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PIP-4048MS inverter

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    Posted: 3 hours 12 minutes ago at 2:39pm
There was a mob in Melbourne (power & interference consultants I think) used to flog a portable ferroresonant line conditioner back in the 90s (couple of hundred bucks from memory). Very effective deglitcher, about he size of a housebrick, weighed 3 times as much! Be interesting to see if the harmonic filters do any good, the ferroresonant was a bit lossy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paulvk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 2:04pm
I have a K-Mart induction unit , I also have some harmonic filters.
I will see if I get the problem and see if the filter fixes it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 1:29pm
I suspect the common theme in all these appliances that upset the PIP is that they use phase control and so may have spikey current waveforms.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-fired_controllers

Edited by weber - Yesterday at 1:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 11:09am
Yes coulumb, I discovered my fridge lights flickering badly at about 10Hz the other day, through a process of elimination found out it was the Sunbeam slow cooker (crock pot).

I thought it was just a simple resistive heating element of around 500 watts. I won't use it on the PIP anymore.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 10:57am
Stumbled on this today, serves as a reminder what nice things you can have when you pay over twice as much:

Very similar specs to PIP4048, but with 35W idle. Even supports Li/LiFePO4 packs. Can't be daisy chained.

https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Datasheet-EasySolar-with-Color-Control-EN.pdf
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote offgridQLD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2017 at 5:10pm
I should add that is wasn't just the voltage swing up and down on the display the load was jumping up and down to.

It's like the pip is controlling the pilot signal to the imievs charger and make it ramp up and down.Though it's only triggered when the charger varies the charge rate.

Not always as every time you start the charge it slowly ramps up and it never gets upset with this ramp up. Its only the ramp down at the end.

That said some times the imiev pauses the charge mid charge for a few mins and then continues to charge (normal behavior) The pip will get upset by this as the charger ramps up again to continue charging.

So it's a bit of a oddball thing.So you cant charge the car untended encase it gets into this cycle.

heat guns and induction cookers upset most inverter a little I have a fixed setting heat gun that's ok but the variable one is no good on the inverter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote coulomb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 February 2017 at 1:48pm
Originally posted by offgridQLD offgridQLD wrote:

I had the issue again as the imiev started to ramp down it's charge rate near 100% SOC the pip went Into a cycle where the voltage would swing from 215v -240v cycling up and down.

Not in the same league, but I have noticed a small number of loads seem to upset the PIP's inverter:
  • Atten 858D hot air gun (variable temperature)
  • Kmart induction cooker

When I say "upset", I just notice the LED lights flickering slightly. Nothing to be concerned about, unless yo are prone to epilepsy I suppose.

Anyone else noticed any other loads that cause the inverter's voltage to fluctuate slightly?

[ Edit: inducxtion heater -> induction cooker ]

Edited by coulomb - 17 February 2017 at 6:13pm
Learning how to repair and re-flash TC/Elcon chargers and PIP-4048 inverter-chargers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote offgridQLD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 5:55pm
Today I had our Imiev in the shed and was charging it (usually I charge it in the garage from the houses selectronic inverter) in the shed today it was charging from the pip 3200w load.

I had the issue again as the imiev started to ramp down it's charge rate near 100% SOC the pip went Into a cycle where the voltage would swing from 215v -240v cycling up and down.

I have charged a few times over the past few years from the pip but it's only been a mid charge top up for a few hrs so didn't encounter the issue.

I think I will avoid using it to charge the imiev for now due to this behaviour.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 2:19pm
Originally posted by paulvk paulvk wrote:

... I had some 16v 5watt zeners I put one across the fets now over 10years later under the bonnet in the heat and still going strong.

I think you'll find your stud mount zener is rated at considerably more than 5 watts. All MOSFETs have diodes built in, but not all have avalanche (aka "zener") diodes built in. And yes, I meant drain to source, as I assumed you did.

Edited by weber - 15 February 2017 at 2:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paulvk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 1:53pm
Had diodes in my mosfets but they still died I even tried transorb diodes these also died but the metal stud zener lives on doing the job.
Note the zener diode is across the fet not on the gates.
The spikes may be back emf from the transformer.

"takes 10 seconds to ramp down solar input" I do not see this on my systems.

Edited by paulvk - 15 February 2017 at 2:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 10:33am
Given the terribly slow reaction times of the rest of the system (eg. turn off appliance and it takes 10 seconds to ramp down solar input when the battery is already full and supposed to be on float charge)...

It sounds highly plausible to me that it doesn't react fast enough with sudden loads applied with unfortunate timing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 10:23am
Originally posted by paulvk paulvk wrote:

... Maybe a 60-70v zener will work here?

Hi Paul. Unfortunately the existing MOSFETs (and my proposed 100 V replacements) have zeners built in to them. They are referred to as "avalanche" diodes in the datasheets because technically the "zener" effect only operates at voltages below about 10 volts. But clearly this hasn't saved them.

They can only absorb a certain amount of energy per spike; 200 millijoules in the case of the existing MOSFETs, assuming the spikes don't come too close together. 200 mJ might not sound like much, but if the spike only lasts for 10 microseconds, that's 20 kilowatts or 267 amps at 75 volts. Which argues that any overvoltage had to last significantly longer than 10 us. Which argues for the unstable voltage-control-loop theory and against the voltage-spike theory, now that I think about it.

Edited by weber - 15 February 2017 at 10:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paulvk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 8:32am
I built a TL494 PWM speed control for my truck radiator fans many years ago and had failures of fets (100v rated), current was around 50amps with 2 fans I put it on my CRO and saw spikes over 100v, I had some 16v 5watt zeners I put one across the fets now over 10years later under the bonnet in the heat and still going strong.
Maybe a 60-70v zener will work here?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2017 at 8:32am
Now pondering installing "soft start" circuits to my big loads, seems easier than replacing blown components.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 8:04pm
Originally posted by offgridQLD offgridQLD wrote:

Could there be something particular about that vacume cleaner load that caused the voltage spike. The few vacumes I have pulled apart look to have very crude motors.

Yes Kurt, it could have been brush arcing. That inverter ran that vacuum cleaner many times over the past 4 months. Coulomb also pointed out to me yesterday that there is an element of Russian-roulette about where the 50 Hz sine wave is at, when the motor is turned on.

I should also mention that we were running firmware in it that we had patched. We've ported our bug-fix and LiFePO4 changes to version 72.70 and were testing it. But our patches have nothing to do with any low-level operations such as gate drive or fast voltage-control loops, and the patched firmware had been operating successfully for two days during which the vacuum cleaner was used several times, not to mention the microwave, kettle and fridge. But no other major appliances were in use at the time of the failure. The load just before the vacuum cleaner was turned on would have been 200 to 400 watts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote offgridQLD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 7:30pm
Could there be something particular about that vacume cleaner load that caused the voltage spike. The few vacumes I have pulled apart look to have very crude motors.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 5:51pm
Hi Paul, I agree a 22 mm diameter cap will just fit, although the existing are 18 mm diameter. And height isn't a problem. And they have the right lead spacing (10 mm). And 80 V is a good rating. Ripple current close to the original. I note that every rated hour at 105°C is worth about 4 hours at 85°C. But the real killer is that their ESR is about 5 times greater than the original. It is the ESR, or more precisely the high frequency impedance (which includes the effect of ESL), that is important in this application. The capacitance doesn't really matter. The 80 V caps I put in Kurt's PIP were only 1800 uF, but they had the required low HF impedance.

It's good that we have the option of up to 22 mm diameter now. When I did Kurt's the pairs of caps were so close together there was no option other than 18 mm. So it should be easier to find an 80 V cap with a HF impedance of 15 milliohms or less, now.

The LiFePO4 (160 Ah) battery has a low internal resistance (about 16 milliohms), and we use double 50 mm² cable to connect it, with the battery in shelves directly below the inverter.

Edited by weber - 14 February 2017 at 7:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paulvk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 4:56pm
I found these caps 3300uF SLPX332M080A9P3 @20KhZ ESR-0.076 Ripplel-4.04A 80V 100V surge size 22 x 50 3000h at 85C & full ripple element14 1604359 I am thinking of using them.
I have had 3 AC units running off my one PIP system with SCC at 61amps during this time a 1hp pump ran twice as well with no problems so its strange that a 1200w load caused a problem.
I wonder if the lead acid wet cells 225Ah T105s also soak up spikes have less than 1 meter of 50mm welding cable in each leg.
Would lithium with BMS have the ability to absorb spikes?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 2:38pm
Here's my post from 2 years ago, about upgrading battery-side MOSFETs and caps.
http://forums.aeva.asn.au/forums/pip4048ms-inverter_topic4332_post56103.html#56103

Here are five low-cost 100 V MOSFETs that may be suitable for replacing the existing IRFB3077s. None are more than $5.00 AU or $3.50 US. Most are available from more than one of Digikey, Mouser, Element 14 or RS Components.
MDP1921, TK100E10N1, AOT290L, CSD19535KCS, SUP7004E.

My search has been far from exhaustive. I haven't looked at Mouser at all, and my efforts with Element14 and RS Components were cursory. But I need to get back to work on other things, so I'd be pleased if anyone else can suggest other options, or tell me why any of those above are not suitable, or which they think is the best choice.

Edited by weber - 14 February 2017 at 2:52pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 1:37pm
Originally posted by andys andys wrote:

ouch Weber. how old was this unit?

Any idea how exactly would they be seeing anywhere near 75V?

Hi andys. It was built in October 2015, but it has only been in use for about 6 months. Admittedly a hot 6 months. I suppose that could have aged the capacitors (Jamicon WL-series 3300 uF 63 V 105°C 2000 hour) sufficiently that they were no longer able to adequately control voltage spikes on the MOSFETs.

I don't know for sure that they are failing on overvoltage, but when you look at their current specs and the fact that there are 4 in parallel, it's very hard to see how 4 MOSFETs capable of 150 A each could be over-current on the start surge of a 1200 W vacuum cleaner, even if the start surge was 10 times that power. Whereas a MOSFET would only need to have more than 75 volts on it for 10 microseconds to take it out. So I am imagining a voltage spike caused by the sudden change in current through stray inductance between the MOSFET and its DC bus capacitors, or possibly the voltage control loop undershooting followed by overshooting.

Edited by weber - 14 February 2017 at 2:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 11:44am
ouch Weber. how old was this unit?

Any idea how exactly would they be seeing anywhere near 75V?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote offgridQLD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 10:31am
Hopefully some good luck from now on.

That upgraded pip of mine has to deal with a lot surge loads as its main duty now is powering the shed. Particularly the car hoist the spike is significant more so when started under a few ton load. The 16cfm air compressor and a few other things give it a real workout.

Will probably go pop now I have talked it up

Edited by offgridQLD - 14 February 2017 at 10:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 10:16am
I have a bigger problem than inverter power losses right now. I have the loss of an inverter. Sigh.

When I turned on the 1200 W vacuum cleaner for about the fifth time, to remove the dust from drilling the holes for the rewound inductor in the spare PIP, I heard a pop from the PIP that was powering the vacuum cleaner, and another pop a second later. So I hit the big red button that disconnects it from all energy sources (battery, solar and utility). And after establishing that there was no smoke or flames I powered it up again briefly and saw the familiar fault code 9 which is "Bus soft-start failed".

So after reassembling and testing the spare PIP (which is now the main PIP), we disassembled the blown PIP and found the usual failed MOSFETs on the battery side of the DC-DC converter. All eight MOSFETs in one half-bridge (in parallel groups of 4) had their gates shorted to their drains, and had consequently blown several components in their gate drive circuitry as well.

It's nice that they have upgraded from the earlier IRFB3307 to IRFB3077 that have nearly half the on-resistance, and a pulsed current rating of 850 A instead of 510 A, but they are still only rated for 75 V! I really don't think their problem was ever their current rating. They need to use 100 V MOSFETs.

I earlier recommended the 100 V IRFB4310Z and installed them pre-emptively in one of Kurt's PIPs, along with higher-voltage-and-longer-life capacitors. But they only had the same on-resistance and pulsed-current ratings as the IRFB3307. I feel obliged to match, or nearly match, the ratings of the IRFB3077 now, in a 100 V device. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Edited by weber - 14 February 2017 at 10:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote weber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 8:44am
I think the exposed surface area of the winding is much the same as it was before. It might even be less than it was. So although the high no-load power consumption of the inverter as a whole may be a mystery, I'm pretty sure the lower temperature of the inductor is due to lower power dissipation in it.

It seems likely that most of the remaining losses in the inductor are hysteresis losses in its core. If it happens to be going a little too far towards saturation, it might benefit from removing a few turns, otherwise such losses may be unavoidable. By the way, the inductance measured the same as the original, using Coulomb's meter.

I expect the other major loss in the inverter will be hysteresis loss in the core of the high frequency transformer used in the 50 V to 400 V bidirectional DC-DC converter. But its temperature can't be easily measured with the SCC in place over it. Nothing can be done about that loss either, except such tricks as running a lower PWM frequency at low loads, which may result in annoying audible tones coming from the inverter.

It's not inconceivable that by reducing the equivalent series resistance of that inductor at PWM frequencies, I've increased the losses somewhere else. But I can't think of where that might be. Nor can I think of a mechanism for it.

It's possible the Axpert engineers knew exactly what they were doing in not using litz wire for this one inductor, or perhaps they tried the same experiment I just did, and got the same result.

Edited by weber - 14 February 2017 at 10:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote offgridQLD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2017 at 6:52am
Thanks for giving it a go guys!

I appreciate the effort and expense involved. Bugger looks like there is more to the PIPs 50w baseline metabolism

I have measured two pips as just under 50w (48w) with a little shunt based dc power meter. 69w is 40% more consumption.

Perhaps the new inductor runs cooler as it dissipates the heat better due to better air circulation around the wire surface.
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