Hi Tom from the Goldie

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Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Monkeytom » Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:55 pm

Hi I am starting to put a system together to maximise the 2k grid tie feed in return we have on the roof,
I started fooling with Batteries and alternate power 40 years ago I lived at Byron Bay and had a Dunlite Model L 1000 watt 32 volt wind generator with a bank of ex telecom 500Ah 2v cells it worked great.
My introduction to solar was in 1987 I bought 4 x 32 watt Solarex 12 volt panels and regulator and they still run our lights today, they look a bit second hand after a bad hail storm in 2005, the glass did not break but some of the crystal wafers were shattered.
I started looking to go solar in 2008 with Beyond belief from Byron Bay but after a year of waiting I finally got Jack of them and got my deposit back and went with a local guy, That was a Gov grant for $8000 what a great deal, at the time there was no 1k grid tie inverters to be had, so for an extra $500 I got a CMS2000 and 6 x 180 panels that worked well. in 2010 I had enough money to get a second Kw string added and they have been paying for more solar stuff ever since. in 2012 after four years the inverter died just out of warranty. the local guy was gone too. I bought a new inverter and with the dollars coming in I have bought more solar stuff.
So far i have bought another 4Kw of thin film solar panels 48 x 80 watt panels for $800 off ebay.
and another 6 x180 watt panels off ebay for $600, I bought a solar axe tracker for the 6 x 180s I will mount on an old satellite dish Horizon to Horizon mount I had and will connect them 2S X 3P and use a New old stock Solarex 20 Amp 48 volt Diode dropper charge regulator I bought yeas ago.
I have just bought 16 New Chinese copies of Trojan T105's golf cart batteries, 6 volt 220Ah and set them up in two cabinets 8 each in series 48 volt @ 220 Ah or 10500 Watt hours each or total storage of 21 Kwh to flat at c20 but I don't want to discharge anymore than about 1/4 max, or use more than about 5Kwh from them before recharging. I have a Ac charger 200 watt or 4 Amps @55v to keep them topped up.
As for inverters I have just bought a MPP PIP4048 a 4Kw 48 volt unit and will buy a second one soon and set them up in Parallel, I bought the cheaper one with Pulse width Modulation solar charger, as I can configure the panels near battery voltage. I had been looking for a second hand good quality 48 volt inverter but could only find 24 volt 3kw ones and I really want to go with the 48 volt system. so time will tell.
We have the grid power on here so this off grid setup can be on grid at the flick of a switch., so this whole exercise is to maximise the paid $0.50 per Kwh into the grid till 2028, and hopefully recover the out of pockets spent on this lot.
I will have 71 solar panels on the roof plus two hot water ones Way to go..Tom
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:13 pm

Welcome to the Energy Matters Forums Tom :)

That's a whole lotta panels on your roof!
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Ray » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:50 pm

Hi Tom,

Not saying that your PIP4048 is not for you but if i was going to buy one of them i would have liked someone to point out this thread to me :D

solar-wind-gear/topic5457.html

Worth doing more research on i think

But they do seem good value if they can do what they say they can.

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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Monkeytom » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:03 am

Hi Ray, Thanks for pointing that post out, I did read that and other posts on them and have done some homework on the PIP4048 and yes there have been many problems along their development, some hardware undersized Caps and Mosfets etc, and software upgrades too, I believe some of the problems were caused by the use of additional faulty Standalone MPPT solar regulator not working and raising the battery voltage, That was one reason I went for the PWM solar charger type inverter, I believe the caps and Mosfets have been upgraded by MPP now and I will be checking that before it gets hooked up.
The main reason I bought it was price, at $870 delivered for the HS (PWM) version there is nothing that comes close with all those features, and I will use a pair so they should have an easy time.
The MS (MPPT)version with Freight is over $1000 and would attract GST,
the next best deal I could find was a red one on Oz epay it had the MPPT and Parallel board fitted $1289 sold here would be an advantage for warranty but still $419 more for one and $838 more for two but I still need to buy two parallel boards so knock $180 off that, So $658 more.
Yes I am hoping I have done the right thing. The 5Kw 48 v victron I priced was $3400.
two of these 4048s 8Kw 48v will cost $1920 yes extra Breakers etc will cost extra but some redundancy is a plus. and like I said we have grid, its not primary power. but I still have my fingers crossed, Regards Tom
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Ray » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:42 pm

Sounds like you got it all worked out,

Also would be good if they have fixed those little problems with the caps etc,

because as you say if you know what your in for then they are great value for money.

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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby station240 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:09 pm

Monkeytom wrote:So far i have bought another 4Kw of thin film solar panels 48 x 80 watt panels for $800 off ebay.
and another 6 x180 watt panels off ebay for $600


I wish I had your luck with ebay, nothing at all in my state.
Still it's good to see a system that has expanded over time, instead of replacing everything as some do.
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Monkeytom » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:57 am

When you look at bang for you buck, Its hard to go past second solar panels, These were hard to find years ago and not cheap when you found some, Supply and demand.
Now that's different, due to people upgrading their solar systems. For whatever reason. maybe their inverter died as so many have, and they got talked into buying some new panels too by a fast talking salesman.
The outcome is good for us and there are plenty of cheap second hand panels to be had, just ask your local solar installer if they can help you find some, or look online.
Most second hand 24 volt panels (72 cell) are 2008 or newer and are claimed to last 20-25 years so should have a good 10 years left in them, I would trust the name brand ones over others and pay accordingly.
I Always take a multi meter and check them all, You can test them under load with a couple of 12v head light bulbs in series if its sunny.
Current prices vary, I have seen used panels over 200 watts fetching around $0.50 a watt E.G. 200 Watt = $100 and 250 watt panels around $125.
and for the bargains, panels for as little as $0.30 a watt, now I think that's a deal. I saw 2.15 Kw of 215 watt panels for $720.
And for Absolute bargains look for Thin Film panels or Amorphous just watch their output voltage is higher and check they suit your application but with MPPT solar charge controllers. On the down side they have about half the watt output size for size as the silicon cell panels, but if you have plenty of roof who cares.
After years of dicking around with this stuff,
I try and buy new batteries, new charge controllers and new inverters and cabling and fuses etc and Used solar Panels, You should be able to go to the corner shop and buy an ice cream with your savings, that's if you can find a corner shop anymore, Hi.
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Monkeytom » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:59 am

Hi all hope your solar is flowing well, bit of an update here, well we have had the system up and running over a year now, and there has been some changes along the way.
The first change was the purchase of a second pip4048hs and the parallel boards these are working nicely, I have a digital current switch in the output line of the master inverter when its output gets to about 2.75 kW it turns the second inverter on thru a timed latching relay and the second inverter stays on for about 30 minutes after the load reduces, this works well for the thermostat on the oven etc, and keeps the idle current down to one inverter for most of the day.
The other big change was batteries, I bought two sets of LiFePO4 prismatic cells from two electric car projects,
The first set were thundersky 90 Ah cells 43 of them and the second set are winston 100Ah cells 45 of them both were Six years old I bought a device that will charge them and discharge them and tell you the capacity of the cell, it's taken a while but I have tested each cell and found a couple of faulty ones otherwise they are all good the TS90 are all at 80-82 Ah and the Winston100's are at 80 or so. And I have bought a few new replacement cells.
I have built packs of ten cells, which I can Cary easily, five Ts and five Winston as a 90 and a 100 in parallel and five of those in series,three of those packs in series is 15s 48 volts each pair has a cell top bms daisy chained to a relay to drop charging current if one cell goes hi.
This system has worked really well and I can say no more holes in shorts and tshirts, I very much like lithium.
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Monkeytom » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:58 pm

Bit more of an update here, All good my two pip4048's are going nicely over a year with two now.
I have just made another change for the better, we were using 4 old Solarex 32w 12 v panels For powering our 12 volt lights, I bought these new in 1987.
They are now 30 years old and have served us well and I will be pleased if the other 95 panels I have on the roof last half as long. Anyway I had noticed the amps from those 4 panels had been dropping off some from being damaged in a heavy hail storm years ago. So I decided to pension them off, the new source of power for our 12 volt lights is a DC to DC converter as used on 48 volt golf carts and available on epay for about 80 clams
It works great and the light are bright all the time with 13.6 volts Image
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Re: Hi Tom from the Goldie

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:59 pm

Tom, I think there is something wrong with your image link, as it isn't displaying for me.

30 years is a good life for panels, I wonder how many of the panels being mass produced today will still be alive in 2047?! I've still got my original pair of BP 59W paenls from 1991 here, and last I checked they still produced power, but quite a way down on their original output.
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