PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Northland
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by Northland » Sun, 05 Jun 2016, 23:37

Terry, I told them (mpp on eBay) I had 3kw model and wanted to upgrade the scc, they said it was not compatible and would not fit anyway because the new case is bigger. They offered me the new model for 999aud including shipping. Might be useful for someone looking to buy

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Post by nasha » Mon, 06 Jun 2016, 07:32

Hello everyone,

First of all, I would like to say this thread is very informative. I want to ask if anyone here has been using two inverters in parallel and getting an error 80?

I have two 5kva inverters in parallel mode, which run fine but randomly give me error 80 (CAN data loss). I have checked my parallel kit cables & current sharing cables. All cables seem to be fine but I can't figure out why I get this error. Both the inverters are on same firmware 52.30 and same scc firmware as well.

If anyone has knowledge on this, please guide me.

Thanks

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Post by weber » Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 00:47

Nasha, everyone on this list is always very helpful and forthcoming. So I think you can take it from the silence, that none of us have a clue. Sorry.
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Post by solamahn » Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 01:55

I have installed more than 10 parallel systems, 4048 and 3248 without any problems. Only suggestion I could make is use both parallel inverter connecting cables and join ac out cables together
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Post by solamahn » Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 02:00

Just thinking. I had a faulty parallel board once. Try change each parallel board one at a time. I had a spare one so it was easy for me
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Post by nasha » Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 07:50

Hahahaha.. Maybe no one has ever experienced this error. I think there is some issue with the parallel cards as well. I will order a new one or borrow from a friend to test. Meanwhile I think I will install my Flexmax 80.

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Post by Northland » Fri, 10 Jun 2016, 17:33

Anyone had a fault #20?

Coms working partially. 20 isn't in the manual

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Post by weber » Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 19:08

Last Wednesday I admitted defeat and made the trip out to the bush to remove the ultra-quiet Noctua fans from the PIP in Black Monolith #1 and replace them with the original fans from the manufacturer (but blowing upward).

The installation of the Noctua fans is described starting here:
viewtopic.php?p=54806&t=4332#p54806

The reason for restoring the original fans is that the Noctuas would occasionally trigger a "Locked fan" warning (code 01) even though they were working perfectly. Apparently this only became a problem for the system owner after we upgraded the PIP firmware some months back (to use Coulomb's LiFePO4 patch). After that, the PIP would beep loudly whenever this warning occurred and would continue doing so until the system was shut down and restarted. But a few days later it would happen again.

Beeps were supposed to be turned off by our BMS master sending commands to the PIP on system startup. It would wait 10 seconds for the PIP to be ready to receive commands, and the "beeps off" command happened to be the first one it would send. But after the firmware upgrade the PIP would take longer than 10 seconds to be ready and the "beeps off" command would be missed (nothing to do with Coulomb's patch). We now wait 17 seconds before sending commands to the PIP.

But even with the beeps off, the customer worried that other warnings might be masked by the ever-present false-alarm from the fans. I thought that surely the PIP would rotate through multiple warning codes, but Coulomb read the firmware and found that a fan-locked warning will indeed mask everything else except for an overload warning.

We hypothesised that when the PIP requested the lowest speed from the Noctuas via their control input, they might be running marginally too slowly to satisfy the PIP, via their tacho output, that they were working.

So Coulomb also did some heroic circuit tracing and analysis of the part of the firware that detected the supposed "fan-locked" condition, but it wasn't obvious how we could make use of this information, and circuit board modifications onsite were impractical. Hence the decision to restore the original fans. Since then there has been no recurrence of the fan-locked warning.

The original reason for replacing the fans has been mitigated by the firmware upgrade. The fans no longer roar to jet engine ferocity at the slightest hint of a load.
Last edited by weber on Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 09:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Adverse Effects » Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 19:35

could you build a small unit to sit between the fan and the control board that would report a fan speed 1.5 x RPM that way you would not have that problem

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Post by coulomb » Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 21:08

weber wrote: We hypothesised that when the PIP requested the lowest speed from the Noctuas via their control input, they might be running marginally too slowly to satisfy the PIP, via their tacho output, that they were working.
Well, actually, moderate fan speeds. When the requested fan speed is less than 30% of full speed (i.e. with < 30% PWM), then the fan lock detect warning is cleared.
So Coulomb also did some heroic circuit tracing ...
Well, I don't know that the tracing was all that heroic:
Image

There must be something else that grounds pin 1 of the fans to turn them on. There are pairs of tall transistors nearby, but they didn't seem to connect, though I didn't try very hard.

There is another copy of this circuit (except for C20) that connects to FAN2. So when either fan provides pulses of a certain duration, they are integrated by this circuit. But unless C26 is a lot larger than I measure, the RC time constant is very short (microseconds). The software doesn't seem to integrate the signal, it just has to see a one at that port (GPIO13) once in a while to reset a counter. But if the counter gets to 250 (i.e. no fan signal is detected for 250 consecutive readings), then a locked fan warning is generated. (If the PIP is in a certain state, this warning can become an error). If this code is called 30 times per second (as most timing code seems to), this represents about 8.3 seconds.

My guess is that the original Adda fans generate a "movement detected" signal, but most fans including the Noctuas generate a signal that is on twice per revolution. So the reason that it takes about a day for the warning to come up is twofold: firstly, the load has to be substantial enough to make the fans come on at >= 30% speed, and secondly, you have to be unlucky to see 250 zeroes in a row when the fans are outputting a one twice a revolution. I believe that the width of the pulse is not mandated; just that there have to be two pulses per revolution of the fan blades. Perhaps the Noctuas generate a very narrow pulse, such that there is a 1% chance of seeing a one when polling the output regularly. So you are 99% likely to read a zero. So there is a (0.99)^250 = 0.08 = 8% chance of seeing 250 zeroes in a row, or one in 12.3 or so. So it might take on average about 8.3 times 12.3 ~= 103 seconds of moderate fan speed. Maybe the pulse is wider than 1%, so it takes longer to miss out on 250 pulses in a row. My apologies if my simplistic maths is wrong here; I think I'm assuming that the counter is reset to zero at the end of every 250 samples, but it isn't. But you get the idea.

One fix would be to replace C26 with a much larger value. It's a M1608 (imperial 0603) part, so it may be necessary to solder in a leaded electrolytic capacitor to get enough capacitance to guarantee seeing pulses whenever they are there. If the capacitor is too small, it would just be annoying, as it might just increase the average length of time till you fluke 250 zeroes in a row to say one week. So then you have an intermittent fault that takes a long time to confirm.

The relevant components (under the main PIP PCB) are these:

Image

Note that C26 (lower middle) is missing. I attempted to remove it from a spare PIP board that I have, but unfortunately it snapped off its end cap in the process. So I can't measure its value; the 1-3 nF indicated are some of the readings I got with a multimeter lead pushed against the end with the missing end cap. [ Edit: our best guess at present is 4.7 nF. ]
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 21:27

Here is a photo of the PIP main board near the fan outputs:

Image

It's not obvious to me whether U9 is involved or not. [ Edit: it is not; it's for the DC-DC converters. ] It's an SG3525AN, a pulse width modulator control chip, so it seems likely. Though the DSP microcontroller chip does PWM, so I don't see why it's needed. Q15/Q16/Q41/Q43 are the tall medium power type, which may well drive the fans via pin 1.

[ Edit: so that suggests that the PIP is producing a 0-12 V signal from the PWM signal, to send to the fans. Maybe the fans aren't driven with the PWM input at all. I can't find much information on the original ADDA fans. ]

My apologies for the extraneous artifact, no thicker than a dog hair :-)
Last edited by coulomb on Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 11:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 28 Jun 2016, 21:33

Adverse Effects wrote: could you build a small unit to sit between the fan and the control board that would report a fan speed 1.5 x RPM that way you would not have that problem

I doubt that 1.5x would be enough, and it would be simpler to simply stretch the pulses with a 555 or 556 timer chip. or just increase the value of C26.

If the original fans prove to be too noisy after all, we may need to resort to something like that.
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Post by paulvk » Thu, 30 Jun 2016, 20:54

With the new firmware the fans are not noisy infact I think they run a bit too slow as the heatsink gets to 50c and they are still not running flat out.
I get a few extraneous alarms on watch power , output short circuited, fan locked and a battery fault but this maybe watch power it may not check the crc for valid data Note this is on different inverters which all appear to be working fine.
I have not had time to finish building my AVR web server which will log the data to SD card and checks the crc for valid data.

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 01 Jul 2016, 00:23

I've started a new topic on the Voltronic Power InfiniSolar V series, which may be of interest to those having purchased or considering a PIP-4048.
Last edited by coulomb on Thu, 30 Jun 2016, 14:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Northland » Fri, 01 Jul 2016, 13:23

lopezjm2001 wrote:
The parts finally came in from China to reduce the 3 x contactors' coil loading current from 1 amp to 200mA.

Image


You know what's better than 200ma? Zero. Check this out
latching relay 100A

And yes, I know the specs say AC. I have bought 4 including shipping for A$45. I will open one up and see how it operates, then put 100A DC through it checking for arcing / heat etc. But since contactors are really not that different between AC and DC I don't expect it to derate much if at all.

He has a few left but be quick. I've been watching eBay for weeks looking for latching relays and very few came up. They were either very expensive or had low current rating

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Post by paulvk » Fri, 01 Jul 2016, 15:10

The problem is arcing because the ac goes through zero the arc stops but with DC it keeps going so the voltage and or current rating is decreased for DC operation.
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 01 Jul 2016, 16:08

Northland wrote: I will open one up and see how it operates, then put 100A DC through it checking for arcing / heat etc.
I hope you will use a HRC fuse or suitably DC rated switch in addition, so when the AC-rated switch fails to open, you have some way of stopping the arc. I suppose that asbestos gloves, a welding helmet and an axe might do if you're cheap about it. Don't wear your Sunday best when doing this. Your test will have to be using at least 24 V, of course, since an arc doesn't sustain below that.
But since contactors are really not that different between AC and DC I don't expect it to derate much if at all.

I think you've expressed this sentiment before, and have been corrected before. In fact, in my welcome post to you, back in January:

viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p60385

Interrupting DC is *much* harder than interrupting AC. As Paulvk mentioned, AC current passes through zero around 100 times per second, making arc quenching much easier. Common household breakers rated for some 300 VAC usually have a 60 V DC rating (per pole), if they have one at all. When you interrupt a current of at least tens of amps, at a voltage above some 20 V, the air ionises and becomes a pretty decent conductor. Assuming that the energy source has the capability, this results in an arc that continues to conduct until the separation is some 1 mm per volt. Note that this is a much larger distance than the distance an arc will initiate (some 1/3000th of a millimetre per volt). I hope I got those figures correct; I'll fix them soon if not.

Even AC is no piece of cake if the short circuit current is large. Common AC breakers can only break around 6 kA (6000 amps); there are 10 kA versions available at a higher price. That's AC amps, of course.

Finding fuses even for a 48 V battery based solar electric system, where the short circuit current can be of the order of 18 kA, can be quite a challenge, and the fuses are large and expensive as a result. You need special high rupture current (HRC) types to do it.

That's why an EV contactor commonly uses vacuum and often magnetic blowouts to handle the sorts of DC voltage and current required. Even then, you arrange the contactor not to open under load except in the case of emergency, since they are typically rated at only a few such interruptions in their life. Sometimes a single time.
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Post by Northland » Fri, 01 Jul 2016, 18:57

Overly dramatic and misleading. 1mm per volt is utter nonsense. If that were the case, one time when I forgot to switch off the pip before disconnecting the battery terminal it should have arced 56mm. But it didn't. In fact I recall very little light and sound when it happened. The speed of separation and current are other factors. 0.1mm per volt I might believe and only if held in that position and only with a large current.

That discussion was about circuit breakers, not contactors. A protection device is very different to a control device. Sure at 400A 400v things get dangerous. But down at lower currents and lower voltages the fact is, relays for DC are physically no different. Sure the ratings might be a bit lower on DC. Also don't forget that AC (and DC EV) high current switch devices are designed to cope with inductive loads ie motors which are more likely to arc than resistive loads.

A valid argument may be : at what point do they become different?

Like I said, the first step is visual inspection. To be 100A AC rated I'm expecting big ass contacts and a big clearance gap. Looking at the photos it seems to be quite wide where the coils sit, but this is probably more to do with latching mechanism than clearance.
These were after all designed for frequent on off switching of consumer mains so should be over engineered.
If I find that the clearance distance is not enough I won't bother going further than 24v (modification to increase distance may be possible). I will attempt to monitor temperature of the stationary contact. Obviously I'm not going to run 100A through off the bat, I would work my way up from 5A or so. Otherwise it's impossible to know what the maximum current is. And I will start with 12v working up to 100v (ie a string of panels). That's 4 voltages and say 10 different currents. So up to 40 tests. Any signs of distress and I go no higher. Obviously. It's hardly rocket surgery. Always protected by a DC rated breaker and controlled at a distance. But it is not credible to me that jumping one level in current is going to go from safe to catastrophic. And even if it did, who cares? I switch the breaker and check for damage. I intend to test till destruction but don't expect much.   

Also don't dismiss the device based on switching as it could be used as maintain contacts, ie another switch device does the actual making and breaking until this device is safely engaged /disengaged.
Still less complicated than reducing current with resistors and timers. And infinitely more efficient.

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Post by lopezjm2001 » Sat, 02 Jul 2016, 00:49

Thanks Northland. If it had a DC volts and amps rating. I would not gamble my Lifepo4 battery pack on them. Anyhow let us know how your testing goes.
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Post by Northland » Sat, 02 Jul 2016, 03:36

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Post by paulvk » Sat, 02 Jul 2016, 03:57

I have found a similar relay at element14 part no K100A-10-024B024-R and it has 2800 watts DC switching so about 50 amps

part No 1905022 is just what you want for your EV 400A switching 2500A break current which is about the price in $ interesting part is hydrogen for dielectric.
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Post by Northland » Sun, 03 Jul 2016, 18:25

So I tried using one of the relays I showed earlier to disconnect a KW of panels. Voltage was 77v, 14A. There was a small quick spark but that's it. Image Such an anticlimax. Repeat 30x to be sure. Separation was initially 4mm but I bent the restraining bar, at 6mm the coil polled so I settled on 5mm. I scoured my electronic draws for a capacitor but the highest voltage I had was 63v 100uf. I thought it would pop first time but it went about 20x before popping. At a guess I would say it reduced spark by 20%.

Now if we think about it, the pip switches DC at this voltage or higher and with much more current. But is there anything special about its relays? Not that I could see. Logic suggests that using 2 poles shares the arc between 4 points. Thus in effect doubling both the speed of separation and the distance. So 4x harder to maintain an arc. That's also true of contactors as opposed to relays. Next test is using 2 relays, possibly increasing to 2kw then 3.

So after experimenting with a latching relay I will retest (if required) using 2 of them. If necessary add capacitors (I've ordered 250v 3300uf) . The pip doesn't have capacitors and it has smaller relays.

I wonder if 2 poles in series on the positive is the same as 1 pos and 1 negative?   

The amount of spark is subjective so I wonder if putting the fluke across the contacts to record the maximum voltage would be scientific enough. I won't bother testing low voltage and low current since clearly it takes more than a KW before the action begins
Last edited by Northland on Sun, 03 Jul 2016, 08:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by coulomb » Sun, 03 Jul 2016, 20:55

Northland wrote: Overly dramatic and misleading. 1mm per volt is utter nonsense.
Well, you seem to be talking about smaller currents than I was thinking, so we were to some degree talking about different things. The 1 mm per volt comes from consideration of arcs in Mexy, the high voltage (720 V) electric MX-5. The 1 mm per volt is an extremely simplistic rule of thumb, that pertains to arcs of at least 90 A, and it refers to voltage in excess of 28 V (the 28 V is negligible compared to 720 V, but it's over half of a 50 V solar energy system's battery).
If that were the case, one time when I forgot to switch off the pip before disconnecting the battery terminal it should have arced 56mm.
Arcs depend on many things, e.g. whether the arc is horizontal or vertical, the material of the "electrodes", speed of separation, any reaction from the load, and so on.
But it didn't. In fact I recall very little light and sound when it happened.
In your case, I think that the electronics would have quenched the current quite quickly as the voltage at the PIP reduced, but that's a wild guess. I'm also guessing that the current would have been well under 90 A.
Sure at 400A 400v things get dangerous.
Right. So that's a point of agreement.
But down at lower currents and lower voltages the fact is, relays for DC are physically no different. Sure the ratings might be a bit lower on DC.
A bit lower? I happen to be familiar with these Omron relays; they are used in Elcon / TCCH EV chargers. They are used to switch up to 417 V DC, but they are very careful to only open and close them with little to no voltage across the relay:

Image

[ Edit: From http://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20She ... G8P[1].pdf ; sorry, the square brackets seem to preclude readily making the link live. ] I just did a quick search. That one can't be the exact one used in the chargers; those are marked as 20 A 250 VAC. But that sort of low DC rating seems extremely common, at least in the printed circuit mountable relays with maximum dimensions around 30 mm. That tells me that if you don't go to any trouble to make your contacts DC rated, you are often limited to around 30 VDC. My impression is that you are considering using a device with no DC rating, and arguing "what's the big difference anyway, at these voltage and current levels?".
A valid argument may be : at what point do they become different?
I suggest that they are dramatically different at the tens of ampere region, which is pretty much where all but the tiniest of relays begin.
... But it is not credible to me that jumping one level in current is going to go from safe to catastrophic.
Arcs are highly non-linear and somewhat non-intuitive things.

[ Edit: "ends of ampere region" -> "tens of ampere region". That guy who invented autocorrect died recently; may be restaurant in piece Image ]
Last edited by coulomb on Mon, 04 Jul 2016, 04:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fotosettore » Sun, 03 Jul 2016, 23:03

hi all,
first, sorry for my english...
I'm italian and i'm an owner of a 4048.
I'm a maker and i developed a program called LUCIBUS, that allows to see data and graph of inverter. The program is vb6 developed.
Due lucibus is a beta version, i'm looking for some few no italian beta tester, to try the software on foreign machines and english language.
The software is free and you can read info here :

LUCIBUS
[ Edit Coulomb: this seems to be a better URL: https://www.lucibus.com/web/en/ ]

Avaialable version on my site is 123 and it has not english language inside.
The 123 is working fine on many italian machines (xp - seven - win10).
The beta 124 is almost ready and has english language inside. The 124 must be requested directly to me, because it is a beta.

feel free to contact me if you are interested to test 124beta

regards

peppe
2 PIP4048MS inverters, 24 250W panels, 12 AGM 260A batteries.
Software LUCIBUS e synoptic monitor VIÁTOR.
Updated versions can be found on www.homoandroidus.com

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Post by Northland » Mon, 04 Jul 2016, 01:24

coulomb wrote: My impression is that you are considering using a device with no DC rating, and arguing "what's the big difference anyway, at these voltage and current levels?"


You are trying to theorize your way through a debate, while discouraging real world testing. I on the other hand have demonstrated by way of practical experiment that your end of days scenario is entirely theoretical (for the 100A relay scenario at least) and provided evidence that the issue is easily solved using a capacitor. But I offer to go further, not simply taking the video at face value but testing it for myself to verify and replicate the results.

You imply that I have no intention of taking all reasonable measures to ensure safety and are irresponsible. Despite the fact I have provided detailed testing procedures to be completed prior to commissioning (40 different tests) complete with 2 additional means of evaluation (measuring arc voltage (fluke 1503) as well as contact temperature via DS18B20). Current through an ACS758 150A hall effect sensor.

The lack of a DC rating is not conclusive evidence that DC is dangerous. It simply means nobody bothered to test on DC. Yet.

Once I have completed testing, the device will effectively have DC ratings. Should I wish to (I don't) market the device as a DC device, Energy Safety NZ accept test reports that are NOT from a certified accredited test laboratory. I would probably need to find a test report and use the same format. It's written in plain English on their website. Whether that transfers to Australian certification I don't know. But since components are usually exempt from standards it's probably more a courtesy.

I have paid for more than 30 test reports done by accredited labs so I am more familiar than most with test procedures, documentation, standards and certification, shoving them under the authorities nose when requested.
That's 30 products that had not been tested to AS/NZS standards. But now they are. Imagine that.    

"speed of separation".

Ya. I know. I already stated that.
So it's 28v now, not 24. Surface area of the contacts is probably the biggest factor of all. You didn't mention that one.

"but they are very careful to only open and close them with little to no voltage across the relay"

OK. So why is it OK for them to do it, far beyond the rated current and rated voltage, but when I suggest using the latching relay as maintain only contacts it's dangerous and irresponsible? At least mine is rated to carry 100A!. 60A carrying through a relay rated for 30A. Perfectly acceptable to you. But 100A carrying through a relay rated for 100A - that man is reckless!

Did you watch the youtube? Arcing is easily solved so this whole debate is secondary.

I've offered to do a great deal of testing for the benefit of others.
I've provided multiple solutions to multiple problems.
And now I have learned my lesson.

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