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Hanchu Battery Upgrade

As detailed in my two previous blog articles on battery storage, I’ve been absolutely delighted with my Lux AC inverter and Pylontech batteries over the past few years.

You can re-read the older articles here:

https://www.energy-stats.uk/battery-storage/

https://www.energy-stats.uk/lux-batteries-and-octopus-agile-integration/

They have been a great investment for the house and continue to provide value every day, especially with rising and volatile electricity prices.  

We charge them overnight using off-peak energy in the winter as well as storing surplus solar PV from our roof when the sun shines.

Here’s the Lux AC inverter and Pylontech batteries tucked up in the loft space.

I can’t stress how much of an impact owning batteries have had by lowering our overall import unit costs, reducing the amount that we have to import and giving us the ability to cover dirty peak periods like 4pm to 7pm.

This all because we are able to buy and store cheaper off-peak energy as well as storing solar PV energy that would have otherwise gone back to the grid.

You can see details about my generation, import and export stats going back to 2018 in the solar generation history blog article.  The figures just jump out at you when I added the batteries etc.

https://www.energy-stats.uk/solar-generation-history/

Offer of an upgrade

But as with any technology, things move on quickly.  

Mick and Jake from Infinity Innovations got in touch in late 2022 and asked if I wanted to trial their new battery technology from Hanchu.

https://www.infinityinnovations.co.uk/

Infinity provides services to wholesalers, installers and residential customers and they are the sole importer and distributor of Lux and Hanchu products in the UK.

Please contact them to be directed to the correct endpoint and mention Energy Stats for preferential rates.

Full disclaimer: They offered to swap out my Pylontech batteries for Hanchu replacements free of charge in exchange for me writing this blog post and jotting down some thoughts, facts and figures about the new batteries.

Now after 4 years of blog posts about my kit and my renewables journey on this site, I hope you appreciate that I’m pretty honest in my feedback and will just present the facts.

Bigger Capacity

The standout headline is that each single Hanchu battery holds more usable capacity than a single Pylontech US2000.

Each Hanchu has a capacity of 3.2kWh of which 100% is usable.  

In comparison, each of my 2.4kWh Pylontech are only 90% usable, so 2.16kWh per battery.

This meant that I was able to replace 5 Pylontech US2000 batteries for just 4 Hanchu.

  • 5 x 2.4kWh Pylontech = 12kWh, of which 90% usable (so 10.8kWh)
  • 4 x 3.2kWh Hanchu = 12.8kWh, of which 100% is usable (so 12.8kWh)

So an extra 2kWh usable capacity using one less battery.

The batteries were a simple swap out and the new Hanchu just connected straight into my existing Lux AC inverter with just a single setting that needed changing on the Lux config.

Although as you can see in the photo, I do have room for one more Hanchu if I choose to upgrade from 12.8kWh to 16kWh total in the future.

Hanchu Battery Upgrade

Battery Physical Dimensions

First off, a word of warning. The Hanchu batteries are much heavier than the Pylontech, 35kg versus 24kg.  So I certainly didn’t need to go to the gym the day I lugged all these batteries up and down stairs to the loft space.

The Pylontech batteries are a classic computer server room size.  They are built to fit in server racks and are 2U in height (for those that know about rack U heights).

The Hanchu are a different form factor and are designed to be hung on walls and each battery comes with its own wall mounting bracket.

But as you can see from my photos, the Hanchu also sits happily on a flat surface.  

Although it is worth leaving some ventilation space between them, as well as enough room to get your finger to the on/off power button which is on the front.

Here are a few of side by side photos to show the differing shape and dimensions.

Specification sheet (Dimensions and Weight)

Width (mm) Depth (mm) Height (mm) Weight (kg)
Pylontech 442 410 89 24
Hanchu 484 302 165 35

Slight wider, a lot fatter, taller and heavier.

That extra capacity has got to be hidden somewhere!

What are Round Trip Losses?

With my Open Energy Monitor setup with CT clamps around various electrical feeds I’m able to record the ins and outs flow of electricity to various devices.

https://openenergymonitor.org/

I’ve got a CT clamp around the AC feed for the Lux AC inverter so I’m able to record just the electricity going into and coming out from the batteries.

Round trip losses occur in the transfer from AC (home/grid side) to DC (batteries) through the inverter when charging and then back again (DC to AC) when discharging, as well as any standing losses (if such a thing exists?).

By looking at the total energy going across the feed and comparing that to the total energy coming back out across a number of days we can work out how much we have lost (and what we have kept/used).

Pylontech Round Trip Losses

Here’s the data showing ins and outs from the Pylontech batteries for 5 days in November 2022.

These were 5 days where I charged the batteries to full overnight and just let them fully discharge through the day until empty.  

These were dull overcast days, so no solar PV went into the batteries over this period.

Here’s the in/out data in more detail and broken down

Over 5 days in November

  • Into battery: 53.41 kWh 
  • Out of battery: 42.89 kWh

Round Trip Calculation: 42.89 / 53.41 = 0.803 * 100 = 80.3%

So the data suggests around trip losses of 20%, with 80% being usable.

Hanchu Round Trip Losses

Here’s the data for 2 days in December 2022. 

Again, dull days, so no solar going into the batteries.

I’m charging to full overnight and then discharging in the morning until empty.

These were 2 cold days, so the air source heat pump along with the rest of the house requirements cleaned them out by lunchtime.

Over 2 days in December

  • Into battery: 25.8 kWh
  • Out of battery: 22.5 kWh

Round Trip Calculation: 22.5 / 25.8 = 0.0872 * 100 = 87.2%

So the data snapshot suggests round trip losses of 12.8%, with 87.2% being usable.

Note: these round trip loss calculations are just from a few days where no solar muddied the picture.  The figures could be slightly different with more ins and outs per day.

Charge and Discharge Rates

If you recall from my original battery article, the number of Pylontech batteries you connect to the inverter dictates the charge and discharge rates.  

In other words, what’s the maximum load (kW) you can put into them (charge) and take back out of them (discharge, use in the home) at any given time.

Note: This is not to be confused with pure total capacity (kWh), i.e. the amount you can store.

Jake from Infinity Innovations has a video explaining charge and discharge rates in more technical detail here:

My summary goes something like this.

The way to determine potential charge and discharge rates is the following calculation

  • Amps x Volts = Watts

With the battery inverter system working at 50V, the calculation is always

  • Amps x 50V = Watts

Here’s the charge and discharge rates from the specification sheets of both battery types, showing per battery rates.

Number of Batteries Pylontech (same charge/discharge) Hanchu (charge / discharge)
1 25A (1.25kW) 40A (2kW) / 60A (3kW) 
2 50A (2.50kW) 80A (4kW) / 120A (6kW)
3+ 75A (3.75kW) 120A (6kW) / 180A (9kW)

Before we go WOW, look at charge and discharge rates of the Hanchu, we have to remember that the inverter they are connected to quickly becomes the bottleneck and the limiter for charge and discharge rates.

So even though the batteries have really high charge and discharge rates listed on the spec sheets, it’s the inverter that will cap what the batteries are capable of.

Max Charge and Discharge limits for each Lux inverter type

  • Lux AC 3600 – Max 70A (3.6kW) 
  • Lux Hybrid 3600 – Max 66A (3.3kW)
  • Lux Hybrid 5000 – Max 80A (4.0kW)
  • Lux Hybrid 6000 – Max 80A (4.0kW)

So it takes 3 Pylontech to reach the limit of the AC 3600 inverter, but only 2 Hanchu to hit the AC 3600 inverter limit.

If you have a house with a high load requirement, i.e. you have a bunch of devices/appliances that regularly need more than 3.6kW, then you could increase the charge and discharge rates beyond that of a single inverter by using multiple Lux inverters running in parallel.

This approach is available to both Hanchu and Pylontech batteries, but you don’t need as many Hanchu to reach max charge and discharge rates.

So you could have four Hanchu batteries, 14.4kWh capacity, with two batteries hung off one Lux 3600 and the other two hung off another Lux 3600 to achieve 7.2kW charge and discharge.

Home Energy Group / Teevo Energy calls this high charge/discharge product their Squirrel Pod setup.

https://homeenergygroup.co.uk/lux-squirrel-pod-battery-storage-greenlinx/

Fun fact: you can run up to TEN Lux inverters in parallel for theoretically up to 36kWh charge and discharge.  

Obviously, you’d need 2 Hanchu per Lux inverter, so 20 x 3.2kWh = 64kWh capacity with 36kW charge and discharge!! Wow!!

Real World Measured Charge Rates

I’m seeing the following charge rates when loading up the batteries overnight.

  • Pylontech: 3.66kW
  • Hanchu 3.66kW

Both charge rates are lower than the battery specifications suggest, but as mentioned earlier, the inverter is the limiting factor.

So this is expected behaviour.

Real World Measured Charge Rates

This is a lot harder to monitor as I rarely fully discharge the batteries.  For example, I’m not one for doing forced exports back to the grid.  

So the rates monitored are where the house has had a lot going on or the EV decided to pull from the batteries.

Looking back through a year’s worth of Open Energy Monitor data for the Pylontech, it looks like I’m seeing around 2.85kW max discharge rate.

In hindsight, I should have done more formal testing of max discharge rates on the Pylontech before we replaced them.  

I probably should have also questioned why I couldn’t hit the suggested specification discharge of 70A / 3.6kW.   

Apologies for this oversight.

But I rarely needed long periods of 3kW+, so it was never something I worried about.

In the short time I’ve owned the Hanchu I have managed to pull close to 3.6 kW from them.  I purposely set the EV charging so it pulled from the battery to see how much it could pull.

So this is reassuring that the Hanchu can hit the discharge rate of the inverter.

In a way, discharge rate is more important than charge rate.

With many solar installations limited on a 3.6kW inverter and long overnight off-peak windows, the charge rate only really becomes a problem if you have a really big battery setup and you can’t fill it during your 4 hour window on Go for example.

Discharge rates on the other hand can come into play every day.  Fire up the washing machine and oven with the heat pump running and you can easily get towards and past requiring 3.6kW.

If you had a system with lesser discharge you could end up importing despite having charge in the batteries.

This is why the Squirrel Pod package with dual inverters providing 7.2kW in and out can be so appealing.

How Cold Weather Affects Charge and Discharge Rates

For those of you that store your batteries in garages or uninsulated loft spaces, be aware that cold conditions can reduce charge and discharge rates.

The internal BMS (battery management system) detects colder temperatures and reduces the unit’s abilities for protection and self preservation.

Pylontech

  • Reduced charge rate below 8C
  • Stops charging at 0C
  • But will keep discharging down to -10C

Hanchu

  • Charge rate not affected down to 0C
  • Charging halved between 0C and -5C
  • But will keep discharging down to -10C

Infinity Innovations have a great video here explaining all this.

Note: My batteries are kept at room temperature, so none of the charge and discharge tests I report on in this article will not have been affected by cold weather.

Round Trip Losses, Capacity and Charge/Discharge summary

Here’s a summary of the real world figures I’ve seen on both the Pylontech and Hanchu batteries.

Round Trip Losses Usable After Losses Max Charge Rate Seen Max Discharge Rate Seen
Pylontech 19.7% 80.3% 3.66kW 2.85kW
Hanchu 12.8% 87.2% 3.66kW 3.58kW

A reminder that these figures are from comparing 5 Pylontech batteries versus 4 Hanchu, both attached to a Lux AC 3600 inverter.

So the other Lux inverters, the Hybrid 5000/6000 models should allow more charge and discharge than what I’m seeing, but I can only present my findings here with the hardware I’ve had access to.

Monitoring portal on each Hanchu battery

With the Pylontech setup there is some very basic monitoring available through the online Lux inverter portal, but you don’t see very much information there.

You can also connect a serial connection to each Pylontech battery, but I never found a need for that.

The Hanchu batteries each have their own wi-fi dongle and connect to the internet, which allows you to remotely monitor via the Hanchuess monitoring portal.

This also allows Infinity Innovations or your installer to remotely support your installation.

Summary and Round up

I hope you find this Pylontech versus Hanchu comparison useful.  Battery technology continues to advance all the time as we can see here.

In all the metrics I measured; capacity, charge/discharge rates and round trip losses, the Hanchu looks to provide an improvement over the Pylontech batteries.

If you’re interested in getting more information about a Lux Inverter and Hanchu battery system, contact Jake or Mick at Infinity Innovations and please mention Energy Stats for preferential rates.

https://www.infinityinnovations.co.uk/

Infinity provides services to wholesalers, installers and residential customers and they are the sole importer and distributor of Lux and Hanchu products in the UK.

But if you already own a setup with Pylontech batteries there is no real point in upgrading, just continue to add more Pylontech if you require more capacity.  

The improvements I’ve seen are only minor and aren’t large enough to throw money at upgrading or replacing your battery hardware.

Note: You can’t mix and match battery types, so you couldn’t add Hanchu to a system with Pylontech already in it.

August 2023 Update

As described earlier in the article I had enough physical space for just one more 3.2kWh battery.

Well resistance was futile!

Ahead of the upcoming autumn and winter heating season I decided to splash the cash and buy that 5th battery to fill the space.

This brings me up to a total of 16kWh usable battery capacity.

Whether that is filling the extra capacity with surplus PV or indeed using cheaper, cleaner and greener overnight electricity from my time of use tariff, it will come in very handy.

It will be interesting to compare the upcoming winter heating season with the previous to see how much difference the extra battery capacity makes.

You can read my 2022/23 winter summary here:

First winter with my air source heat pump

Features and Controls

Finally, whichever battery type you have or choose, you will be able to benefit from the features of the Lux Inverter.  

All these features work with either of the battery types:

  • Weather Compensation / Forecasting
  • Octopus Agile integration
  • Octopus Automatic Discharging

You can read about all these features on the following Home Energy Group / Teevo Energy page.

https://homeenergygroup.co.uk/lux-squirrel-pod-battery-storage-greenlinx/

Lux Inverters continue to be part of the ‘Works with Octopus’ program.

https://octopus.energy/works-with-octopus/

But for those of you that want more control and are familiar with MQTT and Home Assistant, then I’d suggest you take a look at Chris Elsworth’s amazing lxp-bridge tool.

It is tremendously powerful and allows you to monitor and control your inverter locally on your own network.

https://github.com/celsworth/lxp-bridge

https://github.com/celsworth/lxp-bridge/wiki

I use this tool myself with some custom written Python and it is amazing.

Referral information and free credit offer

If you find the content of this website useful and are thinking of joining Octopus Energy, please consider using my referral code or ‘buy me a coffee’ to help support running costs of the website.

Using this referral code will gift you £50 of free Octopus Energy credit after signup: https://share.octopus.energy/linen-pearl-869

If you would like to ‘buy me a coffee’ to show support, please use this link: http://buymeacoffee.com/SVHgIbUYM

If you’re considering owning part of a wind farm through Ripple Energy, get £25 of free credit (if investing more than £1000) using my Ripple referral link.

Energy Stats can also be found on Twitter / X.  Please follow us @energystatsuk for daily Agile tariff pricing graphs and summaries.

We have also started posting the same graphs over on Mastodon.  You can find us here: https://mastodonapp.uk/@energystatsuk

And we are even trying to get the info out via Instagram.  Find us here: https://www.instagram.com/energystatsuk/

Note: The current and past performance of energy pricing is not necessarily a guide to the future.

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