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  1. #221
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    TTT, one more (I'm lying, there will be more) question please.

    Apologies if this was mentioned yet, I cant seem to find a definitive answer to this.

    Those Carlo and Venus johnies….

    I'm busy talking with agents and it is important to me that their advice correlates with yours.

    According to them:

    - The Venus ensures with a setting that power is not fed back to the grid
    - The Carlo, is an energy meter and this unit is used to supplement grid power with solar.


    Do you also have it this way?

    I thought that the MP II will do this supplementing of the grid on its own? They say (because the scrooge in me is hammering on current affordability of the initial system) that the Carlo is not crucial at this point in time.

    What exactly does Carlo do?
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  2. #222
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home - A Victron view

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    Those Carlo and Venus johnies….

    I'm busy talking with agents and it is important to me that their advice correlates with yours.
    According to them:
    - The Venus ensures with a setting that power is not fed back to the grid
    - The Carlo, is an energy meter and this unit is used to supplement grid power with solar.
    Do you also have it this way?

    I thought that the MP II will do this supplementing of the grid on its own? They say (because the scrooge in me is hammering on current affordability of the initial system) that the Carlo is not crucial at this point in time.

    What exactly does Carlo do?
    Fantastic!!! ALWAYS double check advises / thoughts / ideas. We don't all understand things the same ... and the person answering can misunderstand the question.

    Errata: The VenusGX, in conjunction with the inverter's software settings, the MPPT's settings, becomes the software system to feed, or NOT feed power back to the grid.

    Correct. On the VenusGX, you tell the entire system not to feed back, or feed back ... and if you feed back, new feature just in, what watts you want to feed back.

    Feed back or not, set that on the VenusGX, IF the inverter is correctly configured i.e. needs the countries gird code set up, as required by SANS/NRS. See in the picture attached.

    This also means, the VenusGX, in conjunction with the inverter and MPPT, the entire package, combined together manages what the most economical use of all the power sources would under the current conditions i.e. between Eskom / panels / batteries, based on settings YOU set.

    That is what makes Victron so different ... and perceived as "complex". It is not ... when the penny drops.
    Same as going on a real 4x4 trip ... it is complex, till it is not.


    Energy meters:
    The Carlo is a energy meter yes, but does not do anything more than measure what is going to and from the grid, passing that information to the VenusGX. And it gives you your Eskom usage as a bonus, via the VenusGX.
    The cheaper AC Current sensor is also a energy meter.

    As per Victron:
    AC Current Sensor: Connected to inverter analog input. Lowest cost - least accurate. AC Current Sensor Manual
    Energy Meter: Wired to the VenusGX via USB/RS485 interface. See the Energy Meters start page.

    So, the bottom line is:
    Carlo with it's cable is wot, about +-R 1670.00 incl VAT, plugs into the venusGX.
    The current sensor plugs into the inverter, costs about +-R 780.00 incl.
    So for the difference of +-R890, you get data from the Carlo current sensor about yoru AC usage overall, via the Venus, whereas the inverter current sensor simply does not have that detail.


    Setting the grid code for South Africa on the inverter ... without it set, in conjunction with a VenusGX, grid-tying is not advised.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/06/24 at 12:54 PM.
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  4. #223
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    I owe you big time, thank you so much T-man!
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home - A Victron view

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    Feed back or not, set that on the VenusGX, IF the inverter is correctly configured i.e. needs the countries gird code set up, as required by SANS/NRS. See in the picture attached.


    Setting the grid code for South Africa on the inverter ... without it set, in conjunction with a VenusGX, grid-tying is not advised.
    Where do you get all the settings from. Are there other settings we should be careful of?
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home - A Victron view

    Quote Originally Posted by whatyamacallit View Post
    Where do you get all the settings from. Are there other settings we should be careful of?
    That is one of the settings to setup a Victron grid-tied kit yes.
    That particular one the core start setting ... having a VenusGX.

    Why?

    I did make this manual for myself and other newbies a long while back on another forum.
    It is for lead acid ... lithium's I only figured the settings recently.

    It is "Use at your own risk, don't phone me, I'll phone you." situation.
    One need to "get" why you do certain things in certain ways.

    Victron's website has it all ... just with a LOT more details.
    I like stock standard off-the shelf starting points ... then one embellishes on that with newfound understanding, having grasped the basic important concepts.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  9. #226
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home - A Victron view

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post

    I like stock standard off-the shelf starting points ... then one embellishes on that with newfound understanding, having grasped the basic important concepts.
    When the penny drops, in other words.
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    You said your grid set point is 40W so you don,t trip the prepaid meter, does that mean the multi will only start feeding when it senses more than 40W?

    Also what happens if prepaid meter trips, does it reset or do you need municipality to come out.

    Why I ask is that my meter is on a plot so the main box is quite far near the fence and I have one of those plug in boxes in the house that links to the main box and gives the reading. I don't have access to the meter box by the fence its locked by municipality.
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  11. #228
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    When the penny drops, in other words.
    YES!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by whatyamacallit View Post
    You said your grid set point is 40W so you don,t trip the prepaid meter, does that mean the multi will only start feeding when it senses more than 40W?

    Also what happens if prepaid meter trips, does it reset or do you need municipality to come out.

    Why I ask is that my meter is on a plot so the main box is quite far near the fence and I have one of those plug in boxes in the house that links to the main box and gives the reading. I don't have access to the meter box by the fence its locked by municipality.
    Actually mine is set at 25w, as my meter does not trip. ITron PAYG meter.
    Having literally watched mine, I decided on 25w.

    The higher you set the grid point, the higher the draw will be from Eskom like say you set it at 500w, if the loads are 450w, then it all comes from Eskom, not the solar panels.

    Conversely, if set too low, and your inverter takes a minute or more to throttle back, then you are billed by the PAYG meter as it does not see power flowing back, but rather a draw ... unless the meter trips.

    Clever move that, from CoCT, forcing a tested non-tripping PAYG meter ... it bills you if you feed back, so we DON'T feed back!

    The question: Have NO idea what to do if the meter trips. I THINK they retry after a few seconds / minute or some such.

    Titbit 1: If the PAYG meter trips, Conlog's in Pta are very sensitive. Users have contacted Conlog direct, who said it is a easy fix ... but Tshwane, not so much interested.

    Titbit 2: It is perfectly normal on ALL grid-tied inverters, all of them, to feed back.
    The reason WHY power is fed back, take a big load, say 2000w geyser is on. Solar panels producing 3000w, geyser and house. Batteries are full.
    When the 2kw load goes off, 2kw has to to somewhere ... and that where is the grid.
    If the batts are still needing some juice, it goes to them faster than the grid.



    On Victron it takes a few seconds to throttle the MPPT back, some other makes a minute or so. All depends on how fast the unit sees the feedback and how fast the software can throttle back.

    Let me demonstrate:
    First screenshot:
    Kettle is on ...
    1) That is Eskom draw with the 2000w kettle on - compliments of the Carlo Gavazzi.
    2) That is the main DB, goes off when Eskom goes off - jip, Carlo Gavazzi again, and not AC_out2, as we have discussed.
    3) Those are the loads on the 2nd DB, the Always On DB (on if Eskom is off) - wattage from the inverters loads on AC_out1.
    4) That is the battery SOC, BMV712Smart, and what is drawn from it.
    5) That is what the panels, 3.5kw array, can do at 3:40pm. Really not bad at all.

    Note how the system uses all resources to keep the Eskom load as low as possible, target being 25w.

    Second Screen shot:

    Kettle switched off ...
    6) Feeds 1950w back to the grid, about 1-2 seconds, as the system throttles back.
    Note the reduced draw from the batt too ... also throttled.

    Respect to Eskom engineers in balancing the grid.

    Third screen Shot:
    All settled again.
    All spare power, keeping Eskom draw low, goes to the batteries.
    By 5pm, the batts will be at 95% SOC, ready for evening use.

    Evening use starts at 5pm when I limit the inverter to 100w, SOC at 95%.
    11pm I set the SOC to 60% and inverter watts to 500w - to shave off the core loads until 8am tomorrow when the sun takes over.
    9am inverter sets back to full power.
    All automated on the Venus with a Cronjob.
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    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2020/06/24 at 04:13 PM.
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    Saw this in a pub - no idea why the wife does not see it so:
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  13. #229
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    You can contact Floors at Invest Solar (0100250186) he will definitely be able to assist you .
    Last edited by Flooikoko; 2020/06/25 at 01:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    YES!!! Actually mine is set at 25w, as my meter does not trip. ITron PAYG meter.Having literally watched mine, I decided on 25w.The higher you set the grid point, the higher the draw will be from Eskom like say you set it at 500w, if the loads are 450w, then it all comes from Eskom, not the solar panels.Conversely, if set too low, and your inverter takes a minute or more to throttle back, then you are billed by the PAYG meter as it does not see power flowing back, but rather a draw ... unless the meter trips.Clever move that, from CoCT, forcing a tested non-tripping PAYG meter ... it bills you if you feed back, so we DON'T feed back! The question: Have NO idea what to do if the meter trips. I THINK they retry after a few seconds / minute or some such.Titbit 1: If the PAYG meter trips, Conlog's in Pta are very sensitive. Users have contacted Conlog direct, who said it is a easy fix ... but Tshwane, not so much interested. Titbit 2: It is perfectly normal on ALL grid-tied inverters, all of them, to feed back.The reason WHY power is fed back, take a big load, say 2000w geyser is on. Solar panels producing 3000w, geyser and house. Batteries are full.When the 2kw load goes off, 2kw has to to somewhere ... and that where is the grid.If the batts are still needing some juice, it goes to them faster than the grid.On Victron it takes a few seconds to throttle the MPPT back, some other makes a minute or so. All depends on how fast the unit sees the feedback and how fast the software can throttle back.Let me demonstrate:First screenshot:Kettle is on ... 1) That is Eskom draw with the 2000w kettle on - compliments of the Carlo Gavazzi.2) That is the main DB, goes off when Eskom goes off - jip, Carlo Gavazzi again, and not AC_out2, as we have discussed.3) Those are the loads on the 2nd DB, the Always On DB (on if Eskom is off) - wattage from the inverters loads on AC_out1.4) That is the battery SOC, BMV712Smart, and what is drawn from it.5) That is what the panels, 3.5kw array, can do at 3:40pm. Really not bad at all.Note how the system uses all resources to keep the Eskom load as low as possible, target being 25w.Second Screen shot:Kettle switched off ...6) Feeds 1950w back to the grid, about 1-2 seconds, as the system throttles back.Note the reduced draw from the batt too ... also throttled.Respect to Eskom engineers in balancing the grid.Third screen Shot:All settled again. All spare power, keeping Eskom draw low, goes to the batteries.By 5pm, the batts will be at 95% SOC, ready for evening use.Evening use starts at 5pm when I limit the inverter to 100w, SOC at 95%.11pm I set the SOC to 60% and inverter watts to 500w - to shave off the core loads until 8am tomorrow when the sun takes over.9am inverter sets back to full power.All automated on the Venus with a Cronjob.

  15. #231
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Thanks to all the forum advice, I'm well on my way to a decent solar setup:-

    STEP ONE: "Inverter" hardware: Victron-based. Done and dusted [seems to be a favourite saying on this thread )
    STEP TWO: 6.1 Kwh 48V battery. Semi-DIY based [meaning I just paid a few K extra for a finished product]. On it's way ...
    STEP THREE: Finalising DB boards; Splitting; installing Venus / Carlo / Surge arrestors [Next week]
    STEP FOUR: Panels!!

    Speaking of panels: With TTT's help [thanks!] one possible combination that seems very well suited to my setup will be 12x 350w Canadian's. Now I'm looking around for best prices
    Strange thing ...:- I don't have to "plead poverty" - but somehow it has become a sort of "rewarding" experience to end up with a well balanced and well priced system. Most solar installers seems to ... [let's rather not go there; it would've been a sweeping statement anyways ).
    Let's just suffice with a(nother) TTT saying:- "See, Victron is not that expensive"

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  17. #232
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by plcomp View Post
    Thanks to all the forum advice, I'm well on my way to a decent solar setup:-

    STEP ONE: "Inverter" hardware: Victron-based. Done and dusted [seems to be a favourite saying on this thread )
    STEP TWO: 6.1 Kwh 48V battery. Semi-DIY based [meaning I just paid a few K extra for a finished product]. On it's way ...
    STEP THREE: Finalising DB boards; Splitting; installing Venus / Carlo / Surge arrestors [Next week]
    STEP FOUR: Panels!!

    Speaking of panels: With TTT's help [thanks!] one possible combination that seems very well suited to my setup will be 12x 350w Canadian's. Now I'm looking around for best prices
    Strange thing ...:- I don't have to "plead poverty" - but somehow it has become a sort of "rewarding" experience to end up with a well balanced and well priced system. Most solar installers seems to ... [let's rather not go there; it would've been a sweeping statement anyways ).
    Let's just suffice with a(nother) TTT saying:- "See, Victron is not that expensive"

    Your own homework is always very important, I got eye watering quotes from installers in the past and so did friends of mine. Huge markups on Victron and panels which you can Google yourself quick, quick, but then they also sneak in big markups on smaller things like cables, connectors and fuses. Making a profit is one thing, but trying to sell me a Victron BMV 712 smart for R7999.00 is a different story.
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

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  19. #233
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Had a long chat to TTT, really knowledgeable on the various systems with great advise!
    Now the only real question is batteries, to go with bought-out LoFePO4 banks or to build my own...
    This thread gave me the motivation to seriously look into going solar and grid-tied.
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  21. #234
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBoy View Post
    Had a long chat to TTT, really knowledgeable on the various systems with great advise!
    Now the only real question is batteries, to go with bought-out LoFePO4 banks or to build my own...
    This thread gave me the motivation to seriously look into going solar and grid-tied.
    Ones you go in to solar and you see that free power from the sun and you do it rite the first time, then you will never look back.

    Going with complete lifepo4 bank or building your own, its a win win. The DIY will safe you money doing it.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBoy View Post
    Had a long chat to TTT, really knowledgeable on the various systems with great advise!
    This thread gave me the motivation to seriously look into going solar and grid-tied.
    Only a pleasure John!
    Very happy that the grid-tied penny has droped for you too.
    Did you come right ito getting the ok to go from 3-phase to single phase?



    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBoy View Post
    Now the only real question is batteries, to go with bought-out LoFePO4 banks or to build my own...
    On this note ... Way I look at it:
    Some people like to open things, peek inside, maybe consider a alteration or two ... enact some "improvements" ... engineer it better.
    Other people will get the hibbies even thinking of doing that, and buy brand names. Finish and klaar.

    NOTHING wrong with either approach.

    Which begs the only question to ask: Can the inverter you want to buy, have, work with a non-interfaced/standalone BMS'es?
    Yes: You tinkerer you, go to town.
    No: You are branded. Stay at home.

    And do keep in mind, that with DIY batts, it is not always just hard core cells and wires, nope.

    You can get this: https://lithiumbatteriessa.co.za/pro...ar-ups-battery
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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Lithiumbatteriessa is great.

    Looked at building my own 48v battery bank, but after considering the convenience of having it placed in a housing, plus bms, breaker, meter plus warranty the additional cost of a preassembled unit was well worth it.

    Just beware the boxes are rather large and weighs around 150kg each


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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    My een is op pad, Wims_za Maar nou maak jy my jaloers op jou 300 kg.
    Last edited by plcomp; 2020/06/30 at 03:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    I wonder if he'll ever get smaller cells as well. I have a future project for which I need 12V batteries around 30 to 50 Ah.
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by plcomp View Post
    My een is op pad, Wims_za Maar nou maak jy my jaloers op jou 300 kg.


    Waar het jy toe gekoop, jy het vroer iets gese van DIY maar iemand bou hom vir jou?
    It's in pubs where the world's greatest ideas begin.

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    Default Re: Solar System for Home ( yet another :)

    Quote Originally Posted by wims_za View Post
    Lithiumbatteriessa is great.

    Looked at building my own 48v battery bank, but after considering the convenience of having it placed in a housing, plus bms, breaker, meter plus warranty the additional cost of a preassembled unit was well worth it.

    Just beware the boxes are rather large and weighs around 150kg each

    Hahahahaha. You overdoing it a bit. A bit of correction. They just over 60kg a unit. I spotted on your other post that its 6kwh units. So it's120ah sells in 16s configuration. Sell is 2.8kg and that gives you 44.8kg per pack of 16 with all the add ons and the steel inclosure gives just over 60kg. I know how the units looks like inside. 😁

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