Lightning strikes again? Morningstar TS 60

mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
Yesterday there was a violent storm which passed through, major lightning, I was not at home so shutting down wasn't an option, but could see the storm move in from where I was 4Km to the south, was on a tractor so no chance of racing home. When I got home the smell of magic smoke filled the room where the controller, Morningstar TS 60, is located, can't say 100% if lightning was the cause but too coincidental to be anything else. The component(s) that vaporized appear th be the diode(s) nearest the solar input positive terminal, SPD didn't help and appears fine?, everything else in the system still functional, the controller was indicating over voltage shutdown, red/green Led's alternating, remote meter blank but still functional with replacement unit,  had a spare on hand, so 30 minutes to get up and running. Last time the inverter got surged and falied, ironically a year ago, May 2017.
1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,016 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Struck by lightning twice in a year? Ugh! Would a lightning rod help?
    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
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
     Where is the one you have positioned in the wiring ? Do you have more than 1 SPD?

     
    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
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,765 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    Struck by lightning twice in a year? Ugh! Would a lightning rod help?
    It might hurt! My understanding is most damage from lightning strikes are near misses that come in from the grounding of the system. Likely a direct hit would do some damage outside of the power center...
    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: 8,011 ✭✭✭✭
    That's a lot of smoke for a diode. Or it was a very large diode.  I'd consider it all toast.  Expect other electronics to be weakened and about to fail.  
    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 ,

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
     
    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
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,016 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Just as a matter of interest, are the big zig-zaggy things how the CC transfers heat to the external heat sink fins?

    If so, maybe a lower resistance path to ground? Having gone miles, I'm sure lightning does what it wants, but maybe that's a tasty target. It would also avoid a SPD on the DC wiring that way?
    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
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 30 #8
    SPD wise, DC, one at incoming solar disconnect, downstream side, AC, main live bus. 
    Lighting rod? Do have a mast with an air terminal, was hit 4 days after installing, took out the inverter no SPD at that time.
    The zigzag thing is an aluminum bar with a stainless steel spring, under which is a plastic piece with fingers that pass through the PCB appling pressure to the mosfets against the heat sink , the 3 screws thread into the heat sink.

    Bad luck perhaps, the mast is intended to offer a path to ground other than a structure, dose it contribute to the damage caused, who knows, my understanding is that if lightning is going to strike in the area the point of contact is generally concluded at the last micro second so the mast offers a path of least resistance.

     
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,016 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bad luck perhaps ...

    Since you and your family are still here to tell the tale, I guess it depends how you define bad luck :wink:

    Sometimes bad stuff happens to good people. It just is.
    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 Solar Expert Posts: 4,125 ✭✭✭✭
    Reasoning with lightning can be as reasoning with hurricanes (cyclones)  :'(
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 30 #11
    Out of curiosity I made contact with tech support including images, asking what they thought the cause of failure might be, without furnishing any details, emphasis on no warranty claim despite being within warranty. The response was. The damage to D3 is consistent  with a high voltage transient, was lightning present in the area? Naturally I answered honestly that it was likely and that I was just interested in their opinion.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,125 ✭✭✭✭
    Looks like it to me.... Only crazy people would give warranty for that! 
    I once visited a boat that was hit and in the day all the lighting was incandescent.
    Every light bulb exploded and there was glass everywhere. You can imagine what the inside of electronics looked like.
    They lost 3 garmin gps units. they were over 1,500 us dollars then.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭
    Since you are running low volts maybe you could try installing an electric fence lightning arrestor on your + and - solar panel wires going to ground?

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 118 ✭✭✭
    oil pan 4 said:
    Since you are running low volts maybe you could try installing an electric fence lightning arrestor on your + and - solar panel wires going to ground?
    The SPD he mentioned in the OP is a surge protector device, which is what Midnight calls their lightning arresters: https://www.solar-electric.com/midnite-solar-mnspd-300-dc-surge-protector.html

    DoD= depth of discharge= amount removed from that battery   SoC= state of charge= amount remaining in that battery
    So, 0% DoD= 100% SoC, 25% DoD= 75% SoC, 50% DoD= 50% SoC, 75% DoD= 25% SoC, 100% DoD= 0% SoC
    A/C= air conditioning AC= alternating current (what comes from the outlets in your home) DC= direct current (what batteries & solar panels use)
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭
    I saw that and it doesn't appeared to have helped much.
    The electric fence lightning protectors are just a good old fashioned spark gap and they only cost a few dollars.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,011 ✭✭✭✭
    By the time a " good old fashioned spark gap " triggers, the electronics are way past dead.  The midnight SPD's come in several voltage protection ranges, so you can maintain as small as possible "unprotected" voltage range.
    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 ,

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭
    Is one of those fancy protection methods a spark gap? 
    If not then wouldn't we be trying the same thing and expecting a different result? 
    I believe that is the definition of insanity.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 2,401 ✭✭✭✭✭
    SPD's do not use a spark gap, there are various types which employ different semiconductors varistors, thyristors, diodes etcetera to divert unwanted harmful transients to ground.
    https://www.nemasurge.org/how-spd-s-work/
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    900W  3 × 300W No name brand Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal as a backup system. 
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergencies and welding.
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm well aware of varistors, I put them on all my welders and air compressors.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

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