Some people just don't want to know

Well I made a "house call" today. Someone who thought their system wasn't working well, and could I look at it and see what I thought?

What I found:
Xantrex DR1512 inverter, mounted flat (label on the top says "TOP"). Wired with 2/0 and one 250 Amp DC disconnect.
Six golf cart batteries wired as three parallel strings; "laddered". Different size wires between batteries (some 6 AWG, some 4 AWG). Corrosion on most of the connectors.
No-name shunt type 20 Amp charge controller.
Two 70 Watt and one 80 Watt panels.

He was unhappy with my evaluation. He "needs" all those batteries for his loads. The panels "always charged them before". The idea that getting rid of two of the battery strings would actually improve performance he could not grasp.

Well if you don't want to know, don't ask. :p

I'll let him think about it for a while.

Comments

  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    Well if you don't want to know, don't ask. :p

    I'll let him think about it for a while.

    Is there a chance that his load profile has changed? :-)
    Even without parallel battery issues, is it possible that he is just dragging them down further each day than he used to.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    inetdog wrote: »
    Is there a chance that his load profile has changed? :-)
    Even without parallel battery issues, is it possible that he is just dragging them down further each day than he used to.

    I doubt we'd ever be able to find out. :p

    But considering there's the inevitability of 220 Watts of panel not working well for recharging 675 Amp hours @ 12 Volts, it's likely the battery bank has been in a slow state of decline over time and there is now significant sulphation to deal with - on top of everything else.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    There's few things as frustrating as having someone who has totally no idea what they're doing, asking someone who does know for help, then turn right around and argue. I usually just let them talk and say no more on the subject, letting them learn the hard way. But it sure is frustration.
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    How about this one:

    This DIYer did not like my answer when she asked why she was only getting 700 watts from a 2k array. (The array is just as good as the power room.)
    Attachment not found.

    "But, but, every thing has fuses."
    ...except for the charge controller and all of the wires between the batteries and the fuse at each device.:cry:


    -Alex
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    How about this one:

    This DIYer did not like my answer when she asked why she was only getting 700 watts from a 2k array. (The array is just as good as the power room.)
    "But, but, every thing has fuses."
    ...except for the charge controller and all of the wires between the batteries and the fuse at each device.:cry:
    -Alex

    What a frigging mess! Unfortunately I fear there are many such "installations". :cry:
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Two 70 Watt and one 80 Watt panels.

    He was unhappy with my evaluation. He "needs" all those batteries for his loads. The panels "always charged them before". The idea that getting rid of two of the battery strings would actually improve performance he could not grasp.

    Well if you don't want to know, don't ask. :p

    I'll let him think about it for a while.

    I'm living proof of this. I recently converted my 12 volt system consisting of 4x6V GC battery system into a single 24V string. When rewiring them, I noticed 1 pair had noticeably lower water levels than the other. I used to draw them down to ~80% every night, now with the same loads, my battery monitor rarely shows under 88% in the morning. coincidence?
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Dill wrote: »
    coincidence?

    No. Conspiracy. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    There's few things as frustrating as having someone who has totally no idea what they're doing, asking someone who does know for help, then turn right around and argue. I usually just let them talk and say no more on the subject, letting them learn the hard way. But it sure is frustration.

    A-yup , & that's my job some days . Warranty is NOT going to happen !!
    It's almost unbelievable that the folks who squeal & whine , can't READ a manual .
    Im just a "Blue Collar Worker" and gets talked down too because I know " you need to read" RYFM .

    Just to clarify "Blue Collar Worker" is a tradesman with a licence or few. Not red or colour race dependent..
    VT
    YMMV
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    I thought "blue collar worker" was a Canadian who forgot his scarf. :p
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    inetdog wrote: »
    No. Conspiracy. :-)

    better call in Jesse Ventura! I chalked it up to the batteries supplying an even load with constant voltage. That or my battery monitor is acting up!
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    The problem with these cases is that they need attention. The system I pic'd is in the woods near a whole bunch of other homes. This area is ripe for wild fire.

    She was asking me to rearrange her array and was insisting that the power room was fine. I went home and stewed. I finally decided to flat out tell her that I would not touch her system unless we started with a plan to completely redo the power room first. I thought about the least labor intensive way to do it right with listed components.

    It is hard to tell from the pic but all lines comming into the power room are in conduit. I penciled out a way to gutter everything. The XW Distribution Box has all of the DC and AC breakers she needs. It's going to be expensive. I thought there was no way she would go for it.

    I was wrong. I explained what a fire danger her set up was and how she was losing efficiency due to all the spaghetti. Brief pause. Chagrined smile. "Okay. Do you need a deposit?" She told me that behind the power room sheetrock is soot and cinders from a previous fire. She agreed to time and materials as long as she can help.

    Oh boy. What did I get myself into?



    Unfortunately this is the exception. There are several systems out there which I think about from time to time wondering if the sirens I hear going off into the distance are on their way to one of these places. Willits CA was ground zero for the early days of the residential PV industry. Even some of the systems which were set up with the best equipment available at the time can really make me cringe.

    -Alex
  • SolarMusherSolarMusher Solar Expert Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Well I made a "house call" today. Someone who thought their system wasn't working well, and could I look at it and see what I thought?

    What I found:
    Xantrex DR1512 inverter, mounted flat (label on the top says "TOP"). Wired with 2/0 and one 250 Amp DC disconnect.
    Six golf cart batteries wired as three parallel strings; "laddered". Different size wires between batteries (some 6 AWG, some 4 AWG). Corrosion on most of the connectors.
    No-name shunt type 20 Amp charge controller.
    Two 70 Watt and one 80 Watt panels.

    He was unhappy with my evaluation. He "needs" all those batteries for his loads. The panels "always charged them before". The idea that getting rid of two of the battery strings would actually improve performance he could not grasp.

    Well if you don't want to know, don't ask. :p

    I'll let him think about it for a while.

    Hi Coot,
    Had the same story recently here on a nice cottage 700 acres property in Qc but with a 500W shaded array to charge a 1100AH/12V battery bank, same unknown stuff and DR1512 mounted flat with 14/2 wire from the gen and no ground!!! The DR was burned and he wanted a Magnum 2012. I told him it's was dangerous and unsafe and refused to install this inverter in such conditions. I made a quote for this Magnum on panel with classic and a little 1500W array. He told me it was too expensive and that it was robbery :confused:
    Erik
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    You guys have it easy, I've done my best to help a friend out. He has money, has decided to run 3 seperate systems rather than a single system, his primary system has 15 230w panels feeding a battery bank of 4 strings of 8 L-16 batteries and that is the least 'out of balance' system, he just called me, I had given him 15 lay-in-lugs for these panels (I had gotten a deal on 100) he lost the 1st set, I gave him 15 more and he now needs 10 more and the 1st 15 panels aren't up yet. He thought he needed to cover them to wire his combiner box, I had to explain that he wasn't completing a curuit.

    I found a new E-Panel at 1/3 the retail(contact me if you need one), for his Magnum inverter so he'd have easy connects, but he has his electrical cabinet made, too short to use (I do think he'll get the magnum mini panel and mount it beside the inverter, but for the $300 difference I could change his roughed in cabinet in a couple hours tops and make his wiring much easier)

    I may not have my DC wiring in conduit, and at times, I've used a distribution block for a combiner (for ground mount panels) but my systems have been fine (short of the lady bug infestation of 2010)
    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
  • SolarMusherSolarMusher Solar Expert Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    You guys have it easy
    Not sure about that...
    Easy: you have access to the right products with the right tools and you know how to install it quickly :D
    Not so easy, guy: You have to deal with long hours drive and a little time to install your stock... and you can't charge more for the extra time you spent on site :cry:
    Most of the time, you didn't see the place and you don't how and where you'll have to install this system... You don't even know if there's really a place or a wall to install...:confused:
    Erik
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Not sure about that...

    I am, I help out of the goodness(what's left) of my heart, typically donate things, Lay-in-lugs, ground wire, MC3 cables, off the top of my head in the last year or 2. Drove 80 miles round trip so a forum member could buy batteries on my Sams club card, had some gforum members from south east Missouri come up to pick up my cracked panels and I bought them a guest pass so they could come to my cabin and pick up a 50 watt panel that had a disconnected junction box...

    After all that I'll suggest 2 sets of L-16's would be more balanced and be told how he knows best, by a guy who wants to cover his panels to wire a combiner box... he's a nice guy and is willing to run his generator...

    ...I sure hope I'm having fun living off solar! Glad to support the learning curve, fossil fuels will not last forever.
    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
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,517 admin
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    My helping is spending too much time here, hopefully giving roughly accurate answers to the many questions that people have. :roll:;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    BB. wrote: »
    My helping is spending too much time here, hopefully giving roughly accurate answers to the many questions that people have. :roll:;)

    -Bill
    Well Bill, you have most certainly helped a lot of people over the years, including me - - for which I'm very thankful. Because of you, I now know it all! Hahahahahaha
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Photowhit wrote: »
    fossil fuels will not last forever.

    Nor will us fossils. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    inetdog wrote: »
    Nor will us fossils. :-)

    Infestedwithhumans

    My brothers site, just holding the name fishing i think...
    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
  • SolarMusherSolarMusher Solar Expert Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    Well Bill, you have most certainly helped a lot of people over the years, including me - - for which I'm very thankful. Because of you, I now know it all! Hahahahahaha
    Totaly agree with Wayne.
    Bill, I wonder where and how you find time to help all these guys including me, sincerely I'm very impressed and want to thank all the guys like you on this forum.
    Still learning after all these years,
    Erik
  • RybrenRybren Solar Expert Posts: 348
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    I also agree with the above.

    As someone who is still in the steep learning curve phase, I really really appreciate the effort that all of you put into helping educate us. I don't know where I'd be without you guys.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    Update:

    He came back. Complaining that it wasn't working right. I suggested he remove four of the GC2's from the battery bank. He balked because "it always worked before". He decided it was the sun.

    Yeah, that's it: the sun has changed. Can't be too much battery/too little panel. :roll:

    I even pointed out that he has about 50% more Watt hour capacity in his batteries and less than half the panels.

    Like I always say: you don't have to listen to me; it's not my money you're spending.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know

    if he insists on keeping all of the batteries because of his loads then he simply will either have to add more pvs or charge via 120vac and a charger if either from the grid or from a genny. i don't suspect his batteries to last long as deficit charging will sulfate those batteries and take away his ability to run the loads he has due to the lessened capacity of the sulfated batteries. you can lead some to water, but you can't make them drink.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Some people just don't want to know
    niel wrote: »
    you can lead some to water, but you can't make them drink.

    How about just holding their head under the water 'til they stop struggling? :p
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