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At EA, we don't like to dwell on the negative. However, it's important that you are aware of some of the serious problems that exist out there. We continue to be distressed by the unprofessional, and just downright dangerous installations that some so-called "professionals" have left for us to clean up. Not only are these systems sometimes dangerous, they also waste tremendous amounts of money and time. Building projects are already stressful enough. Let an EA Certified Installer handle the energy systems and you will have one less worry.

We certainly prefer to do the job correctly, the first time. It will ultimately save you money and provide a level of comfort that other companies just can't seem to manage.

When you choose an EA Certified installer for your project, you are assured the project will be handled professionally and your system will serve your needs for many years to come.

Recreational Ranch in Northern BC, Summer 2005

Customer called us out with the complaint: His generator can run "forever" and just never seems to charge up his batteries.

What we found:

- a 30 kW propane generator, professionally installed.
- a DR3624 inverter/charger (with 2 kW battery charger capacity).
- 32 golf cart batteries (46 kWh capacity).
- batteries housed in an unsealed, improperly secured, and inadequately insulated manner (system installed in an unheated equipment shed)..
- Batteries wired together with #10 wire (should be 2/0 min).
- a bizarre and unnecessarily complex method of starting generator & transferring load.

It was quite obvious why the system has problems. The battery charger can only use 6% of the generator capacity for battery charging, and the battery capacity is far too large for a small battery charger. So the remaining 94% of generator capacity is not being used.

What we did:

- removed everything except for the generator.
- Installed a dual SWPlus 5548 inverter panel, delivering 11 kW of inverter capacity, and 8 kW of battery charging capacity
- installed a 90 kWh industrial bank of 2V cells, in proper sealed, insulated and ventilated box
- configured system for automatic generator start, based on battery voltage or demand
- installed 1 kW of PV array on the roof of the building.

Northwest coast of BC.

This customer discussed his system needs extensively with EA, but ultimately decided to purchase his system elswhere. A decision he has regretted since. He hired an electrician of his choice to do the installation.

EA was called up to this site, a mere 15 hr drive north from Vancouver, to review the system and suggest recommendations.

The main customer complaint:

- 1/2 the house goes dark "sometimes"
- automatic generator control doesn't work
- wanted to look into options other than generator.

What we found:

- despite the original designer of the system driving 15 hrs north, he neglected to adjust his solar survey tools for a northern latitude. The client constructed his roofline based on the solar survey, only to discover that the sun never hits the roof due to steep mountains surrounding.
- batteries installed in a completely unprofessional and unsafe manner. Ventilation improper and ineffective (using thin aluminum pipe for corrosive hydrogen).
- Lack of sealed box to enclose and protect batteries
- improper battery cables, loose on the ground, not cut to size
- improper programming (one inverter always on, the other inverter in search mode).
- No balancing transformer.
- several surplus items, charge controllers, breakers, etc which have no purpose
- extremely oversized wire run for well pump, wasting client's money.

What EA has done:

- nothing. Customer's budget has been depleted.

Yukon, fall 2006

Customer called us concerned his 2-year-old battery bank is no longer performing properly.

As a service call was a bit expensive, we worked with the client via email.

It was quickly determined that he was simply not charging his batteries long enough, and had not conducted regular equalization charges, per the battery instructions. During the normal discussions, we asked him to send a photo of his battery bank.

What we found:

- one of the most dangerous battery installations we have seen for a while
- installed in a hall closet with clothing, and dry timbers nearby
- un-fused wires draped over top of terminals, a fire waiting to happen
- duct tape is not the same as electrical tape
- improper terminal cabling, increasing resistance
- fasteners were not tight, some corrosion detected

What we did:

- instructed client on proper battery charging procedures
- cautioned client of dangers of the battery installation.
- Recommended a professional installer review entire system

Central Vancouver Island, BC. Spring 2008

A desperate call from an extremely frustrated customer who had purchased their system from a startup firm. The installation was performed by an unknown "electrician" who the customer would not name.

What we found:

- 24V, 8 battery bank that had 2 of the batteries tapped for 12V. This is a very well-known NO NO in the battery world.
- due to uneven loading on the batteries, those batteries would never charge properly
- batteries in open, unprotected space, allowing hydrogen gas to drift up to the expensive inverter
- electrician did not use the internal transfer functions of the inverter, instead elected for a complex process of turning breakers on and off that the client was expected to do every time the generator ran.
- a small 3 kW 120/240 generator was only wired to use 50% of the capacity at 120VAC.
- marine 1-2-Both switches that are not approved for residential installation, not to mention completely redundant and not required.

What we did

- replaced the battery bank with new cells, as existing bank would not hold charge
- installed ventilated, insulated battery box to contain batteries
- removed the complex series of breakers, and used the internal auto-transfer switch of the inverter
- installed a new cable to feed 240VAC from generator to inverter room
- installed a step-down X240 transformer so that all of generator capacity can be used
- installed an auxiliary battery chargers to compensate for the small battery charger found in Outback inverters.
- installed a 24VDC - 12VDC transformer for the 12V loads
- removed all the unneeded wiring and switching

The customer spent almost as much money on the cleanup as she did for the original system.






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