PIP-4048MS inverter

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Fri, 29 Sep 2017, 05:38

Thank you ghatikar, most interesting. This situation is quite frustrating as I'm not sure what generator to buy for my new system (4 x parallel PIP) because I don't know what it will be able to charge at.

Also I am not using generators with AVR, just the constant RPM direct AC type.

I have been looking into 48VDC generators instead - there's an Australian company selling them but they are quite expensive (see Eniquest Husky, its about $10k AUD). Promising work is being done by someone on whirlpool forums using an 8 phase 48V AC generator that has very low ripple for directly charging DC batteries with no voltage regulator (just DC rectification)

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by hennejg » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 00:31

As "promised" in my last post I switched to a 48V PIP and a LiFePO4 battery with an EMUS BS at the helm. The patched firmware runs fine - thanks again for the great work!
coulomb wrote:
Mon, 04 Sep 2017, 13:14
hennejg wrote:
Fri, 01 Sep 2017, 02:43
Now I can only hope that your patches still work with the recent models.
Yes, that's something we'd like to know as well. If your machine comes with firmware version 73.00, then you're definitely safe.
The device is from May 2017 but (still?) came with a 73.00. As I sad, the patch seems to run just fine.

On the ither hand, the BMS's behaviour towards the end of the charge cycle isn't optimal, unfortunately. Which is due to the two devices stepping on each other's toes.

If we were to ask the EMUS BMS, it would like to control the charger's current/voltage through CAN. In absence of CAN support it can control a charger by slowly toggling it on/off. Now, the only way to turn off the PIP's charger is by cutting the solar power supply (my installation doesn't use the grid input). Which, unfortunately happens at the end of the charge cycle, preventing "direct" use of solar power through the PIP's internal bus. A work-around is to set the BMS's end-of-charge cell voltage somewhat higher than the PIP's cut-off voltage. The BMS might still turn off the charger when it needs to balance the cells, but only for relatively short periods of time. A downside of this approach, though, is that the BMS's coulomb counter gets out of what due to the charge cycle never coming to an end.

How did you out there solve this problem (which may not be present with other BMSs)? In theory, I could build a CAN-to-serial translator that takes the BMS's input and translates it into configuration updates for the PIP. However, I suspect that this would quickly wear out the EEPROM cells holding those values.
weber wrote:
Thu, 31 Aug 2017, 08:29
hennejg wrote:
Wed, 30 Aug 2017, 06:15
Which raises another question: is there an elegant way of disabling a) the charger [...]
It depends what you consider elegant. But surely patching the code gives the most elegant solution.
In an ideal world, the PIP would have an extra command which takes U/I values for the charger which don't get stored in EEPROM. For robustness reasons the would remain in effect only for a few seconds unless refreshed continuously which would let the charger fall back to safe defaults of the charger/BMS communication was lost.
Did your hacking efforts ever add code to the PIP's firmware or did you "only" (yes, no small feat by itself) tweak certain parameters and constants?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 03:32

I am updating the PIP twice day over serial via PBFT command to begin and end rapid charging. Other than wearing out the EEPROM (not sure how many cycles it would support?) it is working well for me.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 09:11

hennejg wrote:
Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 00:31
If we were to ask the EMUS BMS, it would like to control the charger's current/voltage through CAN. In absence of CAN support it can control a charger by slowly toggling it on/off. Now, the only way to turn off the PIP's charger is by cutting the solar power supply (my installation doesn't use the grid input). Which, unfortunately happens at the end of the charge cycle, preventing "direct" use of solar power through the PIP's internal bus. A work-around is to set the BMS's end-of-charge cell voltage somewhat higher than the PIP's cut-off voltage. The BMS might still turn off the charger when it needs to balance the cells, but only for relatively short periods of time. A downside of this approach, though, is that the BMS's coulomb counter gets out of what due to the charge cycle never coming to an end.

How did you out there solve this problem (which may not be present with other BMSs)? In theory, I could build a CAN-to-serial translator that takes the BMS's input and translates it into configuration updates for the PIP. However, I suspect that this would quickly wear out the EEPROM cells holding those values.
Since we're using the LyteFyba BMS, which we designed, we arranged for each cell monitoring unit (CMU) to bypass, not at a specific cell voltage, but at a specific cell state of charge (call it 98%), based on its estimated open-circuit voltage. The BMS master unit (BMU) tells all the CMUs what the current is, and they estimate their internal resistance based on their temperature, and use that to compensate for the voltage rise or drop due to current.

For 16 LFP cells, we set the PIP's float voltage to 53.7 V (3.356 v per cell) which, if all the cells are balanced, puts them just below the voltage at which their CMUs will bypass (3.368 V), given near-zero amps. The bypass current of our CMUs is about 0.65 A.

We set the PIP's absorb voltage to whatever it takes to get the cells to that 98% SoC while putting in the maximum current. This is typically 55.2 V, but it depends on the relative sizes of the PV array and the battery. The BMU resets its coulomb counter to 100% when all the CMUs report an estimated open circuit voltage at least 40 mV higher than the bypass voltage (3.408 V).

As backup protection, if any CMU reports an estimated open circuit voltage of 3.608 V or more, the BMU turns off contactors to disconnect the PV array and the utility power (or generator) from the PIP. It doesn't turn them back on again until all CMUs have stopped bypassing (i.e. all cells have fallen below an estimated open circuit voltage of 3.368 V).
In an ideal world, the PIP would have an extra command which takes U/I values for the charger which don't get stored in EEPROM. For robustness reasons the would remain in effect only for a few seconds unless refreshed continuously which would let the charger fall back to safe defaults of the charger/BMS communication was lost.
Did your hacking efforts ever add code to the PIP's firmware or did you "only" (yes, no small feat by itself) tweak certain parameters and constants?
I was having thoughts in that direction too, and intended to raise the question with coulomb, but you beat me to it. :-) We have added small pieces of code.

One of the difficulties is that the solar charge controller (SCC) has its own processor, of a different type from the main board, and firmware which we have not analysed, and possibly its own EEPROM to store settings. The main board sends serial commands to the SCC. What we found in the past is that when we send a PBFT (set float voltage) or PCVV (set absorb voltage) command to the PIP, the SCC will stop charging and will begin a new maximum power point tracking (MPPT) sweep from scratch, taking maybe 30 seconds to get back to charging at the new voltage.

So in addition to avoiding EEPROM wear, we would want to stop that MPPT reset from happening. That may be relatively easy if it is directly commanded by the main board. But if the SCC just decides to do it, all by itself, whenever the main board tells it to change its settings, or if we have to worry about SCC EEPROM wear, then it will be very difficult. But it certainly deserves investigation.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 10:25

weber how do you measure open circuit voltage while the battery is still a member of a possibly charging or discharging pack?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 10:46

andys wrote:
Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 10:25
weber how do you measure open circuit voltage while the battery is still a member of a possibly charging or discharging pack?
Hi andys. I never claimed to measure it. You will see that I refer to it as "estimated" every time I mention it. In short, we take the measured cell voltage and we subtract the measured current times the estimated internal resistance, where charge current is positive and discharge current is negative.
Here's a longer explanation of the method, including how we estimate the internal resistance:
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4332&p=59994#p59994
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by dakoal » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 11:05

Hello.

I am one of the DIY Powerwall guys.
There is one question coming here less or more often:
How to control the AMP's the PIP is charging to the batteries from grid (utility charge) without changing the value on the panel or with serial port?
Serial Port has 2 downsides:
1. EPROM wearout on heavily changing values all the day
2. only 10Amp steps (aprox. 500Watts with 50Volt Battery)

That function can be useful on grid tied PV installations that have other Inverters connected beside with the PIP as utility charger for minimizing grid meter movements.

I thought on some pot/resistor in the PIP that can be modified to change the actual charge AMPs the PIP does to the batteries.
Or to "fake" the actual AMP's measured to let the Logic do the work.

Or how does the controller "tell" the power part of the PIP the AMP's to be charged? Maybe there is a way of injecting some logic.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 11:41

weber wrote:
Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 10:46
Hi andys. I never claimed to measure it. You will see that I refer to it as "estimated" every time I mention it.
Ah yes! Very clever indeed, especially the way you determine charge completion.

(Although in practice I've noticed the voltage can be "sticky" during periods of transition from charge to discharge and back, but I guess that doesn't matter much for these purposes)

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 17:34

dakoal wrote:
Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 11:05
Serial Port has 2 downsides:
1. EPROM wearout on heavily changing values all the day
I'm not convinced that EEPROM wear is a problem; see my post on this a year ago. (I've just added it to the index.)
2. only 10Amp steps (aprox. 500Watts with 50Volt Battery)
That function can be useful on grid tied PV installations that have other Inverters connected beside with the PIP as utility charger for minimizing grid meter movements.
Yes, it seems strange to enforce the 10 A steps with the MUCHGC command. It makes sense on the LCD, but why reject commands that ask for say 37 A? It's less code to just check the minimum and maximum currents. We could add it to the existing patch, but I'm hoping the patch eventually won't be needed. Plus it's moderate work patching every new firmware that comes out, and the official update files are getting very hard to find.
I thought on some pot/resistor in the PIP that can be modified to change the actual charge AMPs the PIP does to the batteries.
I'm not aware of any resistor that could be adjusted to modify the charge current.
Or to "fake" the actual AMP's measured to let the Logic do the work.
That might be possible, but there is always the risk of modifying other behaviour, for example preventing inverter overload.
Or how does the controller "tell" the power part of the PIP the AMP's to be charged?
I believe that the current set by a PWM value in a register (for mains charging). For solar charging, there are commands sent to the SCC over a dedicated serial port between the TMS320 DSP processor and the SCC's processor.
Maybe there is a way of injecting some logic.
That's possible for solar charging, but I really think it's better to let the PIP take control of charging current. Have the BMS intervene only in the case of cell stress. Yes, it's drastic dropping contactors, but if the system is set up properly, that should be a rare event.

[ Edit: "last December" -> "a year ago". ]
[ Edit: -> "that could do that" -> "could be adjusted to modify the charge current". ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by hennejg » Thu, 05 Oct 2017, 04:03

coulomb wrote:
Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 17:34
I'm not convinced that EEPROM wear is a problem; see my post on this a year ago. (I've just added it to the index.)
It would indeed be interesting to check how many updates the BMS issues during a typical charge cycle and then how long the 1M cycles would last.
I believe that the current set by a PWM value in a register (for mains charging). For solar charging, there are commands sent to the SCC over a dedicated serial port between the TMS320 DSP processor and the SCC's processor.
The way I understand the power/charge management is supposed to work is that, at least once the battery is in float mode, and there is enough solar power, the solar power is "routed" directly via the DC bus from the SCC to the inverter. Maybe I got this completely wrong, but if it were true, the goal of the power management would be to relieve the battery from charge/discharge current, except for short bursts due to the power management having to catch up with a changing load situation. So I would expect a relatively high rate of requests from the main controller to the SCC.

Somewhere you mentioned that you sniffed the traffic between SCC and main controller. Is this data available anywhere?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by dakoal » Thu, 05 Oct 2017, 11:29

Thanks for the thoughts.
Yes, it seems strange to enforce the 10 A steps with the MUCHGC command. It makes sense on the LCD, but why reject commands that ask for say 37 A? It's less code to just check the minimum and maximum currents. We could add it to the existing patch, but I'm hoping the patch eventually won't be needed. Plus it's moderate work patching every new firmware that comes out, and the official update files are getting very hard to find.
That would be the best way. I will try single Amp steps in the evening on the current firmware I have on the PIP.

And for the Flash "Wearout" thing: If I retest current every minute, but let's say, flow is constant so I only have to do an change every 5 minutes I come to 12 every hour and 120 in 10 hours possible Sunlight value changes per day means (minus rainy days) 36.000 flash changes per year.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Fri, 06 Oct 2017, 08:00

hennejg wrote:
Thu, 05 Oct 2017, 04:03
The way I understand the power/charge management is supposed to work is that, at least once the battery is in float mode, and there is enough solar power, the solar power is "routed" directly via the DC bus from the SCC to the inverter. Maybe I got this completely wrong,
If by "DC bus" you mean the nominally 48 V DC bus to which the battery is directly connected (apart from safety devices), then you have it right. However I note that unqualified references to "the DC bus" usually refer to the nominally 400 V DC bus on the other side of the PIP's bidirectional DC-DC converter. The SCC does not connect to that. But your following point doesn't depend on where the SCC connects.
but if it were true, the goal of the power management would be to relieve the battery from charge/discharge current, except for short bursts due to the power management having to catch up with a changing load situation. So I would expect a relatively high rate of requests from the main controller to the SCC.
Yes. Although I wouldn't call them "requests", the main controller regularly tells the SCC how much current the main board is putting into or out of the battery. And occasionally tells it what the maximum current should be, and what charge mode it should be in (bulk/absorb, float or off).
Somewhere you mentioned that you sniffed the traffic between SCC and main controller. Is this data available anywhere?
No. That method was long ago superseded by coulomb reading the disassembled code, for both the main controller and the SCC, to find out what they send to each other. I'm answering these questions on his behalf because he has been busy doing that, to try to determine the feasibility of implementing a dynamic variant of the MNCHGC command that would be non-MPPT-resetting and non-EEPROM-wearing. If we attempt it, it will be a lot of work. In particular a lot of testing in various modes and under various conditions, including with multiple PIPs operating in parallel. And we don't have a file containing the 73.00 firmware, so it would still require users to downgrade to a patched 72.70.

Clearly we're not getting paid for this. We can only justify spending the time on it if we believe it will help to accelerate the uptake of renewable energy -- to sooner win the war that the fossil fuel corporations have declared against life on this planet. So whether we feel the effort is justified depends very much on how many people would actually use such a feature. How important is it really?
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Fri, 06 Oct 2017, 08:29

hennejg if your solar input and battery are sized optimally, I think you don't really need to worry that much about charge rate - you can set things up so that the PIP will be sending its maximum charge to the battery for say, 96% of the battery capacity. You can then switch to a lower charge rate (eg. 53.7V) for the remaining few percent.

Thats how I do it, and it is supposedly better for the battery chemistry too to spend less time at high charge voltage.

edit: In my case, the numbers are: 160Ah lifepo4 battery, Charge at 56.1V. with the usual 2 to 3 kW PV input, It doesn't actually reach 56.1V until very late in the charge, around the 95% mark.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Fri, 06 Oct 2017, 19:50

Coulomb and I spent the day investigating the feasibility of a dynamic maximum charge current command. We believe we can implement it by adding new behaviour to the MNCHGC command, by using otherwise-unused values of its current argument (3 digits of amps), namely values of 500 or more. Such values will have 500 subtracted from them and will be treated as a dynamic maximum charge current, hopefully for both AC and solar charging. Values less than 500 will be treated as before.

By "dynamic" we mean:
(a) it can be sent as often as desired without wearing the EEPROM,
(b) it won't cause the SCC to restart its MPPT sweep and
(c) it will stay in force for a maximum of one minute before reverting to the value stored in EEPROM.

To do this, we have written 4 routines that we will need to call from 11 locations. Some of the complication is due to the fact that, in parallel or 3-phase configurations, the MNCHGC command lets you change this setting on machines other than the one you are talking to directly. You have to supply a machine number argument as well as the current. See the bottom of page 18 here:
uploads/293/HS_MS_MSX_RS232_Protocol_20 ... pgrade.pdf

There's still a lot of work to do to manually insert the patches into the .hex file. If we manage to get it working with a single PIP, we'd appreciate volunteers to beta-test it, particularly those with parallel setups. It will initially only be included with the LFP (lithium ferrous phosphate) version of the patched firmware.

Edited by Coulomb: added photo.
Attachments
Preparing dynamic current patch_sm.jpg
Preparing dynamic current patch_sm.jpg (253.9 KiB) Viewed 346 times
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Sat, 07 Oct 2017, 06:03

weber wrote:
Fri, 06 Oct 2017, 19:50
Coulomb and I spent the day investigating the feasibility of a dynamic maximum charge current command.
This sounds good! I have been reluctant to flash mine thus far, since I don't ever let the PIP reach bulk charge termination. I've never tried the MNCHGC command.

I am setting up a new (parallel) system at the moment, which is not online yet, so I'd be very interested in trying out such a feature.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by andys » Sat, 07 Oct 2017, 06:06

By the way weber/coulomb, I've been meaning to ask: Did you ever come across code that governs AC charging? Specifically resetting charge back to zero for another "sweep" all the time. It really seems like a bug, since it happens even when charging off mains and not a generator.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Sat, 07 Oct 2017, 22:38

I spent the day putting the patches into the hex file (at 10 new locations) and documenting them. Then I reflashed my PIP with the new hex file and confirmed that we had, at least, not broken the standard behaviour, including the MNCHGC command. Hoorah!

I also confirmed that the new dynamic current limit values work with AC charging. Awesome! :D

But there are some bugs. It fails to time out and go back to the EEPROM value, and it doesn't yet work with solar charging. But we think we know how to fix these.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by dinu_tiberiu_george » Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 01:22

Hello,
sorry for my bad english..
I have an photovoltaic off-grid system with 2*5048ms inverter's in parallel. I have an generator for back-up. I don't know how to use the dry contact of the inverter's to automatically start the generator when the battery get's low. Can you help me?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 07:54

andys wrote:
Sat, 07 Oct 2017, 06:06
Did you ever come across code that governs AC charging?
I've concentrated on solar charging, so I've not specifically sought out details of the AC charging. However AC charging seems to be controlled at the high level (e.g. float verses bulk.absorb verses off mode) largely by the same code.
Specifically resetting charge back to zero for another "sweep" all the time. It really seems like a bug, since it happens even when charging off mains and not a generator.
I'm not aware of this behaviour, except with generators, and this all from other posters. Can you give details about when this happens?

Could you have poor mains quality? Perhaps third and fifth harmonic distortion, and/or particularly high or low voltage or transients caused by a large nearby load?

Setting 03 (AC input voltage range) seems to need to be set to APL in many cases, relaxing its standards for mains quality. But this usually seems to be an issue for generators, not utility mains. If your inverter-charger is doing this on mains, and there is nothing different about your mains, then perhaps there is something wrong with the filter circuitry.

The resetting of charging at a particular charge current (usually) when running on a generator is still a mystery to me. I have not found the time to investigate it as yet.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 08:08

dinu_tiberiu_george wrote:
Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 01:22
I have an photovoltaic off-grid system with 2*5048ms inverter's in parallel.
Welcome. There isn't much experience with the 5048 models as yet. I assume that they work much the same as the 4048 models, merely with slightly different firmware and hopefully more silicon [ edit: and/or a bigger high frequency transformer ] to handle the extra power load on the DC-DC converter. What version of firmware (U1 display page) does your inverter come with?
I have an generator for back-up. I don't know how to use the dry contact of the inverter's to automatically start the generator when the battery get's low. Can you help me?
The operation of the dry contact is described in the PIP-5048MS user manual on page 10. I assume you'll have setting 01 set to UTI (Utility first output source priority). Then the dry contact will become active when the battery voltage falls to the same voltage where you get a low battery warning.

If you want to know how to connect that to your specific generator, the details will vary with every generator. My guess is that you will only need the C (Common) and NO (Normally Open) terminals of the dry contact terminal block. Not all generators have an auto-start capability. If yours does not, but you want to add that capability, you'll need a small electronic circuit to drive a large relay or contactor to parallel your inverter's start switch, and then to release the start switch somehow as soon as the generator is running. That's probably not as easy as it sounds, especially since you might have to retry if the generator conks out a few time before it starts properly.

[ Edit: corrected manual link. ]
[ Edit: Added "and/or a bigger high frequency transformer". ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by dakoal » Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 16:26

Hello,

Betatesting the Firmware should be no Problem.
A Problem could be that my PIP4048 is a HS not a MS.

If I don't use Solar (MPP), can I still use your Firmware?
I mean using the PIP as Battery charger :-)


THX ind advance

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Mon, 09 Oct 2017, 13:51

dakoal wrote:
Sun, 08 Oct 2017, 16:26
A Problem could be that my PIP4048 is a HS not a MS.
If I don't use Solar ..., can I ... use your Firmware?
I mean using the PIP as [an AC] Battery charger :-)
Hi dakoal, See the first note in red here:
viewtopic.php?title=pip4048ms-inverter& ... 332#p64096
In short, it might work, or it might damage your inverter. We can't be any more definite than that.

For readers who may not be aware, the HS suffix means that its Solar Charge Controller (SCC) does Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) which merely limits the voltage, whereas the MS suffix means its SCC does Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) which converts any excess voltage into more current.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Mon, 09 Oct 2017, 14:07

Progress has stalled on the firmware patches to implement a dynamic current limit.

The timeout (as suggested by hennejg) is now working. We're presently using 20 seconds. And, as mentioned earlier, the modified MNCHGC command correctly controls AC charging without restarting it, but then the unmodified MNCHGC command already did that. The only difference is that we've made it possible to use any whole number of amps as a current limit (by adding 500 to it). The dynamic values are not limited to multiples of 10 amps.

However the solar charge controller (SCC) completely ignores any dynamic current limit. And we're fairly certain we're correctly sending the information to it. It's possible that the SCC really does need to be reset (which stops it charging for 40 seconds) before it will use the new current limit. So we need to analyse the SCC code some more. We really hope we don't need to also patch the SCC firmware to make this work.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by dakoal » Tue, 10 Oct 2017, 14:17

Hello,

I only need the AC-Part, not the Solar part.
So if you allow me to test the beta, I will be happy to do so.

If my PIP is going to brick, it's my fault, not yours :-)

Best regards and thanks for your work.

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coulomb
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Wed, 11 Oct 2017, 18:20

weber wrote:
Mon, 09 Oct 2017, 14:07
Progress has stalled on the firmware patches to implement a dynamic current limit.
One of the reasons has been a hard drive failure on my computer. I've recovered from that, but had to re-install Windows, and I'm still restoring various data files and re-installing applications. So I'm back at 80% capacity after being crippled for two days. Weber has come up with some good ideas in the mean time.
Learning how to patch and repair PIP-4048 inverter-chargers and Elcon chargers.

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