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What is your Current Setup?


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My well Current setup that is torn down to upgrade when the gs come in was.

 

17 100 watt Solar panels

1 600 Watt 12/24 Wind Turbine 3 Blade

1 60amp wifi Make Sky Blue

1 40 Amp  Everfor

PIKASOLA 1400W Off Grid with Unloader Hybrid Wind Solar Controller 

1 15amp Victron solar charger

1 victron 100 amp battery switch

1 8k 12v Power Jack, not true split phase, have board, but never been able to put in.

1 100 battel born 12v

1 12v 200 

Ampere Time
Sold  battery
1 12v 128 amph headway battery
1 12v battery hook up 6ah cell 120amph
1 12v same as above but 216 amph
2x 110 18650 24v modem battery salvage.
2x 74amph 24 v some kind of scanner batteries with built in bms. Some kind of flat cell design.
6x  156 amph 31 grouping Lead batteries came from my retired box truck
3x 100 amph deep cycle solar batterys
2x car batteries
2x slow burning 400 amp class t fuse
a ton of 0/2 aug wireing
 
 
Now waiting for 
 
2 6k GS inverters
have 15 more panels sitting in boxes 
all batteries above at 12v, will be pair to 24v
another 60 amp make sky blue controller, 
and probley more batteries on the way if I get a good deal, and a few more panels.
 
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Currently have a fairly large system to make it easy to survive cloudy Ohio winters...

  • (24) Boviet 330W solar panels -> 2 blocks of 3S4P -> 2x Epever Tracer 8420AN (80A, 200v max input)
  • (12) SolarWorld 245W solar panels -> (3S4P) -> MorningStar Tristar TS-MPPT-60 (60A, 150v max input)
  • 12kwh of DIY LiFePo4 battery bank (NOS 32650 LFP cells), 16S44P
    • 16x 3A custom "Sid" shunt balancers
  • Completely redone "9kw" Power Jack inverter--about all that's original is the shell and terminals 😆
    • GS control board, Rev. A.1
    • GS WiFi board, Rev. F (IIRC)
    • custom-wound transformer (should be good for 9kw continuous)
  • lots of properly rated DC breakers (all MPPTs on tandem breakers, so if the battery side trips, it will also disconnect the solar)
  • about 5 "60v - 12v, 10A" step down converters for running various (hacked) appliances on 12v, so the inverter can go into powersave mode unless needed
    • 2016 Kenmore Elite French-door 'fridge (replaced the failed biodegradeable linear compressor with a Panasonic recip, hacked control board to run on 12v--only calls for the inverter when running compressor or defrost.  Interior LED lighting was 12v stock.)
    • 2003 GE Profile Advantium 120 convection microwave (hacking this one to run on 12v was a beast...but now it only uses 120v for the magnetron, convection elements, and fans/motors)
    • Camplux CM264 tankless propane hot water heater.  Have pretty well completely rewired this one, now it doesn't use 120vAC for anything at all.  Still don't know how my brother found a 24v brushless motor that was an EXACT replacement of the original 120vAC draft inducer motor...all the way down to the 3" shaft with a left-hand thread on the end...!  Won't mention that now the water heater is sort of thermally regulated (maybe a bit poorly, but still!)
    • misc computer equipment--easy to run laptops off of "car chargers"
    • Acer AL2216 computer monitor hacked with a boost converter, runs on 12vDC now
    • still haven't hacked the induction cooktop to run the controls on 12v...project for another day, unless I replace it with something easier to hack first...
  • 100% of the lighting are hacked LED lights that run directly off of 48vDC (using a custom driver board that I designed).  Not connected to the inverter.

Certainly enjoying the off-grid life.

Oh yes, I do have a dual-fuel generator BNIB.  Bought it last year before I added the Boviet panels and Epever Tracer MPPTs...boy, last winter was really close.  Batteries were about exhausted twice...fortunately on the last day, the sun came out.  Thanks to the added solar capacity, the generator will probably stay BNIB for quite some time...

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  • 3 weeks later...

18 - 250w solar panels in 2s3p per charge controller

3 - 60a makeskyblue wifi charge controllers

1 - Nissan leaf 24kwh battery pack (~20kwh usable) configured in 6s

1 - 6s 5amp active balancer

1 - 24v to 12v 30a dc to dc converter

1 - 3500w reliable brand hf inverter(off most of the time)

1 - deep well mppt 24-48v 1hp dc pump

12v rv light fixtures throughout home with spst switches and 2 - 2 watt leds per fixture (getting about 800 lumens/ fixture)

12v diesel heater heating hot water storage tank for heating and hot water with heat exchangers and sonoff automated wifi equipment set up via ewelink to control temps in different stages and pumps to cycle on/off.

All refrigerator converted to 24v dc using mini bldc compressor and temp controller. Same with chest freezer. 

Computer is a mini pc with an amd athlon 3000g apu powered via usb c 12v adapter @20v. I have it underclocked to 1.8ghz on cpu and .8ghz on gpu and .9v on both with a no load on state of just under 6w. 1080p video playback @ 12w. Normal web browsing/use @ 15w.

tv is a mini projector consuming 8-10w at full load 5v2a. Projecting @ 60" currently.

1 - washer dryer unit from lg that washes then dries using condensing. About 10gallons a load and 1-2kwh per load.

Definitely more upgrades to do and looking at going 48v soon so I can double the panel count without buying any more charge controllers as well as carry more power on the line size I currently have. I have a wind turbine but I am not connecting it until I finish the dump load controls for my hot water storage. It is getting there though. Plus i have an electric car with quite the appetite for power now so there is that too.

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(2) 235 watt Renogy PV

(4) Trojan T-105 batteries

(1) 500 watt MPPT homemade controller

(1) 100 watt homemade VAWT

(1) 1000 watt homemade EGS002 based inverter

(1) 3500 watt modified sine wave Harbor Freight inverter

I had more, but was robbed. I'm working on getting it back together. I don't live on the property (yet) so none of it is super critical.

Sid, the drawback to hacking appliances is that (1) It takes time away from the really cool projects... And (2), if I die, my family will not be able to easily replace a failed device. And (3), I take my sweet time finishing anything, so the fridge might be in pieces for 6 months🤣

 

 

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  • 8 months later...
  • 2 months later...
On 1/30/2022 at 8:01 PM, Sid Genetry Solar said:

Always gotta have something to play with that doesn't cost an arm and a leg 😉.

Yep. I'm using the Power Jack right now as a load to do some battery testing. When that task is done, I may try to "improve" the unit. It appears that PJ only put output filtering on the L1 output winding. There is a lot of 24KHz hash on the L2 side. It doesn't show up when using the two windings in parallel, but split phase is not so good. My unit has the fuses on the N1 and N2 connections. It makes more sense to me to have them on the L1 and L2 sides. I have also looked at the gate drive signals on the upper and lower FETs. Looks like there is room for improvement there too. Even with a relatively easy load (800 watts, mostly resistive), there was some ringing that could lead to cross conduction. The transformer is kinda noisy, even with no load. I am impressed with the low idle consumption. I measured less than 13 watts at 13.6 volts battery.

Sid, I've been browsing this forum over the last couple of days. Thank you for all the time you spend fielding questions. I'm new to the Power Jack world. It looks like you are all too familiar with their ins and outs. I may pick your brain a bit if I decide to delve into some of these changes (especially the FET drive stuff). 

John Van

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My unit has the fuses on the N1 and N2 connections. It makes more sense to me to have them on the L1 and L2 sides.

That show PJ  know nothing about  US split phase system .   N1 and N2  should never be  fused  and if a neutral is lost then the return will be on the ground if the ground  is connected to neutral  and is very dangerous and bad thing could happen .    Thank you for finding that out on the AMG .  

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1 hour ago, Jnjvan said:

It appears that PJ only put output filtering on the L1 output winding.

Sounds about right.  "AMG" style likely has the L2 winding directly connected to the output terminals, no filtration at all.

I haven't figured out the equation for calculating the ideal AC filtration capacitors...if they're too small, you get a bit of ripple.  If they're too large, no-load current is increased.  If they're "in the range", no-load current actually DECREASES a bit.

 

1 hour ago, Jnjvan said:

My unit has the fuses on the N1 and N2 connections. It makes more sense to me to have them on the L1 and L2 sides.

Sure agree with you on that one!  Worth noting that even if they do blow on the N1 or N2 lines, it's effectively similar to blowing on L1 or L2--it'll cut power to that phase.  If N1/N2 were paired together and THEN fused, that'd be bad.

 

1 hour ago, Jnjvan said:

I have also looked at the gate drive signals on the upper and lower FETs. Looks like there is room for improvement there too. Even with a relatively easy load (800 watts, mostly resistive), there was some ringing that could lead to cross conduction.

Best if you put the 'scope on 1x (as long as it can handle the 20v signals + spikes), as the 'scope probes can make it look a lot worse than it is.

Unfortunately for you, a complete improvement necessitates pretty much throwing the entire mainboard out and starting over again.  Ribbon cable has an absolutely horrid pinout (the high and low side FET signals are multiplexed together in the worst possible configuration), the mainboard PCB layout is terrible (routing too-thin traces in an extremely long path around a high-power plane, etc.)

Fortunately, though, at 12v, I don't think you'll have to worry about cross-conduction caused by Miller capacitance--because the gate drive voltage exceeds the switching battery voltage.

 

1 hour ago, Jnjvan said:

The transformer is kinda noisy, even with no load.

2 likely causes:

  1. Mismatched FET drive.  Top 2 FETs get 18v, one low side gets 12v and the other gets 10v.  With completely different driver types between the high and low sides...
  2. Too high of a transformer "battery side" voltage rating, causing the inverter to flat-top the wave out of necessity.

Dead time in the CPU might be too narrow as well; unfortunately, that can only be changed in the firmware.

Easiest thing to start with for improving FET drive is to desolder (or just break off) LED4 on the control board.  It's directly above the LM339 (closest SO-14 chip to the LF Driver board, U02)...and is solely responsible for the 10v on the one low-side FET.  This alone should quiet the transformer down a good bit.  Beyond that, you probably have a regulation oscillation going on inside the CPU...and there's not much you can do about that.

You can also calculate the maximum transformer voltage spec by dividing your battery voltage by the square root of 2.  In other words, 12v / 1.414 = 8.48vAC absolute maximum possible without saturating the sine...if you measure 9v across the heatsinks, then the transformer "primary" voltage spec is too high.  If you feel adventuresome, you can actually unwind a turn or 2 from the transformer "primary" windings to reduce the voltage, as the "primary" winding is on the outside.  (I put them in parentheses because the PJ spec considers the 240v side "input", and the battery side the "output", for whatever reason!)

Edited by Sid Genetry Solar
correct "LM324" to "LM339" and give identifier...
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Wow Sid - Thank you for such a thorough response. I took a look at that LM339/LED4 circuit. What a silly way to do things! I get what they were trying to accomplish, but there are better ways... Now that I know what that LED indicates, I can see some value in it, at least for troubleshooting (since there are no fault lamps, displays, etc.). You would think they would have buffered that signal, so the LED doesn't reduce the drive voltage. I'm also not too keen on the 18V high side drive. It looks like they have a transformer/floating high side supply? I'd be more comfortable with 15volts, as the max Vgs is only 20 (as I'm sure you're aware). 

A few days ago, I tried a couple of uF across the L2 winding. It cut the hash down tremendously, at the cost of a watt or so of idle power. PJ has 10 uF on the L1 side, which works dandy if both windings are paralleled.

I am a retired EE. In the far distant past, I designed circuitry to drive three phase PM motors in this same power range (mostly 28Vdc at 30 amps or less). I am all too familiar with the importance of layout, shielding, dead time, sufficient drive, isolation, etc., on the reliability and predictability of a power bridge design. I suppose that one could remove the spacer connecting the FET board to the main board, and bring the drive signals directly from the driver board to the FET board, thus bypassing the long thin traces on the main board?

Unwinding a turn from the power transformer primary would be quite an undertaking. The primary consists of 4 parallel "bundles" (4 in hand?), each of which contains 8 or 10 individual wires. Seems like a pretty hefty set of windings. I suppose they do it this way so that they can use the same transformer for 12, 24 and 48 volts, by series and parallel combinations of the same four windings. I'll keep an eye out for flat-topping under load. You mentioned regulation oscillation within the CPU. Is that a known issue?

JV

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9 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

I took a look at that LM339/LED4 circuit. What a silly way to do things! I get what they were trying to accomplish, but there are better ways...

Basically, the low-side FETs are driven by a totem-pole transistor method.  Their idea of "level shifting" the 5v CPU outputs to the +12v FET drive...is to put a pullup resistor on the output of an LM339 (open-drain comparator).  And then hang an LED from one of the pullup resistors.  Totem pole transistor drivers can't exceed the input signal voltage...so that clamps the top.

 

10 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

I'm also not too keen on the 18V high side drive. It looks like they have a transformer/floating high side supply? I'd be more comfortable with 15volts, as the max Vgs is only 20 (as I'm sure you're aware). 

Both high-side FETs are driven by a floating power supply (separate tap on the main switching transformer).  Really great idea...just poorly executed ;-).

Sure thing, GS inverters run ~15v on all 4 sides...it doesn't take much to spike +2v past 18v and start blowing the FET gates out.  This sort of failure usually results in very random FET failures--usually a day after a load test, under no load...the FETs will randomly fail and blow themselves up.

If you wanted to adjust the voltage for the high side drivers, you would adjust the bias on the LM431 chips on the driver board.  Those control an NPN transistor that's a series regulator to drop the power taps to the regulated voltage (instead of a total loss zener circuit).

 

13 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

I suppose that one could remove the spacer connecting the FET board to the main board, and bring the drive signals directly from the driver board to the FET board, thus bypassing the long thin traces on the main board?

Well, that "spacer" also carries the FET drive signals from the CPU to the FET drivers...so you'd really have to know what you were doing there 😉

 

14 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

Unwinding a turn from the power transformer primary would be quite an undertaking. The primary consists of 4 parallel "bundles" (4 in hand?), each of which contains 8 or 10 individual wires. Seems like a pretty hefty set of windings.

Not as hard as you might think.  Hardest part is unbolting the transformer so you can push the wires back through the center hole.  The "battery" side winding is wound on top, so it's really trivial to remove a turn or 2.  Risk being the reduced resistance coupled with the poor FET drive (and crosstalk) can cause the inverter to blow FETs with a surge load.  Always something 😉.

 

15 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

I suppose they do it this way so that they can use the same transformer for 12, 24 and 48 volts, by series and parallel combinations of the same four windings.

That's the GS trick anyway...but PJ doesn't bother with this.  The reason for the multiple bundles...is because they can only get a maximum of 10 wires in a crimp at a time.  If you check with an ohmmeter, you'll probably find that the strands are randomly mixed between the crimps--in other words, anything but separate windings.

 

16 minutes ago, Jnjvan said:

You mentioned regulation oscillation within the CPU. Is that a known issue?

To me, anyway 😉.  As I've detailed elsewhere on the forum, the firmware does not have a "0-state" regulator output.  In other words, each loop through the regulator MUST either increment OR decrement the throttle.  This results in a constant stream of +1/-1/+1/-1 on the throttle--which as it runs at 120Hz means that one pair of FETs is going to run noticeably hotter than the other.  It also means that the inverter can get into an oscillation with itself (i.e. +1/+1/-1/-1/+1/+1, etc.) and cause LED lights to flicker pretty badly.

Have to say that I actually decreased no-load current on a PJ inverter by increasing the dead time in the firmware 😉.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/3/2022 at 6:01 AM, Jnjvan said:

Yep. I'm using the Power Jack right now as a load to do some battery testing. When that task is done, I may try to "improve" the unit. It appears that PJ only put output filtering on the L1 output winding. There is a lot of 24KHz hash on the L2 side. It doesn't show up when using the two windings in parallel, but split phase is not so good. My unit has the fuses on the N1 and N2 connections. It makes more sense to me to have them on the L1 and L2 sides. I have also looked at the gate drive signals on the upper and lower FETs. Looks like there is room for improvement there too. Even with a relatively easy load (800 watts, mostly resistive), there was some ringing that could lead to cross conduction. The transformer is kinda noisy, even with no load. I am impressed with the low idle consumption. I measured less than 13 watts at 13.6 volts battery.

Sid, I've been browsing this forum over the last couple of days. Thank you for all the time you spend fielding questions. I'm new to the Power Jack world. It looks like you are all too familiar with their ins and outs. I may pick your brain a bit if I decide to delve into some of these changes (especially the FET drive stuff). 

John Van

I also interested in the inverter and found this thread while searching for info.  Can you confirm if the inverter can run at least 2000W/240V (or 1000W each 120V leg simultaneously) continuously?

Thanks

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9 hours ago, JIT said:

I also interested in the inverter and found this thread while searching for info.  Can you confirm if the inverter can run at least 2000W/240V (or 1000W each 120V leg simultaneously) continuously?

Thanks

I have not tested higher than about 1.5 kW continuous, as my batteries are on their last legs. It did fine at that load for 20 minutes or so, no overly hot components, and the transformer was barely above ambient temp. The cooling fan did turn on intermittently.

I did notice that the resistance of the L2-N2 secondary winding is higher that the L1-N1 winding (0.399 ohm vs 0.345 ohm). This leads me to believe that the L2 winding may be smaller gauge than L1. The secondaries are two in hand aluminum wire. I presume the primary wires are aluminum also. The good news is that the output voltage is identical across the two windings. At least PJ used the same number of turns for both secondaries!

I destroyed one of the high side FETs when my probe shorted drain to gate. Fortunate that the damage was limited to that FET and G-S resistor. I removed the FET and the unit is back in operation. I will not be doing any further high power testing until I replace the failed part (one of four in parallel). The FETs are NCE80H15, which are only available from sketchy Chinese sources (Aliexpress, etc). The photos that I have seen on said vendors' sites make me think counterfeit. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.

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2 hours ago, Jnjvan said:

I have not tested higher than about 1.5 kW continuous, as my batteries are on their last legs. It did fine at that load for 20 minutes or so, no overly hot components, and the transformer was barely above ambient temp. The cooling fan did turn on intermittently.

I did notice that the resistance of the L2-N2 secondary winding is higher that the L1-N1 winding (0.399 ohm vs 0.345 ohm). This leads me to believe that the L2 winding may be smaller gauge than L1. The secondaries are two in hand aluminum wire. I presume the primary wires are aluminum also. The good news is that the output voltage is identical across the two windings. At least PJ used the same number of turns for both secondaries!

I destroyed one of the high side FETs when my probe shorted drain to gate. Fortunate that the damage was limited to that FET and G-S resistor. I removed the FET and the unit is back in operation. I will not be doing any further high power testing until I replace the failed part (one of four in parallel). The FETs are NCE80H15, which are only available from sketchy Chinese sources (Aliexpress, etc). The photos that I have seen on said vendors' sites make me think counterfeit. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.

Thank you for the info.  Do you remember the rough AC voltage drop when running 1.5kW continuous?

Not surprised to hear aluminum transformer windings.

Sorry to hear about the blown FET.  Based on everyhing I have seen about PJ it's probably a good idea to have a good supply of spare FET's around.  I hear you about fake FET's especially given the supply chain issues.  I hope you can repair the inverter soon.

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Thank you for the info.  Do you remember the rough AC voltage drop when running 1.5kW continuous?

What cause the AC output to drop from 119vac to 106vac ?    Is  that from the design of the rev 11.1 or rev 11.3  control board ?    Do anyone  notice the AC voltage with a kill a watt meter ?    PJ  require an  output AC choke for waranty is  what remind that they have no real  design engineer .     The market people want to wiggle their way out of paying for anymore repair .   I  know PJ  have  manufacting engineer   and production  engineer  and good marketing people .   

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I didn't record AC voltage drop with the 1.5kW load, but don't recall it being too drastic. My batteries were sagging pretty badly at that time.

 

I did some measurements this morning. Measurements are at inverter input and output terminals. Load power measured by kill-a-watt meter. Load is on L1 winding only (115V).

No Load: Vin=13.58 Vdc, Iin=980mAdc, VoutL1=114.7Vac, VoutL2=114.8Vac

585W Load (electric heater): Vin=11.89Vdc, Iin=57.9Adc, VoutL1=114.2Vac,VoutL2=116.4Vac

 

Observations:

No load (idle) power is 13.3W, not too shabby.

Efficiency at 585W is 85%

Voltage drop on L1 winding is not too bad. Voltage feedback is only on L1 winding, hence the rise in the unloaded L2 winding.

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 I  did some measurements this morning. Measurements are at inverter input and output terminals. Load power measured by kill-a-watt meter. Load is on L1 winding only (115V).

No Load: Vin=13.58 Vdc, Iin=980mAdc, VoutL1=114.7Vac, VoutL2=114.8Vac

585W Load (electric heater): Vin=11.89Vdc, Iin=57.9Adc, VoutL1=114.2Vac,VoutL2=116.4Vac

Your  L1  and L2  voltage are equql and can be adjusted to 120vac .   The inverter price is very low  so I  can get  6  inverters to get  12000 watts   at the 120vac outlet for less than  1200 dollars .   This is the lowest price for 12000 watts total on ebay .    Thank you  for the information  .   The parts is more than  180 dollars  from  each inverter .  

Screenshot (969338).png

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4 hours ago, Jnjvan said:

I didn't record AC voltage drop with the 1.5kW load, but don't recall it being too drastic. My batteries were sagging pretty badly at that time.

 

I did some measurements this morning. Measurements are at inverter input and output terminals. Load power measured by kill-a-watt meter. Load is on L1 winding only (115V).

No Load: Vin=13.58 Vdc, Iin=980mAdc, VoutL1=114.7Vac, VoutL2=114.8Vac

585W Load (electric heater): Vin=11.89Vdc, Iin=57.9Adc, VoutL1=114.2Vac,VoutL2=116.4Vac

 

Observations:

No load (idle) power is 13.3W, not too shabby.

Efficiency at 585W is 85%

Voltage drop on L1 winding is not too bad. Voltage feedback is only on L1 winding, hence the rise in the unloaded L2 winding.

It looks like many things could be improved but the base numbers don't look too bad.  For the price it seems worth the gamble.  Thanks for making the measurements. 

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