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  1. #101
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    AND

    You can shave off another R5k if you make your own brackets and mountings. And shop around more for cable and all the bits and pieces you need, breakers and fuse boxes, etc.

    I live in the sticks, so it was easier getting everything from one guy. He got everything together for me, so I drove to Cape Town to collect. I wouldn't have known where to start looking for stuff in that big city.

    If you have power, start with the inverter and four batteries.

    Add panels as you have money for them. Three at a time.

    And batteries, four at a time.

    One day you will find you don't need the grid anymore.

    Then say: Cheers!

  2. #102
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seebrommer View Post
    AND

    You can shave off another R5k if you make your own brackets and mountings. And shop around more for cable and all the bits and pieces you need, breakers and fuse boxes, etc.

    I live in the sticks, so it was easier getting everything from one guy. He got everything together for me, so I drove to Cape Town to collect. I wouldn't have known where to start looking for stuff in that big city.

    If you have power, start with the inverter and four batteries.

    Add panels as you have money for them. Three at a time.

    And batteries, four at a time.

    One day you will find you don't need the grid anymore.

    Then say: Cheers!
    Be careful! AC and DC is not the same, and AC rated equipment should NOT be used for DC current. You will get burned (pun intended). DC rated fuses, fuse holders and breakers are expensive, I know, but I would not bother saving a few rands with with this.
    And, using metal for mountings might save some cash but it will corrode, probably sooner than you want it to.

  3. #103
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Yep. I know. About AC and DC.

    What I meant was to shop around and find the wholesalers yourself. I obviously had to pay a markup to the guy who supplied me. Same with cable and other bits and pieces. I told him what I wanted, he found it for me, and I surely didn't get it at cost.

    Nothing wrong with mild steel if you treat it properly. On my previous system I made the frames myself and they are still in perfect nick after ten years near the sea.

    In this case I had to settle for aluminium unistrut where galvanised would have sufficed. There was just not time to obtain it.

    So, yes, I think you can still shave a few thousand off that price.

    AND do it right.

  4. #104
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seebrommer View Post
    Yep. I know. About AC and DC.

    What I meant was to shop around and find the wholesalers yourself. I obviously had to pay a markup to the guy who supplied me. Same with cable and other bits and pieces. I told him what I wanted, he found it for me, and I surely didn't get it at cost.

    Nothing wrong with mild steel if you treat it properly. On my previous system I made the frames myself and they are still in perfect nick after ten years near the sea.

    In this case I had to settle for aluminium unistrut where galvanised would have sufficed. There was just not time to obtain it.

    So, yes, I think you can still shave a few thousand off that price.

    AND do it right.
    I like what you are doing and understand all aspects.

    But I will say something. That is DIY, probably on a farm or plot. And I say this out of real experience.

    Legally compliant DC Breakers and Isolators and Lightning arrestors and especially high voltage UV stabilized and insulated cable, for an installation of your capacity will cost close to you budget, WITHOUT Panels and batteries and Inverters/Chargers etc.

    There is a HUGE difference between DIY boer maak n plan and commercial legal installations.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
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    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

  5. #105
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seebrommer View Post
    Very important to shop around. It can save you a packet.
    that I saw very quickly yes
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  6. #106
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Yesterday was quite a momentous day...

    We switched on our off-grid system for the first time.

    Was thrilled to be getting a solid 230v through to the DB board.

    Our system is as follows:

    2 x GCL e-KwBE Lithium Ion batteries - 6.2kW each, with a warranted life of over 10 years
    9 x 265w AmeriSolar Pannels
    1 x 5kW/5 KvA Axpert Inverter (Litium Ion compatible version)
    1 x 5 string combiner box (we currently have 3 strings of 3 panels in series, combining in parallel)
    1 x 7.2 kVA back-up generator

    Currently the system appears sufficient to power the whole house without Eskom input.

    What allows this though is the following:

    • We use 2 gas geysers
    • We have a gas stove
    • The house is very well insulated, meaning we don't need any heating or cooling.


    Total system has cost us - R130 323
    We installed the whole system ourselves


    Over time we will add a couple more panels, and maybe a battery or two, but for now with just myself, my wife and our little 9 month old boy living in the house, we are saying good-bye to Eskom...
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    Last edited by Aviator_01; 2018/02/12 at 11:29 AM.

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  8. #107
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Do these off grid installations need a certificate of compliance from a electrician ?

    or is it a case that its an add on to the current house wiring which has been certified already ( and can be easily removed if selling etc)
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  9. #108
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Karol View Post
    Do these off grid installations need a certificate of compliance from a electrician ?

    or is it a case that its an add on to the current house wiring which has been certified already ( and can be easily removed if selling etc)
    Yes, it needs to form part of the CoC.

    We will be getting a friendly Electrician to come check it this week.

    We also did the whole houses wiring/electrical ourselves. Saved us about R150k. Friendly electrician issued a CoC for that part already.

  10. #109
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator_01 View Post
    Yes, it needs to form part of the CoC.

    We will be getting a friendly Electrician to come check it this week.

    We also did the whole houses wiring/electrical ourselves. Saved us about R150k. Friendly electrician issued a CoC for that part already.
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but any electrician who gives you a COC for that should lose his license. Coupled with the fact that an electrician is not qualified to issue a COC for Solar Ststms.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

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  12. #110
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but any electrician who gives you a COC for that should lose his license. Coupled with the fact that an electrician is not qualified to issue a COC for Solar Ststms.
    Times are tough out there...people need work, even if it is a hand-holding exercise to make sure a self installation complies with all requirements.

    PS: I forgot to add my FIL is an engineer and he also roped in some of his electrical engineering friends to check on the installation.

    All in all, I know we did a better job than 90% of the moegoes out there.

    We had an electrician on site in the beginning, but the quality of his workmanship was so ####, that I fired him very quickly and opted to do everything ourselves.

  13. #111
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator_01 View Post
    Times are tough out there...people need work, even if it is a hand-holding exercise to make sure a self installation complies with all requirements.

    PS: I forgot to add my FIL is an engineer and he also roped in some of his electrical engineering friends to check on the installation.

    All in all, I know we did a better job than 90% of the moegoes out there.

    We had an electrician on site in the beginning, but the quality of his workmanship was so ####, that I fired him very quickly and opted to do everything ourselves.
    Well then, your FIL and his friends should be fired.

    And please take this in the good (advice) spirit it is intended.

    If the rest of your house electrics is built to the same standard on safety critical non-conformities, I hope your freindly electrician has good insurance.

    I would call in a proper ethical electrician to do your COC and fix all the deviations.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

  14. #112
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Well then, your FIL and his friends should be fired.

    And please take this in the good (advice) spirit it is intended.

    If the rest of your house electrics is built to the same standard on safety critical non-conformities, I hope your freindly electrician has good insurance.

    I would call in a proper ethical electrician to do your COC and fix all the deviations.
    Rest of the house we are happy with. Electrician was also very happy with it. He checked every circuit individually, from DB board, to every connection, through to every fitting. He was painfully thorough. It took him two days.

    For the Solar we will be sure to get the right guys to check everything.

    But if you can see any non-conformities on those pics I posted, do a man a favour, and point them out!

    PS: Those pics I posted are obviously of the incomplete system. It was still work in progress when I took those pics a week ago.
    Last edited by Aviator_01; 2018/02/12 at 12:20 PM.

  15. #113
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by #Rotor View Post
    ...
    Twas a beautiful day today.
    some minor tweaking, but it's practically done now...
    Nice one and sorry if I missed it

    But I have a question how much was the cost of the automatic system
    And what was the costs of the solar panels on top?
    Last edited by Veneficus; 2018/02/12 at 12:22 PM.
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  16. #114
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator_01 View Post
    Rest of the house we are happy with. Electrician was also very happy with it. He checked every circuit individually, from DB board, to every connection, through to every fitting. He was painfully thorough. It took him two days.

    For the Solar we will be sure to get the right guys to check everything.

    But if you can see any non-conformities on those pics I posted, do a man a favour, and point them out!
    Battery Fuse/Isolator. - AC Fuses and holder. I bet you noticed a large arc when you engaged the mechanism. Only the positive is fused/isolated. That holder has space for another fuse. Wire in the negative.

    Wrong cable type for the High Voltage PV DC. Needs to be proper double insulated high voltage cable, TUV certified for PV.

    Exposed 220V AC wiring.

    Looks like the Axpert is fitted to some type of drywall or timber. If it is then it is a major fire risk. The whole installation needs to be redone on fireproof material steel etc and then that is fixed to the wood. If it is indeed fixed to a plastered wall, then fine, but then you can't do the 220V wiring by just drilling holes in the wall.

    And I mean really. Cheap plastic staples for cable routing. What happened to trunking and labeling.

    Also your whole earthing schema is up the pole. Your panels need a completely separate isolated safety earth. I would be VERY VERY nervous of a system like yours especially directly mounted to a steel roof, in the area you are in.

    And a little bit of "use it, don't use it"

    Your panels are too close to the gavinised roof. Ideally you should have 100mm clearance.

    When you replace your first burnt Axpert, replace it with a real inverter, not a UPS.

    Remember that battery power is more expensive the Eskom, even when you charge them from PV.

    Disclaimer - I think Axpert is brilliant for the price, and I have installed two of them. But they are not grid tied, so are for limited applications.
    Last edited by Fluffy; 2018/02/12 at 12:46 PM.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

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  18. #115
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    Battery Fuse/Isolator. - AC Fuses and holder. I bet you noticed a large arc when you engaged the mechanism. Only the positive is fused/isolated. That holder has space for another fuse. Wire in the negative. Yes, good point. We did notice the Arc.

    Wrong cable type for the High Voltage PV DC. Needs to be proper double insulated high voltage cable, TUV certified for PV In that pic, those aren't installed yet? We only pulled them through yesterday. The cables we used are TUV certified.

    Exposed 220V AC wiring. Agree. The plan is to put conduit over that. Actually I want to chase it into the wall.

    Looks like the Axpert is fitted to some type of drywall or timber. If it is then it is a major fire risk. The whole installation needs to be redone on fireproof material steel etc and then that is fixed to the wood. If it is indeed fixed to a plastered wall, then fine, but then you can't do the 220V wiring by just drilling holes in the wall. No, that is a brick wall.

    And I mean really. Cheap plastic staples for cable routing. What happened to trunking and labeling. Like I said, work in progress. I started the trunking yesterday. Labelling will come at end

    Also your whole earthing schema is up the pole. Your panels need a completely separate isolated safety earth. I would be VERY VERY nervous of a system like yours especially directly mounted to a steel roof, in the area you are in. As mentioned, the pics are work in progress from a week ago.

    And a little bit of "use it, don't use it"

    Your panels are too close to the gavinised roof. Ideally you should have 100mm clearance. I will have to measure that, but not much we can do about that unfortunately.

    When you replace your first burnt Axpert, replace it with a real inverter, not a UPS.

    Remember that battery power is more expensive the Eskom, even when you charge them from PV.

    Disclaimer - I think Axpert is brilliant for the price, and I have installed two of them. But they are not grid tied, so are for limited applications.
    Thanks for the points. Will improve where I can. I agree on the trunking, but like I mentioned that is still work in progress. Started the trunking yesterday, but the crap we bought wasn't sticking. Need to redo it.
    Last edited by Aviator_01; 2018/02/12 at 01:05 PM.

  19. #116
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator_01 View Post
    Thanks for the points. Will improve where I can. I agree on the trunking, but like I mentioned that is still work in progress. Started the trunking yesterday, but the crap we bought wasn't sticking. Need to redo it.
    OK, looking forward to the completed pics.

    HV DC wiring. Yes I saw the PV wasn't connected, I was referring to the Red and Black Panel wire in the combiner and between the combiner and the Inverter.

    The PV height is just a ventilation issue. Hot panel offer reduced performance and service life.

    Fix the trunking to the wall with screws.

    And on the subject of cables. Replace the battery cables with proper cable - say 25mm blue welding cable and have them professionally crimped.
    Last edited by Fluffy; 2018/02/12 at 01:11 PM.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

  20. #117
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    OK, looking forward to the completed pics.

    HV DC wiring. Yes I saw the PV wasn't connected, I was referring to the Red and Black Panel wire in the combiner and between the combiner and the Inverter. We have extra solar panel cable. Would that be ok? It won't be correctly colour coded though

    The PV height is just a ventilation issue. Hot panel offer reduced performance and service life.

    Fix the trunking to the wall with screws.

  21. #118
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    That's fine. The pos and neg are both "hot" on the PV side.

    Is the PV cable thick enough, remember because of your arrangement, after you parallel the three strings the current is three times more.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

  22. #119
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    That's fine. The pos and neg are both "hot" on the PV side.

    Is the PV cable thick enough, remember because of your arrangement, after you parallel the three strings the current is three times more. Need to check this. It's 6mm cable, but will check what load it can carry.

  23. #120
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    Default Re: Cheers Eskom

    I think it will be fine, I was worried that it may be 4mm like I use. In my case I run very high voltage 450V DC so it's fine for me.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD Yeasu Ft-897D
    2 V8's a V6 and an inline 4
    The nice thing about going the extra mile - the road is never congested.

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