Author Topic: More panels!  (Read 12674 times)

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #195 on: July 29, 2018, 12:10:46 AM »

I'll look into it more.
I -thought- it was still good in winter but as you say, may have been lead astray.

While solar/ resistance heating may not be as efficient as direct heating, I think it is more useful.  Once the water is hot in a direct system, that's it. Thing is useless.  At least with PV the energy can be put into other things. It's also a lot easier to run wiring than plumbing.
We get a lot of frost here as well so that may be a consideration.  Of course I may well have more PV than I need in summer and was thinking about that as well. 

I'm going to talk to mate about putting in a split single phase system and run that to burn the excess Solar power and keep the place cool.
I figure I'll have a LOT of excess power this summer so may as well put it to use as a base cooling system. The Ducted can just even things out through the rest of the house.

Used panels are available cheaply here and I have been looking at water heaters for a while. From what I have seen, the decent ones go for at least $1000 and anything under that has usually been replaced due to problems and is basically junk. They all tend to be flat panel rather than evac tube types as well.

Mate messaged me earlier in the week and said to forget about the pool heater I picked up from him last weekend. Said he just got one much better.  Not very old unit, blown board. was an insurance job so mate offered to write it off and replace with new one which owner was very happy about. Win all round.   I want to convert the thing from gas to oil for home heating so if I can get that up and running, it will not be much to put in a FPHE and heat the water off that with a circ pump. Wouldn't even need a thermo because the water from the Boiler will never go over 80C and probably be less.

Then again If I take the AC heating load off the house, probably won't give a fig about what the water heater uses because I'll still be in the black having removed that biggest and significant consumption of power.


I hate to think what todays numbers will look like.  Mrs got the shivers last night I think from being a bit run down so I cranked up the AC and had it running all night for her. Don't care if I am paying for it ATM, she needs all the comfort and care I can give her.
Day looks nice and sunny so far so hopefully holds.

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #196 on: July 31, 2018, 09:35:03 AM »
Hey Buddy, sorry to hear the missus is still crook. If she is feeling the cold she may have a bit of a fever please check her temperature as post operative infections usually start with a fever. If caught early they are usually easily treated with antibiotics.

On the subject of panels, had a bit of a problem with my solar installation today. My hot water is provided by an electric immersion heater in a 300 ltr pressurized tank. To make the most of our free solar energy we have a timer which is set to heat hot water, during the day, while the sun is shining. The first timer failed less than six months after installation, it was replaced free of charge under the guarantee. The replacement now looks like this:

Very lucky it didn`t burn the house down, if you have one of these cheap pieces of Chinese crap in your distribution board get rid of it before it kills you! Spoke to the installer and he is going to fix the problem and visit a lot of his clients that have a similar unit.

Bob

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #197 on: July 31, 2018, 10:38:30 AM »

Mrs is doing well today thanks Bob. I think it was just one of those things. I get the Chills myself sometimes. All the sudden I start to shiver uncontrollably.
Starts off with me getting cold and not warming up and then I go into freeze down.

She is picking up well now.  Went to town yesterday and she had bit of a walk ( at a snails pace ) which would be more than I would be up to and we sat in the sun and had a coffee too. Still looks like she has been hit by a freight train but that will go..... or i'll be arrested for wife beating.  Better not geve her any ideas, she could get rid of me for a long time just saying " Look what he did to me".

I would get rid of a timer all together Bob and get one of those voltage monitors like Bruce put me onto. Things are great.
I wonder if your sparky has checked the timer and your heater? These things normally don't have more than a 10A relay, 20 at best. If you have a 4800w element in your heater, may not be the timer that's at fault but your sparky. I'd check myself. After 2 poblems he may have caught on but I'd be checking his work for myself.

I love it how the minute you talk about any DIY electrical people shriek about rules and regulations and you must have a qualified person but then things like this happen. may not have been the guys fault but i'd be suspect.  As an amateur, I don't trust any of these things and wire them so i'm not reliant on their cheap arse components being up to scratch which lets face it, is rare. That's OK IF you allow for the failure points and use the parts that do what you want cheaply and take the risk out of the critical parts being what they say. I was up in the roof here a few weeks back and found things that should not have been. Clearly done when the joint was built by a qualified person but still very wrong.

Had  perfect example yesterday.  Was up the shed, solar was making good power.  I caught a wiff of something hot.  Started checking all my wiring, everything is cool as a cucumber but the smell was electrical.  Pull the cladding stuff off the wall and straight away see a BP connector discolored.
Nothing to do with the solar or anything I had done, was the crap way the sparky who wired the place joined the wire to the outlet I had the welder plugged into.  it's only a little 10A welder so should have been fine.  Fixed the connection properly and then plugged the welder into the outlet I added in.
Ran some much Bigger welds and went and checked everything at the junctions I made, no warmth what so ever.

I do things over and above what they need because I live here which is a big difference to the guy who bid the lowest price just trying to save where he can and get to the next job fast as possible. If something cost $3 or $20 more, I don't care, I just do things so the chance of problems is on par with the chances of winning the lottery which is a lot longer odds than a lot of these " Professionals " go with.

 The voltage monitors I use only have  6A relay in them.  Doesn't worry me in the slightest. I just use them to drive a  DPDT 30A relay which I put next to them in a 3 spot DIN rail enclosure. All the monitor does is drive the relay contacts. Don't care if the relay stops working, they are cheap but given they are over rated and have a 1M cycle life, probably going to be waiting a while.

The fact you have had 2 of these things melt down means the ratings are bogus.  I allow and expect this on knock off electronics which this sort of thing is ( as are my voltage monitors) by taking the load off them and installing a good quality relay I know I can trust the ratings of... and over allow anyway.

Personally I think the voltage monitor is the way to go.  If the timer kicks in when it's cloudy in the morning  the heater may pull all the power from the grid but then the sun comes out in the afternoon which you could have used but the tank is already hot.   The voltage monitor only allows the heater to activate when there is enough power to cover it or most thereof depending on your array size.
Cloudy couple of days, you go out, hit the test/ manual over ride and it's back to normal off peak.

Glad nothing more serious came of this. Could have been much worse. You have enough to deal with, something like a fire would not have been fun. 
Just ask lots of questions when teh guy comes back and don't be shy. Your house on the line not the sparkys. I'd be really wanting to see the ratings on those timers because it would not surprise me in the least if they are just 10A.



EdDee

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #199 on: July 31, 2018, 11:14:37 AM »
Re cooked timer....

Been there, had that.... What I found was the sparky was using his special "low torque" screwdriver to tighten the terminals... The internal contacts were well within rating, but the things were overheating at the ecternal terminal junctions.... Got out my special heavy duty screwdriver, a 6ft pipe to extend the torque, and then leaned 2x 300lb gorillas on the end to get the terminals nice-n-tite.... Well, not quite, I maybe exaggerated just a wee tiny bit, but you get the idea...

Since then, no more problems... but I do check over ALL the terminal screws in a box that I have been working in every time before I close it.... Saves a lot of expensive smoke in the long run....

Cheers
Ed
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glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #200 on: July 31, 2018, 12:47:19 PM »

Maybe we are family.....

I always Tighten the terminals right down pretty much hard as I can because I thought one needed to crush the wire to make the best contact.
Somehow in the back of my mind, I suspected that probably wasn't right especially given the numbers of connectors in outlets and fittings I have stripped out and had to chuck out an unused one because of it.

Thanks for confirming I am doing the right thing even if a lot of these terminals seem to be made so lightweight you are worried about doing them up at anything over finger tight.  Breakers seem good, heavy duty contacts with large screws that can take a good wrenching on but so many other things need the tiniest screwdriver in the set just to be able to get to the screw and fit in the hairs width slot.

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #201 on: July 31, 2018, 12:54:30 PM »
Spoke to my mate who`s a sparky, he tells me that these cheap units are sh1t and should only be used to trigger a power relay that CAN cope with the load. The draw on the heater element is just shy of 15 amps and the timer is rated at 15 amps, so at it`s limit and will burn out in no time.  I`ll wait till the installer replaces the timer and then fit a power relay after it. May be illegal for me to mess with the electrics but clearly I know how to do it and they don`t and it`s my bloody house that could have burned down! >:(

Very glad to hear you wife is making a good recovery Glort. Keep up the good work with the nursing.

Bob

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #202 on: July 31, 2018, 01:25:50 PM »
Today was the last doy of the coldest month with the least solar radiation here.  So many frosts and so many record setting Cold days.  I hope globull warming is real because we will freeze to death here if the winters keep getting colder. NO one has a lawn here atm, all dead from the frost and everyone has Dead plants in the garden, some a decade or more old.  The almost total lack of rain and low humidity does not help things either.

I have put tens of thousands of litres of water on my lawns and gardens, had runoff and mush one week and rock hard 3 weeks later. Amazing.

Crunched the numbers for the power for the month.

Phase 1 Used 46 Kwh for the month over and above what the solar generated.  That phase currently has 9.5 Kw connected as well as the water heater, Septic system pumps,  stove and some power outlets.

Phase 2 was 20 Kwh down. This has about 9kw attached also but 4 KW of that is due west. The other 5 Kw is the current ground array which gets a lot of shading, bird poop and other inefficiency. It has been running just below the 4x Kw day rating which I'm happy with.  This phase has more lower demand loads like lighting, some power outlets, bathroom light heaters and garden lighting.

About 2 weeks to go in the present quarter and so far I am 250 KW down on phase 1 and 237 Kw down on phase 2. A total of about $131 at my power rates.
I have not read or counted the 3rd phase as I can't backfeed or do anything about it. The only thing it is connected to is one leg of the AC.  I expect that will be somewhere in the $300 ball bark. There will also be a $100 connection charge.  $500 may not be cheap quarterly bill to some people but then again those people are probably not 100% electric households either.

All together, not bad. Considering this has been so far the coldest winter in at least 100 years here ( just our luck for it to be our first winter here) and the many inefficiency still in my system, Could have been much worse.

Weather is absoloutley the determining factor in production though.. Last month I was down 191 Kwh on phase1 and 215 Kwh on phase 2.  Thankfully this month was much better.
My many geeky calculations Via the PV watts site tells me that August has around a 25% Jump  in solar radiation over July so with continuing good weather, it may be possible to knock a little off total consumption for the billing period in the next 2 weeks and start going into credit for the next billing Cycle.

Without the solar I figure we would have easily been up for a $1500 Power bill this quarter. My brother in law round the corner reckons he will be up for closer to $2k as does my mate 20 min father out.
I have spent less than $2k on all my solar proclivity, might be half that actually because I have onsold some panels and equipment now and made good money on it.  I'll keep looking for more panels both for myself and to onsell. The aim will be to change all my own panels over to 250w Min.  I don't have a lot under that now, about 6Kw worth, but I'll try for all 250's to make things easier in setting up arrays that are all the same.  Everything is 8 panel strings now but with varying voltages and amperage's.

It's certainty been one of my more profitable Hobby/ pastimes, that's for sure.  :laugh:

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #203 on: July 31, 2018, 01:56:49 PM »
  I`ll wait till the installer replaces the timer and then fit a power relay after it. May be illegal for me to mess with the electrics but clearly I know how to do it and they don`t and it`s my bloody house that could have burned down! >:(

Spot on Bob!

Ships me to tears when all the moral do gooders go on about legalities and act like anything you do to your own place is an guaranteed certainty you will burn the joint down yet there are SO many stories of the so called qualified types stuffing up so badly and causing problems they are supposed to prevent by being licensed!

I had a feeling the relay would be under rated for the job and the guy that put a 15A rated timer on a 15A load needs a good kick in the Bollocks.
He'd not get away not get away without knowing how unhappy I was and what I thought of his cheap arse work and slack standards in trying to make a quick buck.


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #204 on: August 05, 2018, 08:37:21 AM »

So far the weather this week has been kind.

Getting warmer ( a very nice 24 yesterday) so heating requirement is less and the sun has been shining well.
made A tad over 50 Kwh today which put me 10 Kwh in credit which was good. So far for the month and 36 Kwh in front so making some inroads on winter consumption.

Got up and cleaned  panels on the south side of the shed yesterday. What a freaking Mess!
I thought I had cut back the tree far enough as there is no over hang but the amount of bird crap all over everything was disgusting. I waqs surprised the panels were putting out a Watt! Easy 60% surface area was crap encrusted! 
Got to say  I'm getting real over birdlife here. Everything gets crapped on. The cars were a mess as well this week and where the things sit on the TV antenna is just built up whit crap and stains all down that area of the roof.  I'll put something up there once I get mates Scissor lift to keep them off.
Tress are going to get a good prune as well.  My panels in the yard always has crap, 10% of the washing always has to be redone, things are a pest.

It seems to be introduced species like Indian minors. There are a lot of beautiful parrots and I don't see them sitting anywhere much, just feeding on the lawn and in the native trees. Seems to be the other things that are the trouble makers.  They would be piled in heaps on the ground if I could still have an air rifle.

Said to mrs this summer I'm going to have to make a solar powered scare crow as well with flapping arms to put up near the garden keep everything away including Cockatoos which are like plagues as well. 

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #205 on: August 14, 2018, 10:43:36 AM »

Weather has been good although with some cloudy days, some of which brought on the cloud edge effect and produced great outputs.

Today was the best day in a long time, a very helpful 56 Kwh.  I managed to wind the meters back 15 kwh for today despite accidentally leaving the air on all last Night. Probably didn't kick in a lot but it would have used 5-10 kw just cycling. Pretty sure the air is cheaper than using the small heaters. Just not enough winter generation to make up for them.

I think I found one power drain yesterday.  Was in the garden near the septic and noticed a Noise. Opened the tank lid and could hear the pump running which had sucked the chamber dry and was gurgling trying to get the last bit of water.  the thing has a float switch and I noticed the float switch was hung up between the inlet pipe and the Chlorinator.  Had people over on Sunday so the extra load may have raised the chamber height and allowed the float to get higher than normal and then stuck.

Was more worried about the pump burning out than the power use but although I made good power yesterday, that phase was severely down which did have me wondering.  2 hp pump running non stop even unloaded has still got to be pulling 500W.  I got to wonder if this has been happening before?
It is a possible thing as to why the power use was high hen the Mrs was here.  2 Of us send the tank level up, float gets stuck till the level rises again and it frees itself.  I don't think it's the single answer but it's certainly good for a partial reason.  I tied the float back so it can not move sideways to get stuck there again.  I'm thinking I might put a voltage monitor on the thing as well so it only pumps out during higher voltage and install a second level switch that over rides if it gets too high say in overcast weather or something.


Quarterly meter read is tomorrow.

Phase one I have used over winter 325 Kwh. Phase 2 has tallied up 92 Kwh. Phase 3 I haven't checked, too scared.  I reckon that could be up to 1000 KWH because I can't back feed that one.  I'm hoping the bill is under $500 total.  Always going to be a bit over $100 of that for connection fees. Gold plating those power poles IS expensive. They just don't seem to have got to it round here as yet.
Although this bill will be significant, I can see the amount of power I have made and it would be I figure in the order of $2000 without the solar feed in.
I looked on one inverter yesterday and the savings that has made me this year was $2300 alone.  I'm probably at $2500 on everything I have spent on this so given the other arrays combined which would be generating more than this one,  I am waaaay ahead on my investment and it's only about 10 Months since I set it all up .

The next 6 Months I expect to be making more power than I can use which is good and frustrating in a way.  Although I'm still a bit down on one phase which has the hot water and stove connected, I expect I'll be able to easily exceed demand with that by the end of this month and from then on I'll be getting ahead.

Really would like to figure out how I can supplement that 3rd phase which only has the air on it.  This is going to be a HOT summer.
Only thing I can think of is a seperate inverter feeding the phase that is switched when the AC compressor comes on.  On the hot days the thing will probably run pretty much flat out anyway and if I turn the temp down that will help make the thing stay engaged not kick in and out too much.

ajaffa1

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #206 on: August 14, 2018, 12:00:02 PM »
Hey Glort, one thing I have found is that it is much cheaper to keep a home cold/warm than to heat it or cool it once it has become uncomfortable. Hook the AC to your solar and use it as much as possible during the day, much cheaper to come home to a cold/warm house than to come home to a hot/cold one and try to heat/cool it down using imported electricity when it gets dark. Ditto hot water, which should never be heated at night. I have also found that when boiling the kettle, it is a very good idea to put any excess hot water into a thermos flask. Your next cuppa costs nothing.

Bob

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #207 on: August 14, 2018, 02:18:16 PM »
Hey Glort, one thing I have found is that it is much cheaper to keep a home cold/warm than to heat it or cool it once it has become uncomfortable. Hook the AC to your solar and use it as much as possible during the day, much cheaper to come home to a cold/warm house than to come home to a hot/cold one and try to heat/cool it down using imported electricity when it gets dark.

Totally agree Bob and that was my plan.

The last couple of weeks I have been putting the air on about 4 PM before the temps plummet.  Here, as soon as the sun goes down, the temp drops like a stone. Easier for the reverse Cycle to pull heat out of 20o air than  8o or less.  I notice at night the thing runs much longer to keep the same temps and I don't believe it's because the house is loosing more heat but rather because it takes longer to pull the heat out the cold air.

My father has done the same thing with his fire for years.  He keeps it just going all day. It does not use much wood and what it does use would be burnt anyway trying to get the place up to temp. He says when he does let it go out, time the cold is really out the place, it's time for bed and he's sat there all evening not really comfortable.

I don't think it's just air temp that makes a place warm or cool but rather the temp of the walls, furniture etc which are all in effect thermal masses which radiate one way or the other.  If everything in the house is hot then that heat will want to escape to the cool air.  you may be trying to cool a thermal mass of several ton in effect.

I am going to hit up my mate that does AC and talk to him about putting a split in the middle of the house I can run off a phase I have the solar attached to.  I'm thinking even if it's a smaller unit, it will help keep the place from heat soaking and make the temp the Ducted system has to deal with at night, if we need it, a lot lower.


Quote
Ditto hot water, which should never be heated at night. I have also found that when boiling the kettle, it is a very good idea to put any excess hot water into a thermos flask. Your next cuppa costs nothing.

Bob

That's smart thinking! Too smart for me, never would have thought of that! I know the Mrs has a few thermos flasks in the Cupboard that we rarely use.   May as well put them to beneficial use.  I think we have one of those ones with the pump thing on the top. That would be ideal just to sit on the bench.
I have been using an old urn up the back as a dummy load to take care of my excess solar Voltage. it's a bit dodgy and I think the plastic is breaking down because even though it gets refilled with perfectly clean water, it always smells funny and I won't drink out of it anymore.
I was only thinking today that I need to go buy another urn to put this power to some use.  With that and the Thermo, the power could be fully utilised.

The water heating at night is spot on as well. I was using my Voltage monitor to only kick the HWS on when the solar was generating.
That was working well but was a temp, Ad hock setup which the Mrs.  fairly got got a bit sick of seeing. I tidyied everything up and took it off and it's been annoying me.  The way I'm set up, wether the power is used day or night does not matter but the water heater is a great " Ballast" for the high line voltage so having it only kick in during the day has added benifits.

For us, having it heat during the day also gives hotter water when we use it in the evening. Heating at night means it's sat there for maybe 20 Hours before we use it. Figures I have seen on losses show that a heater the size we have in winter temps could loose as much as 9 Kwh worth of heat and 4-5 would be a minimum.  I have done some work insulating the pipes coming out to stop some heat loss there but I'm thinking of insulating it more around the whole tank.  I think even putting a thick black plastic bag around it would probably help but I'm a bit concerned if this would trap moisture and cause rust or electrical issues.

I am going to look again for a smaller heater to use as a pre heater. Was tossing up about that but I think it would be worth while.  Will be useless in summer but in winter with some dedicated panels, I think even if it only gets the water to 20o, it will be a worthwhile saving on the 4o input I measured a few weeks ago with a known accurate thermometer.

I have a lot of ideas and was wondering about looking for a proper Evac tube water heater but I think what I need to do is sit down and put all the things on paper and come up with a combined plan.  I have a 100Kw spa heater i'm in the process of fitting an oil burner to so if I get that up and running and use it as the heating next winter, it will save a lot of other things. Just need to think it all through and work to a plan that will address all the requirements and assets I have and still not make the place look like a Hobo's shack. :0)

glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #208 on: August 17, 2018, 11:33:34 AM »

Just amazing how fast and how far the solar radiation has come up.  Have not had less than 51 Kwh every day this week.  Haven't changed a thing but the power increase over what I was getting a month ago is substantial.

My ground mount ( leaning on the hedge) 5KW system today did  25Kwh.  Would not have believed it if it had not been going over the 4X generation rate all week. Meter reading was Wednesday, I'm already up almost 40Kwh. Been leaving the AC on all night as well but instead of running about 60% of the time Cycling and running, It kicks in about every 20 Min, runs for a few min and shuts down again.

Might look at taking the ground mount down in another few weeks if I haven't got it on the roof.
Just not going to need the power.
Either that or leave it where it is, Fill an IBC with water,  put an element in it and some paneling around it and have ourselves a Spa.


glort

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Re: More panels!
« Reply #209 on: August 29, 2018, 02:56:30 PM »

After a few annoying days of overcast weather with little to no rain, today the sun came out to make up for some of the lost generation.

Monday was a dismal 15 Kwh, yesterday was a bit better at 37,  today was an all time high by a good margin, a healthy 66Kwh!

I never stop learning with this solar thing.  Today was bright and clear and my main array and inverter was happily pumping 4.2 Kw of power down the line with me only having 400W of " Ballast"  load on it to keep the voltage down. Other days the thing is generating 3000W and I have to put a Kw of waste load to keep the voltage in check.

Going through the inverter data this afternoon I hit a high of 4500W for that array.  Never seen that before either. I suspect it was a peak output before the inverter tripped out but I did see the thing holding at 4200w for a good couple of hours which was great. 
3 days of rain predicted over the next week which means I can look forward to more clear sky and sunny weather to help the solar generation along.
Weather has turned cold again, 1.5 so using the AC to keep the place warm but still at the same power use on the meters as we were a week ago despite the low power days.

Going to have to check one of my ground arrays in the morning.  Went out to investigate a noise before, thought it may have been a fox but it was a nice  Grey Kangaroo.  Dog wanted to play and the thing tried to hide behind my panels and the dog chased it in there.  Got a bit caught up in the wires so I'll have to make sure it didn't pull anything out.

I'll put some tubs of water out tomorrow for them. they are coming in to the estate in search of water and green juicy vegetation. I have a couple of plants in the garden Kanga's love so that is probably attracting them too.

Wonder if there is some simple device I could put on a camera to take a pic when it detected them?