readiescards

Sunamp - new label showing only C rated energy efficiency

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Onoff said:

My understanding is that they are working hard to right previous "wrongs".

 

Sounds like something a politician would say. Where is the ‘how’ and ‘when’? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Onoff said:

My understanding is that they are working hard to right previous "wrongs".

 

They would need to start by responding to technical/warranty issues, I reported mine more than three weeks ago without response!

 

p.s. actually three weeks ago was for the second time. 

Edited by Barney12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, vivienz said:

Bloody hell, that's more than bad luck.  What's wrong with this one?

 

Even on the day of installation it tripped the ‘thermostat overload’ (sorry I don’t know what the technical term is) on multiple occasions. I reported it to Sunamp at that point. It’s continued to do so. They are aware of the issue but simply haven’t responded. 

 

An interesting point is that the only reason I know it’s tripped is because of the simple indicator light modification as devised by @JSHarris . The control unit says “give me juice” and thus the light is on but because the thermostat has tripped it never charges and the light never goes out. For an average install the only indicator would be............COLD WATER AND NO HEAT. 

 

Thankfully there is only me and I’m working a lot so the fact I only have 50% capacity isn’t causing me much issue. Oh and also the fact the house is performing incredibly well in terms of heat retention. Bloody good job too! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where is this "trip"?  Are we talking the pop out button on something like an immersion heater thermostat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ProDave said:

Where is this "trip"?  Are we talking the pop out button on something like an immersion heater thermostat?

 

Yes, exactly that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've had two "no hot water" events so far, the first down to the unsatisfactory way the Sunamp controller tries (and fails miserably) to manage charging, the second due to me forgetting to manually reset the controller one day (after I'd discovered the failing in the controller), a procedure I have to do every day in order to make the thing work.

 

Sunamp are fully aware of the failings in their controller, yet seem to just be putting out the message that we shouldn't read too much into the 50% discharge threshold they quote before charging will commence.  Frankly the system fails to work without daily user intervention, and needs sorting out, and I'd far rather they gave some feedback about whatever they are doing to fix things, rather than just try to fob customers off.

 

I'm reluctant to add the daily timed reset mod to the controller, on the basis that I want to see a fix from Sunamp (an acknowledgement that their present controller isn't fit for purpose would be a good start).  I have doubts as to whether they are actually doing anything to address the problem we have nearly every day, personally.  We are not the only customers experiencing problems, either, I'm sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Barney12 said:

 

Yes, exactly that. 

The obvious thing is try a new thermostat. I expect you are wanting THEM to change it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ProDave said:

The obvious thing is try a new thermostat. I expect you are wanting THEM to change it?

 

Consdiering it clearly has been faulty since it was installed I think that’s a feasible outcome, yes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Ed Davies

In your earlier post, were you referring to firing electricity directly into the SA immersion, eg bypassing the SA Qontroller ( that's not a typo btw )? That is not possible, and would void the warranty.

The immersion heater is directly in contact with the PCM, so as the immersion offers very concentrated heat and the PCM gets heated from 'frozen', there is a cold-start protocol embedded in the Qontroller which pulses heat into the immersion until ( I believe ) the lowest thermistor registers heat. At that point the immersion relay is allowed to go to the 'constant on' state and fire all available power into the immersion until the unit is fully saturated aka the PCM is fully molten.

The reason for this cold-start feature is that the PCM would get overheated locally by the immersion if driven directly, whilst the PCM is frozen, and it would then suffer terminal damage as the PCM is intolerant of very high temps. The cold-start is only ever activated when the unit is nearly 'empty' or has been fully depleted, so not an issue when the unit is part used and then topped up ( yes, I know ).

I have commissioned a number of these to date, and a good few have needed the over-heat stat ( that @Barney12 reports is still annoying him ) resetting a couple of times from the get-go. Touch wood, none have since tripped as I would soon get to know about it! I'm reasonably sure the one causing the nuisance is a quick fix, and its a shame that SA haven't been in touch to arrange a service callout / repair accordingly. :/ 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an update:

 

I’ve had a very constructive conversation with the Technical Manager at Sunamp. 

 

He emailed me within about 20 minutes of my rant on here so they are clearly reading or at least receiving some feedback ref the comments on here. 

I get the impression that they do want to resolve issues but are just completely overrun. He took on board my very, very direct feedback about lack of communication and unresolved issues. In fairness to him he was very appologetic. 

 

This is all goes back to my previous comments about accepting the pain that comes with being an early adopter. If you can’t get comfortable with that then it’s the wrong product for you. 

 

I really hope they don’t “loose the locker room” at this early stage of their development. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nickfromwales said:

In your earlier post, were you referring to firing electricity directly into the SA immersion, eg bypassing the SA Qontroller ( that's not a typo btw )? That is not possible, and would void the warranty.

 

I've just re-read my posts on this thread and I don't think I've said that here. I might have said it on another thread a while ago, before becoming aware of the localised PCM cooking issue. I agree, given restriction it's better not to use the immersion if you want to control the behaviour of the Sunamp as part of a wider system which the SA controller is not aware of.

 

The sketches I have for my own house would put any electrical input to the Sunamp via a Willis-type heater into the low-power circuit. AIUI, with that you just have to make sure you don't feed water in which is too hot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Barney12 said:

This is all goes back to my previous comments about accepting the pain that comes with being an early adopter. If you can’t get comfortable with that then it’s the wrong product for you. 

 

Little (if anything) on their website would make anyone who hadn't read this thread think they were being an early adopter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, AliMcLeod said:

 

Little (if anything) on their website would make anyone who hadn't read this thread think they were being an early adopter.

 

That's very true, but not something I'd given a lot of thought to.  I knew from the outset that we were being guinea pigs for the technology, and installed our Sunamp PV whilst being fully aware that it was, to some extent, a prototype product.  Nevertheless I was very impressed indeed with its performance, and that led to me believing that the replacement product, the Sunamp UniQ range, would be at least as good, hopefully a lot better.

 

I'm just disappointed that I have to manually reset the Sunamp UniQ controller every day in order to ensure that we have continued hot water.  I'm not using the Sunamp UniQ in a different configuration to the Sunamp PV we had for a couple of years or so, in fact it's using the same wiring.  I've spent a fair wedge of additional money in "upgrading" our hot water system and found that in reality I have significantly downgraded it, to the point where it fails to function without daily manual intervention, leaving us with no hot water.

 

In my view that makes the product unfit for purpose.  The sooner this is recognised and something done to address it the better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Sunamp are clearly aware of this controller problem (a few months now...) and if it's as easy as resetting it each day as Jeremy does, surely that's an easy fix to the controller?? I've held off getting my units delivered and had hoped that this would have been resolved by now. And there's really no point getting these shipped if they simply are not functioning without daily user interaction.

 

#disappointed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm planning to order/install a sunamp UniQ shortly but having second thoughts now

Is there a simple workaround for the switching off procedure?

 

For folk who've already purchesed one is there an argument for compensation/refund under the consumer rights act 2015 if the unit isn't fit for purpose and this problem wasn't explicitly mentioned in the bumph ?

 

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

 

I wouldn't normally advocate this kind of hardball to a struggling new technology, but if they aren't fixing it or replying to queries...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a potential work around for the controller failings, but I've been reluctant to implement it, as I would like Sunamp to come up with a fix first.

 

The work around is to add a time switch in the 3 A supply cable to the Sunamp controller, so that the unit gets reset.  Initially I thought it would be OK to do this reset procedure just once a day, to ensure that we have hot water in the morning for showers, but I'm wondering (after we nearly ran out of hot water again a couple of days ago) whether it really needs resetting just before any likely charge period.

 

At the moment, I reset our unit at about 08:00 each morning, after we've had morning showers.  This is to ensure that it's able to accept a charge by the time the PV system starts generating.  The idea is that the unit should charge from PV during the day, if there's enough excess generated.  To cope with days when there is little or no excess PV generation, I have a boost time switch, that bypasses the PV diverter unit and supplies power to the unit during the off- peak period (the boost time switch turns on at 03:30 and off again at 06:00).

 

In theory this should ensure that we always have enough hot water available for a couple of showers in the morning.  However, this system can fail if the Sunamp gets fully charged from excess PV generation during the day, and then a bath is drawn off in the evening.  What seems to have happened is that one bath is not enough to trigger the controller to put the Sunamp into charge mode, so it then doesn't boost during the off-peak period.  If the first shower in the morning is longer than normal, then there is barely enough hot water left for the second shower (mine, usually).

 

I'm beginning to think that it needs to be reset twice a day to be sure that there is always hot water available.

 

This is really barking mad, as the old Sunamp PV was around half the storage capacity yet never failed to provide hot water and always charged up whenever power was available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So if I am reading what you say correctly @JSHarris unless you deplete the SA sufficiently during the day it will not charge when you need it to.

 

So if you do a reset in the morning but not enough PV is generated and you use it again in the evening there's a danger of no HW in the morning. 

 

Therefore to make sure you have enough HW would require a twice daily reset.

 

Madness.  I was very keen to use SA for both my DHW and UFH.  The more I read the less likely I am to do so now.     

Edited by LA3222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, dnoble said:

I'm planning to order/install a sunamp UniQ shortly but having second thoughts now

I seriously considered changing my DHW heating method to using a Sunamp around eighteen months ago and am so glad that I didn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, LA3222 said:

So if I am reading what you say correctly @JSHarris unless you deplete the SA sufficiently during the day it will not charge when you need it to.

 

So if you do a reset in the morning but not enough PV is generated and you use it again in the evening there's a danger of no HW in the morning. 

 

Therefore to make sure you have enough HW would require a twice daily reset.

 

Madness.  I was very keen to use SA for both my DHW and UFH.  The more I read the less likely I am to do so now.     

 

 

Spot on, it is indeed madness.  I personally feel pretty bad about this, as we had one of the first Sunamp PV units and that worked so well I extolled it's virtues, both here and on Ebuild.  Had I known what was to come I'd have been more circumspect.

 

The main worry is not knowing whether it has decided it's able to accept a charge or not.  This seems to be an ill-defined state, as sometimes when I go in to reset the controller it is already in the charge acceptance state, sometimes it isn't (however, Sunamp chose not to provide any indication of this, as it was such an essential feature I added a neon light to provide this indication).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this is a real pickle for SunAmp and p**s poor communication from them.  I dare say a lot of self builders are going to reconsider things in light of the current situation - I suspect they don't care though.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, LA3222 said:

Well this is a real pickle for SunAmp and p**s poor communication from them.  I dare say a lot of self builders are going to reconsider things in light of the current situation - I suspect they don't care though.  

 

 

i'm inclined to agree, they don't care because self-builders are not a big enough market to worry about. I can't help feeling that the inability to reliably use PV as an energy source for charging, something that was the focus of their first ever product to market, and which established their name, may well come back to bite them, once they start selling units in volume, perhaps to the big house builders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

 

 

i'm inclined to agree, they don't care because self-builders are not a big enough market to worry about. I can't help feeling that the inability to reliably use PV as an energy source for charging, something that was the focus of their first ever product to market, and which established their name, may well come back to bite them, once they start selling units in volume, perhaps to the big house builders.

Regardless of that though. the current product seems only capable of reliably storing half it's rated capacity.   Will n ot others using it a different way, see that ass a failing as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ProDave said:

Regardless of that though. the current product seems only capable of reliably storing half it's rated capacity.   Will not others using it a different way, see that ass a failing as well?

 

 

I think they will, and I also think this will come home to bite them when they roll the electrically charged units out to the mass market (and I should be clear, this failure to charge only applies to the electrically charged models, not those charged by hot water).

 

It may well be that they don't see the electrically charged models as being their biggest sellers, so aren't bothered if they don't work as people expect.  As there's been no communication from them (they do have a presence here, Andrew Bissell is a member) we simply have no idea what's happening to address this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, JSHarris said:

What seems to have happened is that one bath is not enough to trigger the controller to put the Sunamp into charge mode, so it then doesn't boost during the off-peak period.

 

I was really surprised by this statement as if your unit. Is on the 90%* setting I can’t see how it wouldn’t trigger? 

Or is the issue that because you are pre-heating your water then the load on the Sunamp is very, very low? 

 

*I understand that Sunamp are removing the reference to ‘50%’ and ‘90%’ in the latest manual revision and replacing with generic text terms (I don’t know what they are) as they accept that these figures are only a guide. 

Edited by Barney12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Barney12 said:

 

I was really surprised by this statement as if your unit. Is on the 90%* setting I can’t see how it wouldn’t trigger? 

Or is the issue that because you are pre-heating your water then the load on the Sunamp is very, very low? 

 

*I understand that Sunamp are removing the reference to ‘50%’ and ‘90%’ in the latest manual revision and replacing with generic text terms (I don’t know what they are) as they accept that these figures are only a guide. 

 

Mine was supplied set to the "charge only when 90% discharged" state, but when I first installed it I noticed that it wasn't charging, contacted Sunamp and was told that it should be set to the "charge only when 50% discharged" setting.  I changed the setting in the controller to this, which was supposed to be the default for our unit anyway.

 

The ongoing problem of the Sunamp not accepting charge when it's available is with the unit set to the 50% setting.  It "reliably" refuses to accept charge; it did this morning, we ran two showers and the contactor wasn't on afterwards, so I had to reset set it so that it can start accepting charge from excess PV generation. 

 

It doesn't always fail to accept charge, at a guess I'd say that about 75% of the time when I go to check and reset it it's already in charge acceptance mode, with the indicator light on (which I had to add as a mod, otherwise I'd not be able to tell).  25% of the time the Sunamp will be sitting them with the light off and the generation meter merrily flashing away, exporting power to the grid rather than using it to heat our hot water.  Resetting the controller always, without fail, fixes this.

 

The 25% of the time when the Sunamp refuses to charge is the problem, as charge power will shut off at some point during the day, and there isn't then another opportunity to charge until the boost period.  I do not wish to have to use grid electricity we pay for to charge the Sunamp, when the damned thing has refused to accept free energy from our PV system.

 

The really annoying thing is that the Sunamp PV did not behave like this at all, it just worked as expected every day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now