Testing my resilience again

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,344
Northern NH
As some of you know from the Inglenook, I broke my ankle a few weeks ago. I just got the surgical sutures out yesterday and a walking cast with strict orders to not walk on it for a month. I have a knee scooter to get around my main floor but my wood boiler is in my basement. I have been using the boiler, but if the overnight temps are mild I run a minisplit to save the hassle and ration my easy to accessible wood in my bulkhead.

I get up this morning early and at one point the power goes out. I check the outage map on my phone and my area just went down. This is really rare, outages more than 5 or 10 minutes may happen every year or two but a 2 to 3 hour estimated outage is every decade or more.

I had nothing better to do so I went down to the basement, flipped the main breaker and then put on the rain gear and plastic bag over my cast then headed out to the generator trailer (first trip out in the yard. I have posted photos before but attached it again. I have not fully commissioned it yet but had it up and running enough to backfeed my house before I broke my ankle. I got the generator critical load panel and transfer switch installed but had not yet switched over the circuits. That meant I had to switch off the main breaker on the main panel and backfeed it.

I had equipped my crutches with flip down spikes (it was icy out and raining). So I flipped down the spikes and hobbled over to the generator trailer and started up the inverter. There is an issue that the inverter does not agree with the charge controller on the battery health so I started the standby generator as it was due for a test run. In prior testing the inverter eventually agrees with state of charge. So I went back inside, flipped the generator breaker and the lights went on. The utility claims I should have power back by now but I have no way of easily checking in my rural neighborhood. I got a text that the power should be on so I will let the generator run for another 15 minutes and then head downstairs to flip the breakers back to the utility after isolating the trailer, then head out and shut things down. Luckily, I have about 30 gallons in the bulk tank for the generator so I didnt have to fuel it. The sun is not out so I didnt get to check if the other solar inverters started up but they did when I tested it previously.

I got lots of pieces and part to finish the install delivered as I have been laid up. Eventually it will be auto transfer with 5 minute watch timer so no need to go outside but I will need to go downstairs and play with the breakers until I transfer circuits to the critical loads panel. There is no room for an auto transfer switch on my main power supply or my critical load panel without reworking my incoming utility power feed, so even with a critical load panel ,its not going to be auto transfer. The trailer will run the house without the diesel generator (its there for backup if the batteries go too low) once I get the battery state of charge issue out of the way if I was real worried I could leave it islanded. I dont want to do that as my excess solar production would not be able to go to the utility for net metering.

Neverheless a good test, all I need is a few feet of snow to make it more interesting ;)

dc trailer mod.jpg
 

NorMi

Member
Nov 18, 2021
110
Northern LP, MI
Got my setup all ready to go last night too. We have high winds in the area, 60 mph gusts or so, that took down about 1/3rd of the power in the county this morning. As luck would have it, my power has so far stayed on with only a few blinks - I might have to wait to test my resilience another day!

Trailer looks good though, same type of setup I'm looking at building. I have one old trailer on hand that I'm going to convert and then a school bus or two that I'll use as mobile quarters/mobile shop/mobile power/mobile ham shack. The school busses are cheaper to buy than the trailers are these days!
 
  • Like
Reactions: semipro

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,344
Northern NH
The solar trailer buy started out while looking for a heavy trailer. It just turned out that the parts and trailer could be bought for far less than the sum of the parts.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,173
SW Virginia
I have to admit that I've been reluctant to turn off the main breakers at our house to test our PV with battery backup system.
Your post is certainly strengthening the case for doing so.
Our system has 30 panels connected to a hybrid grid-tie inverter that can provide backup power via batteries or generator.
We also have 6 panels providing additional power through microinverters which complicates things since I'm not sure yet how they will respond when we're operating as a microgrid and have nowhere to dump any excess power.
I may not be at home with the wife and animals when the grid goes down though...hmm.

On a separate note: I've been meaning to buy a small indicator light to install on the input side of our main panels so we can tell when the grid comes back online. We also live where it would be tough to tell otherwise (thankfully).
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,344
Northern NH
The Enphase microinverters appear to be functional with AC coupling meaning they will shut off when the microgrid frequency is shifted up to turn them off. I have not heard of any such testing with Fronius inverters. They did wake up when I tested but I made sure I had enough load and some available battery capacity. Frequency shifting is the last option for load balancing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: semipro

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,875
South Puget Sound, WA
I read through your post with trepidation. Going up and down basement stairs with the cast and then outside has to be negative fun. I'm glad you made it and hope the power stays on now. Stay well and off that foot.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,926
Downeast Maine
I read through your post with trepidation. Going up and down basement stairs with the cast and then outside has to be negative fun. I'm glad you made it and hope the power stays on now. Stay well and off that foot.
I was having anxiety waiting to read that he tripped or fell while doing all of this! I'm glad everything worked for the best.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,875
South Puget Sound, WA
The saga continues, with snowplowing in the inglenook. That's where this thread belongs too but the standby generator is cool.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,981
Iowa
As some of you know from the Inglenook, I broke my ankle a few weeks ago. I just got the surgical sutures out yesterday and a walking cast with strict orders to not walk on it for a month. I have a knee scooter to get around my main floor but my wood boiler is in my basement. I have been using the boiler, but if the overnight temps are mild I run a minisplit to save the hassle and ration my easy to accessible wood in my bulkhead.

I get up this morning early and at one point the power goes out. I check the outage map on my phone and my area just went down. This is really rare, outages more than 5 or 10 minutes may happen every year or two but a 2 to 3 hour estimated outage is every decade or more.

I had nothing better to do so I went down to the basement, flipped the main breaker and then put on the rain gear and plastic bag over my cast then headed out to the generator trailer (first trip out in the yard. I have posted photos before but attached it again. I have not fully commissioned it yet but had it up and running enough to backfeed my house before I broke my ankle. I got the generator critical load panel and transfer switch installed but had not yet switched over the circuits. That meant I had to switch off the main breaker on the main panel and backfeed it.

I had equipped my crutches with flip down spikes (it was icy out and raining). So I flipped down the spikes and hobbled over to the generator trailer and started up the inverter. There is an issue that the inverter does not agree with the charge controller on the battery health so I started the standby generator as it was due for a test run. In prior testing the inverter eventually agrees with state of charge. So I went back inside, flipped the generator breaker and the lights went on. The utility claims I should have power back by now but I have no way of easily checking in my rural neighborhood. I got a text that the power should be on so I will let the generator run for another 15 minutes and then head downstairs to flip the breakers back to the utility after isolating the trailer, then head out and shut things down. Luckily, I have about 30 gallons in the bulk tank for the generator so I didnt have to fuel it. The sun is not out so I didnt get to check if the other solar inverters started up but they did when I tested it previously.

I got lots of pieces and part to finish the install delivered as I have been laid up. Eventually it will be auto transfer with 5 minute watch timer so no need to go outside but I will need to go downstairs and play with the breakers until I transfer circuits to the critical loads panel. There is no room for an auto transfer switch on my main power supply or my critical load panel without reworking my incoming utility power feed, so even with a critical load panel ,its not going to be auto transfer. The trailer will run the house without the diesel generator (its there for backup if the batteries go too low) once I get the battery state of charge issue out of the way if I was real worried I could leave it islanded. I dont want to do that as my excess solar production would not be able to go to the utility for net metering.

Neverheless a good test, all I need is a few feet of snow to make it more interesting ;)

View attachment 287817
Your wife must be exceptionally easy going to accept having that big rig parked in her yard;lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
7,344
Northern NH
Your wife must be exceptionally easy going to accept having that big rig parked in her yard;lol
Not a problem, no wife no complaints ;0