Friday, August 23, 2013


A big, big day today - the power is going on!

Nenad arrived a little later than usual after making an emergency visit to another customer, but got straight into the last little bits we need to do in order to light up the garage. This mainly involved fitting off the stair lights, the external LED floodlights and then finishing off the AC switchboard.

While he got on with that, Peter and I made ourselves busy sorting out the formwork for a little concrete slab which will cover the void in front of the shipping container, and extend out in front of the large window and double doors of the unit. I had hoped to pour this slab this weekend, but it's pretty obvious we're not going to get it set up in time and so I'll defer it until next Saturday.

With Nenad busy on the AC wiring, I finished off the battery box. The regulations say that at our maximum charge current of 140A, we need to ventilate the batteries with about 20L of air per second. To achieve this I've got a couple of neat little 80mm 240VAC fans which use magnetic bearings to move over 10L/sec each, all the while drawing a measly 4W. Perfect! I got these mounted and wired in, and then fitted off the DC feed from the batteries to the inverter/charger.

With daylight fading fast we finally got everything done and threw the switch on the panel inverter. It took a few seconds to figure out what was going on, but then lit up beautifully (albeit in German). Without grid voltage to tie to it didn't actually do anything besides report power available, but once we powered up and commissioned the inverter/charger it all came together!

At first the fluoro lights in the garage looked a little dim - bright at each end, but dim in the middle. We puzzled over this for a few minutes before I realised that when configuring the inverter/charger I'd accepted the default grid voltage of 230V instead of 240V. A quick settings change and a reboot, and bam - bright light! :)

The external floodlights are brilliant (pun intended :) ) too! These are 30W LED units which deliver about 2700 lumens each, which I understand is about the same light output as 300W incandescent or halogen lamps.

We have one lighting circuit which won't fire up though - it's tripping the safety switch so there's a minor wiring fault in there somewhere. The rest is fantastic though - light and power all working perfectly. I'm impressed with how much light we have with only single 36W fluorescent battens too - I was a little worried that these wouldn't be enough but they're great.

1 comment:

  1. To repeat your pun...Brilliant!!
    Congrats - another major milestone accomplished.