PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by gremlinman » Wed, 02 May 2018, 13:55

weber wrote:
Wed, 02 May 2018, 10:26
gremlinman wrote:
Wed, 02 May 2018, 09:40
Hi everyone and thanks to all involved in the information in this thread. I have lost the RJ45 cable that came with pip4048ms, can I just buy any convertor on ebay or is it a special cable?
It's a non-standard cable. Its connections are described here.
Anyone know where I can get a replacement if so?
No. But you could make one from an ethernet cable and a D9 serial cable or connector.
Thanks very much for the info, is there any free software I can check to see if the cable is working with the PIP before I try flashing? Lucibus is/was apparently free but I can't find a download link for it anymore.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by paulvk » Wed, 02 May 2018, 16:15

You can get Watchpower here http://www.giantpower.com.au/downloads/

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by gremlinman » Wed, 02 May 2018, 16:55

Thanks everyone. I managed to make my own converter and watchpower works with it, I seem to have version 72.90 . I will give it the custom firmware tomorrow.

The reason I am updating the firmware is because it seems it is not correctly utilizing the solar power I have, I believe it is what is called "early float". I have switched the unit off after reading about this and noticed it went from ~400w input solar to 1.4kw merely from restarting it and no change in solar radiation. When I run a generator to "top it up" it seems to work exactly as one might think. Currently I have to do this every afternoon because even though there is plenty of direct sunlight for over 8 hours, it fails to recharge the batteries the ~3KWh it lost in the night. I have 2KW of panels.

Another big reason to update is it seems that default display "aussieview" is so much better than the standard one. I look forward to the new version and hope it goes well.

If anyone has any advice for me in general with this unit I'd be pleased to hear it. I have 8x250W panels, and 8x120AH AGM batteries. I bought 4 batteries initially and another 4 batteries from the same ebay seller but the batteries seem to be slightly different, older ones were rated at 20H and the newer ones at 10H. The only real problem I've had is I feel like they aren't charging properly, I thought it might have been the batteries until the generator seemed to charge them as I expected. I bought the pip4048ms about feb 2017 and its been in use since about june 2017.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by gremlinman » Thu, 03 May 2018, 10:08

Ok I have updated to 73.00b and had no issues so far. Quite a cloudy day so far but the batteries are nearly full. Hopefully I will now get full batteries even on solar. I love the new display options!

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by lopez » Thu, 03 May 2018, 10:38

coulomb wrote:
Sat, 28 Apr 2018, 15:46
Unfortunately, if I'm right, you'll have to take it up with your supplier, and ask pointed questions about the legality of the firmware. [ Edit: However, error 90 can also happen when using firmware versions 73.00 or 73.00a, in perfectly legitimate Voltronic Power hardware, if it came from the factory with firmware earlier than 73.00. ]
Unfortunately also, again if I'm right, the firmware will have locked out firmware updating. [ Edit: I got that part wrong. It seems that you can load new firmware while showing an error 90 (fault code 90). So to fix this error, update to any compatible firmware other than 73.00 or 73.00a. See also Attention Firmware Updaters.]
I finally got a reply from MPPSolar, so error 90 appears to have something to do with using fake hardware or fake firmware..:
Hello Sir

1.Please provide us a serial label photo of the 4048MS inverter.

2.Please provide us the U1 version screen-shot. Do you update any firmware?

Image

Please provide us above information and we can better confirm and solve the problem.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Albert Y. ¦ Support Team, MPP Solar Inc.
support@mppsolar.com ¦ www.mppsolar.com
Peggy Hung, MPP Solar Inc 於 2018/4/30 下午 02:27 寫道:

Please note there are currently several Mainland Chinese companies who have copied our inverters and offering them at lower prices. For your own benefit, please do NOT support these inferior products. MPP Solar operates independently and is NOT affiliated to these companies in any way.

Kind Regard

Peggy Hung

Sales Department

peggy@mppsolar.com

TEL: 886 2 8797 8896 ex 603

Image
www.mppsolar.com
John Lopez Solaris

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Thu, 03 May 2018, 11:46

lopez wrote:
Thu, 03 May 2018, 10:38
coulomb wrote:
Sat, 28 Apr 2018, 15:46
Unfortunately, if I'm right, you'll have to take it up with your supplier, and ask pointed questions about the legality of the firmware. [Edit: ...]
...
[Edit: ... See also Attention Firmware Updaters.]
I finally got a reply from MPPSolar, so error 90 appears to have something to do with using fake hardware or fake firmware..:
Peggy at MPP Solar wrote:Hello Sir
1.Please provide us a serial label photo of the 4048MS inverter.
2.Please provide us the U1 version screen-shot. Do you update any firmware?
...
Coulomb's initial advice (above) was bad advice. It was apparently based on the mistaken assumption that you had bought one of the Mainland Chinese copies that Peggy mentions. In fact, the only thing you needed to do was update to 73.00b, as mentioned in the Attention Firmware Updaters post, where error 90 was first mentioned in this thread. Or you could have gone back to any version prior to 73.00.

Error 90 has nothing to do with fake firmware and everything to do with fake (or old) hardware.

There are (at least) two ways you can get an error 90. In both cases, the error won't appear until 60 operating-days after the condition has been met.
1. You buy one of the Mainland Chinese copies/clones of the inverter and it (illegally) comes with Voltronics main firmware 73.00.
2. You have an old but legitimate Voltronics inverter (e.g. an old PIP-4048MS) and you update it to 73.00 (or 73.00a).

Hence Peggy's correspondingly-numbered questions.

Apparently Voltronics did not expect owners of older inverters to update to 73.00. Presumably MPP Solar is not aware of our patched firmware that solves this problem (among other problems that we have tried to bring to their, or Voltronics, attention) and so I expect that once they are satisfied, by your serial-number label photo, that your hardware is legitimate, they will advise you to return your inverter's firmware to a version prior to 73.00.

Alternatively, you could tell them that yes, the problem was apparently caused by updating to main firmware 73.00. But it is fixed now, because you have reflashed with Coulomb and Weber's patched firmware 73.00b. Or if you want to keep your life simple, you could just say it is fixed now because you have reflashed with "other firmware". :)
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Thu, 03 May 2018, 20:06

gremlinman wrote:
Thu, 03 May 2018, 10:08
Ok I have updated to 73.00b and had no issues so far. Quite a cloudy day so far but the batteries are nearly full. Hopefully I will now get full batteries even on solar. I love the new display options!
That's great to hear. Thanks for letting us know. :)
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by lopezjm2001 » Thu, 03 May 2018, 20:15

weber wrote:
Thu, 03 May 2018, 11:46
Alternatively, you could tell them that yes, the problem was apparently caused by updating to main firmware 73.00. But it is fixed now, because you have reflashed with Coulomb and Weber's patched firmware 73.00b. Or if you want to keep your life simple, you could just say it is fixed now because you have reflashed with "other firmware". :)
Thanks for the advice. I have suggested to Peggy from MPPSolar that they should look at your improved firmware and make these improvements to their own firmware. I am assuming it is free software.
2016 BMW i3 94AH

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Thu, 03 May 2018, 20:29

lopezjm2001 wrote:
Thu, 03 May 2018, 20:15
Thanks for the advice. I have suggested to Peggy from MPPSolar that they should look at your improved firmware and make these improvements to their own firmware. I am assuming it is free software.
Yes, our patches are free and open-source. Yes, we would prefer that Voltronics would fix the bugs and implement the improvements in their source code for their factory firmware.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by lopezjm2001 » Fri, 04 May 2018, 21:05

weber wrote:
Thu, 03 May 2018, 20:29
Yes, our patches are free and open-source. Yes, we would prefer that Voltronics would fix the bugs and implement the improvements in their source code for their factory firmware.
They might do that.
Hello Sir

Thanks for your reply and suggestion.

We will provide these information to our technical research and development department. They will test and modify the original firmware.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Albert Y. ¦ Support Team, MPP Solar Inc. 
support@mppsolar.com ¦ www.mppsolar.com
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by simat » Sat, 05 May 2018, 19:02

weber wrote:
Sat, 21 Apr 2018, 19:59
Hi Simon, it is considered to be in absorb stage when it is within 0.5 volts of the absorb voltage setting. You can read more details of the absorb to float conditions here:
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4332&p=64095#p64095
Scroll down to the green heading "Charge Termination Conditions".
Hi Weber, I have finished my software that talks to the PIP and BMS and finally enough sunshine to fully charge the battery.

I have logged three occurrences of the battery going to float. Running your patched software 73.00b with "Bulk charging time" (option 32) set to 450 minutes gives the following
The PIP consistently changes from state 11-12 (Bulk to absorb) when the voltage is 0.6V less that the Bulk CV set voltage.
The PIP changes from state 12-13 (absorb to float) when the PIP "Battery charging current" was zero for a period of 30 seconds. Absorb times were 33 minutes, 60 minutes and 21 minutes and total bulk time was well under the programmed 450 minutes. "Real" Battery Current when PIP switched to float were -0.1A, -4.5A and 1.1A (minus is current into battery).

As far as I can see, this matches the "Charge termination conditions" you mention in your post. If using a timed absorb period rather than automatic absorb terminated by charge current I would prefer it if the absorb period was not terminated by charge current but by time alone. The reason I want a long absorb time is to balance an LFP battery. It is not a big deal if I can achieve the same result by raising the float voltage high enough to achieve the same result.

Does any one know if there is a serial command to set the absorb time?

I have found that you can set the PIP back to bulk charging from float by raising the the "battery re-charge voltage" above the current battery voltage via the PBCV command. This only seems to work when the "Bulk charging time" is set to "Aut". With this in mind it would not be hard to set up my battery monitoring software to act as a watchdog to get around the premature float bug for all those with Voltronic/PIP inverters that can't use your patched software.

I have programmed my battery monitor to issue commands to the PIP to drop the charge voltage in the event that any of the individual cells goes out of its safe operating voltage range.

Simon
Off-Grid with LFP (LiFePO4) battery, battery Installed April 2013
32x90Ah Winston cells 4p8s (24V), 4kW Latronics Inverter, 1160W of Solar Panels
Homemade MPPT controller, BMS https://github.com/simat/BatteryMonitor

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Sat, 05 May 2018, 22:09

simat wrote:
Sat, 05 May 2018, 19:02
As far as I can see, this matches the "Charge termination conditions" you mention in your post. If using a timed absorb period rather than automatic absorb terminated by charge current I would prefer it if the absorb period was not terminated by charge current but by time alone.
This is the original behaviour. When a non-zero absorb time is set (setting 32 is non-zero), the threshold becomes the number of paralleled machines times two, i.e. 2 A per machine. I've changed the description in the Charge Termination Conditions to reflect that fact that achieving this isn't "practically impossible" (thanks for the data).
Does any one know if there is a serial command to set the absorb time?
Yes, there is a PCVTnnn command, where nnn is the number of minutes. It must be a multiple of 5 and no more than 900. This will change setting 32.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by al76 » Sun, 06 May 2018, 12:57

weber wrote:
Wed, 02 May 2018, 10:08
al76 wrote:
Wed, 02 May 2018, 06:08
Anyway I have the replacement pip installed (day 2) and its had issues each morning.
I log output from QPIGS and soon after sunrise I see a brief spike from the panels then nothing reported from panels. The battery volts reported by QPIGS seems to indicate charging is happening but the pip display also shows that no solar charging is happening. After a cold start ( disconnect panels, turn off unit, disconnect batteries, wait a bit, reconnect batteroes, turn on unit connect panels) the solar charging seems to report correctly via QPIGS and the panel display.
Anyone offer any clues?
I understand you are using 72-cell panels. Is your PV array presently configured as 3 strings of 2 panels or 2 strings of 3 panels? As mentioned previously, strings of 3 may produce excessive open circuit voltage when cold.

You know about the premature-float bug right? The solution to that is to update to the latest patched firmware. See the index post.
pip has been working fine since I posted.
I have panels configured as 3strings of 2 panels. I'm reading up on the premature float bug I suspect this may be an issue.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by al76 » Mon, 07 May 2018, 14:17

I have a pip4048 battery config question
I have 8 x 12v RITAH RA12-120SD configured as 4S2P for a 48v 240Ah system

The battery spec sheet
https://www.rpc.com.au/pdf/ritar_12V_120Ah.pdf

states
Float charging Voltage 13.6 to 13.8 VDC/unit Average at 25 degC
and
Equalization and Cycle Service 14.6 to 14.8 VDC/unit Average at 25 degC


Is using AGM setting on the pip4048 sufficient or can I do better with a USER setting?


also I believe my pip suffers from the premature float bug

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by weber » Mon, 07 May 2018, 18:29

Release Version of Patched Firmware 73.00c

[Edit: Was the beta version. Between beta and release, only the first character of the version number changed (from B to L).]

This is the third version of our patched firmware based on factory firmware version 73.00. This patched firmware has all the same patches as 73.00b and earlier patched firmwares, including Dynamic Current Control and AussieView™. This includes fixing the infamous premature float bugs.

In addition, 73.00c makes the following improvements/bug fixes:

1. We fixed the bug where, after changing a setting once, you could not change it again without first pressing the up and down buttons. We also fixed the bug where, while changing a setting, you could not go more than 135 steps up or 120 steps down. This affected the Absorb time setting [32]. These were pointed out by user OomD on the South African Power Forum.

2. In versions 72.70c and 73.00a/b we attempted unsuccessfully to improve the accuracy of low current readings by the simple expedient of subtracting 1 amp to account for losses. But forum-contributor @sinux, pointed out that the losses during AC Charging are much less than 1 amp and so we had in fact made AC charge current readings less accurate.

In this version (73.00c) we have improved the accuracy of all charge and discharge current readings, by using more complicated formulae. A detailed description can be found near the end of the Dynamic Current Control manual, as linked above. These changes do not affect the relationship between requested currents and actual currents, only between actual currents and displayed or reported currents.


Note: This firmware is only suitable for the 48 V models with a single low-voltage MPPT and a power factor of 0.8 (4 kW / 5 kVA), not those with dual or triple MPPTs or a power factor of 1.0 (5 kW / 5 kVA), and not those with a maximum PV array open circuit voltage greater than 145 V DC.

For lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP) (16S or 15S)
dsp_LF1_73.00c.zip
(1.54 MiB) Downloaded 51 times
For lead acid (24S), lithium cobalt-blends (LCO, NMC, NCM, NCA) (14S), and lithium titanate (LTO) (21S)
dsp_LC1_73.00c.zip
(1.53 MiB) Downloaded 79 times
For reflashing instructions see the 72.70b reflashing instructions, but ignore the zip files there.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by gremlinman » Tue, 08 May 2018, 10:50

Is it normal for the PIP to not have a float or bulk/absorb voltage ? I notice like right now, the PIP is indicating the batteries are "full" and the voltage reading is 52.4, 600w of solar is incoming and inverter is on but not being used. Shouldn't the PIP be attempting to be at 54v or 56v depending upon which mode it is in?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Tue, 08 May 2018, 11:26

gremlinman wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 10:50
Is it normal for the PIP to not have a float or bulk/absorb voltage ?
No. It should be aiming for either float or absorb voltage, depending on the mode. Check the charge LED (middle, green LED) to see if it is not charging at all (dark), bulk/absorb (flashing), or at float (solid green).
Shouldn't the PIP be attempting to be at 54v or 56v depending upon which mode it is in?
The exact voltages depend on settings. The defaults, set for lead acid batteries, are 54.0 and 56.4 for float and absorb. Lithium batteries need different voltages, depending on the number of cells, their chemistry, and a little on the whim of the operator.

You might be seeing one of the infamous premature float bugs, where a passing cloud causes the standard factory firmware to believe that because the battery is drawing little current, it is full.

Of course, it will take a while for 600 W of solar to charge a large battery. Do you have more solar power available?
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by xenonhost » Tue, 08 May 2018, 12:35

Hi!
Is there a way to disable battery charging for 4 pcs from 5 parallel connected inverters? I want to use the batteries just to power up the inverters and use just solar power in the day and utility when solar not available.

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Tue, 08 May 2018, 14:49

xenonhost wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 12:35
Is there a way to disable battery charging for 4 pcs from 5 parallel connected inverters?
Sure, don't connect solar to the four, and they won't charge. I don't know why you'd want to do this, however; why not spread the charging load?

Charging current limits are separate for paralleled inverters. You can use the LC display and buttons, or WatchPower, or other monitoring software to set the current limits for each inverter. Sorry, my earlier answer to a question about this was wrong; now corrected.
I want to use the batteries just to power up the inverters and use just solar power in the day and utility when solar not available.
Ok, but it's not necessary to restrict charging to one inverter-charger unit to achieve this.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by xenonhost » Tue, 08 May 2018, 15:19

But I have only 40Ah remaining cells

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by gremlinman » Tue, 08 May 2018, 15:31

coulomb wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 11:26
gremlinman wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 10:50
Is it normal for the PIP to not have a float or bulk/absorb voltage ?
No. It should be aiming for either float or absorb voltage, depending on the mode. Check the charge LED (middle, green LED) to see if it is not charging at all (dark), bulk/absorb (flashing), or at float (solid green).
Shouldn't the PIP be attempting to be at 54v or 56v depending upon which mode it is in?
The exact voltages depend on settings. The defaults, set for lead acid batteries, are 54.0 and 56.4 for float and absorb. Lithium batteries need different voltages, depending on the number of cells, their chemistry, and a little on the whim of the operator.

You might be seeing one of the infamous premature float bugs, where a passing cloud causes the standard factory firmware to believe that because the battery is drawing little current, it is full.

Of course, it will take a while for 600 W of solar to charge a large battery. Do you have more solar power available?
I am on 73.00b though. I have 8 x 12v 120ah batteries. The led was flashing.

It is just strange that I thought the PIP should be attempting 56v regardless of amps going into it, I thought it would attempt to hold 56v whilst in bulk/absorb. I notice when I charge with generator it usually goes up from ~50v to 56v and stays at 56v for a while before hitting 54v and staying there putting 1a into the batteries from the generator. Am I wrong in assuming when in bulk/absorb mode the voltage should be 56v ?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Tue, 08 May 2018, 18:16

gremlinman wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 15:31
I am on 73.00b though. I have 8 x 12v 120ah batteries. The led was flashing.
Ah, I failed to remember that you were on 73.00b. Flashing LED, so you are in bulk or absorb. All good.
I thought it would attempt to hold 56v whilst in bulk/absorb.
Sure, it will have 56.4 V as its setpoint. It can't get there straight away, though.
I notice when I charge with generator it usually goes up from ~50v to 56v
Your generator charging must be at a fairly high rate then; a lot more than 600 W of charge power. That will get the internal battery voltage up higher sooner, but will also raise the battery terminal voltage due to internal resistance.
and stays at 56v for a while before hitting 54v and staying there putting 1a into the batteries from the generator.
Right. The time it's at 54 V and ~1 A it would be in float mode.
Am I wrong in assuming when in bulk/absorb mode the voltage should be 56v ?
In bulk mode, assuming a constant charge current, and ignoring internal resistance for a moment, the battery voltage should ramp up roughly linearly (assuming lead acid batteries) from the initial voltage till the 56.4 V setpoint, at which point it changes to absorb mode. It should stay in absorb mode until the battery current drops low, and/or the absorb time has expired (if the absorb timer is used). The battery voltage should be constant at 56.4 V during the absorb stage.

Taking into account internal resistance, the battery voltage would be higher than the figures indicated above, by perhaps half a volt to over a volt, depending on many factors. The bulk stage will still finish at or near the 56.4 V setting, however. As the charge current reduces during absorb mode, the extra voltage due to internal resistance times charge current will reduce to near enough to zero.

So for the generator to have the voltage shoot up to around 56 V nearly straight away, you really must be overcharging the lead acid batteries. Here I mean charging at too high a current, not to too high a state of charge. They should only be charged at a rate of some 13% of their Ah rating. For example, a 200 Ah lead acid battery should only be charged at about 0.13 x 200 = 26 A. Another way to look at is that it should never be charged faster than 7.7 hours (1/0.13), from empty to full. But of course, lead acid should never be discharged more than about 20%, so more realistically, it should take at least 0.2 x 7.7 = 1.5 hours to take it from 80% to 100% SOC. Don't rely on the PIP's SOC reading for state of charge; it's extremely approximate for lead acid batteries, and completely useless for other chemistries.

Now with the variability of solar charging, the battery voltage will be all over the place, but you should be able to discern a rough ramp from initial voltage to absorb setting voltage during the bulk stage, then a rough plateau near 56.4 V during the absorb stage, followed by a stay at around 54 V after that when it stays in the float stage (unless the battery voltage drops a lot, triggering another bulk/absorb stage pair). Unfortunately, the only way to distinguish between bulk and absorb modes is from the last field of the undocumented Q1 command, though a few monitoring systems display it. But you can't tell from the front panel.

[ Edit: added "all good". ]
[ Edit: added "The battery voltage should be constant at 56.4 V during the absorb stage." ]
[ Edit: "higher than the figure indicated" -> "higher than the figures indicated above". ]
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Tue, 08 May 2018, 18:39

xenonhost wrote:
Tue, 08 May 2018, 15:19
But I have only 40Ah remaining cells
Ah. So that's why you only want one unit charging.

I believe that even with no solar connected, you still can't set the maximum total charge (setting) to less than 10 A, so they will still contribute towards the total maximum charge current for the system. This may be more than you want. I think you will need to turn off some of the paralleled machines; I assume that if they are turned off (using the rocker switch under the units), they won't contribute to the total charge current total (for all machines). With only 40 Ah of battery, you can't be using the power of 5 paralleled machines anyway. I'd use only one, perhaps two at most.
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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by xenonhost » Wed, 09 May 2018, 00:26

but I saw in the last firmware update that I can set maximum charging from zero, is it not true?

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Re: PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by coulomb » Wed, 09 May 2018, 06:18

xenonhost wrote:
Wed, 09 May 2018, 00:26
but I saw in the last firmware update that I can set maximum charging from zero, is it not true?
Sigh. I'd forgotten that patch; it's one of the earlier ones. So yes, you could use that instead of turning the machine off.

I don't know if the firmware will "idle" some inverters when more paralleled machines are available than needed to fulfil the present load. If not, each paralleled machine is some 50 W each of extra loss that you likely can't use with a 40 Ah battery. That's over 200 W for 4 unused machines. Switching them off will remove this load, whereas setting their maximum charge current to zero will not.
Learning how to patch and repair PIP-4048 inverter-chargers and Elcon chargers.

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