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Old April 13th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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UPB Noise problem (Outback Inverters?)

Hi. I am trying to get UPB working in my house.

I have 6 outback FX3648 inverters stacked to make 240 A/C. UPStart is reporting a "severe" noise level (the meter is pegged). Has anyone used UPB with inverters, Outback in particular?

I called Outback and they said, Yes, their inverters are "noisy" in that frequency range, even though it is a true sine wave. They were unable to give me any advice.

When I run straight off the generator, I get no noise at all. So I know it is something with the inverter assembly.

Any filters that I can put on the line? I ordered a Leviton filter that goes around the neutral wire, but it is designed for X-10, so I am not sure if it will work.

Any ideas? I really want to use UPB!

Scott Kemp
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Old April 13th, 2007, 11:49 PM
zap zap is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kansas
Posts: 535

Leviton also make whole filters.

I had a similar problem with noise about 3 or 4 years ago using modified sine wave inverters with Z-Wave devices, Z-wave just didn't like it, sometimes they would work and sometimes they would not.
Drove HS nuts for awhile with help tickets.

Made the move to 2-FX2524T's and how Z-Waves a happy camper.

I think if you isolate the inverters form the house distribution it might cure the noise problem.

Might have a look at one of these.

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Old April 14th, 2007, 01:53 AM
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Mikhael Mikhael is offline
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Location: Nebraska
Posts: 309
im really interested in this as I am still in the planning stages of a home that I planned on utilizing RE and thus inverters in. I really wanted to use HS in this setup both for the rest of the house and for monitoring of the RE system. if the inverters cause too much noise to use my prefered HA PLC system (also UPB) I will be greatly dissapointed
Black wholes are when God divides by zero.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 04:18 AM
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Give Brad at Simply Automated a call. I beleive they now have filters for this. He helped me with a similar problem last year. The contact info can be found here: http://simply-automated.com/contact_sa.htm

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Old April 14th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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I am working with Brad as I own a but load of their light switches waiting to get installed when we get this fixed (fingers crossed). He hasn't mentioned any filters though, I'll ask on Monday. I am looking at Isolation transformers now with Faraday shields that I would connect at the output of the inverters. I wonder if this might work?

I might try the Leviton, but it makes no claims of noise reduction.

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Old April 17th, 2007, 08:37 PM
aldonc aldonc is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Bay Area, CA USA
Posts: 44
You might want to contact the guys at Web Mountain (www.webmtn.com) as they have helped me in a number of noise situations. One house in particular had big inverters for solar panels that would put out huge amounts of noise when they were charging and it carried over into the evening. I was able to control everything and even reprogram modules with their help even with "Severe" noise.

I've heard rumors that there are newer UPB modules that will mitigate the noise problem considerably.


PS I wasn't able to find any filters to help with this - the inverters would have needed to be modified which my customer wasn't interested in.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 01:57 AM
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Here is the end of the story...

I couldn't get UPB to work in my situation. I worked with Brad Cone at Simply Automated extensively. They were very responsive and had great support, BTW.

Being off-grid, we make our own power with generators and inverters. When running strictly off the generator (bypassing the chargers/inverters) it would kind of work when the generator frequency was below 60.6hz. My generator (30kw desiel) runs between 59.3 and 61hz depending on the load, so this was a problem. It seems that UPB is pretty sensitive to the frequency. This was confirmed by Brad as well.

Even when the frequency was below the 60.6hz, the UPB could only pass simple packets (light on/off). Any configuration or longer length packets were not able to pass. We suspect this was because the frequency was not as stable as it needed to be because it speeds up and slows down every time a cylinder fires.

When running off the inverters with the generator off, the noise on the UPB meter was off the chart and no UPB communication was possible. I called Outback and confirmed that they use a switching frequency of 20khz which is right in the middle of the 5-40khz range UPB uses to communicate. So the inverters created tons of noise that UPB was simply unable to deal with.

I tried the Leviton X-10 (I know, different frequency) panel filter that wraps around the neutral wire. Didn't work.

I tried some filters that Simplay Automated is coming out with for UPB but that didn't work either.

I talked with the guys at Filter Concepts and they claim that 20khz is hard to make a filter for and for the power requirements I was looking at (100 amp/240V). Would be a big expensive filter that may/may not work. I didn't want to spend the money to try this solution.

So the UPB stuff went back to the store and I will be giving ZWave a chance.

Thanks for your advice.

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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:48 AM
zap zap is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kansas
Posts: 535

Thanks for your findings on UPB and the OutBack inverters, Could save somebody ( Me ) from having the same trouble.

I have been very happy with my Z-troller and z-wave switches, while running the Outback Inverters.

Note: I have been using the older ACT ZRW100's relay switchs only.
I have not tried any with the dimming ability.
nor have I tried any of the newer ACT or Levition relay switches.

Could you please post in the Z-Wave fourms your findings if you try any of the newer Z-Wave switchs.

Seems to be a little interest using RE and HomeSeer here on the board, Its nice to know what works and what doesn't with RE.

Again thanks for your findings.

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Old February 13th, 2017, 02:32 AM
Switchdoctor Switchdoctor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Tested my system

I do not have FX inverters, Instead I use the GS series in my off grid home.
And I happened to have a very expensive harmonics and power analyzer laying around when I built the house.
I did test the inverter for quality. Was very stringent about it being pure sine to make my equipment happy. And I must say it was VERY clean. (more prominent with no load - I observed a tiny less than 1v "spike nipple" on the sine wave, but very irrelevant).
Zwave works flawlessly with the GS inverter. I also have an electronics workshop (very equipped if I admit it myself) where I work with spectrum analyzer, counters, and the gamut. Even with the variac testing - no malformed sinewaves.
This inverter lacks distortion I was expecting. I was impressed with it enough I purchased a second GS4048 for a redundant system. I took one apart to explore how they did it, and the thing has a huge transformer on each power module, driven by FET's from the battery during invert. And when AC-Input is present it uses the transformer backwards to isolate the generator/AC-In into a charging circuit to charge the batteries. The "AC-In" is switched into loads during the charge, and is not isolated from the AC-Out, so don't assume I meant that! (it isolates the AC line from the BATTERY!)

For getting rid of high frequency switching harmonics (if you have them), you can use a simple "choke", however for a distorted sine wave there is no way around it besides using a transformer/conditioner (in my experience).
And sometimes you will be amazed at how effective even a small choke can be! If you have a harmonic analyzer available, test what "order" that is misbehaving and get a choke tuned for that frequency.
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