News from SPI

I've been at SPI for the past few days and thought I'd list some notable discoveries here.

-Midnite Solar is working on a 600V in, 130 amp out charge controller called the Barcelona.  Said it would be released within six months.

-Skybox from Outback (5kW grid tie inverter that can use batteries or no batteries) is now shipping.

-Several rapid shutdown solutions including one (QF Energy) that's just an in-line MC4 connector

-New load center from Q factory that takes a 200 amp service and allows 200 amps of load and 200 amps of backfeed

-A "crypto mining" system by usolar that uses solar + batteries to power a series of multicore processors to mine for bitcoins and the like.  It disables/slows down processors when solar input is insufficient.

-It's becoming clear that interfacing li-ion batteries to the charge controller is becoming a big stinking problem.  Several vendors had lines of "adapter boxes" that would translate xanbus to modbus (for example) so you could use a Discovery li-ion battery with an Outback inverter.   But still, most batteries won't work with most inverters, because there are so many of both.

-vutiliti has these little current sense transformers that are powered by induction and use wireless communications - so you just clip them around an AC conductor and you are done.  No other wiring.

-ampt has a micro"inverter" solution that goes direct to battery.  Modules on the panels convert panel voltage to 400 volts DC which is directly fed to a battery.

-Eaton has a line of remotely operated and monitored breakers for load control/monitoring.  But they take up two breaker spaces.  Who has extra breaker spaces?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,883Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    That is some neat stuff Bill!

    Thank you,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭


    -It's becoming clear that interfacing li-ion batteries to the charge controller is becoming a big stinking problem.  Several vendors had lines of "adapter boxes" that would translate xanbus to modbus (for example) so you could use a Discovery li-ion battery with an Outback inverter.   But still, most batteries won't work with most inverters, because there are so many of both.


    Thanks Bill,

    The Discovery AES battery model #48 works directly with Schneider xanbus battery based inverters and has for over a year now. They have free shipping from my dealers and install seamlessly. Outback was suppose to do this but....

    I think if you look into the big battery/BMS systems, you will find that the problem was the batteries could not take 130 + amps and the new ones can. They also had BMS problems where the battery could be overcharged. The new large batteries either control the CC or they current limit it internally as the Blue Ion, Discovery, and Iron Edison LFP do.

    So, I think it is getting better!  I started testing Lithium batteries for Offgrid here 2 years ago. Now my clients do it also!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • bill von novakbill von novak Posts: 783Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭


    -It's becoming clear that interfacing li-ion batteries to the charge controller is becoming a big stinking problem.  Several vendors had lines of "adapter boxes" that would translate xanbus to modbus (for example) so you could use a Discovery li-ion battery with an Outback inverter.   But still, most batteries won't work with most inverters, because there are so many of both.


    Thanks Bill,

    The Discovery AES battery model #48 works directly with Schneider xanbus battery based inverters and has for over a year now. They have free shipping from my dealers and install seamlessly. Outback was suppose to do this but....

    I think if you look into the big battery/BMS systems, you will find that the problem was the batteries could not take 130 + amps and the new ones can. They also had BMS problems where the battery could be overcharged. The new large batteries either control the CC or they current limit it internally as the Blue Ion, Discovery, and Iron Edison LFP do.

    So, I think it is getting better!  I started testing Lithium batteries for Offgrid here 2 years ago. Now my clients do it also!
    Yeah, I talked to several people about that.  I was under the impression that the communication was essentially "stop charging" and "stop discharging" but after talking to Outback, Midnite, Iron Edison and Discovery I found out what was going on -

    First off the batteries report current and temperature so the inverter/charger doesn't have to monitor them.  So the functionality of, say, the Wizbang isn't needed - you can limit current to avoid overcharging the battery via the bus without needing a separate current sensor.

    Second in many cases chargers/inverters base charge termination on declared battery SOC, not just voltage and current. So the battery itself can declare itself 'full' or 'empty' without having to do a BMS disconnect.  Which means the battery manufacturer can decide how to report capacity to maximize life, or minimize risk, without having to change charging parameters at the inverter directly.

    As a side note, one of the awesome things about this conference is that everyone is there.  If you have a question about Midnite?  Robin Gudgel is there.  And after talking to him, he suggests talking to this guy at Discovery Batteries - and he's right there, too.  You can learn more in an hour than you can in a week of reading online manuals, talking to sales reps on the phone and experimenting yourself.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,010Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I stay away from sale reps and deal with the engineers. I have done it this way my whole life. It is interesting to go to a Trade Show but to get me to go Los Angeles is a major discomfort. I would pick the Dentist first.

     The reason (I think) that Outback is having trouble with AES is that 3 of the Schneider/Xantrex engineers I have worked with for over 10 years, now run AES and business secrets abound.  Whatever reason it was supposed to be done by now for Skybox. The Schneider system gets AES data Soc and internal battery temp directly into combox and out to the webportal Insight. I was hoping to use AES with Skybox and Optics but it can wait. A similar Schneider XW system is almost $1,000 less and fully expandable at my cost.

    We don't experiment here, we test,  but I hear you about it is a good time saver for busy people. 
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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