Pass-Through AC power with Sol-Ark 12K

SolarHead

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the AC pass-thru power on the 12K, I think its 63A correct? Is that passed through like just hard-wired, metal to metal, meaning if the Sol-Ark is turned OFF will the pass-thru power continue? or will the pass-thru stop if the Sol-Ark is turned off? I have not tested this yet but may. I worry about the Sol-Ark dying or locking up its software or something and the pass-thru power will not go through from the GRID connection (the 60A breaker I installed in my main panel that carries AC power over to the Sol-Ark). I have fridge and freezer on my critical loads panel and if the Sol-Ark stops working, shuts down, etc etc, I worry about the food spoiling. Is this something I have to be concerned with or will the AC power continue to pass through to the critical loads panel no matter what?
 

Cheap 4-life

Wanting SolArk but I’m CHEAP
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A transfer switch can be installed so if the SolArk ever breaks or needs maintenance, then the grid power can go directly to the critical loads panel. Or a breaker interlock can be used, having a breaker wired from the grid panel to the critical panel. When the breaker is on that supplies grid power to the SolArk then the breaker from the grid panel to the critical panel can't be on and the other way around
 

BentleyJ

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Something like this is probably the easiest and least expensive way to install a transfer switch or in your configuration it could be called a Maintenance Bypass. Automation direct has 2 pole 100A, lever type manual transfer switches. They cost more and you would have to get a J box and mount it inside yourself.

 

SolarHead

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Thank you two for the help so far. Sol-Ark support did write me back. They said the 12K does have a passthrough mode where if the Sol-Ark locks up or whatever, you can set it to pass through to the loads panel from the grid panel. And, they said if things really go bad, or I need take it off the wall, then a bypass switch (like what you're mentioning, interlock or manual xfer switch) would be needed.

The sequence to put the Sol-Ark 12K into pass-through mode is below. This may be handy in the future (hope I never need to do this. Probably good idea to print and put into the User Manual since I don't think its in there);
  1. Turn ON grid from utility
  2. Turn on grid breaker and load breaker in the inverter
  3. Set battery setup into "NO battery"
  4. Work mode as "grid sell"
  5. Turn off the Sol-Ark "central button"-turn off grid and load breaker.
  6. Wait 10 sec and turn ON grid and load breaker in the inverter.
  7. The inverter will have no lights but it will do passthrough;
 

SolarHead

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Would I assume that I should not switch the white (neutral) wire? It needs a N wire of course, but no need to run it through a switch, just run L1 and L2 through the switch only, correct?
 

SolarHead

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Do you think something like an ATS like this one (link below) would work? Or would it conflict with the 60 Hertz thing where Sol-Ark looks for a generator on a different hertz. Forgive my ignorance of switches and the hertz question. I know hertz is a frequency and a sine wave that the grid power runs at, and thats about all I know about it. I would worry that a ATS like the one below would create unexpected/undesirable issues

 

SolarHead

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Heres another ATS, kind of thinking this is more than what I need, it may work, dont know. Kind of sophisticated and probably features I wouldnt use like exercising a generator. I already have a Generac ATS that takes home off grid power and starts generator, that covers my main panel. I did not hook generator to the Sol-Ark. The Sol-Ark gets AC power from the main panel , and main panel is powered by grid OR generator.

 

RCinFLA

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The SolArk pass-through relay needs power to relay coil to make contact for pass-through. It has its own power supply that takes AC input to generate power for controller processor/display/controls and relay power.

If the processor crashes for any reason it might not provide the control to engage the transfer relay coil.

There is likely processor watch dog hardware to detect and recover from most processor software crashes.

It is extremely important for an inverter not to have a processor crash. There are many things if done incorrectly or out of sequence that can damage the inverter.
 

SolarHead

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I decided to not go with an ATS. I went with a manual switch that can switch on/off the AC power running from the 60A breaker in my main panel, and runs over to the Sol-Ark GRID connection. With fear of an inverter failure, I decided to leave my fridge and freezer breakers in the main panel, which is covered by stand-by generator via ATS. Reliable grid power (thank goodness), had a stand-by generator in place long before I knew I'd go with a solar system, so I decided to leave the generator and its ATS configuration as-is (no changes). I figured grid goes down, ATS fires up generator, which powers the main panel, and in effect the AC for Sol-Ark. I have had a couple designers say I took the wrong approach, but my configuration is identical to one of the diagrams in the Sol-Ark manual. I use the setting checked "Gen connected to Grid", and I use "Limited to Home" where my Sol-Ark covers the critical panel, and assists the main panel as much as possible. The idea is, if/when grid goes down, generator fires, Sol-Ark stops sending power to main panel but it will cover my critical panel. I'm okay with that. If grid down was a bad situation (long term say more than 5-7 days), I would probably turn generator off after a day or two to conserve fuel. And quickly move breakers for fridge and freezer over to critical panel. 30 minutes and some wire, and I can get it done. I was trying to dummy-proof my design with an ATS, but the more I read and learned, the more I thought probably best to do a manual switch.

The new 15K and the new loads panel they have, I imagine that would be wiser, as long as the design or configuration doesn't rely on the inverter to keep power going to things like fridge and freezer. I like the thoughts of least amount of equipment (higher reliability) needed to keep things running. I would like to know the grid or generator is there (automatically) in the event the inverter dies which is not what I now have, but I had to make a decision so I went with a manual switch. I just figured it'd be a real crap feeling to come home from vacation to find your inverters software locked up and your food is thawed/spoiled and running into the floor. I wasn't about to take the stand-by generator out of the loop and place it behind the inverter. Plus, the generator is a 22kw and the Sol-Ark can't pass that much power through so it would have been a waste to move the generator in the design, in my opinion. I guess most people place more trust in their inverter than I do, I don't know.
 
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