New off grid home

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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:04 am

I finally got a chance to update the firmware in my charge controller (midnite classic 150) to the latest and greatest. A few features have been added and some support for new products that connect to the classic. along with a lot of small bugs ironed out.

To add the new firmware It's more or less a matter of just downloading the software from there web page. Then plugging your lop top into the usb port on the classic. Though I always take it slow and steady as its not something you want to go pear shaped 1/2 way through.

The 1st big bug improvement for me was logging to the Mymidnte server (midnite solars free online logging server) In the past I had very erratic logging. There was a bug in the firmware that was messing with the logging on some brands of routers. I had big gaps in the graphs. It had its good days and bad days although it was supposed to dial in every 10min even on a good day mine was only dialing in every 1hr or so. Resulting in ugly patchy graphs that didnt paint the full picture and were only good for a quick check to see if you had reached float. Or perhaps get the kwh total for the day. Now I am getting 100% reliable logging every 10min without fail.

Yesterday and part of today
Image

You can clearly see the system reach absorb and hold it there then taper off to end amps setting and trigger float. You can see the little spikes in float as my fridge cuts in throughout the day. Finally you can see at 5pm on the dot the output drops of and my charger is unable to cover base loads and hold float voltage as the sun dips behind the house. I find this 10min resolution works really well. You get a detailed list of data if you select a area on the graph and you can add different things to the graph like time in float or input voltage. I find the three I have above work well.

The next thing that the firmware update added was support for a new product. It's called the "wiz bang junior". It's a shunt based current meter that talks to the Classic charge controller. For now its main use is to inform the classic charge controller what the loads are on the battery and enable (end amps) to be used to trigger float even when the system has inconsistent loads. This will be great for me as I often have the car charging during the day or my wife is washing dishes and loads can be on and off all over the place so you don't often have a steady load to factor into end amp setting to trigger float. Other features will be added to the classic to make more use of the shunt over time. I will run a 2nd set of sense wires to mine so my selectronics inverter can use the same shunt it to do its logging.

I got mine last week (though mine didn't come with the plastic cover on circuit board :x ) Its a 50mv- 500A shut. I will have a go at installing it this weekend.

Image

Another thing not related to the firmware update but a big change I made to the classics settings. I had been running my classic in SOLAR mode but due to my BP panels being wired in 2 series configuration and and a reasonably low voc of 35.2v each (most likely because the initially it was set up for a non MPPT charge controller) Anyhow during a real hot day 35 C or over and around the time when the battery's were almost in absorb so high voltage 58v or so the input voltage from the PV wasn't much higher than the batterys. It was higher but low enough that the classic was trying to sweep all the time and come up with the highest charge power and getting a little flustered. I noticed during this short period it was settling on a less than optimum output. On advice from midnite solar I changed the settings from SOLAR to "Legacy P&O" setting that apparently would give much better results with panel voltage that was closer to Battery voltage. :shock: :shock: :shock: why wasn't I using this seating before! On patchy cloudy day - Tuesday classic was pumping 4700w at 90A (ok a little of that was due to cloud edge effect ) But there was a good hr or so of it holding the full 4000w steady, that's the rated output of my system. It has made a massive improvement to the output of my controller especially during the high voltage areas of the charge.

I have a 2nd classic charge controller now so over the next few weeks I will be installing that along side the old one and adding the additional 4200w of PV for a total of 8200w ready for Electric car charging over winter.

Kurt
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Re: New off grid home

Postby jimbo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:29 am

Good to see you iron out some bugs.
I haven't bought the shunt yet but probably will some time in the future. I also get much better results by using the Legacy P&o.
It would be great if they could log every 5 minutes as it seems to miss a lot of loads but it's a great feature!
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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:50 am

In the past in was actually 5 min logging though I think it was a big ask for there servers. Though I don't know for sure why they changed it to 10min.

If I want full on real time logging and the ability to fully control the charge controller (as in all adjustments available) remotely online I can just use the Local app program .

I use the mymidnite is a quick Gide to the day output. Usually when I am out and about or on holidays as I can just jump on my Iphone and view it within seconds.

Kurt
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Re: New off grid home

Postby jimbo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:05 am

I find the graphs from the local app to not be accurate. Is there a way of running the local app over the internet so settings can be changed from anywhere? That would be handy!
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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:19 am

I don't use the local app for logging or graphs. Just use the dashboard to see real time whats going on and to make changes remotely.

Yes you can log into it over the net. Though you need to have a static ip adress at the classics location or If not and your on a dynamic ip adress (most people are) you need to set up port forwarding and some kind of DNS server to update your dynamic ip address details when they change so you can find it on the net. Its a bit of a frustrating posses to get working (well it was for me) but once its up and running its fine.

Nothing like being able to tweak your system from 100km away or the other side of the world.

Kurt
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Re: New off grid home

Postby franks » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:28 am

Indeed, been using the local app for last 18 months, via 3G connection at our weekender 120kms away, updaded classic firmware now mymidnite works.. suspected the setup had some bugs over last 3 months.
As a side note mymidnite will only work on Google Chrome or IE10+
some desktops at my work still using IE9..cant get the graphs on mymidnite to display.
3.04kW Grid Tie system 16 of 190W PVs, Samil 3.3kW
3.8kW PV Stand Alone Off Grid.. 5-8kWHr Per day
24 of 190W PVs
Midnite Classic 150 & Lite MPPT
8 of 6V 600 AH flooded cells (24 volt 1200 AH)
Outback VFX3024E Inverter Charger
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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:05 pm

I usually just use Firefox and it works fine on that through my laptop and android tablet. Iphone and Ipad, what ever they use standard works fine to. I haven't used internet explorer for about 10 years or more at home. Though a lot of work places want to stick to the black and white basics.


Kurt
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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:03 pm

Just about to purchase 10 x Noark 10 amp Ex9BP-N dual pole non polarity sensitive DC breakers. Just wanted opinions on them they seem to meet all the Standards and approvals .

pic is of 32A
Image

I did look into just fusing - cheaper and a you can fine tune the rating a little finer but I really want easy string isolation you get with DC Circuit breakers.

Anyhow before I lay several hundred down I them thought it would be worth checking as there was some rubbish getting around.

Kurt
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Re: New off grid home

Postby dRdoS7 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:18 am

Hi,

I used 3 * 10a cartridge fuses (1 per string) and a 32a DC CB. They are at the panels, and another 32a DC CB at the Classic. I did it that way so one string could be isolated, if necessary, due to damage, etc. The CBs are purely for isolation, cheaper than a switch. I unwittingly bought a 20a CB for on the roof and it tripped on the second or third day. I wondered why I wasn't getting any power!

I have 3 strings of 4 * 250W panels, running at about 150v DC into a Classic 200.

dRdoS7

Like this (but mine are singles):
FH-1038-2P.jpg
FH-1038-2P.jpg (67.24 KiB) Viewed 3381 times
"I've got an idea. Here, hold my beer."
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Re: New off grid home

Postby offgridQLD » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:31 am

I'm running 10 strings of each has 2 x200w panels . I waned isolation and double pole breaker on each string (as I think it was part of regs now to have them double pole as in protected on ( - &+) as well as being of the non polarity sensitive type. So I went with 10 of the double pole breakers for the combiner box. Its a lot of wiring and a lot of breakers but on a 4000w 20 panel array this it what it boils down to if you want 2s 1p isolation.

Then a 100A breaker at the classic end.

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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