A new era……

7 08 2013

Following on from the End of an Era, I have finally replaced my old inverter.  I found this old pic of it straight after it

SunProfi Inverter

SunProfi Inverter

was mounted on the wall with the original 17Ah 48V battery bank that I quickly discovered was being trashed by the SunProfi that never really worked properly.  Last year, I built a wall sized book case around it, with doors to hide it all.  It certainly was an interesting bit of kit in its day, acting as two inverters in one plus battery charger.  Heavy as lead too, pretty well a two person lift….

Sun Power (the makers of the inverter) went broke at some stage during the noughties, and getting any information on making their inverters work was nigh impossible.  A friend of mine has two of these, and even though they are later models than this one, he is not happy with his battery life either.

Just goes to show that just because something’s made in Germany, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good.

When I had the batteries listed on Gumtree, this guy called Mal rang me up about purchasing them.  In conversation, it came out that he had a Latronics PV Edge 1200 lying around, near new and still under warranty.

To cut to the chase, he didn’t buy the batteries, but we struck a deal on me buying his inverter instead…..  life’s full of twists and turns!  Only trouble is, he’s one of those ‘fly in fly out’ workers who is based near Roma (Western Qld) to work on….  Coal Seam Gas operations…..  gulp!

New Latronics Inverter

New Latronics Inverter

Communicating turned out difficult, his wife even more so…..  and I can’t believe it took almost 2 ½ months to actually get my hands on the device….  He lives in Bundaberg, and in the end we met half way near Maryborough (a 140 km trip each way for me..) so I could pay him and collect the inverter.  Need I say I was starting to get desperate..?

It’s much smaller than the SunProfi, and because all its connectors come out the right hand side of the box instead of the bottom as it used to be, what I thought was going to be a twenty minute job became a three hour one.

I had to move the DC switch board to the right, and mount the new inverter where the switchboard was…..  it looks a bit unfinished because now that there are no batteries, fewer circuit breakers are needed, and I need a new cover to hide all the ugly stuff.  Plus the PV output now comes out the top instead of the bottom, and that dirty great big conduit that contains all the wires coming down from the roof needs a new hole in the bottom to tidy it all up.  That lead dangling down is for the PV Voltmeter, and I have to get longer wires to remount the meter in the new cupboard doors I now have to also make.  Never a dull moment around here, let me tell you……

With some trepidation, I switched the whole operation on at about 3PM, and I’m pleased to announce there were no bangs, and all the smoke that is normally trapped in electric circuits stayed there as it is trained to do……..

The downtime will have an impact on our next credit, but at least I can rest knowing that we’ve had terrible solar weather up until now, and that as we are no longer charging batteries and we have an inverter that’s behaving properly, we should make appreciably more money from the old array than we have ever done before.

Time for a well deserved beer…….

Finished installation

Finished installation

UPDATE

Having pondered what to do with the old DC Switch Board (which contained 7 circuit breakers and now only has 4), I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new box.  I also decided to not mount the digital voltmeter (which now meters PV input voltage rather than battery voltage) into the cupboard door again, and after carefully cutting a hole in it the new box it’s now mounted on its cover.  The whole installation looks much more professional and safer now, especially for someone wanting to buy this place.

As an aside, we are currently experiencing amazing cloudless weather (for a change!) and to my amazement, we produced 14.5kWhrs of energy yesterday which is about 2 more than we’ve ever produced in Winter while the batteries were being charged by the old inverter…..  I knew it wasn’t very efficient, but this bad?  Can’t wait to see what the new system will produce when the days get longer….

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