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PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 07:57
by weber
I forgot to mention the other change I made to the monolith, last time I went out to the bush. I reduced the float voltage slightly, in line with the experiments of a friend of offgridQLD, and the north American guy who did the great write-up of his RV power system experience.

I changed the BMS code to set the PIP float voltage to 53.8 V (3.3625 Vpc) [Edit: Later lowered to 53.7 V] instead of 54.0 V (3.375 Vpc) and for the CMUs to bypass at 3.368 V instead of 3.380 V. Bulk/absorb is still 55.2 V (3.45 Vpc).

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 16:35
by weber
You could easily have missed it, but Chris Dunphy, the Lithium RV tech nomad, linked to another excellent page with real life experience of LiFePO4 in "fractional C" applications, by a guy who remains nameless but writes from Compass Marine in Maine, USA.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/lifepo4_on_boats

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 16:55
by Johny
weber wrote: ....writes from Compass Marine in Maine, USA.

http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/lifepo4_on_boats
Interesting read. He indicates that EVs tend toward bottom balancing which I don't believe is true - perhaps in Jack's neighborhood. Like many articles/blogs there is a belief that folk have lots of spare time to muck around manually balancing cells. I find that the high charge/discharge in my pack causes imbalance rather quickly and any time I've been trouble it's because I have not allowed enough time (timer on charger outlet) for the auto-balance to take place for a few weeks.

Anyway - easy to critisize - I'm glad he's written it all up. For the most part it's great advise.

BTW We hired a bareboat in the Whitsundays for a week last year and the Lead Acid was only good for about 10 hours due to the heavy load of the fridge on board. I was surprized that there was no alarm system or whatever - just a voltmeter with the instruction not to let it go below 11V. Marine batteries is yet another area that has it's own considerations.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 17:19
by offgridQLD
Yes abused battery's are all to common. Particularly when they are not yours and the operator is ill informed or just doesn't care.

Camper vans are another one. We hired one in NZ and all they had to indicate if your 200Ah or so of flooded lead acid was ok. Was a 3 bar led gauge. Red Orange Green Image Perhaps a simple LVD (set at crazy low voltages) Not ideal for long service life. They most likely factor in yearly battery replacements into there costings.

Kurt


PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 22:48
by gmacd33
Thank you Weber! That's some great info!

Just checked that website link (http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/pr ... rters.html) and it shows that only the IGS3000 has IEC 62109 accrediation, but the others don't (incl the IPS-4000WM / PIP4048)

However the giant power website says it does "meet IEC 62109 standards".

On the phone to CEC now to check ...

Checking status of IPS-4000WM (PIP4048)...

From the CEC:
"IPS4000WM does not currently have certification, they just used manufacturer's declaration when certified, before IEC 62109 was required. It may have been certified, but evidence not given to CEC. thus for new installations after 11 July can't use that inverter."

Also from CEC:
"IEC62109 will be required for all power inversion equip, even if voltages are below 120VDC"

Hmmm, so we'll have to wait and see what comes back from Giant Power - perhaps when they say "meet IEC 62109 standards" they mean that it is technically suitable, but has not been certified as such?!? This would be a pity, as it means we will not be legally allowed to use it after 11 July...check back here for updates!

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 02:29
by weber
Thanks Greg. I haven't had any reply from Giant Power, so I emailed MPP Solar (PIP manufacturer) and got an immediate reply from Eric re IEC 62109.
Eric wrote:Yes our distributor in Australia is already working on this cert.
I don't have a time line here yet when it'll be ready but will keep you posted
It's true that all PV PCE (anything that directly converts power from a PV array) needs IEC 62109 certification, but it's possible that ELV arrays don't need earth fault detection, and its possible that PCE (Power Conversion Equipment) that doesn't include earth fault detection may be able to comply simply by mentioning this in its installation guide and requiring an external earth fault detection device.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 04:06
by lopezjm2001
Hi Weber,

The Australian Standard for Stand Alone Power Systems require the PCE or our PIP-4048MS to have isolation/separation between the DC input and the AC output.

Since according to the WatchPower PC monitoring program the PIP-4048MS is transformerless. Do you know how the PIP-4048MS achieves isolation/separation?

Thanks,

John

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 04:34
by weber
Hi lopezjm2001,
The manufacturer is simply mistaken (or translating poorly into English) when they claim that the PIP is transformerless. It is merely without a large low frequency transformer. It is isolated by a small high frequency transformer in a DC-DC conversion stage that precedes the inverter-proper.

See viewtopic.php?title=new-to-the-forum-ne ... 714#p52685
and viewtopic.php?title=new-to-the-forum-ne ... 714#p52693
Scroll up to see Kurt's photos that I refer to in the first post.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 07:38
by lopezjm2001
Thanks Webber,

The way I see it I can use my PIP-4048MS inverter in a stand alone power system to charge my PIP (plug-in-Prius).
But it would be nice if this inverter became CEC certified so I could then connect it to the grid legally and then it would be OK with Endeavour Energy and claim STCs Image

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 15:11
by PlanB
Wired up 2 pips in parallel, double checked all the connections as per the booklet & configured them for parallel operation via the laptop software. Switched on battery & mains all good. Switched on inverters got an immediate error #9 (bus soft start fail)simultaneously on both units.
Now neither will work, either separately or as a parallel pair, they just sit there with the red error light locked in a reset loop. No smoke or bangs but not looking good. Thoughts anybody?

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 18:32
by coulomb
"Bus soft start" sounds like pre-charge to me.

My wild guess is that when paralleled, they hard parallel the capacitors, and that may make the pre-charge different. Have you triple checked that you've put everything back to the correct configuration for non-parallel operation?

It seems highly likely that nothing has been fried, but I'll admit it doesn't sound good right now.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 22:16
by weber
As many of you will be aware, I am a complete pedant when it comes to SI units. (OK, when it comes to anything really Image) So I have to point out that more than one of you has been misspelling the unit of magnetic flux. It is in fact the "weber" with one "b". But I will let you off if you don't pronounce it correctly, which would be as "vayber" since it comes from a German surname. Image
lopezjm2001 wrote:The way I see it I can use my PIP-4048MS inverter in a stand alone power system to charge my PIP (plug-in-Prius).
But it would be nice if this inverter became CEC certified so I could then connect it to the grid legally and then it would be OK with Endeavour Energy and claim STCs Image

It seems I wasn't clear enough in my previous long message re the standards the PIP must meet. There seem to be a number of misunderstandings I will try to clear up here.

1. Standalone inverters do not need to be CEC approved. Only grid-feed inverters need to be CEC approved, and the PIP-4048MS is not a grid-feed inverter.

2. I know of no reason why the PIP's AC input cannot be connected to the grid. I gave links to the manufacturer's test certificates in relation to the UPS standards. You don't need Endeavour Energy's approval for this. You just need to get it connected by a licensed electrician, as you do for any hard-wired appliance.

3. To claim STCs for PV modules (solar panels), it is only necessary that the modules be CEC approved and that they be installed by a CEC accredited installer as part of a power system that is designed by a CEC accredited designer and which meets the Australian Standards for either grid feed or standalone power systems (or both).

4. Provided it is installed and operational before 11-July-2015, a standalone power system meeting the relevant Australian Standards (AS 4509 and the many other standards it calls up) can certainly be designed around the PIP-4048MS, as I have done so and documented it in this thread.

5. If and when the manufacturer of the PIP-4048MS obtains certification to IEC 62109, such systems may continue to be designed around it after 11-July-2015. I note that the lack of IEC 62109 certification after 11-July-2015 will not make it illegal to connect its AC input to the grid. It will make it illegal to connect its PV input to a PV array. [Edit: But in my opinion it will be safe to connect its PV input to a PV array whose open circuit voltage never exceeds 120 V at the lowest operating temperature.]

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 00:30
by weber
BTW, I found an ancient (10 years old) draft version of IEC 62109 part 2 here:
http://wenku.baidu.com/view/a7bb1086bce ... 6ba68.html
At least it gives us a vague idea of the kinds of things the standard addresses.

These standards are for public safety, so why aren't they freely available online instead of costing $800? Their development could be funded by major corporations through their taxes. ... Oh wait, I forgot. ... Major corporations don't pay any taxes.

A case for free standards:
http://safetyatworkblog.com/2010/10/18/ ... ds-needed/
PlanB wrote: Wired up 2 pips in parallel, double checked all the connections as per the booklet & configured them for parallel operation via the laptop software. Switched on battery & mains all good. Switched on inverters got an immediate error #9 (bus soft start fail)simultaneously on both units.
Now neither will work, either separately or as a parallel pair, they just sit there with the red error light locked in a reset loop. No smoke or bangs but not looking good. Thoughts anybody?

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

Thanks for blowing things up so we don't have to (as John Wayland says).

In checking the attribution of that quote I found this amusing (to me) exchange from 2012 where Jack Rickard tries to claim that John Wayland stole it from him. Image
http://evtv.me/2012/01/the-internationa ... mment-4597

Does the error go away if you disconnect the PIPs from the battery and power them only from their AC input?

I'm pretty sure that's the error Matt's two PIPs were giving, with their blown up MOSFETs.

The parameter settings have to be done with the two AC outputs still separated. Did you check on the LCD that the settings you made from the computer had stuck, before paralleling the AC outputs?

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 01:14
by lopezjm2001
weber wrote: It seems I wasn't clear enough in my previous long message re the standards the PIP must meet. There seem to be a number of misunderstandings I will try to clear up here.
2. I know of no reason why the PIP's AC input cannot be connected to the grid. I gave links to the manufacturer's test certificates in relation to the UPS standards. You don't need Endeavour Energy's approval for this. You just need to get it connected by a licensed electrician, as you do for any hard-wired appliance.

Thanks for the clarification.
In the case you have documented in this thread were you required to give a copy of a Certificate of Compliance of Electrical Work to the electricity distributor or the Office of Fair Trading.
Regarding the STCs. As the solar panels were purchased well over 12 months ago I do not qualify anyway.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 01:19
by offgridQLD
"In the case you have documented in this thread were you required to give a copy of a Certificate of Compliance of Electrical Work to the electricity distributor?"

It was a offgrid house. So no electricity distributor.

Kurt

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 01:51
by weber
lopezjm2001 wrote:Thanks for the clarification.
In the case you have documented in this thread were you required to give a copy of a Certificate of Compliance of Electrical Work to the electricity distributor?

No. Things are different in Queensland. Image
The electrician is only required to give such a certificate to the customer, and it consists of a simple declaration on his invoice.
https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/laws-an ... compliance

I see that in New South Wales it also has to be sent to various other places in various cases.
http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/T ... ments.page

It was an off-grid installation, so if it had been in NSW the Certificate of Compliance would have to have been sent to the Office of Fair Trading, not the network provider.

But I understand you would be installing the PIP merely as a solar-UPS to charge your car, at a house that is already powered from the grid. I'm pretty sure that the network would have no interest in this whatsoever, but as the above-linked page says, if in doubt ask them.

You would need to send a copy of the Certificate of Compliance, among other documentation, to an STC agent to obtain payment for your STCs.

BTW, When I say the PIP's AC input can be "connected to the grid", of course it must be on the consumer's side of the meter, main switch, an RCD and a dedicated circuit breaker.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 02:09
by weber
lopezjm2001 wrote:EDITED: It looks like a new installation of a stand alone power system needs a Certificate of Compliance of Electrical Work be given to the Office of Fair Trading instead of the Electricity Distributor.

That's only if you're not connected to any electricity network.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 07:40
by lopezjm2001
weber wrote:
The parameter settings have to be done with the two AC outputs still separated. Did you check on the LCD that the settings you made from the computer had stuck, before paralleling the AC outputs?

I had a look at a YouTube movie. After making the program changes to parallel they had to cycle the power for the changes to take effect. This was done by switching the rocker switch underneath off and on.

Link to Parallel PIP-4048MS YouTube Video

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 01 May 2015, 21:33
by weber
Kris, If you're confident you went thru section 8, steps 1 thru 6, of the parallel guide (is yours the same as this?)
http://www.mppsolar.com/v3/catalogs/PIP ... 0Guide.pdf
then you should contact MPP Solar and maybe you can get replacement main boards sent out under warranty.

Justin Case had to replace two here. It appears they were paralleled.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duZ04vJjEPY
You will see my (dkeenan7) question from 4 months ago in the comment section, unanswered.

Please keep us updated.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Sat, 02 May 2015, 01:19
by gmacd33
Re IEC 62109 certification issues discussed earlier - I got this reply from Aussie Batteries, a local Giant Power dealer: "our IPS units will be IEC Certified by June 11. Any units installed before are compliant already to current CEC and Australian Standards requirements."

So we should be all good :-)

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Sun, 03 May 2015, 22:08
by gmacd33
Hi Dave (Weber) - quick question about your BMS please:

Is there a deadband for the low voltage alarm that disconnects the load? Ie if the sun is shining but not enough to cover the load and the battery goes (almost) flat, and then the BMS disconnects the load as stage 1 of protecting the battery - with the PV free to charge the battery uninterrupted, how much SOC needs to be gained before the load is connected again, and potentially the cycle repeats? Is it based on voltage or SOC?

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Sun, 03 May 2015, 23:37
by offgridQLD
"You will see my (dkeenan7) question from 4 months ago in the comment section, unanswered."

From memory (just going off his rants in other videos after the event) He mentioned it had something to do with his electrician wiring a safety switch/ earth leakage switch to the in feed AC supply of the pip4048. Some kind of earthing issue. Though it was very vague.

Kurt

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Mon, 04 May 2015, 04:56
by weber
gmacd33 wrote: Hi Dave (Weber) - quick question about your BMS please:

Is there a deadband for the low voltage alarm that disconnects the load? Ie if the sun is shining but not enough to cover the load and the battery goes (almost) flat, and then the BMS disconnects the load as stage 1 of protecting the battery - with the PV free to charge the battery uninterrupted, how much SOC needs to be gained before the load is connected again, and potentially the cycle repeats? Is it based on voltage or SOC?

Yes. There is some hysteresis. It cuts off when the lowest capacity cell falls to about 20% SoC and comes back on when it rises to about 30% SoC. But it is not based on coulomb-counting because that would require that we know the capacity of the lowest-capacity cell accurately and that we have recently reset the coulomb-counter at 100% SoC. It is instead based on the lowest estimated open circuit voltage of any cell, which is its terminal voltage plus the product of load current and estimated internal resistance.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 08 May 2015, 00:21
by weber
Hi Plan B,

I'm wondering how you're going with your parallel PIPs, but I also have some questions re the Raspberry Pi and similar single board computers.

Anyone should feel free to answer.

I'm working up to building Black Monolith #2, for a client. It will have double the storage capacity and double the power of Black Monolith #1. It will be an on-grid peak-load shifter, which may or may not have PV input itself, but will certainly maximise the client's export from his existing Solar Bonus Scheme PV system (50c/kWh).

I already have the 18 kWh of Nissan Leaf cells for it. Unfortunately their dimensions mean that Monolith #2 will not be quite so slim (241 mm out from the wall instead of 225 mm). The other dimensions will be the same at 900 x 2025. I'm holding off on the two paralleled PIPs it would use, until I hear from you, Kris, and until I see an IEC 62109 certificate for them.

Coulomb and I have begun work on a proper Solar Management Unit (SMU), or perhaps we should call it an Energy Management Unit (EMU), as a proper PCB in place of the hacked electric vehicle IMU (Current & Insulation Management Unit) that we used for Monolith #1.

But the more I think about features I want from the EMU, the more I think we should use something with a bit more grunt and a proper operating system.

I'd like it to be able to communicate over the internet via WiFi to give status and allow updating of software. It will also need a real-time clock so it knows when to tell the PIP to switch between Utility first and Battery first modes (between peak and off-peak times). And it will need 2 async serial ports, 2 analog inputs and at least 4 digital outputs to control contactors via MOSFETs.

Is the Raspberry Pi a good option to do all those things, or can anyone suggest something else more suitable at low cost? Say $200 max.

PIP-4048MS inverter

Posted: Fri, 08 May 2015, 02:46
by celectric
Weber,

The Raspberry Pi does not have ADCs, WiFi or an RTC but all of these can be added through additional modules, e.g. a USB WiFi dongle.

You may not need an RTC if the device has a reliable internet connection as you can use NTP instead.

For details on the serial ports, see http://lavalink.com/2012/03/raspberry-p ... terfacing/

You may be able to find another development board that has the hardware you need built in, but the Raspberry Pi has a good development community around it and lots of off-the-shelf add ons so it's probably as good a place as any to start. It'll probably still come in under your $200 price point even once you add the extras.