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Maarten De Graaf avatar image

What type of Wind Turbine works best with EasySolar

Greetings, I would like to add a wind turbine to my off grid easy solar 3 kva 48v system to keep batteries charged on overcast days. Looking online, Kestrel wind turbines have various voltage output options on their e160i product, amongst others, they have 48v or 200 VAC turbines.

Question is ...What is the better solution .. to go for the 200v and plug directly into the shore power input or alternatively feed the 48v output from the Turbine into the DC input.

Also, will the easy solar unit dump off the excess power input from the turbine when it is not required? Thanks Maarten

EasySolar All-in-OneHydro and Wind Power
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3 Answers
wkirby avatar image
wkirby answered ·

No wind turbines of any sort are to be connected directly to the EasySolar. It is not designed for wind turbines. It does not have a dump load.

To use a wind turbine, you need to use it with a wind turbine controller which is designed for the purpose and characteristics of a wind turbine. The major features of a wind turbine controller are dump / diversion load control and over speed and braking controls.

When selecting a wind turbine to use with your system, choose one that comes with a controller that suits your battery Voltage (48V) and and has a dump load. Connect the wind turbine controller to the battery, not to the EasySolar. The EasySolar is only for, solar.

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Maarten De Graaf avatar image
Maarten De Graaf answered ·

Thanks for your detailed reply. I'm relatively new to renewable energy and the Victron EasySolar so please forgive my ignorance but I don't really understand why there would be a difference between 200 VAC input from the wind turbine (which is equipped with dump controller and brake) and say the 230VAC input from my 5 KVA generator.

When I have my generator running the EasySolar accepts only the amount of watts that it requires to charge the batteries. As the batteries charge through the stages the colour control panels shows less watts coming in from the generator, in other words, when the generator is running and batteries are in the absorption stage, the input from the generator is around 300 watts and not the full 5000 watts that it is rated for. The generator is a 50 plus year old belt driven lister Diesel engine and there doesn't appear to be any inbuilt demand control dumping power. Not sure what is happening with the excess power but the Easy Solar makes a throbbing racket when the generator is running which I thought was the dumping of surplus power. bit confusing really

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I'll need to explain how the inverter / charger section of the EasySolar works. It is essentially a MultiPlus, so I'll refer to it as that for simplicity's sake.

It's popular to believe that the charger and the inverter are separate components. This is incorrect. It is actually more of a converter. It can only charge or invert, not both at the same time.
As you are aware, 230V AC comes out of the AC-OUT terminal of the MultiPlus.
Now, when mains (or generator) is present on the AC-IN terminal is it simply passed through to AC-OUT via a relay (known as the bypass or backfeed relay). The converter acts in battery charger mode, converts the AC to DC and controls the charge power according to the state of charge the battery is in. The AC that is present on AC-OUT is exactly what is present on AC-IN.
There are certain consumer expectations about the quality of the AC waveform being presented to their loads. 50Hz @ 230V are reasonable expectations.
Your generator can provide this quality of AC power within certain constraints. The MultiPlus actually has to qualify and accept the AC coming in before it will close the bypass relay to allow the power through, otherwise it will reject it and continue remain in inverter mode where it can assure the quality of the AC being output.
The Lister has a governor which regulates the RPM (to maintain 50Hz AC) and also fuel consumption. If the battery is low and the MultiPlus demands more charge power, the Lister will consume more fuel to maintain the correct RPM. As charge power tails off, so does fuel consumption, but RPM remains constant and so 50Hz is maintained within reason. The flywheel speed is not constant throughout a single revolution. The throb of your EasySolar will be in harmony with the downstroke of the piston. As a child, I remember the lights in the house subtly throbbing to the beat of the Lister in its shed.

A wind turbine, is at the command of the wind. The is no way to predict or maintain the RPM. There is no way to tell what frequency or Voltage the AC from it will be.
In most cases it is three phase AC, sometimes it is rectified to DC within the turbine. None of these conditions are suitable for direct consumption by common loads. Hence you cannot simply connect a wind turbine directly to a MultiPlus, it's just not designed to cope with this type of energy source. Firstly the MultiPlus would not accept the wildly fluctuating power and secondly, if it did pass it through neither you nor your loads be happy with its quality.
The AC is usually rectified to DC and put into a battery to smooth out the fluctuations in energy production. There are also AC coupled wind turbine controllers which feed back into the grid which has a similar effect to that of a battery system.
Solar power is different, but bears some similarities in its unpredictability and intensity of power. That is why an MPPT Solar charge controller is employed, just like the one inside your EasySolar.

Thank you very much for the explanation. Makes perfect sense, appreciate the help

regards Maarten

Mr Kirby

I have been giving your reply some further thought and have some points for clarification..

Based on your comments, it sounds like the Lister power is not real “exact”, therefore, the Multiplus would not accept it because it is a pass through to the loads of the home. So, do I need to convert it to a DC voltage and charge the batteries and let the Multiplus convert it back to 230 vac as needed and let the rest be consumed as 48 VDC? Or is it better to run the Lister directly to other 230 vac loads that are not as sensitive as the ES? Initially, I was under the impression that the ES would accept power from the Lister and utilize it to charge the batteries and then feed it on to the downstream loads.


As for the wind turbine, the manufacturer suggest that I use it to charge the 48 volt battery system and let the power go directly out as 48 vdc or be converted by Multiplus to 230 vac and distributed as needed. If the batteries are charged by the wind turbine to 48-54 vdc (or whatever the desired voltage is), does the Multiplus really care? Will it see that the batteries are fully charged and then decide that the solar charging is not required? In other words, can the two systems both be used to meet the objective of keeping the batteries fully charged to the peak level for the greatest amount of time? Does the Multiplus really care how the batteries get charged and will it accept that idea?


The idea that Multiplus will accept other input sources was a little surprising to me. It would have been a lot more clear if it were described as a 230 vac pass-thru, assuming it is “Utility Grade” voltage and frequency. Again, the other alternative seems to be to rectify it and feed it into the 48 vdc side of the system. If it were converted, then I could have the PV, the Lister and the wind turbine all used to maintain the 48 vdc side of the system. Is that the correct way to use multiple systems in conjunction with my Multiplus?

Regards

Maarten

I'm under the impression that you already have the Lister generator connected to the AC-IN of the ES and it is working, charging batteries and powering loads. Is that correct? If so, then you don't need to change that, the ES has accepted the power from the Lister and all is OK.

Yes, do what the wind turbine manufacturer suggests, I think I mentioned this method earlier, but it may have got lost in translation.
Connect the 48V wind turbine to the battery bank as an additional charge source. The ES won't care as long as the battery Voltage stays within range. The wind turbine controller should do this.
The solar charger won't care either, it will detect that the battery Voltage has gone sufficiently high and will simply stop charging.
Similarly if the Lister is charging (via the ES) then the ES will control the charge. If the ES could control the Lister then it would do so, but I assume your Lister is hand cranked and fuel cutoff is manually operated too?
Having said that, it wouldn't make sense to burn fuel if there is enough wind and / or solar?

In summary:
Lister connected to AC-IN of ES. MultiPlus inside the ES will control the charge coming from AC-IN, which is ultimately from the Lister. If the Lister is switched off, then the ES will be inverting, using energy from the battery or other sources depending upon its state of charge.
Solar PV panels to ES, the MPPT charger inside does its own thing.
Wind turbine via its own controller connects to battery bank. Its controller will do its own thing. Wind turbine does not connect through ES.

lars-finland avatar image
lars-finland answered ·

You can use the DC to DC charger with a windturbine. I connected my 400W AC wind turbine to a rectifier. The output I connected to a spare 200Ah battery. From there I took the input to the DC to DC charger and connected the charger’s output to my 1000Ah AGM battery bank. I switched of engine detection set the aborption to 14,1V and the float to 13,5V. Input switch off at 10,5V restart at 11,0V It works perfect. My question. When will Victron start to supply a AC to DC regulator for windturbines?

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"I connected my 400W AC wind turbine to a rectifier. The output I connected to a spare 200Ah battery"

You have created a potential explosive device as there is nothing preventing the wind turbine form over charging the first 'spare 200Ah battery'. This makes it a dangers setup that should not be replicated by anyone as is.

The setup only remines safe if the 1000ah battery is always able to consume the power being generated preventing the 200Ah battery from ever fully charging. Even if that were to remain the case you still have to account for the DC DC charger failing. In that eventuality with no load on the first 200ah battery the wind turbine would over charge the battery and that is how you have created the potential explosive device.

You must implement a way to dump any excess power going into the first battery if it becomes fully charged. With solar there is no requirement to consume the power being created but few micro wind turbines are safe to just unload so you need a load to divert the wind turbine to.

The other clear issue with this setup is the 200AH battery is going to see heavy cycling and or a prolonged time at a discharged state of charge. When there is no wind available the battery will be left discharged until the wind picks up to charge it again. This is an ideal way to kill the battery in a very short time.

All issues can be addresses and make this type of dual battery setup safe. A lead carbon battery is a better choice of battery in place of your 200AH battery. This is due to their characteristics as they are a essentially a hybrid battery / capacitor. They take on charge faster than a standard lead acid and can cope with prolonged time at a lower state of charge.

To address the issue of directly connecting the wind turbine to the battery with no over charge dup load capability you can get a https://flexcharge.com or make a controller using Јоhn Daniel's design https://youtu.be/RbUXmZwfYK8 or a variant of the same kind of setup.

Of cause the more regulated voltage of the second controller option means you do not even need a two battery setup but there can still be some advantages to having that kind of setup especially if using a lead carbon.