New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Somebody needs to be looking for a new job as he obviously isn't qualified for his current one. :roll:

    This is obstructionism at its worst, and nothing but.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    people like him in positions like his need to be taken seriously as he is quite an uneducated businessman that can harm a legit business. i mean he is really grasping at straws to enforce his twisted views of solar and other renewable sources. i would like to see how it is that a gt system can allow the "stealing" of power from the grid. bad part is that those in positions like utility commissions are usually less educated than these ceos and often cave in to the likes of these utilities.

    please keep updating us with any developments along this line.
  • jnhjnh Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    dhsola wrote: »
    I'm running the FLEXmax 60 near its maximum voltage and the cooling fans would go on early in the morning. The noise from the fans didn't bother me as much as the heat buildup in the controller. So, I removed the bottom cover plate from the controller. At the bottom, I utilized the existing screw hole to mount an L bracket, attached a 3" computer fan to the other end of the bracket and bent the bracket upwards slightly so the air would blow inside the controller. There is a 12V AUX connection inside the controller you could use for a 12VDC fan, although I did not do so. Now, the controller fans never go on and the units run MUCH cooler.

    I had a similar arrangement in place a couple of years ago, when the Outback solar equipment was still set up in my home office area. I mounted a 120mm computer fan (FDB / fluid-dynamic bearing type -- very quiet) to the bottom of my Outback MX-60, in place of the wiring compartment cover, run from the 12V AUX terminals whenever battery voltage exceeded a certain threshold:
    Attachment not found.
    Kludgely as this was, mounted with twist-ties through the screw-holes at top, along with cardboard and duct-tape to seal around the edges, it worked beautifully. I used an inline resistor to reduce the 120mm fan's speed, spinning it just fast enough to keep the much louder internal fan from ever coming on.

    This was later removed when I moved the system out to the garage, and had to take out all the eyebrow-raising homebrew elements to pass an inspection, but if that internal fan ever goes bad, adding it back would certainly be easier than disassembling the charge controller to swap out that tiny, shrill fan up top.

    Regarding the very high-pitched noise, do you ever hear that when the fan isn't running? I'm wondering if it might be "coil whine" coming from inductors or capacitors in the Flexmax's main DC-DC converter circuit, rather than from the fan itself. I can't remember the Outback controller's exact switching frequency offhand, but believe it may be somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 Hz-- above the nominal human range, but a young person with very acute hearing might still be able to perceive it.

    Also, does your PV input voltage often run very close to the battery-bus output voltage? The Outbacks have an "extended play" mode allowing these to run closer together when necessary, which will cause noticable "singing" from the coils when enabled. That can be turned off with a special button sequence, but I think it is off by default from the factory.
  • ElkeElke Solar Expert Posts: 28
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    jnh, thanks for the photo. The high pitch audio noise is only there when the cooling fan is running. I am almost convinced it is the horizontal grill, which causes the sound.

    But right now, we are still not running the equipment, we still don't have permission by the utility, Southern California Edison, to interconnect. We are trying several channels at the Public Utilities Commission. Our original complaint at the PUC was returned with an explanation from Edison why we can not interconnect. The PUC just accepted Edison's answer and did no own investigation. Interesting enough, one of the documents Edison quotes does, according to the California Energy Commission, not apply to our system. The second document, Edison's Net Metering document, is full of errors, and the paragraph they refer to has nothing about batteries. My husband and I weeded through both documents and submitted an appeal with new evidence, and additional letters from one of Outback's presidents and our installer. Sadly, it looks like neither Edison, nor the Public Utilities Commission nor the Energy Commission has people who understand PV systems with battery backup. Edison "defines" batteries to be "generators", and therefore they are non-renewable and more equal to a coal-fired or nuclear power plant!!!! The lack of understanding of the equipment at the Public Utilities and the Energy Commission does not help to solve the confusion, and we are paying taxes to pay their salaries!

    Our installer went to Intersolar conference last week and spread the news quite successfully. Our group of frustrated customers and installers created a flyer which caught people's attention. Outback, Schneider and SMA were going to send representatives to a hearing at the PUC today. We have not heard back yet. Our installer also met one of the policy makers, who was involved in the creation of the net metering arrangements. He was very interested in the recent development and offered his help. There are roughly 100 installed PV systems in limbo right now. What a waste!

    In the meantime, there is a big push by PG&E, another California utility, and Southern California Edison to end the current net metering program. As it looks right now, it could go away as early as 2015.
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    Elke wrote: »
    jnh, thanks for the photo. The high pitch audio noise is only there when the cooling fan is running. I am almost convinced it is the horizontal grill, which causes the sound.
    Putting a slotted grid next to the output of a fan is one way of making a siren!
    There should be some space between the grille and the edges of the fan blades.
    If possible, do something to disrupt the air flow past the grille (like with thin filter foam) to minimize the siren effect without reducing the airflow much.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • jnhjnh Registered Users Posts: 8
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?
    Elke wrote: »
    But right now, we are still not running the equipment, we still don't have permission by the utility, Southern California Edison, to interconnect. We are trying several channels at the Public Utilities Commission. Our original complaint at the PUC was returned with an explanation from Edison why we can not interconnect. The PUC just accepted Edison's answer and did no own investigation. Interesting enough, one of the documents Edison quotes does, according to the California Energy Commission, not apply to our system. The second document, Edison's Net Metering document, is full of errors, and the paragraph they refer to has nothing about batteries. My husband and I weeded through both documents and submitted an appeal with new evidence, and additional letters from one of Outback's presidents and our installer. Sadly, it looks like neither Edison, nor the Public Utilities Commission nor the Energy Commission has people who understand PV systems with battery backup. Edison "defines" batteries to be "generators", and therefore they are non-renewable and more equal to a coal-fired or nuclear power plant!!!! The lack of understanding of the equipment at the Public Utilities and the Energy Commission does not help to solve the confusion, and we are paying taxes to pay their salaries!

    Our installer went to Intersolar conference last week and spread the news quite successfully. Our group of frustrated customers and installers created a flyer which caught people's attention. Outback, Schneider and SMA were going to send representatives to a hearing at the PUC today. We have not heard back yet. Our installer also met one of the policy makers, who was involved in the creation of the net metering arrangements. He was very interested in the recent development and offered his help. There are roughly 100 installed PV systems in limbo right now. What a waste!

    In the meantime, there is a big push by PG&E, another California utility, and Southern California Edison to end the current net metering program. As it looks right now, it could go away as early as 2015.

    While you're fighting this idiocy out with the utility, have you looked into operating your Outback system in either HBX or GRIDUSE mode, with sell-back turned off? The idea behind these is for your inverter(s) to go into off-grid, standalone mode and operate your subpanel loads from harvested PV power whenever the sun is out. It isn't as efficient as proper grid-tie and can be a little tricky to adjust optimally, but at least you'll be getting some benefit from the system.

    Searching for these terms (especially HBX) on the Outback Power forum should turn up some useful posts.
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,934 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Outback Equipment Cooling Fans Screaming Loud - Is This Normal?

    Believe that it is well known here in CA, that the President of the CPUC has been CEO of one of the three major "regulated" utilities:

    From 1995 until 2000, Mr. Peevey was President of NewEnergy Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Peevey was President of Edison International and Southern California Edison Company, and a senior executive there beginning in 1984 ..."A quote from his Bio on the CPUC site: ... "

    http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/aboutus/Commissioners/01Peevey/bio.htm

    So, we all can rest assured that Mr. Peevey and the entire PUC has ONLY the interests of the Consumer in mind. Or is this "Regulatory Capture" ?? ... I forget.

    Best of luck Elke, but, I find it hard to see a way that the Utilities and the PUC could get away with making an apparently arbitrary decision in the cases of system like yours, and not publish the decision, allowing for a public comment period. It seems outrageous that systems being installed to meet the current guidelines could be "STRANDED".

    BUT the POWER utilities have ultimate POWER in CA, and the term "Regulated" does not apply to the largest power utilities ... IMHO. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
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