Author Topic: More panels!  (Read 11210 times)

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #180 on: July 25, 2018, 08:25:14 AM »

The problem is a little complex but comes from the AC Side Bruce.

Somehow, the cloud edge effect causes the AC voltage to go high and the inverter restarts due to this, pretty much within seconds of ramping up again.  As each reset cycle takes about 90 sec, it's easy for the thing to miss out on making many Kw of power per day.

In bright clear skies like a day last week, the thing did a max output of 3400W / 258V and from what I could tell, didn't or barely tripped out at all.  Couple of days after, the exact same untouched setup is tripping out at 2700W and 261V.
The wiring the inverter is attached to is a tad small for the output due to the cable length.  I was talking to a mate this morning about putting in 4 or 6mm cable up from the present 2.5 to combat this. Were discussing where I'll have to look to see where the present cable goes and where it's tapped or split to try and work out if we will have a chance to pull a heavier cable through the existing Conduit or wether it's going to be a pain in the butt  Trenching  garden, Driveways and paths.

The setup is woeful atm. I have 9kw of panels running through a 5 Kw inverter and 3441W is the highest I have seen it put out. Then again, 3 Kw of that is facing in the completely wrong direction but makes 3-4 Kw day  which is better than letting the roof space go unused and it is useful on overcast days when orientation is inconsequential anyhow. 

If I could split the arrays as they are wired into 2 inverters and get 7Kw, that would be a big improvement in summer. I'm waiting to get the other 5Kw array that's sitting in the yard now up on the house roof and then I'll put in the new circuits.  Then again, Spose there is no real need to wait for the panels to go up, could do it now and just get the wiring run to where I want it and hook it up after.  At least would let me up the production on the power from what I already have in place.

The arrays are a fraction over half the voltage the inverter is rated for and are in fact very close to the nominal input rating.  I could split the arrays again, to lower the voltage and make 4 inputs from the 3 existing ones but I thing seeing as the voltage of the panels in series has so much margin now, I'ts more  something on the AC side I have to look at.  I have not monitored the regular sunny and cloudy array voltages but I probably should have.

I have not noticed the problem with the other inverters I have so much.  They are all waay under driven though, all around 2.5 Kw of panels on 4-5 Kw inverters. They are wired with just 1.5mm wire though. These would be closer to overload than the other main inverter.

I have been looking for something that I could program the same as the voltage relays to kick in at multiple points.
They sell 8 and I think 12 Relay boards for arduino so If I could work out a code I could set each relay at say 150W increments to kick in at different voltages, that would be Ideal.

I hope the current problem with the inverter will go away once the heavier mains cable is installed but I would still find the staging circuit very handy for water heater limiting.  I could set it up so the more solar there was, the more power fed to the heater instead of just a flat rate as determined by the PWM.



I think I might have to leave the Mrs where she is and get a cheaper to run model.

Today I was up 19 Kw on total use and 7 KW down on generation.  I thought the credit I saw yesterday on the generation to consumption may have been just a one off but today even less power made and more saved!
I told her about yesterday and asked her what the hell she was doing? She said well she does have the TV on and has a fan heater going because I don't have the air warm enough.  18 Kilos to run a TV and little heater for one evening?  WTF??  I told her the TV used nothing and the heater would only use a max of 8 KW in the 4 hours she usually has it on before going to bed.  Maybe she is letting it run all night?

I thought I would be well behind today. I was not feeling the best last night and had the air on the whole time. Even fell asleep to wake up at 4am to hear it still going. I do that and still use HALF the power as we have been before?
If I could get me a skinny little 20 Something, I could run her with just a single panel hooked up to her Iphoney.
Then again, Probably never get a home cooked meal again..... Less we went to her mothers place for Dinner.   :embarassed:  Seems I need to find a local Girl.... with very poor eyesight and the lowest standards in men ever.

I always wondered Bruce how you managed to get by on so little power?
NOW I get it, I really get it! 

EdDee

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #181 on: July 25, 2018, 09:03:59 AM »
Hey Glort,

An insult and a compliment all in one.....

You have great taste and judgment in your current missus..... Pity she has the opposite in men!!

But seriously though... Wish her well and a speedy return to home ground...

The washing pile must be over 6ft by now!

Cheers
Ed
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ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #182 on: July 25, 2018, 09:27:38 AM »
Hey guys, before I had my accident and subsequent heart attack, my missus went to Sydney to care for her ailing parents. She was away almost six months and my electric bill dropped to almost nothing. That said I spent a small fortune on take away meals.

I finally got to the root of the problem when she returned and fired up the tumble dryer. Why anyone would use a tumble dryer on a forty degree centigrade day was a total mystery to me, she tells me it activates the fabric conditioner and removes the fluff, dog hair and etc. Sounds like a crock of sh1t to me.

Glort, hope your wife is continuing to make a good recovery.

Bob


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #183 on: July 25, 2018, 11:08:55 AM »

An insult and a compliment all in one.....

You have great taste and judgment in your current missus..... Pity she has the opposite in men!! 

Ed, I have always said that no matter how much the truth hurts, one  cannot get emotional and upset by it.
You speak the truth so I can only agree even if it is not complimentary to my position.    :-[

Quote
But seriously though... Wish her well and a speedy return to home ground...

Thanks mate.
Just spoke to her on the phone and the doc has been to see her and wants to keep her in a bit longer so will probably be home Friday.  She was telling the Nurse today when I was there, no rush to come home.  She is quite emphatic about not being any urgency to get back.... so much so I asked her it it was because there was a hot male Nurse there or it was just a good excuse to be away from me.
She reassured me it was just she wanted to be well as possible when she came home.  She also pointed out that it wasn't to be away from me, she can just send me to my fathers when she wants peace and quiet or her boyfriend is in town.  Obviously all good then!

Quote
The washing pile must be over 6ft by now!

Actually, I don't make much washing at all. Generally wear my backyard Duds about a week. Figure what's the point of washing them when I'm going out to do more dirty work in them the next day?  fresh jocks and socks and a T shirt to go under the old jacket I also wear a week this time of year and I'm  good.  1 Load a week would see me though.  More washing this last few days though. have to put on a fresh shirt when I go and see her or she gets upset.  Probably even have to shave again tonight.

Be glad when she gets back home and things go back to their scruffy usual!

LowGear

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #184 on: July 25, 2018, 01:56:52 PM »
Quote
Sounds like a crock of sh1t to me.

I'm sorry ajaffa1 but your missus is correct about the magic of dryers.  Well, except the fabric conditioner which falls outside my zone of understanding as well.  At 40 C it should take about 15 minutes to dry an elephant. 

The big question is what were you using for clean clothes?
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BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #185 on: July 25, 2018, 03:56:53 PM »
Computer/projector and lighting (incandescent) are my only electrical load, besides daytime electric cooking. 
I only switch to gas cooking on dark days or nights because I'm in the habit.  I never feel like I'm short on power.
The new inverter will find sunny day uses, but won't be running at night.

I remember now about your wire size problem.  You could still use the panel shorting SSR's to limit PV input if adding loads gets to be a problem.  The Mager brand Chinese one's are about $8 each. You could test this yourself by putting in the Tee connectors for a panel and manually short it on a day when you're getting overvoltage trip outs.  The same voltage relay approach could operate the panel shorting. 


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #186 on: July 26, 2018, 12:20:08 AM »
I finally got to the root of the problem when she returned and fired up the tumble dryer.

This is a good insight and an accurate one. Both the wife and the daughter are VERY partial to firing up that Dryer.
Mrs had it on the night before she went. I said why is the dryer on and was told because -I - didn't bring the clothes in early enough off the line ( Didn't even realise there were any out there!) and she was taking the damp out them.  Hour later I said aren't they dry yet and got a serve about she knew how to do washing and If I wanted to take over fine otherwise leave it to her.  Hmmm.

Daughter is the worst.  Waits till about 4 Pm on a bright warm day then decides she needs to wash and dry that ONE single outfit she wants to wear out tonight.  Not an occasional thing, More like a set your watch by it job.

Maybe I should get Bruce to help me with a temp/ Humidity switch on the thing. If it's been a warm day where it hasn't rained, Dryer won't function.
The Veg oil fired Dryer is not such a bad Idea at all!  Maybe at least hardwire the Dryer to a petrol genny. Provide 5L of fuel and once it's gone, go buy your own petrol to run the thing.
Maybe that would give them the required training and realisation with these things.

Bet it's going to get a workout when Mrs gets home.  She won't be allowed to lift anything more than a coffee cup for weeks and she always complains how I hang things on the line.

On the tangent of Dryers,  anyone seen the reverse Cycle Types supposedly to save power?
Dad needed a new Dryer last year.  Normal resistance type, $300 10 makes and models to choose from at or under that price.
Heat pump type $1800 UP! Most I saw were around the $2500 mark.

I calculated the hours required to run the more exy one at current power prices Dad pays  and found his life expectancy short by about 25 years to get a saving on the things.  I only calculated on the $1500 difference, not how much  margin there was between the 2. I'll bet it's not that much. If  regular Dryer uses 2 Kw and the reverse uses 1, the payback time is still going to be years if you did use the things every week .

For the price Difference, I could buy more panels AND a pre fab shed to mount them on!

Funny enough Dad  decided seeing he only uses the thing a hand full of times a year he'd go with the cheaper one. That and the fact his old one was about 40 years old and even if he got half the time out of it, would still outlast him.

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #187 on: July 26, 2018, 01:06:46 AM »
I rewound mine 2- 1000 watt inverter transformer secondaries today.  Did the trick nicely, peak voltage range is lowered just enough, I think.  I haven't put the 120 turns of 1/2" heat shrink mylar strip around it...that's a PITA and I'm keeping my options open. :)

I'm going to do a jury rig hookup in my battery bank shed so I can test the well pump, which has it's controller/starter there.  The well pump has a wicked surge current, about 3x running current.  I'll have to see if the Antek 1000 watt transformers are up to it. 

The final hookup will have the transformers in a steel box in a far corner so that when I have to do some troubleshooting I won't get immediately incapacitated.  6 feet makes quite a difference when the field is falling off with the cube of the distance thanks to the use of toroids.

I had a good chuckle at myself this AM.  Last night I thought I could "tighten up" the RMS voltage regulation and would take more samples of the recitified and scaled down to 4V peak AC waveform.  On closer inspection this morning, I found that the ATMega328P (Arduino Uno Processor) is so overtaxed that it's a freaking miracle that with 128 usec between samples that my real time RMS voltage computation works at all.  No way it's sampling right on time, it's more like ''semi-random". The A/D takes 100 usec per sample, and the poor little AVR is timer- interrupting 19 times per 16.67 milliseconds. Some of those are time critical 45usec apart as I'm doing some H-bridge hardware functions in software.  32 bit integer math is tough on an 8 bit processor.  I can't use timer interrupts or A/D interrupts since the main 16 bit timer routine is too time critical.  It does warrant some investigation-  I can imagine how it works as well as it does.

I can live with +-2 volt regulation under load, and +5V no load.  If I was planning on developing this further , with features such as variable frequency and/or 3 phase options I'd need a lot more of a processor. 

I like the looks of the Arduino IDE compatible Teensy LC. It's 32 bit, 48Mhz, fast 12bit A/Ds, much more ram, timers, etc. The power consumption is shockingly low if the data I found is to be believed.





glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #188 on: July 26, 2018, 12:48:29 PM »
Not too many people who can over tax an arduino with their control creations!

Day 3 on my own and I checked the meters today to find I only made 12 Kwh Credit.  Was a bit surprised at that but figured it could have been a lot of things, Hot water maybe didn't quite kick in previous day,  Septic pump had a long Cycle etc.

Then went and did my solar generation readings and found I was a good 10KWh down today than on the previous weeks average.  Bloody clouds but mystery solved. Less made, less saved.

Just spoke to Mrs and Doc has granted her release on probation tomorrow.  Coming home with Plumbing attached apparently which she will have for about another week.  Be interested to see how the power consumption goes again.  Probably going to be a little hard to judge as the weather for the next 5 days is predicted to be patchy and being in a less that fighting fit stage, she will probably want the place a bit extra warm. She has been complaining the hospital was cold but as I pointed out today, she's been wearing a lightweight frock with no arse in it all week.  Not exactly ideal for staying warm.

When she gets home she can have the place 30o for all I care.

I upset her again today. I can tell she is out of sorts. We were talking about her return home and I said I could  get my engine crane, put some slings round a chair and she could slide into the sat out the car, I'd wheel her up a ramp I could make ( and have a nice wide meter sq bit of thick ply I can use) and bring her into the house ( everything is double doors so no probs there and could set her in the Loungeroom or deposit her on the lounge.
Now I thought that was really thoughtful and caring but she called me bad names! Again!

Muttered something about if I brought an engine crane near her she would be sticking the handle of the thing in that part of my anatomy that normally don't see a lot of solar energy.  I reassured her, the thing was new and perfectly clean and oil and grease free. It had a 1 ton rating as well so was safe.
Must be the medication, she really got agitated then.  Her blood pressure monitor started going off!  More blue words about me thinking she weighed a ton and carrying her round like a baby elephant.  I tried to point out that the 1 ton was the safe working load and I only mentioned it so as to ressare her that her much lighter frame would be safe.  She did not seem reassured.

She mentioned she will be so happy to be able to walk around the garden when she get home but won't be up to it for a while. I unselfishly offered the use of the JD ride on mower.  She expressed concern about getting on and off it again.  I said not to worry my love, my one! I have a soloution to that.  I can put you in the trailer  and drive you around. Park you under the big tree out the front.  She didn't seem to like the idea of being carted around in a trailer a But I again reminded her it would be no problem, I could sling her in and out with the engine crane.
It's a damn good job I have good reflexes still because those 600 ml water bottles can hurt when propelled at that velocity!

I think I'm in for a hard couple of weeks taking care of her in her incapacitated and Invalid state. 

Today I had to again put my own personal health and safety on the line.  Risking life and limb and with no concern for my own personal well being, on the way back home from visiting her,  I took on the brave undertaking to stave off a fast looming catastrophe by visiting the supermarket to ward off the potential and certain crisis of a critically low supply of Meat pies in the freezer and Mars bars in the Fridge. The things I do for this woman and the sacrifices I make!
Fortunately supplies of milk and Coffee were not at risk as particularly with the Coffee, I make certain there is at least a 3 month supply available at all times. I did pick up 9 litres of milk anyway as that's something else you just would not want to run out of.

For dinner i decided to throw caution to the wind and live a devil may care evening and got a couple of Butter Chicken and rice meals.
Should have got 3. They are terribly undersized but being a man of great self sufficiency and cunning resourcefulness, I also thoughtfully picked up a bag of crusty bread rolls and had a couple of them with  the fundamental mainstay of the Aussie Diet, Vegemite. That made it a meal fit for a king!

Now I'm going to put on my chefs hat and Cook for her as well.
Good Job I averted the meat Pie Crisis. We are good till Summer now!

« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 12:51:08 PM by glort »

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #189 on: July 26, 2018, 10:59:57 PM »
Hope you can cook better than I do or there is likely to be a nasty outbreak of botulism.

Glad your wife has been given early release, good luck with the logistics side of things.

Bob


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #190 on: July 27, 2018, 10:09:21 AM »


Checked my Numbers today only 90 min after the head director of operations and chief of finances got back home so she could not affect the readings too much. 
Another 16 Kwh in the black and we had a -1 Night again last night.

16-19 Kwh difference may not seem like much and is close to half on average of what we use, so could be said to work out.  It's not as straight forward though.  To put it in business terms, the " fixed" costs are there no matter how many people are here. Bit like Driving a car long distance. Consumption don't change much at all whether you have 1 person in the car or 4. Real cars I'm talking not those little wind up things with lawn mower engines.

The septic air pump still runs the same. the pump out would be a bit less but still drawing power. The 9 Kwh or so  the water heater would use due to inefficient insulation whether there was any water consumed or not is the same.  I have been heating the same area of house, just moved the areas to where I mainly was. All the fridges are still running. Pumps and lights in fish tanks, outdoor lighting and for the most part, indoor lighting as well not that it adds up to much anyway.

When these loads are taken into account, the difference between one person being here and 2, I would not think should be that great.
What I do think it shows is the amount of power those not conscious of what they use can draw. I thought today about the simple difference between the Mrs and I of boiling the kettle.  She fills the thing up every single time. 2 litres boiled for 300ml required. Shit's me to tears but every time I try to mention it or suggest she does not need to fill the bastard thing for one cuppa, it's leads to...... a stout discussion on differing and seemingly unchangeable views delivered with great.... passion and resolve.  Lifes too damn short.

In another thread a few weeks ago people clearly took exception to my leaving lights on for decorative purposes and not being worried about going round and turning off every plug pack.  This again illustrates my point why.  Those things would make ZERO difference to my consumption especialy being 3 quarters in the year I'm going to have excess power anyway. 

Now, If I got rid of the Mrs.... THAT would make a BIG difference in dropping my power consumption.... BUT....
then what the hell am I going to do with all these damn panels I have around the joint??   :embarassed:


ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #191 on: July 27, 2018, 11:28:35 PM »
Hey Glort, when I was living in the UK I had a kettle that held about 4 liters of water but only boiled one cupful at a time. You put  a cup under the spout and pushed a button, twenty seconds later and the cup was full. Saved an absolute fortune on the power bill. Haven`t seen them for sale in Australia but might have a look on one of the online retailers.

Bob

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #192 on: July 28, 2018, 01:41:45 AM »
Brilliant idea, Bob. The sales pitch (for the wife) is faster cuppa. 

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #193 on: July 28, 2018, 09:17:20 AM »

Little doubt of my observations this week.

Today was pretty Cloudy although I did manage to see the blood Moon just after 5 Am.  very nice just sitting in the bay window at the back of the house and watching it with a Cuppa in the warmth.

 Generation was Down 13 Kwh on yesterday.  Consumption was up 23 Kwh. 
it's not a 10 KWh difference on yesterday, it's a 25 Kwh Difference at least becuse I was in credit 16 Kwh yesterday.  I don't understand this. Yes, she has a little 2 Kw fan heater on her legs and feet and she needs to keep them warm and circulating BUT, she wasn't sitting there 12-13 Hours with it on.
She not doing  much else so where the hell is all this power suddenly going? Didn't shower because she had one at the hospital before she left and didn't do much else.

Buggered if I know.  Daughter will be back from her round the world adventures in about a week and a half, be interesting to see how things go with her home but I'm thinking she picked the right time to go as she loves to have her room a comfortable 30oC so we would have been sucking power beyond belief.  Maybe I should just turn up the AC for the place and be done with it. The localised heating seems to not be too economical.

Next week is forecast to be balmy compared to what it has been, nothing lower than 5oC  instead of the -5 -  -1's we have had a few weeks now.
Hopefully will make a change.  I think I need to put the meter back on my hot water to see what that is using. It was averaging about 10KWH day before for the 3 of us but I have a feeling the colder water and weather is making it suck down a LOT more power.
The phase it's on is always lower than the other even though it has the most solar power going into it.

I thought of putting up a solar water heater but from what I read, they are pretty useless in winter and I'd probably be better off following my own law of solar efficiency, just add more panels!

Just looking at the numbers, have done a LOT better than I thought for the month.
Till yesterday I was only 4 Kwh in the red for the whole month!  The weeks catch up helped that a lot and now we will go backwards again but still pretty good. 
About 2 weeks to the end of this Billing quarter so we may Finish up a LOT better than I thought!
With some extra panels tilted north on the west roof, may be able to get through winter pretty well.

Nice surprise when things are better than you thought they were!

I bought a couple of those Cup boiler things the other day Bob. These look reasonable quality. I bought them for heating my Plant incubator Fridge but I'll give one a go in the kitchen. See if she will use it.  Might save a few watts for my own 10 Cuppas a day but normally  I only put just enough in the kettle anyway  so I don't think there will be a lot of difference.

Mate of mine had one of those Instant boil/ instant cold  tap things in his last place.  Cost him a fortune to buy, a fortune to run and a fortune to maintain.
they pull a heap of power when you want hot water, keep an amount chilled all the time and the thing broke down every couple of years.
Suffice to say he had no problem leaving it at the old place and has not entertained the idea of putting one in the new joint.

The one you are talking about sound pretty good.
I'm also inclined to set up my solar urn again. I liked that.  Couple of panels going through a charge controller to some car batteries feeding an inverter that ran through a PWM controller to an urn.  By Smoko the water in teh urn was boiling and i't let it simmer with about 50-70 running through it. When I wanted a cuppa I'd turn the thing full tilt for about 20 Sec to get a rolling boil then back down again.  Plenty of boiling water on demand and didn't cost a cent. ...... Except for the batteries.

And the charge Controller.
Not forgetting the inverter.
And the PWM.
And the wiring and switches....

But hey, it was free energy!   The legit kind at least.

BruceM

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #194 on: July 28, 2018, 03:30:48 PM »
Someone led you astray on criticizing solar hot water performance in winter. While your Sydney sunshine is lower in June, the rest of your winter looks pretty decent for solar - PV or direct hot water.  You do have less hours of sunshine but you still get the 85% vs 15% efficiency boost heating water directly vs PV.  85/15= 5.6 times more area of PV.  If water heating does prove to be a big part of your winter power load, then solar hot water (of the drain back type) might make sense.  It certainly can make sense for space heating as well... it does for my house in a much colder winter climate.