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dochubert

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Everything posted by dochubert

  1. Hi Robert, I don't know anything about your battery , but could you open up the case, giving you more wire to work with? Or perhaps you could replace the entire wire from whatever it is connected to inside? An unspliced wire would always be preferable. If you can't do the above, crimping two wires into a copper sleeve would be a better connection than soldering, and eliminate the concern over solder quality and/or soldering safety. (Then add heatshrink)
  2. Yesterday was a strange day. It started snowing here in southwestern Idaho in the wee hours and was snowing more when I looked out at 8am than in any snowstorm we had all winter. This is May 9! Supposed to be early summer! It was above 40 degrees so snow wasn't building up in the streets, and the driveway (gravel) was slushy as it tried to melt, but there was at least 4 inches built up in the yard. I have been offgrid 24/7 since late march so was concerned about battery level since the solar panels were covered by thick snow. The battery bank was getting no charging but read 52.2v at 8am so ok for awhile (Very large battery bank). Should I switch back to grid? Decided not to yet as this freak snow hopefully would slow down or stop soon. The wife went to her volunteer work at the library so the house load was low anyway. A couple of hours later the snow was coming down just as heavy and thick as before but the temperature was climbing towards 50 so the snow was very slushy and trying to melt but couldn't do it fast enough. I went out and shoveled off the ground mount solar panels to get partial charging going to the batteries. (Got my feet wet! - slushy snow) Luckily by then the increased temp was melting new snow that hit the panels as fast as it landed so they stayed clear despite continuing snowfall. Even through snow and clouds I was getting more than 25 amps. More than the house was using so good enough for now. My wife came home about 4pm. Snow had turned to rain finally but roof panels were still mostly snow covered. My wife told me that the grid had gone done over most of the Boise area (due to snowstorm we assume as no one said) around 8am and was off until between noon and 1pm. I had no idea. Couldn't have switched back to grid if I had decided to. I probably had the only house with power for miles around all that morning. I've put a lot into my power system and once in awhile it becomes obviously worth it. Last year in May we were having a freak heat wave. This year it sometimes feels like February. Still using the wood stove in May. Still beats communist California. As a side note, I watched 2000 Mules on my snow day yesterday. Everyone should watch it. Especially those who think the 2020 election was NOT stolen.
  3. Miguel, thanks for the video. Again, I don't see how your inverter is even running with so many of the led lights off. Below are pics of the control board that was sold to me by Sean Gentry Solar as a v8 control board. Note that it says v3.8 on the board same as yours. I couldn't find anyplace on the board where it says v8. Sid, maybe you could ask Sean how to tell what version is what? There must be some significant way to tell. I have a v9 inverter but have never looked to see what it says on the control board, but it does have a v9 driver on it. (It's not available for me to check at the moment) To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge, only versions 7, 8, and 9 boards have individual removable component boards (with the exception of the driver board which has been removable since wayyyy back to v2xx). My favorite older (and still working!) control board is a v3.4 and only the driver board is removable. Somewhere between 3.4 and 7 powerjack changed to the multi-board model. Version 10 was a return to a simpler single board model (still with removable driver board). Miguel, changing from your current control board to v11 will require re-wiring of some connectors. If you are good at that sort of work, great! If not, well.... maybe it would be better to put your money into a new inverter instead. The multiple board control boards were, in my opinion, a big mistake on powerjack's fault. Overcomplicated, too many connectors, and miles of extra traces the already flaky signals had to run through. Powerjack was smart to finally go back to a simpler board design. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.
  4. Hi Sid, I guess I'm wrong if you say so, but I thought only versions 7, 8 and 9 had individual removable component boards on the control board. And if it was a v9 it wouldn't have a v4 driver. I've never seen a v6,5,or 4 control board so no idea about them. Bottom line is that if most of the individual component boards' led lights were out and the source board led was blinking, there's definitely at least one problem with that control board, as evidenced by low output voltage. Unless I'm wrong about that too. Please let me know. I've learned a lot from your many posts here, and always ready to learn more.
  5. Apparently you have a v7 or v8 control board. The led on your source board blinking while the leds on the other components are not on at all says something is wrong with your control board. Maybe more than one component is bad. Sean may have some of the parts if you can get in touch with him. Otherwise, powerjack only lists the v11 control board on their website; https://www.powerjackpowerinverter.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=104_106 You can email/msg Helen from their website. Sometimes she is helpful. You will likely have to do some rewiring. Connections have changed from v7 to v11. Sid can probably help you there. Wish I could give you better info. Your output voltage is not correct because your control board is not working properly. I don't advise continuing to run it as is or you risk blowing up the mosfets. A new control board should fix your inverter. Best of luck.
  6. Now that I posted all that I see that your problems are solved. Oh well....
  7. Hi Kyle, I figured out some years ago that it was much easier (and more reliable) to just go around powerjack's flaky fan controls. Even when they work they turn on the fan at unpredictable times and frequently much higher inverter temps than I wanted. (The sooner your fan turns on, the less heating your inverter endures, and therefore the longer it will last - my theory anyway!) To that end I don't interfere with powerjack's fan controls. Instead I add two of these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/194245273137?hash=item2d39eba631:g:1lgAAOSwHONg8tW- You need 12v to power them. I tuck one sensor into the fins of the same heatsink that powerjack mounts its sensor, and put the second sensor on the transformer near where powerjack puts their transformer sensor. One controller now displays transformer temp and the other displays mainboard heatsink (mosfet) temp. You can then set on and off temps for your fan based on actual temp readings from both sensors. If your inverter has just one fan you just parallel the switch connections on both temp controllers and then connect that in parallel to powerjack's temp sensor on the transformer. That may not work on your inverter Kyle so you could alternatively connect to the two pins of the mosfet you shorted to make your fan run. This setup not only allows very definite fan control, it also gives you a constant temp reading of your inverter. If you need a 12v power supply, there are many to choose from. I use this one as in addition to powering the temp controllers, it can also power 2 or 3 12v fans easily (in case you want to add cooling to your inverter) https://www.ebay.com/itm/152240514307?hash=item23723de503:g:0nUAAOSw6C5hCCkK I have been using both of these exact items for years without a single one failing. Sadly the price of them has doubled since I last bought some, but still a fairly cheap and more reliable fix for your problems. Below is a pic of my temp controllers mounted in front of my inverter. Hope this might be useful to you.
  8. That's what I decided a few years ago. Put them on the shelf in the back shed and forgot them until your posts. Mine worked somewhat haphazardly when I was trying them, but even on their best days never seemed to produce the power they should have. And then they would go up and down in output under steady sun for no obvious reason. Soon tired of them and went to some Xantrex grid tie units. Those worked pretty well until the day the power company showed up. (Big Brother doesn't care much for renegade solar producers) Threatened me with all kinds of problems, so shut them down and only do off grid solar now.
  9. That is something I have never done. Sorry. For that I would have to refer you back to Sid. I can say that the lcd screen for that inverter is no different from those used in other powerjack products, so a current transformer (ct) from almost any older model powerjack inverter would probably work. I say older model because powerjack did change the lcd screens slightly at some point, and lcd's from newer models now have different connectors/pinouts, so they could also use a different ct.
  10. The pswgt1200 is one of the units I have. See pic I previously posted above. It is still likely it will not run off of batteries, and will self sestruct if you try it. The current sensor for the lcd screen has nothing to do with the unit's output current sensing and/or current limiting abilities. The unit's control circuits operate independently of the lcd screen. You can unplug the lcd screen completely and the unit will still run the same.
  11. I try to keep my lifepo4 24v bank between 26 and 28v. My 24v powerjack runs great in that range. In fact you really don't want to drop to below 24v because the sine wave starts to flatten out below 24v (using a powerjack - other inverters may vary) Only important if your loads are picky about the sinewave quality. If you are just running a pump or a waterheater it probably doesn't matter. Flatscreen tvs, microwaves or other electronics might not like a poor sinewave. Keeping your batteries between 25 and 28v should give you a good sinewave and your inverter should stay happy.
  12. Might also want to use a resistor or light bulb in series for initial connection to charge them up without the large arc and spark. (I use a 100 watt incandescent bulb when connecting up a powerjack.)
  13. First let me say I have no experience with these. If these work like normal caps, you will not want to exceed the caps voltage rating with your battery that is connected in parallel. A Lifepo4 24v bank can get to 28-29v depending on your system settings. Could be wrong but I'm assuming the cap setup is 16v to make sure it is rated higher than the battery you are connecting to. So two cap banks in series for 32v keeps it safely higher (rated) than your 28-29v batteries. The idea being, It will charge up to whatever your batteries are at and help hold that voltage. If I'm wrong I'm sure someone will straighten me out.
  14. Keep in mind that powerjack inverters in 2014-15 came with 6 caps on the mainboard. My 24v 8kw from late 2014 would run my whole house and start all loads (didn't have a well pump then) but would not start my central air conditioner (understandably). Was running on 340ah of agm batteries then. Then pj started getting cheap(er) and only put 5 caps in each mainboard, then went to 4. Some came with less. Today there is no telling what you will get in a powerjack or upower box. No two are the same. So restoring the original design of 6 caps should be safe in most every case. The first purpose of those caps is to stop the 24khz ripple, but stabilizing the dc voltage under varying demand is also an important function of them.
  15. Any additional cables in parallel to what you have reduces the potential voltage drop caused by high demand. Any way you can accomplish that will improve things.
  16. Hi Robert, Most of what you guys are saying sounds right to me. (Just my un-expert opinion) If you have them on hand, add a second battery cable set. It's at least part of the problem. More batteries would also be good, but now we're getting into $money$. A beefier start cap on your well pump to replace the existing one is not a bad idea. They make "hard start kits" for air conditioner and refrigerator compressors. I wonder if they sell them for well pumps? Finally, do add those caps to your inverter mainboard. PJ knows they should be there but they are just pinching pennies, at your expense. All and/or any of these things should improve your motor starting ability. Keep us posted.
  17. These guys seem to be the top Growatt sellers at present. Their ad says the 12kw lf sp is in stock and on sale for $1999 plus shipping. No idea what shipping would be. Here's the link; https://shop.signaturesolar.us/products/12kw-48w-150vac-120a-off-grid-inverter-by-growatt There are two versions available. This one and one that is a couple hundred bucks more due to a higher solar panel input voltage. Replacement board sets also available from same seller. Also no idea how many 12kw inverters they have on hand. They will probably face the same availability problems as that other seller mentioned above once current stock runs out. They are said to actually answer phone calls so easy to get details if interested. Me, I have no more money for new inverters right now, so will live with what I have.....
  18. Can't argue with a $527 inverter that will do 6500w. Assuming it will actually do the 6500w (still to be proven). All things considered, if I were going to buy an inverter today, it would likely be a GS 6kw. Two of them if I needed more than 6kw, would still be cheaper than the proposed price for the 12kw (downside being having to run two inverters). A 12kw Growatt lf sp inverter is about $2200 plus shipping and is a little better than buying a powerjack because what you get should be consistent (powerjack is Never consistent). Design is not really better than powerjack and the transformer(s) are not toroidal so larger no load. Repairing a blown Growatt will cost about $300 for a replacement board set.
  19. PV, if you get an inverter that will do 6500w continuous for $527 and all you have to add are some faster fans, then I would say you did well!
  20. Sid and Paul, If I squint my eyes and hold my mouth just right I can mostly follow your transformer winding discussion. I very much enjoyed reading your discussion. Wish I was good (and patient!) enough to try winding my own transformer. Sid, I do have some questions, hope you don't mind; To get a cool running, continuous 12kw inverter trans, have you tried using two of your 6kw trans in parallel? (I'm having Visions of my older, multiple trans pj's) I realize it wouldn't be cost effective for production, but it might be a learning experiment. Are your GS transformers using copper or aluminum wire? Your above comments to Dickson caused me to wonder. What transformer voltages did you end up using for the 48v/6kw GS inverter? 32/240? Do you still think 12kw is a realistic reachable goal (for a production inverter)? Or would 10kw be more realistic? (I'm still hoping you perfect 12kw!) In my case, I can run my house split between two inverters if I want, so could get by with smaller units (but would have to run two! Less efficient).
  21. Words to live by.... I literally do. I have several powerjacks and a few sets of spare parts. That said, it's too bad how far powerjack's quality level has fallen in recent times. Obviously, they were never top quality, but the price made up for it, and parts were always available. I have stated and still feel that I won't be buying any more powerjack inverters. "They just don't make 'em like they used to" These days you never know what you'll get in a powerjack/upower box. As things currently stand, when I need to buy a new inverter, it will likely be a Genetry. Higher priced than pj of course, but you are actually getting something more for those extra bucks spent. A power rating you don't have to cut in half. A transformer wound to be balanced between phases. A control board redesigned to eliminate many of powerjack's shortcomings. Last and probably more important than the rest; after sale support from Sid via this forum. When the world we are used to falls apart, we will probably all be on our own. (I had a whole paragraph written here that I just deleted because it was too "Doom and Gloom")Happy New Year!
  22. I hope you get this as I will (selfishly!) be anxious to hear how it performs. And if it is low frequency. And if it's as reliable as you hope. Made in Germany seems to promise a better quality. I hope it's true too. Those don't come in split phase, do they? I bought a upower 15kw 48v a few years back. It was when upower was "new" as a name. I thought I was buying a powerjack at the time. I probably wasn't paying enough attention, as it appeared to be a powerjack with the same lame ad copy they always use. The point is that it had the first 'small' mainboard I had ever heard of from powerjack, and it also had the solid block heatsinks without fins. Seemed to me the dumbest thing powerjack had done in awhile (They have topped that since!) I had not then and still till just now had not heard of anyone else getting one of the solid block heatsinks. Thought mine was one of a kind. It is a v9 control by the way. Anyway, it worked ok but heated up fast, so I did my usual mods to help cooling. Unbolted the transformer, raised it up on rubber blocks, and added additional faster fans and independent fan control. It ran ok, handled the usual house loads adequately and was in use for several months, but was very noisy because of the fan noise. Went back to my older 15kw pj. Much quieter.
  23. Thanks for the explanations Sid and Butcher. Makes sense now. Felix, glad the mod worked for you. What output voltage did you end up with?
  24. Taking another look at my sloppy soldering, as well as powerjack's sloppy soldering, it's a wonder anything worked! Reminds me of the question I never got an answer to years ago when this was going on. Why a resistor ladder anyway? Why not just put one resistor of the total resistance of the series string in and forget the complications of having all those resistors to buy and solder in? Never made any sense to me.... And look at the numbering! They're in series but numbered 248, 233, 232, 241, 262, 259, 246, 247, 260, 261, and 240. And the other ladders' numbering is just as screwy. Another screwy powerjack standard I guess!
  25. Sadly, there was no set place or way to easily adjust output voltage on these older control boards. That said, a friend I made on another forum years ago suggested adding a resistor to the series resistor ladder (see pic). You open/scrape the trace between two of the resistors in the ladder, then solder in a resistor of approximately the same value as the others across the open trace you just made. This adds one more resistor in series to the ladder. The pic is from my own 230v control board, and it succesfully raised output voltage to approximately 240v. The resistor ladder is not different on a 110v control board so the same scheme should work to raise 110v to 120v. Be aware that some of these 110v boards were actually 115v boards, so you could get higher than 120v. Possibly 125v. Test before loading! You try this at your own risk. I make no guarantees, especially if you are talking about a 110v board, which I never tried to modify. If you find that voltage is too high, you could always try a different value resistor, say half the value of your first try. Good luck and hope it works for you. Glad to hear also that the conversion to 60hz is still doing good.
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