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Inheriting a challenge

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,082 ✭✭✭championc


    Well done for sticking with it. In one sense, you didn't have an option I suppose.

    I wonder how many other systems, installed in attics or whatever, have similar issues and owners have no clue, as owners pay no attention to apps or Data.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    I'd say there are a few - we do try to optimise it as much as possible (when its on) and ESBs voltages seem all over the place.

    My worry is that another poster said ESB aren't interested unless your voltage is over 255V, in which case they will say "its within spec so we won't do anything", and the solar installers will say "its outside of our spec and its ESBs problem". In which case I'll be looking to raise the cutoff voltage and be done with it!


    Very frustrating overall though as once things are installed, the installers really aren't interested in difficult problems like ours.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Market is flooded with fire and forget cowboys. Individuals who know they can get away with knowing nothing about the tech they're installing once they can wire it up. Buyer beware



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,477 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger



    I think the Service agreement that ESB state is that they will supply voltage at 230v and then +/- 10% of that, so in theory as long as they are within 208v - 252v they are fulfulling their end of the deal so to speak. That said, I think they would be a bit lame if they turned around and gave....

    "ohh your at 251v , nothing for us to do here"

    To be fair to installers though, while they might understand the landscape better than your average Joe Public, it really isn't their problem. It's a supply issue from ESB. Although likewise it's bad form in my opinion to shrug shoulders and go "meh", at the least they should highlight the process clear and precisely to give the homeowner a fighting chance in what to do.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,082 ✭✭✭championc


    Personally, I'd have up'd the voltage, but it wouldn't ultimately solve the problem. It's always possible that some local fecker is exporting loads and has installed solar and is un-registeted



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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,196 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious


    If your voltage is too high you'll have to install a hot tub with a few immersion heaters to bring it back down.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    OP the engineer may be kind enough to share the data with you the day they come to collect it, have a USB handy.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Update: Still waiting for ESB to install the voltmeter. They initially said they'd do it within 10 days. 10 days passed and became 14, so we rang them. "Oh we'll get back to you".

    They did a day later and apparently there is only one meter in the area so they'd get back to us again.


    They haven't as yet. 30 minutes on hold to talk to them every time.



  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭TerraSolis


    Hi Chris,

    The new grid protection settings in Ireland allows you to relax the over-voltage protection on your inverter to 269V. This sounds like it would resolve your issue.

    If you don't have access to your Inverter's grid parameters, have your installer adjust them. They may be able to do so remotely.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Thanks. I'll do that. Didn't know there was an upper limit set in whatever legislation there is.


    We downloaded instructions on how to do it, looks simple enough but I've been asked by the "powers that be" not to do it until we have the grant in. I think its probably set to about 253V as it stands, I'll nudge it up to about 254V. If the installers do it that would be better, as at least if something goes bang, we have comeback.


    That said we'd still like the ESB to do something as we are on the upper end of spec. In hindsight halogen bulbs, a heater and some LEDs have all stopped working recently and we are putting 2 and 2 together.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭TerraSolis


    You can confidently push it right up to the 269 limit if you'd like - the inverters can handle it (& it's technically what ESBN want).

    The new settings are listed on the NC6 form on ESBN's website if you'd like to consult.

    But yes - best to get the voltage issue sorted in any case.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Wow, 269V! That's very high.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,477 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    hmmmm....I dunno if that's wise. While the inverter can probably handle it (not sure and of course it would be dependent on the inverter), the official SLA from ESB is that they'll supply electricity at 230v +/- 10%, so that's where the 253V comes in.

    If you come along and start exporting at 254v, you might be ok, but the guys upstream from you might not. Your neighbor who now maybe taking your 254v or the local distribution box.

    I'd be surprised of course if 1 single volt would cause issue, the margin would never be that tight, but if you were to set that to 269V then.....yeah, I think that could be Bad-Mojo(tm).

    I wouldn't push that more than 2-3v without getting someone to sign off on that.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    It does seem to be all it lists in the NC6 documentation. But on the NC7 form it mentions both 269V and also 258V as over-voltage sustained over 10 minutes, which seems more reasonable.



  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭TerraSolis


    Indeed it is very high - however it's actually the precise setting that ESBN want for all new micro/mini gen connections. Rather than it being "the max you can get away with" it's more so the case that ESBN want it to be the voltage "up to which your inverter can stay connected to grid without tripping". The idea being, if a voltage issue occurs on a larger network level, it's much more difficult for ESBN to wrestle it back into line if there's a load of gen connecting and disconnecting and confusing the overall state of the network. If you want to connect new gen it has to be set 269V and no less.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Interesting. Not sure though if I'd be confident enough in making a dramatic change from what it is set to at the moment (say 253V) right up to 269V. Would rather the installers do that one, at least then there is comeback and I'm certainly not changing it until we get the grant, as if something happens they will then take the hump and not co-operate!!

    I'd certainly be comfortable nudging it up one or two volts to 254 or 255V so that the trip-level is high enough that it doesn't cause us issues. But right up to 269V is going to a level that I'm not confident enough in my own knowledge to do. For instance there are a few milking machines on our network (reasonably rural) and god knows what they do the voltage when they turn on, or more importantly, when they turn off.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,477 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Yeah, that sounds about right mp3guy. it would be badly designed equipment if they had such tight margins of 1-2 volts, but yeah, 15+V on the other hand .... well that is "getting out there" :-) Bearing in mind that it's not just ESB side, but your neighbor might be consuming your 260v (or whatever) when you knock that up and you're exporting your excess. So, every piece of equipment in their house would need to be able to take voltage whatever you are exporting.

    Couple of volts can't see an issue, but if your going more than as you say 258v......you might be doing your neighbor and ESB a disservice.



  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭TerraSolis


    Yeah sorry, I should clarify, I'm not trying to instruct you to raise it yourself! Just explaining the new grid settings. They've only just come into effect too - so it'd be expected that your parents' system was connected under the old settings.

    I think you're on the right track RE nudge it a couple of volts to stop it messing around and get ESBN to look into the voltage issue :)



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Update: As I mentioned before the ESB installed the voltage monitor last week. The installer was blaming ESB for a voltage that was too high, the ESB put this on for a week to check. I'm happy enough to up the voltage trip value on the inverter by a few volts but have been asked not to by family here until the installer sort the grant out. That is currently waiting on the BER person and he has sat on the report for 3 weeks without sending it into the installer.

    The ESB monitor was supposed to come off yesterday and no-one showed up. So now that'll be there until at least Monday. More delays.

    In the meantime on a lovely sunny day yesterday the inverter tripped out from 10am to 5pm.


    From my own measurements, the voltage will likely be (just) in spec, at about 251V.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,082 ✭✭✭championc


    Well thankfully it tripped while the ESB's device was attached. You have a very specific time tag for them to correlate with their readings.

    It's certainly the best option to have ESB see the voltages so that they can correctly plan local upgrades, or maybe look into a neighbor who may be exporting badly.

    In all honesty, the family would never know if you upp'd the voltage. Right now, or a few months ago, they would have been in blissful ignorance of what the voltage level was



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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Have a USB key handy and a nice engineer might give you a copy of the data when collecting it!



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Update: Four days later, ESB came to remove the voltage monitor. The engineer was not very nice and got narky on any suggestion of getting a copy of the data - he will "send us a report" maybe next week. When that report is found to be within tolerance (which I think it will - just), then there will be a big fight because the installers were adamant that the tripping was ESBs problem, not theirs. We'll have evidence it is them.

    Also, they won't sign off for us to get the grant until we sign a piece of paper to say that the installation is finished and working and we are happy. So they have us in a bit of a corner there, as we can't sign that bit of paper, and get the grant, until this fight is complete. We have until about November to do so I believe.

    The system was installed in March, its now four months of it half working and we'll get sweet FA in compensation for all of this.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    What a pain, unlucky with the ESB engineer.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,007 ✭✭✭con747


    I would get on to the SEAI about this as well and see where you stand. If it is the installers at fault surely they would need to do something to get the system working right.

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.



  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,121 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan


    So if your supply is (just) within the upper end of the spec (230V ± 10%), why not just set the inverter trip limit as new ESBN trip limit of 269V and be done with it? 🤔



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    I guess there's a chance that it'll end up somewhere around 260V for an extended period of the day when exporting at full whack. I suppose there's questions about how well the devices/appliances at home will deal with that.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,082 ✭✭✭championc


    You were in blissful ignorance up until February before the system was installed.

    However, I can't believe that if the grid connection is coming in your front gate at 250v + that the ESB would be happy to leave it like that.

    Will be interesting to see what the report says, and how detailed it will be



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Oh I'm going to - see upthread. Maybe not quite that high - I'll nudge it up by a few volts at a time to stop it tripping though, rather than head straight up to the 269. But my folks, who own the system, would rather we get the grant first or get the installers to do it. So I'll have to leave it for now.

    The engineer that put the monitor on actually said we're lucky to have it at the high end(!) He says that since the resistance in the house is constant, because we have a higher voltage we have lower current, so electricity costs us slightly less!


    Appliances here are reasonably ok, we've had a few lights pop and a heater break down which in hindsight is probably the voltage. Having plugged a meter in ourselves for a few days before all of this with the ESB, our voltage generally ranges from about 248V to 251V - but this was unofficial and was off a plug rather than the ESB box. (My dad did the measuring, he used to be a telephone and electrical engineer so he knew what he was doing).



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,957 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    This is the data they logged for me in the software they use, I recall reading something about the 5 or 10 minute average having to be out of the +/- 10% range.

    Mine is often around that range when I'm exporting 6kW. Had the element in the oven go after only 3 years, probably related. But everything else has been fine. My EV charges at 8kW!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,863 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Another update: ESB have not sent us the report yet but have admitted on the phone that our voltage is a bit high (generally anywhere between 249V and 251V at the plugs from our own measurements). They said they'd get back to us in a week once they try to work out what to do about it.

    That means it's probably higher closer to the substation, doesn't it?



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