PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Post by Johny » Wed, 24 Jun 2015, 22:46

I'd love to hear of ANY cheapies [ edit: power meters] that handle the non-linear load placed by rectifier/capacitor input (non PFC) switch mode supplies/chargers.

I have had no success with cheapies. When my car draws 2700W according to the house smartmeter (which verifies with expensive power meters I have borrowed), most power meters under $100 I've tried show anything from 1500W to 3000W.

I would LOVE a solution that let's me easily verify charge power every half hour or so overnight. Sorry - a bit off-topic.

[ Edited by Coulomb: since this happens to start a new page, mention the subject. ]
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 24 Jun 2015, 14:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by PlanB » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 00:37

Two hundred & eighty bucks is a lot of meter compared to twenty eight bucks. I'd be tempted to buy it if it went to 15A instead of just 10A (I could check the Leaf EVSE too then). The cheapie reckons it knows power factor, why can't I just multiply its kVa reading by that to get kw?

Interested in your results Kurt. The sequence here is interesting. When I first plug the mains in the LCD shows the load (just the inverters feeding the 60w lamp) powered from the battery & I get 0.1A mains in. Then, after a few secs, the LCD shows mains bypass to the load & the battery isolated, mains current jumps to 3.4A. Then the display shows bypass with batt charging & the mains current climbs to 4.7A. So the bulk of it is the 3.4A in bypass mode. I thought bypass switched the mains straight through to the output bypassing everything?
Last edited by PlanB on Wed, 24 Jun 2015, 14:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 01:01

Yes the one I have will display power factor. Though you usually get what you pay for and I don't see why the more expensive one wouldn't be considerably better - more accurat. It defanatly has way more features.

The AC power meters that just have a clamp and don't measure voltage are rubbish. I gave that one away. Though I would need a much better one as a reference to prove how bad the one I have is. I'm keen to test it if anyone in Brisbane has a good one?

Let me see if I can find a 60w resistance load and see what my meter thinks it is. Won't be until the weekend (meter is at the other house)

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Post by weber » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 01:39

I see $125. Power Mate Lite. I wouldn't trust the so-called power factor figure of the cheapie.
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Post by coulomb » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 17:30

PlanB wrote: I'd be tempted to buy it if it went to 15A instead of just 10A (I could check the Leaf EVSE too then).

There is a HD model that handles 15 A through a 10 A plug, but it's even a bit more expensive at $320.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by reecho » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 17:31

I have the Power Mate 15A version. Worth every cent....

Oh and buy direct from the manufacturer if you want to save some coin....

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Last edited by reecho on Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 07:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 17:51

I think I will get one and share the results. I hate measuring equipment that dosn't do the one thing you purchase it for.....measuring things Image . I guess I can then show how misleading the inexpensive ones is for anyone that is on the fence about justifying the cost.

Without me reading through all the user manuals.If someone knows off hand. What is the main difference between the lite and the standard version. As in what am I giving up if I get the lite?

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 07:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Johny » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 17:54

The major problem with the Lite is the 10A maximum (as I see it).
I would get one if a 15A version was available for a similar price to the Lite.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 18:05

Personally I don't see myself wanting to accurately measure any single AC plug in loads over 2400w. It was more if I Was sacrificing accuracy or key features with a lite.

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Post by Johny » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 18:10

offgridQLD wrote: Personally I don't see myself wanting to accurately measure any single AC plug in loads over 2400w. It was more if I Was sacrificing accuracy or key features with a lite.Kurt
The Lite doesn't have the serial port so logging to a PC isn't possible. The accuracy appears to be the same. They also mention that the "others" (not the Lite) can handle inrush loads up to 15A briefly.

The Lite chucks a wobbly:

When the current exceeds 10A, the display flashes the message “WARNING, OVER/LOAD”

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Post by PlanB » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 19:31

Have you had an opportunity to compare your 15A powermate to the $29 wonders Reecho?

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 19:49

From a few online reviews comparing similar cheap meters to the power mate over a variety of loads. Showed that when measuring small loads Sub 10w then the accuracy and resolution of the Powermate stood out. Non resistive loads with varying power factor is where the biggest discrepancy's were shown.

A It all depends on what kind of loads you want to measure and how accurate you need to be.

Some examples below from a review I read.

"A 100W incandescent globe.
Arlec 96W
Power-Mate 94.1W

A 40W incandescent globe.
Arlec 40W
Power-Mate 40.95W

soldering iron rated at 21W full power.

Arlec 21W
Power-Mate 22.67W PF 0.999"


The power mate is only rated at +/- 2% the arlec was +/- 4% To me both of them are not that impressive. But the cheap one would be way out if it wasn't 100% PF load.

Like this example in the test review of a compact fluro. shows how its out by a lot due to PF error or just isn't considered in the calculations.

"18W compact fluro. Rated between 220V and 240V, current 130mA
Arlec 16W 0.07A PF 100%
Power-Mate 20.65W 0.142A at 241V, PF 0.603"

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 10:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by reecho » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 20:21

PlanB wrote: Have you had an opportunity to compare your 15A powermate to the $29 wonders Reecho?


I have played with some cheapies through work. The accuracy with them is a spin of the chocolate wheel i'm afraid....

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 23:33

Johny wrote:
offgridQLD wrote: It was more if I Was sacrificing accuracy or key features with a lite.
... The accuracy appears to be the same.

Actually, the Lite has a maximum error of 2%, but the non-Lites are 1% (both typically better, they claim). For home use, I would think that 2% would be fine.

I imagine that the errors for certain types of non power factor corrected load would be really bad, like an order of magnitude out. This is because the really bad devices draw power for only 1% or so of the cycle, and the cheapies don't sample the current waveform often enough to even see the current peak. They may also run out of range, with the peak current being in the hundred amp range. Measuring such power consumption accurately is non trivial. I wonder if the cheaper utility meters like EM1000s actually get it right.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 23:39

Antiscab did some research some time ago:

Testing kWh meters. It looks like he didn't pony up the money for a PowerMate.
Last edited by coulomb on Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 13:40, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by antiscab » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 05:56

That's true, I never did spring for a PowerMate

I did however buy an energy meter (no longer for sale) that did appear to measure both leading and lagging displacement power factor, as well as harmonic distrotion

That, and it's kwh measurement matched my utility meter
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Post by offgridQLD » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 12:55

I started a new thread as this energy meter discussion is starting to get off topic.

viewtopic.php?p=57654&t=4592#p57654

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Post by PlanB » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 16:49

I can see that 4.7A~ mains current into the 2 boxes must be an out-of-phase power factor anomaly but still intrigued as to what the box has connected across the mains to give such a bad power factor?
The change from 4.7A (batteries charging with bypass) to 3.4A (batteries not charging with bypass) suggests the mains battery charger in the unit has a reasonable power factor (4.7-3.4=1.3A~ for a one to two hundred watts of batt charging).
So if bypass just switches the mains direct to the resistive load of the 60w lamp what else is in there to draw the 3.4A of out-of-phase current? When bypass is off the mains current drops to 0.1A~ which also seems reasonable for 2 boxes in stdby.
Last edited by PlanB on Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 06:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by weber » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 17:34

To skip backwards over the preceding digression on power meters, click the following link:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p57600
PlanB wrote: I can see that 4.7A~ mains current into the 2 boxes must be an out-of-phase power factor anomaly but still intrigued as to what the box has connected across the mains to give such a bad power factor?
The change from 4.7A (batteries charging with bypass) to 3.4A (batteries not charging with bypass) suggests the mains battery charger in the unit has a reasonable power factor (4.7-3.4=1.3A~ for a one to two hundred watts of batt charging).
So if bypass just switches the mains direct to the resistive load of the 60w lamp what else is in there to draw the 3.4A of out-of-phase current? When bypass is off the mains current drops to 0.1A~ which also seems reasonable for 2 boxes in stdby.

It has to be the battery charger (mode of the inverter). Even if it is not charging the battery (but presumably floating the battery) it is still connected across the mains.

This charger has no reason not to be operating in Power Factor Correcting (PFC) mode. However I note that there are two completely unrelated things that are commonly included under the heading "power factor". One is the phase shift between current and voltage sine waves. The other is when the current waveform is far from sinusoidal, typically spikey -- called more specifically "harmonics". So-called PFC is really "harmonic reduction". It may well be reducing harmonics, but there may still be some inductance or capacitance that is causing a phase shift.

It may be the inductance of the LC filter needed to filter the PWM from the output of the inverter (when operating in inverter mode).
Last edited by weber on Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 14:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 18:45

weber wrote: It may be the inductance of the LC filter needed to filter the PWM from the output of the inverter (when operating in inverter mode).

[ Edit: turns out this is not relevant, as Weber points out next post. ]

Actually, the inverter should be compensating for this phase shift. It basically sets its power by adjusting the phase shift between the inverter output and the mains; the inductor's voltage is the difference between these two, and is almost at ninety degrees to both. Its current will be ninety degrees out of phase with that voltage, so it will be in synch with the mains.

If the output of the inverter has the wrong *amplitude*, however, then the angle of the voltage across the inductor is no longer 90 degrees, and you end up with reactive power. It's easy to get this wrong, and end up with a poor power factor.

The other thing is that the mains is rarely perfectly sinusoidal, and typically has a good component of fifth and seventh harmonic in it. (I assume also third harmonic for single phase systems; I'm used to 3-phase systems at work; with three phase systems, the third harmonics often go away.) This can cause non-sinusoidal current, since it's hard for the inverter to match the distortion of the mains while maintaining a phase shift, and this can lead to poor power factor.

One of the three phase inverters at work has very considerable ripple in the instantaneous power; at low output power, some of the peaks of the ninth (!) harmonic instantaneous power cross zero (so power is going back into the mains for part of the cycle, even though on average, it is coming out of the mains to supply the load and losses). I don't know what that would look like for a single phase inverter; it certainly would not have a pronounced ninth harmonic component to the instantaneous power. I suspect it has to be mostly second harmonic (100 Hz).
Last edited by coulomb on Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 12:59, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by weber » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 21:28

That's all very interesting, Coulomb, but I think completely irrelevant because the PIP is not acting as an inverter in what is being discussed -- only as a charger. And when it does operate as an inverter its output is never connected to the mains. I believe you are talking about a grid-feed inverter.
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Post by PlanB » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 22:01

I'm guessing the battery charger is maybe not connected when I first power up (mains current 0.1A) & the LCD shows just an isolated battery pack for a few seconds.
Then the display switches to show bypass only, battery still isolated (mains current 3.4A) Then, after a few more secs, battery charging with bypass (mains current 4.7A)
So we're thinking the 3.4A of reactive current is all down to an unloaded charger then?

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 23:37

weber wrote: That's all very interesting, Coulomb,
Aren't I, though?   Image
but I think completely irrelevant because the PIP is not acting as an inverter in what is being discussed -- only as a charger.
Excellent point, and my bad. I was confused when you correctly mentioned the inductor on the output of the inverter, and I switched to the inductor I'm familar with.

It's also confusing because I've been assuming that charger is essentially the inverter, operating in an unusual mode where only the lower pair of IGBTs is switched. But now I realise that this discussion (between Weber and I over email) was with respect to the Power Jack inverter, which may be completely different in how it performs battery charging.

But I would think that a filter inductor would be pretty small (less than 1 mH, say), so its reactance at 50 Hz would be quite small (well under an ohm). I would not expect this to cause such a low power factor.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by offgridQLD » Sat, 27 Jun 2015, 00:09

Just using the PIP4048 now to charge the imiev in the Landsborough train station. It's consuming 44 amps from the battery at 50.5v (2222w) and showing 2100w AC output (over 90% efficancy) My imiev is showing 1600w to the battery. All this conversion wastage. Just under 30%. Total loss (Only using the data from the PIPs display and my inboard OBD port logger.

Kurt
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Post by weber » Sat, 27 Jun 2015, 00:28

coulomb wrote:
weber wrote: That's all very interesting, Coulomb,
Aren't I, though?   Image
Always.
... I've been assuming that charger is essentially the inverter, operating in an unusual mode where only the lower pair of IGBTs is switched.
I assumed the same, and still do.
But I would think that a filter inductor would be pretty small (less than 1 mH, say), so its reactance at 50 Hz would be quite small (well under an ohm). I would not expect this to cause such a low power factor.

An excellent point. In which case, PlanB, I must fall back on the hypothesis that we cannot believe the current measurements, and they are really much lower. Does the clamp meter claim to give a True-RMS reading? Maybe the current waveform really is spikey.
Last edited by weber on Fri, 26 Jun 2015, 14:30, edited 1 time in total.
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