Have I set this up right?

Discussion in 'Power cuts' started by Ross, 27 Jun 2010.

  1. Ross

    Ross

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    Hi Guys, 20 hour power outage again yesterday. So frustrating.
    I have a Gennie that is wired into the house so during the day I have no problems (assuming somebody is home).

    The problem is I can not run the genny at night. 98 DB will drive the neighbors insane. I shut it down at 8:30pm last night.

    Obv I can't leave the tank off at night. So today I went out and decided to build a inverter setup to run the tank at night. Just not sure if I did it right.

    I have 4 gel batteries like the ones they use on alarms. These are connected in parallel to a 550watt inverter. I then output this to the return pump that is 65watts. I do plan to put a small emergency heater on but was testing now to see how it works. The return works but every now and again it jinks like it is turning off and on quickly. I am charging the batts now just in case but each of them is at 13.83 volts so that sounds about right to me.

    Any ideas?
     
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  3. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    I would imagine that it is the inverter that causes this. I assume its a modified sinewave inverter. Not all pumps works 100% on modified sinewaves.
     
  4. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hi Ross,

    It sounds as if you might have a "square wave" or "modified sine wave" (same thing...) inverter, and not a true sine-wave inverter. Square wave inverters are OK for things such as heaters, but most pumps will run erratic, and could actually heat up/burn out if run on this type of inverter (Tunze's are OK, as they run off transformers...).

    Do you know what size (capacity) the batteries are. I'm afraid that the four batteries might not make it through the night - at least not many times... You should try to not discharge the batteries past 80% of their capacity (in other words, you should only use a maximum of 20% of their rated amp-hour capacity for "normal" batteries, and not more than 50% for proper "deep cycle" batteries). If you discharge the batteries past this point, they will lose "life" so rapidly that they might only last for a few charge/discharge cycles, and that is a pretty serious waste of money.

    Check your available "capacity" as follow:


    • Determine the wattage of all the equipment you want to run

    • Calculate the amperage needed from the batteries by dividing the wattage by the volts of the battery (if four batteries in parallel, that would still only be 12 volt)
    • Multiply this amperage by 1.5 to allow for losses, etc. in the system (pumps, etc. are not very efficient, and will use more power "intake" than their rated "output" wattage, and the inverter itself will only have an efficiency of between 50% and 80%)
    • Divide this amperage by 0.2 (20%) (or 0.5, if using deep cycle batteries), and then multiply with the number of hours you want to run off the inverter to get the minimum battery capacity in ampere-hour
    As an example:

    Say you want to run a 100W (230V) pump for 8 hours

    100W/12V = 8.3A x 1.5 = 12.5A / 0.2 = 62.5A x 8 hours = 500Ah minimum capacity. Now, divide the battery's rated capacity into this figure, to calculate the number of batteries required (e.g. if you planned on using those large, 105Ah batteries you would need 500/105=4.8 - thus 5 batteries).

    Hennie
     
    Last edited: 27 Jun 2010
  5. Ross

    Ross Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys, yip checked and I brought a modified sine wave inverter, so that was a waste.

    Hennie, thanks for all that input. I have wanted that for ages so I could figure out what kind of UPS I should get so will get on that right away. You say Tunze are ok as they have a transformer. How would VorTech be as they also have a transformer?

    I wanted to get my return working but if I just run the VorTech, at least I have water movement.

    I am testing some old sun suns at the moment. I am not to worried about them going kaput and can just put them in the tank when I need them.

    Thanks again,

    Ross
     
  6. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    Anything that runs off of its own power supply will be ok to run off of the modified inverter. Its only pumps that requires 220V that has the issue. Unfortunatly a pure sine inverter is very expensive. I paid R1700 for a 300W.
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Thread Starter

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    Awesome thanks so that is the answer then... just must make sure I used Hennie's calculations so I can get my time right.

    You agree then that if I just have VorTech circulation that is fine... don't need to run the sump and all the reactors for a night?

    Ta,

    Ross
     
  8. chikaboo

    chikaboo

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    Circulation in the tank is better than nothing though having water circulate through the sump would be better ... Also try to aim the internal pump towards the surface to get some agitation then can get some air dissolved into the water .....
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Thread Starter

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    Thanks will see what I can do, or try get a non modified.
     
  10. chikaboo

    chikaboo

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    Also to help at night with temp issues you can "wrap" the tank with a blanket ... this will insulate the tank and helps with temp escaping!
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Thread Starter

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    Ta I read that, I also put a gas heater in the room to try help.
     
  12. herkie

    herkie R.I.P.

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    A friend that works with computers gave me an 'Old' type of UPS after I complained mine runs about 10-15 minutes before shutting down. Well this 'Old' machine now charges two automotive 674 batteries connected parallel and my return pump was still running after about 6-7 hours of no power supply. The fundi's should be able to if I am not mistaken.
     
  13. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    My pleasure :)

    That was a pretty "quick and dirty" example, though - here are some links to much more detailed info:

    Choosing your inverter

    Lead Acid Batteries

    http://www.powersaving.co.za/index.php?q=con,17,Batteries%20and%20Inverters

    Deep Cycle Battery FAQ

    And one which will keep you busy for a few hours, but really worth it:

    Welcome to Battery University

    Hennie
     
  14. IN_D_N-OH_SHUN

    IN_D_N-OH_SHUN

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    Ok! I'm in the States & I rent - so I may be speaking out of turn here, but has anybody considered SOLAR? Don't be BI- Polar! GO SOLAR! :yeahdude: If you can't rely on your traditional power grid,. . . just DON'T! LOL! There's other sources of power today! Heck, even a whirlie gig in the yard hooked up to a generator / battery set up would be a good stand by! Go outside the box! Enter : " Plan B !" !
     
  15. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    Great ideas:thumbup:
    We live in SA where prices are Horrendous :whistling:
     
  16. Scatmansworld

    Scatmansworld

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    i agree with ziyaadb and ive heard that you will need atleast 4m2 of solar pannels to sustain a tank.
     
  17. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    yea, right... going completely off-grid would cost between about 6 months, and one year's salary for an average person - would you be able to afford that...

    Hennie
     
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