Solar Generator - should we buy one?

24

Comments

  • sfsengsfseng Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Solutions From Science is a multi-million dollar company specializing in emergency preparedness products. We are not a small fly-by-night operation.

    First in response to unkind comments made here about me:

    1. Yes I am a “real” engineer. My name is David Fink and I have an electrical engineering degree from a major university. I have worked in the engineering field since 1983. Almost 30 years experience.
    2. OK, so I made some typos. I know that I should have typed INVerter instead of CONverter. Yes, I know the difference. I rarely read or participate in forums or blogs. So please excuse me for inadvertently calling this forum a blog.

    Taking the false statements and slanderous accusations one at a time:

    1. Our systems are way overpriced.

    Truth: There are many costs involved in producing completetely assembled and tested systems systems that many never consider:
     The component parts
     The cost of shipping the parts to our warehouse.
     The cost of warehousing the parts
     The labor and fixed asset (tooling) costs of assembling the systems and production of special parts ( primarily our custom solar panel frames and mounts for our solar panels)
     Overhead costs such as ongoing R&D, marketing, sales, etc.
     Advertising costs
     Product testing and quality assurance costs
     Packaging materials, insurance costs, etc., etc.

    By the time all these costs are added up we do not make an exorbitant profit on these systems. If you compare our systems to other small portable solar electric systems sold on the web as complete plug and play systems I believe you'll find that our systems provide more power for the dollar than similiarly priced systems. For comparison our specifications for the PS 1800 are available at http://www.mysolarbackup.com/features.html

    Yes most of the members of this forum can assemble their own system cheaper. However, many people have neither the desire nor ability to assemble a safe and reliable system themselves.

    2. Our system is an “abortion” of “hacked” components with no warranties.

    Truth: We obtained approval from Xantrex for our modifications to their UPS before our PS 1800 system ever went into production. The modifications we make to the their UPS are far from a “hack” job. Xantrex warranties the base UPS to Solutions From Science (with our modifications installed) so that we can extend that warranty to our customers.

    We decided to use the Xantrex product as a base for our system because it already contained a reliable inverter /battery pack in a well designed housing. Plus, the Xantrex UPS already contained a well designed set of internal protection circuitry like overload sensing circuits, under-voltage protection for the batteries and a user friendly digital LED display that indicates battery charge condition and all necessary operational error/fault codes. Why would we reinvent the wheel when we can buy one and add improvements to it?

    Please call Xantrex and ask them if Solutions From Science is an authorized reseller of their products. Ask them if we are a customer in good standing, and if we are one of their biggest customers of the PowerSource 1800 and PowerHub 1800 systems.

    Xantrex's engineering team and ours share ideas and data with one another on various projects. We are currently testing two prototype “solar generators” Xantrex provided to us for beta testing. These products were developed by Xantrex at our request and our companies are cooperating in their development.

    Don’t believe me? Please call the Xantrex Mobile Products Division engineering department and ask them if this is true. You can find contact information at the Xantrex Website.


     We install MorningStar SunSaver 6 Solar controllers in complete accordance with MorningStar approved procedures. (We use MorningStar MPPT controllers on our more powerful systems) We mount it in a ventilated ABS electrical enclosure custom built for us. A clear cover on the enclosure allows the indicator LEDs to be clearly seen. All wiring is enclosed and all cables are secured by ½ in. watertight conduit cable connectors. The enclosure is not “glued on” as suggested by one member of the forum. It is secured with machine screws. (And yes, Xantrex still honors their warranty even though we drill holes in the side panel). Since our use of the controllers is in accordance with the supplier's instructions and the UL listing requirements for the unit, warranty is a non-issue. Solutions From Science warrants all the components in our systems similarly. If a door handle breaks on your car the auto manufacturer serves the warranty claim for you, not the company that makes the door handle.
     All cablies attached to our solar panels are similarly secured and all terminations are made according to the UL listings for the components used.
     Likewise our solar panels are warranted by us for 20 years and that is in accordance with the warranty provided us by our supplier.


    3. Our solar panels are not custom manufactured to our specifications.

    Truth: We worked with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels to develop panels that meet SFS’s unique requirements.. Don’t believe me? Call me personally at 815-902-0151 and I will tell you who the manufacturer is and I’ll give you the panel part numbers. Then go out and try to buy one on your own. I’ll email you a photo of the manufacturer’s label on the back of our solar panel so you can double check the manufacturer and part numbers. Due to trade agreements I am not allowed to reveal the manufacturer’s name on this forum. The manufacturer is based in China. The Chinese supplier has visited our facility here in Illinois and I am scheduled to visit their plant in China next month to meet with them regarding new products we are developing with them. We currently are using proprietary 90 watt and 150 watt panels from this supplier. All of our standard panels are high efficiency mono-crystal panels.


    4. Our advertising misleads our customers.

    Truth: All the specifications given on our website come directly form our suppliers' literature. Our DC source runtime charts are taken directly from Xantrex’s specifications. Before presenting this data we experimentally verified all of our suppliers’ claims for their products. An FAQ section on our website answers questions about the applications and use of our systems.

    Everyday our sales representatives turn away potential customers when we know that our products cannot satisfy their requirements or expectations. Test us! Make up a fictional application that you know cannot be satisfied by our systems as represented on our website. Call one of our sales reps and ask them about your application. Call me personally if they try sell our system to you. (815-902-0151 is my office number). It won’t happen!

    Our solar systems are marketed as “emergency” back-up systems for only the most critical loads in crisis situations. We are honest with our customers about the limited power applications of our systems. Many of our customers learn to “budget” the available power to run their loads within the operating limits of our systems.

    “SOLAR GENERATOR”: Yes it’s a marketing term. Yes, technically a “generator” is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The term is useful for helping non-technical people to grasp the basic function our systems. Marketing people in almost every industry make “creative” use of technical terminology to help people understand their products.

    The system so unfairly criticized here, our PS 1800 portable solar system, has a standard battery capacity of 51 Ah., with optional capacities up to 66 Ahrs. There is a big market for systems of this size. We have many thousands of very satisfied customers, many of whom are repeat buyers. Our customers generally understand the power limitations and find our systems just right for their needs. Yeah, they’re small, but we don’t market them as whole-house systems, power sources for room heaters or for air conditioners.

    We produce systems with up to 600 watts of solar panels and 400 Ahr. battery packs, and are currently developing a 3.2 KVA system with 2 KWof solar power and 1000 Ahrs., of battery capacity that is programmable to provide output voltages and frequencies compatible with the local power standards anywhere in the world.

    About running a kitchen refrigerator for 10 hours a day from our 51 Ahr. Battery Pack: (for Niel)

    Many factors other than just the rated wattage of a refrigerator determine its actual load on a power source. For example:
     The efficiency of the refrigeration system
     The amount of insulation in the refrigerator
     The temperature settings in the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
     How full the refrigerator is filled with food
     How frequently and for what duration the door is opened
     Whether or not the unit is self defrosting
     The ambient temperature in which the unit is operating
     The frequency and duration of the compressor run cycles, etc.

    The customer who used her PS 1800 unit to run her refrigerator for 10 hrs a day told me that she learned all she could about getting the best power efficiency from her refrigerator. She said that she used the solar panel (90 watts) to charge the batteries every morning. Then she plugged her refrigerator into the “generator” and let it run until the unit shut itself off at the low-voltage protection point. She said that while it was running she disciplined herself to open the door no more often than absolutely necessary and for as short a duration as possible. She also stated that she did not open the refrigerator during the “off” hours, and that during those 14 “off” hours the refrigerator stayed cold enough to keep her food fresh. This lady called our company to thank us for producing “such a great product” (her words not ours).

    In our own experiments we have seen the unit run a normal size kitchen refrigerator (approx. 16 cu. ft) in the range of three to six hours of "normal " usage and cycling.
    Most people using a gas generator during emergencies only run their refrigerators for five to six hours out of every twenty-four. They find that this keeps the food fresh until normal power is returned. This makes our little portable a viable unit for emergency use during a crisis situation.

    PLEASE NOTE: The following contact information is given for the purpose of contacting our company to verify the facts stated in this response. We are not trying to sell anything here. Our marketing is done successfully in other venues.
    We also realize that most of the members of this forum are not our target customers
    . We do have a right to protect our company’s good name and reputation. SFS will happily accept visits from skeptics at our facility anytime. I will be happy to answer any further questions, or criticisms, about our systems. Please inquire before posting comments and accusations based on assumptions and guesses.

    Thank You,
    David Fink


    David Fink (Product Development Engineer – Solutions From Science Inc.)
    Office phone : 815-902-0151
    Email: sfseng.def@gmail.com
    William R. Heid (President – Solutions From Science Inc.)
    ( Mr. Heid can be contacted via telephone or email by appointment only; please call the general offices to make an appointment)

    General Offices:

    Solution from Science Incorporated
    815 W Main St
    Thomson, IL
    61285

    General Office Phone: 815-259-4552

    SFS Solar Website:
    http://www.mysolarbackup.com/
  • sfsengsfseng Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Regarding my use of the word "ignorant". I agree that the members of this forum are not ignorant regarding solar electric systems. However, when you make remarks and insinuations about a product and company that you have no personal experience with, you are speaking out of ignorance.

    Whenever opinions are based on speculation, assumptions, and mere guesses one should be very careful to seek out the facts before stating those opinions. The negative rants made here about Solutions From Science and its products can be very harmful to our reputation and business. That is no laughing matter when the harm is done by comments that are not based on fact. When you harm someone through speech that is not factual it is called slander. Intentionally slandering a company or person is an ignorant thing to do.

    Legitimate criticisms are always based on facts; not speculation, assumptions, or guesses. "Real" engineers and scientists seak out the facts first by research and experimentation. Then, they thoughtfully form their opinions before stating them.

    If you are honest critics of our solar electric systems you would base your judgements on more than photographs. Since when are the performance and quality of any electrical or electronic devices or systems determined by photographs? Please remember that photos used in adertising are often based on early prototypes and/or mockups of the actual products they represent.

    Not one person on this forum contacted our company to ask questions about our products and corporate relationships before considering themselves qualified to make harmful judgements about our qualificaions, our commitment to customer service, our dedication to providing high quality products, our motivations in the marketplace, or our working relationships with our suppliers. If you doubted Xantrex's approval of our modifcations why didn't you just call Xantrex to find out? How fair was it to state that Xantrex would never approve our modifications? That was speaking from ignorance. How fair was it to state that you would never believe that our solar panels are custom made for our company without at least trying to determine the truth? That also is speaking from ignorance.

    Now, if you want to have a legitimate dialog about technical details or applications of our solar products, lets have at it. But lets talk about facts. If you don't know, feel free to ask and then verify.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    First part of your web site (before my browser shut it down for script content):

    "Last train out to get off the grid?

    Amazing "Solar Generator"
    Is Like Having A
    Secret Power Plant
    Hidden In Your Home!"


    This is exactly the kind of BS hyperbole that leads everyone here to doubt you. If your product is any good, maybe you should speak to the advertising department about the way it's being promoted. This reeks of "scam".

    "Last train out to get off the grid?" - Is that good? No; grid power is cheap and plentiful and can not be replaced by your product.

    "Solar Generator" - the only "solar generator" is a hydrogen-fusion reactor known as a sun or star. This term alone is pure BS.

    "Like having a secret power plant hidden in your home" - does anyone have to comment on that? Smacks of illegality.

    In short, the promotion of the product leads all serious and knowledgeable solar engineers to doubt its validity. I can not speak to the product itself, as I've never seen an accurate technical description of it much less had any personal experience with one.

    If you'd like to provide some accurate technical specifications we'd be better able to judge it.

    But your marketing technique is horrible.
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    to all here,
    acting on a complaint i had banned sfseng due to being pure spam as there wasn't any contribution to this forum and he posted only a false accusation as a ploy to place full and free advertising on this forum of which was overturned by rick acting on windsun's behalf. my hands are now tied as i did my job.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Thats a disapointment Niel, sfseng is peddling products similar to the old days of cure-all a century ago.

    The only reason I keep up with this forum as its been good at keeping the spammers out, if the new management thinks otherwise, your forum won't be getting my attention in the future.
  • rickrick Posts: 114Administrators admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    I unbanned sfseng because he is a representative of the company in question. I explained to him the policy of no spam. sfseng only had 1 or 2 posts in the forum. He was a brand new user and I didn't feel he was given the opportunity to refute the claims made by some of the other members. The "new" management does not support spam. However, I believe in giving someone a fair opportunity to make their case. sfseng is now well aware of the spam policy and I encouraged him through a series of emails to defend his product. He should have no problem responding without spam if that is indeed his goal. If any more spam comes from him, you can rest assured that he will be banned permanently.

    Rick
    Website administrator for Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
  • WindsunWindsun Posts: 1,164Solar Expert admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?
    niel wrote: »
    to all here,
    acting on a complaint i had banned sfseng due to being pure spam as there wasn't any contribution to this forum and he posted only a false accusation as a ploy to place full and free advertising on this forum of which was overturned by rick acting on windsun's behalf. my hands are now tied as i did my job.

    Rick apparently felt that they should have a chance to reply to the opinions. That does not mean they are allowed to do any advertising - the same rules on advertising and links still apply. On the other hand, I agree with Rick that they should have a chance to reply.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 24,524Super Moderators admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    David,

    Ok--A quick design review...

    Your systems features:
    APPROVALS - UL, CSA, FCC B
    Your system appears to still plug into the wall outlet for 120 VAC power (still a UPS).

    Since you have connected the battery charger directly to the internal battery pack... Have you reviewed the AC/DC barrier requirements for UL between the AC main, battery bank, and AC output of the inverter? Does the system meet the requirements for non-touchable exposed circuits (I cannot tell from photos about the wiring block on the charge controller) And resubmitted the system to UL? Is your facility where the modifications installed subject to random UL inspections? You carry UL traceability of your supplied components. Hipot test the unit after modifications? etc...

    If not all of the above, then your system cannot be sold as having UL/CSA Approvals (probably Registered, there is no "Approval" from UL/NRTLs).

    FCC B as an "Approval" requires open field testing at a certified site and submission/registration with FCC--You have done that?

    From this page:
    50 feet Solar Panel cable.
    Assuming a 90 Watt solar panel, ~17.5 volt Vmp, and 14 awg cordage (the actual AWG is?):
    • 90 watts / 17.5 volts = 5.14 amps Imp
    Using a voltage drop calculator, we see that 5.14 amps through 50' of 14 awg cordage give us 1.56 volts drop... Should be OK with 14 awg wiring. If the cordage is smaller gauge--it will reduce the output of the solar panel. And there should be fusing somewhere to limit current to the charge controller/external wiring in the case of a short circuit being fed by the battery bank.

    Now, we can get into the claims of how much power this device can produce... At no place (admittedly a quick look) did I see where the website gives how many Watt*Hours per day you expect the system to produce. Yes, lots of peak power values (1,800 watts, 3,600 watts peak), and a 51 AH battery at 12 volts, 90 watt panel. But for most people, that does not really address how they can use the unit in their day to day life/emergency planning.

    Looking at some generic numbers that we use here to design a solar system to meet a customer's/poster's needs (assuming 80% maximum battery discharge to prevent damage; 85% inverter efficiency):
    • 51 AH * 80% capacity * 85% inverter efficiency (guess) * 12 volts = 416 Watt*Hours useful at a 20 hour discharge rate
    • 416 watts / 20 hour rate = 20 watts for 20 hours.
    Now, to recharge the battery bank from the 90 watt panel:
    • 51 Amp*hours * 0.80 discharge * 1/5.14 amps from solar panel * 1/5 hours per day sun = 1.5 days to recharge (minimum)
    None of the above says that the system will not work--Just that what happens if you want to really use a goodly amount of power:
    Home Backup Power: Will run a fridge, freezer, sump pump and 1000 W microwave, fish tank light and air pump, home alarm system and garage door.
    Energy Star rated Fridge and Freezer are around 2x 120 watts each (240 watts total). Add a 1,000 watt microwave, 300 watts for a 1/3 hp sump pump, and 50 watts for a fish tank lamp+pump+air = 1,590 watts
    • 416 Watt*Hour capacity 1/1,590 watt load = 0.26 hours
    0.26 hours or 15.7 minutes. Once every ~2 days. And the reality is that the battery load is around:
    • 1,590 watts * 1/12 volts * 1/0.85 inverter eff = 156 amps from a 51 AH Battery
    That is a C*3 discharge rate--The AH Capacity of the 51 AH battery is probably a lot less 51 AH when being discharged at a C*3. So, the reality is the above load will last even less than 15 minutes.

    But, for what the UPS is designed for--10-15 minutes at rated load is what is needed to shut down a computer (finish work, save files, shutdown).

    How does the above compare to:
    Power Source 1800 will supply up to twelve hours of uninterrupted backup power for a small office, and up to eight hours of runtime for essential home appliances and small electronics during a power outage.

    Until now, backup power products on the market have only been able to provide limited backup power for outages, and not extended runtime like the Power Source 1800. The unit switches to backup power automatically when a power outage occurs. This happens seamlessly so the home appliances and electronic devices that are hooked up to it won't sense the power outage. They'll run off the units charged battery for hours.
    Same calculations for another setup:

    Small/Home Office Backup Power: Will run a laptop, desktop and 20" LCD or CRT monitor, 600 W office lamp, inkjet printer, 4-in-1 copier/printer/fax/scanner, internet modem, VoIP phone, mobile phone and cordless phone.
    60 watts laptop
    100 watt 20" monitor
    600 watt office lamp
    30 watts for misc. equipment (mostly standby power)
    ========================================
    790 watts total
    • 416 WH system storage capacity / 790 watts = 0.52 hours (32 minutes) (or less)
    How long does 90 watts of solar panel power the above load? Assuming bright summer day of 6 hours (1,000 W/sq.meter) sun per day, 5.14 amps Imp (and Vmp>15 volts):
    • 90 watts * 6 hours * 1/790 watts = 0.68 hours or 41 minutes (or less)
    For me, my power goes out in bad weather--December I get (long term average) of 3.35 hours per day of sun:
    • 90 watts * 3.35 hours * 1/790 watts = 0.38 hours or 23 minutes (or less)
    Does any of this look like 8-12 hours of run-time?

    Using Xantrex's brochure for a similar product (one with 60 AH of batteries) reports:
    Home Backup Power Combo:
    Full-size fridge, home alarm system
    Up to 1.5 h

    Home Office Combo:
    Desktop computer, 20” LCD monitor, inkjet
    printer, wireless modem/router, cordless phone
    Up to 2.5 h
    Not even Xantrex with their "up to" qualifiers will claim 8-12 hour run-times.

    Yes, you did not claim it will run the setup for 12 hours--just that it will run it... And, yes, in a legal sense, that is true. And "up to 12 hours" is not the same as "12 hour run-time"...

    In the end, I am not saying that the setup will not work (however, I am currious about UL/NRTL or FCC Class B Registration in your current configuration). I could not find your Company's name in the UL data base. I did find Xantrex--But I do not believe you can continue under Xantrex's UL/FCC ID's after you have made substantial changes to their hardware.

    Regarding retail price?

    ~$400-$600 for the Xantrex UPS
    ~$400 for a 90 watt panel
    ~$55-$90 for charge controller

    Maybe $1,000 or so worth of hardware. Add markup and Mfg. costs... I don't see that your price is "unfair" from a retail point of view (everyone is an adult and makes their own decisions).

    My issues pretty much revolve around the claims of the product and, that on whole, it cannot live up to them.

    The product, within the ability of the hardware, probably does perform OK.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    also note that there are many engineers on this forum and your hype is viewed for what it is. the op's questions were answered realistically and your showing up here doesn't change my opinion of the system and i doubt it changes anybody else's opinion that knows, but i do object to the plastering of phone numbers and such to your business as that is direct solicitation of business in my view under the guise of answering to criticism of your company and products. many of the engineers here also dislike this type of hype, but we'll bite our tongues for now and see what you have to say.:roll:
    now do you sell row boats as it's getting deep in here? are they solar powered too?:p
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    sfseng,
    regarding this, "About running a kitchen refrigerator for 10 hours a day from our 51 Ahr. Battery Pack: (for Niel)"
    now it wasn't me that said it wouldn't run it as i only said it would kill the battery assuming that it is on and running. even a small energy star frig would kill a 51ah battery in 10 hours, again assuming it is running normal cycle off the system you claim we are unfair to. hey, it might not even kick on due to power surge for many frigs so spill it as to the frig make and model.
    you should also realize that i can leave my non-energy star frig shut for 10hrs and the food would keep with no power at all so the claims you reiterate are somewhat misleading and not due your product.

    what am i doing? i can't believe we have to further pick this guy's hyped claims apart to validate or invalidate his system while he's reinstated and allowed by our host to leave links and phone numbers at our host's expense. he is misleading at a minimum, which stinks of dishonesty, and using this forum in a bad way. hey rick, i know a guy that has a moon panel for ya to buy seeing as how the obvious bs isn't allowed to be eliminated here.:p only reason i didn't eliminate that one was because bb gave the guy a warning and it is now up to him if he crosses it.
  • AntronXAntronX Posts: 462Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Hey guys, guys, guys!

    Check out a video of these characters: http://mysolarbackup.com/phplus.html
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,290Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Their site both crashed my AV program, and caused a Java runtime error. :(
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    arghhh!!!!!:cry: <picture of me pulling hair out while getting ready to bang my head off of the desk. you're killing me.
    gee, what a great price they have as that's another reason the power could be out for they haven't the money left to pay the bill after paying for that system. and did i hear mr. fink contradict the number of 100ah batteries in the system from what bryan said?:confused: i believe if i heard rightly that it went from 4-100ah batteries to 2-100ah batteries.
    next he'll try to sell us a solar bridge.
    did you guess it?
    it's solar because during the day when the sun shines on it that you can see it. now i didn't say anything about powering anything did i? same deception tactics used by mr fink imho.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,290Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    I see this thread has gotten a few hits - wow, something is loading pages like mad.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • AntronXAntronX Posts: 462Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Their site both crashed my AV program, and caused a Java runtime error. :(

    Displays fine in Firefox + NoScript
  • SlappySlappy Posts: 251Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    The "Male" end off extension cord cut and wired to charge controller, the rest of cord wired to solar panel....fine and dandy..................BUT??? what will happen if some body plugs an extension cord that is plugged into the grid to the charge controller plug????????.......I see sparks, fire, and smell smoke!........... http://www.mysolarbackup.com/images/top-pic.jpg ........ or is my eyes deceiving me? wife always told me that i am half blind...:roll:
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?
    Slappy wrote: »
    The "Male" end off extension cord cut and wired to charge controller, the rest of cord wired to solar panel....fine and dandy..................BUT??? what will happen if some body plugs an extension cord that is plugged into the grid to the charge controller plug????????.......I see sparks, fire, and smell smoke!........... http://www.mysolarbackup.com/images/top-pic.jpg ........ or is my eyes deceiving me? wife always told me that i am half blind...:roll:

    My eyesight must be as bad as yours; I see the same thing? :confused: Or is that the AC input connection?

    If used for DC, it is not only dangerous but also illegal.

    Feel free to disagree. :D
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,290Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?
    My eyesight must be as bad as yours; I see the same thing? :confused: Or is that the AC input connection?

    If used for DC, it is not only dangerous but also illegal.

    Another sign of a well engineered, quality product.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • SlappySlappy Posts: 251Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    If used for DC, it is not only dangerous but also illegal.

    Feel free to disagree.



    nothing to disagree about. ;) ...... 100% agreement, and I do not have an engineering back ground! :p
  • BB.BB. Posts: 24,524Super Moderators admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    It is possible it is a twist lock plug of some sort (picture is not clear enough--but if this is a "standard" twist lock AC plug, it is still not legal.

    Also, exposed blades may or may not be UL/NRTL approvable. The charge controller does not appear to be UL listed/registered--so there is the issue of a failure feeding > 8 amps of 12 volts out the blades.

    And there is the whole question of the 12 volt battery bus and is it defined as Safety Extra Low Voltage or not (I would tend to doubt that an battery bus / charger / inverter / internal bus in a UPS is rated as SELV). Basically, safe to touch because it is double insulated from AC line, and in this case, probably from the AC output too.

    The exposed solar charger power input plug blades may be a shock hazard.

    And if the DC Battery Bus is not SELV, then the solar panel would also need to be UL/NRTL rated to 600 VAC (and hipot tested to 1,800 volts at the factory). As well as the solar DC charger input & circuitry too.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    One thing some people may not understand:

    Even if component 'A' is UL listed and component 'B' is UL listed does not mean that if you put 'A' and 'B' together the result is UL listed.

    As for running a refrigerator ...
    I actually do run an energy-star 16 cu. ft. 'frige off-grid. On average, it uses 100 Amp/hrs @ 24 Volts during the 20 hour "non-charging" time. That's about 120 Watts (again, average; it draws different amounts through the cycle; high start-up current, and only actually runs about 1/3 of the time). To get that in practical, usable terms I need at least 200 Amp/hrs of battery.

    Translated into 12 Volt, 10 hour time span the consumption in Amp/hrs would be the same: 100. That means a 50 Amp/hr battery would not perform as claimed; "running an energy-star refrigerator for 10 hours". This is so far from real-world experience that it is not even a matter of efficiency variance.

    Leaving the 'frige to run until low battery shut-down hapens and then hoping it stays cold for the rest of the night is neither practical nor sensible. If this is supposed to be a back-up power source, it must provide the claimed capacity between charge periods repeatedly. Otherwise you might as well go buy a new battery every day and skip having the panels.
  • sfsengsfseng Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one? - ?? for moderator

    Just one question for the moderator and one answer to Niel:

    Question for moderator: If I want to reference documentation from Xantrex's website in defense of our company's claims, what is the acceptable way to do so? Can I post a link to the page? Or can I copy the text and paste it into my response?
    (Also, if the only reason I was accused of SPAMing was that I posted a link to our specifications page, then please remove the link, or I will if that is what you wish. I simply wanted to clear up some misconceptions about our company and product. Thank You.)

    Answer to Niel: No I did not contradict Brian Brawdy in the video. Brian said, "four 100 amp hour batteries". I said, " two battery boxes each containing two 100 amp hour batteries".
  • BB.BB. Posts: 24,524Super Moderators admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    David,

    Not a problem... Post any supporting links you need.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • sfsengsfseng Posts: 16Registered Users
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    While gathering documentation to use in our reply to issues being raised here a question came to mind that I just have to ask.

    Why is it that when I provided a link to a product specification page on our website in defense of our product that was SPAM; but, when Antron-X posted a link to one of our pages where a sales presentation is being made that was not SPAM?

    Are we playing by two sets of rules here? Is it then OK to provide a link to a website if your attacking a product, but its not OK to provide a link to the same website if you are defending the product?
    [remove question/comment from David--I really do not want to get into moderation details here. I did answer to the best my ability in the post below. Sorry--Bill B. Moderator]
    Oh well! Back to working on the reply.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    For my introduction into actually using solar, I did buy the Solutions from Science portable system. I've had it for about 6 months, and it seems to do what they claim. I do live in Florida (the Sunshine State!), so most days we do get 8+ of full sun (except during rainy season).

    After being hit dead-on by the 2 hurricanes of 2004, we thought a generator would be a good idea. Now, we do have a propane tank so, even w/out electricity for over a week after the first hurricane, we could take hot showers and cook on our stove. But it would be nice to run a small fridge or tv/radio.

    I like the idea of solar over gas. This unit is great for non-emergency uses. I use it almost daily to run my tv during the day while the unit is charging. Then at night for a few hours until the battery is discharged. This is for my hubby's huge big screen tv. For another emergency (like hurricane season), we would use a small tv/radio, of course.

    I like the fact that it is portable. It is great to take to the park to run a small sound system or a kid's bday part. It is light enough for a small framed woman (like me) to transport.

    This is not a whole house system!! It is for running the bare bones during an emergency! But it is just what we needed for a little extra during the next hurricane season!

    I am pleased with my purchase. (I did get a much better deal by waiting for the scratch and dent sale!) And after using it, I do wish that I could afford a whole house system! But for now, this will do. But later, as time and money affords, it would be nice to get a bigger system that is not portable.

    All-in-all, I would not say this is a scam. If you can skip the marketing and go to the specs, you can determine if that unit is right for you. Maybe you can find something similar or more powerful for a cheaper price, I don't know. Maybe you can put one together yourself? I've read articles/blogs on that... but I don't have the confidence or expertise for that. But now that I've seen how this one works, maybe I could learn. There are so many companies out there, it would be great to find one in your area that you could visit.

    But this unit was a great starting point for me, and I do use it. I hope this helps.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Anecdotal evidence is all well and good, but could it be so difficult to come up with a spec sheet?
    You know:
    Panel Wattage, Voc, Vmp, Imp
    Battery size, Voltage, Amp/hr capacity
    Inverter Wattage
    Expected load-run time

    That sort of thing. Perhaps it is included in the web site, but my browser reported bad scripts running and others' had the site crash their viewer.

    So perhaps the problem is not the product but the presentation.
    If you're giving people here (many of whom are well-qualified engineers) the impression that this is a bunch of baloney then you really should consider improving your promotional technique.
    :roll:
  • GreenerPowerGreenerPower Posts: 264Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    Wow ! their product line spreads a whole breadth of spectrum, not good past history on their other products.
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/Search/Solutions-From-Science.aspx
    http://www.ronpaulwarroom.com/?p=7332

    On this solar product, seems to be from standard parts (Xantrex mod-sine inverter, Sunsaver CC, batteries from Exide), haven't seen any customer complaints. The backup time is a bit exaggerated. From the pictures in their site, they uses 4 M12V90 Marathon batteries (by Exide, 90AH each). Their claim "Laptop 65W 22hr" (and similar) would run the battery to about 80%DOD, not good (short lived) for standard lead-acid batteries on a daily basis.

    GP
  • nvysealnvyseal Posts: 108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    But wait, There's more...

    http://www.bbb.org/chicago/business-reviews/fertilizers/solutions-from-science-in-thomson-il-88015668
  • BB.BB. Posts: 24,524Super Moderators admin
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?

    David,

    I cannot speak for Niel (and he is off taking care of personal business for at least the next week and may not be part of the discussion at the moment).

    We are tasked here with taking care of spam (all of its issues) and keeping discussions on track.

    We do a lot of the first and not too much of the second (pretty well behaved bunch here).

    We, as moderators, do walk a fine line on the issue of what is commercial spam vs discussions about products. Other than that, we usually do not censor opinions or control what questions are asked or how they are answered.

    This forum is sponsored by a solar RE wholesaler/retailer and they do not want to pay for lots of "stealth advertising" and the readers here don't want to wade through a bunch of advertising, off-forum posts, or flame wars (like can happen on Usenet).

    Towards that end, we have to make a decision on what is allowed or not based on one post. You would be surprised about how many happy "customers" there are in India for US based solar RE installers and web-stores. Or that we have a dozen or more "people and robots a day" registering to post from Slovenia, Russia, India, China, Thailand, etc... (we are not even "that popular" in the US or Canada :roll:).

    Regarding us two moderators here, neither Niel nor I have any relationship with our host--other than what you see in our posting.

    Windsun (and now Rick) are the only two representatives here (that I know of) that post and operate the forum--And for the most part, they are spending most of their time running the business and let the members here keep the forum on track for day to day operations.

    I know that my explanation does not help with your frustration--But it is about the best I can give.

    Regarding using smaller battery powered inverters (like the Xantex and their re-branded Duracell products)--We have been quite hard on them too...

    We get a fair amount of new posters that ask can I use XYZ battery+inverter unit to power my refrigerator during a hurricane. And we go trough the whole math question about a X,XXX watt inverter powered by an XX AH sealed lead acid battery... And that if you want to power your typical refrigerator for 3 days--it takes a whole lot of batteries to do that. And a generator or a lot of solar panels to supply the energy to recharge that battery bank.

    Here is one of the oldest threads on the forum about the Xantrex Powerpack 1500:

    The start of my solar pilgrimage

    Regarding Flgurl, I am very happy to hear you like David's product and it fills your needs for portable/off-grid electrical power. And it sounds like, overall, it meets your expectations for supplying a relatively small amount of power during emergencies.

    About your current system operation:
    I like the idea of solar over gas. This unit is great for non-emergency uses. I use it almost daily to run my tv during the day while the unit is charging. Then at night for a few hours until the battery is discharged. This is for my hubby's huge big screen tv.
    I would suggest that you think again about this daily usage... For the most part, Lead Acid batteries operated in such conditions will last around 200-500 cycles (some even less) before the batteries lose capacity and fail to support your loads.

    After roughly 1 year of such use, you probably will need to replace the battery bank. Perhaps--you should replace the battery at the beginning of each hurricane season so you have the emergency energy when you will need it. (typically, small UPS batteries, in my limited experience, only last a couple of years anyway--and should be replaced every two years even if just in standby operation).

    One other clarification... When we talk about "hours of sun" per day, we are talking about "hours of full sun equivalent" per day... So, I may get "13 hours of energy production" from my grid tied system--but "full sun of 1,000 kWh/sq.meter/day" works out to 6 hours of full sun per day in summer, and 3.5 hours per day in winter. It just makes it easier to do the solar calculations (13 hours of variable morning/noon/evening sun is equal to 3.5-7 hours of full sun per day for my area--if that makes sense).

    For example on how we do power analysis work here (or at least me ;)), using the PV watts website, for 90 watts solar panel (I have to play with data in a spread sheet--PV watts only takes 1kW (1,000 watts) minimum value, for a fixed mount at latitude and (using typical efficiency numbers for AGM battery and MSW inverter--I don't have the exact numbers for this system):
    • Derating = 0.77 (panel/controller derating) * 0.9 AGM eff * 0.85 inverter eff = 0.59 end to end eff
    "Station Identification"
    "City:","Miami"
    "State:","Florida"
    "Lat (deg N):", 25.80
    "Long (deg W):", 80.27
    "Elev (m): ", 2
    "PV System Specifications"
    "DC Rating:"," 0.09 kW" (note 0.09 kW = 90 Watts)
    "DC to AC Derate Factor:"," 0.590"
    "AC Rating:"," 0.053 kW"
    "Array Type: Fixed Tilt"
    "Array Tilt:"," 25.8"
    "Array Azimuth:","180.0"

    "Energy Specifications"
    "Cost of Electricity:"," 9.0 cents/kWh"

    "Results"
    "Month", "Solar Radiation (kWh/m^2/day)", "AC Energy (kWh)", "Energy Value ($)"
    1, 4.61, 6.89, 0.62
    2, 5.42, 7.37, 0.66
    3, 5.69, 8.59, 0.77
    4, 6.20, 8.93, 0.80
    5, 5.63, 8.14, 0.73
    6, 5.25, 7.25, 0.65
    7, 5.51, 7.94, 0.71
    8, 5.54, 8.00, 0.72
    9, 5.17, 7.15, 0.64
    10, 5.06, 7.36, 0.66
    11, 4.55, 6.57, 0.59
    12, 4.54, 6.85, 0.61
    "Year", 5.26, 91, $8.10
    Regarding "hours of sun per day"--Miami averages 4.5 to 6.2 hours per day depending on seasons.

    Now, note that the 90 watt system will make about $8.10 per year worth of electricity (~20 year average weather conditions for Florida).

    So, a 90 watt solar power system would generate around 6.5-8.93 kWhrs per month (maximum average) of useful power per month. Or per day:
    • 6,500 WH per month / 30 days per month = 216 WH per day winter
    • 8.930 WH per month / 30 days per month = 298 WH per day summer
    Take the load you want to run (say a 150 watt TV) and divide that into the WH per day (note that these are long term averages--your day to day values may be more or less):
    • 216 WH per day / 150 watt TV load = 1.4 hours per day
    • 298 WH per day / 150 watt TV load = 2.0 hours per day
    If this meets your needs/expectations--more power to you. :D

    By the way, have you priced a replacement 51 AH 12 volt AGM battery for your system? I am guessing that a replacement will be on the order of $75-$200 or so (every 1-2+ years typical life in an UPS system).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AntronXAntronX Posts: 462Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Generator - should we buy one?
    sfseng wrote: »
    Why is it that when I provided a link to a product specification page on our website in defense of our product that was SPAM; but, when Antron-X posted a link to one of our pages where a sales presentation is being made that was not SPAM?

    1. I never presented myself as an employee of any company.
    2. I've been posting here for a good while now.
    3. The intent of that post was not to promote a product, but to let others here take a look at who we are dealing with.
This discussion has been closed.