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I have a Shed in North Carolina that failed electrical rough-in inspection. I have a Goal Zero 1500x (1516Wh) portable lithium-ion battery generator with multiple Goal Zero Boulder 200 (200 Watts) Solar Panels. The shed is off the grid and is only getting power from the Goal Zero battery and solar panels. I had an electrician rough in the work. The portable battery generator is located inside and solar panels are portable and not mounted to the shed. The inspector has never seen a battery generator with solar panel providing the only power to the shed. Below is the reason why he failed me, and I am looking for ideas or documentation to help pass inspection in North Carolina.

Electrical Inspection Failure notice:
The equipment to be used must be listed by a recognized testing lab with State of NC.
Customer stated he is not getting power from the home but will be getting from solar panels with a storage battery. The solar panel install will need to meet the NEC.
Will need paperwork on the solar panel system.


Yeti 1500X Portable Power Station | Goal Zero

https://www.goalzero.com/shop/solar-panels/boulder-200-solar-panel-briefcase/

Page 15 has certs symbols but don’t know what they mean:
https://www.goalzero.com/media/files/yeti-1500x-user-guide-147-100a.pdf

630790
 

· Njuneer
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Yeah....... My first question is if you already have a house and just building a shed, why I earth did you involve the pocket protector group? Ignore them and just install it.

You will find there are not many codes that are very helpful pertaining to solar because it is very new and constantly evolving. Like a UL listing on a battery? OK......

What I would do, if you 'must', is dig up the books and docs for every single device, and submit any approvals for each device, whether that is UL, ASTM, SAE, OSHA, I don't care. Let them sort it. Hell, they might just want something for their records and nothing more.

They want all the details so they can tax you till your broke because you are gathering otherwise free energy. Air will be taxed soon enough. There will be an "exercise fee" for jogging because you use up more air.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the information. Yes I agree but I was trying to protect myself just in case of a fire and if insurance gives me problems. Also for resale of my property. I am getting the work done by a certified electrician.
 

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I didn’t see any certification symbols on page 15. And I didn’t see any on the other documents. I agree with the inspector: needs to have UL certification, otherwise he can’t approve it.

Edit: the page numbers are goofy, i found the page “15” you were referring to. The CE symbol is european certification, its not recognized in the US. The fcc symbol says it does not cause radio interference. You need UL approval.
 

· Njuneer
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Your option is to can your current equipment and buy much more expensive gear with proper certs. It will not be any safer, but it will get your paperwork signed. Also, as a prime power source, you need to be hardwired. SO or extension cordage will not do.
 

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Ignore Viper. There's no reason to replace this equipment. It's not even under AHJ jurisdiction.

First, stop calling it a "battery generator". It is not a generator at all. The manufacturer's name for it, "Portable power station", is better.

The operative word is "portable". That thing has a handle and wheels. So do the solar panels; they all are temporary/knockdown/movable. That is why they did not go to pains to get NRTL certification, these products are not meant to be a permanent part of the structure. As such, you should not have presented it for inspection at all, since portable plug-in devices are outside the scope of inspections.

Since it wires up like a portable generator, you need to show electrical wiring appropriate for a portable generator. Specifically, that is a generator inlet.
Looking at your tiny picture, I don't see it. Install your inlet somewhere appropriate for a generator. Generators make carbon monoxide so that means typically outside.

Hope you get a different inspector. If the inspector has the notes about the unapproved "equipment" and solar panels, then tell them you decided to dump that idea and go with borrowing your brother's Honda Eu1100 generator when you need power there. That should shut them up.



The NRTL mark
-
Generally, what they're looking for is an NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Lab). This is a list of competent testing labs, maintained by the USA OSHA and that list is widely used around the world. (why OSHA, who knows; why is NASA the custodian of the aviation safety whistleblower system?)

The certs actually on your device appear to be:

630800


BC = California efficiency standard mark for a Battery Charger (BC).
Trash-X = Don't throw it in the trash; take it to a battery recycler.
CE = China Export. Meaningless.
FCC = voluntarily self-tested to meet FCC radio-interference standards.

The China Export mark is maliciously made to look identical to the Conformité Européenne mark, but even that is only a self-certification, so it's no substitute for an NRTL mark; NRTLs are actual testing labs.
 

· Njuneer
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@seharper, I have personally dealt with these code issues and though my posts are not productive, they are accurate. Many electricians dream up "perfect rule escapes" but they don't work! However, I provided that escape in my first post which is to ignore the morons and just do it.

This is EXACTLY what I am getting at. That little "jam box" cannot be commissioned as "permanent power" but if you just move it outside, it becomes temporary...... All gay.... However, I do agree, wire building with permanent wiring, and an inlet....the problem the OP faces is now he needs to put his power source outside to be "compliant".... which is why I said ditch it. Cheap devices don't have any recognized certs!
 

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It isn't polite to use such a dismissive tone as "Ignore Viper", no matter who is right/wrong.

This is a solar panel chargeable invertor, not a generator, it can probably operate outside in weather but doesn't need to be outside, it doesn't produce any carbon monoxide.

The graphic of "C E" is a trademark for EU standards. Nothing to do with China but seems you want to bring China up any chance you can.
 

· Njuneer
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@In Ontario, he is likely right, China is trying to steal every 'mark' they can and I think this is a cheap inverter unit with no certs.

However, I speak from experience in the engineering field in this industry. Officials want to lean on written language that does not exist, because this is a moving market, and they are trying to figure out how to tax people.

The reality is this is probably a stack of 18650 LI-Cobalt cells, in which temperature will play a role in safety. It is best to have the device indoors.

But officials likely won't recognize a structure as "powered" without a permanent power source!!!!! This is exactly what I have dealt with! Connect to the grid or.......it's not permanent. I am at the state level now trying to fix this drama! A solar installation needs separate language and a generator should not need to be a permanent device because it is not providing 100% constant power, the solar panels are also providing it.
 

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Sure, many trademarks of certifications are bogus. Even if the vast majority of invalid "C E" marks are from Chinese-produced products it is wrong to say "C E = China Export". To be precise it didn't just say the text "C E" but is the style and font of the official trademark.
 

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@In Ontario I regretted saying being so harsh, but it was urgent. The advice was to scrap a $2000 investment, and the advice was wrong and OP should not do it.


This is a solar panel chargeable invertor, not a generator, it can probably operate outside in weather but doesn't need to be outside, it doesn't produce any carbon monoxide.
You know that. I know that. The problem is the local inspector can't wrap his mind around that. Given that OP has already put his foot in it bigtime, his best play is to backpedal, and appeal to the inspector's ignorances with a 2-prong strategy:
#1 "I gave up on the stupid battery/solar system" (inspector thinks "Saw that coming, ha ha! Now you learned alternative power is junk, son.")
#2 "I am just using my brother's generator when I need power in here" (inspector thinks "Welcome to the Good Old Boys club. I"ll get you a hat.")

Of course for that story to hold, the inlet needs to be outside, or else you'll get a lecture from the inspector about how many people die every year from running the generator indoors.

The graphic of "C E" is a trademark for EU standards. Nothing to do with China but seems you want to bring China up any chance you can.
That's because I study that situation very closely. The way the business works, the way they fake certifications, etc. You don't know. You see what I say and conclude that since it's extreme, it must therefore be baseless (or perhaps that things couldn't possibly be this bad). Weren't you just lecturing ME on impolite??? Conformité Européenne has a very specific legal meaning: it is an affadavit by an EU manufacturer or EU wholesale importer that they have (themselves) tested the item to conform with EU standards. If the authorities walk into your bricks and mortar warehouse inside the EU, and the goods therein have a CE mark, you better be able to prove you did self-test it to the CE specs.

However, if the CE marked item is never brought into the EU by a responsible reseller, then there is no context which would allow EU to enforce the mark. So with "the third world" sellers, it's a very simple game: Stamp CE on anything where they don't have a better mark to stamp (so everything not NRTL approved), and sell everything direct-to-consumer into the EU. Now the consumer is the importer. Joséf Consumer has no chance of actually doing the CE testing, so it just doesn't happen. In the USA, a wholesale importer would need to comply with various US consumer safety standards such as an NRTL, so again do direct-to-consumer.

OK, well, Big Clive is one guy who actually does the CE testing, kinda... his teardowns will give you a whole new view on fake CE and the actual build quality we get from our definitely non-currency-manipulating communist friend in the far east.

Here's where it gets weird. Amazon has somehow set up their warehouses so shipping a containerload of cruddy USB chargers with no NRTL marks is never challenged by Customs. Too big to fail? Free Trade zone? Customs overwhelmed? Drop-ship? I don't know how they make that legal, but Amazon is not the importer for NRTL or CE compliance purposes... Amazon is "just a platform".
 

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@In Ontario, he is likely right, China is trying to steal every 'mark' they can and I think this is a cheap inverter unit with no certs.
Oh, there's nothing cheap about it. The company claims to have their boots in the USA; I haven't really really deep-dived that and they could be lying, but I think they're being truthful.

I find China doesn't fake all the marks; they seem skittish to fake UL, CSA, ETL and the other NRTLs. But there's no reason to fake them, since CE will fool just about everyone. .

But officials likely won't recognize a structure as "powered" without a permanent power source!!!!! This is exactly what I have dealt with! Connect to the grid or.......it's not permanent. I am at the state level now trying to fix this drama! A solar installation needs separate language and a generator should not need to be a permanent device because it is not providing 100% constant power, the solar panels are also providing it.
I definitely agree that OP is going to have an uphill battle on this one. Simply because NOT running a feeder from the house is such a weird thing to (not) do.

The battery supply was "weird on top of weird" and was just too much for the inspector.

Honestly if it was my place, I'd do the whole kit-n-kaboodle in DC. The service panel (QO is rated for DC), the lights, etc. The battery would be a stack of golf cart batteries. The panels just attach with a simple charge controller. All accessories are chosen to be DC, except for unavoidable AC loads that work on an inverter.

The inspector would most likely shrug and take no interest in a low voltage DC solar system if it looks like it's competently executed.


Sure, many trademarks of certifications are bogus. Even if the vast majority of invalid "C E" marks are from Chinese-produced products it is wrong to say "C E = China Export". To be precise it didn't just say the text "C E" but is the style and font of the official trademark.
CE is meaningless in North America. It has unenforceable here. Further, companies which competently use the CE mark, generally build different stuff for the North American market, and they substitute NRTL marks for the CE, and they don't even do the CE tests on the North American version. So you don't often see a valid CE, but you sure see a ton of fake ones.
 

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@viper one time I did the legwork to chase down one of these "American" companies. It had suddenly appeared on Amazon about 8 months ago, and was selling HARD - mostly smart switches and things like that. They claimed their history was that a 12-year-old Silicon Valley startup had merged with a royal and ancient German company that had re-entered the market: basically the German equivalent of Zenith. They capitalized on that to try to put themselves above the sea of Chinese dreck out there. They claimed offices in California, Germany and China.

Well, I did a little digging.

Turns out the American Silicon valley company was either a vanity company the owner never did much with... or was an aged shelf company (which is a thing; I've used them myself). It had no activity until about a year ago. Over 20 years ago, the royal and ancient German company had closed and sold every facility and liquidated all assets, and existed only as a folder in a lawyer's file cabinet. Until a year ago, when it suddenly started selling kinds of technology they'd never sold before, and boy, their stuff looked an awful lot like the stuff on Alibaba!

I traced the California "facility" to an residential apartment block in Sunnyvale. I traced the German facility to Hamburg; it was downtown-ish, but was a 2nd floor "walk-up" of about 800 square feet over a salon. Their China location was a huge industrial park in Shenzhen. Remember, this company billed itself as an American-German company.

It was perfectly obvious they just acquired the American and German corporate identities as a "front" for what is actually a Chinese operation through and through, and really no different from all the other dreck sellers. Of course their stuff was not UL listed despite being "American" and their CE was rubbish despite being "German".
 

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You said "CE = China Export", that is incorrect. You seem to have a problem with this since you go on more frothing about China. You seem obsessed and not open minded.
Again, it's because I've done the research.

Just because someone has more information than you, doesn't mean they are frothing.

Just because a well-informed person has reached an inconvenient truth, doesn't mean it's fair game to insult them.

Get it straight. A few of these Chinese companies have actually pulled up their bootstraps and done the serious work to earn a UL listing, for real, with a file number. I check their work, and give full credit when due.

For instace Sonoff (former infamous faker) is making serious effort to "comply up".

But see for yourself: When that happens, they put the NRTL mark front-and-center instead of CE. Oftentimes the CE mark disappears altogether. Why would it disappear? Well, because there's no point having a CE mark on a 120V smart switch built for North American form-factors.

But why was it there before? Why would they self-certify to Conformité Européenne for a North American device? They wouldn't. They didn't. But they knew consumers would be troubled if they didn't see any cert stamps at all, and CE is so widely faked that consumers now believe it's a legit mark in North America.

"China Export" is just a slang term for this sad situation with the rampant mark faking. I know it's not a real term; that's why I also discussed what CE really means, and provided a link for Pete's sake.


It was stupid of me to engage at all with you.
It was stupid of you to pedantically call me out on something I'd already disclosed.

It added nothing to the conversation. Further, you swerved out of your way to be insulting about it, which was really uncalled for.
 

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And just to elaborate on NRTL listing, it's actually a fairly difficult process that requires that someone with skill and experience getting UL listings, inform the product design from day 1.

This is a frustration of many who are trying to get their mark. They attack the listing process from completely the wrong direction. They start with an idea, come up with a core design, find a cheap way to build it, have a PCB made, start lining up Chinese factories to do production, and then try to get the UL listing as a bolt-on afterthought.

They discover that their design took a number of wrong turns, and is uncertifiable, and will require essentially a new design. The product is a dead-end. It works, but it cannot be made safe.

They need to go the other way: start at the UL White Book then figure out how to build their idea in a safe and certifiable way. For that, they need a designer/consultant with experience getting NRTL stamps. That person needs to guide every aspect of product design from the first back-of-napkin drawing, interjecting "can't do that, you'll need to do it this other way" at every phase of design.

An example of how not to do that is here. Classic "rush to innovate, ignore NEC and the White Book, paint self into corner by setting on an uncertifiable design early in the design phase". Got the components Recognized, then said "good enough" and sold the system as parts. I found it because a user asked how to route the CT wiring from inside the panel to outside the panel where the controller was mounted... Ummmm....
 

· Njuneer
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@seharper, but as I have mentioned, that "white NEC book" is largely intended for grid power. There is a lot of language that is ridiculous when you try to apply it for solar installations! Hell, I was just looking at something in there for supplemental generator power. I cannot recall the cert right off, but it only pertains to very big and expensive generators! A little EU2000 is all that is needed, BUT per code, someone would need a 12kw monster.

There is a WHOLE nother angle on this for me in my area. The "officials" seem to raise the excuse per code that "any structure used as a residence shall have not less than 100A 120/240 power"..... Mennonites have survived for decades with ZERO electric!

The whole industry needs a shift! Switches need DC ratings, wire needs DC ratings, breakers need DC ratings.... And the officials need to bury the mentality that if you don't connect to the grid, you can't survive!
 

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Yeah, I've been following the "off-grid" politics for years @viper. It's a big mess. Part of the problem is that "off-grid" is entangled with "living in a hovel" typically out of poverty. And the government is very preoccupied with discouraging hovels, because those affect resale values in the neighborhood.

But yeah, they don't like "weird" anyway. Partly because that too impacts resale.

As far as DC rated switches, wires and breakers, the good news is run of the mill Square D "QO" breakers are rated up to 48VDC, with breakers rated up to 110VDC available on special order.
 

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I think the reality is the government is wanting to figure out a way to tax people for energy. I am serious! They WILL and do tax for you using your sunlight.

As far as property values, I just have to laugh because you know what else hurts property value? RENTALS! And governments have no issues at all with those!

I had to explain this to an "official" the other day that if someone wants to build a house without electric, why does that matter? If someone buys it, and they want electric, they can put that in! People buy houses with no pool, then have a pool installed.

The reality is we are headed towards higher voltage DC!!! I am doing work in the 400-600V area and some at 800V. The industry needs to realize that battery tech is climbing fast, which means real power will be on tap from batteries, and voltage needs to be pushed to reduce all the copper/Aluminum! I fully expect 300VDC OH lights!
 
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