IOTA Emergency Inverter Systems

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Last year I got 16 Sams Club 6 volt golf cart batteries, am off grid and don’t have nearly enough panels. I didn’t see the extra panels making much difference. My C40 was at capacity, so we used a cheapo 30 amp Morningstar controller I had around for the new panels. My friend told me that I should attach all the wires to one neg and one pos at the batteries, but the battery studs aren’t big enough. He left yesterday and I came home last night and couldn’t even run my water pump without unplugging the house.

My friend also had hooked up to the batteries a pretty cool looking meter thing to monitor the system . I’d start by taking that gadget off and almost burned my fingers, it was so hot! The insulation had melted off one of the wires. And I removed the wires for the new solar panels because both were red, really old and had black tape on the end, very confusing.

I wired the new panel to the existing panel, using only one charge controller. Where can I find some info on how to best attach inverter and multiple charge controllers to the batteries? Is it possible to extend the golf cart battery studs so you can attach more cables? Been off grid with very small wind and solar system since 2007, but as I’m expanding my system I’m lost, appreciate some pointers! Something in the new system is not wired correctly, you should probably back up to your previous setup if you can. To answer your specific question, most people use terminal blocks to wire up all of the different components. 1 terminal block for battery -.

Terminal blocks come in various sizes, anything from 2 posts to 20 posts. The new meter should be connected through a shunt resister on the – side of the battery. Google shunt resister and you will see pictures of various shunts. How are your 16 batteries connected together? Honda EU2000i  and IOTA 55A charger bridge cloudy days and a Champion 3800W generator for short duration, power hungry appliances. They are frequently rated to 100 amps or more, but in reality, much more than 15 amps is the maximum continuous current I would use. People do not realise how tough an environment off grid solar is for wiring and stuff.

2x more current is 4x more heating. Even using NEC ratings, I highly recommend derailing the code by 0. 2nd solar charge controller causing the problem. I wish I had taken NOTES, but I think since we first put on the second controller we’ve had problems.

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I’ve been incredibly busy, not home a lot and was glad to have someone to help with this, but now I regret not paying attention. Am back to where I was a month ago, after huge amounts of gasoline for the generator and that reminds me, recently someone said the generator had current running on it too! I checked it today and all was good, have no idea how that could happen. 8 strings of batteries at 12 volts will be difficult at any time.

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It sounds like you are committed to off grid, I’m guessing you don’t have the grid available and got started with a 12 volt system and kept adding on? The problem is that it is nearly impossible to maintain even resistance through all the batteries. I’m going to make an ugly suggestion, and suggest figuring out your daily load and make the jump to a 24 or better a 48 volt system. This will likely mean scarping your Morningstar charge controller, but your C40 will handle up to 40 amps at 48 volts or about a 2000 watt array. What type and voltage of panels do you have? 2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.

Things you know You have a huge battery bank of roughly 20Kwhs, You have 1680 amp hour 12 volt battery bank and the max you could be charging it with is 70 amps if both charge controllers are maxed out. How to best wire multiple charge controllers. Single leads from the battery will come into the breaker box and the charge controller can be connected to a bus bar, either from the charge controller or from a breaker. Midnite solar makes DC Power Center boxes as well as E-Panels. The E panels handle Ac and DC breakers. Here is my E-Panel wired pretty much as a DC power Center.

The 2 things on the right are charge controllers. On the left is an inverter. CC to the breakers on top right, then to the bus bar connected to the main breaker and the large single set of cables going to the battery. When you have heavy and light ground wires in a system, you have to be very careful. Thanks all, let’s start with answering some questions. When I started to build in 2006 I wanted to pay the power company to run the wires UNDERGROUND to not ruin my beautiful 270 degree NO POWER LINES view.

They said they couldn’t run underground due to their system and I told them to take a hike. Since then they’ve brought in power all over, but I still have some unobstructed view. They actually put a pole right next to my property to entice me to hook up, I cried. I first started in 2007 with four 6v Interstate batteries, a 403 wind gen, one Unisolar 64 watt panel, the C40 and a battery charger. I used to camp off grid a lot, was used to little consumption. Just a few weeks ago my big side by side fridge started to run full time.

Had it on an appliance timer 3 times a day for half an hour and used the freezer as fridge and used the fridge side to store coffee, spices etc. I just bought the batteries last August, don’t know why they look so crappy. My old batteries were shot and I about doubled my capacity. The inverter is a cheapo Chinese 3000 watts, barely enough to start my water pump and incredibly, it’s still working after 9 or so years. And yes, I’ve considered going to 24 V, but then I need a new battery charger, inverter and the C40 is not enough for all the panels I now got.

The wind gen is wired to my emergency backup system with old batteries. I’m sure eventually I’ll go to 24 volt, whenever I paid down my debt. I’m thrilled to see 5 blinks on the C40 after only 1. That breaker box looks nice and hopefully eventually I’ll get there. But I’m still wondering why I have these problems with the second solar charge controller. Couldn’t get it working on my camper with only two of these golf cart batteries and it’s not working either on my main system.

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Unless it was just that meter causing the issues, need more time at home to do more testing. That’s unless I get a breaker box. But I’m happy because the batteries were actually FULL this eve and the generator is off. We’ve actually had a major designer say that here. Are these the panels on the Morningstar controller? Are they 60 cell panels or 36 cell panels? Do they produce 17-19 volts or 26-31 volts VMP?

The voltage may be too high  for the Morningstar controller. Usually you don’t want to double your storage capacity without doubling your charging capacity, don’t want your system to be out of balance. Looks like you will need frequent charging from your generator. Most battery banks die from chronic under charging! I would have rather you be ‘over paneled’ than have too little charging capacity.

As I’ve note 8 strings of batteries will create problem particularly as they age. They tend to be inefficient and if it is a Modified sine wave inverter, it will actually use more energy with things that have motors and shorten their lives due to the extra heat. Might be worth checking what the inverter uses while idling and it’s efficiency in converting DC to AC. I don’t know what your additional loads are, or where you are located in terms of how much sun you get, I suspect between the dust on the batteries, building with adobe and wide vistas, you live in an area with a good bit of sun.

I suspect you have enough array to run a fridge as the major load without running a generator. I also suspect it’s an older fridge, that uses a good bit of energy. You have a somewhat unbalanced system, consider that you have a 20Kwh battery bank, and perhaps as much as 1000 watt array. I currently have a 16 kwh battery bank and a 4000 watt array. Just a thought on the second controller, is it booting fully on battery power alone before seeing pv power? Some CCs can get into wierd states if booted seeing panel voltage.

It aint pretty, but you could make buss bars by flattening copper pipe, drilling holes, and bolting wires. It’s still disconnected, but I will make sure to boot on pv power only. That’s really important to know since I have all different panels. When my friend gets back we’ll test all the individual panels. 3rd one I just got a couple weeks ago. And yes, they were on the Morningstar and we’ll check the voltage next week.

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I got that many batteries because I didn’t want them to “die from chronic under charging” and I wanted them to be all the same age instead of adding more later. So now I’m working on getting more panels, can buy them one at a time. I don’t really like having the power on all night. I still try to unplug the water pump at night so avoid water disasters, but don’t always remember. Fortunately” my tools are more likely to die from sitting outside unprotected than bad power.

And my computers have been doing well, maybe because the notebooks have the transformers. The fridge and freezer worry me most. 500 pure sine wave inverter last year and was surprised how prices came down, but even that isn’t in my budget, and only 2000 watts too. I’m north of Kingman in the desert and haven’t seen as much sun as I’d like to this last month! Had an interesting discussion last summer with a local whose system production greatly improved when he oriented his panels east, it’s just so hot here during the day. My side by side fridge is 10 years old and a few months ago I was eyeing a new fridge that had 2 freezer drawers below the fridge, MUCH more efficient. 800 I’d put it on my Home Depot card with no interest for a year.

Been using the Kill-a-watt gadget because I’d really like to know what the fridge uses, but the power has been off so many times lately, wish that thing had a BATTERY so I didn’t always lose the totals. My first priority is to get the 3 new panels on the Morningstar going again, was way too windy today, hate that wind! Then I’ll see how the system does. Ideally my batteries are full by noon and then we do laundry, saw, etc.

I know one thing for sure, anything I’ll buy has to be able to go to 24 v, as that’s definitely my next big solar project. Sure appreciate all the help here! Christine said “Are they 60 cell panels or 36 cell panels? You misunderstood regarding connecting the Controller. Batteries, 2 of them or 20 of them, if not fully recharged at least 2x a week, sulfation sets in and you ruin the batteries. I’ll have a look hopefully tomorrow.

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95490, I understood about the Morningstar connection, but thanks for the reminder. Will definitely connect the batteries first. And regarding the batteries, that’s why I’m running the generator so much, and they never got full last night. The day before it was cloudy and they were full after a few hours and I was so happy. Then sunshine, no laundry or sawing, and they’re stuck at 3 blinks. Have to figure out what’s wrong.

I don’t have one of those, have a cheapo DMM somewhere, but will see what my friend has when he comes back this week. Something just isn’t right somewhere in my system. Hope we’ll have some nice days soon. I read it the first time, I did not see any mention of a combiner box and to do the job right you should have a C-box for each of the  controllers. ALL’ the negatives would first be done in the respective C-boxes leaving only 2, 1 from each C-box , to be connected to the battery neg post.

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It is so hard to diagnose what’s going on in part because you just don’t have the right tools to see what’s really going on. I’m going to give you three suggestions that you can pick up inexpensively. I’ll list them in order of priority. Battery Hydrometer:  Judging battery charge by the number of blinks is just sad. The gold standard for determining the state of your batteries is with a hydrometer. You simply suck of some of the battery fluid with the bulb and see where it lines up. A healthy,  fully charged battery should have a reading around 1.

The BEST way to determine state of charge is with one that compensates for the temperature of the battery, like this one. A multimeter can be used to determine the state of charge of a RESTING battery, but it’s a poor second choice. Clamp meter:  Quickly determines the amps flowing through a wire. Cheapest ones read AC current only. This is the one I have. A more expensive model from the same company can determine “in-rush” current. That’s the amount of electricity a motor pulls the first half second or so when it’s just starting.

That number is typically far higher than the “running amperage”. At the very least, get the multimeter, and the hydrometer, and people here can much better guide you through the troubleshooting process. 15 Renogy 300w panels,  Midnight 200 CC, 8 Trojan L16 batteries, Schneider XW6848 NA inverter, AC-Delco 6000w gen. Sign In or Register to comment. It looks like you’re new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons! Using an inverter for emergency power is by far the most common use.

The Hurricane season is here for those of you in the east and down south. I hope that this article will help all of you to be more prepared in the likely event that power failure occurs. Here are some helpful tips about running an inverter during a power outage. Before you purchase an inverter you will want to take a piece of paper and a pen and write down all of the appliances that you feel are necessary to have during a power outage. After you write down all that, you need to go to each one of the appliances and look on the back or bottom for what is called the service tag. In some cases you may find that the voltage is between 205vac and 240vac.

You will need a special inverter to run this appliance. We will get to that later. The next spec you will find will be the Amps. For example this should read like this: 6. What you will do now is take the volts–lets say 115–and multiply by amps 6. 0 and this will give you 690 watts. Watts or in this example 115 x 6.

The most common inverter sold for emergency home back-up power is a 1750 watt. The reason for this is that most people want to hook it up to their car, and the 1750 is perfect for most vehicles and will run most appliances. When you hook the inverter up to your vehicle, to run the inverter you will want to try to keep the inverter close to the battery, and out of any weather. Next we have to cover how the battery will hold a charge. You will want to keep the vehicle running while the inverter is hooked up. This will allow the vehicle’s charging system to keep a charge on the battery while the inverter is in use.

If the car is off, the inverter will still work. However, for prolonged use the inverter will work best if the vehicle is running. When using an inverter for emergency back-up power in a home without a vehicle there are a number of ways to accomplish this. First you can have, say, two 12 volt batteries hooked in parallel, and one inverter. This will give you enough power to run say a refrigerator off and on for two days or so depending on the size of the batteries. The next option is for complete home back-up.

This is the best option, but one of the most expensive. The system will require a large bank of batteries at a higher voltage, say 24 volt or 48 volt. They do make 12 volt systems, but they are less efficient. The best batteries to use in a large bank like this are the 6 volt batteries either made for solar or golf carts. Since the battery charger that is included is a three stage battery charger with smart charging capabilities it is safe to leave the batteries hooked up to this at all times.

Now that we covered the home back-up without a vehicle, let’s talk about 240vac appliances. Even though there are inverters that will work for this you may want to consider not running them during a power outage because of the large draw from the batteries that they have. I hope that this information will help those of you who are faced with hurricanes and other sources of power outages. You can find a great selection of power inverters at www.

Any questions or comments would be appreciated. What size inverter should I buy? Do I need a Modified Sine Wave Inverter, or a Pure Sine Wave Inverter? How do I hook up the Inverter?