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Thread: Saturday at home, installing an inverter

  1. #211
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Well in my area in Johannesburg, I have had a good number of power fails, and on 3 occasions, the cables were stolen. When cables are stolen, the period to power returned varied from 8 hours to 30 hours. Fortunately I have a 10KVA genny as part of my arsenal.

    The biggest problem with most inverters with built in chargers, is that they continually supply a float charge to the battery. This is what kills the battery if you do not cycle your batteries at regular intervals. Connecting solar panels, does maintain the batteries at full energy, and goes through the switching off period of approximately 15 hours. This allows the chemistry to
    recover.

    I suggest that you should look at acquiring an grid tied inverter. What this does, is that it supplies power to your load by the amount that your panels can provide, there by saving you on the Eskom electricity meter. At least then you will get some money back for your investment.

    Just remember, the reason for no load shedding is because industry has reduced in size, the high number of unemployment is testament to this, both in manufacturing and mining, and some of the large smelters have shut their doors. When the economy picks up (I am being optimistic here), and industry starts growing, and power required, we will have load shedding again. Right now, every couple of evenings, we get messages on the TV to switch off loads which are not required, because the grid is strained - so what about the story that the power problem is something from the past?
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

  2. #212
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Lol, I like it. You've got 4 different approaches suggested to the problem which is great.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverNodashi View Post
    .....Get the datasheet off the internet and see how many months it can be stored without a charge. Then discharge and recharge it, say 2 weeks before that period....
    I advise against keeping lead acid batteries discharged for any period of time. If you wanted to 'store' the batteries so they don't deteriorate until a time comes when load-shedding may start again then I'd suggest draining the electrolyte entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by bergie View Post
    i would keep the system and go the solar panel route. your 3 kva axpert has a built in solar charger. i am doing the same with my 5 kva axpert. i plan to run my pool pump,lights and other light duty appliances in the daytime. i will use the batteries for a short while at night,with a high cut off voltage. with eskom prices going up and up ,it will pay itself off quickly.
    Did you do the numbers on this? I just assumed it would be financially viable but I'm interested to hear your take on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    ....Right now, every couple of evenings, we get messages on the TV to switch off loads which are not required, because the grid is strained - so what about the story that the power problem is something from the past?
    Are they still asking people to reduce load during peak times? I had no idea, I very rarely watch TV and I haven't seen anything in the newspapers. I'm assuming there's zero actual load-shedding nationwide....I only know what's happening in CT. I'm also wondering if they're still load-shedding selective industrial customers and effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul so the general population (read voting population) wouldn't need to have ,load-shedding any more ??
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  3. #213
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Thought I'd update this and see how everyone else's system has performed and hopefully are still performing.

    My system is still running and the only maintenance it's required in just over 3 years is topping up the water in the batteries several times. About 3 months ago I removed the batteries and connected them to my Optimate charger and ran a diagnostic cycle on them, thankfully they're all tested good so I think the Trojans were a good buy and they should still have a good few years use left in them. The Axpert inverter also proved itself to be a solid unit, I ran it hard... right up to it's specification limits for 15-20 minute durations on numerous occasions and it never gave any problems so that was also a good buy.

    My system was a Godsend back in the days we were having scheduled load shedding but it's not been used much since. At that time it allowed me to have my work computers, servers, router, phones, coffee machine and lights running. Since then it only kicks in maybe once every 4 months when there's an electrical outage or I forget to top up the pre-paid meter and another couple of times a year when I test it. Looking back on it now I wonder if it was worth all the effort and expense. From purely a domestic convenience point of view such as being able to cook dinner, have lights and internet and watch TV during load shedding it probably wasn't but considering how many days it also kept my home office running it certainly made it all worthwhile.
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  4. #214
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Looking back, I am glad I spent my money, I reckon I got my moneys worth. I had already purchased my inverter in 2008. I have had to replace the batteries on 5 occasions, and learnt a hard lesson with respect to the older type inverters with built in charger, and so called 'trickle charger' to keep you battery topped up. This trickle charger is a killer because it eventually damages the battery. The newer charges are supposed to shut down and only come in once the battery voltage falls to a predetermined value.

    Every time I have replaced the 8 batteries, I went to a smaller capacity. Started off at 100A per battery wet cell, now down to 20A gel, and still get about 4 hours usage, since I have reduced power by getting more efficient equipment. Some few years back I also purchased a 11KW diesel generator, and have run some 200 hours since I have had it. The number of times we have had power failures, due to cable theft, and other outages, if it is less than 30 minutes the UPS runs my essentials, anything more than half an hour, I switch the genny on and run my house on it.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    Looking back, I am glad I spent my money, I reckon I got my moneys worth. I had already purchased my inverter in 2008. I have had to replace the batteries on 5 occasions, and learnt a hard lesson with respect to the older type inverters with built in charger, and so called 'trickle charger' to keep you battery topped up. This trickle charger is a killer because it eventually damages the battery. The newer charges are supposed to shut down and only come in once the battery voltage falls to a predetermined value.

    Every time I have replaced the 8 batteries, I went to a smaller capacity. Started off at 100A per battery wet cell, now down to 20A gel, and still get about 4 hours usage, since I have reduced power by getting more efficient equipment. Some few years back I also purchased a 11KW diesel generator, and have run some 200 hours since I have had it. The number of times we have had power failures, due to cable theft, and other outages, if it is less than 30 minutes the UPS runs my essentials, anything more than half an hour, I switch the genny on and run my house on it.
    That's my experience as well. They're cheap, but they work fairly decent for the price.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    Looking back, I am glad I spent my money, I reckon I got my moneys worth. I had already purchased my inverter in 2008. I have had to replace the batteries on 5 occasions, and learnt a hard lesson with respect to the older type inverters with built in charger, and so called 'trickle charger' to keep you battery topped up. This trickle charger is a killer because it eventually damages the battery. The newer charges are supposed to shut down and only come in once the battery voltage falls to a predetermined value.

    Every time I have replaced the 8 batteries, I went to a smaller capacity. Started off at 100A per battery wet cell, now down to 20A gel, and still get about 4 hours usage, since I have reduced power by getting more efficient equipment. Some few years back I also purchased a 11KW diesel generator, and have run some 200 hours since I have had it. The number of times we have had power failures, due to cable theft, and other outages, if it is less than 30 minutes the UPS runs my essentials, anything more than half an hour, I switch the genny on and run my house on it.
    Wow, sorry to hear about your battery problems. What inverter are you using that destroys the batteries so quick? Battery life was something of a worry I had when I bought the Axpert, because it was a fairly new model at the time there were no reviews or reports about it's charging abilities and battery lifespans. Luckily so far so good, I'll be happy if I get 5 or 6 years battery life but I guess only time will tell.
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Will check up and let you know.
    A majority of the built in chargers, have this trickle charger in it. When it is a solar driven charger, this is not a problem, because there is a rest time overnight, however when it is a mains driven charger, then there is this continuous power being pushed into the battery. If the battery is cycled onto battery power a minimum of once a week for an hour or two, then the trickle charge is not an issue. However if there are months and months in which the inverter does not work, this is where there slow degradation of the battery occurs due to the continuous trickle charge. I look at it as a slow (un-) plating process of the battery chemistry as a picture to the reason of the degradation of the battery.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    Ellies Inverters

    I have found the the Ellies invertors, both the 12v 600w and the 24v 1200w systems, do not charge the batteries sufficiently. If I take the 12v system which I have 2 batteries of 105a/h and 65a/h, = 170a/h. My load is 260w. I get around 2hrs of backup time with the Ellies. If I charge the batteries seperately on a intelligent charger, I will get 7 hrs of backup time. I found the same problem on the 24v system using deep cycle batteries as well.
    Has anybody else experienced this?

  9. #219
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Hi Pedromartins. What's the model number of your inverter and what make and model number are your batteries?
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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
    I have found the the Ellies invertors, both the 12v 600w and the 24v 1200w systems, do not charge the batteries sufficiently. If I take the 12v system which I have 2 batteries of 105a/h and 65a/h, = 170a/h. My load is 260w. I get around 2hrs of backup time with the Ellies. If I charge the batteries seperately on a intelligent charger, I will get 7 hrs of backup time. I found the same problem on the 24v system using deep cycle batteries as well.
    Has anybody else experienced this?
    sadly those inverters were cheaply built (though you paid a lot for it due to 3-5 middle men) and generally don't have a decent charging circuit.
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