Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
3 HY-100048, Outback GVFX3648 w/Mate, 8 Concorde 108 - 2 series of 4 in parallel. First, what is the largest size wire size this controller will accomodate (long runs, and I'm trying to reduce voltage drop). If this system is run with the stock dump loads, what would be the proper set points to specify using the Mate to feed the grid, as opposed to the dump loads; there are no specs for the controller available? I can't seem to get any good info from magnets4less, and was actually hung up on yesterday when I was (politely) trying to discuss the (incorrect) wire sizing, regarding voltage drop, in their "Guidebook". They claim that a breaker or disconnect upstream of the rectifier/controller is unnecessary, but I'm uncomfortable with that...what do you suggest? Thanks in advance, I'm sure I'll have a few more questions.

Comments

  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Forgot to mention that this will be run through a Midnite Solar Stretched E-Panel.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Well let's see ...
    An HY-1000-48 is a 1kw wind turbine, a GVFX-3648 is a grid-tie inverter, the Outback MATE is a programming interface for the inverter, and the Concordes are PVX-1080T AGM's.

    I don't see any charge controller(s) in the equipment list at all.

    If you have three of those turbines you need a controller and dump load for each one. If that's included in the turbine package I'm not sure; that magnetics web site is really "dirty".

    So, first of all why are you spending money on wind power when solar is more reliable source of power? I sure hope you put up an anemometer and got good wind figures before buying those 1kW units.

    The batteries are around 100 Amp hours @ 12 Volts. They should be wired as two parallel strings of four in series to get about 200 Amp hours @ 48 Volts. They will require at least 10 Amps of charge current, 20 is better. This would be about 1.2 kW of solar panel. As far as the turbines are concern, if you're lucky enough to get 1/3 of the rated power out of each you'll be in the right neighbourhood for recharging.

    But you don't get anywhere without the controllers.

    Voltage drop is a problem as you are limited to what the turbines put out. Unlike panels, there's no way to reconfigure them to higher Voltage. If we accept their numbers as factual you're looking at about 20 Amps per unit. A 50' run will require 8 AWG to keep the V-drop below 3%.

    You also do not get to do grid-tie without a total plan, permits, and inspection. Not legal, not safe.

    This needs a bit more mulling over, I'd say.
  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Thanks. The controllers and dump loads came with the turbine kits. I'm a PV installer who's worked with grid tied PV only, and am doing this installation for a gentleman who bought the kits, the inverter, the batteries, and mounted pipes on his barn before he called me. I knew immediately this setup didn't bode well, and suggested he send the turbines back and go with PV, and am trying to get this setup to work as well as possible, since he is dead set determined to have a go at it. I'm nervous about the stock controllers, and was trying to see if there was anybody on the forum that had worked with them. The barn is about 140' from his service, and this is going to be problems all around. I have to have the equipment out in the barn for voltage drop issues, and he already has a 5K PV system on his roof on the house backfeeding a 30A breaker on a 200A panel, meaning I also have to do a line side tap with a 120V inverter...I'm not looking forward to discussing this with the utility company. So far it's been an interesting design phase.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,314 admin
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    We have around 117 hits on the forum using Google "windmax site:wind-sun.com" as the search string. You might wan to look through there or refine the search to "windmax controller" or something.

    Also, it sounds like he has the turbine towers attached to the barn?

    Several issues may affect him... Hopefully, there is no office/work shop in the barn. Wind turbines tend to transmit a lot of mechanical noise into structures if the tower is attached to the building frame. It is also possible that the vibration could loosen nails and other hardware in the barn (depending on mounting details, hardware, etc.).

    Second, ideally, you want the turbine 30' above the highest structure within 300-500 feet or so... If the turbines barely break the peak of the roof--The air may be too turbulent for good energy production.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    NuWind; you have my sympathies. I wouldn't touch that job with a 50' utility pole. Nothing worse than when someone buys a bunch of stuff uninformed and then asks you to make it work. Maybe this is one to walk away from; it does not bode well.

    But then I'm getting really ornery in my old age. :p
  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Thanks Bill,

    These are apparently a newer version of the controller they're including, and look nothing like the ones in their "Guidebook"...I did search the forums for quite a while, but couldn't find much that pertained to the info I'm looking for.

    These units have some funky exposed terminal blocks for connection to the turbines, batteries and resistance coil dump loads, and no user adjustable anything. I'm hoping the Mate programming will help me out by allowing me to set the "sell" parameters.

    I'm new to wind and battery backup systems, and would not have taken on this project if this gentleman wasn't such a nice guy...the local wind installers wouldn't help him out, so I told him I'd do the research and see if I could. Grid tied PV is simple compared to this stuff, but at least I can say that I've been forced to look into some things that I'm starting to find pretty interesting.

    I'm also working with a local Master Electrician, who's done almost nothing with RE systems, to try to design this guy a system that's as reliable as possible.

    The barn is just a barn, but the guy did a nice job mounting the schedule 80 pipe...looks pretty bomber, but that'll be up to the engineers for the final say if we ever get to the point where the project's a go.

    Originally I wanted to run the 3 phase turbine cable into the basement of the house, but the voltage drop calculations came out to 2/0 wire, where magnets4less says you can use #10 up to 300' (right). Now the equipment, batteries included, will all be in an unheated barn, but at least I'll be working with 120V for the long run to the line side tap and back. I'll have to rig up some kind of a heater for the battery bank.

    Any advice/feedback from the forum will be appreciated.
  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Thanks 'Coot...He's a really nice guy, and I'm trying to help him out. On the other hand, in some ways I'm hoping he's going to realize that it's too expensive. He doesn't want to spend much money, but I know the company that installed his Sunpower PV system didn't do him any favor pricewise.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    300 feet of 10 AWG would eat 25% of the power from the turbine. :roll:

    You might want to test one of these things on the ground, spun with a motor, to see what kind of real numbers come out the other end.

    Hopefully you can put the batteries and inverter in the barn to minimize the Voltage drop, and run the AC line as long as it needs to be. You may find you have to put an autotransformer on the GVFX to get a nice balanced 240 VAC output rather than load only one utility leg.

    The sell setting will be a matter of battery Voltage, and yes it's programmable. Have you ever seen the multi-volume encyclopedia that Outback has for manuals? It takes quite a bit of page turning to find all the info.

    Oh I almost forgot: I think the battery bank is too small by about 100 Amp hours.

    If you manage to get this to work you're a Certified Gold Star Juggler. :D
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,511 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s
    NuWind wrote: »
    .... I'll have to rig up some kind of a heater for the battery bank.....

    Generally, no need for that, just insulate it for winter time, and the heat generated will help keep the batteries warm. Pull the insulation off in the summer.
    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 ,

  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    'Coot,

    In the Encyclopedia (yes, I've read through it numerous times, and my mind is reeling from trying to digest all of this new information) it mentioned that you couldn't use the X240 in grid tied applications. I talked to Outback who said you could (?). I wanted his backup load center to be able to run his well pump (have to find the specs on his pump), and you can use their transformer on the load side to buck the voltage. If it is possible to use the transformer on the line side of the inverter, then I would have to use two of them to meet the objective.

    At this point I'm planning on just putting the one transformer (probably the one in the enclosure, unless there's no reason to do so) on the load side. Even if these inverters were backfed through a breaker they'd only be grabbing and feeding one leg and the neutral (right?), so if they can be grid tied through a backfed breaker, there's really no logical reason that they couldn't feed one leg on a line side tap with a fused disconnect, although only two of the legs in the switch would be utilized...this one I'm deferring to Bob the electrician (he's awesome).

    As far as the battery bank goes, would this be a big issue? Won't the controller just send the power over to the inverter? In this same thought, another question I had was whether or not the diversion loads would kick on, and rob power that could be feeding the grid for net metering? I was wondering if it would be possible to not use the dump loads, which I am pretty sure would only be an issue if the grid went down...obviously I don't really understand the mechanics of these systems. Is the grid considered a load in this situation?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,511 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    You don't want to get the 240vac feed, too far out of balance, otherwise, you can overload the neutral line. I'd suggest using a 120 -240VAC transformer at the barn, the higher voltage will help with that long line voltage drop.
    I don't know why the T240 would not work for that.
    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 ,

  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Thanks Mike...hadn't thought of that as an option. Any idea why the Outback manual says not to use it in their grid tied inverter? I was figuring that there was probably some problem how it fed into the inverter on the "AC in"

    As I said in a previous post, the person I talked to in tech support also gave the option of using that transformer for the inverter load side, but the manual says it's a no no.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    I know you get conflicting info about using the transformer with GT, but I'm going along with Mike here; it seems like a good idea (otherwise you could be feeding 3.6 kW to one side) and I do not see why it wouldn't work. In this manner the GVFX becomes a standard GT inverter, simply feeding whatever its got to put out to the line and allowing any loads to take what they will before surplus goes to the grid. I can not guarantee that any inspector will agree with this POV.

    The problem with battery bank size is going to be one of keeping the DC Voltage stable. If, and I realize the possibility is remote, those three turbines put out their full rated power you'll have 3 kW to deal with. That could potentially be over 60 Amps of current which is more than 200 Amp hours of AGM's can stand. I know Concorde says they'll take CX4 charging, but it just looks like a possibility of some serious fluctuations going on that could cause a lot of sell/don't sell, divert,charge switching.

    There guys on the forum who do a lot with the Xantrex XW hybrid systems who'd have a better idea how serious a flaw this might be. I mainly deal with salvaging badly-designed and poorly-built off-grid systems. :roll:
  • NuWindNuWind Registered Users Posts: 14
    Re: Stock Windmax Controller ?'s

    Here are some excerpts from the Outback installation manual.

    From Page 11:

    While 60 amp over-current protection reduces the risk of fire, for further reduction, do not connect a single FX to both hot legs of a 120-240 VAC AC load center having multi-wire (common neutral) branch circuits connected. Use either two FX Series Inverter/Chargers wired in a series configuration or an FW-X240 Auto Transformer.

    From Page 26

    NOTE:
    • Stacking FXs in series/parallel means there are FXs directly connected to two separate 120VAC output legs. These legs produce 240VAC between them (the series portion). This allows all of the FXs to power either of the 120VAC output legs (the parallel portion). Series/parallel stacking requires an FW-X240 Auto Transformer and must use “OutBack” stacking programming.
    • When the FXs *are connected in series for 120/240 VAC, the FW-X240 Auto Transformer can be connected to the AC output; both FXs are then available on either 120VAC output circuit. This allows higher efficiency and better performance as heavy 120VAC loads are powered by both FXs. The FW-X240 Auto Transformer also allows the Master to power loads on either 120VAC output circuit with the Slave FX off , reducing idle power consumption and improving system efficiency.
    • The Slave FX must be programmed through the MATE as a “Classic Slave’” (series stacking, no FWX240 Auto Transformer) or as “OB Slave L2”
    (series/parallel stacking, FW-X240 included)*. The FX connected to Port 01 of the HUB is always the Master (1-2ph MASTER)

    G T *Grid-Tie FXs cannot be used with the FW-X240 Auto Transformer.

    Hence, my confusion. Warranty issues would be my biggest concern, although I agree it seems like the X240 should work. Maybe it sends something weird to the "AC in" on the GVFX3648?

    As far as the battery current, and this is my ignorance speaking, wouldn't the "sell" setpoint setting on the Mate sense full battery charge and send that power to the grid immediately? I'm also unclear as to where in this process the dump loads are actuated, and if this could have an adverse effect on the amount of power "sold". With no adjustable set points on these controllers, as the high end ones have, would the dump loads steal from the power that was "sold"? I'm unsure if the grid is considered a load, and am assuming that the inverter and the Mate settings take care of this.
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