Discussion:
Inverter Monitoring & Canceling Meter Legs [RE-wrenches]
(too old to reply)
Doug Pratt
2004-02-14 22:20:17 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

I have to admit I'm kind of amused. Here we are, a large group of
highly experienced, innovative electricians...and nobody's clear on how
to wire a standard utility meter. But until the past few years, standard
AC watt-hour meters just weren't part of "renewable energy."

Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.

It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)

I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.

Why do I have an Outback and a Trace SW on my wall? Why do I have two
matched PV arrays feeding two MX60 controllers and two matched Concorde
battery packs? You can probably guess, but the official answer has to
wait awhile...I promised Christopher he could break the news, and we
just started collecting data this morning. :-)

Cheers,
Doug Pratt

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Joel Davidson
2004-02-14 23:46:23 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches who have been doing utility intertie PV probably know a few
utility technicians who work in the Meter Section who can answer your
questions. There's almost always a Meter Section tech who likes to share
his knowledge or has the time to figure out different ways to hook up
meters.
[Original Message]
From: Doug Pratt <dmpratt at sbcglobal.net>
To: RE-wrenches at topica. Com <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Date: 2/14/04 2:20:27 PM
Subject: Inverter Monitoring & Canceling Meter Legs [RE-wrenches]
Folks,
I have to admit I'm kind of amused. Here we are, a large group of
highly experienced, innovative electricians...and nobody's clear on how
to wire a standard utility meter. But until the past few years, standard
AC watt-hour meters just weren't part of "renewable energy."
Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.
It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)
I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.
Why do I have an Outback and a Trace SW on my wall? Why do I have two
matched PV arrays feeding two MX60 controllers and two matched Concorde
battery packs? You can probably guess, but the official answer has to
wait awhile...I promised Christopher he could break the news, and we
just started collecting data this morning. :-)
Cheers,
Doug Pratt
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Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-15 22:12:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Pratt
Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.
It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)
I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.
Doug,

OK - but don't we want the meter to only register Solar-generated AC? We
want the meter running forwards, not backwards when selling to the grid,
right? See if you agree with my wiring to do this.

meter socket line lug #1 - to AC1 input
meter socket load lug #1 - from utility AC
meter socket line lug #2 - from inverter AC output
meter socket load lug #2 - to critical loads

example #1 - 5kw of critical loads, 4kw of solar generated(1 hour duration)
--- 5kwh is moving the meter forward from the inverter AC out to critical
loads
--- 1kwh is being supplied from the grid to AC1, moving the meter backwards
--- net registered on meter = 4kwh (solar AC generated)

example #2 - 5kw of critical loads, 6kw of solar generated(1 hour duration)
--- 5kwh is moving the meter forward from the inverter AC out to critical
loads
--- 1kwh is being supplied TO the grid from AC1, moving the meter forwards
also
--- net registered on meter = 6kwh (solar AC generated)

I'll try it again with the 2S meters. I couldn't get it to work before, but
probably forgot to isolate the tab screws and connect the neutral on Sangamo
EZ read meter I used.

Kirk

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 01:03:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kirk Herander, VSE
OK - but don't we want the meter to only register Solar-generated AC?
Yes Kirk - that is the correct hook-up I believe - although I should
pull out my notes to be sure (and I will later today as I am writing up
a "tech note" to put on the OutBack website).

The funny part is that with the terminals on the back isolated (jumper
bar removed) and the terminal connected to neutral - the meter measured
exactly 1/2 of the power produced. So I guess the meter needs 240 vac to
work properly - even when used on a single phase of AC power setup as
described.

So I ran the jumper over to the other meter box and tapped the opposite
hot phase to get the 240 VAC for each of the meters. With this they
worked correctly. So this is a good solution for systems with 120/240
vac power - which is fine even with single inverter applications as the
grid can provide the 240vac (except during an outage). Another option
would be to use a small transformer for making the 120 vac into 240 vac
just for the meter.

This method of using a single meter will spin backwards when battery
charging - so it does account for the losses involved at night (as with
a SW system - the OutBack FX draws zero watts at night). It also
records the power provided during an outage as sold power - as it
should.

Now all we need is sunny weather to actually produce some power...

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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sunwise
2004-02-17 05:10:34 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----

The funny part is that with the terminals on the back isolated (jumper
bar removed) and the terminal connected to neutral - the meter measured
exactly 1/2 of the power produced.

Greetings Christopher and all,

I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.

While I have installed two meters for a system who's owner wanted lots
of "data", the single meter method Doug mentioned sounds pretty slick.

Kurt Nelson

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Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-17 14:36:05 UTC
Permalink
Kurt,

Am I correct in assumming that the 120 vac meter is the form 1S on Hialeah's
web site? If so, you must wire the inverter output through the second set of
line/load terminals instead of the neutral as shown on the standard wiring
diagram, correct?

Kirk

Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner

PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
Post by sunwise
I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.
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Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-17 14:36:05 UTC
Permalink
Kurt,

Am I correct in assumming that the 120 vac meter is the form 1S on Hialeah's
web site? If so, you must wire the inverter output through the second set of
line/load terminals instead of the neutral as shown on the standard wiring
diagram, correct?

Kirk

Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner

PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
Post by sunwise
I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.
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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 14:47:53 UTC
Permalink
I didn't see any wiring diagrams on the Hialeah website:

http://www.hialeahmeter.com/

But a 120 vac meter with 4 terminals should work correctly. The "A" type
meters are pretty nice and inexpensive - no meter base required for
semi-code compliant installations...

Christopher


Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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William Korthof
2004-02-20 05:20:23 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a misnomer.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade his
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per second,
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't justified
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship in
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
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</x-flowed>
William Korthof
2004-02-22 00:27:57 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software
versions. The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate
great interest, and I always kind of expect to oversights
and "gee wiz" features. The inverters were originally put
in around mid 2001 and just got the upgrades.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
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Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard - Read only the mail you want.
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</x-flowed>
William Korthof
2004-02-22 00:27:57 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software
versions. The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate
great interest, and I always kind of expect to oversights
and "gee wiz" features. The inverters were originally put
in around mid 2001 and just got the upgrades.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard - Read only the mail you want.
http://antispam.yahoo.com/tools
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</x-flowed>
William Korthof
2004-02-20 05:20:23 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a misnomer.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade his
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per second,
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't justified
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship in
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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</x-flowed>
Travis Creswell, Ozark Solar
2004-02-17 14:51:26 UTC
Permalink
If one inverter of a stacked pair was sleeping would a 240 VAC meter
installed to measure output of them not be accurate?

Travis Creswell
Ozark Energy Services, Inc.
Post by sunwise
I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.
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RE wrenches
2004-02-17 15:39:43 UTC
Permalink
Well - too little too late for one of my jobs that I did with 2 meters and
math instructions to the customer, BUT Thank you for pursuing this in time
to simplify the second application here! I am using reconditioned GE meters
from Austin International. Did a little experiment - before commissioning,
I left the transfer switch in the inverter out position, passing the sub
panel straight back to the main panel. The backward running main meter
matched exactly the forward running sub panel readout - so for these two
meters at least the accuracy in bi-directional mode looks good.

I did connect the little screw to a neutral wire (after removing the
jumper) - some instructions I got told me to connect it to ground but I was
thinking that - minute as it is - the micro motor load would be using the
ground as a conductor. Am I right in this thinking and practice? If so we
should heads up the suppliers who are recommending this practice.

Looking forward to a one-meter installation next time.

Also - I have had good luck with Davidge controls' products - they use a
transponder with current transducers and a voltage tap - then pulse out to a
remote odometer style kwh meter (down to 1/10) and also to a rs-232 adapter
that can talk to a computer (with a Davidge supplied - clunky - access
program that has to be on 24-7. With a bit of programming skill one could
massage the data and get graphs, daily, cumulative etc bells and whistles
out of it - even put it on the net. Big advantage is remote transmission of
data and availability in all types (3-phase, 480, 208 etc)


Sincerely,

Geoff Greenfield
NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer TM
GLREA Certified Photovoltaic Systems Integrator/Installer License Number
0211-01

THIRD SUN SOLAR AND WIND POWER Ltd.
340 West State Street, Unit 25
Athens, OH 45701

Phone (740) 597-3111
Fax (740) 597-1548

www.third-sun.com

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 15:46:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Travis Creswell, Ozark Solar
If one inverter of a stacked pair was sleeping would a 240 VAC meter
installed to measure output of them not be accurate?
With tht OutBack stacking system it would still work - since we use a
autotransformer to keep the L2 leg powered even though the L2
inverter(s) are "sleeping" to reduce power consumption.

Using an external CT (current sense transformer) type meter is probably
the best option as only one KWH meter with two external CTs could
measure both legs simultaneously - the input and output wires for each
inverter simply pass through the CT in opposite directions - cancelling
out the pass through current. This is what I did with the datalogging
system that I installed and is operating on Doug Pratt's system.

I talked with the guys who make the electronic KWH metering system
listed as a approved monitor on the CEC rebate - their monitoring system
is not capable of measuring current in both directions. They are
suppose to work on one and sample it to me for testing. Since they
always use external CTs they would be very useful.

With the OutBack inverters the internal battery charger can be
completely turned off - which eliminates the reverse power flow issue -
so, therefore, could be used with one-way meters... but if you ever did
run the battery charger the data would be corrupted (some one-way meters
will spin forward regardless of the power's direction).

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 15:52:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by RE wrenches
I did connect the little screw to a neutral wire (after removing the
jumper) - some instructions I got told me to connect it to ground but I
was thinking that - minute as it is - the micro motor load would be
using the ground as a conductor. Am I right in this thinking and
practice? If so we should heads up the suppliers who are recommending
this practice.
Yes - the tap should be connected to the neutral - not ground - as there
will be a small ground fault current otherwise. Might be enough to trip
off bathroom GFCIs - but only if the meter was installed in certain
areas of the system which is not likely.

I think external CT meters will be the long term solution - just need
less expensive units with bi-directional capability.

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-20 01:45:50 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade his
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.

Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per second,
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't justified
by blaming the software upgrade.

Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship in
good standing.

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798

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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-20 04:55:53 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/19/2004 5:46:28 PM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem?
Put the old software back in?

don

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
2004-02-20 16:03:37 UTC
Permalink
What versions of the SW software did he have before the upgrade, and
what version is it now?

Jeff Wolfe


-----Original Message-----
From: William Korthof [mailto:wkorthof at earthlink.net]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 12:20 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com; RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Re: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]

Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a misnomer.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters retrofitted
with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that ever since the
upgrade his flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel
have a flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per second, I can't help but wonder if my
customer isn't justified by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And better yet, does
anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want to keep this customer
relationship in good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-20 21:17:25 UTC
Permalink
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Gary Higbee
2004-02-20 23:25:58 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery capacity
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized for
several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Todd Cory, Mt. Shasta Energy Services
2004-02-20 23:37:31 UTC
Permalink
I have seen battery's off-gassing increase as they age... so you might be at the
tail end of their serviceable life.

Todd
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.
I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.
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Dana Orzel
2004-02-21 14:49:56 UTC
Permalink
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery packs in
winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and of course they
would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to 27.2 VDC and holding
at these float voltages till the battery was full." We went round and round
and I gave up trying to convince him that we needed to get to higher
voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets have removed so many sets of
melted Hydrocaps since that conversation that I have not purchased or
specified them in years. Great idea but longevity & quality seems to be
poor.

Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days?
Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations? Or do they need to be removed?
[messy and a problem with auto-equalizations functions]

Dana Orzel


Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA

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Todd Cory, Mt. Shasta Energy Services
2004-02-20 23:37:31 UTC
Permalink
I have seen battery's off-gassing increase as they age... so you might be at the
tail end of their serviceable life.

Todd
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.
I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.
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Dana Orzel
2004-02-21 14:49:56 UTC
Permalink
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery packs in
winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and of course they
would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to 27.2 VDC and holding
at these float voltages till the battery was full." We went round and round
and I gave up trying to convince him that we needed to get to higher
voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets have removed so many sets of
melted Hydrocaps since that conversation that I have not purchased or
specified them in years. Great idea but longevity & quality seems to be
poor.

Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days?
Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations? Or do they need to be removed?
[messy and a problem with auto-equalizations functions]

Dana Orzel


Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA

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Gary Higbee
2004-02-20 23:25:58 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery capacity
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized for
several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Matt Tritt
2004-02-20 23:44:32 UTC
Permalink
Gary,

How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.

Matt T



-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah).
We're seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm
wondering if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is
about done for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a
bunch of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd
be a standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery
capacity suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes?
Any suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not
equalized for several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did
you get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
2004-02-21 00:04:42 UTC
Permalink
Gary,

We often hear from people this time of year about their reduced battery capacity. If the batteries are in an unheated area, the effects of cold temperature seems to magnify the problem of aging batteries and their performance. I was using industrial 2 volt cells when I lived in the Illinois River Canyon. After 6-7 years use I noticed every winter about this time their performance made me think it was time to replace. Come warmer weather all was well again. I left there 5 years ago and the batteries are still in use and performing the same way! This might be part of what you're seeing.

Regards,
Bob Maynard
Energy Outfitters

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery capacity
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized for
several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Eric Smiley
2004-02-21 00:50:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.

Eric Smiley

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Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
2004-02-21 22:16:30 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Gang,
Hydrocaps do indeed "wear out". Whatever is in there is sacrificial
and reduces in both weight and size. It's not a function of time, but
overcharge amps. They are good for just so many. I've seen a hydro
system with the CC set too high use up a set of H-caps in a little
over two years. Under most conditions and in most systems, however,
they work very well. If you are hitting the batteries with a high
charge rate or you set your CC high with a big RE system (in relation
to your battery size), they will wear out fast. They get hot when
dealing with a seriously gassing battery. Most folks recommend taking
them off and putting the original caps back on during EQ sessions. If
you are using your inverter as a charger and hitting the batts at a
C-15 or higher, that's a REALLY good idea. If you are using a typical
PV system at C-40 or so, it isn't necessary, but they will get good
and warm so they bear checking on.
Hcaps do three things. 1) they really do reduce the free hydrogen in
the air dramatically. No other product does this. 2) they reduce
watering by 50-75% 3) they keep the tops of the batteries clean by
eliminating electrolyte spitting and the "schmaze" that always seems
to occur with regular caps. Probably that's as much from overfilling
by the client as from gassing, but it's a mess either way.
On the down side, they can plug and melt under a heavy charge. It's
fairly rare but it happens. Sometimes it will even melt part of the
cap opening with it. I've never seen a battery top blown out like
apparently Don has. That would be MUCH rarer. Client education is the
key. If you've got a client too rich or too busy to relate to the
condition of his batteries, don't use them.
The absolute WORST thing about Hydrocaps is the owner of the company,
old George. George is like, 90 years old going on 5000 or something
and in all those years he never learned that good charge cycles are
required to maintain the battery, not his damn Hydrocaps! In the 15
years that I dealt with him, he never admitted a fault EVER. I can
remember one batch of 100 that I got from him where the glue job
between the base and the cap failed in about 25% of them. It was MY
fault for over tightening them, never mind that I bought about 1000
of the buggers every year previously and had had few previous
problems. That's just one example. I mean, hell, I'd like to get to
be 90 and (more) crotchety myself some day, so I try to understand,
but damn! it's frustrating.
Bottom line, I still recommend and install them in many cases but I
hold my nose while buying them. Kinda like they way I feel about
Brand X these days. Education of the client as to what they can and
can't do is the key. Just like the rest of the system, eh?
Best, Bob-O
Post by Eric Smiley
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.
Eric Smiley
--
"There is little evidence that the American economy, which grew more
than 4 percent in 1999 and surged forward at an even faster pace in
the second half of the year, is slowing appreciably." Alan Greenspan,
Feb 2000, just before the stock market and the economy tanked.

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</x-flowed>
Kurt Albershardt
2004-02-21 22:35:15 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Anyone have experience with Thermoil or similar oils? They were popular way back when but seem a little fringe-ish now.

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</x-flowed>
Todd Cory, Mt. Shasta Energy Services
2004-02-21 22:42:08 UTC
Permalink
One more good thing about hydrocaps is that when equalizing, it is very easy
to feel the caps, and when they are all about the same temp, you are done.
Yes, George is a pain in the ass to deal with, which is why I buy mine from
Bob-O. Believe me, he earns his mark up on this item! :)

Todd
Post by Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
Gang,
Hydrocaps do indeed "wear out". Whatever is in there is sacrificial
and reduces in both weight and size. It's not a function of time, but
overcharge amps. They are good for just so many. I've seen a hydro
system with the CC set too high use up a set of H-caps in a little
over two years. Under most conditions and in most systems, however,
they work very well. If you are hitting the batteries with a high
charge rate or you set your CC high with a big RE system (in relation
to your battery size), they will wear out fast. They get hot when
dealing with a seriously gassing battery. Most folks recommend taking
them off and putting the original caps back on during EQ sessions. If
you are using your inverter as a charger and hitting the batts at a
C-15 or higher, that's a REALLY good idea. If you are using a typical
PV system at C-40 or so, it isn't necessary, but they will get good
<snip>

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Allan Sindelar
2004-02-24 00:48:21 UTC
Permalink
Fellow Wrenches,
I'm not a big Hydrocaps fan, and never have been. The recent postings
reinforce that. I want to make systems simple to live with and maintain, and
I want folks to equalize regularly. Some will, some won't, but to have to
remove Hydrocaps to EQ seems to defeat the whole advantage of reduced
maintenance by reducing watering frequency.

A point that has not been mentioned in this latest posting string: The SB50
charge controller has an acceptance (a.k.a. absorption) function the
duration of which is determined by threshold amps necessary to maintain
acceptance voltage. (By comparison, a C40 has a two-hour timed cycle.) I
have found that this cuts way down on water use, as the batteries are
adequately filled and destratified without being held longer than needed
above gassing voltage.

I suspect that the MX60 accomplishes the same result via use of a timed
absorption function that correlates to time spent in bulk, in order to
minimize absorption time when charging from a full battery, but I haven't
lived with one long enough yet to observe the results (I have both
controllers side by side in my system now, with a transfer switch to let me
flip back and forth. I'll post comparative observations eventually.)

My dozen little golf carts only get filled with water every six months, with
a one-kilowatt array and a SB50 set to charge to 29.6V. I'm generally right
above the tops of the plates about then. So I am wondering how big of a
problem watering batteries when they need it really is.

Allan at Positive E

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection" <econnect at snowcrest.net>
Post by Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
Gang,
The absolute WORST thing about Hydrocaps is the owner of the company,
old George. George is like, 90 years old going on 5000 or something
and in all those years he never learned that good charge cycles are
required to maintain the battery, not his damn Hydrocaps! In the 15
years that I dealt with him, he never admitted a fault EVER. I can
remember one batch of 100 that I got from him where the glue job
between the base and the cap failed in about 25% of them. It was MY
fault for over tightening them, never mind that I bought about 1000
of the buggers every year previously and had had few previous
problems. That's just one example. I mean, hell, I'd like to get to
be 90 and (more) crotchety myself some day, so I try to understand,
but damn! it's frustrating.
Bottom line, I still recommend and install them in many cases but I
hold my nose while buying them. Kinda like they way I feel about
Brand X these days. Education of the client as to what they can and
can't do is the key. Just like the rest of the system, eh?
Best, Bob-O
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Windy Dankoff, Dankoff Solar
2004-02-24 02:45:26 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I also have a Solar Boost 50 controller, set to about 29.6, with a
single string of Surrette 1200 AH cells. I also have it connected to
an external shunt (the main battery shunt that also feeds my
TriMetric), so it REALLY knows what actual (net) current the battery
bank experiences, and responds to that. That's a great refinement.

I add water every summer, just to stay ahead of necessity. I could
probably go another 6 mo. before the plate tops get exposed.

As batteries age, they lose more water, so some day they may get
thirsty every summer!

Hydrocaps are good for standby systems with a simple charging scheme.
They are not good for RE home systems that have extreme variations in
charge current. The owner of Hydrocap, George Peroni, has always been
totally straight about this. He makes you tell him exactly what
charge current range the batteries will experience. If he sizes the
caps for the highest possible current (not to overheat), they won't
be effective during relatively low charge rate. They have their place
in the world, but just aren't optimum for many of our systems.

Windy
Post by Allan Sindelar
....
My dozen little golf carts only get filled with water every six months, with
a one-kilowatt array and a SB50 set to charge to 29.6V. I'm generally right
above the tops of the plates about then. So I am wondering how big of a
problem watering batteries when they need it really is.
Allan at Positive E
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</x-flowed>
Windy Dankoff, Dankoff Solar
2004-02-24 02:45:26 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I also have a Solar Boost 50 controller, set to about 29.6, with a
single string of Surrette 1200 AH cells. I also have it connected to
an external shunt (the main battery shunt that also feeds my
TriMetric), so it REALLY knows what actual (net) current the battery
bank experiences, and responds to that. That's a great refinement.

I add water every summer, just to stay ahead of necessity. I could
probably go another 6 mo. before the plate tops get exposed.

As batteries age, they lose more water, so some day they may get
thirsty every summer!

Hydrocaps are good for standby systems with a simple charging scheme.
They are not good for RE home systems that have extreme variations in
charge current. The owner of Hydrocap, George Peroni, has always been
totally straight about this. He makes you tell him exactly what
charge current range the batteries will experience. If he sizes the
caps for the highest possible current (not to overheat), they won't
be effective during relatively low charge rate. They have their place
in the world, but just aren't optimum for many of our systems.

Windy
Post by Allan Sindelar
....
My dozen little golf carts only get filled with water every six months, with
a one-kilowatt array and a SB50 set to charge to 29.6V. I'm generally right
above the tops of the plates about then. So I am wondering how big of a
problem watering batteries when they need it really is.
Allan at Positive E
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</x-flowed>
Kurt Albershardt
2004-02-21 22:35:15 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Anyone have experience with Thermoil or similar oils? They were popular way back when but seem a little fringe-ish now.

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</x-flowed>
Todd Cory, Mt. Shasta Energy Services
2004-02-21 22:42:08 UTC
Permalink
One more good thing about hydrocaps is that when equalizing, it is very easy
to feel the caps, and when they are all about the same temp, you are done.
Yes, George is a pain in the ass to deal with, which is why I buy mine from
Bob-O. Believe me, he earns his mark up on this item! :)

Todd
Post by Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
Gang,
Hydrocaps do indeed "wear out". Whatever is in there is sacrificial
and reduces in both weight and size. It's not a function of time, but
overcharge amps. They are good for just so many. I've seen a hydro
system with the CC set too high use up a set of H-caps in a little
over two years. Under most conditions and in most systems, however,
they work very well. If you are hitting the batteries with a high
charge rate or you set your CC high with a big RE system (in relation
to your battery size), they will wear out fast. They get hot when
dealing with a seriously gassing battery. Most folks recommend taking
them off and putting the original caps back on during EQ sessions. If
you are using your inverter as a charger and hitting the batts at a
C-15 or higher, that's a REALLY good idea. If you are using a typical
PV system at C-40 or so, it isn't necessary, but they will get good
<snip>

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Allan Sindelar
2004-02-24 00:48:21 UTC
Permalink
Fellow Wrenches,
I'm not a big Hydrocaps fan, and never have been. The recent postings
reinforce that. I want to make systems simple to live with and maintain, and
I want folks to equalize regularly. Some will, some won't, but to have to
remove Hydrocaps to EQ seems to defeat the whole advantage of reduced
maintenance by reducing watering frequency.

A point that has not been mentioned in this latest posting string: The SB50
charge controller has an acceptance (a.k.a. absorption) function the
duration of which is determined by threshold amps necessary to maintain
acceptance voltage. (By comparison, a C40 has a two-hour timed cycle.) I
have found that this cuts way down on water use, as the batteries are
adequately filled and destratified without being held longer than needed
above gassing voltage.

I suspect that the MX60 accomplishes the same result via use of a timed
absorption function that correlates to time spent in bulk, in order to
minimize absorption time when charging from a full battery, but I haven't
lived with one long enough yet to observe the results (I have both
controllers side by side in my system now, with a transfer switch to let me
flip back and forth. I'll post comparative observations eventually.)

My dozen little golf carts only get filled with water every six months, with
a one-kilowatt array and a SB50 set to charge to 29.6V. I'm generally right
above the tops of the plates about then. So I am wondering how big of a
problem watering batteries when they need it really is.

Allan at Positive E

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection" <econnect at snowcrest.net>
Post by Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
Gang,
The absolute WORST thing about Hydrocaps is the owner of the company,
old George. George is like, 90 years old going on 5000 or something
and in all those years he never learned that good charge cycles are
required to maintain the battery, not his damn Hydrocaps! In the 15
years that I dealt with him, he never admitted a fault EVER. I can
remember one batch of 100 that I got from him where the glue job
between the base and the cap failed in about 25% of them. It was MY
fault for over tightening them, never mind that I bought about 1000
of the buggers every year previously and had had few previous
problems. That's just one example. I mean, hell, I'd like to get to
be 90 and (more) crotchety myself some day, so I try to understand,
but damn! it's frustrating.
Bottom line, I still recommend and install them in many cases but I
hold my nose while buying them. Kinda like they way I feel about
Brand X these days. Education of the client as to what they can and
can't do is the key. Just like the rest of the system, eh?
Best, Bob-O
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Bob-O Schultze, Electron Connection
2004-02-21 22:16:30 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Gang,
Hydrocaps do indeed "wear out". Whatever is in there is sacrificial
and reduces in both weight and size. It's not a function of time, but
overcharge amps. They are good for just so many. I've seen a hydro
system with the CC set too high use up a set of H-caps in a little
over two years. Under most conditions and in most systems, however,
they work very well. If you are hitting the batteries with a high
charge rate or you set your CC high with a big RE system (in relation
to your battery size), they will wear out fast. They get hot when
dealing with a seriously gassing battery. Most folks recommend taking
them off and putting the original caps back on during EQ sessions. If
you are using your inverter as a charger and hitting the batts at a
C-15 or higher, that's a REALLY good idea. If you are using a typical
PV system at C-40 or so, it isn't necessary, but they will get good
and warm so they bear checking on.
Hcaps do three things. 1) they really do reduce the free hydrogen in
the air dramatically. No other product does this. 2) they reduce
watering by 50-75% 3) they keep the tops of the batteries clean by
eliminating electrolyte spitting and the "schmaze" that always seems
to occur with regular caps. Probably that's as much from overfilling
by the client as from gassing, but it's a mess either way.
On the down side, they can plug and melt under a heavy charge. It's
fairly rare but it happens. Sometimes it will even melt part of the
cap opening with it. I've never seen a battery top blown out like
apparently Don has. That would be MUCH rarer. Client education is the
key. If you've got a client too rich or too busy to relate to the
condition of his batteries, don't use them.
The absolute WORST thing about Hydrocaps is the owner of the company,
old George. George is like, 90 years old going on 5000 or something
and in all those years he never learned that good charge cycles are
required to maintain the battery, not his damn Hydrocaps! In the 15
years that I dealt with him, he never admitted a fault EVER. I can
remember one batch of 100 that I got from him where the glue job
between the base and the cap failed in about 25% of them. It was MY
fault for over tightening them, never mind that I bought about 1000
of the buggers every year previously and had had few previous
problems. That's just one example. I mean, hell, I'd like to get to
be 90 and (more) crotchety myself some day, so I try to understand,
but damn! it's frustrating.
Bottom line, I still recommend and install them in many cases but I
hold my nose while buying them. Kinda like they way I feel about
Brand X these days. Education of the client as to what they can and
can't do is the key. Just like the rest of the system, eh?
Best, Bob-O
Post by Eric Smiley
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.
Eric Smiley
--
"There is little evidence that the American economy, which grew more
than 4 percent in 1999 and surged forward at an even faster pace in
the second half of the year, is slowing appreciably." Alan Greenspan,
Feb 2000, just before the stock market and the economy tanked.

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</x-flowed>
Matt Tritt
2004-02-21 01:08:33 UTC
Permalink
Eric,

After over 20 years messing with batteries and several kinds of
recombining cap types, I can definitely say that hydrocaps go bad/lose
their ability to recombine vapor into water.
Pretty expensive fun you say? You might try Water Miser caps at about
1/2 the cost of Hydrocaps. They might not have the same life (but they
might) but they don't cost an arm and a leg. Plus you can fill the cells
without removing the caps.

Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Smiley [mailto:Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:51 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting. Do Hydrocaps really wear out?
That would make them much less useful than I thought.

Eric Smiley

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Doug Pratt
2004-02-21 01:56:07 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Smiley [mailto:Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca]

That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.


A fact that Hydrocaps would rather you didn't know...
Yep, average life expectancy for Hydrocaps is about 5-6 years. Got a big
honkin' generator-driven charger and like to equalize regularly? Expect
even less life expectancy.

Doug Pratt

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Ezra Auerbach, DragonSun Consulting
2004-02-21 01:58:33 UTC
Permalink
I concur with Bob's experience, at this very moment my poor batteries (13
years old) are looking very tired and I'm sure I should replace them, come
spring they'll have a few day's more autonomy and all will be forgiven for
perhaps yet another year. Cold really zaps battery capacity!

Cheers,

Ezra
DragonSun Consulting


----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters <bob at energyoutfitters.com>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:04:42 PM
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
Gary,
We often hear from people this time of year about their reduced battery
capacity. If the batteries are in an unheated area, the effects of cold
temperature seems to magnify the problem of aging batteries and their
performance. I was using industrial 2 volt cells when I lived in the
Illinois River Canyon. After 6-7 years use I noticed every winter about
this time their performance made me think it was time to replace. Come
warmer weather all was well again. I left there 5 years ago and the
batteries are still in use and performing the same way! This might be part
of what you're seeing.
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
Regards,
Bob Maynard
Energy Outfitters
-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Wrenches,
I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah).
We're
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm
wondering
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.
I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a
bunch
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.
1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery
capacity
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized
for
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
several years, though the client is now doing so.
2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?
3) Comments?
Thank you!
Gary
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Matt Tritt
2004-02-21 17:46:30 UTC
Permalink
Dana,

You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!

Matt T

-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.

Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]

Dana Orzel


Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA

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Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
2004-02-23 15:57:56 UTC
Permalink
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the carbon
blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with charcoal
briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon block over time
or during an intensive equalization from an inverter. You can turn a carbon
block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with an equalization charge.
Over time it will turn to charcoal dust anyway. Break one open and you will
see what I am talking about- this is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.

Gator Tom

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
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Kurt Albershardt
2004-02-23 17:21:36 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Does it have to be carbon block, or would GAC work? I wonder if we could design a refillable cap with similar properties?
Post by Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the carbon
blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with charcoal
briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon block over time
or during an intensive equalization from an inverter. You can turn a carbon
block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with an equalization charge.
Over time it will turn to charcoal dust anyway. Break one open and you will
see what I am talking about- this is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.
Gator Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
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</x-flowed>
Gary Higbee
2004-02-23 21:17:05 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

Interesting dialogue on Hydrocaps. Here's a piece from the Northern Arizona
Wind & Sun site, that may do a good job of summing up the differences
between Hydrocaps and Water Miser caps:

****************
1. Hydrocaps should be removed when equalizing, or they can get extremely
hot. Water Misers can stay in place all the time.
2. Hydrocaps re-combine the Oxygen and Hydrogen released by the battery
while charging, reducing water loss up to 90%. Water Misers do not
re-combine, but water loss is reduced by 30-75% by trapping fine water and
acid particles.
3. Hydrocaps are more expensive - because they do more.

Hydrocaps will not last forever, though - life will vary from 2 years to 8
years, depending on charge rates and how they are treated. If left on during
battery equalization, they can be quickly used up and/or ruined.
****************

The above doesn't sum up whether we should all be using one or the
other--seems there are numerous opinions and specific applications.

The particular case I brought up when I started this thread was that of a 5
year old IBE bank in a conditioned space that has Water Miser caps, but is
loosing water at a substantially higher rate than a couple years ago. Unless
Water Miser caps crud up or loose efficiency in some way it seems that we're
just looking at a failing battery bank, and it doesn't sound like it would
be a good investment to put Hydrocaps on this system. Any other PROVEN
rejuvination ideas before I suggest that my client needs to scrap this
expensive 5 year old set of IBE's?

WATERING SYSTEMS were mentioned. Do any of you have hands-on experience with
any specific watering systems. I'll be working with a large bank (configured
as 2700Ah at 48 volts) of Surrette's largest cells, and would like to offer
my client a low-maintenance system IF it makes sense. Would you recommend a
watering system? What system? Any particulars to note when installing and
using watering systems?

Thanks!

Gary


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Michael Welch
2004-02-23 21:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Hi Gary. The April/May issue of Home Power will feature a nice single-point watering system from Battery Filling Systems of the Americas http://www.batteryfillingsystems.com/. While I am not sure I would want to leave the system on all the time (for automatic watering without monitoring), just going out once a month and turning the main valve while standing there watching (and twiddling thumbs) takes minimal effort.

List price is about $16 per cell for a complete system.

They fill the electrolyte to your preset levels, and they also have an indicator button that visibly shows you which cells need filling.

This HP#100 issue should hit the streets in two or three weeks.
WATERING SYSTEMS were mentioned. Do any of you have hands-on experience with any specific watering systems. I'll be working with a large bank (configured as 2700Ah at 48 volts) of Surrette's largest cells, and would like to offer my client a low-maintenance system IF it makes sense. Would you recommend a watering system? What system? Any particulars to note when installing and using watering systems?
Michael Welch

------------------------
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
-John Muir

Michael Welch, michael.welch at homepower.com
Home Power magazine
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To reach Home Power: 800-707-6585

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Michael Welch
2004-02-23 21:59:09 UTC
Permalink
Hi Gary. The April/May issue of Home Power will feature a nice single-point watering system from Battery Filling Systems of the Americas http://www.batteryfillingsystems.com/. While I am not sure I would want to leave the system on all the time (for automatic watering without monitoring), just going out once a month and turning the main valve while standing there watching (and twiddling thumbs) takes minimal effort.

List price is about $16 per cell for a complete system.

They fill the electrolyte to your preset levels, and they also have an indicator button that visibly shows you which cells need filling.

This HP#100 issue should hit the streets in two or three weeks.
WATERING SYSTEMS were mentioned. Do any of you have hands-on experience with any specific watering systems. I'll be working with a large bank (configured as 2700Ah at 48 volts) of Surrette's largest cells, and would like to offer my client a low-maintenance system IF it makes sense. Would you recommend a watering system? What system? Any particulars to note when installing and using watering systems?
Michael Welch

------------------------
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
-John Muir

Michael Welch, michael.welch at homepower.com
Home Power magazine
www.homepower.com
To reach me: 707-822-7884
To reach Home Power: 800-707-6585

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Kurt Albershardt
2004-02-23 17:21:36 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
Does it have to be carbon block, or would GAC work? I wonder if we could design a refillable cap with similar properties?
Post by Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the carbon
blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with charcoal
briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon block over time
or during an intensive equalization from an inverter. You can turn a carbon
block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with an equalization charge.
Over time it will turn to charcoal dust anyway. Break one open and you will
see what I am talking about- this is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.
Gator Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
- - - -
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</x-flowed>
Gary Higbee
2004-02-23 21:17:05 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

Interesting dialogue on Hydrocaps. Here's a piece from the Northern Arizona
Wind & Sun site, that may do a good job of summing up the differences
between Hydrocaps and Water Miser caps:

****************
1. Hydrocaps should be removed when equalizing, or they can get extremely
hot. Water Misers can stay in place all the time.
2. Hydrocaps re-combine the Oxygen and Hydrogen released by the battery
while charging, reducing water loss up to 90%. Water Misers do not
re-combine, but water loss is reduced by 30-75% by trapping fine water and
acid particles.
3. Hydrocaps are more expensive - because they do more.

Hydrocaps will not last forever, though - life will vary from 2 years to 8
years, depending on charge rates and how they are treated. If left on during
battery equalization, they can be quickly used up and/or ruined.
****************

The above doesn't sum up whether we should all be using one or the
other--seems there are numerous opinions and specific applications.

The particular case I brought up when I started this thread was that of a 5
year old IBE bank in a conditioned space that has Water Miser caps, but is
loosing water at a substantially higher rate than a couple years ago. Unless
Water Miser caps crud up or loose efficiency in some way it seems that we're
just looking at a failing battery bank, and it doesn't sound like it would
be a good investment to put Hydrocaps on this system. Any other PROVEN
rejuvination ideas before I suggest that my client needs to scrap this
expensive 5 year old set of IBE's?

WATERING SYSTEMS were mentioned. Do any of you have hands-on experience with
any specific watering systems. I'll be working with a large bank (configured
as 2700Ah at 48 volts) of Surrette's largest cells, and would like to offer
my client a low-maintenance system IF it makes sense. Would you recommend a
watering system? What system? Any particulars to note when installing and
using watering systems?

Thanks!

Gary


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- - - -
To send a message: RE-wrenches at topica.com

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Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
2004-02-23 15:57:56 UTC
Permalink
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the carbon
blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with charcoal
briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon block over time
or during an intensive equalization from an inverter. You can turn a carbon
block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with an equalization charge.
Over time it will turn to charcoal dust anyway. Break one open and you will
see what I am talking about- this is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.

Gator Tom

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
- - - -
To send a message: RE-wrenches at topica.com
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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-21 17:50:34 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/20/2004 4:51:48 PM Pacific Standard Time,
Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca writes:
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought
Indeed they do. In some cases the residue plugs the relief vents and the caps
blow off.- some times taking the battery tops too.

Don

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Matt Tritt
2004-02-23 17:56:00 UTC
Permalink
Kurt,

Water Miser caps. They already do this for 1/2 the price of Hydro Caps.

Matt T

-----Original Message-----
From: Kurt Albershardt [mailto:info at es-ee.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 9:22 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Re: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Does it have to be carbon block, or would GAC work? I wonder if we
could design a refillable cap with similar properties?




--On Monday, February 23, 2004 10:57 AM -0500 "Tom Lane, Energy
Post by Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the
carbon blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with
charcoal briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon
block over time or during an intensive equalization from an inverter.
You can turn a carbon block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with
an equalization charge. Over time it will turn to charcoal dust
anyway. Break one open and you will see what I am talking about- this
is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.
Gator Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how
they perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a
good re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of
whatever they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels,
temperatures and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he
was telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated
battery packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their
product and of course they would fail and melt. We were to be
"charging to 26.8 to 27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages
till the battery was full." We went round and round and I gave up
trying to convince him that we needed to get to higher voltages. I
regularly run into melted down sets have removed so many sets of
melted Hydrocaps since that conversation that I have not purchased or
specified them in years. Great idea but longevity & quality seems to
be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved
for higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an
equalizations? Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem
with auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
- - - -
To send a message: RE-wrenches at topica.com
http://www.topica.com/lists/RE-wrenches/
http://www.mrsharkey.com/wrenches/etiquete.htm
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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-24 00:34:12 UTC
Permalink
Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI
and this issue...

My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used
without a GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay
which connects the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is
available. If the GTI is not used or is connected incorrectly (or is
not operating) than the loads are still being powered from the inverter
which is pulsing its output as you describe as part of its islanding
protection scheme.

So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
Post by William Korthof
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software
versions. The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate
great interest, and I always kind of expect to oversights
and "gee wiz" features. The inverters were originally put
in around mid 2001 and just got the upgrades.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
2004-02-24 03:05:26 UTC
Permalink
Except that I have had the same pulsing light problem on a pre-GTI inverter
for a couple of years. Only happens when the generator is running. We've
replaced the genny, replaced the inverter (temporarily, with newer firmware)
and given up. We believe it is caused by some weird load interaction between
a load with harmonics (hard-wired smoke detectors required by code?) and the
generator AVR (replaced that a couple of times). So at least in this case
it's definitely not a GTI problem. I don't even really believe it's an
inverter issue (Lights NEVER flicker with only inverter on.)

Any other ideas?

Jeff Wolfe

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
[mailto:cfreitas at outbackpower.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 7:34 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]

Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI and
this issue...

My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used without a
GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay which connects
the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is available. If the GTI is
not used or is connected incorrectly (or is not operating) than the loads
are still being powered from the inverter which is pulsing its output as you
describe as part of its islanding protection scheme.

So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software versions.
The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate great interest, and I
always kind of expect to oversights and "gee wiz" features. The
inverters were originally put in around mid 2001 and just got the
upgrades.
/wk
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you guys have any
input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a
misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters
retrofitted with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that
ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel have a
flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want
to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
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Roy Butler, Four Winds RE
2004-02-24 05:49:41 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I had the very same problem with one of my systems. Dual SW5548s, Onan
20KW LP auto start genset, charging a Surrette 2700 AH/ 48 volt bank.
The lights would flicker during the intial 15 minutes of each charge
cycle. And then sometimes at several points during the charge cycle.
Drove me and the owner kind of crazy.

What I found out was that by setting one SW max charge amps AC to 5 amps
less than the other that we eliminated the problem. Of course now that
we've replaced that system with a really sweet Outback system with 6-VFX
3648 inverters with ALL the options, we no longer have that flicker!

My opinion is that it was definitely harmonics.

Roy Butler
Four Winds Renewable Energy, LLC
8902 Rt 46
Arkport, NY 14807
607-324-9747
Post by Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
Except that I have had the same pulsing light problem on a pre-GTI inverter
for a couple of years. Only happens when the generator is running. We've
replaced the genny, replaced the inverter (temporarily, with newer firmware)
and given up. We believe it is caused by some weird load interaction between
a load with harmonics (hard-wired smoke detectors required by code?) and the
generator AVR (replaced that a couple of times). So at least in this case
it's definitely not a GTI problem. I don't even really believe it's an
inverter issue (Lights NEVER flicker with only inverter on.)
Any other ideas?
Jeff Wolfe
-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
[mailto:cfreitas at outbackpower.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 7:34 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]
Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI and
this issue...
My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used without a
GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay which connects
the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is available. If the GTI is
not used or is connected incorrectly (or is not operating) than the loads
are still being powered from the inverter which is pulsing its output as you
describe as part of its islanding protection scheme.
So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?
Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software versions.
The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate great interest, and I
always kind of expect to oversights and "gee wiz" features. The
inverters were originally put in around mid 2001 and just got the
upgrades.
/wk
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you guys have any
input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a
misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters
retrofitted with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that
ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel have a
flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want
to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard - Read only the mail you want.
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</x-flowed>
Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-24 14:07:08 UTC
Permalink
I have seen this quirk for years in many pre-GTI inverters. It most often
happens once the bulk charge voltage is reached. You can hear the inverter
buzz fade in and out in time with the light flicker. There are many
different qualities of compact fluorescents, perhaps some with better
filtering. Maybe that's why it occurs on some systems and not others, in
addition to loading differences.

Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner

PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
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Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-24 14:07:08 UTC
Permalink
I have seen this quirk for years in many pre-GTI inverters. It most often
happens once the bulk charge voltage is reached. You can hear the inverter
buzz fade in and out in time with the light flicker. There are many
different qualities of compact fluorescents, perhaps some with better
filtering. Maybe that's why it occurs on some systems and not others, in
addition to loading differences.

Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner

PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
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Roy Butler, Four Winds RE
2004-02-24 05:49:41 UTC
Permalink
<x-flowed>
I had the very same problem with one of my systems. Dual SW5548s, Onan
20KW LP auto start genset, charging a Surrette 2700 AH/ 48 volt bank.
The lights would flicker during the intial 15 minutes of each charge
cycle. And then sometimes at several points during the charge cycle.
Drove me and the owner kind of crazy.

What I found out was that by setting one SW max charge amps AC to 5 amps
less than the other that we eliminated the problem. Of course now that
we've replaced that system with a really sweet Outback system with 6-VFX
3648 inverters with ALL the options, we no longer have that flicker!

My opinion is that it was definitely harmonics.

Roy Butler
Four Winds Renewable Energy, LLC
8902 Rt 46
Arkport, NY 14807
607-324-9747
Post by Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
Except that I have had the same pulsing light problem on a pre-GTI inverter
for a couple of years. Only happens when the generator is running. We've
replaced the genny, replaced the inverter (temporarily, with newer firmware)
and given up. We believe it is caused by some weird load interaction between
a load with harmonics (hard-wired smoke detectors required by code?) and the
generator AVR (replaced that a couple of times). So at least in this case
it's definitely not a GTI problem. I don't even really believe it's an
inverter issue (Lights NEVER flicker with only inverter on.)
Any other ideas?
Jeff Wolfe
-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
[mailto:cfreitas at outbackpower.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 7:34 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]
Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI and
this issue...
My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used without a
GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay which connects
the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is available. If the GTI is
not used or is connected incorrectly (or is not operating) than the loads
are still being powered from the inverter which is pulsing its output as you
describe as part of its islanding protection scheme.
So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?
Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software versions.
The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate great interest, and I
always kind of expect to oversights and "gee wiz" features. The
inverters were originally put in around mid 2001 and just got the
upgrades.
/wk
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you guys have any
input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a
misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters
retrofitted with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that
ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel have a
flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want
to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
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</x-flowed>
Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-24 17:40:47 UTC
Permalink
The system that we're having this issue with is a
California pre-GTI install with an anti-islanding
software upgrade, and is the only system of our many
Trace installs that has had this problem to my
knowledge.

For what it's worth, the guys at Xantrex are being
very responsive. As it turns out, the flicker only
happens when the inverter is selling power to the
grid. The customer noticed this on an intermittantly
cloudy day. When dark clouds covered the sun, no
flicker. When full sun came back so did the flicker.
The flicker only occurs on loads on the backed up
subpanel. He also changed out one of his compact
flourescents for an incandescent and noticed the
flicker still occurred.

The shame is that the utility forced us to change the
software on all these perfectly working pre-GTI
systems to protect against a scenario that hasn't ever
occurred in the real world, and is highly unlikely to.

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by Kirk Herander, VSE
I have seen this quirk for years in many pre-GTI
inverters. It most often
happens once the bulk charge voltage is reached. You
can hear the inverter
buzz fade in and out in time with the light flicker.
There are many
different qualities of compact fluorescents, perhaps
some with better
filtering. Maybe that's why it occurs on some
systems and not others, in
addition to loading differences.
Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy
Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner
PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
__________________________________
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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-24 20:09:14 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/24/2004 9:50:29 AM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
the utility forced us to change the
software on all these perfectly working pre-GTI
systems to protect against a scenario that hasn't ever
occurred in the real world, and is highly unlikely to.
Put the old software back in.

Don

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-25 06:42:16 UTC
Permalink
Don,

I'd love to put the old software back in, but...
I didn't use a chip puller to remove the original
software, instead I used a screwdriver and this bent
some of the pins on the chips. I'm not sure if this
makes them unusable, but I also threw the old stuff
away.

You don't have an extra set of the original software
laying around do you? I might be willing to trade
something in exchange.

Jerry
Post by Don Loweburg, Offline
Put the old software back in.
Don
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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-25 19:38:30 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/24/2004 10:43:09 PM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
I'd love to put the old software back in, but...
I didn't use a chip puller to remove the original
software, instead I used a screwdriver and this bent
some of the pins on the chips. I'm not sure if this
makes them unusable, but I also threw the old stuff
away.

You don't have an extra set of the original software
laying around do you?


Sorry Jerry, I don't.

Don

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Doug Pratt
2004-02-14 22:20:17 UTC
Permalink
Folks,

I have to admit I'm kind of amused. Here we are, a large group of
highly experienced, innovative electricians...and nobody's clear on how
to wire a standard utility meter. But until the past few years, standard
AC watt-hour meters just weren't part of "renewable energy."

Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.

It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)

I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.

Why do I have an Outback and a Trace SW on my wall? Why do I have two
matched PV arrays feeding two MX60 controllers and two matched Concorde
battery packs? You can probably guess, but the official answer has to
wait awhile...I promised Christopher he could break the news, and we
just started collecting data this morning. :-)

Cheers,
Doug Pratt

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Joel Davidson
2004-02-14 23:46:23 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches who have been doing utility intertie PV probably know a few
utility technicians who work in the Meter Section who can answer your
questions. There's almost always a Meter Section tech who likes to share
his knowledge or has the time to figure out different ways to hook up
meters.
[Original Message]
From: Doug Pratt <dmpratt at sbcglobal.net>
To: RE-wrenches at topica. Com <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Date: 2/14/04 2:20:27 PM
Subject: Inverter Monitoring & Canceling Meter Legs [RE-wrenches]
Folks,
I have to admit I'm kind of amused. Here we are, a large group of
highly experienced, innovative electricians...and nobody's clear on how
to wire a standard utility meter. But until the past few years, standard
AC watt-hour meters just weren't part of "renewable energy."
Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.
It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)
I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.
Why do I have an Outback and a Trace SW on my wall? Why do I have two
matched PV arrays feeding two MX60 controllers and two matched Concorde
battery packs? You can probably guess, but the official answer has to
wait awhile...I promised Christopher he could break the news, and we
just started collecting data this morning. :-)
Cheers,
Doug Pratt
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Kirk Herander, VSE
2004-02-15 22:12:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Doug Pratt
Last month I proposed a meter wiring scheme for battery-based,
grid-tied systems (like an SW or Outback) that had grid AC input passing
thru one leg of a standard 4-contact meter, and inverter AC output
passing in the opposite direction thru the other leg. Straight pass-thru
power from the grid to the loads would be ignored, the two currents
cancel each other out. But any renewable power input or grid power use
by the inverter would be registered accordingly. Considerable, but
inconclusive discussion ensued...we need hands-on experience, which I've
got now.
It Works. With inexpensive, standard 4-contact J5 type meters, it DOES
work. I currently have two of them running. One is monitoring a Trace
SW5548, the other is monitoring an Outback GVFX3648 (serial #GFX00001,
thank you very much Robin and Christopher!) The only trick is when
running an AC meter on 120vac systems, there's a small pair of screws on
the back of the meter holding down a connection tab. Loosen them, rotate
the tab open, and run a ground or neutral wire to the screw with the
captive tab. (Caution, the other screw is connected directly to one of
the power contacts.)
I'm running cheap rebuilt Hialeah meters, two different mfr. brands.
One's a GE, the other's a Sangamo(sp?). They run backwards when the
inverter is selling power, forwards when the inverter is battery
charging, and don't move at all at night when the inverter is simply
passing grid power directly to the loads. It's a simple solution folks.
Doug,

OK - but don't we want the meter to only register Solar-generated AC? We
want the meter running forwards, not backwards when selling to the grid,
right? See if you agree with my wiring to do this.

meter socket line lug #1 - to AC1 input
meter socket load lug #1 - from utility AC
meter socket line lug #2 - from inverter AC output
meter socket load lug #2 - to critical loads

example #1 - 5kw of critical loads, 4kw of solar generated(1 hour duration)
--- 5kwh is moving the meter forward from the inverter AC out to critical
loads
--- 1kwh is being supplied from the grid to AC1, moving the meter backwards
--- net registered on meter = 4kwh (solar AC generated)

example #2 - 5kw of critical loads, 6kw of solar generated(1 hour duration)
--- 5kwh is moving the meter forward from the inverter AC out to critical
loads
--- 1kwh is being supplied TO the grid from AC1, moving the meter forwards
also
--- net registered on meter = 6kwh (solar AC generated)

I'll try it again with the 2S meters. I couldn't get it to work before, but
probably forgot to isolate the tab screws and connect the neutral on Sangamo
EZ read meter I used.

Kirk

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 01:03:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kirk Herander, VSE
OK - but don't we want the meter to only register Solar-generated AC?
Yes Kirk - that is the correct hook-up I believe - although I should
pull out my notes to be sure (and I will later today as I am writing up
a "tech note" to put on the OutBack website).

The funny part is that with the terminals on the back isolated (jumper
bar removed) and the terminal connected to neutral - the meter measured
exactly 1/2 of the power produced. So I guess the meter needs 240 vac to
work properly - even when used on a single phase of AC power setup as
described.

So I ran the jumper over to the other meter box and tapped the opposite
hot phase to get the 240 VAC for each of the meters. With this they
worked correctly. So this is a good solution for systems with 120/240
vac power - which is fine even with single inverter applications as the
grid can provide the 240vac (except during an outage). Another option
would be to use a small transformer for making the 120 vac into 240 vac
just for the meter.

This method of using a single meter will spin backwards when battery
charging - so it does account for the losses involved at night (as with
a SW system - the OutBack FX draws zero watts at night). It also
records the power provided during an outage as sold power - as it
should.

Now all we need is sunny weather to actually produce some power...

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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sunwise
2004-02-17 05:10:34 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----

The funny part is that with the terminals on the back isolated (jumper
bar removed) and the terminal connected to neutral - the meter measured
exactly 1/2 of the power produced.

Greetings Christopher and all,

I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.

While I have installed two meters for a system who's owner wanted lots
of "data", the single meter method Doug mentioned sounds pretty slick.

Kurt Nelson

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 14:47:53 UTC
Permalink
I didn't see any wiring diagrams on the Hialeah website:

http://www.hialeahmeter.com/

But a 120 vac meter with 4 terminals should work correctly. The "A" type
meters are pretty nice and inexpensive - no meter base required for
semi-code compliant installations...

Christopher


Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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Travis Creswell, Ozark Solar
2004-02-17 14:51:26 UTC
Permalink
If one inverter of a stacked pair was sleeping would a 240 VAC meter
installed to measure output of them not be accurate?

Travis Creswell
Ozark Energy Services, Inc.
Post by sunwise
I also buy meters from Hialeah (ref Doug Pratt's post) and I had a
similar experience when wiring the meter for 120vac. I spoke with
someone at Hialeah and they said something like "yup, you need 120vac
meters, not those designed for 240". They sent me several (well under
20 bucks each) and they seem to work fine.
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RE wrenches
2004-02-17 15:39:43 UTC
Permalink
Well - too little too late for one of my jobs that I did with 2 meters and
math instructions to the customer, BUT Thank you for pursuing this in time
to simplify the second application here! I am using reconditioned GE meters
from Austin International. Did a little experiment - before commissioning,
I left the transfer switch in the inverter out position, passing the sub
panel straight back to the main panel. The backward running main meter
matched exactly the forward running sub panel readout - so for these two
meters at least the accuracy in bi-directional mode looks good.

I did connect the little screw to a neutral wire (after removing the
jumper) - some instructions I got told me to connect it to ground but I was
thinking that - minute as it is - the micro motor load would be using the
ground as a conductor. Am I right in this thinking and practice? If so we
should heads up the suppliers who are recommending this practice.

Looking forward to a one-meter installation next time.

Also - I have had good luck with Davidge controls' products - they use a
transponder with current transducers and a voltage tap - then pulse out to a
remote odometer style kwh meter (down to 1/10) and also to a rs-232 adapter
that can talk to a computer (with a Davidge supplied - clunky - access
program that has to be on 24-7. With a bit of programming skill one could
massage the data and get graphs, daily, cumulative etc bells and whistles
out of it - even put it on the net. Big advantage is remote transmission of
data and availability in all types (3-phase, 480, 208 etc)


Sincerely,

Geoff Greenfield
NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installer TM
GLREA Certified Photovoltaic Systems Integrator/Installer License Number
0211-01

THIRD SUN SOLAR AND WIND POWER Ltd.
340 West State Street, Unit 25
Athens, OH 45701

Phone (740) 597-3111
Fax (740) 597-1548

www.third-sun.com

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 15:46:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Travis Creswell, Ozark Solar
If one inverter of a stacked pair was sleeping would a 240 VAC meter
installed to measure output of them not be accurate?
With tht OutBack stacking system it would still work - since we use a
autotransformer to keep the L2 leg powered even though the L2
inverter(s) are "sleeping" to reduce power consumption.

Using an external CT (current sense transformer) type meter is probably
the best option as only one KWH meter with two external CTs could
measure both legs simultaneously - the input and output wires for each
inverter simply pass through the CT in opposite directions - cancelling
out the pass through current. This is what I did with the datalogging
system that I installed and is operating on Doug Pratt's system.

I talked with the guys who make the electronic KWH metering system
listed as a approved monitor on the CEC rebate - their monitoring system
is not capable of measuring current in both directions. They are
suppose to work on one and sample it to me for testing. Since they
always use external CTs they would be very useful.

With the OutBack inverters the internal battery charger can be
completely turned off - which eliminates the reverse power flow issue -
so, therefore, could be used with one-way meters... but if you ever did
run the battery charger the data would be corrupted (some one-way meters
will spin forward regardless of the power's direction).

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-17 15:52:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by RE wrenches
I did connect the little screw to a neutral wire (after removing the
jumper) - some instructions I got told me to connect it to ground but I
was thinking that - minute as it is - the micro motor load would be
using the ground as a conductor. Am I right in this thinking and
practice? If so we should heads up the suppliers who are recommending
this practice.
Yes - the tap should be connected to the neutral - not ground - as there
will be a small ground fault current otherwise. Might be enough to trip
off bathroom GFCIs - but only if the meter was installed in certain
areas of the system which is not likely.

I think external CT meters will be the long term solution - just need
less expensive units with bi-directional capability.

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030

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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-20 01:45:50 UTC
Permalink
Wrenches,

I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade his
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.

Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per second,
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't justified
by blaming the software upgrade.

Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship in
good standing.

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798

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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-20 04:55:53 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/19/2004 5:46:28 PM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
And
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem?
Put the old software back in?

don

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Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
2004-02-20 16:03:37 UTC
Permalink
What versions of the SW software did he have before the upgrade, and
what version is it now?

Jeff Wolfe


-----Original Message-----
From: William Korthof [mailto:wkorthof at earthlink.net]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 12:20 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com; RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Re: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]

Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a misnomer.

/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters retrofitted
with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that ever since the
upgrade his flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel
have a flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per second, I can't help but wonder if my
customer isn't justified by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences? And better yet, does
anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want to keep this customer
relationship in good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
__________________________________
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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-20 21:17:25 UTC
Permalink
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Matt Tritt
2004-02-20 23:44:32 UTC
Permalink
Gary,

How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.

Matt T



-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah).
We're seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm
wondering if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is
about done for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a
bunch of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd
be a standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery
capacity suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes?
Any suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not
equalized for several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did
you get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
2004-02-21 00:04:42 UTC
Permalink
Gary,

We often hear from people this time of year about their reduced battery capacity. If the batteries are in an unheated area, the effects of cold temperature seems to magnify the problem of aging batteries and their performance. I was using industrial 2 volt cells when I lived in the Illinois River Canyon. After 6-7 years use I noticed every winter about this time their performance made me think it was time to replace. Come warmer weather all was well again. I left there 5 years ago and the batteries are still in use and performing the same way! This might be part of what you're seeing.

Regards,
Bob Maynard
Energy Outfitters

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Wrenches,

I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah). We're
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm wondering
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.

I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a bunch
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.

Three questions:

1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery capacity
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized for
several years, though the client is now doing so.

2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?

3) Comments?

Thank you!

Gary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Eric Smiley
2004-02-21 00:50:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.

Eric Smiley

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Matt Tritt
2004-02-21 01:08:33 UTC
Permalink
Eric,

After over 20 years messing with batteries and several kinds of
recombining cap types, I can definitely say that hydrocaps go bad/lose
their ability to recombine vapor into water.
Pretty expensive fun you say? You might try Water Miser caps at about
1/2 the cost of Hydrocaps. They might not have the same life (but they
might) but they don't cost an arm and a leg. Plus you can fill the cells
without removing the caps.

Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Smiley [mailto:Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:51 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
How old are the caps? Hydrocaps need to be replaced every few years
since the catalyst gets used-up and stops functioning.
That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting. Do Hydrocaps really wear out?
That would make them much less useful than I thought.

Eric Smiley

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Doug Pratt
2004-02-21 01:56:07 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Smiley [mailto:Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca]

That can't be right since by definition a catalyst is not used up during
the chemical reaction it is promoting.
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought.


A fact that Hydrocaps would rather you didn't know...
Yep, average life expectancy for Hydrocaps is about 5-6 years. Got a big
honkin' generator-driven charger and like to equalize regularly? Expect
even less life expectancy.

Doug Pratt

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Ezra Auerbach, DragonSun Consulting
2004-02-21 01:58:33 UTC
Permalink
I concur with Bob's experience, at this very moment my poor batteries (13
years old) are looking very tired and I'm sure I should replace them, come
spring they'll have a few day's more autonomy and all will be forgiven for
perhaps yet another year. Cold really zaps battery capacity!

Cheers,

Ezra
DragonSun Consulting


----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters <bob at energyoutfitters.com>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:04:42 PM
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
Gary,
We often hear from people this time of year about their reduced battery
capacity. If the batteries are in an unheated area, the effects of cold
temperature seems to magnify the problem of aging batteries and their
performance. I was using industrial 2 volt cells when I lived in the
Illinois River Canyon. After 6-7 years use I noticed every winter about
this time their performance made me think it was time to replace. Come
warmer weather all was well again. I left there 5 years ago and the
batteries are still in use and performing the same way! This might be part
of what you're seeing.
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
Regards,
Bob Maynard
Energy Outfitters
-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Higbee [mailto:gary at windstreamsolar.com]
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 3:26 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Wrenches,
I'm working with a client (on a system I did not install) who has Water
Miser caps on the IBE metal-clad 2-volt cells (I think around 1300Ah).
We're
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
seeing a lot of water loss (and pooling on top of the cells). I'm
wondering
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
if Hydrocaps are an idea or if this (only) 5-year old bank is about done
for.
I spoke with the folks who make the caps, and was sent a sheet with a
bunch
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
of details to provide so they could be made. I would think there'd be a
standard part number for these, though.
1) The fact that we're seeing higher water loss and reduced battery
capacity
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
suggests we're nearing the end of the life of these cells. Yes? Any
suggestions to hang in there a bit longer? The cells were not equalized
for
Post by Bob Maynard, Energy Outfitters
several years, though the client is now doing so.
2) Regardless, have any of you used Hydrocaps on IBE cells? Where did you
get them?
3) Comments?
Thank you!
Gary
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Windstream Solar ~
Gary Higbee (gary at windstreamsolar.com)
(541 ) 607-1818 (Eugene)
(541) 954-3881 (Cell)
Solar, wind, and hydro site analysis and system design
Components dealer and installation assistance
Energy Trust of Oregon contracted system inspector
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Matt Tritt
2004-02-21 17:46:30 UTC
Permalink
Dana,

You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how they
perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a good
re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of whatever
they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels, temperatures
and they don't melt!

Matt T

-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he was
telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated battery
packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their product and
of course they would fail and melt. We were to be "charging to 26.8 to
27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages till the battery was full."
We went round and round and I gave up trying to convince him that we
needed to get to higher voltages. I regularly run into melted down sets
have removed so many sets of melted Hydrocaps since that conversation
that I have not purchased or specified them in years. Great idea but
longevity & quality seems to be poor.

Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved for
higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an equalizations?
Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem with
auto-equalizations functions]

Dana Orzel


Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA

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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-21 17:50:34 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/20/2004 4:51:48 PM Pacific Standard Time,
Eric_Smiley at bcit.ca writes:
Do Hydrocaps really wear out? That would make them much less useful than
I thought
Indeed they do. In some cases the residue plugs the relief vents and the caps
blow off.- some times taking the battery tops too.

Don

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Matt Tritt
2004-02-23 17:56:00 UTC
Permalink
Kurt,

Water Miser caps. They already do this for 1/2 the price of Hydro Caps.

Matt T

-----Original Message-----
From: Kurt Albershardt [mailto:info at es-ee.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 9:22 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Re: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]


Does it have to be carbon block, or would GAC work? I wonder if we
could design a refillable cap with similar properties?




--On Monday, February 23, 2004 10:57 AM -0500 "Tom Lane, Energy
Post by Tom Lane, Energy Conservation Services
What is a HydroCap?? All it is - is 2 pieces of carbon with a platinum
screen glued between the 2 pieces of carbon or sandwiched between the
carbon blocks is the platinum screen. Anybody who barbeques with
charcoal briquettes can easily understand what happens to the carbon
block over time or during an intensive equalization from an inverter.
You can turn a carbon block to charcoal dust in a HydroCap easily with
an equalization charge. Over time it will turn to charcoal dust
anyway. Break one open and you will see what I am talking about- this
is no mystery as to what is in a HydroCap.
Gator Tom
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Tritt" <solarone at charter.net>
To: <RE-wrenches at topica.com>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: RE: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
Post by Matt Tritt
Dana,
You might experiment with a small batch of Water Misers and see how
they perform, but it seems to me that the best solution is with a
good re-watering system. There's been plenty said about the problems
associated with auto waterers on this list but, regardless of
whatever they may be, at least they don't care about voltage levels,
temperatures and they don't melt!
Matt T
-----Original Message-----
From: Dana Orzel [mailto:dana at solarwork.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:50 AM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: Hydrocaps for IBE cells [RE-wrenches]
My .02 - I quit selling "Hydro caps" years ago after getting in a
conversation with the manufacturer [I think from Florida?] where he
was telling me that 28.8 volts and higher [29.4VDC for unheated
battery packs in winter] voltages were outside the design of their
product and of course they would fail and melt. We were to be
"charging to 26.8 to 27.2 VDC and holding at these float voltages
till the battery was full." We went round and round and I gave up
trying to convince him that we needed to get to higher voltages. I
regularly run into melted down sets have removed so many sets of
melted Hydrocaps since that conversation that I have not purchased or
specified them in years. Great idea but longevity & quality seems to
be poor.
Are there long life-high quality rewatering caps that are approved
for higher voltages these days? Will they handle 31VDC for an
equalizations? Or do they need to be removed? [messy and a problem
with auto-equalizations functions]
Dana Orzel
Responsible Technologies for Responsible People.
Great Solar Works, Inc.
dana at solarwork.com - 970.626.5253
Ridgway, CO, USA
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Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
2004-02-24 00:34:12 UTC
Permalink
Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI
and this issue...

My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used
without a GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay
which connects the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is
available. If the GTI is not used or is connected incorrectly (or is
not operating) than the loads are still being powered from the inverter
which is pulsing its output as you describe as part of its islanding
protection scheme.

So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
Post by William Korthof
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software
versions. The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate
great interest, and I always kind of expect to oversights
and "gee wiz" features. The inverters were originally put
in around mid 2001 and just got the upgrades.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you
guys have any input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is
definitely a misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW
inverters retrofitted with the new anti-islanding
software. He claims that ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads
panel have a flicker that pulses about once every
second. Sometimes the flicker is worse than other
times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to
disconnect and reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this
problem? I want to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Jeffery Wolfe, Global Resource Options
2004-02-24 03:05:26 UTC
Permalink
Except that I have had the same pulsing light problem on a pre-GTI inverter
for a couple of years. Only happens when the generator is running. We've
replaced the genny, replaced the inverter (temporarily, with newer firmware)
and given up. We believe it is caused by some weird load interaction between
a load with harmonics (hard-wired smoke detectors required by code?) and the
generator AVR (replaced that a couple of times). So at least in this case
it's definitely not a GTI problem. I don't even really believe it's an
inverter issue (Lights NEVER flicker with only inverter on.)

Any other ideas?

Jeff Wolfe

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Freitas --- OutBack Power
[mailto:cfreitas at outbackpower.com]
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 7:34 PM
To: RE-wrenches at topica.com
Subject: RE: SW firmware upgrade flourescent flicker [RE-wrenches]

Thought I would share what little knowledge I have on the Xantrex GTI and
this issue...

My undestanding is that this occurs when the GTI software is used without a
GTI connected. Internally the GTI includes a pass-thru relay which connects
the AC loads directly to the grid when AC power is available. If the GTI is
not used or is connected incorrectly (or is not operating) than the loads
are still being powered from the inverter which is pulsing its output as you
describe as part of its islanding protection scheme.

So does the customer have a GTI box on the system?

Christopher Freitas
OutBack Power Systems, Inc.
cfreitas @ outbackpower.com
www.outbackpower.com
Arlington WA USA
Tel 360 435 6030
I'm here but I haven't paid close attention to the software versions.
The Brand X inverters definitely don't generate great interest, and I
always kind of expect to oversights and "gee wiz" features. The
inverters were originally put in around mid 2001 and just got the
upgrades.
/wk
Are any of the Xantrex guys still on list? Do you guys have any
input regarding this issue?
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by William Korthof
Yes, I've seen the same result. "upgrade" is definitely a
misnomer.
/wk
Post by Jerry Caldwell
Wrenches,
I have a customer who had his pre-GTI Trace SW inverters
retrofitted with the new anti-islanding software. He claims that
ever since the upgrade
his
Post by Jerry Caldwell
flourescent lights powered by the backed up loads panel have a
flicker that pulses about once every second. Sometimes the
flicker is worse than other times.
Since the anti-islanding software is supposed to disconnect and
reconnect to the grid once per
second,
Post by Jerry Caldwell
I can't help but wonder if my customer isn't
justified
Post by Jerry Caldwell
by blaming the software upgrade.
Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?
And
Post by Jerry Caldwell
better yet, does anyone have ideas to solve this problem? I want
to keep this customer relationship
in
Post by Jerry Caldwell
good standing.
Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-24 17:40:47 UTC
Permalink
The system that we're having this issue with is a
California pre-GTI install with an anti-islanding
software upgrade, and is the only system of our many
Trace installs that has had this problem to my
knowledge.

For what it's worth, the guys at Xantrex are being
very responsive. As it turns out, the flicker only
happens when the inverter is selling power to the
grid. The customer noticed this on an intermittantly
cloudy day. When dark clouds covered the sun, no
flicker. When full sun came back so did the flicker.
The flicker only occurs on loads on the backed up
subpanel. He also changed out one of his compact
flourescents for an incandescent and noticed the
flicker still occurred.

The shame is that the utility forced us to change the
software on all these perfectly working pre-GTI
systems to protect against a scenario that hasn't ever
occurred in the real world, and is highly unlikely to.

Jerry Caldwell
Light Energy Systems
510-205-2798
Post by Kirk Herander, VSE
I have seen this quirk for years in many pre-GTI
inverters. It most often
happens once the bulk charge voltage is reached. You
can hear the inverter
buzz fade in and out in time with the light flicker.
There are many
different qualities of compact fluorescents, perhaps
some with better
filtering. Maybe that's why it occurs on some
systems and not others, in
addition to loading differences.
Vermont Solar Engineering
Kirk Herander
North American Board of Certified Energy
Practitioners
Certified Solar PV Installer(TM)
Xantrex Certified Dealer Charter Member
NYSERDA-eligible installer
Vermont Solar and Wind Partner
PO Box 697
Burlington, VT. 05402
www.vermontsolar.com
www.backeastsolar.com
800.286.1252 - 802.863.1202
fax 802.863.7908
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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-24 20:09:14 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/24/2004 9:50:29 AM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
the utility forced us to change the
software on all these perfectly working pre-GTI
systems to protect against a scenario that hasn't ever
occurred in the real world, and is highly unlikely to.
Put the old software back in.

Don

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Jerry Caldwell
2004-02-25 06:42:16 UTC
Permalink
Don,

I'd love to put the old software back in, but...
I didn't use a chip puller to remove the original
software, instead I used a screwdriver and this bent
some of the pins on the chips. I'm not sure if this
makes them unusable, but I also threw the old stuff
away.

You don't have an extra set of the original software
laying around do you? I might be willing to trade
something in exchange.

Jerry
Post by Don Loweburg, Offline
Put the old software back in.
Don
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Don Loweburg, Offline
2004-02-25 19:38:30 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 2/24/2004 10:43:09 PM Pacific Standard Time,
solarcowboy at yahoo.com writes:
I'd love to put the old software back in, but...
I didn't use a chip puller to remove the original
software, instead I used a screwdriver and this bent
some of the pins on the chips. I'm not sure if this
makes them unusable, but I also threw the old stuff
away.

You don't have an extra set of the original software
laying around do you?


Sorry Jerry, I don't.

Don

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