Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

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coachlaw
coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
I saved for a long time and upon the recommendations of folks here I ordered a Morningstar Suresine 300 inverter. I was so excited when it arrived. I wanted to try it out right away with a TV. I got the TV out, the HDTV converter and the battery. I was so excited. I popped open the inverter box to find no battery hookup cables. I had never purchased an inverter that didn't come with these. No problem. I've got some cable. Then I began to look over the inverter. I could not find a place to plug in anything. I saw where it said "A/C 120" and looked at where I thought an electrical socket should be, but there's nothing there but a couple of screws where you have to wire your own socket.

I've owned many inverters, but never a pure sine inverter. Now I've got to hire an electrician to wire up some sort of socket for this thing. Why don't they just have a socket on this thing like all other inverters I've seen? I feel like I've been sold snake oil. Should I feel this way?

I know some of y'all might read this and think I'm an idiot. I'm a bit scared of electricity. I never touch 120 stuff. I'm just a regular guy. I'm a history teacher with a remote fishing cabin. I've put together a nice solar/battery/inverter system that I can use all weekend and it recharges by the time I return the next weekend. I run a couple of lamps, an old black and white TV, and some rope lights off of it. I got this inverter so I could run a newer color TV. I want to watch my Saints in color this year. My modified sine inverters makes this new TV buzz. Looks like I'm stuck with the old black and white until I have this figured out.

Beyond my disappointment, is there something I could buy that I could screw onto this inverter and have a socket? Please use small words and laymen's terms when describing a solution. Thank You! - Sandy

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    Sandy,

    I am sorry that the inverter did not meet your expectations or requirements.

    Yes--it is designed to be wired in as a "component" to your solar system.

    Many times, I really hate the cables and 120 VAC sockets because I do want to run a wire to where the power will be used (hardwire into home/cabin)--and this is actually a plus to me (I have had so many "cheap" AC devices where the plugs fail after a year or so of use because they were made so cheaply).

    Next time people ask--I will try to remember to tell them that the Suresine inverter does not come with cable or an AC outlet.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    here's a crude lashup of what I did in my tool shed (more text below)

    12311_1263617589337_1196643274_30635776_4428397_n.jpg

    I used 8 ga wire for the DC input, from the battery on the floor. (red & white wires on right side)

    Then used a short piece of "romex" (3 solid household wires in a jacket: Ground, Line, Neutral ) to wire the outlet (surface mount box, outlet, cover plate, cable clamp) to the inverter. A weatherproof box is on the outside wall, opposite the inside box, so I have power out doors too.
    It does help to be handy.
    (fuse is out of sight, by the battery box)
    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 ,

  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    The suresine 300 is designed to be hardwired, ideally to a house breaker panel. There is no reason you can't wire a simple line cord (3 wire, with a fuse in one leg, as well as a fuse between the battery and the inverter.

    All that said, you will find the suresine to be a very good product that performs well. Depending on what you are doing, you may prefer a different inverter however.

    T.
  • coachlaw
    coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    I'm embarrassed that I misspelled Morningstar.

    What is a simple thing to most here is not so simple for a guy like me. I reckoned this inverter would be like all the others. I wish I would have known that it didn't come ready to use. Cables, fuses, etc. all gets very confusing. The inverters I've always used came ready out of the box and had integral spade fuses. I know they've all been cheap, especially compared to this. But I feel like I'm in well over my head here. I know it's a good product, but I wish this had been put into its product description. I would have chosen something else. I'm going to have to get an electrician to come fishing with me to get this thing up and running.

    Any chance y'all can put together a shopping list for me of things I could get at a regular hardware store or Home Depot? Mike, your picture is very helpful, but I have no place to put an electrical outlet. I had planned to plug in a surge suppressor power bar and run the tv/HDTV converter box/antenna off of this. The batteries will be 8 feet from the inverter. I reckon I'll start with 2 eight gauge wires, one red, one black for the DC hookup. I have some Romex laying around. I'm very confused about fuses/size/how to install them. I've never put a fuse on anything before. I probably need to ask should I put any on the other systems I have.


    Here's what I have already:

    Two 5 watt panels hooked to batteries I use for lights and fans in the bedrooms. No charge controller. Everything run off these is on cheapo 175 watt Vector modified sine wave inverters. The fan is a 12 volt. These are stand alone for the bedrooms.

    One 25 watt panel on 2 batteries with a Sunsei charge controller for the 12 volt sureflow water pump.

    One Kyocera 40 watt panel on 3 batteries with a Morningstar charge controller. I've been using twin 175 watt Vectors for lamps, tv, etc. But as I said I wanted something that could run the newer color TV without a buzz.

    I've figured I don't have enough panel for my batteries, but since it's a weekend only thing, it seems to work just fine.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    The SureSine does include internal fuses...

    Normally, and what you do not see a lot, is there should be a large fuse/breaker protecting the leads from the battery to the inverter.

    For 12 volt DC wiring, it is very important that the wire run from the battery to the inverter be as short as practical.

    8 awg wire is rated (~NEC) around 40-55 amps (note NEC is fairly conservative--others will tell you it can be used upwards of 73 amps continuous).

    Your inverter would draw (at 600 watts for 10 minutes--If I recall correctly):
    • 600 watts * 1/10.5 min batt voltage * 1/0.85 eff * 1.25 safety factor = 84 amp rated wire
    So, depending on your maximum power needs (600 watts or less)--you can use smaller gauge wire. The manual (PDF download) recommends a minimum of 6 awg wire (they say 4 awg for the ground wire--but 6 awg should be fine too).

    Can you tell us how much power you plan to draw and how far is the wire run from the battery to the inverter?

    Much longer than 10' with 6 awg wire--and you could have voltage drop issues with 600+ watt loads (too much voltage drop from battery to inverter under heavy loads).

    The 100 amp fuse they show in the drawing is a very good idea safety wise... If the wiring gets a short somewhere, the fuse will help reduce the chances of fire.

    Also, you could put a circuit breaker in there instead (or a fuse+DC Switch)... Inverters (including this one) draw power in "standby" mode. And can drain a battery bank if there is not a lot of solar panels connected.

    Problem is that 80+ amp DC switches are not small/cheap either... Some example DC hardware:

    wind-sun_2119_10222948CFB-110T 110 amp fuse with holder, Cut Cable Connection

    wind-sun_2119_22987881MRCB 60, 80, 100 Amp DC circuit breakers with switch

    wind-sun_2119_76194675

    Blue Sea Battery Switch 1-2-OFF 350 Amp

    Various other breakers/breaker boxes (remember, each wire that leaves the battery bank should be protected by a fuse or breaker for best safety practices):

    Sorry to be throwing the "safety stuff" at you... Yes, many people bypass the breakers/fuses and are very happy.

    However, I cannot tell you to do that yourself. I don't know your setup and tolerence for risk (small outbuilding--if fire, no big deal; or mounted in basement below kids' bedrooms--fire would be a "big deal").

    Please feel free to ask questions.

    As others have said, you can just cut the plug off a power strip and wire it to the L1/L2/Ground of the inverter.

    Otherwise, just some normal house hold ROMEX from the local hardware store should be fine + an outlet + box.

    Notice step #6 in the manual--there is a "safety ground wire" connected for the Green Ground Wire to the "White" wire of the plug/power strip. It is an "optional" connection and we can discuss the pluses and minuses of that connection (The generic answer would be to connect the jumper--but there are sometimes good reasons not too do that).

    Also, they say to use a 3 amp fuse for the 120 VAC output--I think that is a bit overkill (and should be closer to ~8 amps anyway to allow for 600 watt output).

    Please feel free to ask more questions--that is why everyone is here. To both teach and learn.

    -Bill :D
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    May I suggest, you go back and read the solar basics sticky in the solar beginers thread.

    It sounds like you are running the risk of ready, fire, aim, as evidenced by thee fact that you have a number of panels and a number of controllers.

    At the very least, try to define, as best you can, what you intend to do with this system, and what your expected loads are going to be.

    As to the question in hand.

    If you go to home depot or your auto parts store and get a 25 amp in line fuse holder, wire that into the positive line from the battery, as close to the post as possible, or buy one of these.

    http://bluesea.com/category/5/22/productline/overview/379
    or these:http://bluesea.com/category/5/22/productline/overview/414

    Wire to the input side of the inverter with a pair of # 6 or #4 wire, keep it short.

    Get another in line fuse holder, and a short #12 or 14 gauge heavy duty cord. Wire the fuse holder on the black wire on the extension cord, and connect that to on output leg of the inverter. Wire the white wire to the other leg, and the green wire to the ground marking on the inverter. Ground that lug to some positive earth ground,a s well as the negative leg from the battery, and you will be in business.
  • coachlaw
    coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    I understand most of what y'all are saying. But I don't know things like what a "Jumper" is. That should tell you where I'm coming from mentally. I was my high school valedictorian, I'm a graduate of Tulane University, etc. I'm actually a pretty smart guy with most things. But this stuff is a bit like algebra to me. My dad is an engineer, but I got my mom's brain.

    Ready, fire, aim is how this all started, but I seem to have it all figured out. Everything really works great save for the buzz with the new TV. I made the decision to do this because I watched all of last season on an ancient 13 inch black and white TV. I even watched the NFC Championship game on it. I want to see my Saints in color this season. I have read everything on here, and I do mean everything, but I get lost on a lot of it.

    The reason I have 2 charge controllers and separate battery banks is due to the location of certain items. The sureflow pump is in the generator shed out back, so it needs its own bank. The kitchen/living room is run off the 3 battery bank. The bedrooms are stand alone each with a single battery on a 5 watt panel with no charge controller. So it's not a centralized system. It's 4 separate systems on 4 different panels.

    I know you'll want Kill-O-Watt type information, but I don't have one. Here's what will be run off the Morningstar 300: One 19 inch color TV, one powered antenna, one HDTV converter (Thanks to our wonderful Federal Govt. shutting down the analog signals.) and two 15 watt light bulbs in lamps. I've run everything off of the 175 watt Vector with no problem but the dad gum buzzing.

    I sure do appreciate y'all taking your time to help. I'm in great need of extremely simplistic advice.
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    The buzzing may be coming from the inverter, but it may also be coming from the CFL bulb transformers, and might indeed continue with the new inverter.

    The suresine is pretty quiet in terms of inducing buzz into the air (RF) but not perfect, especially on AM radios. Do a search on these boards for RF interference from inverters /charge controllers and CFLs. I started one about a year ago on this very subject, with noise from a charge controller.

    Tony
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    On Page 10 of the manual, Figure 6... there is a wire that connects from the "white wire" on the left side (120 VAC Neutral Wire) over the "top" of the inverter to the right side and to the "Green/Earth Ground" wire.

    You could try without the "Jumper Wire"--and if everything works OK--just leave it out. If you have buzz in the TV or your CFL/Florescent Lamps don't light correctly--Try putting the "Jumper Wire" in (should be ~14-16 gauge or so--Too large of wire will just be difficult to connect).

    If you need the "Jumper Wire"--You can go to the home center and get some "Wire Nuts" or electrical bolt+net (sorry, I don't remember the correct name--basically, the "bolt" has a "U" shaped slot cut in it and the nut has a wire clamp in it--you put all of the wires in the slot and run the nut down in the slot. Wrap the whole thing neatly with black electrical tape).

    You can try using the same DC setup from your existing Inverter... See how everything works. The SureSine is a larger inverter--So if you place larger loads on it (300-600+ watts), it will draw more power from your battery bank (why you should use the correct wire and fusing eventually).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    Bring a 6 or 8 outlet surge strip with you, have the electrician cut off the plug, and wire the cord right into the terminals of the Suresine.

    Look for the Blue Seas Systems "Terminal Fuse"

    No wires, bolts to the battery terminal, and you bolt your cable to it. Awesome.

    "Terminal Fuse Block ".

    5191.jpg
    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 ,

  • coachlaw
    coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    The buzzing happened even without the lamps on, so it's not the CFL's causing it. It wasn't the inverter buzzing either. It was definitely the TV.

    I'll tell y'all what. I think this inverter is just over my head. I don't understand 3/4 of what I'm being told. I don't know anything about wiring that isn't just black for negative and red for positive. Only math and electronics makes me feel this overwhelmed. I'm dealing with both here.

    I think I'll send it back and get a Samlex inverter. What do y'all think about those? Looks like "plug and play" to me.

    I'll stick with the Vectors for all other applications. Alligator clips, real plug in sockets, integral fuses. Simplicity is good. They run CFLs with no problem as well.
  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    That's probably the right idea.

    KISS

    Tony
  • coachlaw
    coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    KISS is definitely what I'm after here. I just hate sending stuff back. Looks like I've got a phone call to make to NAW&S.

    They should make a kit for idjits like me. Panel/controller/inverter package. Just plug it together and add your own battery. They can call it the KISS package. :D
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    NAWS may be able to make up a "kit" for you (for an appropriate cost)... Does not hurt to ask.

    You are correct--At the very basics, connect the Red and Black wires between the battery +/- and the Inverter +/-. And connect the power strip to the AC side.

    The ground wire and Jumper wire should not be needed for operation similar to how your existing inverter is setup...

    The SureSine is a very nice 12 volt inverter.

    Problem is that we do try to keep people safe too (people wiring up off-grid homes and cabins--trying to keep things, more or less, NEC style safety). I understand how frustrating that can be.

    -Bill (I don't work for NAWS)...
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    The suresine is a very efficient inverter, and wastes less power than most of the other inverters consume.
    I think if you can find a buddy who can wire it up, it'd be worth it in the long run.
    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 ,

  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Bring a 6 or 8 outlet surge strip with you, have the electrician cut off the plug, and wire the cord right into the terminals of the Suresine.

    Look for the Blue Seas Systems "Terminal Fuse"

    No wires, bolts to the battery terminal, and you bolt your cable to it. Awesome.

    "Terminal Fuse Block ".

    5191.jpg

    I think this would be the route I'd go, I doubt we're shooting for code here, just saftey, I would think you could take this into the school "shop" person or maintanance person and have them wire in the surge protector. The terminal fuse goes on the + side of the battery and should be clearly marked.

    FWIW - I've always been frustrated that so many inverters are NOT designed to be hardwired!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions
    Photowhit wrote: »
    I think this would be the route I'd go, I doubt we're shooting for code here, just safety, I would think you could take this into the school "shop" person or maintanance person and have them wire in the surge protector. The terminal fuse goes on the + side of the battery and should be clearly marked.

    FWIW - I've always been frustrated that so many inverters are NOT designed to be hardwired!

    you know, there's a kind of irony about that statement by you that i bolded (with spelling corrected).
    elementary my dear wiles, elementary.:p
    does that fuse get bigger every time i see it here on the forum?:roll::D
  • coachlaw
    coachlaw Registered Users Posts: 10
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    Like I said, I'm sure it's a fantastic inverter. But it's not idiot proof. I had no idea there were inverters you couldn't just plug into.

    There is no code, but there is a huge concern for safety. I've poured my life into the place since hurricane Ike. Here's a pic of it after the hurricane and a recent one taken from a freind's airplane.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions
    niel wrote: »
    you know, there's a kind of irony about that statement by you that i bolded (with spelling corrected).
    elementary my dear wiles, elementary.:p
    does that fuse get bigger every time i see it here on the forum?:roll::D

    I find every time the "code" changes that my photovoltaic system is about to burst into flames! ...if they'd quit changing the code, I could feel safe and sleep well at night...

    God bless John Wiles for the work he does, truly a thankless job.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Monringstar Suresine 300 Disappointment and Questions

    Nice rebuild Coachlaw, I use to live in coastal Florida. You get a chance to see an ever evolving world.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.