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Power "Quality" Protection with Powerwall

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by LasVegasaurusRex, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. LasVegasaurusRex

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    There are a litany of products on the market which offer protection against the power grid. Shopping for them is a mess, with numerous offerings that all seem to overlap in one way or another. Product titles include: Hardwire Surge Suppression, Voltage Regulators, Active Power Conditioners, and Passive Power Conditioners, and probably more that I'm not aware of. Researching them is a nightmare.

    Like a surge protector or Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), these products are designed to protect your electrical equipment. Unlike surge protectors and UPSes, these products don't go inside your home. They stay outside, to protect you from the power company.

    Does Powerwall have any such protections built-in? It seems like a major oversight if it doesn't, since the power company at any time could convert your $5k Powerwall into a brick -- or worse, a flaming brick.
     
  2. westom

    westom Member

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    Each device only addresses a particular anomaly. For example, a UPS is temporary and 'dirty' power so that unsaved data can be saved. It does nothing to protect hardware.

    Eliminate confusion quickly by ignoring any claim that does not come with numbers. UPS will claim to be surge protectors. Then view its number. How many joules does it claim to 'absorb'? Hundreds. What does it do on a potentially destructive surge that is hundreds of thousands of joules? So 'surge protection' is subjective. Mythical. Junk science. Hearsay. All but does not exist. But is hyped, to those who don't demand numbers, as 100% protection.

    Most protection is already inside every appliance. For example, voltage can drop so low that incandescent bulbs dim to 50% intensity. A voltage that low is perfectly good for all electronics. So why does anyone need voltage regulation? They routinely forget to mention numbers - creating fear and therefore a market for products nobody really needs.

    Meanwhile, a voltage that low is potentially harmful to motorized appliances - furnace, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, central air. So why are they not marketing for protection of the at risk appliances? Again, the market is people so naive as to not always demand spec numbers.

    Best protection from transients at each appliance is already inside each appliance. Your concern is a surge that can overwhelm that protection. A transient that might occur once every seven years. If anything needs that protection, then everything needs that protection. So the informed homeowner earths a 'whole house' protector for about $1 per protected appliance. Why earth? Because protectors never do protection. An effective protector always has that low impedance (ie less than 10 foot) connection to single point earth ground (all four words are electrically significant). Since lightning can be 20,000 amps, then a minimal 'whole house' protector is 50,000 amps.

    Described is protection by how a transient is earthed (quality of and low impedance connection to earth). And a completely different and relevant parameter for protector life expectancy over many decades and many direct lightning strikes (50,000 amps).

    What other 'power conditioning' causes concern? View what a power supply does. Incoming AC (clean or dirty) is filtered. Then converted to DC. Then filtered again. Then converted to well over 300 volt radio frequency spikes. Does not matter how 'clean' that power is. Because it is now made 'dirtiest'. Then superior filters, galvanic isolation, and regulators convert that 'dirtiest' power into rock stable DC voltages.

    Anything a power conditioner might do is already undone and then done better inside each electronic appliance. Did the so many who forgot to mention numbers also discuss any of that? Appreciate how widespread these scams are because so many peers beg to be scammed - never demand numbers.
     
  3. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    It's not really the "power company" you want to protect Powerwall and devices in your house from, it's mostly lightning that needs to be diverted. That should be outside the home or at the main panel. Yes, sometimes there are transients from utility switching and such, but lightning is what really can fry things and lead to fire, injury, or death.

    The power company is responsible for lightning protection when it strikes their lines, but depending on many things including how lines are run, distances, where the strike occurs, etc, it is almost always a good idea to install service entry protection at the main panel (diversion to earth and line to line).

    If you add protection (surge suppressors, etc) deep inside your home, watch out for those products that divert the energy to ground (some call all-mode). Those ground wires deep inside your house are not the place to sink all that energy! Surge protectors that do only hot-neutral or hot-hot are the ones to get. There are things like series-mode protection in certain few situations but that's for another time...

    Powerwall will protect itself, and because of where it is located and how it works, it should help protect everything downstream.
     
  4. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    Actually it is probably the Energy Gateway that would protect the Powerwall and all the downstream devices. (Since the Powerwall is generally just hooked up to a breaker like all of your other devices.) I wonder if there is any surge protection built in to it.
     
  5. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    When the Powerwall is hooked up to a 2-pole breaker, any protection built in to the Powerwall should help protect that panel- IF there is surge protection built into the Powerwall (should be). Yes the Energy Gateway should help too, just a guess. Wish I could tear one down!
     
  6. westom

    westom Member

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    Now let's view what those protectors do. A surge incoming on any or all AC wires might be 5000 volts. View let-through voltage numbers on that protector. Probably 330 volts. So a 5000 volt surge incoming on the hot (black) wire is now incoming 4670 volts on the neutral (white) wire and safety ground (green) wires. Where is the protection?

    Yes a protector conducted current from H-N and H-G. Resulting voltages are simply given more paths to find earth destructively via each appliance. Where is protection? It does not exist once one learns how transients (surges) get to earth and what those paths are.

    Once that current is inside, then nothing can avert a potentially destructive hunt for earth. Protection is always about connecting that current to earth BEFORE it can enter the building. Then that current is not hunting for earth destructively via appliances.

    A protectors is only as effective as the connection to and quality of earth ground. That means an effective protector connects less than 10 feet to earth.
     
  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    This would only apply to cheap UPS systems, not the commercial grade ones which protect the hardware.
     
  8. westom

    westom Member

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    Where is a UPS that claims to 'block' or 'absorb' hundreds of thousands of joules? How does a gap in a millimeters switch 'block' what three miles of sky cannot? Where is this UPS that claims to 'absorb' hundreds of thousands of joules. That cited UPS is posted with a manufacturer specification number that answers those question.

    If numbers do not exist, then it does not claim to provide effective protection. Only UPS that might provide that protection must be at the service entrance with a low impedance (ie less than 10 foot) connection to single point earth ground. Nothing that is installed inside (ie plugged in) claims such protection.

    Where is that spec number? Where does it claim to respond so fast as to avert the microseconds spike? Where does it define to harmlessly dissipate hundreds of thousands of joules? Where does it say where tens of thousands of amps flow so as to not cause damage? Where is this 'commercial' UPS that does any of that?
     
  9. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Table 14. Electrical Input and Output

    Nominal Input Voltage: 200–240 Vac or 100/200, 110/220, 120/208, 120/240, 127/220
    Input Voltage Range: Vac 176–276 Vac*
    Nominal Output Voltage: 200–240 Vac or 100/200, 110/220, 120/208, 120/240, 127/220 Vac
    Nominal Frequency: Online: 50/60 Hz auto-sensing; output frequency tracks input frequency to selectable limit (±0.1 to ±5.0 Hz; ±3.0 Hz default); switches to battery operation outside this tolerance. On battery: 50 Hz or 60 Hz ±0.1 Hz
    Regulation: ±3% load regulation (under any line, load, or battery condition)
    Voltage Waveform: Sine wave; <3% THD at rated linear loads, computer-grade power
    Overload Capability: 150% for 10 seconds; 300% for 12 cycles
    DC Input protection: DC fuse and battery charger overvoltage limit network
    Output Protection: Microprocessor-sensed overvoltage and overcurrent, with fuse backup

    What this says is that if a big spike comes down the line, it will switch to battery power. Most likely the control systems will be fried, but the input will be shut off.

    Of course, this is just the one I use at home and could quickly get the specs. If you're trying to stop a lightning strike you also need a PDU (power distribution unit) between the utility power and the UPS (and quite a large one too--just slight smaller than a Model S). I actually had a lightning strike near the data centre, which blew out several of the PDUs and some of the UPSs, but the UPS did protect the computers. (Of course they lost power, but the high voltages didn't get to them, so recovery was restarting them and running fsck.) At home what you're primarily trying to stop is someone hitting a power pole that trashes the transformer on it and sends a big power spike down the lines (this is no where near the amount of energy a lighting strike has). No residential whole house power attenuator is going to stop a nearby lightning strike, even in combination with a UPS.
     
  10. westom

    westom Member

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    That conclusion uses subjective reasoning. Include numbers. Switching to battery power takes milliseconds. Big spikes are done in microseconds. 300 consecutive big spikes could destroy hardware before it even thinks about switching to battery power. Subjective recommendations are why expensive scams get promoted.
    This well proven 'whole house' solution costs about $1 per protected appliance. This superior solution also costs tens of times less money with numbers that says why it is superior protection.

    Any solution that 'blocks' a surge (ie PDU) is bogus. Effective protection was not as demonstrated. That example demonstrated failed protection. Effective protection means nobody even knew a surge existed.

    A telco's CO will suffer about 100 surges with each storm. Without damage even to a PDU. How often is your town without phone service for four days while they replace failed hardware? Never? They also properly earth 'whole house' protection. Same solution that every homeowner can install; provided by companies known by any guy for integrity. Best solution is also how it was done even over 100 years ago.

    If one foolishly uses a plug-in protector, well that also does not have the always required connection to single point earth ground. No earth ground means no effective protection.

    Any solution, that does not protect from lightning, linemen errors, spikes created by stray cars, tree rodents, and utility switching, is ineffective. Informed homeowners spends $1 per protected appliance to properly earth a solution always found in every facility that cannot have damage.

    Protection is always about where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. The informed properly earth before a surge enters. 'Whole house' solution means protection for decades from all types of surges including many direct lightning strikes. Then nobody even knows a surge existed. Numbers (as provided) must be part of every recommendation. A protector is only as effective as the other item that actually does the protection - single point earth ground.

    Silly is a millimeters gap in a switch that will somehow 'block' a surge. Silly is some magic box that will 'absorb' hundreds of thousands of joules - then even worse, be damaged. Silly is a milliseconds switch that will somehow block microsecond surges. Silly is any solution that does not have what actually does the protection - single point earth ground.
     
  11. LasVegasaurusRex

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    No, in my case the problem is the power company.

    Damaged Downtown Businesses Upset with NV Energy

    https://ibew1245.com/2011/06/06/customers-mad-after-explosion/



    How do I do this?

    This seems to be the case but why does Tesla make no mention of it? What happens if Powerwall receives electricity that falls outside Tesla's stated specs posted above?

    Looking at spec sheets for well-regarded ups and surge protectors, none of those phrases is mentioned. How can I know the difference?

    I don’t understand. Your post is very technical and you definitely know your stuff, but I’m unclear on your conclusion. How can I protect my home, and in the future my Powerwalls, from being damaged by the power company?
     
  12. westom

    westom Member

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    What confuses you? Complaint without citing even one sentence only protects confusion.

    Why did you not find those expressions in "spec sheets for well-regarded ups and surge protectors"? Because
    Since a 'magic box' only does H-N and H-G protection, then it does not claim to protect from potentially destructive surges. Since it does not claim effective protection, then relevant expressions are not found.

    A protector without earth ground is a profit center. Protection inside all appliances (including a Powerwall) already does better protection.

    Nothing in specs for a 'magic' UPS or power strip claims to protect hardware from exploding transformers or grenades in NV. But effective protection from the relevant threat was detailed.
    Stated at a layman level.
    Or
    What is complex? 10 feet? $1 per appliance? Earth ground? 50,000 amps? Hundreds of thousands of joules? Once every seven years?

    Go to a big box hardware store or electrical supply house. Ask for their 'whole house' protector. Confirm it is rated at least 50,000 amps. It must have a dedicated wire for a low impedance (ie less than 10 foot) connection to earth ground. Then hundreds of thousands of joules are harmlessly absorbed outside. Then best protection already inside all appliances is not overwhelmed.

    Powerwall, like all appliances, already has robust protection. Your concern is something that might overwhelm existing protection. "well regarded" products do not claim to protect from a transient that might overwhelm that already robust protection. But one properly earthed 'whole house' protector does - recommended by numbers.

    An example demonstrates this simplest and effective solution.
    So simple that it was understood and routinely implemented over 100 years ago. And not found in any 'magic box' that plugs into a receptacle.

    If not yet obvious, most of your attention and most questions must focus on the item that harmlessly absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules. Only that item does the protection - single point earth ground.
     
  13. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    Ahhh, I see. The utility transformer blew up. Yes you are right, in this case it is the power company.

    When that happens, it is different than lightning. Phase-to-phase surges most likely are what damages your electronics in this case.

    A whole house protector will help, but only to a point. If you live right next to the big utility transformer it won't help as much as if you were at the end of the line. "Your mileage may vary"
     
  14. westom

    westom Member

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    #14 westom, Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    Why did a transformer explode? One example. A transformer feeding a west coast radio station was not properly earthed. Lightning struck. Lightning (like all surges that typically do damage) means a current hunts for a connection to earth. That best connection was from 33,000 volts to incoming lower voltages. Lightning created a plasma connection from high to low voltage. Then 33,000 volts connected directly into that transmitter building and to earth ground.

    Due to a missing earth ground on the 'primary' protection layer, then lightning (a lower energy transient) created a follow through current (a high energy transient). That transformer exploded so violently that only 'hand sized' pieces remained.

    Remember, a protector is only a connecting device to what does protection. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. In some cases, a protection layer exists without any protector (ie this example). Since the primary protection layer was missing, then a transformer exploded.

    An also essential 'whole house' protector is the 'secondary' protection layer. But in every case, protection is only as effective as its earth ground.

    Destructive transients typically are not phase to phase. What exists inside all appliances makes that anomaly irrelevant. Destructive transients are always a hunt for the connection to earth - incoming on any or all wires. This exploding transformer is another perfect example.

    In simplest terms, even a protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
     
  15. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    However, in this case the OP refers to, it was a gas leak that led to the transformer failure. During that failure, insulation melted and not from excessive lightning current. A large surge appeared between legs.

    Yes, I get it. You need to divert the electric and magnetic fields to earth. Single-point. At the main.
    But in the case of line-to-line anomalies from the utility, protection must be between phase conductors.
     
  16. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    A google search shows some. You won't find them in UPS's. series mode surge protector - Google Search

    Please Westom don't bash me. I know series-mode has nothing to do with stopping a surge from entering the building. It is just a filter after all.
    But properly sized series mode surge protectors offer very effective end-of-line shunting that dissipates (not to ground) the smallish internally-generated surges that occur, and some L-N that make it through the cascade of regular protection.
     
  17. westom

    westom Member

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    In a typical transformer failure, current is flowing in one direction only - on one or all wires.

    Phase to phase (or L-N) transients are rarely destructive. In part because 120 volt electronics must withstand up to 600 volt transients without damage (even before PCs existed). 'Whole house' protectors also protect from that type transient.

    When L-N currents exist, an adjacent protector may fail catastrophically while appliances remain functional. Due to superior protection already inside appliances.

    For example, how many joules will that protector 'absorb'? Thousand joules. Electronics often convert that transient into rock stable, low DC voltages to safely power its semiconductors. When that protector fails and electronics do not, then many use wild speculation to assume, "My protector sacrificed itself to save my electronics". They even ignore so many other appliances also not on a protector and undamaged. What protected them? Grossly undersizing even promotes more sales.

    Destructive currents will be incoming on any or all AC wires. And outgoing to earth. That is a current created by a failing transformer. Plug-in protectors simply give that transient more paths into nearby appliances.

    A typical series mode filter (Zerosurge, Surgex, Brickwall) will only absorb something like 600 joules. Then saturation occurs. Filter becomes a direct connection from surge to appliance. Unlike MOV type protectors, a series mode protector does not fail catastrophically as a transient blows through it. 600 joules is near zero protection.

    No bashing exists. Only hard, long understood, technical facts exist backed by decades of experience. Series mode filter is for noise. But increased profits exist by marketing it as surge protectors - if marketed without specification numbers. Expensive series mode filters are near zero (ie 600 joule) protectors.
     
  18. LasVegasaurusRex

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    As I said previously: What is the conclusion? How can I protect my home, and in the future my Powerwalls, from being damaged by the power company?


    you mention this as the solution multiple times. Searching for this on Google, I cannot find useful end-user information. How do I purchase and install this?
     
  19. westom

    westom Member

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    Previously posted:
    I am confused. That product was described how many times? Did you search for it? These are sold in big box hardware stores, electrical supply houses, and wdiely on the internet.

    Also posted so many times:
    Item that define a protection 'system' (that harmlessly absorbs hundreds of thousands of joules) was posted repeatedly. Why you did not see 'whole house' protector and earth ground?

    As a homeowner, you are responsible for providing and maintaining earth ground. Earth ground is not purchased on the internet or in a big box store. Obviously a homeowner must know about it; installs and maintains it. As required by code to protect humans. And is upgraded to also protect appliances.

    You could not find 'whole house' protector and earth ground on the internet? Difficult to believe.

    OK. Once these things are understood, then move on to discuss installation details (ie how to install it and why it works). This solution is for all surges (power company faults, storms, direct lightning strikes, etc). It does nothing for blackouts, bad power factor, floating ground, frequency variation, sags, harmonics, EMC/EMI, and other anomalies. Those are addressed by other solutions. This 'whole house' solution has two critical components - a 'whole house' protector and its most critical item - earth ground.

    BTW, that is 'secondary' protection. Also not yet discussed is a 'primary' protection layer.
     
  20. LasVegasaurusRex

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    I'm sorry if I didn't make this clear. I have seen whole house protectors and I have seen your 50,000 amp minimum figure. Here is what I don't know:

    1) Whether 50k amps protection is sufficient, or if bigger houses or those more "at-risk" of surges (such as myself in Nevada, with the crappy power co) need a higher amperage figure.

    2) How do I ensure it is installed properly?

    3) What do I purchase and how do I ensure primary protection layer is installed properly?

    Thank you.
     

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