UNplug – Technical Specs

UNplug solar ups controller arduino power off grid

UNplug smart IoT controller has cable lugs for 6 AWG cables and 120/240VAC terminals

Clean energy got just a whole lot easier! UNplug is a small microcontroller that switches between solar, battery and electric power so you can take essential items (i.e. fridge, computer, internet modem, TV etc.) off the grid. Unlike larger solar panel systems whose start up costs can be incredibly high, UNplug gives you the freedom to build out a cost effective, fully scalable solar solution from the ground up.

Getting started couldn’t be simpler:

Just choose the peripherals you need (power inverter, batteries, solar charge converter and solar panels), then plug UNplug into any wall outlet and GO! UNplug provides automatic uninterruptible power, integrates with the internet of things via IFTTT and lets you monitor energy usage wirelessly via our app on your smartphone.

UNplug your appliance

Taking an appliance of the grid has never been easier: UNplug is most likely assembled in an enclosure holding the other peripherals (batteries, etc) and is connected to the wall plug and solar panel. The output provides uninterrupted power to any appliance.

UNplug solar IoT energy controller smart grid

Click to download UNplug flyer

UNplug Features

  • Low-cost solar micro grid solution
  • Scalable Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
    with Surge protection
  • Automatic transfer switch (ATS) between
    solar and grid
  • Works with any inverter and charge controller combination
  • Modular design can adapt to growing power demand

UNplugs eco-algorithm is doing automatic transfer switching between the solar powered inverter, batteries and main utility power to maximize solar energy usage and battery life.

UNplug solar IoT energy controller smart grid

Click to download UNplug flyer

Full monitoring of the solar system

  • DC Monitoring of Voltage and Current
  • Battery charge (SOC) and temperature
  • Black-out detect
  • Predicted runtime for battery
  • Peak solar and output power
  • $ and CO2 savings
  • Lifetime kWh counter, total runtime
  • Detailed graphical reporting

A complete UNplug system requires solar panels, a power inverter, a charge controller, and batteries. All settings can be configured via USB or WiFi. The settings include parameters defining:: maximum discharge levels for the batteries, nightly shutdown timer, maximum current limiter, total battery capacity, LVD and LVR voltages.

More details

The controller is doing transfer switching between the solar powered inverter and main utility power to optimize battery life and maximize solar energy usage. It is also monitoring phase shift between utility power and inverter and only switches in phase-sync to protect your equipment. The controller is also offering a standby UPS mode to provide surge protection and battery backup around the clock. Here is a link to a list of supported countries.

The run-time for the battery-operated UPS mode depends on the type and size of batteries and rate of discharge, and the efficiency of the inverter. A wide variety of inverters and battery sizes can be combined. You can setup a minimal system with 12V, 10AH and go up to 24V, 50000AH using common lead-acid batteries. The controller has a simple setup mode where levels for different kinds of battery types can be adjusted.

UNplug is essentially an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) that switches a load between two sources. It automatically switches when it senses one of the sources has lost power.
The type is called open transition transfer switch. It is a break before make transfer switch which breaks contact with one source of power before it makes contact with another. It prevents back-feeding from an inverter/generator back into the utility line.

The ATS will automatically tell the inverter to start. Once the ATS sees that the inverter is ready to provide electric power, the ATS breaks the home’s connection to the utility grid and connects the inverter. The inverter supplies power to the electric load, but is not connected to the electric utility lines.

Download the product flyer here: smart-IoT-energy-controller

Recommended also: solar UPS schema, Project video

22 comments for “UNplug – Technical Specs

  1. Anthony
    March 13, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Hello Markus,

    It was great meeting you at Connect event. You are doing some great work here. I will keep you posted as to when our team gets together. Looking forward 😉

    Cheers,
    Anthony

  2. April 22, 2014 at 5:20 am

    I am moving into a new house in two years. I will move off grid I believe. However, I always thought that staying on the grid would be best, so that all manner of new ideas could be created and work in combination with internet and products like yours.

    Unfortunately the grid will cost to much to have just being there. Its a political thing i believe.

    I would get involved in the solar battery leasing arrangements now taking hold if I were you. This innovation of yours could expand into something much more interesting.

    Can you envisage fridges and washing machines, all manner of devices having batteries in them at purchase. These batteries provided by electrical retailers who charge the battery in the device and smart switch the device where ever it might be. You have a leasing arrangement with the retailer at home. They have solar on your roof. They have large scale solar, wind and other installations. They can smart switch their energy for you where ever you are and also use your energy when ever plugged into the grid and no matter where. This dispersed storage will provide a great resource in the future, but would be wasted just being aligned to one device. Then when the battery is old and loosing capability, it matters not as the smart switching process will sustain the process until replacement. The energy will cost twice as much for the device if it is not capable of storage.

    This of course would be most effective in electric cars. You update your travel program by talking to your car computer. The car uses this travel plan to buy and sell energy off the grid no matter where it is plugged in.

    The realities of this science is on the move right now.

    I work for a company called Snowy Hydro. We supply the grid with 5000 GWH per year. I can see the business model is in trouble.

  3. April 22, 2014 at 5:29 am

    I think you might apply your thinking and development ideas to the use of cars in future. The smart switching of solar energy at my home could provide all my energy on any journey. Similarly, the smart switching of my car, the timely charging and travel program synergies could utilise a market arrangement with the retailer and provide a great storage facility.

    Your technology used with electric cars, might be the future for high density living areas.

  4. Doug Beard
    March 6, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Have you considered providing a 220V system for the Australian market?

    • Markus Loeffler
      March 9, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Thank you for the comment! Yes, the next revision will support both 120 and 240 Volt.

      • Joe de Leon
        June 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

        looking forward 220v-240v for Philippine market

        • Markus Loeffler
          June 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm

          The 220V version is expected to be ready by the end of the year

  5. Mike Caudle
    May 21, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I saw your post on Ripe. Is the max amperage 10a, or are you going to increase it? I have a fridge and a freezer that I wanted to do this to since that same storm.

    • Markus Loeffler
      May 21, 2015 at 11:17 am

      The rating is 10A for continuous power draw. You could put 2 fridges on one unit since they only draw 150-200W once they are running. You just need a bigger inverter able to cope with the start-up surge of about 2500W. But since this very high draw is for less that 0.5 seconds you are safe.

  6. Mark Shiels
    June 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Marcus,
    Will your Kickstarter version support 220v ?

    What is the maximum number of solar panels you can connect?

    I assume this could also power a number of household aircon units also?

    Cheers
    Mark

    • Markus Loeffler
      June 6, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      The Kickstarter version will only support 120V – a 220V version will be developed by end of the year. The maximum number of panels depends on the power each panel will provide. Total panel output should not exceed 1500W. You should be able to run a window AC unit as long as the power consumption is less than 1500W

  7. cristina
    July 26, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    hi,
    Did you decide to cancel this project ?

    • Markus Loeffler
      July 27, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Yes. I am now looking for funding outside of the crowd-funding platforms.

  8. Will Stewart
    February 29, 2016 at 6:25 am

    1. Will this meet UL 1741 and IEEE 1547?

    2. There is discussions about scalabiliity, though no details. Would a number of these be set up in full parallel, or would there be separate loads and battery banks?

    3. Will this work for existing solar arrays with inverters that are only grid-tie?

    Intriguing idea, looking to hear more!

    • Markus Loeffler
      March 1, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Thank you for your questions. Yes, it will meet UL and IEEE requirements.
      Maximum solar power on input is 1500W – the units cannot be operated in parallel. You would have to use separate units in separate circuits to increase power output – but you could use the same battery bank.
      It will work with solar arrays up to 50Voc and 50A but not with grid-tie inverters.

  9. Starlyte
    September 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    This is a much needed project for those off-grid, who don’t want to be grid-tied, so I hope you get your funding.
    1500 watts is not enormous, but sufficient, if two systems can be used on the same battery bank. I’m working in 2 inverters 2000 watts, with surge 4000 watts, on a battery bank powered by 2600 w PV and a 1500 watts wind generator. For my system it’s just a question of load balancing.
    Good luck, and I’m hoping to see your system for 220 volts around Europe soon.

    • Markus Loeffler
      September 9, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you for the comment. You could use 2 systems on one battery bank but it will throw off the SOC estimation. It is better to use a split bank but the same solar source.
      It sounds like you also have access to the power grid, right?
      My latest revision of the controller accepts 240V so it is ready for Europe!

  10. Tony
    September 10, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Where do I buy a unplug controller, I live in New Zealand

    • Markus Loeffler
      September 13, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Tony, thank you for your interest! I am currently working on a new batch of controllers and if you subscribe to my newsletter you will get a notification about the availability.

  11. sumadi
    November 9, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Hello Markus, i am interested with your project. i want to make one for my university project, could you please help me share about the circuit diagram.

    • Markus Loeffler
      November 10, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Hello,
      please contact me directly via email and we can discuss the details: info@solar-trap.com

      Thanks
      Markus

  12. Malay
    February 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Hello Markus , I am very much interested in learning more about this project . I am working on Off Grid solar in my course this time and I want to know more about this .

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