PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Northland
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by Northland » Wed, 07 Sep 2016, 14:23

Of those who have had an MPP SOLAR product develop a fault, what was your experience with them?

I have found them to be evasive and uncooperative.

Back in January I noticed a little smoke, so I filled in one of their forms and supplied the extra information. No response. The inverter kept working so I didn't bother chasing it up.

A few weeks ago the 230v stopped outputting so I filled in a form again. 3 days passed. Their website says 24-48hrs response. So I told them if they were going to ignore my request for service once again I was going to take to the forums to warn people about the lack of warranty.

I got an immediate response, was sent some pdfs for disassembly and diagnostics. I spent several hours doing that and emailed them the results. 6 days since, no response and I'm really pissed off!

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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 07 Sep 2016, 14:45

A little smoke Image when your talking electronics smoke is smoke Turn it off immediately! and don't continue use it untill you get to the bottom of it!

Most likely a capasitor or Fett though I would guess the former.

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Post by Northland » Wed, 07 Sep 2016, 14:53

Visual inspection showed neither. And without a response, I wasn't going to sulk and buy another

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Post by andys » Sat, 10 Sep 2016, 00:10

Does anyone know what wattage is actually needed to make the inverter stay on in "low power mode"?

I have a 70 watt UV water sterilizer and apparently that wasn't enough, causing it to flicker on and off randomly :(

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Post by fllniks » Sat, 10 Sep 2016, 20:21

I think it is around 200W. It is generally best to keep it disabled to avoid nuisance.

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Post by paulvk » Sun, 11 Sep 2016, 19:35

Now with summer coming and two units running I have some interesting data appearing which could shed light on the failures.
I am seeing just under 60volts on the battery with clouds and system in bulk charge, it does drop back to the bulk setting of 57v.
So it could be that if you set that bulk to high it will exceed the voltage of the caps and or FETs.
My 1100Ah of lead acid resists fast swings but would lithium do the same I leave that to others here with experience in them.
I think northland had his set to 58v or more!
Those like myself who have long term logs have a look and see if its doing the same.
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Post by paulvk » Sun, 11 Sep 2016, 19:45

Northland
I have found that my best fault finding tool is smell you should be able to smell a fault that has released the magic white smoke.
But with smoke and still working for a time my bet is on the caps I would remove them from the board and test them.
My Australian warranty is up soon so I will be replacing them when it is.

On MPP being evasive this may be because of the copies on the market I note the firmware is no longer on their site.
Last edited by paulvk on Sun, 11 Sep 2016, 09:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by coulomb » Mon, 12 Sep 2016, 01:32

andys wrote: Does anyone know what wattage is actually needed to make the inverter stay on in "low power mode"?
In SavePowerChk(), bLowPowerflag is set if abs(dwGetBattWatt()) is less or equals 80 for 250 ticks (8.3 sec). In other words, the low power flag is set if the battery power is less or equal to 80 W for several seconds. I'd say that this is used for staying in low power mode, though I have not confirmed this (bLowPowerflag is used in about 20 places).
I have a 70 watt UV water sterilizer and apparently that wasn't enough, causing it to flicker on and off randomly :(

With the mains available, the ~50 W of losses are provided by the AC power supply (mains). So 70 W plus losses would come to about 76 W at the battery, which is pretty close to the 80 W threshold. The steriliser possibly takes more than 70 W when cold, and closer to 70 W when warm. So you might just have the worst possible load for low power mode Image

[ Edit: added "In other words" sentence. ]
Last edited by coulomb on Sun, 11 Sep 2016, 15:40, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
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Post by Northland » Mon, 12 Sep 2016, 01:45

OK, so 10 days passed since I emailed mpp the diagnostics results.

Fed up, I contacted the eBay seller of mpp (who I bought from). Within 2 hrs, I received an email from mpp saying I would be sent a new main board.

Lucky I have grid. For someone off grid to be jerked around that long is unacceptable. It would have been longer (if at all) had I not been the squeaky hinge.

Very disappointing service. Though I was warned on YouTube by a few

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Post by andys » Mon, 12 Sep 2016, 13:02

Thanks for looking that up.

It gets even worse: my new fridge (nothing fancy, just a standard Palsonic) draws only around 70 watts when running. I wish the power saver cutoff was a configuration setting!


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Post by paulvk » Mon, 12 Sep 2016, 16:55

More data:
I have recently received my my hall current sensing links to go into my battery banks.
On bench testing confirmed that they worked as designed but once one was installed in one bank the readings were all over the place, I suspected noise on the output.
So I went looking and find a 60-100khz ripple on the output of the hall sensor.
So now to track down this ripple I first shut off the 48v to 230v inverter and left solar chargers running with mains supplying the load, the ripple is gone hall device reporting steady accurate current.
So the 48v to 230v inverter is putting a high frequency ripple on the battery.
My reading of various papers on ripple concludes that for lead acid this is not a problem with such high frequencies I have no idea as to the effect on lithium and their BMS.
Now I have to filter out this noise!

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Post by coulomb » Mon, 12 Sep 2016, 16:59

coulomb wrote: ... With the mains available, the ~50 W of losses are provided by the AC power supply (mains). So 70 W plus losses would come to about 76 W at the battery, which is pretty close to the 80 W threshold.

Weber has pointed out to me that there is some wooly thinking in the above. A large part of the standby power drain (manual states this as < 50 W) must be the inverter running (manual states that standby drain is < 15 W in power save mode).

It doesn't make much sense to measure the presence of loads (for the purpose of entering or exiting low power mode, where the output is pulsed) at the battery, and especially not averaging this value over 8.3 seconds. So the threshold may not be 80 W after all. However, this is more information than what the manual provides, where it talks about "pretty low or not detected" loads (for entering low power mode; see setting 04, SEN or SdS).
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by andys » Tue, 13 Sep 2016, 22:24

Well I've only had the unit running for about a week and I already am making plans to have an automated system to send it higher charge voltage commands, for the LiFePO4 pack to actually charge at its full rate instead of trickling all day in full sunlight.

It looks like the charge rate rolls off as soon as the float voltage has passed, even if the unit is not yet in float mode, presumably another attempt to gently coax Lead Acid batteries into slightly better performance. (Personally I'm certain that I never want to touch or see another Pb pack ever again..)


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Post by Ankit » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 02:55

Hello,

First of all, Thanks for Amazing forum. Image   

I am working on MPPT-3K which is having same communication protocol as PIP-4048.

When i send command QPI ( Hex-515049BEAC0D) to unit for protocol ID then it sends (Hex- 57D50D4ECA00).

What does this response indicates and what is protocol id in this?

Thanks once again.

Ankit
Last edited by Ankit on Tue, 13 Sep 2016, 22:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by weber » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 15:37

Hi Ankit,

Thanks for your kind words.

As listed in the index in the first post of this thread:

The protocol manual is here:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p53732

And the CRC code is here:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p53760

It is the XModem CRC here (with certain characters having 1 added to them):
https://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/info/cr ... ation.html

I can't make any sense of that response, except that it appears that you have missed some characters from the start of the response and have captured only the CRC and the carriage return. Why there is anything _after_ the carriage return I don't know. The expected response begins with "PI" followed by two ASCII digits then the two bytes of CRC and a carriage return.
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Post by paulvk » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 20:03

" to send it higher charge voltage commands, for the LiFePO4 pack to actually charge at its full rate instead of trickling all day in full sunlight."

There is no head room for higher voltages in the PIP4048 you would need to buy the high voltage inverter.
If yo get near 60volts for the battery you run the risk of blowing the capacitors and FETs.

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Post by andys » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 20:17

paulvk wrote: " to send it higher charge voltage commands, for the LiFePO4 pack to actually charge at its full rate instead of trickling all day in full sunlight."

There is no head room for higher voltages in the PIP4048 you would need to buy the high voltage inverter.
If yo get near 60volts for the battery you run the risk of blowing the capacitors and FETs.


I don't need to go higher than 56-57V, but I found if I set the float to 54V it really slows down charging of LiFePO4 pack long before the battery is anywhere near 56V

I don't understand why it does this, other than it was designed for Lead Acid only.

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Post by solamahn » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 20:56

Might have something to do with starting the charging day with a battery voltage higher than 50v. I know 2424msx is like that. If the charging day starts with a battery voltage above 25v, then the inverter goes straight into float. I set float at 27v and it worked fine with the Lifepo4. Still charge at high current until approaching 27v. I did not think 4048's were like this. I have 4048's set on 54 56 and they charge the Lifepo4 up to 56 and then drop to 54. They do not stay at 56 for long because the inverter senses that the voltage is increasing quickly. The Lifepo4's might not get 100% charged but that's ok
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Post by andys » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 21:13

I did read about that, but I don't think thats quite what I'm seeing:

Its not in float.   I've seen it in float: it sticks to the set float voltage and flashes the battery icon.

In this case, it still keeps charging up to the higher CV/bulk voltage, but slows down the supplied power once it passes the float voltage.

Eg. Float set to 54.0V, batteries reading 54.1V and still charging, but only at about 300W, even though 2kW was available in full sunlight (as verified by turning on a heater).

In this case, I can change the rate of charge ONLY by changing the float voltage setting.


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Post by weber » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 22:01

Hi Andys. Despite your assurance that it is not in float, it sounds an awful lot like the firmware bug which causes the PIP, under certain conditions, to go to float mode prematurely, not going to absorb voltage first. This is fixed by Coulomb's patched firmware.

The conditions under which this occurs are described here:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p59882

The patched firmware is downloadable here, and there are instructions on how to install it:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p59891
Last edited by weber on Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 13:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by andys » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 22:31

Thanks weber, but I'm still curious why it would be charging at all if I'm above the float voltage. Isn't the point of float to maintain a set voltage? If the batteries are already above that, there should be no current flowing...

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Post by weber » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 22:59

andys wrote: Thanks weber, but I'm still curious why it would be charging at all if I'm above the float voltage. Isn't the point of float to maintain a set voltage? If the batteries are already above that, there should be no current flowing...

Yes, the point of float is to maintain a set voltage. Isn't it doing so? It may initially overshoot by a volt or so, but it usually settles down to within 0.1 V of the float setting.

But maintaining a set voltage does not mean that the charge current will immediately drop to zero, particularly when it has not first been taken up to the absorb voltage. The voltage the PIP sees is partly due to the battery's state of charge and partly due to charge current times the internal resistance of the battery. So although the PIP is maintaining a constant voltage, the state of charge will continue to slowly increase and the charge current will continue to slowly decrease.

Once you load Coulomb's patched firmware, it will take it up to absorb voltage before falling back to float, as it should. In that case, you can expect the current to fall to zero immediately when it goes to float stage, because its state of charge will have already been taken up to 100% (or close enough) during the absorb stage.
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Post by Ankit » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 23:06

Thanks for your reply. Image Image
Now device is communicating properly. The issue was with USB-RS232 converter.

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Post by weber » Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 23:27

I'm guessing that when you wrote
andys wrote:... it still keeps charging up to the higher CV/bulk voltage, but slows down the supplied power once it passes the float voltage. Eg. Float set to 54.0V, batteries reading 54.1V and still charging, but only at about 300W, even though 2kW was available ...
that you just assumed it would keep going up to the so-called bulk or CV voltage, but haven't actually seen it go much more than 0.1 V above the float setting. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I say "so called" because although it's called that in the manual, it's really the absorb voltage. The "bulk" stage is really only the current-limited stage where the voltage continually increases. When the specified voltage is reached, we are then in the absorb stage where that voltage is held constant for some time. It's not very helpful of them to call it the "C.V." stage either, since the float stage is also a CV (constant voltage) stage. But then, I'm a pedant. It pays to be one, when you're doing engineering. Image
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Post by Ankit » Thu, 15 Sep 2016, 00:49

Hello,

I have connected 4 AGM - Lead acid batteries to MPPT-3K and I gave command PBT ( for changing battery type to customized) but unit is not accepting it!!

Any clue on that?

Thanks

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