality? Of course that assumes I can set the charging voltage on the Skybox even if the Skybox is not connected to solar. I am checking all my assumptions now. I expect to commision the Skybox in the next few days and some of these questions I can probably answer once I have access to the configuration menus.

Rick
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

Ampster
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Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 5.7K solar system with Solaredge inverter. Heat pump water heater.
Previous home also used a reconfigured Nissan Leaf pack to power a Radian which was used for load shifting and backup.
Location: Sonoma Northern California

Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by Ampster » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:04 pm

I got the Skybox commissioned, first on just DC battery power. Then after everyone was out of the house I shut down the breaker for the critical loads panel and rewired the grid to the Skybox and the Skybox to the critical load panel. Did the tests in the commissioning diagram and turned on the Skybox. Lights came on and with my internet connection got on to Opticsre and did more configuration. More later. :grin:
Converted 1974 VW Convertible to electric and regularly drive a Fiat 500e and Tesla Model X which are charged at Super Off Peak rates.

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Re: Ordered a Skybox

Post by kayak1 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:33 am

Ampster wrote:I got the Skybox commissioned, first on just DC battery power. Then after everyone was out of the house I shut down the breaker for the critical loads panel and rewired the grid to the Skybox and the Skybox to the critical load panel. Did the tests in the commissioning diagram and turned on the Skybox. Lights came on and with my internet connection got on to Opticsre and did more configuration. More later. :grin:
I look forward to hearing more about how it's going with your battery setup.

I have a: SystemEdge 830PLR-300 on order it will support my critical load panel. I plan on using the included batteries until they are shot and then move to recycled EV batteries. Ideally the FM100's or the Mate3s would communicate with the EV batteries via CAN.


I have found the following adapters on EBAY (I won't provide the link, as I don't know if I am allowed), they are even less off of Ebay.
Tesla Model S & X Battery Module BMS Cell Tap Board By Stealth EV

From that point it seems like a few BMS exist for the packs but they talk via a CAN bus. If i were to do it today I would like 8 Model S battery packs with a good BMS. Hopefully I will get 5-8 years out of the included batteries.

The outback inverter will have 36 315W panels on it with Tigo optimizers to take care of the NEC 2017 requirements.

Please keep us posted as a few years from now I will need to figure out what you have learned about connecting Outback inverters to 3rd party CAN BMS's.
-Jason

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