Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)


Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!

powered by Surfing Waves

Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.

    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2017 edited
    Hi Ed

    So you are saying that when the cloud came over heavy and it dropped to a 30 watt yield .

    I should have been able to have got 260 watt instead with a MPPT controller in circuit.

    I have got another set of panels with the same orientation so I can hopefully extend the leads and try and observe the readings on both sets at the same time .

    cheers Patrick
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2017
    Yes, if you can compare two identical sets of panels, one into an MPPT and the other into a fixed resistance that should give a good illustration.

    Since my previous post I've been wondering what I have as a resistor which I could put on my little toy amorphous panels to do a similar experiment.
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2017
    Good Morning all Ed in particular

    The Night storage heater I am using has 3 element .

    I have managed to obtain some spare elements

    and proved yield is substantially increased when connected to a single element .

    But still clearly very inefficient except when in full sun

    looks like I need a switching arrangement along the lines @johnuready and Ed suggest .

    But do they make 60 or 110 v elements that I could use ?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2017
    Excellent, thanks Bxman.

    I was going to connect my little “60 W” [¹] Maplin panels to a 2 kW heater this morning. Wiring the four panels in series/parallel (2S2P [²]) and switching the heater between the 750 W element, the 1250 W element and both together would allow not-terrible matches over a reasonable range of brightnesses. I had a junction box set up for 2S2P to give nominal 24 V to feed my MPPT controller with a 12 V battery but I can't find it now - got all the other bits but it must be in some mystery box in my spare bedroom. Your confirmation saves me bodging it.

    Posted By: bxmanBut still clearly very inefficient except when in full sun […] But do they make 60 or 110 v elements that I could use ?
    Are you sure that's what you want? If they're approximately matched in full sun then for lower sun you'd want more resistance (same voltage, less current) but 60 or 110 V elements of the same power would have higher current and therefore lower resistance.

    Presumably your heater presently has the elements in parallel. Maybe arranging them in series would be more appropriate.

    [¹] Actually about 45 W, I think.

    [²] Or 2P2S if you follow the opposite convention. Where's the headslap emoticon when you need it?
    I was thinking that the closer you can get to Max Power Point voltage on a fixed resistance is best. ie The lowest resistance you can get to a perfect resistance match will generate max power using V * V / R
    I find the following a great help to work out DC variables:
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2017 edited
    If you have 2kW max @ 240v DC into 70 ohms the max power from the immersion is 822 watts. To achieve more power the resistance must be less.

    Or have I got it wrong?

    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2017
    Yes, you're right. But he has three 70 Ω ohm elements in parallel so can absorb 3×822 = 2466 W at most.

    Understand, pleased as all my calculations I have worked out using the above.

    I hope to switch coil combinations when the voltage approaches the max power point on the highest resistance then switching progressively to the lowest resistance setup.

    Probably 4 weeks away from trying the software with the Solid State Relay Switching and a set of working numbers.
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017 edited
    n anyone advise or help with tips on preserving format thanks

    Keith can you help I seem to have lost what I had half an hour ago

    thanks Patrick
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017 edited
    Interesting readings, your 3 No. coils in parallel look to taking max power for the resistance.

    I'm pleased to see that the single element was max power at 240v as I'm going to track voltage to shift coils and that coil would have reached max.

    Anybody, am I right in my thinking on the above?
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017
    you clearly saw it before it disappeared I hope Keith can find it again If not I will have to have another go this evening
    cheers Patrick
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017 edited
    `I have now managed to get some readings hope they will be useful

    Single string of 8 JA Solar (JAM6 R 270)

    directly into a Night Storage Heater.

    The storage heater has 3 elements

    I have 3 additional identical elements which can switch in and out as 1,2 or ,3 in series or the other 3 in parallel

    Good Sun now ------------------------------------------------- + earlier on

    3 in parallel ---- 6.5 amps @155v

    to a single element 3.5 amps @240v ------------- 1amp @24v

    to 2 elements 1.9 amps @ 265v ------------------ 1 amp @42v

    and 3 elements 1.4 amps @ 285v ------------------ 1 amp @ 215v

    I tried putting 4 in parallel and it appeared that the current did not increase bot it did drop the voltage

    seems like the 210 ohm load maximises the current to 1.4 amps and the 140 ohm at about 2 amps

    open circuit voltage is around 285v

    SORRY ABOUT THE LOSS OF FORMAT tried saving both ways and makes no difference
    better now but not how I had hoped
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017
    Yep, shame it's not easy to do tables in this software AFAIK. Trying HTML table elements doesn't seem to work, either (cjard will, no doubt, take that as a challenge :wink: ).

    Still, I'm very confused by your “earlier on” readings:

    1 element: 1 A at 215 V
    2 elements: 1 A at 42 V
    3 elements: 1 A at 24 V

    Are you sure that's the right way round? I'd expect the voltage to be higher with more elements than with fewer. Or is that the voltage across a single element? In which case, I think it's inconsistent with the full sun readings.
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017
    @ Ed

    Quite right

    corrected now I hope !
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017 edited
    Thanks, so:

    number of elements, bright-sun power, dim-young-sun power:
    3P | 1007W | -
    1S | 840W | 24W
    2S | 503W | 42W
    3S | 399W | 215W

    (PS, ha! using HTML <tt> and </tt> tags (“teletype”) gives a fixed-pitch font which at least makes tables a bit more reproducible. Also <pre> and </pre> tags preserve whitespace (rather than packing runs of two or more spaces down to one) which also helps. Though it does add some vertical whitespace underneath the table for some reason - I seem to remember trying this before and the vertical whitespace causing some sort of mayhem.)
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017
    I will try again tomorrow

    I am almost sure the higher resistance gave the best yield in the lower light levels.

    do you mean Tab's by </tt> ?

    old age is no help I am afraid
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017 edited
    Posted By: bxmanI am almost sure the higher resistance gave the best yield in the lower light levels.
    It did: 215 watts vs 24 watts for the low resistance.

    That's what you'd expect. To get maximum power you want to operate at the maximum-power-point voltage. For your panels the Vmp for each panel is a tad over 30 volts in full sun, a tad under in dimmer light. So for the whole lot you want to be operating at around 240 volts for best power. In low sunlight you'll only get a low current out so need a high resistance to make use of all that voltage.

    (I don't understand how it could be 24 volts and 1 amp simultaneously into a single 70 Ω resistor. My assumption is that it wasn't actually simultaneous - that you have had to swap the meter round or something - and the sun changed a bit in the mean time.)

    No, <tt> doesn't act as a tab - it changes the font. The start tag (<tt>) goes before the table and the end tag (</tt>) goes after. As input the whole table looked like this:

    number of elements, bright-sun power, dim-young-sun power:
    <tt><pre>3P | 1007W | -
    1S | 840W | 24W
    2S | 503W | 42W
    3S | 399W | 215W</pre></tt>
    • CommentAuthorbxman
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2017
    Not been a lot of sun about until today and I was not that well organised

    However I have located a 4 th element
    so now have the option of a 280 ohm load
    so options are now 3 in // , 4 in series , 3 in series, 2in series and a single element.

    so this PM I had an OC Voltage of 290 volts

    140 ohms 1100ma 150volt
    210 ohms 950ma 200volt
    280 ohms 780ma 225volt

    last week 290v OC

    20 ohms 1700ma 38 volt
    70 ohm 1700ma 230 volt
    210 ohms 1400ma 270 volt
    280 ohm 1300ma 280 volt
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2017
    If there's any reasonable amount of sun the open-circuit voltage will be pretty much the same. The short-circuit current is a better indication of the light level.

    Your power outputs this week weren't a lot different from each other (165, 190, 175.5 watts) but still the 2S case seemed best compared with the 1S and 3S in dim and bright sun last week so presumably an intermediate amount of sun.
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2017

    I'm also at max for my grid tie system.

    I'm working with a DC immersion with three coils. All 3 No. coils are 36 volt - 400 watts each. An immersion like this you can buy on Amazon for £30 compared to a special build to the correct resistances that will cost £700 +

    My new PV install, I have 4 panels in parallel, approx 30 volts at 8 amps each

    I proposing to use 6 combinations of the coils, switching coil combinations as the sun level increases and the max voltage is reached.
    bxman - the notes below follow my thoughts and parts used. I should be live testing in the next two weeks:

    The configuration of my 4 panels to produce the voltage / current combination was worked back from the immersion. It was very expensive to have a bespoke DC multi coil immersion built. I went for a 3 coil at 36 volt / 400 w per coil, approx £30 from Amazon. My panels are in parallel, 30 volts @ 32 amps. This also fits the cheaper Solid State Relays, DC @ 40 amp.

    Max power transfer will be achieved by using the 3 coils in 6 configurations to provide the best path to max power transfer using a switching matrix of 5 solid stare relays and two diode to switch between the coil configurations. The Solid State Relays are connected to the raspberry Pi through an 8 channel optical isolated relay board.

    Using the PV voltage to establish the max voltage point per coil, switch configurations and tank temperatures is achieved by using an analogue / digital converter on the Pi supplied by A B Electronics. As the Pi has no real time clock a clock board was supplied by A B Electronics and spare memory on that board to store kWh.

    Tank over heat protection is provided by a mechanical sensor on the tank to cut off low voltage power to switching solid state relays.

    To overcome tank stratification an external low voltage circulating pump to be fitted, required as my DC immersion is located in the top 1/3 of the tank.

    System screen display ( using Nextion screen connected to Pi) showing voltage, amp, matrix configuration and total kWh to date diverted, date and time etc.

    The Pi, Screen, Analogue to Digital and Real Time Clock programmed using Python.
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2017
    Pleased to say it’s working, steps through coil matrix 1 to 6 to find the best resistance for power transfer every 6 minutes. It has a log file that I write to every time it moves matrix, changes display or stores kWh, date time etc. that holds enough data to chase any bugs, probably small bugs still there.
    Next step:

    Give the hardware and software a long term monitored testing.

    Optimise the sleeping mode on no sun and scanning times during the day

    Get remote web page working to monitor, hopefully replicating the current display screen plus one day the graphical displays on historical data etc.

    Get the tank temperature sensors working on display and think about stratification pump.

    Perhaps a remote screen using bluetooth.
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2017
    Any chance of a a wiring diagram and the code you have written. May be helpful to others that want to try the same thing.
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2017 edited
    Coil configuration
      pic 2.JPG
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2017
    Looking at the data from the running logs I now think it would lead to very little power loss in my case to reduce the number of coil configuration from the current 6. Perhaps another exercise to crunch the data one day and find out.

    Less coil configurations could play apart if the current Solid Sate Relays and mini optical isolation relays were replaced with mosfet type switching from a direct connection to the Pi GPIO
    • CommentAuthorjohnuready
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2017
    All 3 coils are approx 3.5 ohms.


    Matrix 1 = 3 coils in series = 10.5 ohms / 92w
    Matrix 2 = 2 coils in series = 7 ohms / 138w
    Matrix 3 = 2 coils in parallel and 1 coil in series = 5.25 ohms / 178w
    Matrix 4 = 1 coil in series = 3.5 ohms / 277w
    Matrix 5 = 2 coils in parallel = 1.75 ohms / 555w
    Matrix 6 = 3 coils in parallel = 1.17 ohms / 833w
      coil wiring.JPG
    • CommentAuthorSeanKettle
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2020
    Wondered if anyone had come up with an idiot proof solution for this?

    Started a similar thread on BuildHub listing a few devices that supposedly do this job - https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/14863-pv-to-thermal-store/
Add your comments

    Username Password
  • Format comments as
The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   

© Green Building Press