Titan Woes (but it's okay) - Info Dump on 5 months of usage

studioMiguel

New Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2021
Messages
5
I love the Titan but sometimes it doesn't love me.
Nearly everything I've read about the Titan has been positive, with very few problems (when people usually post). But I wanted to document my experience for posterity. This does look bad, but keep in mind, I'm not upset or frustrated with Point Zero (PZE). They've been terrific and supportive and I understand they are trying to achieve a pretty difficult undertaking.

Titan 1.0
3 + batteries
2 wall chargers
1500 watts of solar (not installed yet)
Purchased from poweredportablesolar.com
I do computer and am mechanically inclined, but I am not an electronics whizz. I feel like with application I could DIY my solar needs, but this takes a lot less effort.

The short version:
After 5 months of usage, I've blown capacitors three times. I am returning it again today (7/7/21) for the 3rd time. PZE has been AMAZING in response and the repairs have always been swift-ish and they've paid for all shipping costs (though I do wish they'd replace the packaging after the second return).

The LONG version:
I purchased a Point Zero Energy Titan last September (2020) from a reseller after watching Will Prowse's video review. I was leaning toward the Inergy Flex (Canadian Prepper LOVES that thing), but I didn't want to wait and I liked the higher inverter power of the Titan. Plus, it cost more, so it's better, right? X-D

It felt like forever to get the device, but it arrived mid-February. I let it sit in the box for a few weeks as we were tied up on another project, then we cracked everything open (Titan + 3 batteries + two chargers) and plugged it in.

Initially, I was testing by running all of my living room lamps and electronics on the setup, just to get an idea of how long the 6000 watt hours of storage would last. It was VERY exciting to see that this stuff would run for DAYS without power.

My first mistake - The Power Loop:
I mis-identified one of the surge protectors for one of the chargers and plugged the charger back into the Titan. So one charger was charging the batteries while the other was looping the power. I have learned since that this puts a lot of load on the inverter, which was proven by the fact that the device fan was running A LOT. I don't remember if it ran constantly. But I remember thinking, 'wow, this thing is really loud'. I don't know if I damaged the control unit doing this or not (I like to imagine I didn't), but after a few days, I disconnected reset everything and discovered the power loop. Once that was sorted, the fan stopped altogether and the unit performed as expected.

After sorting out the power issue I let the system hum along like that for 3 weeks. Until my wife got tired of seeing it sit next to the TV. So I decided I would try powering a large upright freezer. The Titan was set up with the freezer and an LED lamp and it ran fine until about March 15th (about two weeks). I was in the kitchen in the middle of the day when I heard a loud POP. I thought it was a rat trap (We have a few set up in our pantry, just in case we get an interloper), but nope they were all fine. It was then I discovered the freezer was off.

My second mistake - No Surge Protector:
It was stormy and we'd had a few brief power outages. This was significant because I discovered the power strip I had plugged the chargers into was not a SURGE projector. Good grief! I thought I'd blown up the Titan due to pure stupidity. DC still worked fine and the LCD was working and the unit would still charge, just NO POWER from the AC ports.

I contacted Point Zero via email and after a few questions (is it turned on, is it plugged in kind of stuff.... like do a load test, cycle the power switch_), they asked me to ship it back. In short order it was boxed and I slapped the prepaid return label that came with the RMA (Issued March 18). This was shockingly fast mind you. I think I tried the phone and got scared when I couldn't get through. But they responded very swiftly once I got the right channel. Let me make a quick point here. If you can: Save your packaging. You probably won't need it. But if you do, this isn't like boxing up a tchotchke... this thing needs to be handled right.

4/13/21 - I am a little fuzzy on how long they had my control module (I did not send the batteries, just the brain). I think it was about 3 weeks. Maybe two. I didn't keep good records and I'm basing these dates on generic email notifications. I know I got a notification on 4/13/21, which means I had the unit. When I received it back, I immediately set it back up in the same scenario (running large upright freezer, with two chargers), this time on a brand new surge protector. I know now that the capacitor failure was an output issue, not an input. This wouldn't be an issue if I was running it on solar, but things have kept me from installing my panels so far.

4/15/21 - Freezer is plugged back in and the unit is left to do it's thing. I started unplugging the chargers every few days and letting the batteries drain to 50% or so, just because it seemed like something to do.

5/15/21 - I notice the Freezer light is off. I look at the Titan and everything LOOKS normal. I open the freezer and sure enough, It's been off for at least a few hours. Maybe a day or two. It's not a freezer we open often. Everything was still frozen, but soft in a few places. Thank god my 30lbs of bacon was still solid!

No sounds or pops this time. But we could have been asleep or out of the house when it went down. I contact PZE again. They again ask for the obligatory load tests and power cycling, then issue a second RMA. Repackage and drop it off at Fedex.

6/05/21 - the Titan is back. I let it sit in it's box for a week while I get time to set it up.

6/10/21 - I move the system into my office and plug in a server workstation, monitor and 12" Honeywell fan to test. I let these run 24/7. I use one wall charger (still no solar) and use a single charging port (the top one). I keep the charger connected of the time, unplugging it infrequently just to create some draw on the batteries and add some variety to it's use. No problems, everytyhing works like a charm. The fans are cycling in the unit now, 4-5 times a day for 1-2 minutes. I haven't heard them since the original power-loop debacle. It's scary at first. But it's summer here, maybe it's just hotter. Or maybe some setting was tweaked to keep the invert cool. I don't worry about it as it's reported as normal when I can find commentary on the issue.

7/2/21 - I feel like we have succeeded in fixing whatever issue it is with the Titan. I consider emailing PZE and declaring victory over the ghosts in the machine.

7/4/21 - about 8pm, with Titan sitting 24" away from me I hear a lout POP!! This really scares me. BUT. the server, monitor and fan all continue like nothing happened. I ask my wife and she heard it too. So, not imagining. I get online and start looking for reasons it would pop but not blow a capacitor. 10-ish minutes later, a second VERY LOUD POP. This time, I happened to be looking directly at the unit and observed a bright flash I hadn't seen before. I smell burning/burned electronics. Again, the Server, Monitor and fan all continue uninterrupted. But I am nervous, so I shut down the server and monitor and unplug them. I leave the fan, it's a good canary. I grab a couple of cameras and am setting them up to record any future events and again POP! This time, though the fan spins down. I've now lost AC power like the first time in March and the second Time in April, but DC power continues to function. Dangit!! I jump into my open ticket on pointzeroenergy.com and instead of declaring victory, I whimper defeat.

7/5/21 - PZE surprises me by being at work today. Good for you guys and thanks for the effort. I'm just goofing off. PZE let's me know they are going to try a new 'more efficient' inverter and issues an RMA.

7/7/21 - RMA is printed and the unit boxed to go to Fedex and I decide that I need to write this all down.

The Titan is breathing rarified air on the bleeding edge of a new industry. I do wish it was 100% from the word go, but the reality is that if I want unquestionable reliability on a product with a proven track record and every bug reduced to near non-existence, then I need to by the 2030 Titan. Yes, my confidence is eroded in my Titan and instead of purchasing a second control module to back up my primary, I bought a Jackery 1500 instead. If I get a year out of the Titan, trouble-free, I'll add a second to the toolbox. I feel like I should really get an Inergy Flex, but I want to stick with PZE and grow one system instead of two. The reality is that I haven't found a better option than the Titan, warts and all. And most users run theirs trouble free. I am of the opinion that sometimes you get a dud and since PZE is standing behind their product and not just taking the money and running, I am going to stand behind them. Or let them stand behind me... or however that works. Seeing that in writing, maybe I should have gone head and picked up a second Titan.

If you are on the fence, I would say seriously consider Point Zero Energy and the Titan. Even with problems, I don't think there is a better option.

I'll report back with what happens next.
 

snoobler

Solar Honey Badger
Joined
Jul 10, 2020
Messages
8,430
Location
HBR, AZ
Wow. This is the best terrible review I've ever read.

I'm curious? What's your threshold? How many returns is too many for you. For the vast majority of folks, I think TWO returns would be enough to turn most people off, but three? And you still recommend it?😟

5 Months?

I count at least one whole month that you didn't have it.

I see you using very light loads that in no way approximates using this as a full backup power system.

I also see you spending > $8000 on a system that's not yet proven itself to be reliable.

"bleeding edge of a new industry?" Really? Batteries, inverters, charge controllers, DC-DC converters, displays, etc. They're putting 10-40 year old technology in a box. It's hard to see that as "bleeding edge".

5 months ago, had you chosen DIY for nearly 2X the capacity (14kWh vs. 8kWh) and 1/2 the price, you would have had a working system for the last 2-3 months (takes 2-3 months to get commodity cells from China).

Don't get me wrong. I really hope this gets sorted, and you have something workable in the end. I'm just a little shocked at your fierce optimism and patience with a product, for which you paid dearly, that clearly isn't ready for sale.
 

Newbeee

New Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
7
Hi Honey!
You sound very knowledgeable about this topic!!
I'm not:( I'm learning was almost ready to buy a Titan until this review and the fact that its all on backorder?
I want something fairly quickly (not in backorder). I am very handy and a engineer. I am woefully lacking in Solar knowhow.
I want a gen like the Titan with 4 ot 5oo watts of solar to charge and an extra Bat. Please help I've over loaded my small brain and now know not where to go .
I would like to build my own if I knew where to start?
Can you send a parts list of most I would need to have a system for my frige, cpap, lights, pellet stove, Ect?
Thank you for ANY help you will provide.
T&R
loopdloop@protonmail.com
 

sethile

New Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2021
Messages
17
Glad I read this! Thanks for the careful, thoughtful outline!
Wow. This is the best terrible review I've ever read.
Agreed! I'd had myself convinced I'd be crazy not to consider the Titan even though I like the idea of going DIY better. Seems like I have some time to figure it out based on when these are likely to be available again. Maybe that's for the best!?
 
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