Finding affordable surge protector for inverter and controller?

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
Guy in the area recently lost his solar equipment when a lightning bolt hit his satellite dish. The energy back fed and knocked out his inverter and charge controller. Apparently the solar panels are fine.

1) I've never seen a grounded satellite dish.
2) The satellite/internet dish is often the high point on a property.

I have a 7000 sq. ft steel roof with a satellite/internet dish sitting on top of it. Could be a possible lightning rod? Thinking I should protect my Outback MATE inverter/charge controller with a surge protector.

I know a good solar guy. But he wants $100 for his surge protector. Figured it was worth it to check into alternatives.

My Outback MATE was bought 3 1/2 years ago though I just recently got it operational. So the warranty may be expired...or soon will be.
First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,659 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Is he charging labor? You could save even more money by unplugging the Dish when there is lightning nearby. The surge protection offgrid is for when you are not home to deal with unplugging and disconnecting arrays and communication gear coming in from outside. It all depends on how much you have saved to replace it all. Some do nothing and are very lucky. Others have their luck run out one day and I have seen every single thing electrical destroyed. My standard systems always protect the arrays, the AC devices and the DC devices.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,485 admin
    I would suggest:
    • Lighting Rods near the dish/along peak of roof/corners/solar array (i.e., intercept lighting before it its something).
    • Usually antennas have surge suppressors/grounding blocks that can be installed in the antenna cables. (similar for cable TV/phone lines/etc.).
    • Install surge suppressor(s) at main panel and where any AC/DC electrical cables enter/leave the building (you don't want lightning inside the building).
    Here are some other links about lightning control.

    Years ago, our Admin Windsun (now retired) said that in his experience, most failures for off grid power systems were AC Inverter's AC outputs that were damaged by lightning. Lead Acid Battery banks make pretty could surge/voltage clamps so the DC side of the power system is frequently less subject to damage.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Gads....it takes years to turn raw land into competent and prepared off grid habitability.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,659 ✭✭✭✭✭
    softdown wrote: »
    Gads....it takes years to turn raw land into competent and prepared off grid habitability.


    Do you really think that after "years" it ends?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Hoping the emergencies slow down some. Experience should help a little here and there.



    Do you really think that after "years" it ends?

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Youve spent thousands on a quality inverter, right. So no brainer adding one or more midnite spds. As Bill said the ac side is the first priority. Then at the array.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Hah...reason I had to build a huge shop? Lotsa stuff!

    So I have a Delta Model LA603 . Says it is for 600 volt three phase systems. Don't know for sure if this will work...

    My brother was an independent oilman. He bought it. I can see oil rigs using ~ 600 volts.

    Then again, the instructions show it being attached to a regular run of the mill circuit breaker box.

    Those things look funny. Can't imagine how they work.

    Upon more study....looks like it is designed to be attached to a 2-pole 240 volt circuit breaker. I have a couple 240 circuit breakers for the wings. But I can only run 120 volt from my solar. Genset is required for 240 volts. I won't be running 240 volts for awhile. Rarely then....only for large motors.

    This is an "$85" surge protector. Delta costs about 1/2 as much as Midnite. Not quite as good obviously.

    EDIT: Looks like I may be able to hook up the three black wires to three different circuit breakers.

    Is Denman around? He is a lineman. Seems busy with all the growth around here.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    I think surge protectors are normally installed in the circuit breaker box. That is what I seem to be seeing.

    Does this qualify as protecting the ac side of the inverter? I might think so...since the electrical energy has to backward travel through the circuit breaker box to get to the inverter.

    Perhaps the surge protector should be installed on the main circuit breaker? The one where the inverter sends the power to.
    zoneblue wrote: »
    Youve spent thousands on a quality inverter, right. So no brainer adding one or more midnite spds. As Bill said the ac side is the first priority. Then at the array.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    The midnite spds are mov based, whereas im pretty sure the deltas are spark gap, sand type things. The midnite is a way better product.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes....the Midnite surge protectors are awesome products. I might question Delta's market position if their products failed to work.

    Getting robbed 1-3 times/year has made a poor man out of me. I keep wondering if the human race is largely opportunistic criminal. Tend to think so....northern Europe and Canada being exceptions.
    zoneblue wrote: »
    The midnite spds are mov based, whereas im pretty sure the deltas are spark gap, sand type things. The midnite is a way better product.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,369 ✭✭✭✭✭
    zoneblue wrote: »
    The midnite spds are mov based, whereas im pretty sure the deltas are spark gap, sand type things. The midnite is a way better product.

    They are 2 different designs,and cover 2 different voltage protection ranges. I use both. A direct strike will FRY both. and just about everything except the batteries.

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    I do not know why the satellite dish was not grounded. Around here satellite companies will ground the dishes to the main grounding rod, the same one that the utility company is using. I am into free and legal FTA (free to air) and I have a 3 footer satellite dish and a 10 footer in operation for years now and I never had any problems, but they are grounded. All cable leads have spark arresters before entering the dwelling.
    On the other hand, my internet cable got hit by lighting between my neighbors house and mine and set a power pole on fire, went underground and burned the cable underground all along the length, then went into the cable/internet box and then into the house and killed a view more appliances inside the house.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,360 ✭✭✭✭
    Some areas are much more prone to big lightning. This area was not lightning prone until this year. Lots of storms this year. The previous threat was static electricity...I am told.

    Waiting on grounding my satellite dish as this may be its last week in service if they don't properly fix the service today.
    Johann wrote: »
    I do not know why the satellite dish was not grounded. Around here satellite companies will ground the dishes to the main grounding rod, the same one that the utility company is using. I am into free and legal FTA (free to air) and I have a 3 footer satellite dish and a 10 footer in operation for years now and I never had any problems, but they are grounded. All cable leads have spark arresters before entering the dwelling.
    On the other hand, my internet cable got hit by lighting between my neighbors house and mine and set a power pole on fire, went underground and burned the cable underground all along the length, then went into the cable/internet box and then into the house and killed a view more appliances inside the house.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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