Advice about solar PV panels

Discussion in 'EMC Matters' started by MM5AHO, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Geoff, can you confirm or not whether or not Optimisers were fitted to the back of the solar panels, if so the make and type they were.
    May thanks
  2. MM5AHO

    MM5AHO New Member

    After nearly a months operation, and a reasonable amount of radio operations during that time, can report that all are living very harmoniously together.
    At all up to nearly maximum output of the PV system, I cannot hear it on any band from 160-2m.

    Now I need to figure out how to use as much of this generated powder as possible, rather than export it to the grid.
  3. MM5AHO

    MM5AHO New Member

    Should read "... generated power..."

    I can't see a way on here to edit a submitted post.
  4. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Yes Geoff i have that problem. Well done on your results which only goes to show that if equipment is well sourced and installed with EMC in mind that PV and Radio can work side by side in total harmony.

    This is really good news and thanks for the update

  5. Hello Geoff - we've not "worked" on this band before:). I have had solar PV for several years. SMA Sunny Boy + Sharp panels. No RFI. No "optimisers", which I understand can cause problems. To answer your last question - I'm in the process right now of finding a suitable device that switches generated power to the immersion heater to "harvest" spare watts. I've just posted an RFI (request for information!) elsewhere on this blog. I gather that there is only one brand that complies with all the UK/EU EMC regs and I'm trying to find someone who knows about the implications of these for received noise on our bands. Cheers, Malcolm GM3TAL
  6. colinsanter

    colinsanter New Member

    Hello Malcolm, Good to hear your system is working well for you. I installed a solar Iboost to send the excess power to my immersion heater, it works a treat with no EMC issues. I installed the Solar Iboot in August 2014, it diverts enough power to heat all my water to +60C apart from November, December, January and February when I found it necessary to import power for up to 30 Minuets a day. To date (May 2015) the unit has save me 357kWh's.
  7. Hello Colin,
    Glad to hear that your iboost works well with no EMC issues. I'm considering using the Immersun. The manufacturer publishes results from an independent EMC test lab. (I've raised a thread elsewhere on this blog and Ken G3SDW is in the process of helping me to understand what the data means in practice.) I was concerned because switching up to 3kW of mains power is a bit different in scale to a what goes on in an ipad wall wart psu!! Anyway, thanks for your info. I've said that I shall post the results here for my installation. Maybe I'm worrying un-necessarily, we shall see!!
    Malcolm GM3TAl
  8. Bill de Bass

    Bill de Bass New Member

    I have PV solar panels which radiate interference from the roof downleads.
    The RFI vanishes when I switch off the PV panels or switch to a dummy load.
    It is present both when I use my inV and my vertical (which is at the bottom of the garden)
    It vanishes at night when the panels shut down - not surprisingly.

    The installer is wriggling.
    I have suggested that he installs some filters.


    Attached Files:

  9. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Yes he should, it has been proved many times that Solar can work along side our equipment with no problem at all, as long as it has been installed to the correct standards and the equipment used is of good quality not some of the Chinese imported stuff that claim the CE mark which is a fake.
    Ask the installer to what reg`s he installed it to and then watch him stutter.
    Let us know here on the forum how you get on.
  10. G3VNH

    G3VNH New Member

    After much deliberation three months ago I decided to go ahead with a solar PV installation.

    About 4 years ago I approached a solar installation company and they came out to survey my site. I asked about inverter problems and they said they would contact the inverter company, which was SMA (the German company about their Sunny Boy range of inverters). Previous reports about SMA had shown very few if indeed any problems with their product. He reported back to me saying that he had phoned SMA UK HQ and on putting the problem to the manager, said Ohhhh!!! A radio amateur!

    I asked the installation company if putting ferrite rings etc. in the leads would help and was informed that would be a breach of warranty. However I sent him away with copies of all the EMC column inches re solar installation from RADCOM.

    My installation was originally quoted for a SMA inverter but it subsequently turned out it was not suitable because of strike up voltage on my dual string installation. They subsequently informed me that they would need to supply an ABB AURORA One Inverter. I knew from reading reports etc. that this caused no problems and an amateur friend in Malta had just had the same inverter fitted and he had detected no problems.

    At the time of installation I had the company fit TDK Noise Filter snap fix ferrite clamps at each end of the DC cabling which is about 7 metres to the inverter for both strings. The DC leads had a single turn around the ferrite. The 4mm twin and earth cable from the AC output to the house distribution board had an RSGB EMC Committee approved Fair-Rite 43 material ferrite ring placed on each end of this 15 metre run.

    All the cabling was neatly clipped onto the joists in a well-engineered installation. None of this cabling is in metal conduit. I had decided to take a ‘risk’ at this stage but the AC run from the inverter to the mains distribution board is mostly external to the house and in plastic conduit.

    The inverter is in the centre of the loft and fitted on a wooden board as there is no vertical wall for mounting. The position is some 7 metres from the shack, which is on the upper floor.

    I had been monitoring all the bands prior to installation for a number of weeks to get an ‘immediate’ feel for general noise levels on the bands. I did this so that I could very rapidly check for any background rise in noise levels etc. by tuning over the bands prior to having a longer look with my panoramic adapter and another SDR Rx when the installation was completed. Fortunately the sun was out when the system was switched on.

    A subsequent longer look and operation on each band 80-10m has shown no detectable increase in background noise levels.

    My system consists of 11 BenQ 330W panels and the ABB AURORA 3000 Inverter.

  11. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Thank you Peter, this is the sort of detailed info` we like to hear about, proving that if the homework is done and also the installation done to the correct standard then we can all live along side each other.
  12. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper New Member

    Hi All,

    Just came across this thread when I did a google search for interference with solariboost.
    I had one fitted about six years ago when we had solar panels installed.
    I first became licensed 3 years ago.
    I have never been able to work hf very well and put it down to living in a built up area.
    I thought I would do some test and see if I could find out where the interference was coming from.
    So I disconnected every device in the house, including the solar panels, was about to give up, but tried switching of the solariboost, and bingo, the interference stopped.
    Rang up the manufactures, who were quite helpful, they said they had heard of the problem before, and it's because the sender transmits on 868.3MHz.
    She said the new ones use PWM which should be ok, but the old ones, which mine is, does phase angle.
    So seems there is no solution, unless anyone knows of one, apart from switching it off during the day if I'm doing hf work, then remembering to turn it back on again.
    I'm just pleased that I've found the source of my interference.

  13. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Hi Tim, yes we had one a while ago and although the amateur tried all sorts of ferrites to try and stop it radiating noise he failed to do so, like you he was left with what you said to turn it off when using HF, that entirely up to you of course other than buying the latest type that they have suggested, which i am sure they would only be to please for you to do.

    Let me know what you decide, always here 24/7 to help.
  14. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper New Member

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your reply. I will have to stick with what I've got I'm afraid, and just turn it off when I'm using hf.
    Interesting to hear someone else had the same problem.
    I'm just pleased that I've found the source of the problem, after thinking before it was the-built up area I live in, or problems with my radio or antenna set up.


  15. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    No Tim its a common problem, built up area yes but not as bad as that and in many cases the problem is emitted from the amateurs own property, my policy is always first look close to home which is what you have done so well done that man.

    Again RFI today often comes from several sources at the same time.

    Always here to help at all times, my pleasure.
  16. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper New Member

    Hi Ken,

    Just an idea.
    Basicly my electricity meter is in the middle of the house with the transmitter attached. The solariboost is at one end of the house, with my shack and antennas the other side.
    How about if I made a shield of some sort, say tin foil wrapped around a piece of wood, and put it alongside the transmitter, the side that faces my radio and antennas, so shielding and transmissions from going towards my antennas and radio, from the transmitter, would that work at all?

  17. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Hi Tim, no its not the transmitter that is radiating noise but the SMPS which is coupling RFI into the mains supply, which is what is doing the radiating.

    SMPS`s today are the biggest culprit when it comes to interference at HF.

    Although the SMPS will be marked with a CE mark that should mean that it comp,lies to EU regulations but in many cases does not mean it at all, it should do but all to often does not mean a thing.
  18. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Tim take a tread of some details we spoke about in the last case we had like yours.

    Does it also have the optional "iBoost+ Buddy" in-home display? This needs 5 V DC at 0.5 A so it must have an external 5 volt mains PSU. Is that the source?

    If it's not the Solar iBoost+ Sender and Clamp nor the iBoost+ Buddy in-home display (if any) then it's probably the Solar iBoost+ Controller unit that controls the immersion heater. It probably has its own switching power supply built in and is connected to fixed mains wiring via a fused spur.

    According to the following web page,

    Solar iBoost+ Controller

    Electrical and Safety Compliance EN60730-2-7,EN301 489-3, EN300 220, EN60335-1 EN55014-1, EN55022 (Tested independently)

    For EN55022 they don't say whether it is Class A or Class B limits. It should be Class B for domestic environment

    It also says, "Control Type 1B. Pulse width modulation"

    It appears that it diverts a variable amount of power to the immersion heater and it looks like they are using PWM to control the power of the immersion heater. The PWM is a potential source of RF interference. I think that EN55014-1 would test for conducted emissions back into the mains and also on the output port to the immersion heater but the limits are too high to protect weak signal amateur radio reception.
  19. Ken G3SDW

    Ken G3SDW Moderator

    Another comment that will need answering Tim.

    "It appears that the iBoost sender can be powered by batteries or an optional mains power supply unit"

    You could try this to eliminate things on the system.
  20. Tim Cooper

    Tim Cooper New Member

    Hi Ken,

    Many thanks for your detailed reply.
    I don't have the optional " buddy" fitted.
    The system I have has the sender by the electricity meter, then a control box inside the airing cupboard, which is like you say powered by a separate fixed fused spur point alongside. This is what I've been switching off to eleimuate all interference.
    So from what you are saying, if this box was able to be powered by batteries, instead of the mains, that might solve it?


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