can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

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can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby ke6cvh on Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:49 pm

Hello group,

We have two separate power systems. The critical power system has two older sealed gtfx2524's that I used to have in the desert in the Middle East then shipped to install at my house after I left that place. The non-critical power system is still being installed and consists of four vented 3524's that can do the newer grid zero. I would really like to upgrade my older system with grid zero capability. The older system has the older Mate that is oval shaped (I'm uncertain but guessing the hub is the same). The newer system being installed on the non critical power system has the newest version of the remote Mate head.

I really would very much like to be able to do grid zero on the critical power system. What do I do to upgrade and be able to do grid zero on this system?

Advanced thanks and best regards,
Mike
ke6cvh
Junior Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:36 pm
My RE system: Critical power system: two older gtfx2524, two midnite solar classic 150, older mate controller, hub, two midnite solar breaker boxes...... non-critical power system: newer mate remote head, hub, four vfxr3524a with two midnite solar classic 150, two midnite solar kid, three intronics mppt75 charge controllers using midnite solar breaker boxes x 4.......very large array of solar salad solar panels but with each type going into it's own mppt controller to keep them separate. cheap chinese air cooled 5kw diesel generator into 2kw 24v power supply and also knife switch for shop power. 24v battery bank wet lead acid

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby klundquist on Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:34 am

Hello and welcome to the OutBack Forum. Thank you for filling out your profile!

You would need to replace the GTFX2524 inverters with the newer "R" model inverters.

What is driving the choice to use grid zero?

Thanks,

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Systems Engineer
http://www.alpha.com/solar
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Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby ke6cvh on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:45 am

Hello Kurt,

So what do you propose I do with the old inverter drop it off as landfill at a junk pick up point? What about replacing just the main board? How much is the board and how much does that cost and if I replace the board would it then have the function?
ke6cvh
Junior Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:36 pm
My RE system: Critical power system: two older gtfx2524, two midnite solar classic 150, older mate controller, hub, two midnite solar breaker boxes...... non-critical power system: newer mate remote head, hub, four vfxr3524a with two midnite solar classic 150, two midnite solar kid, three intronics mppt75 charge controllers using midnite solar breaker boxes x 4.......very large array of solar salad solar panels but with each type going into it's own mppt controller to keep them separate. cheap chinese air cooled 5kw diesel generator into 2kw 24v power supply and also knife switch for shop power. 24v battery bank wet lead acid

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby klundquist on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:08 am

ke6cvh wrote:So what do you propose I do with the old inverter drop it off as landfill at a junk pick up point?


If that is the route you choose I'd be happy to pay for you to ship the inverters to me. Otherwise I've seen used FX inverters selling for ~$800 depending on the model. You could also keep them as a spare/backup. I still am interested to know why the Grid Zero (GZ) mode is important. What is the goal for using GZ mode with these two inverters?

ke6cvh wrote:What about replacing just the main board? How much is the board and how much does that cost and if I replace the board would it then have the function?


I'm pretty sure the R model boards are not backwards compatible so if this works you would need to replace all the boards. Even then I don't know if the transformer or transformer wire connections are compatible. If it does work out the label/product listing of the inverters will be void as the guts don't match the label on the case. Sorry I don't know what the boards cost.

Thanks,

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Systems Engineer
http://www.alpha.com/solar
klundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
Location: Arlington, WA
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby ke6cvh on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:16 am

HI Kurt,

I am using this inverter overseas in the Philippines. It is not cost effective to ship it back to USA. I could care less about any warranty because I am so far away. My background is 30 plus years in electronics both repair and as a field engineer for satellite. I am not set up for selling back to the grid. In fact the "smart meter" sitting near the road should be called a "greedy" meter. I quietly set up to sell RE when I first had this hooked up and running over 2 years ago. I was providing over 3kw to the grid and man was that meter chalking up the energy I was providing to the grid but it was counting it as if I was consuming it and charging me the going rate in pesos for the electricity I was giving them for free. This is why I like grid zero. I have a large shop that the 4 new inverters will be powering. We have a crazy amount of panels, over 90 and soon will have 48 more. I would prefer to convert my two older gtfx2524's to grid zero but need to figure out the cost. Nobody is going to want or even be able to afford to buy these inverters already here so they will be boat anchors without the conversion. I usually do things outside the box anyways. I have some other ideas but wanted to see what boards exactly would need to be replaced and how much it would cost. I would do the rest. If I cannot get an answer then I have other options I'll have to figure out.
ke6cvh
Junior Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:36 pm
My RE system: Critical power system: two older gtfx2524, two midnite solar classic 150, older mate controller, hub, two midnite solar breaker boxes...... non-critical power system: newer mate remote head, hub, four vfxr3524a with two midnite solar classic 150, two midnite solar kid, three intronics mppt75 charge controllers using midnite solar breaker boxes x 4.......very large array of solar salad solar panels but with each type going into it's own mppt controller to keep them separate. cheap chinese air cooled 5kw diesel generator into 2kw 24v power supply and also knife switch for shop power. 24v battery bank wet lead acid

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby klundquist on Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:56 am

Have you thought about trying out the High Battery Transfer (HBX) fuction? This is a Mate/Mate3 feature that tells the inverters to disconnect from the grid unless the batteries drop below a certain voltage. If your PV system produces as much or more energy as your critical loads consume then it should work well. I suggest you turn off the battery charger on the inverter. Ideally your PV array has extra juice to recharge the batteries too.

Here is a video that shows setup for the Mate/Mate2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyYIsY8Na2A

Here is a video that shows setup for the Mate3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBxCwdDScTM

Thanks,

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Systems Engineer
http://www.alpha.com/solar
klundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
Location: Arlington, WA
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby ke6cvh on Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:44 pm

Hi Kurt, I had programmed the HBX about 2 years ago when I got this system here after sending it from the Middle East where it previously was set up. Following the youtube video was a big help as I had mis-programmed part of the setup. I already had it programmed to drop automatically from the grid during certain daylight hours but had the problem with occasional usage causing it to go back to the grid and if I was not carefully monitoring it then it would stay there for the rest of the day which is a complete waste of the capabilities of these panels. We, at times, are running high power drain equipment such as welding equipment for example. This is why we have the solar partly to make our own higher power on site without the associated electric bill that comes with one of the highest utility rates in the world that the Philippines has for residential and even higher for commercial. I'll monitor closely to ensure this is not a future problem. Another problem we are having is these sealed inverters are kicking off when they get too hot. I have taken to running a fan on them all the time when we are running higher power in the daytime and shut the fan off at night. I've considered some pretty out of the box solutions to increase the cooling on these two units. They just can't handle anywhere near their rated power of 5kw continuous combined power without shutting down due to heat. Even 3kw seems to be too much. The turbo fans on them are running ok and the top covers are seated properly. The fan helps considerably but I think I can do better. It makes me wonder if the electrolytic cap bank is starting to age. We have a Ufer ground of sorts to complement the horrible grounding system they use in this country (rebar....no joke). One unit runs hotter but I am fairly sure that is the master and the reason for it. I'm hoping this system will now be better and will keep an eye on it and update if needed. That grid zero is pretty slick. Looking forward to the four new vfxr3524a's to get on line. Everything runs from the same battery bank. When we get our commercial building done there will be yet another two inverters on line likely. Best regards, Mike
ke6cvh
Junior Member
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:36 pm
My RE system: Critical power system: two older gtfx2524, two midnite solar classic 150, older mate controller, hub, two midnite solar breaker boxes...... non-critical power system: newer mate remote head, hub, four vfxr3524a with two midnite solar classic 150, two midnite solar kid, three intronics mppt75 charge controllers using midnite solar breaker boxes x 4.......very large array of solar salad solar panels but with each type going into it's own mppt controller to keep them separate. cheap chinese air cooled 5kw diesel generator into 2kw 24v power supply and also knife switch for shop power. 24v battery bank wet lead acid

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby klundquist on Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:06 am

Wow that sounds like an interesting application. You probably know this already but it is generally not recommended to run separate inverter systems on the same battery bank. It sounds like you're on top of things and pay a lot of attention to how the various systems are operating. Watch out for situations where your 4 stack is charging the battery bank while the 2 GVFX inverters are in HBX mode. If you use Grid Zero I think the chargers are disabled so maybe that will not be an issue.

I don't recommend programming the Mate Grid Use and HBX function at the same time. It sounds like you were using Grid Use to do a time of day type switch to the grid. The two programs can conflict with the end result of your system not disconnecting from the grid as intended.

Given your large load it does seem that a larger inverter system or Grid Zero mode would be best. Here is an old school hack that might give you a Grid Zero type operating with the GVFX inverters. It uses the Generator mode with the Generator Support feature turned on. You can set the input down to 2 amps AC so that would go a long way toward minimizing the power you buy while allowing the grid to help the inverters out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTJVDrXLh4k

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Systems Engineer
http://www.alpha.com/solar
klundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
Location: Arlington, WA
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby Mike Curran on Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:46 pm

klundquist wrote:Here is an old school hack that might give you a Grid Zero type operating with the GVFX inverters. It uses the Generator mode with the Generator Support feature turned on. You can set the input down to 2 amps AC so that would go a long way toward minimizing the power you buy while allowing the grid to help the inverters out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTJVDrXLh4k

-Kurt

Kurt - When I saw this I immediately went to my GVFX manual to research "Generator Support" and it says "This feature not supported at this time". So my friend Google helped me find the original forum post with the YouTube video (which I found hard to follow on its own). Thought it might help others. It did help me as I've ordered a generator, haven't received it yet, and forgot about disabling "sell" while the genny is hooked up. Although if there's enough solar available to be selling, shouldn't be running a genny anyway :smile: .
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7065
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My RE system: Outback:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one MX60
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80
- 2 grid-tied GVFX3524's classic stacked for 120/240VAC
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah
- Hub10.3, Mate3, FNDC, RTS, OpticsRE. Tigo Energy ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar:
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied.

Re: can I upgrade my older gtfx2524 to do grid zero?

Postby klundquist on Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:22 pm

Mike,

Tis true, it is not supported. The GVFX inverters have such a tight frequency window so they won't connect to most generators. Even if you can get it to connect they probably will not charge because they use a different charging topolgy. The person that posted the youtube video was using an inverter/generator so it was working for him. For the OP on this thread he has grid power so in reality this is like grid support in a sense.

-Kurt
Kurt Lundquist
Alpha Energy Systems Engineer
http://www.alpha.com/solar
klundquist
Alpha Energy Engineering
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 7:23 am
Location: Arlington, WA
My RE system: VFX3524, Mate, 200Ah 24V AGM Battery Bank


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