From Open Source Ecology - Germany
Revision as of 03:45, 3 July 2012 by Shure (talk | contribs) (added physical layout)
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DiVER: Direct Current low Voltage Electrical Grid for Renewable energies

  • Any voltage over about 60VDC is not safe to the touch
  • Any voltage over 60VDC needs a special license to operate in Germany, e.g. you may not build and connect a grid over 60V, unless a proper Electrician checks everything (VDE)
  • Small permanent magnet alternators used in a generator at a wind turbine or a water turbine usually operate at below 100V
  • It is very expensive to generate a true sine wave alternating current out of low voltage DC from the renewable energies
  • Solar panels output low voltage DC
  • TEG (thermo electric generators) output low voltage DC

Only a few systems really do need the high voltage AC of 230V or 110V.

  • Desktop Computers (although terribly inefficient compared to laptops and smartphones) do need 12 VDC, 5 VDC and 3,3 VDC.
  • Laptops need about 12-20 VDC
  • TFT Flatscreens run on DC, especially if they have an LED backlight.
  • Mobile phones, smartphones, tablet PCs etc are all charged and run with 5VDC

Difficulties and negative points about a low voltage DC grid:

  • Grid size is smaller with a lower voltage or:
  • available Power is lower at the same AWG / cable dimensions
  • special connectors have to be chosen

I am thinking of a 230 VAC + DiVER infrastructure for OSEG/FeFG: 230VAC for high power appliances like some machines, DiVER for any consumer electronics (wherever possible) and efficient lighting.

Household circuit breakers may be re-used for a DiVER grid, e.g. anything from 8-63A per phase.

System voltage:

  • N: 0V, GND
  • L1: 12VDC, 10-15VDC (one lead acid battery)
  • L2: 24VDC, or higher, to be determined. e.g. 24-48VDC (three lead acid batteries)

A cheap NYM-J 2x2.5mm² (1 Phase) or 4x2.5mm² (2 Phase) cabling may be used for low power branches of the grid.

E.g. for L2 with nominal voltage 3x12V = 36V: equals three lead acid batteries connected in series. If fully charged, grid voltage at the source would be 3*14V = 42V, at empty batteries about 32V.

The L2 grid voltage (only the voltage!) may be compatible with PoE, Power over Ethernet 802.3af (802.3at Type 1) and 802.3at Type 2, if the grid voltage is above 40 V.

At 36V and 63A, there are 2268W available in the grid, if we assume proper cables and connectors. It depends on the application, but I would have switched over to 230 VAC already at this power rating.

One could make the 12V phase on/off grid redundant with one efficient ATX power supply+two Schottky diodes or with active switching. It is much easier to switch DC synchronous vs AC synchronous, because one does not have to establish a phase lock to get the waveform in sync.


The Wireless Logging System for Sourcing ENergy - Controller is monitoring some or all grid parameters and is connected with the BMS (battery monitoring/managment system) or may even contain BMS functions. Wilssen is the brain of a DiVER grid, Wilssen is recommended but not necessary for operation.

  • battery voltage of each battery (multiplexed) (2s1p, 3s1p, 3s2p, 3s4p etc)
  • battery bank voltage
  • l1 phase current (has got to be signed for bidirectional measurement)
  • l2 phase current (has got to be signed for bidirectional measurement)
  • battery bank temperature sensor (OneWire preferred)
  • over current protection
  • under voltage protection
  • Uninterruptable Power Source function.
  • SSR[1] usage, no conventional electromechanical relais.

At a future revision, Wilssen may also:

  • switch on chargers or grid-tied SMPS (switch mode power supplies) if source impedance gets to high/grid voltage too low.

optional: digital ZVD (zero voltage diode) function via comparator+ISR at ADC or interrupt attached to a plain digital port pin. SSR could then be used as OC protection, UV protection and ZVD.

SSR module may be replaced with a MOSFET at low power applications.

Physical Layout: Cabling, Sockets, Fuses

If the infrastructure is build from scratch and completely new, then it's best to start with a hybrid AC/DC[2] DIVER grid:

cabling: open or closed ring topology with branches, e.g. 3p AC household EIS: 1 x NYM-J 5G2.5, laid in parallel with 1x NYM-J 4x2.5 (up to 4x10) Important: How to determine the cables other than by their inner topology? DIVER cables should be marked differently.

sockets: DIVER sockets may consist of: - large screw terminals (which is somewhat legal, because the DIVER grid is safe to the touch ) - PowerCon sockets (expensive, proprietary, e.g. by Neutrik. How many poles?) - SpeakOn sockets (moderately expensive, well suited because they carry 4 poles and are aimed for moderately high currents) - XLR sockets (cheap, but can't carry much current. maybe for small appliances like phone chargers) - Open Source screw terminals with M6 screws. 3D printed or milled.

- We could use the socket / connector system from another country far, far away. Thus not getting into trouble with the mains grid connectors.

Any additional recommendations?

CEE sockets are way too expensive, overkill and not meant for DIVER voltages. They may also be confused with the mains grid.

DIVER Fuses, circuit breakers, Wilssen, BMS, PDUs and so on are encased in a separate enclosure and are nowhere near the mains.

  1. Solid State Relais
  2. Alternating Current / Direct Current, not the famous rockband