Wiring generator into solar setup

My husband and I are in the process of wiring a solar system for our cabin. Currently we have a Xantrex Prosine 2.0 (2000watt) inverter/charger wired to 4 Trojan t-105 batteries (a 12 V system). The inverter didn't come with a GFCI module attached (like is pictured on the box), so I bought one of the approved brands and wired it to the 2 AC output wires coming out of the inverter. After configuring the inverter and plugging in a load, everything seems to work fine. I'm actually typing this post using power from the bank. We now want to wire our Honda eu2000i to the AC input wires coming out of the inverter, but aren't sure how to do this. Our cabin is off the grid, so the Honda would be our only AC source and would only be used when the solar panels (which we haven't wires in yet) fail to keep the bank charged. The Honda has an inverter build into it so it produces AC power (120V, 13.3A) from its recepticals (see this link for specs http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/ModelDetail.asp?ModelName=eu2000i). We were told we could simply wire another GFCI module to the inverter AC input wires, then plug the generator into this. We tried this, but nothing seemed to happen. No error in either the inverter or the generator, but the charging light on the inverter display didn't come on. The display went from reading -2A to +0A. Is our problem in the use of the GFCI module as a circuit breaker between the generator and the inverter? Is our problem something to do with the configuration of the inverter? How should the inverter display perform (i.e. what should it show) when it is charging properly using a generator? Does anybody have a picture of what the wiring is supposed to look like? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Comments

  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Posts: 718Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Wiring generator into solar setup

    i would say the problem is the gfci outlet you are trying to back feed it and they dont work for that you need to have a fused disconnect wired between the generator and the ac in on the prosine thats all
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,079Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Wiring generator into solar setup

    If I read the Prosine information correctly--it does already have a transfer switch built in to mange the AC in to AC out plus battery charge from the AC in connection...

    http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/41/p/1/pt/25/product.asp

    So, assuming that you are connecting to the AC INPUT of the inverter/charger, I would suggest that you not use any breakers or GFI connections at all... I believe the Honda eu2000i AC outputs are floating (with respect to ground) so, a GFI (which detects and disconnects on ground faults) won't do any good... Also, the Honda is already energy limited (by the electronics and its own protection devices--placing any sort of breaker in series is not needed and is another potential point of failure and/or confusion).

    However, from your post, you mix in and out and GFI together--creating the possible impression that you are trying to connect the Honda to the output of the inverter... If you are trying to do that--don't do it. The Prosine is not designed to work that way and you will probably damage the prosine or the generator (wether immediately or eventually--I don't know).

    By the way, for your cabin, if you are using GFI... it will only work if the neutral of your Prosine is properly grounded (ground rod and green wire through the cabin and grounded pipes). If your Prosine is floating, the GFI will not really do anything.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wiring generator into solar setup

    Sorry for the confusion. Just to clarify - I am NOT trying to connect the generator AC output to the inverter AC output. I know this will damage the inverter. I am trying to connect the generator AC output to the inverter AC input. In this case, to be specific, should I just 1) cut the receptical end off an extension cord 2) wire the appropriate wires from the cord to the inverter AC input wires 3) turn on generator 4) plug in cord to generator receptical? This is my first time wiring anything and the solar kit we bought for our cabin came with specific directions, except for connecting the generator into the system. Thanks!
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,079Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Wiring generator into solar setup

    Yep...

    One suggestion, make sure that the plug into the generator socket fits well and is well supported so that you don't have the contacts in the socket wear-out too quickly.

    I would suggest that you not un-plug and plug everytime you start the Honda--extra wear on the receptacle. If you want to cycle the generator power to the inverter/charger (like running the generator for 1 minute before placing it under load), I would suggest a switch in the cord to the load instead.

    It is also possible that the inverter/charger has a program setting where the power has to be stable for XX seconds before it switches over--and that may just do it "automagically" for you.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Wiring generator into solar setup

    Xantrex bought out Prosine

    I have a set-up simular to yours. I run my generator input through a Generac 6 gang switch box that handles the 220/240 for me. I took one of the banks circuits (A) and wired it to the Prosine 2k via it's 15 amp breaker (although my generator is 20 amp) to the AC input of the Prosine. Then the Prosine will charge as well as run the power to the AC entrance panel. You could use a single 20 amp breaker from your generator (one leg) to the Prosine. DO NOT HOOK THE 2nd leg to the entrance panel because all sorts of wierd things will happen, smoke, flames, etc. If you have two Prosines connected with their appropriate wiring, so they can communicate, you can run 2 legs from the Prosines, just don't hook the generator into the mix (ONLY the inverters[work through the inverters]). There are ways to accomplish this for generator inclusion but breakers need to be switched from circuit to circuit via the Generac panel.... for now KISS Keep It Simple S.....

    When you are more comfortable with the hook up you can venture forth.

    Jerry O.
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