How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

rkymtnoffgrdrkymtnoffgrd Registered Users Posts: 20
For all you off-grid guys, I'm curious how dependable all this stuff really is. Perhaps we could post Type, location, the years of use, the system basics, and especially any failed components or problems.

Outback System; Self Installed April 2006, 5+ years of service, located at 10125 ft in the colorado rockies.
6 shell solar 165w 24v panels, 2 strings of 3 @ 72V
MX 60, FX 3648, Mate,
48v batt bank, (16qty) t-105 Crown Batts, 2 strings of 8

Absolutely no issues whatsoever with all RE systems, even batteries are still in good shape.
Ive had many various generator Issues, all due to my ignorace, small generator size, gas generators and -15 degree weather, and high altitude.
If I could do it over, I don't think I would change a thing. Very Satisified.

Comments

  • samuelsamuel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    3000 Watt Xantrex MS3000 inverter with remote mounted control panel
    14 x 220 Ah 6V FLAs (Johnson Controls) 7 strings of 2 for 12V
    810 Watts of solar (6 x 135 Kyocera LPU 12V panels)
    3000 Watt Honda EU3000 generator with RF remote starter
    Victron BMV 600s battery monitor (meter 103′ from shunt)

    Batteries and inverter installed July 2009, solar installed on June 2010

    Only change I would even consider making is going 10 batteries. I should have installed the battery monitor on day one when we only had 6 batteries and then added until we had what we wanted within the next 2 months after install. No question I'd do 12V for our set up again because we run plenty of 12V LED lights. Favorite item in the whole system is the Victron battery monitor.

    Location: somewhere in Upper Michigan, 5 miles off the grid. Batteries in garage (15 to 75°F variance most years). Appliances are either gas, 110V, or 12V DC. Oh, and absolutely no issues so far - batteries in perfect health.
  • rkymtnoffgrdrkymtnoffgrd Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    12v system...KISS...I love it...almost did 12v just for that reason. Everthing seems to have a 12v solution. But got to ask? You got those leds on a filtered and regulated 12v source? Your system is relatively new, any others with similar systems over five years old? I keep hearing about the 7 year itch...concerning inverters...
  • samuelsamuel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    Nothing fancy with the power source. To keep it real simple, the LEDs are wired directly to the battery. The voltage may get as high as 15V at times. One of the LEDs has been on nearly 24/7 for almost exactly one year (over 8500 hours) with no issues. If 12V were to be used for something more "high-tech" than lighting and motion sensors I would consider a different approach to our power supply.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    What I have is listed in my "signature" below. Batteries are about 10 years old and appear to be more or less like new, no problems at all. I try to never take them down more than 10%, so they're having an easy life that way. My first charge controller was my own design, simple PWM contraption that worked OK, but lacked EQ mode. Replaced that with Morningstar TS-60 (PWM) but was never really satisfied with that unit. Ended up going with MX-60 about 3 yrs ago and it's been for the most part, awesome. Has some operating issues I don't care for, like slow sweep, but that's not a defect. Had a morningstar Sunsaver MPPT on my micro hydro, but improvements to the turbine increased the power output to above the controllers rating and cooked it. Not the controllers fault, mine. Replaced it with the Morningstar TS MPPT-60 and that's working really well. No inverter issues at all. In fact, in the roughly 10 years I've been using solar power, I've had not even one problem, other than ones I personally caused. :blush:
  • rkymtnoffgrdrkymtnoffgrd Registered Users Posts: 20
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    Sam, keep an eye out on your bulbs, voltage irregularites will manifest themselves in only one or two of the leds going out but the rest of the leds in the bulbs will be ok. If you see more than one led bulb acting this way shut it down, (leds are too expensive) and get a filter and regulator. Every system is different, your may be fine, don't worry about it until you see it.
    Wayne, same inverter with no probs for ten years? Your running 12v as well.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...
    Wayne, same inverter with no probs for ten years? Your running 12v as well.

    One of my msw inverters is actually over 10 years old and is now wired as standby in case one of the SureSine-300 units were to fail. The other inverters have been added over the years with no failures as yet. And yes, 12 volt system. If doing it over, knowing what I know now, especially with the size of the system has grown to, 24 volts would have been a much better choice - - - - except that Mornngstar, for some strange reason, doesn't make a 24 volt SureSine-300. An awesome little inverter, has got to be #1 in it's class. Certainly is in my books!
  • jalbersjalbers Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    We put our starter system in, back in 2001. It has been fantastic so far. Originally it was 8-75 watt panels. We now have about 3200 watts of panels and 20 L-16 batteries. Originally we had T-105's, but changed them out 3 years ago for the L-16's. We gave the T-105's to a friend and he is STILL using them. Battery life depends on how the batteries are used and taken care of.

    Our system is 24 volt and we are 100% off grid in Northern AZ. We have an old Trace inverter which seems to be bullet proof. The Outback 80 CC is a newer addition. We also run a well pump, green house and hot tub. All in all, the system has been great and we can run whatever we need for the 2300 sq foot home. We also have a second system that run a 48 volt air conditioning system. It has heat during the winter as well......and we have a wood stove. Our propane bill comes to about $200.00 for the year. We have NO generator back up! We know too many people that claim they are "solar", but have the generator on all the time. We refuse to be that way.

    Jerry
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 5,007 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How reliable is your system, years of use, and basic stats...

    I'm right at 10 years off grid continous, maybe another 3 years, counting one year of bicycling with a 12v 10 watt panel and a couple cigarette pack 6v batteries charged in series and used as 6v (just at night of course. also had a solar 'aa' charger for my nicad's circa 1999.

    Publication1.jpg
    At least it looks like I'm carrying home with me, 7000miles lots of fun!

    only things I've had fail were a $20 175 watt inverter, and a semi sine wave inverter that lasted a year until the fan died and I used it dis assembled for another year with a 6" fan on it in the summer time. Not wise, but I had the Prosine inverter I use now already and didn't want to use it as a spare, since it wasn't 100%.

    I also killed a pair of golf cart batteries, when I left on another bike trip, just 3 months or so, but I left only one panel going and that in the shade, and inadvertently left the inverter running, it slowly ran down the batteries while I was away.

    During the last 10 years i slowly grew the 200 watt array/system into the system listed below. @2000 watts and now a forklift battery, haven't paid an electric bill since 1998! Until...
    ...I found a good deal on some property near by 2.2 acres and a 2000 tin can (16x60 mobile home) $12,000 couldn't pass it up. so I'm comitted (or should be) to run the electric over the winter until I decide how best to profit from it, likely I'm build a solar cabin, composting toilet, and french drain for the grey water (legal until 3 years ago here, but unlikely anyone will complain) and then rent out the Mobilehome which is in great shape, no leaks top or bottom. It was scarry walking into the big, ugly, $25 a month wether you use any electric or not, COOP.
    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
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