Charge controller uncontrollable

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Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:15 am

Hi,

The more I try to set it right the more confused I become :-(

First off I have been using a single CC for 4 years and it worked quite well, now I added another one and nothing works as I want.
My main issue is getting the right voltage to my batteries.

Here are my firmware versions:
Mate 3 Firmware: 002.019.000
Port: 1 FX Firmware: 061.000.000
Port: 2 FM60 Firmware: 003.003.000
Port: 3 FNDC Firmware: 001.001.071
Port: 4 FM60 Firmware: 003.003.000

and my setup:


System Name: OutBack Power Technologies
System Type: Off Grid
System Nominal Voltage: 48 VDC
PV Array Wattage: 4560 W
Battery Ah Capacity: 750 Ah AGM
Generator kW Rating: 5.0 kW
Max Inverter Output kW: 3.6 kW
Max Charger Output kW: 3.6 kW
Current Time: Mon, Nov 23, 2015 12:55 PM
temperature at battery level 16 celsius

And my CC settings:

Charge Controllers
Absorb Float Equalize
Absorb Voltage Absorb Time End Amps Rebulk Voltage Float Voltage EQ Voltage EQ Time Auto EQ Interval
Port 2 58.4 VDC 4.0 Hours 50 ADC 48.0 VDC 54.4 VDC 58.0 VDC 4 Hours 0 Days
Port 4 58.4 VDC 4.0 Hours 60 ADC 48.0 VDC 54.4 VDC 58.0 VDC 4 Hours 0 Days

All settings are always performed on both CC one on port 2 the other one on port 4.

The problems:

1. no matter what voltage I set for my battery bank the system will always use 57.6 for absords and 54.4 for float BUT will send less to the battery (there is no real voltage drop within the wiring). I also have temperature compensation but the compensated voltage does not apply when the absorb voltage is reached, rather annoying and no way to correct that.

2. the absorb time is set to 4 hours BUT it stops whenever it likes (today after a 1h:46mn delay) and the return amp has NOT been reached

3. The manual eq will ONLY eq to 57.6 no matter what voltage I set manualy

4. The battery stats screen on the mate3 have been frozen for 33 days with meaningless info despite many resets.

My system is unreliable and almost useless as I have no way to control it, what is going on?

Is Optics firmware better?

Thanks

Regards,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby grungebob on Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:54 pm

I came across your issue when I started searching for an answer to mine. I can't tell if we're having the same issue or not. I have SE and a SW arrays, so 2 CC's, for a home PV array of about 3kW total. I do not have a generator, but I do have a 48VDC battery bank with my GTFX3048 Inverter.

My issue is that almost every time that it snows, the next day when the PV array is cleared and it should start producing, the system is stuck in some 'Charge' mode, typically with a countdown of '1:12 remaining' for Absorb mode. The thing is, my Mate3 (recently updated to 002.019.000) is set up as 'Charger control off'', so I don't know why this is happening. I learned some time ago that the fix for this is to go to 'Bulk Charge', then hit 'Start Bulk', wait a few secs, then hit 'Stop Bulk'. This has worked many times in the past, and the system will gradually start producing energy after several seconds.

I've manged to get by with this method, but recently my system has started going into this stuck mode randomly, i.e. without any snow coverage. And if I leave home and it's still dark out now, I don't know that the system is locked up until later. I'm monitoring remotely both by checking power output with Tigo Optimizer and eGauge reporting. So I'm trying to find out why my system keeps getting stuck in this Charge Mode - I'll keep searching. You can try the Start and Stop Bulk trick and see if that does anything for you.

Good Luck,
BW
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:33 am

Thank you.

I do force it everyday to start a new bulk cycle BUT it goes back to its unwanted behavior. Its definitely not working as it should.

I am so fed up with Outback, I am leaving for Mexico 5 months and I cannot get it to work IF I am not there, meaning I will have to shut everything down for 5 months OR sacrifice half the Battery bank to allow for the monitoring and alarm system. Temperature compensation DOES NOT work as soon as you reach the absorb phase, never mind the float phase, so this is extremely bad for a remote cabin where tempearture can go as low as 5 celsius (around 40F). Worse is that even changing these phase voltages manually, the controllers could not care less they will stick to 57.6 and 54 BUT in reality the voltage will be much lower to 57.45. I did check for voltage drop over the 6 awg wire and its less than .01 so this is NOT the issue.
The temp comp monitor says 57.2 when it should be 58, go figure. I have 2 temperature sensors and they both behave the same.

I will study the Optic stuff today as if I could manage remotely (which is not possible now, only watching) I could somehow manage it from my beach house, otherwise it might as well hibernate while I am away.

For my next system I will elect for another brand for sure.

Regards,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby donjuedo on Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:44 am

Have you tried removing components to see if what's remaining returns to normal?
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:33 am

Hi,

I figured out one problem: Why the absorb time is not respected. My absorb end amp is set to 5.

Today it stopped after just 1:15 minutes instead of 4 hours.
This is because on controller remains in bulk feeding while the other is in absorb. Now the sharing is not ok as the one in bulk send over 75% more power and it amp reading is around 15 while the other feed like 25% and its amp reading is quickly reaching 5 so it looks like this is why it wrongly switches to float.

I thought that float coordination was to avoid having this sort of problem, apparently it works in reverse like temperature compensation, what a drag!

Anyway I am testing with float coordination off and I hope the the generator settings are NOT interfering with the CC settings.

Regards,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:39 am

Hi,

Its not working disabling float coordination.
I am trying now to change the device physical connexion over the hub in hope it reverses who's controller is in charge.

++
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:07 am

Hi,

Changing physical connexion on hub do switch over the controller that controls. Too bad its not doing what it is programmed for.
Basically, no matter what settings are entered they are not respected at all, looks like some other thing is controlling it.

I have disconnected the mate and hope things will improve control wise, but this is crazy!!
It does not do anything!! Now I have one controller in bulk and the other one in float, Outback !! Bravo!!
Bottom line: I have power I cannot use AND 2 charge controllers that do not control anything.

This is crazy.

++
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby SailorThor on Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:07 am

Sorry to hear of your challenges with your system!


Have you tried setting end amps to zero on both controllers?

I believe the End Amps feature functions correctly only when a single charge source is present -- otherwise it will confuse other charge sources or reduced PV output for the desired end amps condition.

Are there any loads that are not accounted for with your shunt configuration? (ie, something connected to the battery side of the shunts, rather than the load side of the shunts...)

Is the FNDC set to control the charge regimen, or being used only as a monitor?

Have you calibrated the voltages in each charge source (Inverter, charge controller 1, charge controller 2) against a known good external meter at the battery terminals?

Listing more settings would be helpful.

Michael
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:30 pm

SailorThor wrote:Sorry to hear of your challenges with your system!


Have you tried setting end amps to zero on both controllers?


No I do now, will see tomorow.

SailorThor wrote:I believe the End Amps feature functions correctly only when a single charge source is present -- otherwise it will confuse other charge sources or reduced PV output for the desired end amps condition.

Are there any loads that are not accounted for with your shunt configuration? (ie, something connected to the battery side of the shunts, rather than the load side of the shunts...)

Is the FNDC set to control the charge regimen, or being used only as a monitor?


No other load on the shunt, everything that goes in and out of the batteries.

The FNDC was set to control it:

Return Amps: 5.0 ADC
Full Voltage: 54.4 VDC
Time At Charged Parameters: 20 Minutes
Charge Efficiency Factor: 94 %

SailorThor wrote:Have you calibrated the voltages in each charge source (Inverter, charge controller 1, charge controller 2) against a known good external meter at the battery terminals?

Yes i did as one of the controller was off by 0.01.

Listing more settings would be helpful.

Michael


Here is the whole listing:

Mate3

AC Coupling
Mode: Disabled
AC Coupled Port: 1
AGS Automatic Generator Start
AGS Mode: Disabled
Port: 1
Generator Type: AC
DC Generator Absorb Voltage 58.0 VDC
DC Generator Absorb Time 3.0 Hours
Fault Time: 5 Minutes
Cool Down Time: 1 Minutes
Warmup Time: 1 Minutes
Two Minute Start: Enabled
Two Minute Start Voltage: 46.8 VDC
Two Hour Start: Enabled
Two Hour Start Voltage: 47.6 VDC
24 Hour Start Mode: Enabled
24 Hour Start Voltage: 48.0 VDC
AGS Quiet Time:
Mode: Disabled
Weekday Start: 00:00
Weekday Stop: 00:00
Weekend Start: 00:00
Weekend Stop: 00:00
AGS Must Run:
Mode: Disabled
Weekday Start: 00:00
Weekday Stop: 00:00
Weekend Start: 00:00
Weekend Stop: 00:00
AGS Load Start:
Mode: Disabled
Start KW: 1 kW
Start Delay: 1 Minutes
Stop KW: 1 kW
Stop Delay: 1 Minutes
SOC Start:
Mode: Disabled
Start Percentage: 60 %
Stop Percentage: 95 %
FNDC Full Charge:
Mode: Disabled
Interval: 14 Days
AGS Generator Exercise:
Mode: Disabled
Start Time: 16:00
Day: Sun
Period: 15 Minutes
Interval: 1 Weeks
Sell During Exercise: Enabled
Data Logging:
SD Card Log Mode: Excel
SD Card Log Interval: 5 Seconds
Internal Data Log Interval: 300 Seconds
HBX High Battery Transfer:
Mode: Disabled
Low Voltage Connect Voltage: 48.0 VDC
Connect Delay: 10 Hours
High Voltage Disconnect: 52.0 VDC
Disconnect Delay: 10 Hours
SOC Connect Percentage: 60 %
SOC Disconnect Percentage: 95 %
Load Grid Transfer:
Mode: Disabled
Load Threshold kW: 1.0 kW
Load Connect Delay: 5 Seconds
Load Disconnect Delay: 10 Seconds
Low Battery Connect: 48.0 VDC
High Battery Disconnect: 57.6 VDC
Grid Use Time:
Mode: Disabled
Interval 1 Weekday Use: 00:00
Interval 1 Weekday Drop: 00:00
Interval 1 Weekend Use: 00:00
Interval 1 Weekend Drop: 00:00
Interval 2 Mode: Disabled
Interval 2 Weekday Use: 00:00
Interval 2 Weekday Drop: 00:00
Interval 3 Mode: Disabled
Interval 3 Weekday Use: 00:00
Interval 3 Weekday Drop: 00:00
CC Float Coordination:
Mode: Enabled
Global CC Output Control:
Mode: Disabled
Max Charge Rate: 60 ADC
Mate Communication:
Serial Baud: 19200
DHCP: Enabled
IP Address: 192.168.010.064
Netmask: 255.255.255.000
Gateway: 192.168.010.001
DNS 1: 192.168.010.002
DNS 2: 192.168.000.003
HTTP Port: 8080
FTP Port: 21
Telnet Port: 23
Data Stream Mode: Off
Data Stream IP: 192.168.000.080
Data Stream Port: 57027

Inverters
Search Low Battery Cut-Out
Inverter Mode Pulse Length AC Load Threshold Pulse Spacing Low Battery Cut-Out Voltage Restart Voltage AC Output Voltage
Port 1 ON 8 Cycles 8 60 Cycles 42.0 VDC 50.0 VDC 120 VAC
Stacking Charger
Stack Mode Master Power Save Level Slave Power Save Level Charge Mode Absorb Voltage Absorb Time
Port 1 1-2phase Master 0 1 On 57.6 VDC 4.0 Hours
Float Equalize
Float Voltage Float Time EQ Voltage EQ Time
Port 1 54.0 VDC 0.1 Hours 58.4 VDC 3.0 Hours
Re-Float Voltage Charger AC Input Limit Grid-tie Mode Sell Voltage Sell Window
Port 1 50.0 VDC 20.0 AAC Enabled 47.2 VDC IEEE
AC Input Select Connect Delay Gen Support
Port 1 AC2_input 2 Minutes Enabled
AC1
Input Size Transfer Delay Max Input Voltage Min Input Voltage
Port 1 50.0 AAC 6 Cycles 140 VAC 108 VAC
AC2
Input Size Transfer Delay Max Input Voltage Min Input Voltage
Port 1 60.0 AAC 60 Cycles 140 VAC 100 VAC
AUX Output
Output Mode Operation Mode On Setpoint Voltage (GenAlert) On Delay (GenAlert) Off Setpoint Voltage (GenAlert) Off Delay (GenAlert)
Port 1 Cool Fan Auto 44.0 VDC 4 Minutes 56.0 VDC 9 Minutes
AUX Output
On Setpoint Voltage (VentFan) Off Delay (VentFan) On Setpoint Voltage (Diversion) Off Delay (Diversion) Off Voltage (LoadShed)
Port 1 52.0 VDC 5 Minutes 58.4 VDC 30 Minutes 44.0 VDC
Charge Controllers
Absorb Float Equalize
Absorb Voltage Absorb Time End Amps Rebulk Voltage Float Voltage EQ Voltage EQ Time Auto EQ Interval
Port 2 57.6 VDC 4.0 Hours 0 ADC 48.0 VDC 54.4 VDC 58.0 VDC 3 Hours 0 Days
Port 4 57.6 VDC 4.0 Hours 0 ADC 48.0 VDC 54.4 VDC 58.0 VDC 3 Hours 0 Days
Wake Up MPPT
Interval VOC Change Mode Sweep Mode Max Sweep Upick Percentage Restart Mode
Port 2 5 Minutes 6.0 VDC Auto Half 90 % 77 % 0
Port 4 5 Minutes 6.0 VDC Auto Half 90 % 77 % 0
Charger Remote Temp Sensor Comp
Snooze Amps Limit GT Mode Mode Maximum RTS Minimum RTS Temp Comp Slope
Port 2 0.6 ADC 60.0 ADC Disabled Wide 56.4 VDC 52.8 VDC N/A
Port 4 0.6 ADC 60.0 ADC Disabled Wide 56.4 VDC 52.8 VDC N/A
AUX Output Low Battery Disconnect
Operation Mode Polarity Error Low Battery Voltage Vent Fan Voltage Disconnect Voltage Disconnect Delay Reconnect Voltage
Port 2 Vent Fan active high 46.0 VDC 57.6 VDC 54.4 VDC 1 Seconds 57.6 VDC
Port 4 Vent Fan active high 46.0 VDC 57.6 VDC 54.4 VDC 1 Seconds 57.6 VDC
Diversion PV Trigger
Hold Time Delay Relative Voltage Hysteresis Voltage Trigger Voltage Hold Time
Port 2 1 Seconds 0 Seconds 0.0 VDC 0.2 VDC 140.0 VDC 0 Seconds
Port 4 1 Seconds 0 Seconds 0.0 VDC 0.2 VDC 140.0 VDC 0 Seconds
Nite Light
Threshold Voltage On Hysteresis Time Off Hysteresis Time On Hours
Port 2 10.0 VDC 1 Minutes 1 Minutes 4 Hours
Port 4 10.0 VDC 1 Minutes 1 Minutes 4 Hours
FLEXnet DC

Battery Ah Capacity: 750 Ah
Channels
Channel A: Enabled
Channel B: Disabled
Channel C: Disabled
Charge Parameters
Return Amps: 6.0 ADC
Full Voltage: 54.4 VDC
Time At Charged Parameters: 20 Minutes
Charge Efficiency Factor: 94 %
AUX Relay
Mode: Off
Logic Polarity: normal
Voltage High Limit Trigger: 14.0 VDC
Voltage Low Limit Trigger: 12.0 VDC
SOC High Trigger: 0 %
SOC Low Trigger: 0 %
High Limit Delay: 1 Minutes
Low Limit Delay: 1 Minutes
FNDC SOC Controls
FNDC Charge Terminate Control: Disabled
FNDC Sell Control: Disabled
Low SOC Warning: 50 %
Low SOC Error: 40 %

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stevenlib
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby Kurt Lundquist on Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:52 pm

I 2nd SailorThor's suggestion of setting the CC End Amps to 0. The CC End Amps setting is only valid if you only have 1 charging source.

If you are still having problems after that it is probably time to reset everything back to factory defaults and then re-program. Try using the Wizard on the Mate3 to reprogram everything if you go this route. Afterwards double check the set points.

It looks like you have the controller RTS compensation set to WIDE. This is good as it allows the controllers the full range of temp compensation.

Without the Mate3 plugged in there is a chance your CC's do not see the RTS data. You can confirm this by going to the MISC menu on the controllers, press NEXT until you see Btmp. If it shows 255 then the CC's are not using RTS data. Do this on both controllers so you can verify the are looking at the same temp and target voltage.

Keep the FNDC charge termination disabled.

I don't think it will make much of a difference but you can try setting the CC Auto Restart Mode to 2 instead of 0.

Does the OUT voltage on both CC's match?

-Kurt
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:49 pm

klundquist wrote:I 2nd SailorThor's suggestion of setting the CC End Amps to 0. The CC End Amps setting is only valid if you only have 1 charging source.

If you are still having problems after that it is probably time to reset everything back to factory defaults and then re-program. Try using the Wizard on the Mate3 to reprogram everything if you go this route. Afterwards double check the set points.

It looks like you have the controller RTS compensation set to WIDE. This is good as it allows the controllers the full range of temp compensation.

Without the Mate3 plugged in there is a chance your CC's do not see the RTS data. You can confirm this by going to the MISC menu on the controllers, press NEXT until you see Btmp. If it shows 255 then the CC's are not using RTS data. Do this on both controllers so you can verify the are looking at the same temp and target voltage.

Keep the FNDC charge termination disabled.

I don't think it will make much of a difference but you can try setting the CC Auto Restart Mode to 2 instead of 0.

Does the OUT voltage on both CC's match?

-Kurt


I did set as suggested the return amp to 0 since I did not know this was required for 2 or more CC.
I do not have sun today and none expected tomorrow, since I am leaving Saturday I will have to resume this next spring in May.
In the meantime I will have the cabin off of everything to save the battery bank.

It does make sense now, so hopefully next year I will have remote monitoring possible if I can trust the CC.

I did have the FNDC charge termination disabled.

Regards,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby SailorThor on Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:29 pm

Sorry our timing was poor on trying to help, hopefully things go better when you can return to the site in the spring.

Return Amps is a feature of the FNDC, and is similar in idea, but different in implementation than End Amps, which is a feature of the charge controllers. Since the FNDC can use the one installed shunt on your system to measure the actual battery current, its Return Amps feature simulates for multiple charge sources the charge controller feature of End Amps which is only useful in the case of a single charge source, because the charge controller implementing it can only read its own current into the system, not the battery current. Since the FNDC charge termination control was disabled, it was not allowed to control the charge sources based on the Return Amps setting.

Since there are multiple charge sources, the End Amps feature (which cannot distinguish between reduction in amps due to insolation reduction or due to alternate charge inputs or due to the battery achieving the desired charge state) was likely causing the observed behavior of the charge controllers.

The additional settings you posted are very helpful in seeing how the devices might be interacting. I am sure we'll keep trying to help when you fire the system up again later.

Michael
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:24 am

Thanks you.
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Wed May 11, 2016 8:50 am

Hi,

I am back, still some snow here. Ok now the timers on both controllers are ok and everything seems to be automated.

I still face some issues but I will try to update to latest firmware tomorrow as Outback has notified me about its availability. I am researching before I do in case of some horror stories about it.

I am still stock with conflicting data reading on the Mate3.

All readings are from the absorb phase as we have as lot of sun as of late and charge parameters are met most of the week days (5 out of 7).
The setting for absorb is 57.6, I have temperature compensation on.

1. The voltage reading says 58 on mate3 in absorb mode BUT readout out of the controller output says 57.4, same at battery terminals series is 57.4 as well as 57.4 at buss bar (no voltage drop over wires), that is weird. I also get 57.4 at the inverter terminals. I will have me fluke meter check to see if it is out of line this afternoon.
IMG_3910.JPG

IMG_3913.JPG


2. My charge factor is always at 0, see pictures attached, this is not normal, before it was stuck to 33% now its dead.
IMG_3912.JPG


3. I am still confused with the so called temperature compensation, see the attached picture:
Mate3 says batteries are at 22C, it says actual voltage to be 57.6 (Fluke meter says 57.4), it says temp comp 57.2 (no idea why, should it not be more like 57.7 to compensate since temp is lower than 25C the reference?)
IMG_3913.JPG


So my goal is to make sure I do not kill my batteries by undercharging them and the readout seems unrelliable, any help will be appreciated.

Regards,

Steven,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Fri May 13, 2016 1:07 pm

Hi,

Ok I had my fluke meter checked and it reads voltage ok. I will try to change all values on controller to make sure the batteries get the right voltage.
I have not yet ventured into the latest firmware, I am investigating that this week-end.

Regards,
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby larrywa on Sat May 14, 2016 9:12 am

stevenlib wrote:Hi,

Ok I had my fluke meter checked and it reads voltage ok. I will try to change all values on controller to make sure the batteries get the right voltage.
I have not yet ventured into the latest firmware, I am investigating that this week-end.

Regards,

You have to set the charge factor. Mine is currently at 87% and it is not a real accurate thing but your absorb cycle completing each morning should reset the SOC to 100% so cumulative errors are forgiven each morning.

The temperature compensation is a joke. Sure if you only had a CC it would work just fine but there are many other factors that override it.

I had to set some tight limits on the temp comp. and here's why.
- After equalising my batteries the bank was at a very high temperature. Now when the morning comes, guess what the temp. comp. does to the absorb/bulk voltage? It goes low 'cause the batteries are warm.
- Now your Mate3 Grid-tie system is great, right? But it's not temperature compensated so your SOC will never reach it's preset parameters and grid-tie never occurs that day. You lose until the batteries cool off. Warm weather can do the same damage to your $output.

Here is another reason to take temp. comp. with a grain of salt:
-read the Mate3 manual. When Grid-tie mode is turned on your inverters try to sell everything above X voltage on your batteries. This means that your inverters determine your all day float voltage and your CCs have no control over it. Again CCs are temp. compensated and nothing else in your system is.
- further, when your CC units find out your are grid-tie selling they forget the temp. compensated float voltage and jump the voltage up to the Bulk/Absorb voltage setting to try to create a voltage overlap between CC output, and inverter selling voltage, to ensure selling energy.

IOW: If you run inverter(s) or a grid-tie system temperature compensation is just a hazard and does nothing. Keep it limited to small voltage linits, especially at the warm end, or just turn it off and possibly back on in the winter.
Once OB gets the forefront communications software working properly and then just hopefully they may consider fixing the hidden problems people find after actually owning and managing a system, like temperature compensation co-ordination.
Been playing this game for a few years and based on recent history, my system will be garbage and long gone before that happens.
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Re: Charge controller uncontrollable

Postby stevenlib on Sat May 14, 2016 12:13 pm

Thank you.

I am off-grid.

My work around for now is to set the voltages on the CCs to match the charging requirements of the batteries knowing the readings I see are bad.
After all, when you know your system its easy to translate in your head a floating of 54.6 is in fact at the battery level 54.4.

I tried to calibrate the display as explained in the manual but one controller adjust itself while the other doesn't, that is odd, beside the variation permitted is only .5 v.

I have not yet upgraded the firmware, I am studying this option now.

Regards,
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:58 am
Location: Canada East
My RE system: VFX3648 2xFM60 750AH c/20 Dynasty VRLTAGM


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