Outback Power GTFX2524 Inverter question for a mobile application.

TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
**The story of how I got it**

Four years ago I went to check out one the guy had listed on Craigslist for $500, I offered him $350 and he turned me down.  Fast forward to today and a couple dogs were in the road while I was driving so when I stopped to get them off the road I happened to be in front of his house (very rural setting) so I asked if they were his (they weren't but we did get them home).  I ended up asking if he still had the solar stuff and they'd been just sitting in the same spot in his shed since the last time I was there.  When I asked how much he says "well I was asking $500 but I'll take $140" so needless to say that was a done deal.  Also included a Xantrex C35 which I have no use for but I'm sure I can figure something out. 

**My actual question**

My question is, I'm building a little enclosed trailer/camper right now and was planning on using two Cotek 1,500 PSW inverters but would love to have a singe 2,500 watt instead to allow for surges.  What I'm wondering is can I hook this up so that when I have shore power I'm running on shore power and when I unplug the shore power it automatically switches to my battery bank essentially giving me uninterrupted continuous power?  Clearly I'm not going to be feeding power back to the grid but having the ability to always have power when I'm plugged into the grid or not would be an added bonus. 

Thanks a lot!

1,200 watts of solar
6,000 watt 24v battery bank
Midnite Classic 150




Comments

  • ScoobyMikeScoobyMike Posts: 27Registered Users ✭✭
    An AC transfer switch would work.  You would run the shore power and the inverter power as inputs to the transfer switch, with shore power as the priority.  The output would be inverter power unless there is shore power.  Check out Go Power or Xantrex transfer switches on Amazon.

    1.2KW off grid system; 2 strings of 2ea 305W 60 cell panels on a redneck ground mount;  MNPV3 combiner feeds a MN Classic 150 located 100' away;  12V 460AH FLA battery bank powers a cabin-wide 12V DC system as well as a Cotek 700W PSW inverter; Honda EU2000i  and IOTA 55A charger bridge cloudy days and a Champion 3800W generator for short duration, power hungry appliances.

  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    edited March 18 #3
    An AC transfer switch would work.  You would run the shore power and the inverter power as inputs to the transfer switch, with shore power as the priority.  The output would be inverter power unless there is shore power.  Check out Go Power or Xantrex transfer switches on Amazon.
    I thought the GTFX2524 had one built into it, am I wrong?  In fact I thought it had a transfer switch and a battery charger for when I'm plugged into shore power. 

  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    Anyone? 
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,800Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    whats the link to the manual ?
    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 ,

  • westbranchwestbranch Posts: 5,087Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    well if you search for GTFX you get to http://www.outbackpower.com/products/inverter-chargers/gtfx-gvfx-120v   and see:
    .

    OutBack Power’s true sinewave grid-interactive inverter/chargers incorporate a DC to AC sinewave inverter, battery charger and AC transfer switch housed within a die-cast aluminum chassis.

    A built-in transfer switch automatically disconnects your loads from the utility grid and powers them from the inverter in the event of an outage, allowing you to continue using your solar and battery backup power, unlike traditional grid-tied systems.

    Intelligent multi-stage battery charging prolongs the life of your batteries and built-in networked communications enables you to stack up to two units while simultaneously communicating with other OutBack Power components. The modular system architecture means that increased power output is just an additional inverter/charger away.

     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    well if you search for GTFX you get to http://www.outbackpower.com/products/inverter-chargers/gtfx-gvfx-120v   and see:
    .

    OutBack Power’s true sinewave grid-interactive inverter/chargers incorporate a DC to AC sinewave inverter, battery charger and AC transfer switch housed within a die-cast aluminum chassis.

    A built-in transfer switch automatically disconnects your loads from the utility grid and powers them from the inverter in the event of an outage, allowing you to continue using your solar and battery backup power, unlike traditional grid-tied systems.

    Intelligent multi-stage battery charging prolongs the life of your batteries and built-in networked communications enables you to stack up to two units while simultaneously communicating with other OutBack Power components. The modular system architecture means that increased power output is just an additional inverter/charger away.

    Okay, that's why I mentioned my desired use for this unit just to make certain I wasn't missing something.  I was kinda hoping somebody maybe had one and could just tell me that when I'm plugged into shore power the system will run on shore power and when I unplug it will seamlessly switch to the battery back without interruption.  I also didn't know how the charging system functioned and if it would negate my need for the other charger I was intending on using. 
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,800Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    there is the install manual and the programming manual.   Have those been read ?

    I don't have any outback gear, and not up on their programming

    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 ,

  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    there is the install manual and the programming manual.   Have those been read ?

    I don't have any outback gear, and not up on their programming

    Yep read both but not clear on programming perimeters and if it can be used as I'd like as it is or if there are other things needed.  Seems like a common unit so I figured somebody with hands on experience might be able to chime in. 
  • Raj174Raj174 Posts: 635Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    @TucsonAZ
    I believe all Outback inverters need a Mate to program the settings. I think the one in the link below will work with a FX unit. You might give the NAWS store a call for confirmation.

    https://www.solar-electric.com/outback-power-mate-systems-display-controller-black.html

    Rick
    3600W PV, MNE175DR-TR epanel modified, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 54.4V 207AH LiFePO4 no BMS, 4500W genset.
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,635Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I have two vfx inverters, which I think are similar to the gtfx.

    My inverters are normally powered by battery, and will supply 120vac to any ac loads greater than a settable search mode value. In search mode, it pulses at a settable interval to see if there is a load demanding power. Mine are set up as a master/slave parallel stack, but the general idea is the same.

    If it sees a qualifying voltage (from a generator in my case) on the ac-in terminals, an internal transfer switch activates to bypass the battery circuit and supply loads with the ac-in power. There are a number of settings related to qualifying ac-in (voltage and frequency ranges), and limits (max ac-in, etc).

    Using this in a mobile application does potentially have an issue with neutral/ground bonding. A mobile version would switch the neutral as well as line, as the n/g bond is assumed to be made on the shore power side when on shore power. You'll want to consider how the gtfx works in the context of your trailer ac wiring.

    I assume there will be additional settings for interacting with grid, which you'll need to review carefully. My understanding is a gtfx is designed only for grid interactivity, not generator input, so there will be differences in qualification parameters etc.

    I think an OB mate display capable of running appropriate firmware will be needed, at least for initial setup. Personally, I'd want one for ongoing monitoring and adjustments, but you might be able to get away with borrowing one to set up. With a mate, you're stuck with default values for battery charging values etc., which are unlikely to work well.

    With multiple stacked inverters I need a hub for networking with the mate as well, but IIRC a hub isn't needed for a single inverter.

    Aside from the mate, you'll need assorted breakers, wire, etc., which should be specified in the install manual.
    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
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    Estragon said:
    I have two vfx inverters, which I think are similar to the gtfx.

    My inverters are normally powered by battery, and will supply 120vac to any ac loads greater than a settable search mode value. In search mode, it pulses at a settable interval to see if there is a load demanding power. Mine are set up as a master/slave parallel stack, but the general idea is the same.

    If it sees a qualifying voltage (from a generator in my case) on the ac-in terminals, an internal transfer switch activates to bypass the battery circuit and supply loads with the ac-in power. There are a number of settings related to qualifying ac-in (voltage and frequency ranges), and limits (max ac-in, etc).

    Using this in a mobile application does potentially have an issue with neutral/ground bonding. A mobile version would switch the neutral as well as line, as the n/g bond is assumed to be made on the shore power side when on shore power. You'll want to consider how the gtfx works in the context of your trailer ac wiring.

    I assume there will be additional settings for interacting with grid, which you'll need to review carefully. My understanding is a gtfx is designed only for grid interactivity, not generator input, so there will be differences in qualification parameters etc.

    I think an OB mate display capable of running appropriate firmware will be needed, at least for initial setup. Personally, I'd want one for ongoing monitoring and adjustments, but you might be able to get away with borrowing one to set up. With a mate, you're stuck with default values for battery charging values etc., which are unlikely to work well.

    With multiple stacked inverters I need a hub for networking with the mate as well, but IIRC a hub isn't needed for a single inverter.

    Aside from the mate, you'll need assorted breakers, wire, etc., which should be specified in the install manual.
    Awesome stuff thank you so much for the first hand insight on your units.  It sounds like I'm going to need the mate as part of my system so I will confirm and work on finding a deal on one of those.  I didn't totally get your concern over the common, are you meaning because when I'm actually off grid I won't actually be grounded? 

    Are you thinking I should maybe not use this in the situation I'm thinking of using it in?  I don't actually "need" to as I have two other 1,500 watt inverters and was planning on going with those so I have two and some level of redundancy if there's an issue.  I also already have a three stage 24v charger so at the end of the day I can just move forward with my original plan I just liked the idea of not having any loss of power. 
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,635Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Not really saying you shouldn't use it, just pointing out the issue.

    It isn't a matter of not being "grounded". In a mobile application "ground" is usually the frame, which may or may not be at close to actual local earth potential.

    The issue is that neutral likely isn't switched in the inverter. Your AC neutral may be bonded to (so at the same potential as) the frame. In a mobile inverter, when connected to shore power, this bond is lifted by switching the neutral so it's (presumably) at the same potential as local earth. When on battery power, the neutral will (likely) be at frame potential. With the gtfx, you could have the neutral bonded to both the local earth potential via shore bond and to frame potential via trailer bond.

    It's just something to be aware of, and an extra reason to be careful with shore power (which you should be anyway). Imagine some donkey wires the shore power you plug into with reversed polarity. With "neutral" bonded to frame, your frame is now live with respect to ground, and bad things could happen.
    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
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    Hmmmmm, so I wouldn't use the frame for grounding anything actually beyond the trailer lights being grounded to it and even that I normally avoid.  It's my understanding that grounding to chassis would not be wise or safe.  I will admit that I often have to really think about electrical systems but overall I'm pretty good with them.  In this case I would firstly leave everything isolated and with no potential of grounding out on anything within the trailer.  My AC power runs will be confined to a very small area with short wiring spans and few outlets. 

    The inverter has a hot/neutral/earth in and out so it would be shore power plug to breaker to inverter, inverter to breaker box and off to two/three outlets. 
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,635Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    I don't think it's a question of not grounding anything to chassis, more that you want to check shore power connections. My boat panel has a light to indicate reversed shore power polarity, for example, and I assume this would be fairly common on trailers as well. If not, I'd use a simple, cheap tester that plugs into an ac outlet and shows wiring status.
    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
  • TucsonAZTucsonAZ Posts: 136Solar Expert ✭✭
    Estragon said:
    I don't think it's a question of not grounding anything to chassis, more that you want to check shore power connections. My boat panel has a light to indicate reversed shore power polarity, for example, and I assume this would be fairly common on trailers as well. If not, I'd use a simple, cheap tester that plugs into an ac outlet and shows wiring status.
    Ahhhh and finally we've got power to the light lol.  You're saying if I plug into an outlet with reversed polarity accidentally I'll fry the GTFX and be out of luck correct?  Yeah I guess I didn't factor that in and would need to figure out a way to address that.  Maybe by making an extension cord that has an indicator built in or by having a disconnect to the shore power inside and an reverse polarity light next to it so I have to turn the shore power on via a switch. 

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,635Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Yup, that's similar to what I have on my boat.

    Something like this is handy too.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002LZTKIU/?tag=theboagal0a-20
    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
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