dnoble

Sunamp installation

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Ive emailed Sunamp about this but they haven't got back to me. 

I'm planning to install a 5-10Kw Sunamp (haven't decided yet) for Hot water heating,

Currently doing first fix electrics and plumbing. 

Electrician and plumber haven't encountered this product and want to know what needs to be in place.

What supply does the Sunamp need electrically. Does it have a coil like an induction heater? Does it plug in, does it need a fuse?

Re water dos it just need a mains pressure cold in and hot out?

I'm sure Sunamp will let ne know all this but electrician's here today so would be useful to know now!

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I asked this question last week, here is the best answer from a sunamp owner.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, dnoble said:

Ive emailed Sunamp about this but they haven't got back to me. 

I'm planning to install a 5-10Kw Sunamp (haven't decided yet) for Hot water heating,

Currently doing first fix electrics and plumbing. 

Electrician and plumber haven't encountered this product and want to know what needs to be in place.

What supply does the Sunamp need electrically. Does it have a coil like an induction heater? Does it plug in, does it need a fuse?

Re water dos it just need a mains pressure cold in and hot out?

I'm sure Sunamp will let ne know all this but electrician's here today so would be useful to know now!

 

I've just (as in late yesterday afternoon) finished installing and commissioning a Sunamp UniQ 9 eHW, with the PV option in the controller.  The installation manual that came with my unit is not the one linked to above, and has a different (and simpler) set of wiring instructions.  The version of the manual I have is dated 19/7/2018, so is newer than the one linked to.

 

The way I've converted my wiring from the previously fitted Sunamp PV is this:

 

I have a 16 A radial from the consumer unit that runs to a 20 A DP isolator switch for the hot water related electrical systems.  This is the same as I had originally to run first an immersion heater in a thermal store, then the Sunamp PV.  

 

From that isolator I have a feed to my PV diverter that then runs to the main power supply to the Sunamp controller.  This is a length of 2.5mm² T&E.  I have another run of 2.5mm² T&E from the 20 A DP isolator to a fused connection unit (FCU) fitted with a 3 A fuse, as the low power, always-on, supply for the Sunamp control box, and my pre-heat circulation pump.  From that FCU I have a length of 1mm² cable running to the "always on" low power supply to the Sunamp control box.  This is also fused inside the Sunamp control box at 3 A.  In my case I have a pre-heat circulation pump that is switched by a flow switch in the DHW supply, so that when any hot tap is operated water is drawn from the buffer tank to a plate heat exchanger that pre-heats the incoming cold supply to the Sunamp.  The power for that circulation pump and flow switch also comes from the 3 A FCU.

 

The electrician just needs to provide a standard 16 A immersion radial in 2.5mm² T&E  from the CU to a 20 A DP isolator switch near the Sunamp installation initially, perhaps with a FCU for the low power connection.  If you're having a PV diverter fitted then the isolator needs to be before the diverter.

 

As far as the plumbing is concerned then it depends on which version of the Sunamp you are looking at using.  In my case, the UniQ eHW is used for hot water only, so I've connected the two Sunamp internal heat exchangers together in parallel, with 22mm pipe, and have just a 22mm cold feed (which is pre-heated in my case, but doesn't need to be) and a 22mm hot water outlet that runs to a 22mm thermostatic mixer valve (TMV) fitted to the end of the DHW distribution manifold.

 

I'll be taking some photos and writing up this installation in our blog over the next few days, so you can see what's involved.  Best to look at siting the Sunamp somewhere where you can easily fit something that's very heavy.  Mine is upstairs and it was an interesting challenge to get a 155kg unit up the stairs and into our services room on my own - took me a whole day just to get it up the stairs!  I'd think about the transport route and location carefully, although I found that my 250kg rated sack truck was just about able to handle a UniQ 9, with it ratchet strapped tightly in place.  Definitely better to try and not move one on your own, though.

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4 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

 Mine is upstairs and it was an interesting challenge to get a 155kg unit up the stairs and into our services room on my own - took me a whole day just to get it up the stairs!  I'd think about the transport route and location carefully, although I found that my 250kg rated sack truck was just about able to handle a UniQ 9, with it ratchet strapped tightly in place.  Definitely better to try and not move one on your own, though.

Mine is sitting at the bottom of the stairs for just over a week now. 

 

Good to read how you installed and where you put FCU, DP isolator, etc as I'm about to start the same as soon as it gets to where it's supposed to be.

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Thanks @JSHarris. Pics always help. And that wiring info will help my electrician no doubt as no-one seems to understand these black magic heating systems. Just looking to get my floor tiles down before I move my 2x200kg units into place without cracking the floor!

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1 hour ago, dnoble said:

Ive emailed Sunamp about this but they haven't got back to me. 

I'm planning to install a 5-10Kw Sunamp (haven't decided yet) for Hot water heating,

Currently doing first fix electrics and plumbing. 

Electrician and plumber haven't encountered this product and want to know what needs to be in place.

What supply does the Sunamp need electrically. Does it have a coil like an induction heater? Does it plug in, does it need a fuse?

Re water dos it just need a mains pressure cold in and hot out?

I'm sure Sunamp will let ne know all this but electrician's here today so would be useful to know now!

Hi.

Can I ask who has specified a single unit for DHW and space heating? This would have multiple issues if not sized accurately. 

What standard are you building to, and do you know your space heating requirements in kWh eg fabric and ventilation combined? Sizing for both to come out of one unit is a very tricky balancing act and I would not advocate that unless your seriously oversizing the unit. However, as a size 12 ( ~14 kWh ) unit is the biggest you'll get before going to a SA 'cube' then I'd every wary of following this path.

A SA on its own for DHW is extremely effective as it has time to recharge between depletions ( part or full ) whereas space heating will be a constant drain with no regard for leaving capacity behind ( in a shared unit ) for your DHW needs. I would only suggest this route if the SA unit was providing preheated cold mains water to a downstream water heater. 

Another issue will be that in any 'e' prefix model you have an electrical immersion heater which is only 3kW. Therefore if your combined load was 3kW or > you'd not be able to offset consumption by using grid electricity to 'boost'. 

 

I have set two installations up recently, both to achieve a 'no heat pump / all electric + PV scenario, and have done the following :

 

Eg 1;

2 x SA eDual units for space heating + DHW uplift. Hot return tees into the 2nd unit so DHW recirculation cannot deplete the 1st unit.

1 x SA eHw unit for DHW only. Its capacity is nearly tripled by receiving preheated water from the two eDuals, and its segregation means that space heating cannot ever leave you with no DHW.

 

Eg 2;

2 x SA eDual units for combined space heating and DHW.

This scenario simply sees the units oversized to allow for worst case DHW consumption, but also assumes the PH levels of space heating required will always be able to be met or exceeded by injecting up to 6kWh of electricity ( PV primarily but grid backup for 'boost' will resolve 'party mode' where very high demands are made ). That system will be set up to inject electricity at the 50% system depletion level, regardless of day or night, but that compromise was made to ensure a heat pump wasn't required. This was agreed with the client at the design stage and all caveats / pros / cons discussed at length months prior to the order and installation of the SA units. No situation is the same as the last so remits and designs vary job to job.  

 

Doubling up on the units can also be a requirement where very high DHW flow rates are required, whereas a single unit under duress may start to run warm rather than hot, say if 3 showers were running simultaneously, as the water would be passing through the heat exchangers too quickly to absorb and convey the stored heat energy. 

 

There is no 'black magic' here, just sizing correctly and understanding how things bolt together. SA need to get their support side in check as these questions seem to be going unanswered, which is a shame. 

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, oranjeboom said:

Thanks @JSHarris. Pics always help. And that wiring info will help my electrician no doubt as no-one seems to understand these black magic heating systems. Just looking to get my floor tiles down before I move my 2x200kg units into place without cracking the floor!

Which size / type of units did you got for ? 12's judging by the weight?

 

1 hour ago, JSHarris said:

it was an interesting challenge to get a 155kg unit up the stairs and into our services room on my own - took me a whole day just to get it up the stairs!  I'd think about the transport route and location carefully, although I found that my 250kg rated sack truck was just about able to handle a UniQ 9, with it ratchet strapped tightly in place.  Definitely better to try and not move one on your own, though.

Jesus Jeremy !!! It took 4 of us to get up a double- winder staircase with a 58/9 eHw the other day !!! How the hell did you manage that ?!? All I can say is thank god the customer was home and was a young fit chap or it would have been staying downstairs on some very long flexible hoses :D. Don't underestimate the weight if these things folks, and allow for mechanical handling. If going for size 12 units beware as they feel like they're bolted to the floor.

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2 minutes ago, Nickfromwales said:

Jesus Jeremy !!! It took 4 of us to get up a double- winder staircase with a 58/9 eHw the other day !!! How the hell did you manage that ?!? All I can say is thank god the customer was home and was a young fit chap or it would have been staying downstairs on some very long flexible hoses :D. Don't underestimate the weight if these things folks, and allow for mechanical handling. If going for size 12 units beware as they feel like they're bolted to the floor.

 

With a lot of F'ing and blinding...

 

It took me the best part of half a day to get the unit from where it was dropped at the curbside, on a pallet, up our steep drive, up the steps by our front door and into the hall, where it sat at the bottom of the stairs for a couple of days until I'd recovered enough to attempt stage two, getting it up the stairs on my own.

 

Most of the time was spent rigging up timber frames and a tirfor winch, plus a back up safety rope, using some of my old climbing gear, with a length of rope and a couple of ascenders fitted to it and attached to the load so that I could maintain the tightness on the safety rope.  I had to use the tirfor just to get my sack truck up the steps and in through the front door.

 

I have one remaining challenge, which is to get the old 55kg Sunamp PV back down the stairs and crated up ready to ship back to Sunamp.  Should be child's play after getting the UniQ 9 up the stairs...

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Jeremy, give me a call, I am more than willing to come and give you a hand, I would have helped with getting the new one in if I had known, don’t risk damaging your house (or yourself for that matter), it’s not worth it. 🤞

Edited by joe90
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Thanks, @joe90, but I have it sorted with two chaps in the village who heard my tale of getting the UniQ upstairs and have volunteered to give me a hand to get the old unit down.  The Sunamp PV is a lot lighter and a bit smaller, so it's nowhere near as hard to handle.  Last time I just put strops around it and lifted it up one step at a time, and going down will be easier, I'm sure.

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I remember as a schoolboy pricing a job with a mate. It was to remove a long dead, 3' dia tree stump from a 'posh lady''s garden. We went off and hired a tirfor and some strops and set about digging out and ataching to the stump and root ball. Happy with the effort we then found a huge cork tree 30' or so away to use as the anchor for the other end. We had a long pole attached to the winch and huffed and puffed away for what seemed forever. We went to check on progress, it had probably moved less than half an inch. Back to the winch we went and another tag team effort of huffing, puffing and foul language. This took us all afternoon. Nothing. 

The lady of the house came out and used some foul language all of her own, for all the time we'd been grafting in earnest, all we'd done was pull the cork tree out of the ground :S  We turned around to see it at around 30 degrees with the root ball clearly visible !

We were sent packing with the hire bill coming out of our own pockets, bad backs, and a lesson learned. School boys vs tree-stump = no chance. :D   

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Can't you take the cells out of the newer Sunamps to make them easier to move?

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16 minutes ago, Ed Davies said:

Can't you take the cells out of the newer Sunamps to make them easier to move?

With how fragile the vacuum insulation panels are, that would not, IMO, be a good idea. It may knacker your warranty too. I very much doubt SA would endorse that.  

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All the weight is in the cell, too, so there wouldn't be much to gain if you could get it out.  Also, I don't think you can get a cell out of the newer units - it looks like it's filled with PCM via the pressure relief valve after the cell has been fitted into the case to me.

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I'm sure I read somewhere about being able to remove the cells to make them easier to move. Maybe Andrew Bissell on Twitter. Perhaps it was something they were considering for the new versions but didn't make it into the product. Aren't there multiple cells in the larger units so removal would split the load up considerably?

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51 minutes ago, Ed Davies said:

I'm sure I read somewhere about being able to remove the cells to make them easier to move. Maybe Andrew Bissell on Twitter. Perhaps it was something they were considering for the new versions but didn't make it into the product. Aren't there multiple cells in the larger units so removal would split the load up considerably?

 

The cells in the old Sunamp PV were removable, and a lot smaller.  There were photos of the assembly of those at Sunamp, on their old website, I think, that showed filled cells in a row, waiting to be fitted into units.  The Sunamp PV I had (well, technically still have, as it's waiting for me to move it downstairs so it can be collected) had two much smaller cells in the lower part of the enclosure, with a circulating pump, heating element a couple of non-return valves, an ultrasonic flow sensor and the control electronics in the upper part of the unit.  The case of that was more complex and bolted together in sections, so it was relatively easy to take the cells out.

 

The Sunamp UniQ 9 we now have is much larger and almost the entire volume of the case is filled with a single large cell, with vacuum insulation panels around it.  There's no pump, valves, electronics etc inside the case any more, instead the heating element is in the base of the cell and heats the PCM directly.  There is a separate control box that houses the electronics, and senses the state of charge of the cell by a vertical chain of thermistors inside the cell.

 

The control system seems simpler than on the Sunamp PV, in that the relay that connects the heating element to the incoming power (either diverted excess PV or a directly connected supply) is activated whenever the cell charge drops below a set level (either 50% discharged or 90% discharged, it can be set on the control unit).  The Sunamp PV used to switch on and off depending on whether there was any power coming from the PV diverter, whereas the UniQ just connects the heating element to the incoming supply whenever the state of charge drops below the threshold, and allows the PV diverter to do the switching.

 

The other function seems to be that the unit now has a start from cold mode, where if the PCM is completely solid (so fully discharged) it pulses power to the heater initially, presumably because  if it didn't there would be a risk of locally overheating the PCM immediately around the heater.  As soon as the lower part of the PCM has turned to liquid, the control unit switches out of cold start mode and allows full power to be fed to the heating element.

 

All told it's a great deal simpler than the old Sunamp PV, with none of the complexity of pumps, valves, flow sensor or whatever.  It's pretty much like a conventional thermal store, with a pair of heat exchangers inside the PCM to provide "instant" water heating and an electric heating element at the base, rather like an immersion heater.  The unit I have is roughly equivalent to a 210 litre hot water cylinder, but a great deal smaller and with much lower heat losses.

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40 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

The cells in the old Sunamp PV were removable, and a lot smaller. 

 

Ah, right. I'd got the order wrong; they're moving away from, rather than towards, removable cells. And thanks for your other description - useful background.

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I feel somewhat stupid having read but barely understood any of the clearly informative text above. Sorry to slightly hijack the topic for a moment, but is there anyone who understands everything above and knows possibly as a supplementary area, about various heating and hot water setups, who would either be willing to have a probably lengthy conversation with me either on the phone one evening or bob over and do the same over a cuppa. I want to understand it all but i'm a complete amateur at most DIY type stuff, so some of the bits above are properly confusing...

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You're not that far from us, are you?   We're about midway between Salisbury and Shaftesbury, right on the Wiltshire/Dorset border and just a bit North of the A30.

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At the moment no, I live in Manchester. Occasionally although too rarely at the moment, in the Oxford region

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OK, I'm going to do  write up, with photos, on our experience with first a Sunamp PV, and since the beginning of this week with a Sunamp UniQ 9 eHW, as a blog entry this weekend. 

 

The short explanation is that a Sunamp heat battery is like a compact thermal store (a lot smaller than a water filled thermal store for the same capacity) with significantly lower heat losses than a typical water-filled thermal store (my experience is that the losses are only about 20% of those from a very well-insulated water-filled thermal store).  The UniQ 9 that we have now loses about 0.75 kWh per 24 hours and has about the same storage capacity as a 210 litre unvented hot water cylinder. 

 

The water-filled thermal store we had lost around 2.5 kWh per 24 hours, and that was double spray insulated, plus I added an additional 50mm of PIR insulation around it, to try and reduce the losses (it was over 3 kWh per 24 hours before I added extra insulation).  These very low losses effectively increase the capacity of the Sunamp over a 24 hour period, plus the way that the phase change material works means that the temperature of the hot water it delivers stays pretty constant until the Sunamp is depleted, whereas for a water-filled thermal store the delivered hot water temperature tends to drop steadily as heat is drawn from it.

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is there any chance you could also add a diagram even just a hand drawn scribble if you get the chance, of the setup, describing (for the numpties amongst us who want to know) the various functions of each bit? The setup i'm most familiar with is having a normal bog standard combi boiler - no tanks, no UFH. Just hot taps, cold taps and radiators on the wall - so to speak.

 

...lovng the blog by the way, just discovered it a couple of days ago - very informative.

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6 hours ago, Big Neil said:

there any chance you could also add a diagram even just a hand drawn scribble if you get the chance, of the setup,

+1 to that suggestion. I find a diagram a lot easier to understand. We need more diagrams!

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The SA units are very simple to plumb in and wire up, its just that initial sense of the unknown. I imagine it was the same when UVC's and TS's arrive on ones doorstep and folk look at the many controls and various tappings and think WTF are they all for / where do they each go etc, so just a case of a better bit of understanding is required IMO. The sticking point is deciding which of the range of units, and what size ( kWh capacity ) and temp range ( PCM 34 or PCM 58 ) is best suited to the application.

After almost year of being 'interested' in the product I have now got a good understanding of how to specify and install these units, but its taken a while to fully grasp what they do and how they do it. Its vital to get the unit type and size right, but again, no different to specifying an UVC or a TS tbh, other than the fact that the latter have been around for a long time and there are plenty of knowledgable fitters out there now. Lets remember that the SA is still a very new product to the market, another 'problem' if you can call it that. 

The SA manual shows the different applications but they really need deciphering to convey whats going on and how its happening, and even I have to sense check things with the folk at SA so make sure I'm on the right track. 

If its just for DHW then it couldn't be easier. Cold water in, and hot water out. A cable to connect to a 13a fused spur and your done. The complication arrises when you wish to do space heating AND DHW from SA's, as thats far more complex a calculation. 

@Big Neil what is it you want to do ? I've no problem PM'ing you my mobile number, but it'd be a shame to keep the conversation off forum as thats not how a library or discussion board works. Take 5 and type out what you want to achieve and we'll do out best to explain here, for the benefit of yourself and others. ;) 

 

 

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