grid tie or backup modes

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EA6LE-ONE
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My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
6 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 6 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
78 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, Radian GS8048A,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by EA6LE-ONE »

I feel your pain. We have been hit by Irma and Maria as well, Irma did a lot of damage, Maria was not that bad. We have been out of power about 2 weeks in my area and luckily my old solar system did well. We cook with electricity in our house and needed to start the generator few hours daily also using AC as well. The outback equipment is one of the best on the marked. Its reliability depends on design and condition is used. I use propane generator as I don’t need to run and maintain as a gas or diesel generator. Is not design 24/7 365 but for few days maybe weeks at time will be fine.
The new house was designed with solar in mind and is all solar powered without using grid. Only occasionally when is really dark and no sun production I use the grid to top up my batteries. The generator was started for test only 2 times in the last 18 months. The outback equipment I have at the old house is about 9 years old with 7 years old batteries that haven’t been used correctly from the beginning, they still have about 50-60% capacity and are ok for 10KW daily generation. With the new systems at my new house I had only one problem with the Mate3s which Outback replaced it in Warranty. So I can say I am really happy with Outback and the support we have here on this forum. We have a good collective here that we try to help each other to solve our problems quickly and efficient. No system is alike here with many using different designs and equipment. This is beauty of Outback equipment being modular and can be designed for many applications. We will try to help you and advise you how to get the most from your equipment.
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EA6LE-ONE
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Posts: 475
Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 7:51 am
My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
6 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 6 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
78 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, Radian GS8048A,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by EA6LE-ONE »

In the picture you posted look like is a Mate3 and not a Mate3s.
What is wrong with your mate?
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by pss »

I have read the thread. The soup tastes awful. Too many cooks giving differing opinions. So here is my 2 cents worth of advice:

For a few dollars you can buy a small weather station for indoors in your room which will tell you the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. Just watch these for a period of time and see if they remain within the operating conditions (technical specifications) specified by Outback in the Radian manual. If they do, no problem, if they don't then make the necessary ventilation adjustments. As far as salt air and the equipment lasting, I did not see how far away you are from the ocean breeze. But essentially if most construction is done with stainless steel fasteners outdoors because everything else corrodes, then that could become an issue. But remember, it is the corrosion of salt carried in the air, so maybe keep your indoor setup ventilation from having too many windows or doors opened to the outside.

And lastly, it seems you have asked the question: What is the best way to use my Outback System to lengthen the life expectancy of the equipment considering I have batteries and I am attached to a utility grid? As for your battery bank, I would get in touch with the manufacturer technical support of the batteries you are using and ask them about the frequency and depth of charge cycles and how to keep you batteries fresh over time without a lot of use to power loads until needed. As for the Outback Equipment like the Radian, it will last indefinitely if you simply bypass it (with breakers) and only turn it on to run loads when the utility power is absent. But, and this is the big deal, if your utility has brief power outages and brownouts (low voltage) then you will want to consider running the Radian in BACKUP or SUPPORT mode to smooth out the power delivery to your loads. I understand you do not want to replace your grid use, so MINIGRID and GRID ZERO are settings which do just that. GRID TIED can be configured to not sell back to the GRID and to really just have the PV you generate charge the batteries every day. Of course, this is a waste of the daily sunshine if you have no use for the generated PV power. The Radian onboard battery charger can be manually turned ON or OFF to be used when needed. It can be left in the ON position to charge the batteries when they become discharged before a new PV cycle is available.

Now, in a real world situation, you have to plan for these conditions:
A storm hits the island, the utility is off line, but your equipment is not damaged and working fine. In that case, you only need to make certain your battery bank can supply the loads to make you comfortable. A second scenario is a case in which a storm hits the island, the utility grid is down and your equipment (the PV panels and outdoor structure) is damaged, but your indoor equipment is unharmed. In this case, you will not have use for a prolonged period of time until the PV is repaired. So you are now going to rely on your portable generator which is attached to the second AC input of the Outback Radian to both power the loads and charge your batteries. The generator will need to run 24 hours a day in this case until the PV is fixed. If the PV becomes fixed and the utility is still down, then the generator can supply loads and maintain battery at night while the PV will supply loads and battery in the daytime, resting the generator. In your setup, a generator with a continuous output of about 7500 watts and surge of 10,000 to 12,000 would be desireable to run loads of 4000 watts and charge batteries at 3500 watts at the same time.

If the utility is down and the solar equipment is damaged both outdoors and indoors, generator is the only answer until repairs are made.

Lastly, you need to review the installation of your system and make certain you have some spare breakers and fuses to use as replacements after a store because getting them once a storm causes a lot of damage will be difficult.

And finally, your battery bank is valued at close to $6,000 so it will be necessary to make certain it is not damaged by being run down to quickly or too low and that you have a supply of distilled water to top it off with if you get a period of heavy use and you also have a hydrometer to test the specific gravity of the cells.

Good luck.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by sbrownian »

Just curious, what is the availability of propane in the Puerto Rico situation mentioned earlier?

And, Eagle One is correct about the battery location and ventilation.

The one picture you posted is a bank of batteries ON THEIR SIDES. That means that they are probably VRLA or at minimum, AGM style cells. They don't outgas like FLAs do. (Unless something is set incorrectly, and then you have a bigger problem anyway.)

Battery outgassing will cause sulfuric acid vapors to spread out from the battery bank, and anything close to that is subject to corrosion, although you mentioned something about having catalyst recovery caps for the batteries?
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EA6LE-ONE
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 7:51 am
My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
6 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 6 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
78 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, Radian GS8048A,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by EA6LE-ONE »

The second picture he post it was a stock picture from Outback. His pictures are with the red batteries.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

In the picture you posted look like is a Mate3 and not a Mate3s.
What is wrong with your mate?

One Mate 3 dead, the replacement a Mate 3s also dead.
Going for the 3rd Mate 3?

You can follow the story, my experience with Outback cannot be any worse?

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=13389
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

- "A second scenario is a case in which a storm hits the island, the utility grid is down and your equipment (the PV panels and outdoor structure) is damaged, but your indoor equipment is unharmed".

Very difficult outdoor structure and PV panels will be damaged. The steel structure is capable of withstanding hurricane force winds over 150 mph. The panels are protected by a projecting roof parapet and they are so close to the roof wind will barely go underneath the panels, structurally the worst possible condition. A weaker installation at my neighbors survived Maria with no damage. My system was installed after Maria, who knows maybe this hurricane season will be tested. The steel structure is tied with ss bolts to a concrete roof. Hurricanes do nothing to concrete roof even if cat IV - V like Maria. I am a civil engineer with a MSCE, I know a bit about structures. Even my windows are hurricane proof, after Maria all we lost were a a few vegetation leaves, though an exterior lighting fixture rotated a bit, took me less than five minute to plumb it. Whenever there is a hurricane warning all I do is remove a weak patio pole and tie down the covers of underground garbage cans. I am not close to sea shore and the neighborhood is protected against wind by "mogote" formation you can see in the photo, salt is not an issue at home. All my issue is with having no power after the storm.
Last edited by davilara on Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

-"Battery outgassing will cause sulfuric acid vapors to spread out from the battery bank, and anything close to that is subject to corrosion, although you mentioned something about having catalyst recovery caps for the batteries?"

I mentioned but do not have them, I will buy them after the OutBack system start operating again, if ever. I am seriously considering dumping the inverter and put no more money into it.
Last edited by davilara on Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

- "With the new systems at my new house I had only one problem with the Mate3s which Outback replaced it in Warranty. "

Well this will be my 3 rd whatever Mate version, they are garbage.

BTW it was well documented some Outback power card had issues, not surprisingly I got one of these.
Last edited by davilara on Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

Outback should prohibit use of FLOODED DEEP CYCLE BATTERY if they are to limit DC cables to 10 ft. while requiring the batteries to be on a separate room.
001 (2).jpg
I wonder why they still sell such undesirable batteries?
0033.jpg
With such poor 2 years limited warranty.
https://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/ ... t_warr.pdf
0044.jpg
On the other hand Rolls provide 2-3 years product warranty and a limited warranty of 7 years.
Last edited by davilara on Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by sbrownian »

GS8048 I help with had two 48v power supplies go 'poof.'

Both times it was a small SMD transistor or three-legged something or other that was gone, leaving a black blast circle on the board. They say the latest version has been redesigned, and so far no more issues in the last few years...
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

by EA6LE-ONE » Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:40 am - Keep the battery temperature under 80F.
- It looks like AGM are expensive but poor performers in the Tropics.
- Rolls batteries have no problem with battery temperatures up to 125F. For warranty they require a temperature sensor such as Outback.
- In Puerto Rico temperature is above 80F most of the time so AGMs are not suitable unless you keep them 24/7 cooled by an AC unit.
- Good to know.
- In no way I am an expert, I am a customer asking for good advice from people who are qualified.
Last edited by davilara on Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

by davilara » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:29 am -Do any one of you know why my "smart" meter reads VOLT LO?
- With the poor record of our electric utility I suspect in their last visit when the utility took off the meter and installed it back again they did it in the wrong way.
- My solar system installer told me to look at the meter when they take it out to check it, if it was wrongly installed as the burned out contacts will show if this was the case.
- https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions ... f-my-house
see this webpage for an example. (Note that though that website would like to blame the problem on a "smart meter", the problem in that case has nothing to do with the smart meter itself, instead it's a problem caused by the poor training of the workers who installed the smart meter.)
- Anyway I still wonder what the VOLT LO reading means, maybe it is not an issue of Meter installation.
Last edited by davilara on Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MUCH more efficient!!
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by sbrownian »

The company that built that meter was sold back in 2014 from what I'm able to find. Very little info out on the web about it.

It has a built in optic coupler (the circular metal post thing with holes in it,) and with the proper serial adapter and software, it could be tested without dismounting it.

Older Jem and Jemstar revenue meters use something identical.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meter-arcing/

- "By them widening the clips, the caused an area of no contact which then caused arcing every time we used and appliance with 220v."

If they do not remove the meter it might be possible the widening of the clips and burned out area will not show. I am not sure this test will simulate/detect the arching due to faulty installation.

Many Outback connections require specific tightness/torque, in a similar fashion if meter installer mess with the meter clips the required tightness will not be met.
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My RE system: System 1:
MATE3s, 3 x Radian GS8048A,
6 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10,
2 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 6 x FLEXware ICS Plus,
78 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W

System 2:
MATE3s, Radian GS8048A,
2 x FLEXmax 100, HUB10
1 x EnergyCell 48V 2700RE,
1 x FLEXnet DC, 2 x FLEXware ICS
21 x PANASONIC VBHN325SA17 325W
Location: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Isl.

Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by EA6LE-ONE »

davilara wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:07 am by EA6LE-ONE » Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:40 am - Keep the battery temperature under 80F.
- It looks like AGM are expensive but poor performers in the Tropics.
- Rolls batteries have no problem with battery temperatures up to 125F. For warranty they require a temperature sensor such as Outback.
- In Puerto Rico temperature is above 80F most of the time so AGMs are not suitable unless you keep them 24/7 cooled by an AC unit.
- Good to know.
- In no way I am an expert, I am a customer asking for good advice from people who are qualified.
AGM have better performance than flooded. They are rated to operate up 85F without major deterioration. Most acid based batteries will deteriorate faster the hotter it gets. The AGMs and flooded can operate at 125F but will lose like 50% cycle capacity for every 10C over 25C or every 18F over 77F.

The disadvantage of the AGM is overcharging or undercharging.

In my case I built a special room with AC all the time. Right now I am running the AC the lowest and the battery temperature goes around 70F at night and during charging goes up to 80F. Most of the time is 77F when is reaching 100%.
I do have 5 servers that are running and the room get a bit hot during day. I might move 2 of them out by next month when the temperature will start going up here.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

- There is a huge difference between battery temperature and ambient temperature, same as it is inside oven temperature and ambient temperature, both matter.
- Current outside air temperature is 78F and breezy, in my garage should be a bit lower as it is on the first floor of a 2 stories house. Average ambient temperature in Puerto Rico is 80F.
2021-04-10 06 31 35.jpg
- I cannot tell you the current temperature of my batteries because my Outback system is out of service, waiting once again for a Mate 3 whatever version replacement.
- We are also waiting for the electric utility to check what is happening with the electric service, we asked them to verify the smart meter as we suspect there is an issue. If we go Backup mode this issue should not affect my Outback but still be able to damage other equipment and become a fire hazard. We still might consider going Grid Tie but only after making sure everything is fixed.
- My installer does a lot of commercial jobs, he knows his business, he is a licensed engineer and his electricians are certified as required by law. He was yesterday estimating a multi-million million dollars job, a fly-by night contractor cannot dream of getting a Bid Bond for this project size. As the Outback is in mechanical by-pass with all breakers off there is no way the issue is with the inverter programming. I would not be surprised if Outback people know about this job, not the biggest in the world but still a good job for any equipment supplier.
Last edited by davilara on Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:13 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by sbrownian »

Infrared thermometers have really dropped in price.

The last one we bought had a "body" mode with an expanded scale, (yeah, thanks for nuttin' COVID,) and a "measure everything else" that you could use to use for surface temps of ordinary household stuff.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

The use of batteries is minimal in either Backup mode or Grid Tied mode; I suspect the same, batteries are used only when the grid is down. The difference is that Backup mode does not sells to the utility keeping inverter use minimal. Power outages are not frequent and are of short duration plus hurricane hit are not frequent though catastrophic, within the four years science I installed my system we had no hurricane hit. Maybe this is the reason why I cannot see corrosion anywhere and everything looks shiny and new. Currently not working, but shiny. :lol:
Anyway I will get hydrocaps for 8 batteries as the others are back to back separated by a concrete block wall. In case of a hurricane hit they will do their job.
https://rollsbattery.com/wp-content/upl ... sR-CAP.pdf
ob01.jpg
ob00.jpg
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

Surrette Rolls S6 L16-HC (S-550) 445Ah 6V Deep Cycle Battery (formerly S-550) have a 2000 cycles rating at 50% DOD while Outback Power EnergyCell 2700RE (Renewable Energy) High Capacity 48V AGM Battery System 2288Ah (20Hr Rate) have a 1800 cycle life at 50% DOD. No doubt DOD and cycle life must be taken into account. Just make the numbers yourself. What is the 50% DOD cycle cost for Outback Power EnergyCell 2700RE?
https://rollsbattery.com/battery/s6-l16-hc/
https://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/ ... asheet.pdf
2021-04-10 12 12 53.jpg
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by raysun »

AGM batteries traditionally have a higher per-cycle cost when compared to Flooded Lead Acid batteries - provided of course, that the FLA batteries are properly maintained.

Personally, I loathe the mess and bother of FLA maintenance, so when choosing Lead, choose AGM. Others have a different tolerance for this maintenance and realize the promise of lowest per-cycle cost with a good quality FLA battery.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by davilara »

AGM batteries have their place but it comes at a price. I believe my installer use them for an installation in Mona Island. Checkup and maintenance of my Rolls batteries takes me 20 minutes every 4 months. I see no mess in using a dropper to measure specific gravity, and by the way the refractometer and dropper are not that heavy.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by raysun »

Yes. Its not difficult to maintain flooded batteries, just tedious. Many don't mind. To me, its like fingernails scraped across a blackboard.

Of course, I have a very easy solution that brings immediate relief - spend $$$$$$ and put in a lithium battery. 😆
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by pss »

I have 32 Trojan T105-RE in my bank. Essentially 40,000 watts. I paid $4,200 for them in March 2017. A 50% rundown is 20,000 watts. I usually run them down 10,000-13,000 watts on a daily basis. I make random periodic checks of the individual cell SG. I have all of my charge parameters set to manufacturer specs. have wide temperature compensation enabled and a temperature sensor in the middle of the bank. The bank sits on shelves in my garage. There is a 4" powered vent van above the bank and an open unpowered 4" vent below the bank. In the winter, the battery temperature is never below the low 60's and in the summer heat, the battery temperature can reach 98 degrees (still within Trojan specs).

In the 4 years of babying these batteries, I have experienced false alarms if I put a CO sensor in the garage (due to conflicts with hydrogen), but no problems with the CO sensors spread all over the home. I have never cleaned the terminals because they are all coated with Kopr Kote at installation. But I do have to water them. After a few months of close observations, I developed a rather simple watering routine. In the winter, I add 30 ml per cell to the batteries every 60 days. In the summer, I add 30 ml every 30 days. In between these times, I take a 10 second peek at a few of the cells to gauge the water level for abnormal behavior.

After 4 years now, the batteries function essentially close to new. 12,000 watt discharge over 5 hours results in a 20% decrease in SOC and the voltage remains above 48.

The hardest part of maintaining FLA batteries is teaching a family member your care routine in case something happens to me.

As for lithium batteries, I like the idea, I just don't like the cost, the unknown warranties and the fitting a square peg into a round Outback Power charging hole. I noted that even the Tesla warranty is for 70 percent capacity at the end of the warranty period, not 100%. So if I need to replace my battery pack, I can purchase the same batteries and be seamless, I will spend a lot less money at this period in time, I will not have 10 year old technology when my lithium batteries could have been supplanted by a small hydrogen fuel cell box or a PV to capacitor to DC input to my inverter. I'm just saying, don't disparage the FLA. It works, it costs less, it has very little to go wrong technologically, it is not maintenance heavy, it can be recycled and requires a smaller initial investment.
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Re: grid tie or backup modes

Post by JRHill »

Just a tidbit after years and years of lead acid batteries. You should exercise them. So whatever mode you choose think about running them down a bit with a moderate+ load and then fully charge them likewise from time to time. This will benefit the longevity and yes its a PITB along with checking SGs and water. The chances are better they will be there in your moment of need. Don't just keep them full.

I fully believe my FLA L16s suffered for a shorter lifetime because I was too easy on them.
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