Ironedison questions

cashtechcashtech Registered Users Posts: 3
Hello all. I am a new member and this is my first post. I live in southern Michigan and am interested in one of Ironedison's off-grid kits. 200AH with made in U.S. nickel iron batteries. Does anyone have any experience dealing with Ironedison or with the component manufactorers Solarworld, Magnum and Midnite?

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Welcome to the forum.

    MidNite: top-notch company run by the best brains in the industry. You don't hear complaints about their products.

    Magnum: long-time inverter maker with a few complaints but on the whole a good quality product.

    SolarWorld: nothing wrong with their PV's. Lots of satisfied owners.

    IronEdison: okay ... Whereas there are advantages to the Edison batteries there are disadvantages too. Make sure you know what both are and how they will affect your system. There's at least one forum member using Nickle-Iron batteries, but they aren't too popular.

    Kits in general tend to be a mistake as they are usually a package of equipment picked almost at random and certainly not tailored to meet specific needs. For example 200 Amp hours at what Voltage? Makes a difference.

    Could you tell us about what you want to achieve with the system? There may be better ways for you to go. We hate to see people waste money. :D
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Well...

    Is this the system your looking at?

    I personally like Midnite's charge controller, I Like the Magnum inverter (though we've had some reports of problems lately), and I like Midnite's connecting equipment, more on the system setup in a moment. I personally don't care for Solar world, though I suspect they make good equipment, they are responsible for the tariff on China made solar cells and now panels.

    The Nickel iron batteries are intriguing. I think the I was put off by their charging efficiency which is low about 65-70% and their rapid self discharge. They like to take a charge slowly and that is not what is looked at in solar charging, one of the reasons lithium chemistries have gained popularity.

    Now about the company's ideas on configuring the system. At first I was encouraged in that they had spec'd a combiner box so I was assuming they were going to bring in the current at 12 volts, , but it looks like they have spec'd a 100, 80, and 20 amp breakers and a Midnite classic 200. so they are bringing in the panels in series, and down converting to 12 volts. Not how I would set it up.

    Please note that the Magnum MS 2012, is a 2000 watt inverter, which is oversized for a 200 amp 12 volt battery bank, if you tried to run a 2000 watt load, you will draw 2000watts/12v=166amp x 1.1(inverter efficiency)= 182 amps, You might run that load for 25-30 minutes, before it kicks out, though perhaps 50 minutes max (I have never used nickel iron batteries)

    The sole advantage is the batteries will last a long time. and you could charge the batteries through the inverter charger and a slightly higher wattage inverter, compared to a 4 golf cart battery, 1000 watt array, 12 or 24 volt system, that could be had for a couple thousand dollars (closer to $2500). Something like this; Xantrex 2000 watt inverter($350), 900 watt array ($1000) a big(mini plus) DC disconnect box, 4 breakers for combining and 1 breaker for CC and an extra bus bar, shunt($320), Midnite Classic 150 ($610) $100-200 for cabling and an AC breaker, there's room in the box. This system would give you a usable 2000 watt draw for perhaps an hour, though not recommended drawing down at that rate.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Info on Nickel Iron batteries here.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • cashtechcashtech Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Thank you for the quick response and the welcome! I want to set up a system that will run my essestial electrical needs so as to lower my electric bill but more importantly, keep us in good shape for prolonged power failures. Essential to me are my 120v 1/2 hp water pump, controls and circulating pump on my gasification wood boiler, and six led lamps around the house. I could live without the fridge if I had to. Hot water is currently supplied by the boiler. I already have an Onan generator that I converted to propane that could do it, but I am interested in going solar if I can take advantage of the tax credit. The system IronEdison has is 12v, 200ah. About $7000 including freight.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Well a 12 Volt system is not desirable to begin with, and 200 Amp hours @ 12 Volts isn't much stored power: about 1kW hour. That 1/2 HP pump would nail the system flat on start-up: it's likely too much demand for both the inverter and batteries.

    An off-grid power system may reduce your electric bill, but it won't save you money compared to the same power from the utility. The production costs are very much higher than grid rates; think capital outlay over lifespan of equipment divided by actual Watt hours produced. The less power you use, the more expensive it gets.

    Financially you'd probably be better off sinking the money into a grid-tie system that would pay back all the time, and use the generator for outages.
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 965 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    We met the owner (and his wife) of Iron Edison at SPI in Las Vegas last month.

    I haven't seen his "systems" per se, but in talking with him, he really knows his stuff !

    I guess what I meant to say is that I would tend to trust Iron Edison's stuff.

    boB
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions
    boB wrote: »
    I haven't seen his "systems" per se, but in talking with him, he really knows his stuff

    I think I run into the same problems in argument that I have with LeFePo people, it might work fine for people with regular amounts of discharge, or a willingness to run a generator. (I don't want to)

    But he states;
    "In general, let's compare our battery to a 24 Volt 1200 Amp hour lead acid battery. With a recommended depth of discharge of 30%, this lead acid battery would provide you with 360 Amp hours of available capacity. At the very most, you would have 600 Amp hours available if you discharged to 50%. This 50% DOD will absolutely shorten the life of a lead acid battery to less than 5 years."

    My forklift battery is warrantied to 7 years with expected discharges to 20% SOC. Other batteries in these larger amp hour capacities have similar warranties. I don't use the extra capacity often, but when I do I can use it. It wouldn't be daily, it would be on the odd occasion with multiple cloudy days in winter or hot cloudy couple days in summer. I expect my lift battery to last 15 years, that might be hopeful, but NAWS has been around a while and feels comfortable enough to state they expect 20 years service from Crown fork lift batteries.

    He also doesn't speak to charging efficiency, I understand that it is around 70% and the linked info says 65%...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • cashtechcashtech Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Ironedison questions

    Thank you Cariboocoot and Photowit. I think that you have saved me $$$ and grief. I will now do what I should do: READ READ READ!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions
    cashtech wrote: »
    Thank you Cariboocoot and Photowit. I think that you have saved me $$$ and grief. I will now do what I should do: READ READ READ!

    Please note, I respect boB he is one of the designers of some of the finest charge controllers available anywhere, including the Midnite Classic! My remark was more of a discussion at the feet of a giant... Just so you understand who is in the room... perhaps I should just sit in the corner and listen...

    My remarks come from my point of view in wanting a system without outside charging sources, this is not a typical system, my heaviest loads are in summer running an air conditioner, so winter loads are minimal for my storage size, but with occasional long periods of cloudy weather. So far it has worked out pretty well with only 2/3rds of my array standing. The other 1/3rd depends on bob's Midnite Classics(3) with it's Whiz Bang Jr limiting the charging amperage to my battery bank. A feature soon to come? The Classic is an evolving Charge controller/system by the people who did the original designing at Outback, and worked previously at Trace/Xantrex.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions

    I'll chime in, owning a large NiFe bank. NiFe batteries have high internal resistance, so you need to oversize the bank to handle your peak loads. They also need an electrolyte replacement every 5 years or so, the electrolyte sucks up Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, and reduces it's efficiency. Eventually, you have to drain and refill them. With all my cells, it's going to be a major pain, un-bolting each battery, moving +80# outside, dumping it, and refilling and re-installing. For 40 of them suckers and 2 spares.
    But I got them (instead of lead acid) to survive week long rain & cloud patterns, that would require many hours of generator run time, or a much much larger PV array. This rainy, cloudy weather has me just running the genset 3 hours a day to stay mid-charged.

    PS you will never get that 1/2 hp pump to run for very long on those 200ah batteries @12V.

    For a "grid outage backup" install a transfer switch, an emergency loads panel and a 8kw genset, stash a couple cans of gas, and you are good for a week.
    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 ,

  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: Ironedison questions
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Please note, I respect boB he is one of the designers of some of the finest charge controllers available anywhere, including the Midnite Classic! My remark was more of a discussion at the feet of a giant... Just so you understand who is in the room... perhaps I should just sit in the corner and listen...

    My remarks come from my point of view in wanting a system without outside charging sources, this is not a typical system, my heaviest loads are in summer running an air conditioner, so winter loads are minimal for my storage size, but with occasional long periods of cloudy weather. So far it has worked out pretty well with only 2/3rds of my array standing. The other 1/3rd depends on bob's Midnite Classics(3) with it's Whiz Bang Jr limiting the charging amperage to my battery bank. A feature soon to come? The Classic is an evolving Charge controller/system by the people who did the original designing at Outback, and worked previously at Trace/Xantrex.

    +1 PW
    I agree
    VT
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