Mini Split update for Offgrid

Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
Time for an update after 6 years. I will just edit the original 1st post from April 2009. Sanyo was sold to Panasonic but my 6 year old unit still runs very well.

icon1.png Sanyo mini split AC (inverter/variable speed)

Thought I would start a thread here as it is getting hot up here in the mountains.
The really nice thing about these units is the fan speed, and temp differential set the DC compressor to nice small amounts of power (300 watts) on the 9,000 BTU unit. The 12,000 BTU is slightly more power on the LG's and Mitsubishi mini splits. 240 VAC is far more efficient and SEER's of 25 are common now on the 12,000 BTU. The strategy is to get the house cool by 8 am in summer and then just run till dusk or later. There are about 3 different power levels on a 12,000 BTU of 400 watts, 800 watts and 1,200 watts. You will need all the power on really hot days.

For Offgrid you can run the unit continuously with a proper design. With larger battery systems there will be more options. As the day goes on you can shift more power to the unit or just set the desired temperature. It would not work well if you wanted to cool a hot home down fast. But for a slow cool down it is the cats meow. 1700 square foot house is 72 degrees on this little unit at 100F outside. This is done by programming a 2 degree offset from the room temp or just setting the remote at 72. The rooms of the house will be slightly warmer. This strategy is for places that cool down at night or large battery systems and daily recharge capability. Offgrid you can run off a solar tracker or east and west arrays from dawn to dusk. A fixed array will require using a generator much more. This strategy gets better and easier with more power. We now just run the timer from 7am to 8pm with the remote set for 72 and set the fan to auto. Over 20 of my customers are using Mini Splits. All use the 12,000 BTU size in even larger houses than mine. It is a mistake to use too large of a Mini Split offgrid!
A decent source for LG has been,

https://www.acwholesalers.com/LG-Air-Conditioners/LA120HYV-12K-BTU-25-SEER-Ductless-Heat-Pump-Air-Conditioner/39642.ac?catId=cat12521&mainCat=cat11457&subCat=cat12511&gclid=CjwKEAjwjN2eBRDbyPWl0JLY5lYSJACPo0Ui4EcoGOuSJsJIBRwxEeOK64KVkrexpsZZ9R2uCM5Z7xoCBGTw_wcB

Install video for LG,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUJMzKPwjbI


The heat pump function is worth buying also and is usually included these days. To avoid power issues with cloudy days, hot nights, wildfire smoke at night, places that do not cool at night, a battery system capable of around 13KWH @ 50% discharge will make it easy. It can be done with less and I did use a 4.8KWH @50% discharge for the first 5 years.

There are other inverter split-type units also but be aware that you need to really watch the model numbers as there are often lower SEER units that will not work as well. The 5 year warranty requires a pro to do the initial start-up.
Last edited by Dave Angelini; July 15th, 2011 at 11:51 PDT. Reason: update after 2.5 years of use
"we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
 http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    This is Dave's original Mini-Split thread:

    Sanyo mini split AC (inverter/variable speed)


    It is long and now getting long in the tooth. I will lock the old thread and make this one the new Mini-Split sticky.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 508 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Our Sanyo inverter Mini-splits are keeping us cool this summer..8) Such as it is..
    This fall, it will be 5 years heating and cooling with inverter heat pumps.

    Last winter got really cold. Once it gets down to under 10deg F,
    we turn on back-up heat. Normally it's small space heaters,
    because the duration of cold snaps are short..
    3 or 4 hours until the sun comes up. Not in the winter of 2013-14.
    We had to burn oil for hours. Expensive stuff.
    This summer we have to buy some more heating oil..
    Another 100 gallon fill-up will last us 3 or 4 years, I hope!

    Cheers,
    Rich
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 491 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Rich , so you don't feel the pain as much , 100 USG up here is 540.00 at 1.40 per L delivered.

    VT
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 260 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Friedrich Breeze self-install version

    I recently installed one of the new Friedrich Breeze mini-split models (BRO412W1A). It might be of interest to some here because:

    - it is a true mini-split heat pump (both heating and cooling) that can be self-installed;
    - it's from a reputable company, especially compared with the other self-installation mini-split options, and;
    - it's easy to wire. It runs on a 115v outlet, but delivers 12K BTUs heating or cooling.

    I've wanted a small mini-split for our main living room for several years, but every time I priced one with professional installation (needed for warranty coverage) it was too much to justify -- typically about $3K in my area for a small one-ton unit. The Friedrich is one ton, and was $1600 delivered. While this is not cheap for its size, the unit comes with almost everything required for installation, including the line set and condenser pad, and since no installer was needed, it worked out to be much cheaper than any alternative available to me. Nothing in the warranty (five years) or warranty card requires a professional installation.

    So far, it's working very well. It draws about 280 watts in low cooling mode, which keeps half our house comfortably cool in the summer (and dehumidifies the entire house). Even on a cloudy day my solar array can keep it going all day. It was very easy to install with little more than a hole saw for the line-set. You don't need a vacuum pump, manifold set, or anything other than basic tools. By the way it will turn on and run on a Exceltech XP 1100 inverter. I tested it on one, briefly -- I'm not sure how it would do in sustained high-cooling mode on an inverter this small, though.

    There are two (minor) drawbacks I've noted so far:
    1. The indoor unit does not fit flush against the wall The instructions admit you cannot get it flush. So there's an ugly gap where you can see the wiring, line set, drain hose, etc. I used some wood trim pieces to conceal the gap and it looks o.k.
    2. It's only 17.8 SEER, which is not as good as the really high-efficiency mini-splits, although it's still far better than nearly any ducted system, or any window unit. I think the reason for the relatively low SEER is that Friedrich knew this would be user-installed in many cases, and high-SEER units tend to be more fragile since they have more complex condensers. The outdoor unit is very heavy and seems robust -- hopefully it will hold up well.

    Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Friedrich so far, although I've had no chance to really test the heating function.

    For those who don't want to pay $1500 for a mini-split and then another $1000-$1500 for the professional installation needed for warranty service, this might be an option.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Friedrich Breeze self-install version

    I have a 3 zone Friedrich with 3 9000 BTU indoor units, works very well.
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 719 ✭✭
    Re: Friedrich Breeze self-install version
    Eric L wrote: »
    You don't need a vacuum pump, manifold set, or anything other than basic tools.

    From what I have been told by many HVAC guys (many of which are good friends) you MUST evacuate your lines otherwise the moisture and contaminates in the lines will eventually tear up your compressor because it will contaminate the oil. Sure, you can INSTALL one without evacuating the lines and it will work, but it will just be a matter of time before the compressor fails.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 260 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Friedrich Breeze self-install version
    From what I have been told by many HVAC guys (many of which are good friends) you MUST evacuate your lines otherwise the moisture and contaminates in the lines will eventually tear up your compresso

    The line-set on this model is pre-charged and fixed length (25'). It's under pressure from the factory, so I don't know how moisture and contaminants could possibly enter the lines, unless you evacuated them and started over. They attach to the condenser with a special connector; there is no provision for using a vacuum pump even if you have one. Here are the instructions: http://www.friedrich.com/sites/default/files/RetailBreezeDuctlessBrochure2012.pdf
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 719 ✭✭
    Re: Friedrich Breeze self-install version
    Eric L wrote: »
    The line-set on this model is pre-charged and fixed length (25'). It's under pressure from the factory, so I don't know how moisture and contaminants could possibly enter the lines, unless you evacuated them and started over. They attach to the condenser with a special connector; there is no provision for using a vacuum pump even if you have one. Here are the instructions: http://www.friedrich.com/sites/default/files/RetailBreezeDuctlessBrochure2012.pdf

    The "Line-set" is pre-charged? I think you mean the compressor is pre-charged? Most, if not all, units come "pre-charged" with the proper amount of refrigerant for X-feet of line. The line-set is nothing more than some lengths of copper tubing. "That" is where the contaminates can enter the system if you do not evacuate them after you connect them to the compressor. I'll double check with my HVAC guy who will be here next weekend to install my mini-splits but I am 99% sure you are going to have an issue someday without evacuating the system first. Again, HVAC is not my specialty, I just know what I have always heard in the past about evacuations and it seems to make sense.

    Note: And the evacuation would be done from either the high-pressure or low-pressure port AT the actual compressor itself (I don't remember which one they do it from).
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,486 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Pre charged lines are sealed with a aluminum disk that is pierced by a blade in the male ends as they are installed. They have
    been around for 50 years.

    http://www.hamiltonhomeproducts.com/blog/6/quick-connect-pre-charged-ac-and-heat-pump-systems
  • verdigoverdigo Solar Expert Posts: 427 ✭✭
    Re: Friedrich Breeze self-install version

    Unless the refrigerant system is purged using dry nitrogen a vacuum alone will not remove all of the moisture. Simply evacuating with a vacuum pump does not circulate any water vapor out from remote areas in the system such as the evaporator coil. This is why most refrigerant systems have a receiver dryer containing desiccant that absorbs moisture while the system is in operation with the refrigerant circulating. The dryer should be replaced each time the system is opened.
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 719 ✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    Pre charged lines are sealed with a aluminum disk that is pierced by a blade in the male ends as they are installed. They have
    been around for 50 years.

    http://www.hamiltonhomeproducts.com/blog/6/quick-connect-pre-charged-ac-and-heat-pump-systems

    Cool, never knew that. But like I said, it's not HVAC is not my thing.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,486 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    The issue with pre-charged lines is they have to be somewhat the right length so you don't have to loop them and the suction lines (5/8-3/4 ") are hard to bend in a small radius and easily kinked if your not real careful. Most professional installers would avoid them, they can cut the costs on some installs.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    Pre charged lines are sealed with a aluminum disk that is pierced by a blade in the male ends as they are installed. They have
    been around for 50 years.

    http://www.hamiltonhomeproducts.com/blog/6/quick-connect-pre-charged-ac-and-heat-pump-systems

    Of course and also to question some information in a previous post, a professional with a vacuum pump is not needed if one understands that they can use the refrigerant in the pre-charged compressor to bleed out the air and moisture in the line set. This is not for an amateur but anyone with a working knowledge of refrigerant valves and such can do this. It is not optimum but is an alternative that that half of the world uses without problems and with long service life.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,486 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    Of course and also to question some information in a previous post, a professional with a vacuum pump is not needed if one understands that they can use the refrigerant in the pre-charged compressor to bleed out the air and moisture in the line set. This is not for an amateur but anyone with a working knowledge of refrigerant valves and such can do this. It is not optimum but is an alternative that that half of the world uses without problems and with long service life.
    The Line Set, Condensing unit and Evaporator are all 3 pre-charged with refrigerant and sealed. Your confusing it with using refrigerant in the compressor to do a line purge hook up, not a good idea.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,121 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    The Line Set, Condensing unit and Evaporator are all 3 pre-charged with refrigerant and sealed. Your confusing it with using refrigerant in the compressor to do a line purge hook up, not a good idea.

    And, under current US regulations, doing a line purge by venting refrigerant would be illegal as well as wasteful and risking running the system with too small a refrigerant charge.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    inetdog wrote: »
    And, under current US regulations, doing a line purge by venting refrigerant would be illegal as well as wasteful and risking running the system with too small a refrigerant charge.

    And as I said it is not optimum. It is done all over the world and does not effect service life and very little refrigerant is vented. I certainly am not advocating doing this but have been around many of the places you can get to on a boat or ship.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,486 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    And as I said it is not optimum. It is done all over the world and does not effect service life and very little refrigerant is vented. I certainly am not advocating doing this but have been around many of the places you can get to on a boat or ship.
    Dave, I agree with you and have done it 100's of times. A A/C usually doesn't have that much of a problem freezing at the metering device and there is " Thaw Zone " antifreeze that can take care of that, if there was question, you might put in a filter / dryer in. Back in the day thats how we did it with a clean system, purge as you connected the the suction line back at the compressor. If you did pull a vacuum it was minimal and get on to the next job. Nowdays most installing crews don't ever start the units, the service crew does that as a separate part of the install because everything has become so technical.
  • ReedReed Solar Expert Posts: 54 ✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Anyone have experience in US with the mini-splits on RVs. Have noticed on the Grey Nomad thread that they are using Fujitsu mini-splits.
    Reed and Elaine
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Here is a link to a 9,000 btu Mitsu at 30.5 SEER. 10% off this week-end. 8 years ago the best was about 16 SEER
    https://www.acwholesalers.com/Mitsubishi-Air-Conditioners/MZ-FH09NA-9000-BTU-30-5-SEER-Ductless-Wall-Mounted-Heat-Pump-System/42698.ac?catId=cat1028&mainCat=&subCat=&trail=68442:30.50

    Reed wrote: »
    Anyone have experience in US with the mini-splits on RVs. Have noticed on the Grey Nomad thread that they are using Fujitsu mini-splits.
    Reed and Elaine
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Mountain DonMountain Don Solar Expert Posts: 493 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    No direct experience but I met someone with a 9000 BTU (don't remember the brand) in a FS campground. He was happy and running it off an EU2000i.
    Northern NM, 624 watts PV, The Kid CC, GC-2 batteries @ 24 VDC, Outback VFX3524M
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    Here is a link to a 9,000 btu Mitsu at 30.5 SEER. 10% off this week-end. 8 years ago the best was about 16 SEER

    It is great to see the advances even in the last few years. I'd bet they are getting close to the maximum possible, though.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    Are all of these 240 VAC units? The nice thing about the Sanyo (before Panasonic bought out Sanyo) is they were one of the few 120 VAC models out there.

    -Bill

    PS: Ok, got lazy... These are 208/230 VAC units--Not 120 VAC.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid
    BB. wrote: »
    Are all of these 240 VAC units? The nice thing about the Sanyo (before Panasonic bought out Sanyo) is they were one of the few 120 VAC models out there.

    -Bill

    PS: Ok, got lazy... These are 208/230 VAC units--Not 120 VAC.


    To get the highest SEER with the current state of the art, you would always use 240VAC.

    To get the best in October with the current state of the art, you would use the Giants.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Mini Split update for Offgrid

    It appears that the link above is having yet another big sale. I have been using them alot this year for my clients and I just got another sales pitch from them. If you are in the market you might get on their mail list for future sales as the sale today is for 20% off LG mini splits. That with free shipping and only Florida sales tax is a saver. Here is the info for the link above. The 1 ton LG is an amazing unit that sips power (direct experience) and is around 26.5 SEER I think...A great quiet heater also!

    It's time for a FLASH SALE! Today Only Nov 6 from 11AM to 4PM EST SAVE 20% off on LG Ductless Mini Split systems, simply enter coupon code: savebig20
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Nice new model from Mitsu with 31.5 SEER. In the previous post I am not confusing pre-charged line sets. I have not seen one of the Mini-splits come with pre-charged line sets, yet.
    [h=4]Mitsubishi MZ-FH09NA 9,000 BTU 30.5 SEER Ductless Mini Split Heat Pump[/h] Item#: 42698Model#: MZ-FH09NABrand: Mitsubishi$1,654.00
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Unfortunately, it is still a 208/230 VAC unit... No "good" 120 VAC ones out there?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Almost everyone (my folks) has 240 vac these days. The next time I see a decent 120VAC I will post it. They are out there but they (120vac) will never get the SEER that the 240's do. You have 240? Even my Gramps old place in "the city" had 240. Take Care!

    https://www.acwholesalers.com/Ductless-Air-Conditioner-Wall-Mounted-Air-Conditioners/cat1028.ac?mainCat=&subCat=&trail=68443%3A0.75+Ton%3A68438%3A115-60-1%3A68445%3AYes
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    I don't need a/c... just a lot of the smaller off grid installations are 120 vac.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    I don't need a/c... just a lot of the smaller off grid installations are 120 vac.

    -Bill


    I thought you might have wanted it for an efficient heater. No duct loss and a big gain over an electric element.
    A small offgrid installation that required AC really would have to lose the 120V inverter these days with the huge gain in SEER at over 200 vac.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Oh... I think it would be neat... But we only use about $40-$50 a month for winter heating (another $20 for water heating/cooling) in our mild climate (natural gas). Not too worried at the moment.

    If I was building a new home--Would certainly think about mini-splits.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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