a small question from a fat chinese guy

Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
hi, everyone,

my name is Bill.Zhou and I am a fat guy from China as a solor products salesman.

our company are working for a portable PV system and I am the guy who are in charge of market investigation. I don't want be a rude stranger here, so my question is can I ask some technical question here? ;)

it is my first time post a artical in a English forum, however, I will thanks for any constructive replies even it sounds like from Mr.Simon.cowell.
or if I am acting as a gorilla in a monkey hill, please let me know, I will try to be nice.:blush:

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    We appreciate good discussions... We are very hard on people who drop links (spam) and run.

    Please feel free to ask any questions your have... Just don't make it look like advertising please.

    And welcome aboard.

    Sincerely,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    thank you, BB.

    here is thing, our company designed a portable PV system include a 3-in-1 generator, a 12/24V 10A charge controller, a 500W AC110V output inverter and a 20AH deep cycle battery, the generator was charged by a folding solar panel from 60W to 80, 100W. the folding panel has supporting kits. ----the generator could be connected with a bigger capacity battery when it is need, also the generator could connect to an onboard battery to start a car in urgent case.----I don't know if it will be advertising, so I could not show the pictures of our design.:blush:

    and this system was designed for the camper, the fishman and etc.

    my question is:

    A. we found that there is no test standard of UL for the solar charge generator, other words, we could not get a UL certificate for our new products because the UL will not test it. So, will it be okay for us the sell this kind of PV system to USA?

    B. our inverster is modified sine wave, (because our price' advantage) , will it be acceptable for USA market?

    C. In states, will people rent a solar pv system from a store or not? (cause I guess for the camper, they probably will not purchase a system just for 1 time barbeque?


    thanks again,

    Bill
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,464 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    Some of my observations:

    20AH deep cycle battery - Way too small, only allows a few minutes of running an appliance after dark.

    Mod Sine inverter - better carry insurance for the claims folks WILL file when it burns up their gadget. Use a pure sine instead.

    I don't know what a 3-in-1 generator is. Propane, gas, ???

    Folding solar panel, could be a good idea if it folds / un-folds easily and is protected against breakage. Maybe a clear window film squeegeed on will help toughen the glass, and not add much weight, at the loss of a few % of output. Better than broken panels.
    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 ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy
    Bill.Zhou wrote: »
    here is thing, our company designed a portable PV system include a 3-in-1 generator, a 12/24V 10A charge controller, a 500W AC110V output inverter and a 20AH deep cycle battery,

    There are lots of people that make combination battery+inverter devices like these. And lots of people do purchase them.

    Xantrex assorted portable power devcies
    600 watt / 28 AH

    And we get a few questions from people that say now that they have bought one of these, they want to run their refrigerator, a few lights, and a radio because they get power failures for a few days from storms/bad weather at times...

    I don't know what to tell you... From an "engineering/off-grid user point of view", these units have way too large of inverter for the battery supplied to meet a user's reasonable expectations...

    Somebody tries to pull 500 watts from a 20 AH 12 volt battery, and they will get 15 minutes of power--and possibly only a few cycles from the battery before the battery dies.

    In years past, these may have been handy for powering a 120 VAC electric drill, or other small tools for portable work. However, I wonder if all of the battery powered tools today (drills, saws, lights, etc.) have made small portable AC battery sources obsolete in that market.
    the generator was charged by a folding solar panel from 60W to 80, 100W. the folding panel has supporting kits. ----the generator could be connected with a bigger capacity battery when it is need, also the generator could connect to an onboard battery to start a car in urgent case.----I don't know if it will be advertising, so I could not show the pictures of our design.:blush:
    I have no problem with posting pictures of your design(s) for discussion. If it goes too far, we will let you know (I am sorry, the no-advertising rules get fuzzy sometimes).

    I am not quite sure how you are using "generator" in this context... Typically, "generator" for us on this forum is a gasoline/fuel powered motor driving an DC Generator or AC alternator. (A solar panel is a form of electrical generator--so it is not "wrong" to call it that).

    A big issue with solar panels is people can connect them backwards when trying to clip onto a battery (such as to charge a larger/car battery). It may be worth making a polarity protector if you plan on making "un-polarized" panels with battery clips.
    and this system was designed for the camper, the fishman and etc.
    Lead Acid based portable power systems tend to be way too heavy for people to just pack in the trunk. There have been discussions here about using various Lithium rechargeable batteries to reduce weight. (I am assuming you are talking about lead acid storage batteries in your product).
    A. we found that there is no test standard of UL for the solar charge generator, other words, we could not get a UL certificate for our new products because the UL will not test it. So, will it be okay for us the sell this kind of PV system to USA?
    There are other labs besides UL (NRTL--Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories). However, you need a specification of some sort to test against.

    You can use Listed/Recognized components (fuses, wiring, batteries, inverters, even solar panels) in your construction. And you can probably find an appropriate Recognition Type to test under (battery powered tools, portable electronics, Office Equipment, etc.)...

    For portable equipment that does not plug into the wall, or wire into a building--there is not very much demand that it be UL/CSA/TUV/xyz listed by the general public. If you have a 120 VAC charging option--that would be covered by Listing the Wall Transformer itself.

    Of course, safety is very nice--but for low end products, if you don't make your price point--it may not sell.
    B. our inverster is modified sine wave, (because our price' advantage) , will it be acceptable for USA market?
    There are lots of MSW inverters out there and people buy them because they are cheap. It would be difficult to convince people to pay a few hundred dollars more because it is a TSW inverter.

    From a practical point of view, many of the smaller electronic loads (radios, DVD players, battery chargers, wall transformers) tend to run hot or overheat on MSW inverters. It is sort of a race which happens first--does the small load fail or does the buyer damage the 20 AH battery and stop using the inverter/battery pack.
    C. In states, will people rent a solar pv system from a store or not? (cause I guess for the camper, they probably will not purchase a system just for 1 time barbecue?
    There are businesses that rent small generators to people... They tend to be expensive to rent (maybe 10%+ of the purchase price per day???) because generators get damaged by customers fairly often. And there is a high amount of maintenance required.

    I have not seen any "rental generators" the times I have gone camping... They might be rented for a special event (large camping / party / etc.).

    Small Gensets tend to be rented for emergencies or construction sites (my guess).

    Realistically, how would you compare your product to a Honda eu1000i (high end small genset for $700+) (weight + fuel) vs your product? Many folks, when they "rent power" or bring something, heavy/not cheap, expect to power coffee makers, lights, stereo/TV's/Video Games.

    The market for solar portable power is probably much smaller... The amount of usable power from solar is much less than a similar weight/cost genset when used for short time periods (days). And if somebody is going to use solar for weeks to months--they probably are not going to rent.

    Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth... I am an engineer and not in marketing/sales--so take my comments for what it's worth.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
    big hug to dear BB...

    hi, BB.

    you are a very very nice person, not only me, but our company's technology guy, we are very grateful for your valuable advice.----in fact, we decide, if you do not mind have a dinner with a fat guy, please let us when you have choice to visit China. ;)

    okay, now, please take a look of our "generator" :

    pic.php?u=20021SuTzS&i=124271

    pic.php?u=20021SuTzS&i=124272

    pic.php?u=20021SuTzS&i=124273

    pic.php?u=20021SuTzS&i=124274
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    Bill, interesting solar panel "suit case" design... Is the "front" glass or plastic (some sort of protection available to reduce breakage)?

    By the way, can you size the pictures down some---Pretty large for posting on forum.

    Thank on the invite--I have not been to China for 25 years... Maybe someday.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
    more information of this portable system for MR.BB.

    I am not sure if you could see the pictures of our system, if you could, Mr. BB, I guess it could help to explain:

    a. why we call the "generator" is "3 in 1" because we have a charge controller, a inverter and a 20AH lead-acid battery inside.----Also, the reason why we only have a 20AH battery in this system is we only have limited space for place the battery.

    b. aslo, you may find out this system should from a "car urgent start battery system", there are pliers at the side of "generator" which could connect to a big capacity battery such like 100AH. ----we know it is not a wise idea to have this system charge and work with a 20AH and 100AH battery in same time, so we are going to add 2 switchs for each battery to make sure they will work respectively.

    c. You are right, Mr.Bb, it will not be a good idea for have a "portable PV system" work with lead-acid battery because it is too heavy to be portable. we are considering change our battery.

    d. I guess, the key advantage of our system is the price. I am not sure if it will be "advertisng", our price range for a 100W folding panel + "generator" (500W AC 110V output +20AH (UL certificated) battery) will be less than USD350.00

    We hope, if this system connected with a big capacity battery, (which we recommand the final user purchase from local market), it could be a some "useful" pv system. meanwhile, 100W panel will make sure it will not take too long time to full charge the battery. (within DOD).

    e. we do make some improvements for the system such like the fuses we choosed are replacable, the system has auto protection for Low/High-voltage、overload 、short circuit, ----however, BB, you are right, I am wondering if we could sell this kind of system to USA when we are not able to provide the after service to final user. meanwhile, as you said, there should not be a big market for the portable pv system in States. especailly in this year.

    Anyway, all of the suggestion from you are very helpful, thank you again for your professional opinion, and, if you want know any information from Chinese solar market, please do not be hesitate to inform me.
  • Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy
    mike90045 wrote: »
    Some of my observations:

    20AH deep cycle battery - Way too small, only allows a few minutes of running an appliance after dark.

    Mod Sine inverter - better carry insurance for the claims folks WILL file when it burns up their gadget. Use a pure sine instead.

    Folding solar panel, could be a good idea if it folds / un-folds easily and is protected against breakage. Maybe a clear window film squeegeed on will help toughen the glass, and not add much weight, at the loss of a few % of output. Better than broken panels.

    yes, Mike, we do think it over of our folding panel's package, just as you side, "folds / un-folds easily and is protected against breakage" is the key point.

    and regarding to the MOD sine inverter, because of the limitation of the space in the "generator", we could not put a pure sine wave to instead of the current one.
    but just as you said, this might bring us some complains and troubles from final user in future.

    thanks for you reply, it helps a lot.:D
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    it may be more accurate to call this a portable power pack. now this does not apply to me, but more to the younger generation that they may wish to be able to connect up their cell phones and other usb devices. they may wish to continue an important phone call with no power for whatever reason and if the phone's battery gives out they could just plug into this to continue.
    the solar is nice and you should keep that as an option for people, but a small onboard multistage charger plugged into utility ac could also maintain the battery if they'd prefer. the controller could partially fill that void as all it needs is the rectified and filtered dc from a fused ac transformer of the right current and voltage to properly bulk/float charge the battery that is supplied. this should be switched in such a way as to allow both the ac input and the dc output of the utility charger to connect when it is switched on to isolate the ac component totally as well as shut it off. the charger off position could either allow the pv input to automatically be switched on or have the switch in a on/off/on configuration.
    this is just thinking out loud in type, but do provide safeguards for it such as fuses.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    Bill,

    At least in English/USA--do not call this a generator. It will be confusing. As Niel said, power pack or something similar.

    Also, urgent is not used as you have typed it. "Emergency" jumper battery, Backup Battery Pack, or something similar.

    My own complaint (which mirrors Niel's suggestion about "Float charging") about these type of portable emergency power/backup systems--Normally, I cannot leave the wall transformer plugged in. They do not drop back to "float voltage" (~13.5 volts or so) when the unit is charged...

    So, I am either left with a dead battery from over charging when I need it 6 months from now, or a dead battery because I did not remember to plug it in 1 day every month or so.

    Personally, my solution has been to use a 24 hour lamp timer. I typically set the timer for 1 hour of charging per day--or ~30 hours of charging per month (after the battery has been fully charged). So far, I have found that this is a cheap and easy way to keep my portable battery devices charged without damaging them.

    Also, I did not see a 12 volt output (in the US cigarette lighter type sockets are very common--but usually an ugly solution.

    For charging cell phones, and other small electronics--You might want to look at a 5volt USB charger outlet... I believe the next generation of cell phones (at least for the US) are going to standardize on USB as their charging/communications port.

    Good Luck,
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Bill.ZhouBill.Zhou Registered Users Posts: 7
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    Bill and Niel


    Thanks for you 2, I am sorry that I have not post my reply earlier since I’ve spent several days with our technical department about your suggestion of our system.

    I am very very appreciate for your suggestions, we now realized before we come to compete by our price advantage, we’d better make sure what’s the market need for a “portable pv system” and what our system be able to provide. Obviously, we have not thought it over. And now we find out it should be a lot of works we need to do before we try to sell this system to US.

    Based on what I learned from you 2, I believed we need make the improvement from:
    a. Change the lead-acid battery to lighter weight battery if it is portable system.
    b. Check out if 500W 110AC output modified sine wave inverter could be useful inverter in this system or not.
    c. Still, I believed we’d better find a customer in USA who is willing to be the one who rent this portable PV system to the potential user, ---cause just as BILL said, they could take care of maintains of the battery.---meanwhile, it will save the final use money.

    And regarding to be a charge system for the small electronics, I believed it should be totally different market and different business because in that case, the best solution to charge these small electronics should be small thin film battery with very light weight and meanwhile limit battery capacity.

    However, again, it’s a very pleasant experience for all the helps I got from this forum, thank you.
    :D
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,226 admin
    Re: a small question from a fat chinese guy

    You are very welcome Bill.

    By the way, because USB is becoming the standard for charging small electronics--If you can justify the small added expense--I would still recommend looking at adding USB charging.

    While the main use of the portable power station may be for something larger--pretty much every now carries small devices that can be charged/operated with USB. A phone, camera, or small computer/Ipad/etc. for disaster management I think could be a strong selling point.

    So many emergency responders now have electronic gear that -- if it goes dead -- they pretty much become useless in the field.

    I am not sure what (if any) standards there are for 12 VDC devices/charger besides the standard "cigarette lighter" type device--But if you can identify one for government/fire/police/etc. -- It should make a strong selling point.

    Remember that the solar panel for field charging will not collect that much power (50 watt solar panel ?? may collect and store in the battery 100-200 useful Watt*Hours per day). For a "ten hour work day"--that is only a 10-20 watt continuous load over that 10 hour work day. A USB port is maybe 1 amp at 5 volts---That may end up being much closer to the loads needed to run a small communications work station (a few USB sized ports).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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