Author Topic: Building a 6kw pure sine wave inverter using power jack boards part2 the guts..  (Read 29119 times)

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oztules

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Well it has been a while, and a few have been built from France to Queensland and every where in between from the looks of it, and this is too little too late really.

All the info is in the previous posts in several sites... it is all out there now... so this is different to what I would have done months ago... it is just a simple... this is how I built this one kind of thing, and nothing new will be here I suspect..... thats the problem with lassitude or lack of time.. or both.

So we will start with the boards you can buy off the shelf, with a brief explanation.

These are not the best in the world by any means, but they are the cheapest very good cards you can get hold of easily, and cobble together a world class system

Much has been written about power jack crap, and a good amount of it is true.... but just as every compulsive  lair can tell the truth sometimes, there are a few jems in their inventory that deserve  credit where credit is due.... and total stuff ups too.

The Good:

They managed to stumble upon a generic board that seems to be in China in a lot of unheard of brands. They are the same basically as the W7 power star cards in nearly all aspects.... except the reporting to the outside world stuff..... lots of colored leds for the W7 style units, and a large digital interface on the later power jacks... which seem to be fairly useless... but I guess they tried. It reports incorrectly, and half of it is useless information..... better without it really...

The odd thing about these boards, is that coupled with a decent transformer, they are capable of showing off against the best in the world as far as just being a solid powerful inverter is concerned. They are amazingly powerful, and tough, and will drive any load thrown at them if your transformer and battery regime can handle it.... truly remarkable performance, and second to none that I have witnessed.

The Bad:

Just about everywhere they can mess it up, they have done so. They supply transformers capable of reasonable performance, but rate them astronomically high.... just sad.... at least halve or more to get a real idea of their power....... I say more, as they never build the same inverter twice... they change transformers willy nilly, use one or two for the same specs, then  supply from one to three fans to paper over the transformer swindles.... it is just sad.

Their QC is very marginal.... if it exists at all, and the first thing you do is go over their product very carefully, to find loose connections, and foreign matter left in the box... screws etc. You have no idea what will be in the box either. I have seen at least 4 versions of 8kw units turn up on the island... all different. The common thing seems to be trying to be cheap... and using as small a transformer as they dare, and then try to cool it as best they can to get some performance out of it...... in a lot of instances for particularly 12v units, this is probably good enough, as folks with them probably don't have the battery to bother it for long anyway, but in the 24v and particularly 48v range most folks can drive them hard for extended periods,..... and they will fall down from over heat.

The programming is woeful for the battery charger inter change.... not from inverter to grid sync, that is good and smooth transition, but from grid cut off to inverter stand alone .... it will blow up the fets from reactance if you have decent transformers in it... so if you roll your own transformer.... you MUST MUST MUST turn off unit before turning off grid power to it... or you will kill it spectacularly...... just a matter of time when the cross over is near zero in the cycle. The original W7 styles had lossy transformers, and so could stand the inrush currents.... but not  with big low leakage  torroids

The inrush current to the caps in the 15kw power boards will blow up 190 amp overloads just turning it on... so beware when you hook batteries to it, it will blow off chunks of the terminal.... so touch the nuts, not the threads with the lugs. ( I use a 15 ohm resistor for a few seconds, then there are no sparks.)

So with that in mind, we move on and build  inverters that so far have been faultless for over a year over several sites ( there are a few of them about the place over here). They all drive large loads during the days including hot water services of 3.6kw while running the houses with water pumps, kettles, washing machines and anything else at the time.. so going into the 5-7kw range during the daylight hours is normal.

They also reverse grid tie very nicely, and up to 6kw has been seen going into them for short periods...... battery banks are far and few between that can absorb in the 200 amp range for long @50-60v , so if you want to drive them that hard you will need to have big AC loads, as the grid tie does NOT repeat NOT care what happens to the batteries, and will not regulate. More likely, it will push the battery hard until it goes up in voltage, and this will in turn absorb less power, so the excess will drive up the AC voltage, and at about 258v it will shut down the grid tie unit from over voltage... unless you interfere first with some other way to regulate the grid tie.

So thats what we have to work with. We can make a very useful inverter that will run a decent sized household without costing much more than $500 ( even in France.... buying the cores from England). Other comparable  units capable of the same performance with the same idle characteristics are very much more than that.... probably 10-20 times in fact...... The W7 powerstar and copies...... inverters are well built, and have almost no bad habits except for the 5kwh/day idle losses... so if you have solar to spare, that may be a better way to go too.... but they will use up 5kwh/day, and the fans runs full time. There are some units like that here as well, and have performed flawlessly for over three years in their native state.... they were only $700 for 6kw and 18kw surge... very good units too.

So this is what we want to end up with:



And this is what we start with. A set of 15kw 48vdc 220v boards. They can be found on ebay, and are very much more expensive than when I first started out with these kritters... there are an awful lot sold since I asked them to put them up for sale. They have also since read some stuff on the net and improved their idle currents significantly..... so we have changed some of their poor behavior.




The newer boards have a black wire coming out from nowhere as seen here..... it goes to neg terminal, along with all the other black wires coming from the power card.... and no, I have not bothered to find out what t does.... my originals do not have it.



Here is a pic of the black neg leads, and a side on of the pins in the 20 pin header. If you buy the set, it comes complete with the start board that uses 12 of those pins. We can also see the later model replaceable fet boards... neat idea too.



Here is the front of the board, showing the driver sub board, and the CT and the transformer output interface to the control board.



next post....

..........oztules
Flinders Island Australia

oztules

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Here are the pin outs of interest if you don't get the control cables supplied ( corrected by Glen at thebackshed.com )

9221-0

While we are on this board, we need to stop another wicked fault that will shut us down every day, and that is the propensity of the board to track the current peaks instead of the mean, in oder to trigger the over voltage function..... we use a 5v6 zenner diode like this across R14 10m resistor. I have heard that a 1m will do well, but I like to make sure it will not shut off due to spurious voltages... that pisses me off.




Here are the donor grid ties. Aero sharp 1.5 units



And here with the new guts for it



First we need to make all the changes to the stainless steel cases. I want 4 fans, cut outs for the 180 amp o/load switches, mounting for the output o/load switch and a few other things.... so we do the metal work... mine looks like this for the fan and switches on one side.




ended the 5 pics

..............oztules




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oztules

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These things are stainless steel, and hard to drill unless you use sharp tooling... be warned.
I use a 5" grinder with 1mm cutting blades to cut out the fan holes, and the o/load cut outs.
And from the inside our handy work looks like this




Next we mount the boards. I used two pieces of hard wood of the correct length to give me something to screw the main board too. It can just be seen there. I also decided to use the positive terminal on the top of the unit to the main heat sink ( where pos goes). It is the high side switched heat sink, and carries the 12 fets on it. The low sides switches have two separate heat sinks, and each heat sink takes an input to the main transformer.




Now we can see the unit with the AC output ( two heavy black wires at the top right on the control card.

The inductor ( three turns on a E65 ferrite former is also connected to one of the heat sinks of the low side, and terminates on a stand off ready to take the transformer primary. The other primary goes direct to the other low side heat sink.

The fans are seen, as is the AC o/load and the DC tripple 63A o/load switch. The Neg terminal is on the left side wall ( bottom of the unit). This will stop me from shorting out the spanner from the plus to the minus.... they are 2 feet apart on opposite ends of the inverter... that should stop me from modifying my tools using the splat method.

Neg goes from the terminal on the case to the main switch then to the stand off next to the connector wall, then to the 6 leads from the power card. So thats pos connected, neg connected, AC connected from the card output to the o/load and neutral is hanging loose and not seen at the moment... I am attempting to keep this one neat (ha ha).......

And a view from the other end of the box.



The fans are now connected in series for 48v with a dropping resistor, and the fan controller I built. Their fan control is terrible.
A note at this point, they will need to see a fan tacho feedback line. This I will supply by using a 2" fan with tacho wire, it won't be used to cool anything, just to satisfy the computer. All cooling will be done by my fan system.

The transformer AC goes direct to a massive terminal block. From there the neutral will go to the output and a sample top the control card. The active will go to the to the control card, through the CT transformer, and back to the output o/load.. through 4mm wires



Now we can see the active come to the board, through the CT and back to the o/load. The neutral goes to the board, but nowhere else.... I am only using it to give the controller a sample of voltage, but the current goes through the CT for the active.




and thats is for another 5 pics



...............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

oztules

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Here is the fan controller



and circuit board

9232-1

and with it's bottom on



There is also a 25 amp 240v amphol fitting on the bottom for the AC out.

Were on the final stretch.....
Here we have gotten a sub front... never tried this before, but sick of having too many wires connected to a removable panel... this time we take the front off and no wire are disturbed...



So it looks like this now



And thats pretty much it I think....


....................oztules

Flinders Island Australia

clockmanFRA

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Here is my efforts.

The OzInverter.

9237-0

Its a standard Steel Enclosure box with internal chassis plate, 600mm x 400mm wide and 300mm deep. Its wall mounted with an extra wall bracket as it weighs about 52kgs...... :P

The meters stuff takes up space and wire.

9238-1

Oztules, I will give you some operating running specs etc , but so far I have had a good 4kW out of it for up to 40 minutes at a time. AC coupling yes but as Winter approaches I only have max 2kW going in, so no worries about over back charging the batteries at the moment.

But Yes I will give more details later, especially as I have some meters installed. At present we have Fine Autumn weather that is splendid and I have half the roof of the building off, so working every daylight hour to re-cover and re-slate, before it rains. phew!

I will document my build and produce a booklet, similar to my PV Trackers, with lots of colour Photos.
Not sure how I will document Oztules wonderful information, as it now runs to over 30,000 words.........

« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 02:24:05 AM by clockmanFRA »
Everything is possible, just give me time.

oztules

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........30 000 words...... I talk too ,much obviously.

Forgot to include some pics of it working.

Here we are testing at 4kw.... using a 2kw jug, and the fan heater that I built for panel construction a few years ago. Temp ran a 15C above ambient, fans at about 1/2 speed stable. It seems to turn on at 34.5c and can't hear the fans. By the time it gets to 35.5 it is running fairly briskly, and easily keeps the unit at 36c while running the 4kw Ambient is about 20-21c..... will have to load it up further to get the fans to max out, but that will have to wait until daylight, no point burning high power at night... batteries at 50.5 while running the 4kw... and ever so slowly dropping to 50.1v



and a pic of the ever so dangerous "solar panel maker"



Will run the house over the next week to put it through it's burn in... that will do about 100kwh for the 7 days I guess.... we are NOT frugal at all ::)


Just beautiful work Clockman. if it works as well as it looks, you will have no problems at all.... CHECK TIGHTNESS OF CABLES.... I found I had only hand tightened the b+ nut, and at 4kw it gets plenty hot... cold as ......after a tighten up..

..............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Neil

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Some Great work Guys,

I have one question, your transformers are for 48volts, I'm using 24volts will there be a big difference in the building of this transformer?

Thanks,
Neil

oztules

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No major difference.

You will have half the turns on the primary of thicker wire ( twice the cross section or two in hand)... ok up to maybe 3kw, but getting very thick for more than that... your burning up at least 40 amps per Kw@25v....compared to 20 amps/kw@50v starts to get serious after 3kw (120amps)... you want to be up in the 90sqmm copper then, but you would only need 8 or so turns.@25v. You only have the 8kw controllers as max@24v.....how much do you want?

If you want to go harder, and use the 15kw boards, I would seriously consider 48v system.

Clockman, I have cut down on the meter stuff, and may look at a nano arduino with 4 line lcd , or a mega perhaps with color touch screen and display for everything.....you can keep adding meters forever it seems......


...................oztules
« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 01:22:24 PM by oztules »
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clockmanFRA

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"Clockman, I have cut down on the meter stuff, and may look at a nano arduino with 4 line lcd , or a mega perhaps with color touch screen and display for everything.....you can keep adding meters forever it seems......"

It would be nice to have the arduino Data SD card option also, then we can look at what has been happening.
 My mate Eric did me a arduino with SD card for my battery management system. He desperately tried to get me to understand the programing, sadly all I could manage was altering/tweaking his code.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 02:04:49 PM by clockmanFRA »
Everything is possible, just give me time.

Neil

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Hi Oztules, I can get the 10k cards that are 24v 220 60hz, I was hoping to get 5k out of it if possible.

Thanks for your help

Neil

oztules

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easy to get the 5kw from that.... so long as you can support the 200 amps.



..............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Neil

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Oztules, so the thickest I can get in for the primary and is 14awg for the secondary ok.

Neil

oztules

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You want to have 20 amps in the secondary. I usually try to use at least 2 in hand 2mm thick wire... or about 6-7mmsq of copper all up.... however that translates into awg..... I think about 3 in hand would work for you with 14g

.............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Neil

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Thanks Oztules, I'll post pics when I get this built.

Neil

Bruce S

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"Clockman, I have cut down on the meter stuff, and may look at a nano arduino with 4 line lcd , or a mega perhaps with color touch screen and display for everything.....you can keep adding meters forever it seems......"

It would be nice to have the arduino Data SD card option also, then we can look at what has been happening.
 My mate Eric did me a arduino with SD card for my battery management system. He desperately tried to get me to understand the programing, sadly all I could manage was altering/tweaking his code.

Gents;
 with the amount of work OperaHouse can get from those little gems! I'll bet there's all kinds of data you could garner from having a arduino along with the needed sensors.

It would be fun to see the lines of code for it.
I can finally do a little coding for these , but NO where near others.
Otzules;
IS that the oven heater for you homemade PVs? WOW!

Cheers
Bruce S
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oztules

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Yes Bruce, thats the critter.

You'll be pleased to know those panels we built back then are all fine and have shown no degradation of any kind..... remarkable really... Did about 5-6kw or so back then, and they are pumping water around the island happily..... we did break two .......rattling across the paddocks in a trailer to where they would be set up, but apart from them ... all well..

These inverter conversions seem more popular than I anticipated.... they are popping up all over the world..... amazing really.

The arduino mega with the color touch screen  has plenty of I/O spare, and has the SD card built on the back for graphics storage too, but you could store data there if you wished....... I'm still a neophyte at programming them I'm afraid..... like everything else I guess.



...............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Bruce S

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Otzules;
Good to see most of them arrived in good order!
Don't take these next sentences any way but as a compliment . Flat files like texting and emails can be so hard to take a person's true meanings  8).
1) PV cells have gone up and are now harder to find (After you and others build these merely by using an oven and a vacuum).
2) PJ 5k & 10K powerboards are now getting pricey and harder to get without going in a round-about way. (After you post the wonderful part1 ) while the rest of us couldn't wait for the next installment!!

YA really gotta stop helping people so MUCH! :P

 SOoo since I can't find any PV cells to work with , I volunteered to help restore this little gem  ;D
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 07:09:19 AM by Bruce S »
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clockmanFRA

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Hi Oztules, I have just been calibrating my meters and giving the OzInverter some testing.

All looks good for the full install back down the Power station building.

I have a few of these old UPS 12v batteries, so I stuck a few strings together so I can test.

When I bench tested I noticed that when just connecting the 48vdc supply, and not switching the OzInverter on, my 250a breaker made a phut sound, so the Caps are straightaway pulling.

On the  below test rig I fitted a 100a changeover switch to actually allow the DC to feed the OzInverter in a controlled manner. 

9266-0

Load on the 230vac side was a filament 100w bulb.

Meters all working, and the photo shows after about 30 minutes. The DC meter Volts is okay/about correct but the Amps needs fiddling and zero calibration and altering, switch the DC off and I have to start again.  :'(

AC meter in the middle is very good.

9267-1

I fitted a analogue Amp meter just to see what the running wattage is. But boy oh boy, after an hour rest I switched the DC back on, and for a brief milli second the Amp meter needle shot up to about 50 amps.........



Okay running with no load the OzInverter is using between 30 & 40 watts, although my calibration might be slightly high.
Under a 100w load the OzInverter is using about 140 watts on the DC side.
PJ boards settled at about 26 C with no cooling.
The Toroid is very quite and the temp never got above 17 C. The choke still slightly hums, so I may get another and have another good super glue time.

I can live with 40 watts being used on standby.

I will report back when the OzInverter is working/Installed again with some more figures............

Nice oztules real Nice! and thanks again.

Bruce, A 1 inch diameter stainless steel ON OFF button.......   ;D

« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 12:27:43 PM by clockmanFRA »
Everything is possible, just give me time.

oztules

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Instantaneous surge on start up ( battery connection) is in the 300 amp range..... massive splat material.
I use a 15 to 39r resistor to get the caps up to 48v or so before I hit the switch.... other wise it blows my 180a o/load.

We have very large transformers, and more e core inductor will get the idle down a bit more, but I have no problems if it is anywhere less than 50w. Systems this big won't really see it.

Those meters for the DC are fiddly with the current, and will be the first thing replaced by arduino nano... no question.

Don't notice the memory problem once installed, as you tend not to ever release it from the battery bank... in the last few years anyway.

All looking good.... and so is Bruce's new project .......nice...

The last one I built to do the article on, used the very first transformer I did which was simply strip the secondary off two of them, and series the primaries, then wind the new primary with 35mm wire.

It heats up faster at 6kw and beyond, as I think the R losses are higher ( longer wire route ), and so when we drive it very hard, the fets need to drive even harder to get the voltage up ..... it would appear that the transformer is key to big performance... any short cuts there costs in heat particularly in the fets. Will try to find out exactly why later on. Am going to replace the transformer as a matter of course, as I knew it was sloppy compared to a total strip operation... it was a test bed.... it needs a rebuild to bring it up to current spec.

The unit I built for the remote island  with one house on it, is working particularly well, and has an air conditioner/heat pump  on it as as well now, and will be running the shearing sheds this week too... as well as the house.. first time with no generator plant required.... new experience for the owner for sure.

.......oztules

Flinders Island Australia

dom444

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Great post I am half way through building the transformer right now looking good, but i went to order the boards and nearly had heart attach the board combination is now selling for $360 Australian bit rich for me, so i ordered the controller board but i will build my own H bridge board i think seeing as the Inspire grid ties have the biggest heat sinks i have ever seen and what a waste.
And here in Melbourne i can still get the Inspire for $50 brand new box unopened.

I was wondering if someone might have ribbon cable connections for the driver board I did find the circuit on another forum,  and any other helpful information  regarding the board, I was thinking of
using STY 140NS10 FETs as they have 450W dissipation each 100V 140A the  IRFB4110 i see used on there board has only 370w dissipation  I was going to use 6 per leg of the bridge, should make it almost indestructible I would think.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 05:51:01 PM by dom444 »

clockmanFRA

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Hi dom444,

How is the H bridge board going?

I have had a few personal mails enquiring where folk can get the 15kW boards from, as the middle man here at ..... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121372307145?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&var=420314377003&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

is being reluctant to sell new ones without high res photos of your old boards.

Seems the Power Jack board supply may be drying up?

'Over The Wall' on Anotherpower.com recently mentioned......    "For anyone wanting boards, Cher at PJ is very very helpful and I recommending getting in touch with her directly. powerjack.cher )@( gmail dot com "


I know that Oztules mentioned that "Power Jack boards are still a cost effective solution with the PCB and components" but I think now I may be looking for a homemade PCB power board I can put together myself.

Problem is that my understanding of this kind of 'High power' board production is very limited.
There is a lot of extra solder on the bottom of these PJ boards...........

Everything is possible, just give me time.

Bruce S

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ClockmanFRA;
 I hate to say it, but some of those solder joint look a bit suspect! More like they are not good solder joints and need to be redone if at all possible.
See where the pins come through? and the dipped hole around them? That's a failure spot waiting to happen, once the pins start heating up those could fail.

Bruce _S
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oztules

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Power jack seems to be happy to shoot themselves in the foot as usual it appears.

If you copy the PJ power board using heavy copper,and soldering the tracks  heavier still where they have, you will not go wrong. Heavy copper is key here.
If you get them commercially made, that is done too i think...... and if you do let me know.....

There are a few folks working on the alternative driver boards from the sounds, and I may yet do so as well... time.... ( plus I have so many inverters now anyway)

"STY 140NS10 FET" is a very very expensive way to not improve the boards Dom. Their Rds on is 2-3 times higher than the 4110, and 20-30 times more expensive... not the things to use on experimental boards. Even reject 4110 from China for 50cents a piece have better than .009R as a general observation, and thats as good as it gets for the 140Ns10, more typically .012R.
You can get 4110 in 247 package too f you want to pay a lot more. I have tested these at less than .003R... but you pay as fortune for them too... and no gain that I can see practically.
If the board is running fine, the 4110 will peak past 20000w... and still survive happily, so not much to improve really. If there is a driver glitch, then nothing will save them or the STY 140NS10 FET.... nothing....


..............oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Railroads

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Good Evening Gentlemen, I have been lurking in the shadows around here for several years reading the AC induction motor conversion threads for wind turbines. Really good stuff I have seen being built err engineered here. I am very happy to have found this site and I hope to be able to learn and work with the established members to realize my energy projects. As with any RE project a good inverter is at the heart of the setup. As such I have a question regarding these homebuilt inverters?

Is it possible to run a diesel generator and rectify the AC and feed the HV DC into the inverter for conditioning and then on to the AC loads or as DC to charge the batteries?

I am looking at a setup like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUE1RQRAXlg

The nice thing about a induction generator is AC motors and caps are cheap and quiet a few KW can be generated on the cheap with a large AC motor and a good diesel engine. But, AC induction generators are a bit fussy about what kinds of loads are connected and voltage control can be a hassle.

If the inverter could line condition a induction generator into a usable power source for low sun or wind days I see some possibilities.

This is the only induction generator controller I have seen available for construction so a ELC type setup is possibly for these machines with alot of work and a bit of money.  http://microhydropower.net/mhp_group/portegijs/humbird/humb_main.html

Robert

oztules

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No. These are low voltage inverters... 12-48v ( type dependent) to 110v or 240v through a transformer.

.................oztules
Flinders Island Australia

Railroads

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Ah, Ok Thanks.

Robert

dgd

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Thanks Oztules and Clockman.

Those many pics were very useful. I'm at the stage of getting the two Inspire Solar boxes together and the parts mounted inside. Testing on the bench went very well, the rewound toroid was very quiet  and the 12kW pcbs and heat sinks didn't heat up too much during a short 4Kw test.
I was a bit concerned about the thru soldering of the fet legs, looks rather stingy on flowed solder, maybe I should resolder them all.

These boxes  are stainless steel and bloody difficult to work with/ Its a pity I can't reuse the removable front panels as they well overlap the boxes at bottom which is curved out, so when boxes bolted together lids wont go in place.

I have decided the have the pos and neg inputs into the PV connector holes on bottom box, I have some terminal studs and insulators from scrapped Trace inverters and these fit nicely.

I'm not really in any rush to complete the hardware so want to get the metering and reporting sorted out.
My plans are to use an Arduino Mega2560, ethernet/SD shield, max3232 serial card, protocard with screw edge connections and a DIN rail mounting kit. The UNO is too limited for what I want and there is an easy upgrade path from the 16Mhz/8kram Mega to the DUE 85Mhz/96k ram if the need arises.

I am also not too interested in having a front cover mounted LCD (eg the 4 by 16 type) or any displays of any type as I want to see what is happening with my Oz inverter using an Ipad, PC or my 55inch LG tv.
This means web connectivity, I plan a few simple html5 pages to display the basic running data.

Fortunately this is something I already did with my Arduino web system for Midnite Classic controller (all details of this are in the Aduino area of the Midnite forum) so the coding should be fairly straightforward.

dgd
Off grid since 4/2000
Midnite C150,C250,Clipper, 2.8Kw PV, 2Kw turbine,1025Ah24v FLA (1999), SW3024E (1997), 3q16 48v300Ah LiFeYPO4 6Kw OzInverter, Arduino DUE web monitor.