daniel1957 avatar image
daniel1957 asked

Quattro and lightning

I now have a brand new Quattro 48v 230v 10kva.

My previous inverter was destroyed by a nearby lightning storm when we were not home.

There is no evidence of a strike anywhere close - normally we see a tree trunk that has conducted the strike down the cambium layer or on rarer occasions the whole trunk explodes into shards.

The solar MPPT controller survived so I am assuming the destructive voltage spike arrived at the inverter site via telephone cables and somehow interconnected to the old inverter 48v DC input

The telephone cables and exchange system also suffered a major fault.

When I dismantled the old inverter I found that a square capacitor across the 48vDC input had disintegrated. Some of the inverter control circuitry still functions however the auto start upon load detection facility is not working hence it does not produce any output.

The old inverter had functioned flawlessly for over 30 years despite many previous storms including several nearby lightning strikes on trees within 100 metres radius.

My immediate concern is to ascertain how vulnerable the Quattro is and what measures if any I can take to prevent another inverter failure?

In studying the Quattro instruction book I find that if offers no advice on this subject whatsoever....

system design
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4 Answers
Paul B avatar image
Paul B answered ·

Have a look at what this company producesfor Lighting protection for all voltages. they make good products and they are well support.

Also very easy to install

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daniel1957 avatar image daniel1957 commented ·

Thanks Paul.

These are exactly "what the doctor ordered"!

And best of all local company.

I'm going to protect DC on solar and batteries and AC output from inverter.

We've had 3 massive thunderstorm events over past 3 nights with multiple lightning strikes all around us

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Paul B avatar image Paul B daniel1957 commented ·

Note they even do VHF Radio protection units, that go inline with the Antenna cables at the VHF ends, one for the VHF and one for the AIS as this is a easy path for the lighting to get in on Boats

If applicable that is

really easy to install

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boekel avatar image
boekel answered ·

I'm no expert but on expensive installations I use surge arresters to prevent damage from incoming spikes from the grid (like from a nearby lightning strike).

these kind:

I haven't given the DC-side a thought yet usually that side is quite well protected (either in a boat or ESS system with battery close to inverters)

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daniel1957 avatar image daniel1957 commented ·

my consultant electronics power engineer advises that the inverter output is reasonably well protected in most inverters but the dc battery input is always vulnerable as evidenced by the destroyed capacitor in my old inverter.

i'll investigate the suggested products in the other replies.

its interesting that the mppt solar controller survived and yet the inverter which is directly connected by very thick very short cables to a 2000 ah battery was affected.

why does victron energy not offer advice on this subject?

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Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) avatar image Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ daniel1957 commented ·

My personal advice is the best lightning protection is to make sure you have coverage for replacement in your insurance policy.

There are many devices and advices, but estimates for the voltage of lighting range between 10 kV and 1 GV. All bets are off electrically at that point. Lightning behaves erratically, and nothing at this price point is rated to that level of insulation or isolation. ABB has a 1MV switch, but it is power rated to turn off the entire country of Switzerland.

I have heard some people on lightning prone ridge tops swear by this or that gadget, but ultimately the device will also fail, and ultimately the solution is replacement.

Isolation from the grid in storms is a good preventative practice, but not always possible.

As is a more attractive target for the lightning than your system.

30 years is a good long life for piece of power electronics. If it wasn't the lightning, the caps might have just been ready to retire on their own.

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daniel1957 avatar image daniel1957 commented ·

sorry but "ESS system" is a language that I do not speak - what do you mean? :-)

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boekel avatar image boekel ♦ daniel1957 commented ·

Energy Storage System / also Victron term for grid connected setups with PV power: storage in daylight, self consumption at night, excess production feed back into the grid, and use from grid when batteries empty / inverter power not enough for loads.

(opposite to off-grid?)

Usually batteries only connected to Victron inverters, plus AC coupled PV system. Can also have DC coupled PV, then lightning influence to DC side also possible.

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dwmarine avatar image
dwmarine answered ·

Sorry this doesn't answer your Quattro question directly, but we have used these before for DC voltage surge arrestors on boats:

I know they make a 12v and 24v version, not sure about 48v.

Had a power surge (lightning strike) on a marina pier a few years back. Destroyed inverters, ECU's, Sat TV domes etc.

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michael2019 avatar image
michael2019 answered ·

I have also got a similar occurrence few weeks ago on my Quattro 10000 48v. There was a lightning/thunder and the inverter shutdown and it was not coming up again. I have checked all the parts and there is not physical damage. The DC fuses are fine. The FETs are also fine. Please advise on what to do. Should I place an order for the microcontroller board? I just need to be sure before placing the order.

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Paul B avatar image Paul B commented ·

go and buy a new unit ,

no one can tell you which part is fried each one would have to be tested.

or guess and go for the main board first then the others one at a time.

but if one board is damaged with lighting or EMP then the others maybe as well

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daniel1957 avatar image daniel1957 commented ·

Isn't your inverter still within the 5 year warranty period?

The lightning and failure may be a co-incidence....

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