Metricon Phoenix Mod 43

Metricon Phoenix Mod 43
Entry Digital - keyless

Monday, 18 August 2014

Solar Gaining

All Done - Solar system installed - After much investigation, pondering, and comparison, we decided to go with Solar Gain. They are reportably the second biggest in Australia and aside from Solar Power they also do solar boosted hot water systems - so on balance they "get" solar energy. The Bloggesphere gave them a pretty good rap on sites like Product Review and Whirlpool and the conversations were intelligent and informative unlike some of the headline marketing outfits which are clearly focussed on "closing" sales. There are a bunch of Panels on the market but some are Chinese al'cheapo's and then there is the Inverter selection. Most of the "Deals to there are cheap 2nd tier technology and have a limited practical life - So these are both areas where you don't want to skimp on.

We went with German Q Cells and Austrian Fronius Inverter - don't know why but I kind of trust Germans - well some of them.

Install took about 8 hours and the team was great and seemed to go the extra mile especially on the wiring - The electrical inspector arrived the next day and gave it a big tick - so thats a reassuring sign.

System headline specs:

Q-Pro C-cells : Panels 14 ~ around 3.75 Kw
Fronius Galvo Inverter
Monitoring - Fronius "solar.web and iPhone / iPad apps

The Inverter install was very clean, very neat - no conduit, no cables, no mess they were all hidden. Plus the proximity to the Fuse Box was perfect - which helps maximise self consumption (so Im told)

The Q Cell Panels - are lighter and stronger than cheaper panels, meaning less weight and higher strength alloy and glass. Plus of course higher efficiency = higher wattage

The Fronius Galvo inverter has built in Wifi and a data server, and a iPad / iPhone app that means you can monitor them real time and it also logs a full power generation history, complete with graphs etc etc. It's a cool piece of kit

Here are some picks of the install:

Also here a snap of the Fronius Inverter iPad app in action. Yesterday on a mostly cloudy August winters day we generated around 10 Kilowatts respect!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Metricon Adventure: Solarisation

The Metricon Adventure: Solarisation: As per a previous post we talked about how we installed an off-grid system that peaks at around 1.5 Kw that supplies the outdoor room LED TV...


As per a previous post we talked about how we installed an off-grid system that peaks at around 1.5 Kw that supplies the outdoor room LED TV bar fridge and led lighting and and stereo.
This system has 2 x 200amp gel batteries that are charge regulated from 6 x 100 watt panels. It great because you have power 240v and 12v 24/7 unlike standard solar that gets you sorted ONLY during the day. So its a great back up should the mains or grid power go down.
But whilst this is great for that space and as a 24 hr back up, it didn't meet the energy requirement of this big house. Of course the house has something like 90 LEDS, and the appliances / TV's are high star rating efficient. On top of this we have 3 split Panasonic systems and gas central heating plus 2 solar hot water panels on the roof, but we wanted to go further. Starting with energy efficiency is the place to start before going solar, for example most nights we'd have about 4 lights on at night plays the tV once the cooking is done. So thee Led lighting is consuming only about 16w to 20W, while the neighbours security light out the back of their house burns 100W every hour - it seems they they want to make sure the Possums don't lose their footing while they much up follage.

After several months of passive and active investigation and a number of quotes we decided on a ~ 4kw system grid tie system, we've gone for German Panels, which from all advice are thinner, stronger, lighter, longer life and more efficient than the bucket load of Chinese stuff on the market and we've gone with a quality inverter from Austria so you know it's good (not Australia) its called Fronius which has a 10 year Warranty, wifi for iPad / mac monitoring, which means you don't have to go outside the monitor the system. There seems to be a lot of tricks in the market like headlining a "3 kilowatt" inverter system that only really a 2kw panel system. The headline "trick" offers are all a bit dodgy brothers and its worth getting into blog-land and getting real like experience. The best panels on the market are reportably SunPower from the USA, which hit about 20.3% efficiency but at DOUBLE the price and no space issues on the Northern Roof, it's much more logical to go with more "less expensive" than fewer "highly expensive" panels. The system will produce roughly 13-14 KW a day "on average" given that an average house burns 18KW a day, it a good deal. In essence you can run a medium air-conditioning unit during a hot summer day for next to nicks, anything larger you might cut the running costs in half. Yes the current feed in tarrif is only 8 cents for KWH but at least that eliminates the daily supply charge we all have to pay, and gives you the option of running the Dishwasher and Washing Machine for free and cuts around a third of the cost of running the fridge which after all runs all day everyday.

The system gets installed in around a week, if the experience and the results stack up or if it doesn't I'll provide an update.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Decorative Screens Out-Door Room

There a range of compressed hardwood decorative screens on the Market and they are cool. Decorative Screens do four things:

1) They reduce the impact of rain water entering your outdoor space and also reduce the effect of strong winds entering the outdoor room
2) Provide shade and or filter the light in a cool way
3) Provide a sense of enclosure and privacy
4) they look great

We installed these screen do all 4 things and they look great. It's still like "open" but "not" and the effect is breathtaking.

The Sreen sizes are typically 600 x 1200 mm but the challenge was to frame or mount them in such as was as not the have a heavy cumbersome frame thats look bulky and ugly and needs maintenance.
The solution was Anodised Aluminium square tubing using quick lock nylon connectors. Using self drilling SS metal screws and a lot of measuring to get it right making a 1800 x 1200 3 panel section or 600x 1800 side panel effect.
These screen frames were mounted in Merbau half hight walls lined on each side that matched the hight of the outdoor kitchen bench top. The outdoor room has three exit points which will remain open.

The cost of the panels can be a shock the the system, Chippy's in Ringwood stock "OutDeco" brand panels a charge a whopping $85 each for the "bungalow" patten design - its a rip off but they look great (they were used on Channel 9's The Block last year), so far I've used these on the front and side gates (see previous posts) and now in the new Outdoor Room. Bunnings had another design called "Beijing" that were on sale for $15.00 each... yes only $15, so I decided to use these at the other end of the outdoor room and they also look great, They are far enough away as to not look out of keeping with the overall effect of the new "enclosure" Combined with the Merbau half hight walls the effect is very pleasing.

The overall effect is that the Outdoor room is looking brilliant and a great place to be to have a kitchen, outdoor barbie and the solar powered LED TV to escape to. It brings the outside in and the inside out.

here are some snaps...

Friday, 28 February 2014


Well it was time to recycle the huge amount of Merbau left over from the old outdoor room from the old house. The outdoor room had been lined with cedar and the O.D. kitchen used a fair bit of the recycled merbau, but the outdoor room needed "roomification" and rooms need things like walls but should be in keeping with what an "outdoor" room should be. So with merbau on hand we went to work on building defining walls arround the existing brick pillars and steps.'s the result...

Act as a wind break and have really set the room as a room.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Bitchin Outdoor Kitchen

2 days of hard labour and whalla, we have an outdoor kitchen! Used ikea stainless steel soft close cupboards / drawers from the old house plus the stainless steel bar fridge that was collating dust in the storeroom. I recycled the Merbau decking from the old house that was used as backing, kick boards etc, so all in all the exercise only set us back around $300, which converts to something like a $2,000 exercise without my labour of course. We picked up a $99 hard wood bench for only $50 as it was the last one and after some intense Chinese negotiation.. respect!

Great to have this done and dusted ready for the fly season. Again the Bosch professional cordless nail gun was a godsend. So it's tools down and ready for room reveal.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Metricon Adventure: Solar Eclipse

The Metricon Adventure: Solar Eclipse: Now the the Outdoor room / roof is well... completed, it was time to look up to the sky. The solar / storage system that lived on the old ho...

Solar Eclipse

Now the the Outdoor room / roof is well... completed, it was time to look up to the sky. The solar / storage system that lived on the old house was in need of recycling. The system uses 6 x 100 watt panels linked to two massive 220 amp gel batteries / regulator and a 1,500w pure sine wave inverter. So 440 amps packs a punch and I upgraded the system by one panel and mounted them on this fantastic rack system from Sunlock (solid as a rock) mounted on the outdoor room's colour bond roof. System was from a great little outfit in northcote...

The system is not on grid, but powers a number of outdoor room led's and strip lighting and flood lights. it will also power a led TV which is soon to be installed and off course almost anything aside from an iron or a washing machine. The beauty of the "off grid" / battery system is you get power at night, either 12v or 240v. Here's some picks of the install....