PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by rezydent » Tue, 27 Mar 2018, 02:28

weber wrote:
Mon, 26 Mar 2018, 16:30
Hi rezydent. No, it is not possible to increase the charging voltage to 64 volts merely by a firmware change, because the capacitors, MOSFETs and IGBTs are already operating close to their rated voltages. This includes the high-voltage DC bus capacitors which have a 500 V rating and would be operating at 512 V if the battery was at 64 V, due to the 8:1 ratio of the DC-DC converter stage.
Ok, of it I didn't know that ratio 8:1 was working of DC-DC converter. But to 60 V it is possible so that it is to hurry him up? It would be for me some solving a problem with my batteries.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Tue, 27 Mar 2018, 07:11

rezydent wrote:
Tue, 27 Mar 2018, 02:28
Ok, of it I didn't know that ratio 8:1 was working of DC-DC converter. But to 60 V it is possible so that it is to hurry him up? It would be for me some solving a problem with my batteries.
Hi rezydent. What is the problem you are having with your batteries? There may be a better way to fix it. What kind of batteries are they? What is the version of the main firmware in your inverter?
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by sinux » Tue, 27 Mar 2018, 17:14

coulomb wrote:
Mon, 26 Mar 2018, 16:48
So I can't replicate your problem. I don't understand why you seem to imply that the problem would be seen quicker with the current limit at 2 A compared to 10 A.
Please see the comparison of charging at 10 amps vs charging at 2 amps below.



Absorb should in theory be 180min in both cases (as this is set on the inverter).
Absorb time at 2 amps : 16 min
Absorb time at 10 amps : 60 min

What I meant (sorry if I wasn't clear) is that the less amps you charge the battery with, the shorter the absorb time.
I've been struggling for 2 years to charge my batteries.
6 months ago, I realised that if I was charging them at 20amps, they were getting fuller than if I was charging at 10amps.
But that didn't make any sense to me!
Now if the absorb time is too short, that could be an explanation.

I've got a very small system and most people have more batteries and solar panels than me, so the problem wouldn't be obvious to them.
Sorry for the long posts. I hope this clarifies things a bit. Thanks for your help!

PS: I should note that before using your custom firmware, setting 32 didn't exist on my inverter. I don't know if maybe that specific model is lacking some hardware to count the time spent in absorb (RTC, etc...) ?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by rezydent » Wed, 28 Mar 2018, 18:37

weber wrote:
Tue, 27 Mar 2018, 07:11
Hi rezydent. What is the problem you are having with your batteries? There may be a better way to fix it. What kind of batteries are they? What is the version of the main firmware in your inverter?
My batteries are mine cadmium nickel with KOH electrolyte 48 cell x 150Ah
2NiOOH + Cd + 2H2O ↔ 2Ni(OH)2 + Cd(OH)2
type KPL , see in documentation

Code: Select all

https://www.google.pl/url?q=http://www.amcosaft.com/sites/default/files/document_repo/AMCO%2520Saft%2520KP%2520Range_final%2520web_0.pdf&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwiF6u7G6I7aAhUHEiwKHS2lCFYQFggUMAA&usg=AOvVaw0qB3AnngFa4Q2isl25q5V0

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Wed, 28 Mar 2018, 19:32

Hi rezydent. You can't use 48 of those cells in series, with the PIP-4048MS inverter. I calculate that 36 in series would be the best choice. In that case you would set the absorb voltage to its maximum of 58.4 V, the cutoff voltage to its minimum of 40 V, and the float voltage to 50.8 V.

You should also install our patched firmware that fixes the premature-float bug.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by paulvk » Wed, 28 Mar 2018, 19:35

rezydent wrote:
Wed, 28 Mar 2018, 18:37

My batteries are mine cadmium nickel with KOH electrolyte 48 cell x 150Ah
They will need a different charging process to the lead acid I do not think the inverters will do it correctly see below:
Charging Flooded Nickel-cadmium Batteries. Flooded NiCd is charged with a constant voltage to about 1.55V/cell. The current is then reduced to 0.1C and the charge continues until 1.55V/cell is reached again. At this point, a trickle charge is applied and the voltage is allowed to float freely.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by rezydent » Thu, 29 Mar 2018, 02:33

in this moment I have an adjusted maximal value of stretching loading, it results from observation that the inverter is charging the battery of batteries up for me up to the 75-77% of the nominal capacity, through about 5 hours of loading. I have an additional rectifier charging these batteries up to the 95% of the nominal capacity of course. I simply thought that he would manage to modify this inverter so that he loads with high voltage, but I can see that it isn't possible this way. A curtailment of cell remains for the battery.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by al76 » Thu, 29 Mar 2018, 09:28

weber wrote:
Wed, 14 Feb 2018, 19:39
al76 wrote:
Wed, 14 Feb 2018, 19:17
Is it worth following this up with mpp solar or move fwd with buying another unit and have this unit repaired in Aus? I was planning on a parallel system plus I will be needing a second independent system soon anyway.
I can't really advise you on such decisions. Except to say that I don't see that you have anything to lose by raising the problem with MPP Solar.

How long has the PIP-4048MS been in use? Could there be a fault in the isolation device between your PV array and the PIP?
I'm assuming the isolation device between the PV array and PIP is the large switch?

Any way I've been limping along with this situation where the solar charging starts from approx 9:30-11:30am on most sunny days all the while the pips relays click away. Except 1 day last week which was cloudy and the solar charging started at 7:30am.
This morning I woke up to a dead pip4048ms. Checked batterys, fired up geny. No hint of life. I've ordered a replacement unit this morning.
The unit was purchased Dec 2016.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by curasun » Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 07:32

Hello guys,
I'm also having problems with charging my batteries fully. I've set the absorb time to 120min. It doesn't stay for 2 hours in absorb.
planning to buy a PCM60X from MPPsolar. Is this charge controller better?
Is their someone on this forum using this charge controller who can comment on this?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 07:39

curasun. What main firmware version is your inverter running?
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 08:38

curasun wrote:
Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 07:32
I'm also having problems with charging my batteries fully. I've set the absorb time to 120min. It doesn't stay for 2 hours in absorb.
I note that even with timed absorb, absorb mode will be exited if the charge current falls to a particular value. That value is the number of active paralleled machines multiplied by two.

As an extreme example, suppose you had three paralleled machines (or a 3-phase setup with one machine per phase). Let's say you only have PV connected to one of them, and the battery voltage is near the absorb setting. The two machines with no PV connected still count towards the minimum absorb current of 3 * 2 = 6 A. The current will be non-adjusted currents, so about one amp more than the actual current. So if the charge current falls to 5 A or less, then as long as the battery voltage is close enough to the absorb voltage setting for 30 seconds without exception, then the charger will exit absorb stage regardless of the time spent in absorb.

[ Edit: actually because of the ~1 A difference between measured charging current and actual charging current, the effective threshold for the 3 machine example would be more like 3 A. So the current would have to fall to 2 A or less before this early exit from timed absorb would kick in. ]

NOTE: in the official firmware, the 30 second figure mentioned above was 10 minutes. Weber and I judged that this change was a misguided attempt by Voltronic Power to make it seem that they fixed their charge bug, so we changed this 10 minute figure to 30 seconds, as it was in earlier firmware versions such as 72.40. [ Edit: this change affects all absorb to float transitions, whether timed or not. ] That could make it seem that our patched software has regressed. But really, the original firmware would have exited early, but you'll always get 9.5 minutes more absorbing from the original firmware. This still could be an hour short of what you asked for.

I'm guessing that Voltronic Power consider 2 A per paralleled machine such a ridiculously low value that they're doing us a favour by cancelling absorb at this point, because the battery is "obviously" full. It would only take a single instruction patch to change this so that the threshold in timed absorb is zero, so the charge current could never be strictly less than the threshold (since nothing is strictly unsigned less than zero). So when in timed absorb mode, absorb mode would never be exited early, and would continue until the absorb timer ran out.

This is a moderately significant change to the way the charger would operate. Perhaps some owners who set their absorb times too high will overcharge their batteries if we made this change. However, it seems to be that this is a "you asked for it, you got it" feature, rather than a "I know better then thou, I'll do what I think is right" annoyance (and an undocumented annoyance at that).

What's the feeling amongst timed absorb users? Would anyone be inconvenienced if we patched the firmware to work more like it says it does?
The other question is, does a battery do any real absorbing if the charge current is low, less than 2 A per paralleled machine?

[ Edit: if the current -> if the charge current ]
[ Edit: paralleled machines that are switched on -> active paralleled machines ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by sinux » Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 03:09

coulomb wrote:
Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 08:38
What's the feeling amongst timed absorb users?
That would be a very welcome change for me!
I've got 4 100ah gel batteries in series.
I've read somewhere that "Gelled cells should be charged at no more than the C/20 rate, or 5% of their amp-hour capacity." (http://www.electrovehicles.co.za/unders ... y-charging)
For me that would mean charging at 5 Amps. Sadly this setting doesn't exist (would it be possible to add it? ), so I'm charging at 2 amps.

A suggestion could be to check if setting 32 is set to anything different from auto before allowing a charging current less than 2 volts for absorb. In this case, the user most certainly would want the absorb timer to be taken into account.
coulomb wrote:
Fri, 30 Mar 2018, 08:38
The other question is, does a battery do any real absorbing if the charge current is low, less than 2 A per paralleled machine?
It would probably depend quite a lot on the size of the battery bank. I've recently bought a 12V battery charger (https://www.midas.co.za/pebble.asp?relid=1741&t=75). It has a slow mode that limits the current output to 2amps (as opposed to 8amps on fast mode). The manual says 2 amps is the standard way of charging the battery... I measured it absorb at less than 1amp for a couple of hours on a SLA 80ah 12v battery.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by curasun » Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 04:50

Hello,
Coulomb Firmware 73, it is a December 2017 model.

Thats the factory installed firmware.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 07:45

sinux wrote:
Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 03:09
I've got 4 100ah gel batteries in series.
I've read somewhere that "Gelled cells should be charged at no more than the C/20 rate, or 5% of their amp-hour capacity." (http://www.electrovehicles.co.za/unders ... y-charging)
For me that would mean charging at 5 Amps. Sadly this setting doesn't exist (would it be possible to add it? ), so I'm charging at 2 amps.
Sinux, It is more difficult than you might think, to add new values for a setting. In any case, C/20 is a very low current. When I google "gel battery maximum charge current" I find 0.2C or C/5 commonly mentioned. That would be 20 A in your case, so I'm sure 10 A would be just fine. It's all about whether the battery temperature rises significantly during charge. You could measure this. It should not rise more than about 5 °C above ambient.

Clearly you are only using a single PIP/Axpert inverter, so Coulomb's extreme example does not apply. In fact the standard code has been saving your battery. If a nominally 48 V 100 Ah gel battery is being held at 57.6 V and the charge current has fallen to 1 amp (0.01C) then it is definitely full! That one amp is doing nothing but electrolysing water and generating heat.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 18:26

curasun wrote:
Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 04:50
Hello,
Coulomb Firmware 73, it is a December 2017 model.

Thats the factory installed firmware.
Ah. So the early absorb termination could well be the long standing factory firmware bug, described here.

[ Edit: described the wrong charging bug; added link. ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sat, 31 Mar 2018, 19:02

Error 90 — Attention firmware updaters!

Weber and I have updated the patched firmware, both LC and LF versions, from 73.00a to 73.00b. This fixes a problem whereby on older hardware, the inverter would end up with an error 90 (fault code 90), after 60 days of running time. There has already been one machine stop working with this error; this was with factory 73.00, so this affects factory as well as patched firmware. So to users who have re-flashed their machines that came with an earlier version, be aware that you have a ticking time bomb, which could "go off" in a few days! Either roll back to a pre 73.00 version, or update to patched firmware 73.00b or later. There is no such problem with machines that came with factory firmware 73.00 or later.

See the Firmware section of the index post to find the latest patched firmware files.

[ Edit: minor changes to make it easier to find "error 90" or "fault code 90". ]
[ Edit: "no problem" -> "no such problem"; 73.00 still has the same charge bugs. ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by frnandu » Tue, 03 Apr 2018, 17:17

Hello guys, first of all, thank you for all your effort into making the firmware and sharing your knowledge here.

I want to be able to remotely turn the PIP on/off completely, so I'm thinking about connecting the on/off switch cables into some relay controlled by a raspberry.
Does anyone know what kind of voltages/amperages are being used on those on/off switch cables?
What kind of relay (or other electric mechanism) could be safely used there? I'm kind of ignorant on such matters, so any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks
Last edited by frnandu on Tue, 03 Apr 2018, 21:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Tue, 03 Apr 2018, 18:16

"Coulomb's partial schematic trace of the main power supply circuit" is available from the index.

The AC start switch carries battery voltage, so you need to be careful with fault currents. A ~1 A 60+VDC fuse would be wise, on the pin 1 side. The switching current is quite low, however. Hence, many small relays would be suitable, perhaps even a printed circuit mounting type, but to be safe its contacts should be rated at 60 VDC. Any current rating would be suitable. Many cheap relays' contacts are rated for 240 VAC, which sounds plenty, but their DC rating might be as low as 28 V, making them unsuitable. Merely wire the normally open contacts across the start switch. The start switch needs to be off for the raspberry to control the PIP, obviously.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by frnandu » Tue, 03 Apr 2018, 18:59

Thanks, any idea where to get a relay with contacts rated for 60VDC?
Would a SSR be ok to use?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Wed, 04 Apr 2018, 13:57

frnandu wrote:
Tue, 03 Apr 2018, 18:59
Thanks, any idea where to get a relay with contacts rated for 60VDC?
The usual electronics stores: Jaycar, RS Components, element14, mouser, etc.
Would a SSR be ok to use?
I'd guess so, but higher current models might have too much leakage (i.e. they might not turn off "hard enough").
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by xenonhost » Wed, 04 Apr 2018, 15:00

I have bought 11 months ago 48 pcs Winston LifePO4 for a friend. They worked well, but 2 weeks ago 18 pcs got swollen and they are all shortcircuited. I need a BMS, something for remaining 16 pcs connected to PIP.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Sat, 07 Apr 2018, 12:28

Hi @sinux. Coulomb and I recognised that we hadn't fully investigated your earlier bug report. We finally got a chance to do so, spending many hours on it yesterday.

We note that we have already determined that your second problem—the exit from an otherwise timed absorb stage when the charge current falls to 1 amp—is not caused by any of our patches, and is not a bug, as it has the potential to prevent damage to batteries held at absorb voltage for too long.
sinux wrote:
Tue, 20 Mar 2018, 18:39
I'd like to report a bug/regression :
From version 72.70c beta, you've "improved the accuracy of the battery charge and discharge current readings, particularly for low currents, as displayed on the LCD, and as given in response to the QPIGS and QPGS serial commands"

It looks like you've reduced the amount of amps reported by the inverter for battery charging current by 1 amp?
Yes, and whenever the charging current was already zero (and so could not be reduced), we've increased the discharge current by 1 amp.

So, if you were to write some code in your Raspberry Pi to reverse this operation, i.e. if the discharge current (as reported by versions 72.70c, 73.00a or 73.00b) is greater than zero, subtract 1 amp from it, otherwise add 1 amp to the charge current, then your coulomb counter should work just as it did with the unpatched or earlier patched versions of the firmware.
At first glance it seems reasonable to do that because the new figure becomes finally the real battery current, in most cases (see below).

The previous battery current reported (before the upgrade) was actually "battery charge or discharge current" + "self consumption".
This is why the inverter would always report 1 amp even when the battery was in float and full.

I don't know exactly why, but there's an exception to this case, when in bypass mode and charging with AC.
In this state, the battery charging current doesn't include self consumption (or maybe more logically the self consumption is much less than the average 50W in solar charging mode with inverter on).
It turns out that your second "more logical" guess is correct. The self consumption when AC charging (and hence in bypass/line mode and not inverting) is only about 14 watts, whereas it is about 65 watts when inverting. Our patches mistakenly assumed about 50 watts in both cases. And so, while we improved the accuracy of discharge current readings and solar charge current readings, we made AC charge current readings less accurate.

Thank you so much sinux, for bringing this problem to our attention. We are now working on a 73.00c that will not only take these different losses into account, but will also round to the nearest amp instead of rounding down like previous versions. And this time, we will attempt to use these changes not only to give more accurate current readings, but also to give actual charge currents that are closer to the requested current.

73.00c will also fix some bugs in the original firmware, that cause minor problems when changing parameter settings via the LCD and buttons, as described by OomD here. Coulomb produced successful patches for these yesterday.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by sinux » Sat, 07 Apr 2018, 21:22

Hi Weber,
Thank you and Coulomb for taking the time to investigate this bug!
weber wrote:
Sat, 07 Apr 2018, 12:28
We note that we have already determined that your second problem—the exit from an otherwise timed absorb stage when the charge current falls to 1 amp—is not caused by any of our patches, and is not a bug, as it has the potential to prevent damage to batteries held at absorb voltage for too long.
Yes, duly noted.
weber wrote:
Sat, 07 Apr 2018, 12:28
So, if you were to write some code in your Raspberry Pi to reverse this operation, i.e. if the discharge current (as reported by versions 72.70c, 73.00a or 73.00b) is greater than zero, subtract 1 amp from it, otherwise add 1 amp to the charge current, then your coulomb counter should work just as it did with the unpatched or earlier patched versions of the firmware.
Thanks for the tip, will do that.
weber wrote:
Sat, 07 Apr 2018, 12:28
We are now working on a 73.00c that will not only take these different losses into account, but will also round to the nearest amp instead of rounding down like previous versions. And this time, we will attempt to use these changes not only to give more accurate current readings, but also to give actual charge currents that are closer to the requested current
Whoa great news! Really looking forward to that.
Again thanks very much for all your work on the firmware!

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by mohfamous » Sun, 08 Apr 2018, 14:36

coulomb wrote:
Tue, 17 Jan 2017, 20:02

Image

thanks coulomb for your hard effort
could you explain the circuit
thanks

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sun, 08 Apr 2018, 17:21

This circuit, present on only some models (before the fuse protection "feature") merely disconnects the battery negative strap from the rest of the inverter if the processor doesn't cause the opto-coupler (OP2) to be lit, which will turn on the four paralleled MOSFETs (only 1 shown). The circuit makes more sense when the integral reverse diode is shown (I've changed the original to suit now):
Reverse protection sch.png
Reverse protection sch.png (5.81 KiB) Viewed 1561 times
If the battery connection is reversed, the terminal marked BATT- will actually be positive with respect to what I've drawn as earth in the diagram. As a result, the integral diodes will be reversed biased, the power supplies that runs off the battery to power the processor won't operate, and the processor won't turn on the opto-coupler, so the MOSFETs will stay off. This will cause approximately a 0.6 V drop across the integral diode, which is not good for efficiency. But as soon as the processor is running, the opto-coupler will turn on, which will apply some 15 V to the gates, and the MOSFETs will turn on hard. These will reduce the 0.6 V drop to that of a low valued resistor.

So the idea is that if you accidentally connect the battery in reverse, nothing blows up, and there is no great splat. In later models, they must have a large diode connected across the battery after a fuse (which is a piece of plated metal with a narrow neck). In these models, if you connect the battery in reverse, the diode conducts, and nearly the whole battery voltage appears across the fuse. There would be an enormous surge of current, a mighty clap of noise and flash of light as the fuse blows. After your sight and hearing recovers, and you change your underwear, you rewire the battery cables, use the spare fuse provided, and check your work really carefully before turning on again :-O

[ Edit: added "the integral diodes will be reversed biased". ]
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