Power Jack grid tie inverters

245

Comments

  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    XRinger wrote: »
    More PJs.. Check out this music..

    http://youtu.be/f2BTNJQNUnk

    Name that country! :p


    hahhaa I was gonna say the UK and....... BINGO! lol :p
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    stephendv wrote: »
    Most multi-plug strips are 13A, so at 230V that's 2990W.

    Only a kilowatt more than USA strips. :blush:
    But still, those multi-PJ installations probably have their on cable running back to the breaker box.
    Just like you would want, if you had a 230v 5kw gasoline back-up generator.

    generator.jpg
    Have never used mine.. Yet.. :cool:
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    They claim the inspectors are tough there from what I have seen on other sites.

    That wouldn't get by the janitor would it?

    Panels flat on and close to the roof -

    Looks like ____ engineering at it's best - you can fill in the blank with whatever ethnic slur first comes to mind.

    Russ
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    russ wrote: »
    They claim the inspectors are tough there from what I have seen on other sites.

    That wouldn't get by the janitor would it?

    Panels flat on and close to the roof -

    Looks like ____ engineering at it's best - you can fill in the blank with whatever ethnic slur first comes to mind.

    Russ

    Looks like he put the panels on the flat roof of a garage.

    http://solarhope.co.uk/Solar%20PV/Solar%20PV.htm

    http://solarhope.co.uk/Solar%20PV/18%20Solar%20Panel%20on%20Roof.jpg
    Must be a real pain when it snows..


    And, it looks like he had some hotwater collectors up there a few years ago.(2007 & 2008 ).

    http://solarhope.co.uk/Solar%20Hot%20Water/Solar%20Hot%20Water.htm

    He has also done an EV conversion (in 1992).. Seems like he's an experimenter.. :cool:
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I wish I had that kind of money to spend on cool projects.....
  • mkennedymkennedy Registered Users Posts: 1
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Trust me when I say this, the powerjack grid tie inverters are useless and a scam. It goes with that old saying when its to good to be true it normally is. I know this because I purchased (5) 1200 w units and within the first 30 days (3) of them stopped working. I have tried numerous times to get a hold of the company to get this problem resolved and get my system back up and running but no one will contact me back. When I purchased the inverters they said it came with a 2 year warranty which is completly false because I have no way other than email (which they dont answer) to contact them. Save your money and by something from the USA so that when you do have an issue with the unit you will at least be able to contact someone.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I've had a few Ebay Email exchanges with the PJ dealers,
    it was a very frustrating experience. They sent me a
    model that I didn't order (or want), and tried to convince
    me it was better than the model I had ordered.
    It took months to get them to take back the LCD 1200w PJ and send me a new unit.
    But, it was all a waste of time, since they just took one
    of their same LCD units and took out the LCD and mailed the unit to me.
    They never got the order right and I finally gave up.

    Months later, when I placed a bid on a cheap PJ product, my bid was rejected,
    because I'm now banned from buying from their product line! :p

    Anyways, I purchased my PJ for some experiments, to see if it was
    possible to use them off-the-grid (with a non-grid AC source).

    If I wanted to install a grid-tie system, it would be completely legal and safe
    as I could make it. I think Enphase would be my GTI of choice.

    Cheers,
    Rich
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I've tested one of these awful little things. My observations:

    1) It never worked. The unit just shines a brilliant red LED "FAULT" light. :p

    2) The DC side wiring, on easily touchable binding post connectors, appears to not be isolated from AC line!

    3) The inverter's internal components are totally janky. The inductor used in the voltage converter section is wound with suspiciously thin wire, there's no way this thing could have actually been pushing its rated 300 watts.

    4) There are typos on the silkscreen on the PCB.

    5) I begged my coworker to please take it home and get it out of my sight forever.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    SolarGoth wrote: »
    I've tested one of these awful little things. My observations:

    1) It never worked. The unit just shines a brilliant red LED "FAULT" light. :p

    2) The DC side wiring, on easily touchable binding post connectors, appears to not be isolated from AC line!

    3) The inverter's internal components are totally janky. The inductor used in the voltage converter section is wound with suspiciously thin wire, there's no way this thing could have actually been pushing its rated 300 watts.

    4) There are typos on the silkscreen on the PCB.

    5) I begged my coworker to please take it home and get it out of my sight forever.

    1. That's very common, when there is no PV connected, or the PV voltage is out of range.
    Did your coworker say, "It was working fine for months, until the smoke came out"? ;)

    2. Not isolated from the AC line? That's wild! Was it both sides of the AC wired to the DC terminals? Or was it just one side of the line?

    3. Everything is underrated, but transformer failure does not seem to be a (reported) problem. It's mostly the FETs that burn out.

    4. Yeah, the manuals have typos too. You do realize that good English spelling is a problem when you're using a Chinese language computer? :D
    (No English Spell-Check).


    I have seen crazy AC grounding on a few Chinese made inverters.
    But, I've checked out 4 different models and none had the DC shorted to AC.
    That does seem like a transformer wiring problem..
    Where the primary is shorted to the secondary.

    There is a new breed of GTI (HERIC-topology) that does not use transformers..
    http://www2.electronicproducts.com/Optimizing_photovoltaic_systems-article-fapo_Avnet_apr2010-html.aspx

    http://www.solarnovus.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2886

    Seems like that's gona be a UL problem..
  • Renewable RayRenewable Ray Registered Users Posts: 4
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    mkennedy wrote: »
    Trust me when I say this, the powerjack grid tie inverters are useless and a scam. It goes with that old saying when its to good to be true it normally is. I know this because I purchased (5) 1200 w units and within the first 30 days (3) of them stopped working. I have tried numerous times to get a hold of the company to get this problem resolved and get my system back up and running but no one will contact me back. When I purchased the inverters they said it came with a 2 year warranty which is completly false because I have no way other than email (which they dont answer) to contact them. Save your money and by something from the USA so that when you do have an issue with the unit you will at least be able to contact someone.


    OK, so I read a lot about these cheapy grid tie inverters like the Power Jacks. But I am dying to know what US built units have people bought and had good luck with?
  • MiamiSunriseMiamiSunrise Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    XRinger wrote: »
    1. That's very common, when there is no PV connected, or the PV voltage is out of range.
    Did your coworker say, "It was working fine for months, until the smoke came out"? ;)

    2. Not isolated from the AC line? That's wild! Was it both sides of the AC wired to the DC terminals? Or was it just one side of the line?

    It worked for about three days, then started getting really intermittent on him. I'm sure the PV input voltage was in range, the thing just wouldn't wake up. Tiny red LED nightlight. 8)

    As for the lack of isolation, there was solid continuity between AC neutral, chassis, and the DC side, with an open ground. Not entirely unlike the old StatPower and Xantrex (after buying StatPower) mobile inverters where the AC outlet ground prong went to nothing inside. Of course, guess what inverter design the Chinese copied en masse... BLEH!
  • computerpc101computerpc101 Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I would like to update on Power jack GTI, I though that it should improve.

    I bought 2 PJ 600W ver3.3, I opened its case, It looked better inside, All parts was solder fine and no lose heatsink mounting, All coils are glued.

    I tested it with 200W solar panel, It worked well with one panel, However, After 1 week, One GTI stop working, AC side MosFET Q8 burn out, it is still not fix this problem yet.

    Stay away from Power jack GTI.
  • computerpc101computerpc101 Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I would like to update on Power jack 600W GTI that it burn out, I was testing my Ver 3.3 PJ600W version 3.3 dated Jan/2012, I find the problem that why it burn out, It has a Big red tag on power cord to remind me but I didn't pay attention to it, it was my fault, You have to remove DC first before AC. It was burned out because I plug/uplug power and Toggle AC swith while DC still connecting.

    I replaced AC MosFET Q8, It works fine again, I load it with 450W testing for all day long without problem.

    When I emailed to my Ebay's dealer, They seemed to care very much, I told them I fixed it, Anyway, They send me a free New one as replacement.

    Once Replacement come, It looks slightly different, It is Power Jack 600W Ver 3.4 dated March 2012
    It is upgrade then Ver3.3 as below, Better AC switch with reset button build in, Better power cord, Higher Power DC side MosFET , it should be no problem to handle 600W while Older version seem underrated power.

    I paid $129 for my Ver 3.3, now they are selling the new one ver 3.4 for $148, I guess that you paid what you get.

    China has Fit program now, Some building come with solar panels, There are market, That's why Power jack improves their products for better quality.

    Anyway, Bigger problem is that it doesn't really come with a good User Manual, UL, Etc.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Removing the AC blew it up? Sounds like junk, what happens if it is running and the utility bumps the power? POOF? That is just ugly.


    Hopefully you do know that in the USA plug in inverters are illegal.
  • computerpc101computerpc101 Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    If I buy a 1kW to 3KW system, I will buy Enphase GTI system, Made in USA, inexpensive, and it works well on cloudy day as well as Sunny day with highest overall efficiency.
    If I buy a 3KW and Up system, I will go for String high voltage GTI.

    Power jack GTI just fit low budget low power GTI system, My buddy has low price SWEA? GTI few year back, It was the worse GTI I ever seen, If there are other good inexpensive USA made good GTI similar, Power jack will be gone.

    If you plug/unplug AC line while GTI pumping DC power, It will have very high surge voltage while MPU take time to detect this loading situation, If you do it many times, Even good GTI will burn out, That's why most of them hardwired to 220V power box not allowing fooling around.

    I am glad that I didn't start a big project using those expensive Legal High power inverter because nobody will buy those GTI here, With Small price of power jack, I am able to test and measure real world daily production of solar power, It takes 40+ years to pay back, I will wait for incentive in my area with Fit program with detail power company requirement for a legal system.

    My buddy and me, We both Laborer making small income, 2 years ago, He told me that he can get legalize marijuana grower license by paying $500 doctor, He did it and in short time, not sure how much money he made, he bought a new house 2 million dollars paying by cash, few months ago, I saw him on news, He was shot to dead on street.

    My other Germery buddy, due to high gas price, we made a wine distiller using copper pipes, by using rotten fruits plus 10 day, we made almost free drinking Alcohol which we can mix 15% in gas to save up money, However, He drank too much of it and stroke and end up staying hospital for 3 months, Now we know that wine distiller is illegal worldwide.

    Sorry for off topic, I am just confuse in life about legal and ill-legal as much as some State in USA allowing high power gun weapons for sale.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,156 admin
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Yea, with the marijuana laws, there can be a lot of money made, at high risk, trying the thread the legal system(s) in states like California (where I live).

    In any case, since we are a forum sponsored (i.e., hosting fees and system administration paid for) by Northern Arizona Wind & Sun--We try to avoid "non-solar" politics and keep the discussions focused on the practical side conservation and renewable energy (which is hard for me too--I really do enjoy a friendly political discussion with people who have different ideas than mine8)).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jagecjagec Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    My other Germery buddy, due to high gas price, we made a wine distiller using copper pipes, by using rotten fruits plus 10 day, we made almost free drinking Alcohol which we can mix 15% in gas to save up money, However, He drank too much of it and stroke and end up staying hospital for 3 months, Now we know that wine distiller is illegal worldwide.

    Sorry for off topic, I am just confuse in life about legal and ill-legal as much as some State in USA allowing high power gun weapons for sale.

    That's why I stick to brewing beer...legal most everywhere except for the Middle East, pretty simple equipment-wise, and no chances of poisoning yourself. Of course, you can't burn it in your car.

    I believe that making bio-diesel is legal in the US. Not sure about (fuel-grade) ethanol.

    And I think that people from both extremes of the political spectrum can agree that the US legal system is dysfunctional, banning fairly innocent things in the name of public welfare while allowing much more potentially dangerous things in the name of individual freedom.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    i don't think i have to say that this has veered too far off the subject and, even though i agree with what's said, it is starting to go political.
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Here's one I reviewed on Amazon. It has a higher max input (52VDC) compared to the ones I've seen on ebay, which are typically around 30VDC regardless of the wattage rating.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Do we have to go down this road AGAIN?

    Tony
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    I'm sorry--did I do something wrong?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    icarus wrote: »
    Do we have to go down this road AGAIN?

    Tony

    Maybe we could just carve some of the dicta into stone and place them in a conspicuous place on the forum? :roll:
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    I'm sorry--did I do something wrong?

    You didn't do anything wrong per we,, it is just that we don't encourage (in your own words on you amazon review) illegal, non code approved installtion. We have had threads ad infinitum regarding power jack and other non UL listed (illegal) grid tie inverters.

    Tony
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Please don't construe my post as either encouraging or discouraging the use of these devices. I'm simply providing information on a class of products--SGPVs--that is increasingly gaining interest among solar hobbyists. I certainly don't believe we should ignore this interest, or that we should censor all discussion of these devices and reflexively bash them and say things that aren't true. People are going to get information one way or another; better they get it here from an established and authoritative forum.

    The fact is that if these products didn't work, no one would be interested in them, and the market would vanquish them without any help from us. But they do work and they're by far cheaper and easier to implement than anything else on the market. Indeed, SGPVs don't really belong in the "hype and scam" forum because they're neither. Granted they're illegal to use in the USA. But even here, efforts are being made to legitimize this technology. Like it or not, there's a growing market for SGPVs, and they'll continue to evolve and improve over time. My post demonstrates such improvements: new safety features and higher max input voltage. In this way, I feel that my post contributes to the discussion without crossing any liability lines. These are just my opinions; as moddies you make the rules and can do what you wish.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Work they do. Legal they should never be. The reason being the method of install.

    Once again: the problem is that any quantity of these may be plugged in to a non-dedicated circuit leading to the potential of putting more current on wiring inside your walls than it can handle.

    Because of this there is no way to eliminate the safety concerns of these products. They just make it too easy for people to add a potential fire hazard to their home.
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    Your concerns are certainly legitimate. Yet this is an international forum; what the USA feels is too dangerous may be considered an acceptable risk elsewhere given proper safeguards. As with many products that we use, this one is not without risk, and must be used properly, responsibly, and in accordance with law.

    I am curious why you believe that the safety features built into this device (fuses, thermistors, etc.) would do nothing to stop overcurrent. Let's say someone were to feed ten of these into a single 15A branch, each contributing about 4 amps--not to mention the amps coming from the grid. Why do you believe this would absolutely result in disaster?
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    Your concerns are certainly legitimate. Yet this is an international forum; what the USA feels is too dangerous may be considered an acceptable risk elsewhere given proper safeguards. As with many products that we use, this one is not without risk, and must be used properly, responsibly, and in accordance with law.

    I am curious why you believe that the safety features built into this device (fuses, thermistors, etc.) would do nothing to stop overcurrent. Let's say someone were to feed ten of these into a single 15A branch, each contributing about 4 amps--not to mention the amps coming from the grid. Why do you believe this would absolutely result in disaster?

    OK so you have 4 of these on a line, now you plug in 25 amps of load on the line, the 15 amp mains breaker will not trip as the power is sourced from 2 locations now (15 amps from the mains and whatever from the 4 plugins 16 amps?) but certainly the 14 gauge wire is overloaded.

    I would hope the mains breaker would trip if someone tried to hook 10 of these on a 15 amp line but with any loads also on the line as they ramp up the output it too could cause a heating event on the 14 gauge house wire. Hopefully the homeowner would not do something stupid like swap the mains breaker for a larger one.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    Your concerns are certainly legitimate. Yet this is an international forum; what the USA feels is too dangerous may be considered an acceptable risk elsewhere given proper safeguards. As with many products that we use, this one is not without risk, and must be used properly, responsibly, and in accordance with law.

    Not really a matter of law so much as of physics.
    I am curious why you believe that the safety features built into this device (fuses, thermistors, etc.) would do nothing to stop overcurrent. Let's say someone were to feed ten of these into a single 15A branch, each contributing about 4 amps--not to mention the amps coming from the grid. Why do you believe this would absolutely result in disaster?

    The problem is not the current coming from the micro-inverter, it's the potential total current on the wire. If there is only the inverter on the line, it is safe. But here is a likely scenario which is the basis for the concerns:

    You have a 15 Amp duplex outlet that is convenient to the inverter. Why stop at one? Use a power bar and plug in several of them, totally 600 Watts. No worries as that's only 10 Amps and the 14 AWG wire in the wall can handle that. Providing nothing else is plugged in to the same circuit, it is "dedicated" to conducting current from the inverters to the breaker panel.

    Now most wiring has more than one outlet on it. Plug something into another outlet on the same circuit. As long as that draw is no more than 10 Amps everything is still fine, as regardless of the power source it will still only be 10 Amps on the wire.

    But should the load on the wire exceed the wiring's limit of 20 Amps ... you have 15 Amps available from the breaker box and another 10 from the inverters. That's 25 Amps that can flow on wire designed not to exceed 20. No circuit protection on either end will trip; the wire will overheat and ignite.

    Don't think this is unlikely to happen. One of the attractions of the plug-n-play is the ease of expandability, and it is likely that panels/inverters/plugs will all be located in the same spot and connect to the same circuit.

    Did I mention the problem with unregistered GT systems causing some meters to spin forward instead of backward should production reach a surplus?

    On the whole, this is equipment whose potential faults can not be avoided by any reasonable measure.
  • SparkletronSparkletron Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters

    To use my example, when ten SGPVs produce 40 amps of current on a branch designed for 15 amps max, I agree that an overcurrent condition exists. And when that happens, each fuse in each SGPV blows, removing the source of the overcurrent. It would be pointless for the grid breaker to trip since this would do nothing to address the source of the overcurrent--which is not the grid but the ten SGPVs. Are you saying that the fuses in the SGPVs will not blow? Or that they won't blow fast enough? Or that even if they blow, the overcurrent condition will remain?
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,368 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Power Jack grid tie inverters
    To use my example, when ten SGPVs produce 40 amps of current on a branch designed for 15 amps max, I agree that an overcurrent condition exists. And when that happens, each fuse in each SGPV blows, removing the source of the overcurrent. It would be pointless for the grid breaker to trip since this would do nothing to address the source of the overcurrent--which is not the grid but the ten SGPVs. Are you saying that the fuses in the SGPVs will not blow? Or that they won't blow fast enough? Or that even if they blow, the overcurrent condition will remain?

    How are each of the individual devices going to see the over current, all they know about is there internal amps out. The fuses will not trip in the devices but the mains most likely will once the the 10 devices in combination achieve 15 amps backfeed. The problem lies with non dedicated back feed, proper wire sizing, Grid tie interconnect agreements (which require UL approved devices) , permits to change your electric service( which in general are to NEC code), proper meters to detect the amount of back feed, etc, etc,

    Edit:
    BTW Burn your house down with one of these setups and try and collect from your insurance company.
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