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How about a solar car port on a budget?


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15 hours ago, ArranP said:

 

Didn't buy a combiner box...  worked out the components in side it instead and mounted them on the gypsum board next to the inverter.

  • lightning arestor
  • 2 pole fuse
  • pv array string fuse 
  • ground pole

 

Capture.PNG.a260abd1d04f65e8e28334acc6d633a8.PNG

 

Just to note, if using a transformerless inverter both the positive and negative leads from the each pv string need to be fused, otherwise if the inverter has a transformer only the positive needs to be fused.

 

example of a combiner box available on aliexpress or alibaba this is for an inverter with transformer as just the positive leads are fused.

 

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Firstly: the output topology of the inverter has nothing to do with the combiner box. The solar panels connect to the inverter input which is the MPPT charge controller. The output from this charge controller then feeds the inverter input. 

Secondly: looking at your picture of the combiner, I see no blocking diodes. These are an essential part of joining multiple strings of panels into a single output. 

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Some of you may remember us building this back in 2015.     Thread here https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/481794-housebuilding-thread/?do=findComment&comment=9603407  

Warning - solar panels are 'kin heavy when you have to lift them onto the roof 🙂   Finally, the 4 panels are in place.     Panels are fixed using plates and long screws i

Something like this:-  

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8 minutes ago, bankruatsteve said:

Neat!  It took forever to load, but maybe just me.

 

Nah, not just you.

 

Thingspeak seems to go through slow phases. I expect it's getting lots of traffic with everyone "working from home".

 

I never really intended getting in to IoT (Internet of Things) it just sort of happened when trying to use WiFi to talk to my dummy load.

 

Current headache is getting the clock on the monitoring system to sync to an NTP server (the on-board clock drifts horribly).

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4 hours ago, Crossy said:

If anyone is interested you can see the current performance of the system on my ThingSpeak channel

 

https://thingspeak.com/channels/991448

 

Very nice chart software . I like it.

Mine is on a chinesium site, had tried to intercept the log the data that is being sent but till now no luck. It has no public page and need a login to see the data.

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Two days ago.

 

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The other, live, data like volts and MMPT status I only can see when using the phone app and bluetooth.

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And login locally on the inverter gives me the settings option but no data.

 

 

Is the net-metering day on the 18th with you? Or another reason why the monthly reset is on that day?

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17 minutes ago, Metropolitian said:

Is the net-metering day on the 18th with you? Or another reason why the monthly reset is on that day?

 

Meter reader comes on the 17th, so I reset at midnight to keep track of what the actual bill should be. It's not perfect because he comes at various times of day but it's close enough.

 

By the way, the data doesn't come from the inverters, I've given up on that route. I have a couple of cheap electronic meters with RS-485 (Modbus) talking to an Arduino Mega with a few bits nailed on.

 

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1 hour ago, Crossy said:

 

 

Meter reader comes on the 17th, so I reset at midnight to keep track of what the actual bill should be. It's not perfect because he comes at various times of day but it's close enough.

 

By the way, the data doesn't come from the inverters, I've given up on that route. I have a couple of cheap electronic meters with RS-485 (Modbus) talking to an Arduino Mega with a few bits nailed on.

 

Mind sharing the sources? I have all the hardware for it, I think.

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3 minutes ago, Metropolitian said:

Mind sharing the sources? I have all the hardware for it, I think.

 

Sure, I was going to start a thread soon anyway.

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5 minutes ago, Crossy said:

Sure, I was going to start a thread soon anyway.

StayHome brings us more time to finish plans 😄 And you know (or not) what are still in the jars / boxes that you kept on the shelves 🙂
Got bracket for the lifepo4 batteries arrived just today, finally have something to continue with the mini-powerwall project!

 

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On 6/13/2020 at 9:32 AM, Crossy said:

A weekend of solar re-configuration is at hand.

 

The current plan of action is:-

Phase 1

  • Fully populate the car-port roof with panels, there's room for 18.
  • Install a new 6kW GTI.
  • Store the existing baby GTIs for later.
  • Sort out how the do-not export function works and if it can be controlled via the app.
  • Assuming not then link a relay across the CT controlled from an NTP time clock to enable the function (disable export) on and around meter day.

Phase 2

  • Add an extension to the car-port roof for 6 more panels 4 of which can run with the existing micro-inverters and cover the base load, add the other two to the 6kW beastie which would put it at capacity.

 

Hope we don't get sussed by PEA for now.

 

But assuming we will eventually end up with an electronic / no-reverse meter look at adding batteries and a controllable charger to store excess power for use later.

 

Photos once it's done.
 

I guess the "Solar Car Port on a Budget" is infinitely budget flexible. Do you still enjoy watching the watts?

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2 hours ago, Crossy said:

All good fun, just having a break and a cuppa, been at it since 4.30 this morning.

Aah, the enthusiasm of youth. Well done.

I agree absolutely about the fun of the journey.

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Phase-1a is working after some frantic emailing to the manufacturer's support line, very responsive and helpful, a software update was performed and we are now working with the new inverter and the original 8 panels.

 

The rest of the panels will go up on Sunday when my step-son visits (he does the climbing thing).

 

Inverter and assorted bits box containing 30A mains breaker, mains surge suppression and DC surge suppression (will be installed when the beasties arrive from Lazada). Cables to be tidied when the panels are all up.

 

20200615_144826.jpg

 

EDIT And now it seems that the unit I've been sold is a "not for export" model, so Sofar Support won't help me change the language from the default Chinese. Hoping for help from the seller who is also very responsive to questions (one reason I keep going back to them).

 

I do have the Chinese manual, so scanning and online translations are in order too.

 

Luckily I quite enjoy these challenges, I'll get there in the end. If it saves me a few $$$ I'm happy (I count my time as no-charge). 

 

 

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