AnonymousBosch

SunAmp : Snog, Marry, Avoid?

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1 minute ago, JSHarris said:

This means I have to run the controller with the cover removed (exposing live terminals...) as that's the only way to check whether or not the relay is on (an LED on the PCB indicates this).

Could you make a small perspex window in the cover?

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5 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

Could you make a small perspex window in the cover?

 

 

I've been tempted to make a new perspex cover, TBH, as being able to see the whole of the inside of the controller would allow all the LEDs on the circuit board to be seen.  It seems a bit daft to have half a dozen status LEDs inside the box where they can't be viewed.

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18 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Yes, recently installed it, together with a new sensor string.  They offered to replace the entire Sunamp, as the newer version has some improvements, including an additional temperature sensor, but the logistics of getting the old one out and down the stairs, and the new one in and up the stairs (they weigh about 150kg) meant that I refused their offer and just fitted the new controller.

 

It's early days, in that we've had lots of excess PV generation since I swapped units over, so I've not been able to do a 100% test of all the cases where the old controller might fail to start a charge, but so far it does seem that the charge threshold has been reduced. 

 

That's reassuring. Good to know they've acknowledged a charging problem, made some alterations and have tried to upgrade existing models.

 

18 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

One major snag is that I've been prohibited from adding back my indicator light - Sunamp are adamant that this should not be fitted (can't see why, there's no technical reason not to).  This means I have to run the controller with the cover removed (exposing live terminals...) as that's the only way to check whether or not the relay is on (an LED on the PCB indicates this).

 

The absence of any external indication as to what the unit is doing remains a major problem, as for those of us who have been caught out by having the unit fail to charge, with no hot water, not having the reassurance of the unit charging is a major snag.

 

Once the dust has settled and you are confident your unit is charging as expected, nothing to stop you installing your indicator light again...

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6 hours ago, JSHarris said:

 

 

I've been tempted to make a new perspex cover, TBH, as being able to see the whole of the inside of the controller would allow all the LEDs on the circuit board to be seen.  It seems a bit daft to have half a dozen status LEDs inside the box where they can't be viewed.

Tape or heatshrink an optic fibre on to each LED and run out to somewhere more useful?

https://www.railwayscenics.com/2m-15mm-end-glow-fibre-optic-light-tubing-p-1267.html

 

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2 minutes ago, joth said:

Tape or heatshrink an optic fibre on to each LED and run out to somewhere more useful?

https://www.railwayscenics.com/2m-15mm-end-glow-fibre-optic-light-tubing-p-1267.html

 

 

 

That could work, and would avoid having to have additional indicators.  The LEDs are surface mount ones on the PCB, and there's a spare cable gland through which I could run the fibres, it would just be a matter of making up something to hold the fibres in place in front of the LEDs, without damaging the PCB.

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6 hours ago, willbish said:

 

Once the dust has settled and you are confident your unit is charging as expected, nothing to stop you installing your indicator light again...

I would install it now, and in the event of a warranty claim, remove it.

 

But I would never admit on a public forum that I had done that. B|

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Leave your endoscope in there pointing at the lights.  Then view on the screen.

Or a PiZero with a a camera attached and view on the phone/tablet.

Edited by SteamyTea

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I've ordered a couple of metres of slightly thicker fibre, 2mm diameter, and I reckon I can make up a support using a bit of plastic sheet fixed to the top of the relays with double sided tape, then run the fibres out through the spare cable gland to some sort of indicator panel (maybe another bit of plastic sheet with the fibres glued into holes in it).

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JSHarris said:

I've ordered a couple of metres of slightly thicker fibre, 2mm diameter, and I reckon I can make up a support using a bit of plastic sheet fixed to the top of the relays with double sided tape, then run the fibres out through the spare cable gland to some sort of indicator panel (maybe another bit of plastic sheet with the fibres glued into holes in it).

 

Great! Hopefully this is fail safe, in that they all turn on for "situation normal" (i.e. are none are warning indicators) so any erroneous reading from the tape talling off will trigger further investigation, rather than be misread as everything is normal  🙂

 

Aside from this niggly issue, I *think* this latest news has pushed me back over to consider using a SunAmp battery, once again.

 

Edited by joth

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On 07/06/2019 at 15:35, JSHarris said:

I've ordered a couple of metres of slightly thicker fibre, 2mm diameter, and I reckon I can make up a support using a bit of plastic sheet fixed to the top of the relays with double sided tape, then run the fibres out through the spare cable gland to some sort of indicator panel (maybe another bit of plastic sheet with the fibres glued into holes in it).

Keep us posted if this works please

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19 minutes ago, readiescards said:

Keep us posted if this works please

 

 

Will do.  The fibre arrived in the post this morning, so I'm going to try and see if I can rig something up later today or tomorrow.

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On 07/06/2019 at 08:47, JSHarris said:

 

 

I've been tempted to make a new perspex cover, TBH, as being able to see the whole of the inside of the controller would allow all the LEDs on the circuit board to be seen.  It seems a bit daft to have half a dozen status LEDs inside the box where they can't be viewed.

How about a mini wireless spy camera positioned inside the cover to monitor the indicator led?

 

Something like this https://www.amazon.co.uk/NIYPS-Portable-Wireless-Surveillance-Detection/dp/B07PPM2RCC?ref_=Oct_CABSellerC_1330831031_0&pf_rd_p=82a37368-9c09-51e9-9c4f-41f561902eec&pf_rd_s=mobile-hybrid-6&pf_rd_t=30901&pf_rd_i=1330831031&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=TCWN616J0TSHASRKH3H6&pf_rd_r=TCWN616J0TSHASRKH3H6&pf_rd_p=82a37368-9c09-51e9-9c4f-41f561902eec

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Little did I think when I drafted the OP....... mini surveillance devices inside bits of electronics ...

 

Are SunAmp paying us? If not they should be

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K.I.S.S. Fibre optic imo the best suggestion.

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Just had some junk mail from that well-known rip-off merchant, Fischer Future Heat (the people selling very expensive electric heaters on the basis of efficiency).  Interestingly, it shows an image of a product they call the "Aquafficient", which looks identical to a Sunamp, but with a different name on the front.  It's advertised with the tag line "You can make a difference today and STOP using carbon fuels for a better world", which is frankly stretching credulity a bit.  The best we can manage, with a 6.25 kWp PV array and a Sunamp is to reduce our reliance on grid supplied electricity for hot water to about 30% or so.

 

Looking around the Fischer Future Heat website https://www.fischerfutureheat.com/electric-heaters/aquafficient/ there is very little detail, but searching a bit further I found this brief mention of the Aquafficient that seems to show that it is indeed a Sunamp with a different label on the front: https://heatingguy.co.uk/aquafficient/ .  The photo on that website is the one on the junk mail I received.

 

I'm not sure what to make of this.  Maybe Sunamp have decided to rebrand their product, but if that's the case why on earth have they chosen to team up with a well-known bunch of shysters like Fischer?  Fischer have a pretty well known reputation for advertising that sails damned close to the wind, and they tend to use the "baffle with pseudo science" marketing technique in order to deceive people into thinking that their over-priced stuff is somehow "special".

 

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If you could tolerate the pain, and the inevitable chasing afterwards, it would be interesting to get a price for one of the Fischer Aquafficient units.

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8 minutes ago, ProDave said:

If you could tolerate the pain, and the inevitable chasing afterwards, it would be interesting to get a price for one of the Fischer Aquafficient units.

 

 

That thought had crossed my mind! 

 

I'm betting that their mark up will be somewhere around 100%, based on the way they market their storage heaters, portable heaters and conservatory heaters. 

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Just found some more stuff out.  It seems that Sunamp have done a deal with Fischer: http://www.puretemp.com/pcmatters

 

Quote

Sunamp signs its first major UK contract

Ben Welter - Friday, June 07, 2019

Sunamp Ltd. has signed a memo of understanding to supply its PCM-based heat batteries to Fischer Future Heat under an original equipment manufacturer contract. Sunamp, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, says the deal involves "many thousands" of units and will be worth seven figures as sales ramp up. Leicester-based Fischer began selling the product, dubbed the Aquafficient, in February.

In an email interview, Sunamp CEO Andrew Bissell filled in a few details on the deal.

Q: Can you tell me about the PCM aspects of this product?

 

A: "Sunamp’s success in making a super-stable (40,000+ cycles tested) salt hydrate PCM (very energy dense) at 58C and combining it (in a highly insulated, cuboid enclosure) with a very high power heat exchanger (high power, high flow rate hot water) made a whole class of heat battery devices possible. Not least electric water heaters, with about 4x the energy density of a classic electric hot water tank and 5+ gallon per minute performance. A key innovation (patent pending around the details) was to use electric elements immersed inside the PCM to melt the PCM and charge the heat battery."

 

Q: What can you tell me about the manufacturing process?

 

A: "Because Aquafficient by Fischer Future Heat is based on Sunamp UniQ, it’s effectively been in production at Sunamp Factory for nearly a year. 

 

"By going down this OEM white label route, Fischer Future Heat could hit the ground running with Aquafficient - which they did! Sunamp’s manufacturing has had to scale already this year from 75 units a month to 75 units a week, with 75 a day on the near horizon. This to keep up with exponentially rising combined demand from Fischer, other OEMs, and large housing and regeneration projects.

 

“We keep scaling production and the demand keeps outpacing us! We're working really hard on scaling up production and appreciate our partners’ and their customers patience when they sometimes have to wait quite a number of weeks for the product they want.”

 

What can you tell me about the manufacturing process?

 

A: "Because Aquafficient by Fischer Future Heat is based on Sunamp UniQ, it’s effectively been in production at Sunamp Factory for nearly a year.

 

"By going down this OEM white label route, Fischer Future Heat could hit the ground running with Aquafficient - which they did! Sunamp’s manufacturing has had to scale already this year from 75 units a month to 75 units a week, with 75 a day on the near horizon. This to keep up with exponentially rising combined demand from Fischer, other OEMs, and large housing and regeneration projects.

 

“We keep scaling production and the demand keeps outpacing us! We're working really hard on scaling up production and appreciate our partners’ and their customers patience when they sometimes have to wait quite a number of weeks for the product they want.”

 

 

I've also discovered that Fischer seem to trade as another company based in Leicester, too: https://www.premiersmartheat.co.uk/services/aquafficient/

 

This doesn't surprise me, as they are pretty well known for having the "double glazing salesman" approach to sales and marketing.   It's all about bamboozling people into buying stuff, by never telling them the price until they've got a foot in the door and have been given the chance to do the hard sell.

 

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This is the problem with all “eco” products. I’m sure they advertise for staff that used to sell double glazing in the 80’s and 90’s. 

 

They know a high percentage of potential customers are “green” types, and try to squeeze as many ££££’s as they can. 

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11 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

[...]

This doesn't surprise me, as they are pretty well known for having the "double glazing salesman" approach to sales and marketing.   It's all about bamboozling people into buying stuff, by never telling them the price until they've got a foot in the door and have been given the chance to do the hard sell.

 

I only have 8 fingers left.

Of which six are now smoking from having touched the content of this thread - the remaining  two are on fire.

 

I am happy with the idea of early adoption, but at this stage of the product development cycle, this kind of thing should not be happening, perhaps?  Would you be kind enough to give me one good reason to buy SunAmp for hot water supply only, please!

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17 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

 

I only have 8 fingers left.

Of which six are now smoking from having touched the content of this thread - the remaining  two are on fire.

 

I am happy with the idea of early adoption, but at this stage of the product development cycle, this kind of thing should not be happening, perhaps?  Would you be kind enough to give me one good reason to buy SunAmp for hot water supply only, please!

 

 

I agree, it seems to be a poor choice to market this product using a sales company that is pretty well-known for using double glazing sales tactics.

 

The product is pretty good now, and they do seem to have ironed out the bugs in the control system as far as I've been able to tell (winter testing should prove if this is the case beyond much doubt).  Apart from the inevitable price hike that will come from the markup that Fischer/Premier/Any-other-name-they-trade-as will apply, my major concern would be whether this sales company are able to provide technical support.  My experience, and that of others here, has been that Sunamp have seemed to struggle a bit with technical support at times, and they know pretty much all there is to know about the way their product works.  Is it likely that a high-pressure sales outfit will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be able to ensure installations are reliable and work as intended?  Frankly I doubt it, unless they invest a lot of resource into training their technical and installation teams. 

 

I foresee problems akin to those that beset the heat pump sales people a few years ago, when thousands of heat pumps were sold that were a poor match for the customer requirement and consequently failed to perform as promised.  We're still seeing the repercussions of that fiasco now, with people being wary of installing a heat pump, based on some of the tales of woe that have been fairly well publicised.

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Quote

5+ gallon per minute 

 

Entering the USA market real soon now...

 

😎

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I don’t know anything about this “green gold” company but hazarding a guess a good slug of their market is going to be those with little knowledge of the technology, perhaps “gullible” would be a correct phrase?

 

So my question is simple; who the hell is going to (correctly) install and support all these units? I hope to god what @JSHarris says is right and that the product is now without issue. Otherwise it’s going to be carnage !

Edited by Barney12
Typo
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