83 Photos - Sep 8, 2013
Photo: Battery unit showing charge light with fuse above it.... yes lots of wires but idea also is at night you could pick up this unit and place it in a central location with the 4 lights running to different rooms.Photo: Solar panel on roof for the small battery unit in the kitchenPhoto: The complete kit with 3 panels and 3 batteries... which became 4 panels before it was finished.Photo: Closer view of the solar controller and inverter (this was my initial purchase from Ellies)Photo: Ellies solar panel FSP120SD ratingsPhoto: Mounting frame for solar panels going onPhoto: Mounting frame for solar panels going onPhoto: One solar panel fitted - I did not have enough solar cable to connect the remaining panels yetPhoto: Sub-DB to feed the circuits connected to solar - one far left is the manual switch to change between 220V Inverter feed and 220V Eskom grid power.  The other circuits feed the new circuits (live and neutral) to all the 220V LED lights in the house, and to the wall plug installed in the lounge.Photo: The four 120W solar panels mounted = total 480WPhoto: Inverter and solar controller mounted and connected.... solar controller seems to be faulty though as it is not outputting 12V to the inverter. Turns out later that you should not connect an inverter to that 12V load output on the charge controller - that is only for pure 12V DC circuits. A real pity as the charge controller now cannot show how much load is being drawn by the inverter. The solar charge controller was swapped out by Ellies in Dec 2015, but I have since replaced it with a Victron 50 Amp charge controller in Sept 2016.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Solar charge controller shows that it is outputting 15.3A to the inverter on the load side (this is how I would have wanted it wired up).Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Summary icon screen on the solar charge controller. Left most icon shows it is daytime and solar array is generating energyPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Summary screen on solar charge controllerVideo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Video clip of the animations on the solar charge controller - shows battery chargingPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Solar Charge Controller showing the current battery voltage and it is charging with 0.1A (heavily overcast with drizzle right now).Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] At 16:30 fully overcast and light drizzle the PV is only pushing 0.1A at 13.2V through to the batteriesPhoto: Efergy Engage Hub Kit showing current output from inverter at 130 Watts of powerPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Heavily overcast darkish day at 12:42 was only charging the batteries at 8.8A. After three days like this the batteries did not last right through the subsequent night of 15/16th August and gave out at about 06:00 when I switched back to grid power.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Sad face icon this morning after Inverter alarm was going off for low voltage detectedPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Solar charge controller showing LVD for low voltage detectedPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Solar Charge Controller showing 11.4V low voltage and with sun coming up and slight overcast weather the panels are pushing 4.2A to the batteriesVideo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Video clip showing batteries charging at 4.2A with bright overcast weatherPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] 22A coming through at 11:08 with light but bright overcast weatherVideo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now]Photo: Light cloud at 11.10am is pushing 22.4A from the solar panels. Theoretical max is 4 x 6.67A = 26.68A so this is not too bad at allPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Weak but clear sun at 13:19 is pushing 24.7A from the solar panels. Theoretical max is 4 x 6.67A = 26.68A so this is not too bad at all. Looks like the panels are working fine.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Battery voltage has risen to 12.6V by 13:20 and is receiving 24.7A with the sun shining. Low voltage this morning was 11.4V just after 09:30.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Solar Charge Controller showing the temperature at 24 degrees CentigradePhoto: Narada 6-FM-100B batteriesPhoto: Narada 6-FM-100B batteries - I have 3x 100Ah batteries in my setup.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] View of the MT50 Remote Meter mounted under the cupboard in the kitchen with its wire running through the wall to the solar charge controller and batteries behind the wallPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Closer view of the MT50 Remote Meter's main monitor screen. This was near sunset so the PV voltage is the same as the batteries. During the day the voltage shows a lot higher at 19V plus and about 29A current going into the batteries.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter Charge Energy screen - has only been connected for a short time so I need to relook at this stat after a day or two.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter Battery detail screenPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter Solar Panel Voltage screenPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter showing the Charge Controller's temperature and statusPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter showing the PV fault status screenPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter showing battery detailsPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] MT50 Remote Meter showing battery detailsPhoto: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now]Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] The MT50 remote monitor's main stats screen showing what the solar panels are generating and what the current battery voltage and charge rate is. This is at midday so can be assumed to be about maximum generation.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] By midday the solar panels had generated 1.59kWh of energy so we can assume on a  sunny day it is going to generate about 3kWh for the full day (I'll check tonight again).  The "Mon" is the monthly total but I have only been running this monitor since yesterday late afternoon.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] At midday the solar panels are pushing out 14.2V at 30 Amps (maximum that the charge controller is rated for) which equates  to 424 Watts of power.Photo: Ellies Engage Hub dashboard showing the current solar power usage during day. It is only 80W which is powering the CCTV cameras, Internet modem and router, and the fish pond pump.Photo: Ellies Engage Hub dashboard showing a typical work day where solar power usage in the evening is about 230W with the LED lights on (inside and outside lights) and the TV busy streaming video. If I get a mini PC size computer this power usage will likely be a bit lower too (currently a full size computer with a Nvidia graphics card)Video: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Short video scrolling through the monitoring screen on the Ellies MT50 remote monitor. This was taken around midday when the solar panels were generating at peak output. The charge controller caps the generation at 30 Amps from my four panels on the roof.Photo: [Device replaced with a Victron unit now] Batteries were fully charged by 15:30 and the controller went into battery float mode. Display here shows the full battery status in centre.Photo: Took hourly battery and PV voltage and amp readings. Appears that the battery was fully charged at 15:30 and went into float mode. You can see peak charging level around midday at 12:45 where the solar was pushing 29.4 Amps and 424 Watts. What was a bit odd was after the sun went down the battery level had fallen to 12.8 Volts. I was expecting it to stay around 13.4 Volts and drop from there.  Otherwise it could mean the solar was keeping the voltage up but that was not the true battery voltage?Photo: Outdoor solar light in the back garden with a movement sensorPhoto: Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor and Victron Color Control that I bought from Exsolar in Somerset West todayPhoto: Victron Color Control GX (CCGX) on right and the MT50 remote monitor on the left for monitoting the Ellies  Solar Charge Controller. Difference in electrical current flow, is going to the 220V inverter. The CCGX is the heart of a Victron system, with all the Victron products connecting it, and in turn it transmits the data to the Victron cloud on the Internet. It also triggers the alerting.Photo: Victron VRM Portal - Showing my site summaryPhoto: Victron VRM Portal - Showing various alarms I have set to notify me via e-mail. GMail then sounds an audible alert if these emails are receivedPhoto: Victron VRM Portal - Advanced screen showing battery status, summary, and recent alarms triggered. "No data" alarm was due to my router at home having a  glitch and being reset.Photo: The Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor mounted on its box, with the shunt installed inside.Photo: Victron Color Control GX's main monitor screen showing battery state on bottom leftPhoto: Victron Color Control GX's summary screen for the Victron BMV-700 battery monitorPhoto: A day's usage shown on the Victron VRM Portal - note the sharp dip around 3am when the alarm went off for low voltage. The alarm caught it early so I could switch to grid power without having to run outside and switch off the inverter.Photo: Victron VRM Portal showing the sharp voltage drop on 4 Feb 2016 after 2am. Power usage was steady and voltage was dropping normally up to that point. The sharp rise in voltage after the dip is due to me switching off the inverter (battery voltage rises a bit, and the current usage goes from -10 Amps to 0 Amps).Photo: Efergy Engage portal showing a steady power usage on 4 Feb 2016 at 02:18Photo: Victron Mobile app will show battery state wherever I am. What a pity that alarms cannot be set in the app, where it would poll data from the online portal. Also no widgets for the phone home screen. But I have set up the Victron portal with an alarm that sends an e-mail to me, and Gmail sounds an audible alarm when that e-mail comes in.Photo: Victron mobile app showing historical data for the BMV-700 battery monitorPhoto: Victron Blue Solar Charge Controller MPPT 75/50 (replaced the Ellies Solar Charge Controller). My previous charge controller was only 30 Amps output and had no intelligent monitoring or data upload to the Victron cloud. This one will handle 50 Amps with ultra-fast maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for cloudy skies.Video: Victron Color Control GX (video) showing power coming in from solar panels and the charge controller on bottom rightPhoto: Victron Color Control GX (viewed via the remote web browser view over the LAN) now showing power coming in from solar panels and the charge controller on bottom right. With weak setting sun you can see the DC load is drawing more more than the panels are providing. The battery is showing that it is supplementing power (discharging) to the DC load.Photo: Victron Color Control GX (viewd via the remote web browser view over the LAN) now showing power coming in from solar panels and the charge controller on bottom right. With the stronger sun at midday you can see the DC load is drawing a lot less than the power going into the batteries (431 Watts from panel = 355 Watts to battery + 76 Watts DC draw usage).Photo: The Victron VRM app that now also shows the PV Power status since the Victron Charge Controller was added to the systemPhoto: Mobile phone view of the Victron CCGX monitor over the LAN - so no need to go to the box anymore - I can just access it via the phone and also navigate any menus and change settings from anywhere.Photo: Victron Solar Charge Controller MPPT 75/50 - MPPT Charge State Graph

This graph basically shows that the controller is off when the sun is down, it went into Bulk Charge state from 06:15 (charges fast as possible to the battery), then moved to Absorption State when it was near full, and at about 14:45 it went into Float State (fully charged). It shut off again after 18:00 when the sun went down.Photo: Victron Solar Charge Controller MTTP 75/50 - Solar PV Yield

This graph shows how the power in Watts generated vs the strength of the sun during the day.  The sharp dips were due to some cloudy weather with clouds coming and going in the morning.Photo: Victron Solar Charge Controller MTTP 75/50 - Solar Charger Voltage and Current Graph

This graph shows how the voltage and current varied from the panels with the sun during the day. At some stage it was hitting just under 40 Amps of current (my previous charge controller maxed out at 30 Amps).Photo: Victron Solar Charge Controller MTTP 75/50 - Solar Yield Graph

This graph shows where the generated current was going. At the beginning of the day there was only enough current for direct use to power devices, and as the sun got stronger, current started to charge the batteries until the batteries were full, and the current went to device usage.Photo: Victron Solar Charge Controller MTTP 75/50 - Consumption Graph

This graph shows were the current was sourced from to power devices in the house. Early morning shows the batteries were still powering everything until just before 08:00 when the sun was strong enough for solar to start powering everything directly. In the early evening as the sun went down, the batteries started outputting power again.Photo: Total solar power yielded from my panels on 1 Oct 2016 was 2.54 kWhPhoto: New Victron Energy MultiPlus 12/1200 Inverter/Charger installed by the electricianPhoto: CCGX screen showing new Inverter drawing power from the grid and feeding into the system, but for some reason the PV is not being allowed to contribute (and it is supposed to receive preference to provide power)Photo: New inverter providing power from the grid but not giving preference to the solar PVPhoto: Grid power is offand the battery and solar PV is powering 175W of AC devicesVideo: Grid power is off and the solar PV and battery are providing 162W of power to devicesPhoto: Victron Multiplus 12/1200/50 with Victron MPPT 75/150 solar charge controller and Victron BMV-700 battery monitorPhoto: Consumption usage for last 24 hoursPhoto: Solar usage last 24 hours