New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

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  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    ... Curling Irons are a curse to off grid ...

    You can always use one of these.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,163 admin
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    Yeah, Hair Dryers and Curling Irons are a curse to off grid, especially since they seem to want them both on at the at the same time ( 3,000 watts ), they should be outlawed....lol.

    OMG--Don't give the State of Kalifornia any more ideas for laws banning stuff.

    -Bill :cry:
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    BB. wrote: »
    OMG--Don't give the State of Kalifornia any more ideas for laws banning stuff.

    -Bill :cry:

    just think if they did ban those items just how many gals would stick their heads into an operating oven.:roll::p
  • ThomThom Solar Expert Posts: 185 ✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    Elke wrote: »
    Well, my husband was right, I was a little more optimistic at first. Outback won't be able to - or does not want to - do anything about the noise. They know their fans are noisy. Basically, just install the equipment at the other end of the house was the suggestion! They are coming out with a new passively cooled unit in the near future and are not interested in fixing vintage equipment. At first the tech support guy said that the noise has not come up as a problem in the past, but later in our conversation he mentioned people calling about it. The Sunnyboys have two fans, which are much more quiet, but I was told they use better and more expensive parts. Ok?!?! Basically, get a SMA, if you want green energy and a quiet environment.

    The high frequency noise is a different story. Outback asked to get an audio recording to analyze the problem. I am not convinced that this will help much. So far all women coming to the house are hearing the high pitch noise, but almost all men do not. I better ask for a female tech or a computer to analyze the problem.

    Yes, the Xantrex XW inverter has a buzz to it, but definitely no high frequency audible noise. When going with a Xantrex XW I would definitely oversize it. It has a sweet spot where the buzz is not bad at all, but when the wattage from the panels it either near its max or near its low end the buzz gets louder.

    The trouble with the Xantrex was that it had a very high electromagnetic field around it, which gave some of our family members a headache. This problem at least has improved with the Outback.


    Until the noise issue is resolved, the equipment stays off.

    Maybe we can sell it to a deaf person ...

    Tin foil cap might work !
    Off grid since 1984. 430w of panel, 300w suresine , 4 gc batteries 12v system, Rogue mpt3024 charge controller , air breeze windmill, Mikita 2400w generator
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    niel wrote: »
    just think if they did ban those items just how many gals would stick their heads into an operating oven.:roll::p

    My wife has thick blonde hair, about middle of her back length. It takes .5 kWh to dry it.
    --
    Chris
  • gww1gww1 Solar Expert Posts: 963 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    My wife's hair dryer has a bigger magnetic field around it than our XW inverter. And that hair dryer will definitely give a person a headache

    Yea, my wife gets lots of headaches around bed time. I never knew this was what caused it.

    I am now adding hair dryers to my list of things I hate.

    gww
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Allow me to get this thread back on track. Maybe your wives could dry their hair with the Outback cooling fan air.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    i don't know if i'd ever have admitted my wife to getting headaches at bedtime as odds are there's a reason other than the hairdryer going on here.

    enough of our side humor i guess for getting to the subject of noisy fans i wonder if it is a case of the fans being dry of lubrication. i know those fans have a history of going bad and i know many manufacturers deliberately fail to lubricate them causing excessive noise and short lifespans. i have a switching supply that goes 24/7 and after a few months the fan started making noise. it was one of the fans without lubrication. i lubricated it and it is fine now. there is a special place for the lubrication and it requires very little so unless you know what you are doing that you can make things better and worse at the same time as the lubrication can go where it isn't supposed to go too and eventually dust and dirt will stick to the lubrication and cause failure that way.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    The "Turbo" fan on the Classic 150 sounds like a hair dryer too, and there ain't nuthin wrong with it. Basically, as a rule of thumb, you don't install this equipment in the bedroom. It's power equipment, for pete's sake, and it makes noise. That's why most off-grid homes have a utility room or battery shed where this equipment is installed, instead of in the living quarters of the house.
    --
    Chris
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,023 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    I too, have cured a noisy muffin fan, by carefully peeling the sticker off the hub to access the oil plug, and added a drop of mobile 1 synthetic oil.
    One of the last photos in this album:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2162845789480.2111597.1196643274&type=1&l=cfe61b6729
    shows the fan close up, and you can see the wrinkles in the label where I peeled it up, and got to the oil port
    underneath.
    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 ,

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,335 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Yes I have saved a couple of noisy computer fans that way as well, that was a few years ago and I used a very light petroleum oil. Bet Mobil one works great in that application.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    synthetic is a great choice, but i used a light hobby oil that has teflon mixed in. i never heard of it either until i ran into it at the chemical plant i worked at in the 90s.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    niel wrote: »
    synthetic is a great choice, but i used a light hobby oil that has teflon mixed in. i never heard of it either until i ran into it at the chemical plant i worked at in the 90s.

    Sounds like Tri-Flow. Used to use that for all sorts of things about 25 years ago. Have not seen it available of late.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    no, this was called 'hp lube oil with teflon'. i think this was for model trains and cars with the tiny electric motors. we (me actually) put the stuff into the small bottles and packed it to ship to the respective company that distributed it. i got some grease like this too and both are in a small 1oz plastic bottle with a pointed tip for application and a cone shaped ridged cover.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Quick search shows Tri-Flow still in business, still making lubricants with P.T.F.E. (Teflon). http://www.triflowlubricants.com/Tri-Flow_Lubricant.html

    Even have a pin-point lubricator which would be great for fan work.
    Looks like I should check the bike shop for it. :D
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    It will cost you at or above $20 for a spray can, but its hard to find. Got mine through the local 'high end' bike shop... we had to get the whole case for that price.
     
    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
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Ouch.
    I've got some of Liquid Wrench's version: http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/4/Auto/3/AutoFluidsChemicals/LubricantsPenetrants/PRD~0381516P/Gunk+Liquid+Wrench+Super+Lubricant+with+Cerflon.jsp?locale=en

    Frankly it doesn't seem to work all that well and it smells pretty bad.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    spray cans of lubricant will not be wise to use on muffin fans. it takes 1 drop in a specified location only as putting it elsewhere will cause dust and dirt to adhere to the lube and literally stop it from working that way.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    That's why I like the Tri-Flow's needle lubricator. :D

    Otherwise you have to spray a bit out and pick up a tiny drop with a toothpick to put on the bearing.

    I hope no one would stick the tube in there and give the fan "a really good squirt". :cry:
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    My appl'n was to lubricate the 'flywheel clutch' on an older SkiDoo, without having to dismantle the whole thing... a local fixer told me about TriFlow as it will "flow'' or travel along the shaft, into unseen places...great stuff for that use.
     
    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
  • ElkeElke Solar Expert Posts: 28
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Wow ... I am just catching up on all the replies! I guess we will try some lube, but for now we have a much bigger problem than noise and electromagnetic fields:

    Our utility, Southern California Edison, does not give us the permission to interconnect! We are not the only ones who are affected. Edison suddenly decided that battery backup systems are no good, even though our and other battery backup systems have been on the approved list for at least eight years. Our installer, who has installed many of these systems, is furious. Outback has been pulled into the loop, and the mess is now being escalated up the ladder to the Public Utilities Commission etc.

    If there is interest in getting updates on this, I can start another thread ...
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Would a standard grid-tie system with no batteries be okay?
    Because the utility can in no way tell the difference.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,163 admin
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    It may be the requirement that somebody from Poland or similar told us a few years ago-Their utility would not allow them to use a grid connected net metered battery systems out of the fear that the customer would buy power during the night and resell it during the day.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    BB. wrote: »
    It may be the requirement that somebody from Poland or similar told us a few years ago-Their utility would not allow them to use a grid connected net metered battery systems out of the fear that the customer would buy power during the night and resell it during the day.

    Or it could just be the same old same old. Utility companies looking for any excuse to not have to buy power at retail rates. The utilities are not particularly fond of grid-tie in the first place. The one and ONLY reason they do it at all is because of a federal law saying they have to.
    --
    Chris
  • ElkeElke Solar Expert Posts: 28
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Update on Edison not granting permission to interconnect for battery backup systems in California:

    We filed a formal complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) a couple of days ago. Within hours staff got back to us and our installer by e-mail and phone. CPUC was becoming aware of an increasing problem. Last year saw over 700 battery backup applications in California and the utilities took notice. This year the trend has continued and Edison is throwing wrenches into the gears.

    The utilities don't like dealing with little grid-tie PV systems, there is no profit for them, but by law they have to. There is also a law, which requires Edison to source a specific percentage (30% or something like that) of their electricity from renewable sources by a set date. Therefore Edison started counting all the kWhs from grid-tied PV systems. Then throw in a bean-counter principal engineer of department head, who realizes that all these battery backup systems could be charged from the grid and discharged to the grid, but none of the electricity would be coming from renewables! In this case, the kWhs produced by these systems could not be counted into Edison's renewable energy goal, which is mandated by law! So, his solution is to require a several thousand dollar multi electric meter measuring scheme to make sure every non-renewable milli-Watt hour, which is sold to the grid, is appropriately counted. And, he figures, this would also make a handsome profit for Edison, since they don't have to pay for the non-renewable, recycled electricity.

    Our installer and Outback people have talked to this PE department head in length about the technicalities of the equipment and how much sense it would make to cycle two and three hundred amp hour expensive battery banks multiple times to sell to the grid ... no success. His position has not changed. (One of the Outback people said the Edison guy just does not understand how the system works.) The CPUC in the meantime is going to have a "workshop", and is asking the public for input to discuss battery backup grid-tie systems and their future on the grid. We are trying to tell them, fine, have your workshop, but first approve all those battery backup systems, which are already installed. These installations followed the official approved list when selecting the equipment. We should not have to pay for one large bureaucracy using a loophole created by another large bureaucracy.

    What amuses me, I could have bought a diesel generator instead of the PV system. It would have been cheaper, and I know it is loud!
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    Elke wrote: »
    The utilities don't like dealing with little grid-tie PV systems, there is no profit for them, but by law they have to.

    No, there's not a law for that. There's only a law that says that they have allow private systems to be grid-connected and pay average retail rate for the electricity. There's no law that says they have to make it cheap to connect it, nor any law that says they have to allow battery backup systems. Technically the utility can specify which equipment they will allow to be connected to their grid, right down to the make and model of inverter used, if they want.

    Most of them are pretty lenient and as long as the inverter and equipment meets the proper specifications and UL Listing it will be approved. But as more and more of them find loopholes to discourage small grid-tied systems, that's going to change.
    --
    Chris
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    I'm sure they have run the numbers and with a tiered rate system you could charge at night, or charge before noon on solar and sell all your production at the higher rate and make money. There have been posts in here about people that do it. I could easy pick up $3-$4 a day on mine if I was set up to do it for that reason.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    What is going on here is that the notion they have to charge more for energy at peak demand times due to shortages of that energy is being disproved. If there really were a shortage, the lights would go dim. But they have seen that when the meters spin freely people will use power regardless of cost (since that doesn't show up until the end of the month) and they can charge what they like (after having told convincing lies to any regulating bodies involved).

    If there were a shortage at these times they would be glad for people storing up the utility power during off-peak hours and feeding it back when demand threatens to overload the lines. But since that state does not actually exist all they see is people with battery banks time shifting power demand and eating into the company profits. The difference between "there's a shortage of electricity at these times and we have to buy it at higher prices" and "there's a higher demand for electricity at these times and we can make a lot more money from that".

    At least that's how I see it. The only other possibility that makes sense is that the PE in this case is stupid and doesn't understand how solar GT systems work and ought to be fired. I am willing to entertain other explanations, but so far the company's point of view of "no battery-based systems" has no rational basis that I can see.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,335 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    What is going on here is that the notion they have to charge more for energy at peak demand times due to shortages of that energy is being disproved. If there really were a shortage, the lights would go dim. But they have seen that when the meters spin freely people will use power regardless of cost (since that doesn't show up until the end of the month) and they can charge what they like (after having told convincing lies to any regulating bodies involved).

    If there were a shortage at these times they would be glad for people storing up the utility power during off-peak hours and feeding it back when demand threatens to overload the lines. But since that state does not actually exist all they see is people with battery banks time shifting power demand and eating into the company profits. The difference between "there's a shortage of electricity at these times and we have to buy it at higher prices" and "there's a higher demand for electricity at these times and we can make a lot more money from that".

    At least that's how I see it. The only other possibility that makes sense is that the PE in this case is stupid and doesn't understand how solar GT systems work and ought to be fired. I am willing to entertain other explanations, but so far the company's point of view of "no battery-based systems" has no rational basis that I can see.

    Bingo, give that man a cigar! In any case anything you do to lessen their load and provide power at the times of greatest demand is a money maker for them, just not as lucrative as doing the generation themselves.
  • ElkeElke Solar Expert Posts: 28
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Updates on noisy equipment and the Edison interconnect debacle:

    We might be getting a FlexMax Extreme with passive cooling instead of the fan cooled charge controllers. However, his topic has been put aside for a while since we are still not allowed to interconnect with the utility.

    Last Friday, our installer, affected homeowners and one of Outback's managers had a meeting. We are now elevating the issue to the state legislators, the California Energy Commission, several agencies who are promoting renewable energy and the media. The Public Utilities Commission is already involved. There are several issues at hand:

    The PE at Edison does not understand how these inverters work. He places the Outback, Schneider and SMA battery backup systems into the same category as MegaWatt bio digesters and solar power plants. He quotes a document from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to support his point but ignores the last page, which states that these specific residential battery backup systems are exempt. The CEC compiled, at the direction of the state legislature a document which describes permissible renewable energy systems and also includes a master list of approved inverters including battery backup systems. This document was given to the public utilities commission, who is supposed to enforce the document. Because of the misinterpretation of this PE at Edison, a bunch of Edison lawyers are now involved too. The Edison PE commented to the Outback manager, that Edison intends to go after all the already installed battery backup systems as well. In addition, Edison is now trying to get the other large utilities to do the same thing.

    Another comment from the Edison PE sticks in my mind: He thinks the netmetering agreement should be abandoned altogether since it discriminates against the poor. The poor can not afford a PV system, and because those with PV systems don't have to pay distribution charges, charges for X, charges for Y, etc., the poor will be saddled with ever increasing charges by the utility company.
    This makes me wonder since when Edison is worried about the wellbeing of the poor?

    If I understood the Outback manager correctly, the Edison guy even placed some 'undercover' phone calls to Outback's tech support group to find out, how their systems could be used to sneak electricity from the utility's grid illegally.

    In the meantime, there are close to a hundred PV systems waiting to be installed in Southern California alone. More and more people don't want simple grid-tie anymore, they want battery backup, but Edison is not approving a single one right now.
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