billg
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Location: DFW, TX

Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Mon Jun 15, 2015 1:13 pm

ecoobsessive wrote:I'm getting ready to call Enphase or the installer that has been helping me with replacements (original installer is out of business). Looking for any advice here before I call. Summary: Originally had 12 of the 380 microinverters (190s doubled - 24 panels). 5 of the 380s have already been replaced with 10 190s. Now 2 more panels are out - 1 more 380 - so I'm at 50% failure rate and it's been 4 years since installation. None of my replacements have needed to be replaced (yet!). I have been paying the labor costs. Does anyone know if Enphase should be paying labor costs for these replacements? I think I can get them to replace the rest all at one time even though the rest have not yet gone bad. I really want replacements with 215s since they are more reliable. What is the chance of that? Would there be a problem of having a mix of 190s and 215s? Other places on the internet state that Enphase is not manufacturing the 190s anymore - so if they are still sending them out then they have been sitting in a warehouse - how is that affecting their lifespan? Do you recommend that I make the call or have the installer do it? Thanks!!
Martha, I just had three more 190's replaced (eight total now) with 190's. My original installer is no longer in the DFW market, so I had to find another installer to replace them. I contacted Enphase for a list of authorized companies and picked one. I assume that Enphase has paid the labor costs on each replacement, because I haven't.

I have also asked Enphase CS several times if they would just go ahead and replace all of my remaining original 190's and they said they don't do that. However, two of my most recent replacements were working just fine in recent days, but they did show production anomalies at different times in May, and Enphase agreed to replace them proactively.

By the way, I have always initiated the call to Enphase to begin the replacement process.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:24 am

ecoobsessive wrote:I'm getting ready to call Enphase or the installer that has been helping me with replacements (original installer is out of business). Looking for any advice here before I call. Summary: Originally had 12 of the 380 microinverters (190s doubled - 24 panels). 5 of the 380s have already been replaced with 10 190s. Now 2 more panels are out - 1 more 380 - so I'm at 50% failure rate and it's been 4 years since installation. None of my replacements have needed to be replaced (yet!). I have been paying the labor costs. Does anyone know if Enphase should be paying labor costs for these replacements?
Weatherman and billg have given good information on this question. I will just add that since I am my own installer, I have not been compensated by Enphase for the any installation costs. (That would be nice, but I don't think that is promised in the warranty document.)
ecoobsessive wrote:I think I can get them to replace the rest all at one time even though the rest have not yet gone bad. I really want replacements with 215s since they are more reliable. What is the chance of that?
As billg has said, they officially do not do that. But they have done *exactly* what you want done for another (former?) poster on this board with the alias "madbrain". He posted about his bad experiences with the M380s in the reliability thread. You can read starting there and follow his saga. Basically, Enphase told him they would not replace his array, but eventually they (Enphase) hired a crew to come out and replace every one of his D380s with M215s. Would they do that now? I don't know. But perhaps they would replace them all with M190Rs, which are basically M215s with different firmware.
ecoobsessive wrote:Would there be a problem of having a mix of 190s and 215s?
No, I have exactly that mix in my system. In general, you cannot simply mix them together since the cabling is completely different. That said, Enhase now ships out derated M215IGs to replace M190s these days, but they have built a special piece of Engage-like cable to make these "M190R" units integrate properly with the other M190s.
ecoobsessive wrote:Other places on the internet state that Enphase is not manufacturing the 190s anymore - so if they are still sending them out then they have been sitting in a warehouse - how is that affecting their lifespan?
Good question. I had that same, exact thought last week. There are (at least) two issues to consider here:

1) Would the part(s) which has been failing have aged over time? I seriously doubt it. My guess is that there is a solder joint which has been failing due to thermal cycling and units sitting in a warehouse would not get any real thermal cycles.
2) Will the aluminum electrolytic capacitors age too much by sitting? Most people do not realize that the rated life of these capacitors is only 1000 hours when sitting versus 8000 hours when in use (at 105C). In other words, they last 1/8 as long when just sitting. OTOH, the capacitors run much cooler when sitting in a warehouse versus operating on the roof. The bottom line is that their calculated life is ~50 years sitting in the warehouse versus ~30 years operating on the roof (but the manufacturer says not to expect more than 15 years in either case).

So, no, I don't think they are much worse for wear after sitting in a warehouse for a year. The one I got a couple of weeks ago was a year old and it has been fine so far. Hopefully Enphase has redesigned whatever part had been failing.
ecoobsessive wrote:Do you recommend that I make the call or have the installer do it?
If you are trying to get Enphase to replace the entire set, then I think you need to make that call yourself.

FWIW, I have another M190 which was acting up last week (but that is working properly right now) and I am thinking about sitting on this one until I hear that Enphase is shipping M190Rs out again. Part of the reason for this is that this unit is the last M190 in a chain and is within reach of the piece of Engage cable which I installed with my M215s last year, so I can snap it right into that cable.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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ecoobsessive
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Re: Enphase's new RMA system stinks!

Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:47 am

Thanks for all of the responses. I just called - they are not going to replace the ones that have not gone bad yet even though I'm at 50% failure rate - but they are going to "watch" my system and send out replacement for the latest one that went bad. :(
Martha
Red SL + QC (Finally got first QC on 5/19/19)
solarpowered by 5.52 kW PV with unreliable Enphase microinverters

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