Using a solar generator with a skybox

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Electrictrauma
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Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

Was thinking of adding my bluetti as a backup generator during low production months. Has anyone done this and if so what generator profile did you use?
Ampster
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

I thought the Bluetti was a battery that the marketing people gave it a generator name so they could sell more? How much energy can it provide and for how long?
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

Only has 4k and is mainly used for mobility but won’t be using it much in the winter when my battery capacity can be challenged so thought it might be a good alternate use for it but have never tried the generator funcionality.
provo
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by provo »

Electrictrauma wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 5:49 am Only has 4k and is mainly used for mobility but won’t be using it much in the winter when my battery capacity can be challenged so thought it might be a good alternate use for it but have never tried the generator funcionality.
I know nothing about these units, but I'm curious ... what's the Bluetti model number?
Did you buy Bluetti-branded solar panels at the same time, and how many watts of those?
Ampster
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My RE system: 7.9 kW self installed Enphase system NEM 2.0 PTO 9*2021. Skybox, and heat pump/AC system. The Skybox is powered by a 42 kWh pack of LFP batteries and 2kW panels. It is used in self consumption mode for load shifting and backup.
Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

4k? Is that kW of power or kWh of energy?
I would check with Bluetti to see if it is able to be connected to a generator port of a hybrid inverter like the Skybox. What little I know of these devices is that they are intended to be used standalone. The generator port of the Skybox is bidirectional which means you have to be very careful how you wire it to the Bluetti otherwise you will have a suicide cord.
Is your goal to charge the batteries in the Skybox with the Bluetti?
Last edited by Ampster on Sun Jul 31, 2022 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

The model is the ac200p…they also have expansion capacity so it has a 2000 watt inverter 2000 watt battery capacity and an expansion battery with 2000 watts. I envisioned setting the batteries to take over loads if the main battery bank gets low. The technology is interesting some run rvs on them, camping or emergency backup. My model accepts 700 watt of solar, I have some solar on a shed or household current to charge.
provo
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by provo »

Electrictrauma wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 9:16 am The model is the ac200p…they also have expansion capacity so it has a 2000 watt inverter 2000 watt battery capacity and an expansion battery with 2000 watts. I envisioned setting the batteries to take over loads if the main battery bank gets low.
Watts vs watt-hours: Power output (instantaneous) is watts (W). Energy output (watts for a certain time) is watt-hours (Wh). Anyway, I'm not sure the 2000Wh expansion battery is usable with the ac200p. But I've tried using my Honda EU2000i (2000W) to run my loads and, frugal as I am, it's rarely enough!
Ampster
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Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

provo wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 9:55 am ........
Watts vs watt-hours: Power output (instantaneous) is watts (W). Energy output (watts for a certain time) is watt-hours (Wh). Anyway, I'm not sure the 2000Wh expansion battery is usable with the ac200p. But I've tried using my Honda EU2000i (2000W) to run my loads and, frugal as I am, it's rarely enough!
At least your Honda generator can keep running as long as you keep it filled with gas. In the case of the OP he might only have two hours worth of batteries in his Bluetti, if that. Without a good understanding of the difference between Watts and Watthours, there is going to be some disappointment when the lights go out.
:eek:
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
provo
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by provo »

Ampster wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 11:08 am
At least your Honda generator can keep running as long as you keep it filled with gas. In the case of the OP he might only have two hours worth of batteries in his Bluetti, if that, so without a good understanding of the difference between Watts and Watthours, there is going to be some disappointment when the lights go out.
:eek:
The other disappointment is 3500 cycles out of LFP -- closer to the NMC chemistry used in EV's. Sheesh, SimpliPhi claims 10,000 cycles!
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

I don’t generally use a ton of energy 8-15 kwh per day mostly under .5 per hour so a 3 to 4 hour bridge during the darkest month or two would be sufficient for my purposes. As far as battery technology I can pretty much guarantee whatever any of us have will be primitive in a few years. No suicide plug, my skybox serves a protected load so should be fine. Guess I’ll just have to experiment with it a bit, never have had a reason to use the generator since pg&e was shutting down the whole state after they incentivized their new ceo’s bonus package on safety which made me get off the grid in the first place!
raysun
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by raysun »

Can Skybox function with 120VAC input?
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

That is how its designed, not full functionality but better than stringing extension cords…I will see if the generator option works, if not, I can take some of the load off the battery bank by powering the heat pump I have with the bluetti….heating and cooling is everything, unless you have an ev.
Ampster
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Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

raysun wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:38 pm Can Skybox function with 120VAC input?
Do you mean can it accept input on one leg of the split phase on the generator port? That is a good question that may apply to the Bluetti? I never thought of that but just checked and there is no reference to anything but 110 volts. So the answer is that the Bluetti will probably NOT work on the generator input of the Skybox. I think the Bluetti is designed to serve loads with cords plugged into the 110 receptacles. The basic version does not have the split phase output like most higher level generators.
Last edited by Ampster on Sun Jul 31, 2022 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Ampster
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Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 7.9 kW self installed Enphase system NEM 2.0 PTO 9*2021. Skybox, and heat pump/AC system. The Skybox is powered by a 42 kWh pack of LFP batteries and 2kW panels. It is used in self consumption mode for load shifting and backup.
Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

Note my comment below.
Last edited by Ampster on Sun Jul 31, 2022 7:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Ampster
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Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:14 pm
My RE system: 7.9 kW self installed Enphase system NEM 2.0 PTO 9*2021. Skybox, and heat pump/AC system. The Skybox is powered by a 42 kWh pack of LFP batteries and 2kW panels. It is used in self consumption mode for load shifting and backup.
Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

Electrictrauma wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 6:25 pm That is how its designed, not full functionality but better than stringing extension cords…I will see if the generator option works, if not, I can take some of the load off the battery bank by powering the heat pump I have with the bluetti….heating and cooling is everything, unless you have an ev.
It looks to me that the Bluetti was designed with six 110 outlets unless I missed something. I don't know how that is better than stringing extension cords? Does your heat pump run on 110 volts and plug into a typical residential receptacle?
Just a word of caution, because Outback used the term protected loads panel does not mean it is safe to load one phase unless you know what you are doing. The reason I used the term suicide cord earlier is that the only way to get power out of a Bluetti is through a receptacle. Therefore if you plan on connecting one end of a cable to your loads panel and the other end is a plug, and that plug is what you plan on inserting into your Bluetti, then that plug will have exposed conductors that that will be energized by the load panel you connected it to. It could seriously hurt someone if they touched it or worse, pulled it out and thought it was not energized.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
raysun
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
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Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by raysun »

Ampster wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 6:34 pm
raysun wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 12:38 pm Can Skybox function with 120VAC input?
Do you mean can it accept input on one leg of the split phase on the generator port? That is a good question that may apply to the Bluetti? I never thought of that but just checked and there is no reference to anything but 110 volts. So the answer is that the Bluetti will probably NOT work on the generator input of the Skybox. I think the Bluetti is designed to serve loads cords plugged into the 110 receptacles.
Yes, that model only has 110/120V receptacles, so could only service one leg of a 220/240V split phase AC Input. The receptacles don't look like GFDI so that wouldn't cause issues. It would seem the unbalanced AC input might.
provo
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by provo »

Bluetti does make a unit with 240VAC output for $4600:

Screen Shot 2022-07-31 at 7.06.41 PM.png
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

I have a receptacle wired to the generator leads of the skybox. And yes the heat pump is 110 and is good for heating and cooling during most days, otherwise use firewood.
Ampster
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Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

Electrictrauma wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 7:15 pm I have a receptacle wired to the generator leads of the skybox. And yes the heat pump is 110 and is good for heating and cooling during most days, otherwise use firewood.
I think the best idea is to run the heat pump off the Bluetti. I don't know how you are going to get power safely out of the Bluetti to the receptacle going to the generator leads of the Skybox. As @Raysun pointed out, I do not think the Skybox can accept input on only one leg of the generator input. If you want to take one for the team give it a try and report back.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

Now I’m totally confused. So the skybox only takes 110 volts per the generator tile. So some generators can provide split phase through 110? Or does it even matter if there is no 220 on the circuit?
raysun
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by raysun »

Electrictrauma wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:19 pm Now I’m totally confused. So the skybox only takes 110 volts per the generator tile. So some generators can provide split phase through 110? Or does it even matter if there is no 220 on the circuit?
Sorry for causing confusion. What I know about Skybox can fit in the point of a pin.
You're saying, though its a 220V output unit that accepts standard grid power (220V split phase in North America), it accepts 110V single phase on its generator input?
Now I'm confused. That seems somewhat inconsistent.
Ampster
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Location: Kenwood, Northern California

Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Ampster »

Electrictrauma wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:19 pm Now I’m totally confused. So the skybox only takes 110 volts per the generator tile. So some generators can provide split phase through 110? Or does it even matter if there is no 220 on the circuit?
My Skybox generator input has three connections, L1, L2 and Neutral. That is 240 volts split phase. I see where in the generator tile under settings where you can set high and low voltage limits but those are for L to N voltages, which would be 120 volts not L1 to L2 which is a 240 volt measurement. I see where you might be confused. You mentioned you had a receptacle connected to the Skybox Generator input. How is it wired? What type of receptacle? Does it have a connection to L1, L2. N and G? I thought you were resolved to just run your heat pump off the 110 output of the Bluetti.

The discussion about 110 volts was about the Bluetti and that is how they describe the output of that model of Bluetti.
Use my Skybox in Self Consumption mode to reduce my energy costs, including charging two EV from solar when possible.
Electrictrauma
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Re: Using a solar generator with a skybox

Post by Electrictrauma »

I moved on from the bluetti, that generator tile threw me, will go back to the wiring diagram but I think they ran the generator wires to a 240 receptacle. Just want to make sure its wired properly before I try the generator, though it seems they built in a ton of safeguards. Thanks for all the input!
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