XW6048 "Inverter Enable" feature

DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
At the risk of really sounding ignorant, why is there an "inverter enable" option under Inverter Configuration?

I'm running grid-tied and in Sell mode, my loads are being supplied by the 6048 through PV and excess going back to the grid...all while the Inverter Enable box is unchecked.

What is the advantage or disadvantage to having the inverter disabled?  Should I leave it enabled on the configuration page?  Is there any power efficiency loss?

There is zero explanation in the manual why this option even exists.  When would there be a reason not to use the inverter?
XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,607Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    No idea what that option does. By definition, if it's selling to the grid, it's inverting DC from pv to AC grid power.
    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
  • DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    edited July 30 #3
    Yup, the fact that there's an option at all bewilders me!  The option must be automatically overridden if in grid support and in sell mode, but why even have it?  If you're off-grid and don't want an inverter, just turn the whole unit off!  I was just trying to rack my brain with a single example of when this feature would be useful, and I came up empty.
    XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,607Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe something to do with grid preference or time-of-use settings? Dunno.
    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
  • DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    There is no explanation in the manual.  There is only a monkey-chart that shows the on or off option.  Weird. 

    But there is one thing I noticed because I had it turned off--One day, the grid went down in my neighborhood due to a transformer blowing up, and even though my PV was producing power at the time, I lost all power to my subpanel from the inverter and had to turn this option on in order to get power back to the subpanel.  I expect that if I had "Inverter Enabled, I never would have lost power to the subpanel.

    So if I want to use my inverter as a whole house UPS, I need to keep this feature enabled. 
    XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.
  • EstragonEstragon Posts: 2,607Registered Users ✭✭✭✭
    That makes sense, but odd the manual wouldn't explain it.
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,886Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I think Dusty does not have a modern "look" at his system. The combox shows this very well and I have seen it in the manual.
    Anyone offgrid would know exactly what this does as it turns off all power to your home. ;)






    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Hi Dave,

    I can see that same "Enable/Disable" option in my XW Configuration tool just like you see it in combox, and I only see a chart in the manual on page 3-2 that says "Inverter: Description--Enables or disables the inverter."  Seems straight forward, unless you test it by disabling the option while in Grid Support Mode and nothing happens. That is, nothing happens until the grid goes down unexpectedly and so does your inverter!  That would have been good information to add in that brief description as a caution. It's the only place in the entire manual that it's even mentioned.

    Since it seems to have no effect while it is in Grid Support Mode (but sure makes an impact if the grid goes down!), once again, the manual said nothing about this feature only being active in an Off-Grid configuration (just like it didn't say Search Mode doesn't work while in Grid Support).  This is a hybrid inverter, designed to be connected to the grid, so why not discuss features that don't work in a grid-tied configuration?!  I wondered why the inverter being disabling had no impact on my connecting and selling to the grid, so I left it disabled.

    I only realized that this feature should be kept enabled when the grid dropped in my neighborhood, and my sub-panel lost power when the inverter shut down.  Had I lost power immediately when I disabled it while in Grid Support, at least I would have known then to keep it enabled (I still wonder why it's even an option). But since it had no effect with it disabled, I didn't think it mattered when grid-tied.  (heck, why not grey the option out when grid tied?) I'm just glad I was home to see what happened and was able to power it back up before any food spoiled. Had I been at sea, it could have been a real problem when I got back.

    Why even have it as an option?  It serves no purpose when grid-tied--what purpose does the feature serve in off-grid mode?  If it does serve a purpose, it should be more concisely explained in the manual other than just "Enable or Disable" in an appendix. 

    I'm just trying to know the ins and outs of every feature, and I've read the manual from cover to cover several times, and the manual is falling short.  Thank goodness for this forum!

    XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,886Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    You should work for them! I have tried since my electronic field testing began with them in 2005 to get them to have firmware for offgrid and firmware for grid tied. There is no need to have all of this in one unit. This is not how they feel and they have told me reasons why that make sense.

    I just do not care that much (bores me) about the grid tie use of batteries, and I have the same philosophy as Bill the moderator on that.

    The actual reason it is there is very obvious if you have done firmware upgrades. Your configtool or the combox will tell you that the upgrade is going to disable the inverter. This is no big deal grid tied as the AC passes thru from the grid.

    Offgrid it can be a disaster as the power goes out and anything like a modem connection will be lost unless one takes steps to avoid this.
    In the old days it could "brick" your inverter making a good unit into unusable without the knowledge of how to recover it. The same thing happened from surges coming in from the grid during firmware updates.

    You should read the XW+ manuals as yours is very dated. They have progressed in the manuals but there is alot going on in these devices. They do warn in the manuals about the dangers of not taking safety seriously. To me, safety means following good practices that usually come from experience. The manual is for reference only and not a substitute for the skills. 

    You may be overthinking alot of this also. Good Luck!

    What type of surface ship were you on?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    edited July 31 #10
    Funny that you should mention the inverter warning when upgrading the firmware...because that's exactly what the Schneider tech did when he took over my computer to first get the Windows 10 drivers installed for the old XW config tool (I searched on their website but couldn't find them, so I called tech support)--He immediately clicked on "ok", and my inverter dropped offline and dumped power to the house.  Fortunately, both my computer and config tool were being powered by an UPS, so the computer didn't shut down.  I quickly set my Midnight Solar E-Panel to Bypass and got power back on in the house.

    We got the drivers updated, and the SCC and SCP firmware updated.  Supposedly, the latest firmware 1.0.8 for the SCC allows it to support LiFePO4 batteries, but there still isn't a basic battery option for Lithium.  But the firmware revision says it will support it, so I guess I'll just enter the custom settings for them when I eventually get them (like I did for my AGMs when I got the battery specs from the mfr).

    I wouldn't mind that firmware for both on and off-grid operations resides in the same unit, but options that only pertain to one mode should be inaccessible (greyed out or not listed at all) unless you're in that mode.  And the manual could really be more specific. It's called an "Operation Guide," which means to me the owner should be able to understand fully every mode of operation and every configuration setting.  It's not a field engineer's installation guide which most owners wouldn't generally need to see. (Unless you've got a background in advanced electronics, that is!.  Learning this stuff is what I always loved to do)

    I'll download the XW+ manual, but I haven't because I figured it would have newer firmware and features not included in my XW, and it would just frustrate me (more).

    I use batteries because I'm in an area prone to hurricanes (Southeastern Virginia), and the idea of being able to keep the house going for several days without a generator appealed to me. Having a GT system that stopped producing power from perfectly good panels when the grid went down made absolutely no sense to me--at least not for my backup purposes.  And if I wanted to jury rig a GT inverter with a/c coupling when the grid goes down, I might as well start out with a hybrid inverter in the first place. I never installed it expecting to make my money back by selling to the grid, but every penny earned back helps defray upgrade costs.  It started out in 2010 as a fun project with a couple 72-cell panels, a tiny MPPT controller and a small 2500W PSW inverter, and as I learned more about the capabilities of hybrid grid-tie systems, it expanded to the 6048.

    I do a lot of "over-thinking" for sure!  If the manual doesn't tell me what the function does, I tinker and find out--sometimes, the hard way. But I don't normally just accept "defaults" without understanding them completely.  I spent a lot of time on this forum back in 2012, read the manual cover to cover numerous times before and after commissioning the system (and I'm still reading it!).  It's been running so well, I haven't visited this forum very much since then.  But when I expanded my ground array last month and saw the much more energy dense LiFEPO4 batteries, I started reading up on them.  And, I started tweaking on my system again once I found out that there were firmware updates for my SCP and SCC. Nothing for the 6048 since 2012 though.  You'd think they expect everyone to rip them off the wall as soon as the warranty expires.

    I retired in 2013 after 30 years.  I was a Fire Controlman (Advanced Electronics) tech working on the AEGIS SPY-1 Radar and Combat System for most of my career, but I started out as a CIWS (Phalanx) radar-guided 20mm Gatling gun tech.  I was on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) home-ported in Alameda CA from '83-'86. From there I went through the AEGIS training pipeline and spent the rest of my career assigned to Guided Missile Cruisers in Norfolk, VA.  USS Yorktown (CG-49), USS Normandy (CG-60), USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), and the USS Vella Gulf (CG-72).  I'm originally a Jersey boy, but I settled down and retired in Chesapeake VA and haven't regretted it.

    XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 3,886Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I mainly guide folks who are grid tie and want back-up to a propane genset and since the rural folks in the west have a 500 pound propane tank it just makes more sense as they definitely would not spend the time that you do on this. They can buy a dual fuel genny for 400 to 700 dollars at costco.  

    I get what you are saying about having batteries. With the utilities making it less desirable for grid solar in many states, it is becoming more popular. I just keep going back to how most people who do what you are doing, don't know it will work until they need it the most. At that time it does not work :'(    I hear this too often and batteries are the main problem! Usually they fail because they do not get exercised.

    Cool on that career! Very cool! My brother was on Enterprise for some time. I will ask him. I went on a Tiger cruise with him on Nimitz and Midway. Midway was the last non-nuke carrier and went into Hong Kong. She brought home my furniture I am sitting on  :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • DustyDusty Posts: 218Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    I agree completely! If I was looking at the most cost effective way to provide backup power after a hurricane, an auto genset with no solar at all would be the way to go.  My home is totally electric-but natural gas is on my street, so I could have it piped to the house.  But there's another "grid-type" bill every month, whether I use any gas or not. 

    But I like the idea of getting "free" (Ha!) energy from the sun, and I'm up for the challenge to squeeze the most efficiency from my Schneider system.  And the only way I can do that is to know exactly how every setting works.

    I will make it a habit to test my system "off-grid" prior to the start of hurricane season, like I did for a week last year.  It also helps me stay on top of the ever-increasing phantom loads.  Wish I had a smart main distribution panel so I could monitor every circuit in the house.

    It was a great career, and I'm glad I stayed in as long as I did.  Had the house paid off the same year I retired, and no car loans, so I could afford to dive in to the PV hobby.  Now, I'm just trying to optimize what I have without too much additional outlay.  LiFePO4 batteries will shoot that idea down, but the 10-year warranty will be some peace of mind.  And if things really get bad after a hurricane, I do have a 6500 watt gasoline generator that I can hook up as a last resort.
    XW6048, 3.4KW PV, Grid-Tied, always tweaking.
Sign In or Register to comment.