Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

dplumldpluml Registered Users Posts: 3
Greetings, this is my first post.

I bought a new All Terrain Camper last August and I spec'd it with solar a 40watt solar panel, a morningstar sunsaver controller and a 75 amp hr AGM battery. The unit also has 110v shore service wired to a breaker box with two 15 amp breakers wired to two individual outlets.

I purchased a Morningstar Suresine Inverter and a Powermax 30 amp auto transfer switch to add to the system.

I wired the Shore power input to the Powermax shore line, the Suresine to the generator input, and the To Distribution Panel out into the breaker box.

Everything works, except the Suresine inverter will not come out of standby mode when this mode is enabled on the inverter. When the inverter dip switch is set to Always On, the system works fine.

Can anyone tell me what I've done wrong? Is the Powermax somehow the problem? No matter how much load I place on the system, it will not come out of standby mode.

Should I have tried harder to find an iota transfer switch? I understand they are no longer available.

Any help would be appreciated.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    Welcome to the forum.

    The Suresine's standby mode is meant to keep the inverter drawing minimal power until it senses a sufficient load on its output to "wake it up". If you are supplying power from another source such as the shore power input there will be no current draw on the inverter to trigger it. If you are feeding its output to the transfer switch as "generator" and the shore power to "shore" then when the shore power is absent the switch should go to "generator" as you know. Trouble is, it expects the generator to be active.

    I'd start by seeing if you can "wake up" the inverter by giving it DC in and applying a load directly to the AC out when t is in standby mode. That way you'll be able to tell if the inverter is functioning normally this way.

    While were at it, I may as well mention that one 40 Watt panel is insignificant even for charging a 75 Amp hour battery. It will probably only provide 2.5 Amps of current at most which is below the 5% recommended minimum. Further to that, it's really only capable of about 80 Watt hours of AC out-the-door, whereas the battery at 25% DOD is capable of around 200 Watt hours. Just my opinion, but this panel/battery combination will not work for full charging. At best the panel will only slow down the rate of discharge.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,219 admin
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    The Iota was not a LISTED device and was not "legal" to install on grid power--and Iota did not want to take the expense needed to bring it up to current requirements.

    My question--Do you have the transfer switch "powered" by AC Mains (main power on, turns on relay, for AC grid to AC outlets)--Or do you have the Inverter powering the switch, then providing inverter power to loads?

    I would power the transfer switch with AC main power, upon power fail, it fails over to inverter power.

    Having the inverter power the transfer switch--The transfer switch would (probably) not draw enough power to bring inverter out of standby, and without the switch "switched" to inverter, then no matter how many loads you connect, they cannot draw power from the inverter.

    Reading the instructions... My choice would be to connect the "Generator" input to the AC mains, and the "AC Mains input" to the inverter and flip the Timer Bypass switch to "ON".

    However--you may wish to call the factory--They seem to be pretty emphatic that you should never turn the bypass switch "on". Perhaps that only applies to their "generator warm up warning".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • dplumldpluml Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    Ok. I have rewired the unit with the shore power entering the Powermax at the "Generator" input and the Morningstar Suresine 300 going into the Powermax "Ac mains input"(Shore Line). And as I'm a rebel, I set the Powermax Timer Bypass dip switch to on. I hope this is ok. We'll see.

    This makes everything work properly. The Morningstar inverter will wake from power saving mode. I do notice, with tiny loads the pulsing effect the Suresine displays. I have read in other posts about this, and will revisit the solution. But if an adequate load is used, the unit performs flawlessly.

    I made an error in my original post. The solar panel is a Solarworld 80watt unit, not a 40watt. I live in Oklahoma and we have lots of sun, but I even find it to be inadequate to keep the battery charged. I wish it were a larger unit, but I'm concerned about weight on the roof, as my camper is a pop-up style slide in unit that requires physical strength to lift. I have a battery isolator installed in the camper so that when my truck is running, it charges the battery. So if I have to, I can do this.

    Thanks for the help.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    Your 80 Watt panel would be much better than a 40 Watt, but for full charging you need over 100 Watts.
    The panel you have probably weighs about 20 pounds? A Kyocera 135 weighs about 29 pounds. Maybe this would be possible? There is also the option of "stow away" panels which have been discussed on the forum, along with the shortfalls of potential damage and theft. Maybe there's a way you could augment the fixed panel with a movable one of around 40 Watts.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,219 admin
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    Sounds great!

    You are using slightly more power because your Inverter is powering the relay for the transfer switch. If power budget becomes an issue (less than 6 Watts to power the relay--I am guessing), then you might want to connect a separate "inverter only" outlet to shave of those few Watts.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    I believe the situation is the power transfer relay has a 120 vac activation coil powered from the generator side. The relay is a DPDT or SPDT with unenergized relay coil having the pass connection to shore power. When shore power goes away the control circuitry energized the relay coil, from generator side, and switches power transfer over to generator size.

    There is a delay in the controller of auto transfer switch (about 20-30 secs) to avoid a sudden phase shift to loads due to the shore power and generator being asyncronous to one another. With the inverter in strobing power saving there is no power to run the relay coil and likely the power for the switchover control circuitry power will not be supported with the short standby sensing inverter ON bursts.

    If you reverse the connections, having inverter to shore power, the relay will not be activated so its coil current, which is likely more significant then the control circuitry, will not contribute to load on inverter.

    Problem with reversing AC connections is you have to manually turn off inverter to get transfer switch to switch over to shore power. (and shore power must be present)

    The controller board in the transfer switch likely has a small transformer with rectifiers/filter cap and DC regulator to run the sensing circuitry. You might be able to increase the size of the filter cap to the point where the controller DC regulator holds up across the inverter strobing period. If this is possible then the transfer relay should activate for a brief moment when inverter strobes ON. If there is sufficient AC load to keep the inverter on then everything should run. You should check the 30 amp relay to make sure its coil is 120vac and not a DC coil powered from the control board power supply. If it is DC coil then you won't likely support the power transfer relay coil between inverter strobes.

    Alternate approach might be to install a parallel NiMH battery that is trickle charged from either AC input and powers the transfer switch controller circuitry.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,219 admin
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue
    RCinFLA wrote: »
    There is a delay in the controller of auto transfer switch (about 20-30 secs) to avoid a sudden phase shift to loads due to the shore power and generator being asyncronous to one another. With the inverter in strobing power saving there is no power to run the relay coil and likely the power for the switchover control circuitry power will not be supported with the short standby sensing inverter ON bursts.

    If you reverse the connections, having inverter to shore power, the relay will not be activated so its coil current, which is likely more significant then the control circuitry, will not contribute to load on inverter.

    Problem with reversing AC connections is you have to manually turn off inverter to get transfer switch to switch over to shore power. (and shore power must be present)

    RC,

    You are probably correct--The relay is most likely powered from the Generator circuit... And there will be no (or virtually no) phantom current on the AC Mains (now inverter) input.

    I believe the 20-30 second delay is to allow the generator to come up to speed and be stable enough to support a load--I don't think they did the delay to avoid a phase hit on the AC switch over.

    And, assuming everything work as we are guessing now--When there is "Generator" now AC Mains power, there will be a forced transfer back to AC Mains--Don't need to worry about turning off the inverter (or the loads) to force a transfer back...

    But that is a guess--"DP" will have to do his own testing to see if the AC Mains powering back up will force a transfer back to "GENERATOR/New AC MAINS" input or not.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    I have a some what similar application, in our case a teardrop trailer. I do not however have a limitation on weight on the roof and have a 180W panel there. But as a number of us do with limited space I also have a portable panel that can be put on an extension and staked out in the sun, this is a flexible 140W. Others I know have folding panels or just additional panels.
    Part of this equation needs to be conservation and all of our lights are LED and all appliances selected for low power draw i.e. Eberspacher diesel heater, Waeco refrigerator.
  • dplumldpluml Registered Users Posts: 3
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    I am happy to report that everything appears to be working properly. The Suresine is waking from sleep, and powering devices properly when asked to. When I plug into shore power outside, the Suresine goes back into power saving mode, and things continue running! I can guarantee things are running off of shore power because for fun I installed a toggle switch to turn off the Suresine. I flip off the Suresine while plugged into shore power, and things continue to run. Then I can flip the Suresine back on, go outside and unplug the shore power, return inside, and everything's still running! I have tried just about everything I can think of to make it hiccup, but it hasn't. I think it's working properly wired this way.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,219 admin
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    Cool8).

    Now you need to make your own UPS system for your home. :D

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Powermax Auto Transfer Switch Morningstar Suresine standby mode issue

    This is essentially how I wired the battery backup for my house. In my case I'm using IOTA switches but the relays appear to be the same as the ones used in the Powermax switch. I have one of those in my RV.

    When I set this up I emailed IOTA and asked about having it setup this way. I was concerned about duty cycle on the relays. They told me it was a non issue and they have many installs done that way. My setup was in place several years before we moved and I removed the system. Never a failure. I would never hesitate to wire an RV that way.
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