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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    My mecer unit got hit by lightning and the repair man said it is cheaper to get a new one than try to fix it---Apparently they do not get any spares for them and if they can get it , it is very expensive!!!!! (Control board)
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  2. #42
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    About 1kw, 20amps.
    8 batteries in two banks of 4 (48v system)

    10:10 - Battery 50.70v
    11:10 - Battery 49.10v
    12:10 - Battery 47.90v
    13:10 - Battery 47.10v
    14:10 - Battery 46.20v
    Two years later, and it is evident that the batteries are suffering losses.

    Load shedding this morning the batteries were reading 46.6v after 2 hours, this is the reading we had in 2019 after 4 hours. Edit, I just also realised that our load increased with almost 400watt over the 2 years, so that is definitely also a factor to keep in mind.

    Edit, better description of the load and battery state:
    Mar 2019 - load of 928watts, after two hours the batteries were on 47.9 volt, after 4 hours on 46.2 volt.
    Mar 2021 – load of 1379watts, after two hours the batteries were on 46.6 volt.
    Mar 2021 – load of 827watts, after two hours the batteries were on 48.9 volt

    We have identified that the batteries are not charging equally, so have to investigate our options to work out what is the most viable. In an ideal world we would like to add panels now to use that power when possible.

    For now we need to determine the cost of adding a Victron BMV 702 monitor couple with Victron battery balancers, vs replacing the bank with lithium, I am waiting for quotes, based on publicly available pricing this should not cost much at all, the BMV702 is about R2700, balancer R1200, shunt R2300, or the BMV712 at just under R4k then the shunt is not required. (educated guess).

    Our bank has life left, but probably a lot less than what we hoped for, and the 5-7 years target like we were sold on is definitely not achievable. I am hoping with the correct equipment to nurse at least another year out of this setup to allow us this year to focus on solar, but time will tell.
    Last edited by Dirk; 2021/03/16 at 09:25 PM.

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  4. #43
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Since this is a daytime operation and I presume you were planning to develop your backup system to include solar PV I would look at adding panels rather than what you suggest.
    PV panels will provide plenty of power when the sun shines and lighten the load on your batteries so you might be able to eek them out a lot longer..(and the PV will be part of your next development phase)

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Daytime operation yes. Panels is important, but I also think I need to look after the batteries.

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mackay View Post
    Since this is a daytime operation and I presume you were planning to develop your backup system to include solar PV I would look at adding panels rather than what you suggest.
    PV panels will provide plenty of power when the sun shines and lighten the load on your batteries so you might be able to eek them out a lot longer..(and the PV will be part of your next development phase)
    definitely agree - more panels
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  7. #46
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    For now we need to determine the cost of adding a Victron BMV 702 monitor couple with Victron battery balances, vs replacing the bank with lithium, I am waiting for quotes.
    My opinion, IF you replace with lead acid again, then yes, a BMV will give you a much clearer insight into the actual SOC of the bank, to not overuse it resulting in premature failure.

    Battery Balancers, too late for the existing bank, expensive for a new lead acid bank and I'm not convinced they will have any "ROI" unless they where bought and used over multiple banks over a couple of years.

    Getting a lithium bank does not require a BMV nor any balancer, BMS does all that, BUT ideally, if you do go for lithium, use them daily to recoup their cost by lowering your Eskom spend.
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  8. #47
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    I seriously doubt we will do lead acid again.

    Battery balancer costs R1500, I am prepared to risk that in hope that it will extend the battery life a bit.

    To replace what I have right now with lithium is going to break the bank it seems, I prefer to first spend money on panels and see what we can produce during operational hours, even if after hours runs off Eskom.

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  10. #48
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Adding 4x330W panels plus controller if needed seems like a good option. The early portion of the morning load during LS can be used from batteries. Later in the day PV can perhaps provide 1000W of the 1400W load which will spare the batteries a bit. This could perhaps delay the purchase of new batteries for 1 year to 18 months to see you through a 2.5 hour session. The PV options seems to be just over 50% of a battery replacement.

  11. #49
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    All I can add regarding multiple strings of parallel batteries.
    Get a Victron battery balancer for each string.
    It takes just a single battery to destroy everything.


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  12. #50
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    I seriously doubt we will do lead acid again.

    Battery balancer costs R1500, I am prepared to risk that in hope that it will extend the battery life a bit.

    To replace what I have right now with lithium is going to break the bank it seems, I prefer to first spend money on panels and see what we can produce during operational hours, even if after hours runs off Eskom.
    Jip, lithium banks are for USING them, not primarily UPS function.

    R1500 is a wee bit steep for one balancer, as you would need more than one. I don't think it will help the bank.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...alancer-EN.pdf

    What you can do:
    1) Reshuffle the batteries, the outside one go to center for example. ###### mission, I know, but it helps a LOT.
    2) Ensure the temp is around 25 Deg C, as temp is the biggest killer after overuse.
    3) Sort the charging out and also ensure the cabling is short and lekker dik.
    4) Get that BMV, set it up for your bank, and watch the SOC to never go below 50% unless you absolutely have to.
    5) Setup Midpoint Monitoring of the bank with the SmartShunt, that will go far towards knowing their is a imbalance between the cells.

    Note: You could maybe find that one battery is worse than the rest ... consider replacing that one battery with a new one, or find a good similar sized 2nd hand battery.
    And sell the battts at their lead prices ... can offset some of the csots.

    BMV SmartShunt, no display, is the cheapest best option AND it has Bluetooth so you can view the SOC on your phone AND it can do Midpoint monitoring.
    https://www.victronenergy.com/batter...-battery-shunt

    All BMV's have shunts.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HG4GiH9su8
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  13. #51
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sanderson View Post
    My mecer unit got hit by lightning and the repair man said it is cheaper to get a new one than try to fix it---Apparently they do not get any spares for them and if they can get it , it is very expensive!!!!! (Control board)
    SetSolar are able to do repairs, they are in Epping. Repaired a code 9 for me a few years back for R3k.
    Last edited by oubok; 2021/03/17 at 03:40 PM.

  14. #52
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    I seriously doubt we will do lead acid again.

    Battery balancer costs R1500, I am prepared to risk that in hope that it will extend the battery life a bit.

    To replace what I have right now with lithium is going to break the bank it seems, I prefer to first spend money on panels and see what we can produce during operational hours, even if after hours runs off Eskom.
    @dirk - you'll have to get *three* victron battery balancers for a string of four batteries. I suppose you've checked the cabling requirements? See: https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...alancer-EN.pdf

    See the second page for your specific installation - two strings of four batteries in parallel. I have the same configuration.
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  15. #53
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by phuma View Post
    @dirk - you'll have to get *three* victron battery balancers for a string of four batteries. I suppose you've checked the cabling requirements? See: https://www.victronenergy.com/upload...alancer-EN.pdf

    See the second page for your specific installation - two strings of four batteries in parallel. I have the same configuration.
    Yes saw that, trying to wade through stuff that is not my forte! We have two bank of 4 batteries, and according to the installer we only need 3 balancers for the two banks, waiting for quotes currently.

  16. #54
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    This is the part that had me confused, page 22 on the Victron Wiring Unlimited Guide, but I did not see it was for a 24v system, slow learner!

    "Once the midpoint of the battery bank is connected one battery balancer can be used, instead of using 3battery balancers (one for each string). Also, a single BMV can be used for midpoint monitoring of the entire battery bank."
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    Last edited by Dirk; 2021/03/17 at 03:25 PM.

  17. #55
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    To continue on this thread.

    In March I contacted 2 companies to quote on the solar installation.

    Company 1 arrived within one hour of the call, I started explaining what I was hoping to achieve, in the 10m walk to the room the discussion was already about grid connected inverters and quotes of R90k plus. I opened the door to the batteries and inverter, immediately they well me the inverter is crap and will not work, I need a better one, and the cost is something stupid, the next thing by eyeballing the batteries from 2m away I was told the batteries are crap, I need to toss them. Long story short quote of R130k, well not a quote, a rough email. Needless to say I will not speak to them again.

    Company 2 did not arrive for the appointment, I phoned and told them I am waiting, oh sorry we are busy. 20mins later somebody was there. He started poking around and I realised very quickly this oke does not know his arse from his elbow, he left promising a quote the next day. A week or two later somebody else arrives, oh no the first chap that came does not know anything he only came to honour the appointment, this chap looks and pokes around, says nothing wrong with the inverter or batteries, yes there are better options, but we have this and it will work. He reckons we need 6-8 panels depending on the panel size, takes some photos for the install and promises a quote the next day, that was probably 3 weeks ago. Needless to say I will not speak to them again.

    I then asked our neighbour, he referred me to Chris from Eco Consulting. Chris pulled in and had a look, I told him my plan with the batteries monitors etc, he said he could do it, but it would be a waste of money for us. He also looked at our fairly shocking battery install etc. Poked around and said he also reckons 6-8 panels.

    Anyway, received the quote, cash arranged, they should be installing the system on Tuesday. This does not take us off the grid, and there are risks in battery life as we will now by cycling them a lot more, but I will start putting cash away for lithium from now onwards. Part of the install will be the complete rewiring of the batteries, fitment of a fuse (which was never done) etc.

    Quite excited, and learned a lot during the past month or so!

  18. #56
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Very interesting to hear of your experience. It seems there are more solar guys trying to make a quick buck than dealer workshops .
    Sure those panels will help a lot to keep the wheels turning during day time LS and should save the batteries a bit.

  19. #57
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    To continue on this thread.

    In March I contacted 2 companies to quote on the solar installation.

    Company 1 arrived within one hour of the call, I started explaining what I was hoping to achieve, in the 10m walk to the room the discussion was already about grid connected inverters and quotes of R90k plus. I opened the door to the batteries and inverter, immediately they well me the inverter is crap and will not work, I need a better one, and the cost is something stupid, the next thing by eyeballing the batteries from 2m away I was told the batteries are crap, I need to toss them. Long story short quote of R130k, well not a quote, a rough email. Needless to say I will not speak to them again.

    Company 2 did not arrive for the appointment, I phoned and told them I am waiting, oh sorry we are busy. 20mins later somebody was there. He started poking around and I realised very quickly this oke does not know his arse from his elbow, he left promising a quote the next day. A week or two later somebody else arrives, oh no the first chap that came does not know anything he only came to honour the appointment, this chap looks and pokes around, says nothing wrong with the inverter or batteries, yes there are better options, but we have this and it will work. He reckons we need 6-8 panels depending on the panel size, takes some photos for the install and promises a quote the next day, that was probably 3 weeks ago. Needless to say I will not speak to them again.

    I then asked our neighbour, he referred me to Chris from Eco Consulting. Chris pulled in and had a look, I told him my plan with the batteries monitors etc, he said he could do it, but it would be a waste of money for us. He also looked at our fairly shocking battery install etc. Poked around and said he also reckons 6-8 panels.

    Anyway, received the quote, cash arranged, they should be installing the system on Tuesday. This does not take us off the grid, and there are risks in battery life as we will now by cycling them a lot more, but I will start putting cash away for lithium from now onwards. Part of the install will be the complete rewiring of the batteries, fitment of a fuse (which was never done) etc.

    Quite excited, and learned a lot during the past month or so!
    What confuses me is why are your batteries are dying. Also what are you trying to achieve with the Solar panels.

    Your system should be set to never use the batteries unless there is a power failure.

    There is little to no point in Solar panels with that inverter if you have mains available. The Solar input of the axpert inverters is meant for completely off-grid operation.
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  20. #58
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    What confuses me is why are your batteries are dying. Also what are you trying to achieve with the Solar panels.

    Your system should be set to never use the batteries unless there is a power failure.

    There is little to no point in Solar panels with that inverter if you have mains available. The Solar input of the axpert inverters is meant for completely off-grid operation.
    I think the batteries are currently taking a beating due to incorrect installation, cable length and thickness issues.

    The Axpert/Mecer that we have can handle solar, when you add solar it works in the order solar, batteries, ac. So we have to set our batteries now to a better low point, will find that out this week, but with the panel installation we hope as a start to generate 1.2kw during the day, that will power all our equipment, as soon as the solar generation fades it switches over to batteries, if the batteries reaches a low state revert to AC.

    This however means a few things, firstly if we deplete our batteries when there are no solar generation we have to fall back on AC, and this is something I only thought of right now, if there is then a power failure or load shedding it means we will be dead in the water, that is something I need to investigate urgently.

  21. #59
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    The Axpert/Mecer that we have can handle solar, when you add solar it works in the order solar, batteries, ac.
    As per Fluffy, Axpert inverters, if used as a UPS, can be connected to a DB.
    The moment you add panels to them they are not legal anymore in SA to be connected to a DB, assuming you did that.

    If you where in Cpt, one of the Munic's enforcing the national NRS/SANS regulations, it could cost you a fine and a forced removal of inverter and panels, if you did not register.
    And if you tried to register the solar panel install, you would have been declined, because of the Axpert.

    My first impressions reading your experiences:
    The first guy ito Grid tying, was on the right track.
    The 2nd guy either did what the client asked and it is not his problem IF the regulations do get enforced or he is not aware of the latest NRS/SANS regulations ito solar being connected to DB boards.

    The one core worry, if local Munic's are not enforcing regulations, is if there is a insurance claim.
    And if you buy power direct from Eskom, I'm not aware that they allow solar panels being connected to "their" grid yet.
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2021/05/03 at 08:21 AM.
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  22. #60
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    Default Re: Mecer Inverter - 8 Batteries - Real World Figures

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    I think the batteries are currently taking a beating due to incorrect installation, cable length and thickness issues.

    The Axpert/Mecer that we have can handle solar, when you add solar it works in the order solar, batteries, ac. So we have to set our batteries now to a better low point, will find that out this week, but with the panel installation we hope as a start to generate 1.2kw during the day, that will power all our equipment, as soon as the solar generation fades it switches over to batteries, if the batteries reaches a low state revert to AC.

    This however means a few things, firstly if we deplete our batteries when there are no solar generation we have to fall back on AC, and this is something I only thought of right now, if there is then a power failure or load shedding it means we will be dead in the water, that is something I need to investigate urgently.

    Dirk I think you are where I was a few years ago, trying to make a ups loadshedding solution into a solar electricity saving solution.

    I ended up with enough solar and batteries to run independant during the day and into early evening through a change over switch.

    Printers, 3d printers and desktops run through a small ups to protect it when changing over between mains and solar and the other way round.

    At work I run my office, coffee machine and cnc router through a 5kVA Axpert running of a mix of 8 old Royal lead acid batteries and one 2.4 kVA lithium with no solar. As a ups its brilliant.
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    Last edited by faniedup; 2021/05/03 at 08:40 AM.

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