Hub blowing out

mevenablemevenable Posts: 40Registered Users ✭✭
I have been working hard to figure out why the local installation company keeps messing up my hub.  They blew out 2 of them in late January trying to install the Flexmate cable, and finally gave up on that. Then in late March they brought in the final string of batteries, and messed up the Hub again.  Basically, it is working at the beginning of the operation, and when they go to turn everything back on it is unresponsive - no lights, no connection to the mate3, which is dark.  When the inverter is connected directly to the mate3, then the mate3 works fine, but there is no longer any information from the Charge Controller.  One thing that occurs to me is that it might be damaged by the huge spark that cracks like a rifle shot every time they have to hook the cable from the inverter back up to the batteries. The local company says this is all normal and harmless, that it is due to capacitance in the inverter.  Researching, it looks like normally there is a circuit breaker between the batteries and the inverter (and also between the batteries and the charge controller).  If such a breaker were present, and was off when they were connecting the cables, I suspect that there would not be a spark.  Question is whether this is what is damaging the Hub.  I am going to try to attach a photo of my system (minus the hub, which I am hoping they will replace once again on Monday). From left to right, the circuit breaker box, the circuit breaker from the PVs, the charge controller, the circuit breaker box for the grid, the inverter, and the mate3s.  the  If anyone sees anything else that sends up a red flag, let me know.  These guys do not seem to quite know everything, and I certainly don't
Tagged:

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,054Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    All breakers between devices and battery bank should be open (off) when making final battery connections so there is no load across the connection. The breaker for pv to controller should also be opened. When the battery connection is completed, close the battery to device breakers, wait for the devices to boot up fully, and then close the pv breaker.

    Whether not doing this, or doing it in the wrong order is causing the hub issue, I don't know. It's a possibility though. That it happens when the hub is connected to the controller seems suggestive to me. Maybe the inverter is okay with handling the sparkiness, but the controller may not be, and could get wierd if rebooting from pv voltage alone. In any case, it's just plain wrong to make sparky connections when it can be easily avoided by opening the breakers.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mcgivormcgivor Posts: 1,540Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 1 #3
     Overcurrent protection is not merely a convenience, a short circuit would allow the batteries to push thousands of amps there should be protection on both the battery to inverter and controller to battery because both are connected directly to this high potential current. 
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • Raj174Raj174 Posts: 581Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    @mevenable
    I do not see the two 175 amp breakers for the Radian inverter. Are they installed? This is a GS8048A right? It has two 4000 watt power modules with battery connections on the bottom of the inverter, each requiring a minimum 2/0 AWG pos and neg cables (4 cables) with 175 amp breakers. Each module needs it's own breaker. Did they not recommend using the GSLC panel made for this inverter? It would have made life and installation much easier.

    Rick


    12 x 300W Renogy PV, MNE175DR-TR epanel modified, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 54.4V 207AH HI Power LiFePO4 no BMS, 4000W gen.
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,054Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I don't see breakers (or fuses) for the charge controller either. Hopefully, they're there someplace but just can't see in the pic.

    If there aren't breakers (or less ideally fuses), I highly recommend getting someone who knows what they're doing to check over the entire system. As McGivor and Rick note, such a lack of protection is dangerous, and you're lucky to get away with just frying a hub. If your "local installers" actually installed without OCP on the battery connections, they clearly don't know what they're doing (or perhaps worse, don't care and just want to make a few extra bucks on the job).
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mevenablemevenable Posts: 40Registered Users ✭✭
    Exactly  These guys do represent outback here in country, and have training seminars with them, but they did NOT as far as I can see put in any sort of circuit breakers between the CC and the batteries, and the inverter and the batteries.  Oddly, an Outback trainer came to our farm during a training exercise and saw the setup, and did not say anything about the circuit breakers.  He also did not comment on the fact the batteries were (at that time) jammed up against each other and the temperature sensor sitting on top.  I figured that one out by reading and got it adjusted.  Apparently it is like so many things, standards of first world companies go downhill in the third world. 
  • mevenablemevenable Posts: 40Registered Users ✭✭

    btw, when they re-connect the cables to the battery bank, the inverter and CC fans start up


  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,054Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    That's a normal part of the bootup self test process on my OB VFXs - presumably also for your gear.

    Still, making a sparky, erratic power-up connection instead of a clean breaker closing connection to boot likely isn't doing the gear any favours.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • mevenablemevenable Posts: 40Registered Users ✭✭

    The local guys seem to sell the stripped down version, figuring I guess that their customers wont pay extra for anything.  The Hub was not part of the original package, I had to figure out what was missing and ask for it.  They did not presume you would want to use Optics to view things from a computer.  In general, they sold an installed package that included the panels, CC, Inverter and batteries, as well as a breaker for the panels and a breaker for the entire fuse box (solar part, as well as the grid breaker).  There were also some general categories such as "battery connection kit" and "Electrical materials" which did not have any details.  Being a total neophyte, I assumed that everything needful was there, then have been finding out elsewise bit by bit.  The inverter and CC do not seem to be suffering for lack of the breaker boxes so far, but this must be what is affecting the hub, which is more delicate for some reason.

    The local guys are really good in other aspects, they are very nice and fairly responsive over all (certainly compared to any other company I contacted for the work) and have worked with me to expand the original limited vision of the system to encompass a number of additional elements.  I would recommend them to others, with the caveat that I would recommend to anyone starting out with it to try to understand as much as possible yourself from the start.  Of course, like building a house (done that too), you never get it all right at first, and usually change your mind about a bunch of things as you go along.

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,054Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I get that you gotta sell what what people will buy. I get that safety doesn't (usually) sell. I'll even buy that these guys are legitimately trying to do "good" installs. That said, the added cost to add OCP to battery connection is minimal, and the cost of not doing it is not.

    The great thing about this interweb thingy is people can learn why stuff works or doesn't, wherever they are. If they're any good, maybe they'll take the time to understand why having no OCP on a battery circuit is a bad thing.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Raj174Raj174 Posts: 581Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I know you said an Outback rep was there, but I have a hard time believing that Outback would approve of this installation especially since it was done by a retail company that sells their equipment. Did you call Outback to verify that they are an Outback dealer? I know I'm no actually addressing your posted question, but I believe you should have gotten the professional installation that you paid for.

    12 x 300W Renogy PV, MNE175DR-TR epanel modified, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 54.4V 207AH HI Power LiFePO4 no BMS, 4000W gen.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,560Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Rick,
    FYI  It is not that hard to become a dealer for Outback. It does not mean that you buy directly from Outback. They have little say in what is done and as you get south of Florida, It amazing how things seem to change very fast. This was the opposite that I thought until I lived there.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

Sign In or Register to comment.