Opinion: Outback FX3048

brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
Looking to get this for system. I'm borrowing a Trace now. I'm currently running 12V. 6 220 panels, FM80 controller. 12, 12V batts. This seems like the best out there and the only one that is sealed ( I'm in salt air and wind ) with internal ventilation. It's gets real hot in the summer. Would this be about my best choice?

Thanks for any info.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    Outback makes the most dependable inverter in the world, bar none. If you are in a rough environment I would say it is the best choice.

    If you've got twelve 12 Volt batteries in parallel now, you definitely want to get away from that!
  • H2SO4_guyH2SO4_guy Solar Expert Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    I use a VFX-3648 inverter by Outback and it is quite good. It does freak out a bit when I use a heat gun (way below the max power output too) with triacs to shrink battery heat shrink over the ends when I make battery cables. It makes the lights pulse and that is a bit weird, but since I don't use it all that often, I don't worry about it. This may sound crazy, but I have been heating with batteries through an air source heat pump. I would often run 70+ amps to the inverter with no problem whatsoever. Last night after a day of making .5 KWH of power in that battery pack due to the grey day and snow, I pulled the pack down to 48.3 volts (Under load) while running 74 amps to the inverter. While I am not there, there is no load whatsoever on that pack and about 4kw of panels to bring it back up.

    The Outback worked great to cool the place down too. When it was 96 degrees outside I was able to get the living quarters to 62 degrees! What the heck, there was extra sun so with solar as you know, it is use it or lose it.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out.
    12K asst panels charging through Midnite Classic 150's, powering Exeltechs and Outback VFX-3648 inverter at 12 and 48 volts.  2080 AH @ 48 VDC of Panasonic Stationary batteries (2 strings of 1040 AH each) purchased for slightly over scrap, installed August 2013.  Outback PSX-240X for 220 volt duties.  No genny usage since 2014. 
  • brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    Outback makes the most dependable inverter in the world, bar none. If you are in a rough environment I would say it is the best choice.

    If you've got twelve 12 Volt batteries in parallel now, you definitely want to get away from that!
    I do have twelve 12V batteries in parallel now, please tell me why I want to get away from that. This is new to me and I've only been set up for about 3 months. A friend helped me do it. He knows what he is doing. Am I in this configuration because the inverter I am borrowing is 12V? I'm assuming?
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    brewer wrote: »
    ... A friend helped me do it. He knows what he is doing. ..

    Hold my beer, watch this - I know what I am doing!
    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 ,

  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    With parallel batteries there's the risk of uneven charging, so good practice is to limit the number of parallel batts. 2-4 seems ok, more than that and you'll have to spend a lot of time measuring the charging current between the batts every now and then to make sure you're not charging one less than the others.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    brewer wrote: »
    I do have twelve 12V batteries in parallel now, please tell me why I want to get away from that. This is new to me and I've only been set up for about 3 months. A friend helped me do it. He knows what he is doing.

    Your friend does NOT know what he is doing (or maybe he does know, and wants to sell you some batteries). Batteries in parallel are unstable. There is a fairly short, but to the point discussion here: http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?14674

    Even if you reconfigure to 48 volts, four parallel batteries is too many. If you must have four batteries in parallel, the smartgauge site shows you how to do it.
    brewer wrote: »
    Am I in this configuration because the inverter I am borrowing is 12V? I'm assuming?

    I guess so... as a temporary measure (a few days). You've been set up this way for 3 months already, and it is extremely likely that some of those batteries haven't had a full charge for a while.

    As the batteries diverge in their characteristics the system becomes unsafe... if one battery develops a shorted cell, that battery will take most of the charging current and overheat and start a fire. Even after you turn off the charger the current will keep flowing: from the 11 good batteries into the shorted battery. Parallel batteries need a fuse for EACH battery. A fuse on each battery means more connections, which makes it even more difficult to balance the wiring resistance to each battery.

    Over on the Midnite forum 'plongson' is describing his plight with just two strings of batteries in parallel. He's lying awake at night because he can't balance the current in just two parallel paths: http://midniteforum.com/index.php?topic=1478.msg12877#msg12877

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    I always find it sad when someone comes asking for advice after they've bought into a badly designed system.
    Hopefully "brewer" you will listen to these guys who are trying to help you, and hopefully they can point you in a direction that will reduce your financial losses.
    Believe me, these guys are not pulling your leg, they really do know of what they speak.
    Thankfully I didn't have enough money to get myself in trouble before I found this forum many years ago.
    Wishing you the best of luck getting a good, reliable system going, using at least most of what you already have..
  • brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    You have me scared now, my house is in Mexico. Would it matter at all that the batteries are AGM's, I hope. I will be heading down there on the 22nd to get things right with a new inverter, Outback. Right now I can't decide to go 24 or 48V inverter. 48V seems gnarley with the shock hazard. I just want a simple set up with out worrying too much about it.
  • brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    Well I have 12 12V AGM's, FX80 controller, 6 220 panels, am getting an Outback 24 or 48V inverter, can't decide. Need help on that one. Don't like the shock hazard with a 48V. With what I have, can I make a safe, reliable. system?
  • tons001tons001 Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    brewer wrote: »
    Well I have 12 12V AGM's, FX80 controller, 6 220 panels, am getting an Outback 24 or 48V inverter, can't decide. Need help on that one. Don't like the shock hazard with a 48V. With what I have, can I make a safe, reliable. system?

    Lower voltage doesn't mean safer..... I would say the higher voltage is actually more safe and more efficient from a cabling standpoint. More safe dependent on choosing the correct wiring size and inline circuit protection. Depending on how you have those six 220 watt panels wired, you are potentially already dealing with high voltages.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    The safety issue is a trade-off: with lower Voltage/higher current you have a greater risk of overheating wires; with higher Voltage/lower current you have a greater risk of sustained arcing.

    Knowing both the Voltage and current that will be involved and wiring it properly with correct circuit protection minimizes these risks in either case, but there's no such thing as "completely safe".

    Higher Voltage systems are more efficient in that more of the power is provided as Voltage rather than current, and so less of the power goes into heating the conductors.
  • brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    So are saying with what I have, 48V inverter would be my best choice?
  • brewerbrewer Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    The panels are separated into 3 & 3. Separate wiring from each 3 into sub panel with each on their own breaker. From there into controller.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048

    You really need to start this process by assessing your loads, over time (all day and night) to make a decision on what is the 'best system for YOU'!! Not just looking at what you have and trying to blend up a system. This blending method will probably just cost you more as you have found with a large set of small batteries that probably will fail sooner than later.

    So decide based on loads, and plan the system from there. Obviously 12 Volt is off the table...
     
    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: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    brewer wrote: »
    So are saying with what I have, 48V inverter would be my best choice?

    There's no sense in going to 48 Volts if you don't need the extra power capacity of it. Why? Because of the difference in fuse/breaker/disconnect ratings I mentioned. There's lots of things like this available for 24 Volt system which cost less than the equivalent in 48 Volt.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Opinion: Outback FX3048
    brewer wrote: »
    The panels are separated into 3 & 3. Separate wiring from each 3 into sub panel with each on their own breaker. From there into controller.

    Your 220 Watt panels are probably around 30 Vmp, so three in series means your array Voltage is 90-ish. As-is on an MPPT controller that would work for either 24 or 48 Volt system with no problem.
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