PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by catalincre » Mon, 28 Jan 2019, 03:54

@ThomasHaller can you please provide a link to this usb adapter, I wanna try this also. Thx

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by ThomasHaller » Mon, 28 Jan 2019, 06:43

catalincre wrote:
Mon, 28 Jan 2019, 03:54
@ThomasHaller can you please provide a link to this usb adapter, I wanna try this also. Thx
Here the link to my USB2serial adapter:

CHF 1.89  23%OFF | USB TO RS232 SERIAL Adapter CABLE DB9 PIN PL2303
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/meSGrfb

Rgds,
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by weber » Fri, 08 Feb 2019, 15:51

Release Version of Patched Firmware 72.20e for some PF1.0 models (now with KettleKomp™)

[Edit: On 13-Apr-2019 we replaced beta 72.20e here, with release 72.20e. The only change was the first letter of the version number (from B to L). This was after 2 months and 35 downloads of the LFP version and 45 downloads of the Lead aCid/Lithium Cobalt version, with zero bug reports.]

This is the fourth version of our patched firmware based on factory firmware version 72.20 for the PIP-5048MS (64V) and equivalents. There was no 72.20d. We jumped from "c" to "e" so that "e" (and later) would indicate the presence of the kettle-compensation feature, as in 73.00e for PF0.8 models.

This patched firmware has all the same patches as 72.20c and earlier patched firmwares, including Dynamic Charge and Load Control and AussieView™. This includes fixing the infamous premature float bugs.

72.20e adds kettle compensation, or KettleKomp™ for short. This prevents a heavy load like a kettle from causing the inverter to cut off, or switch back to the grid prematurely, due to momentary low battery voltage, when the battery state of charge is not low. It also improves the crude state-of-charge reading provided by the inverter. The following photos will make more sense after you read the Kettle Compensation section of the AussieView and KettleKomp manual.

The following image shows both true and compensated battery voltage (with the flashing "k"), while boiling the kettle.

Image

The following image shows how we piggy-backed the setting of compensation strength on the cut-off voltage setting.

Image

Here are the zip files with all the software you need, to reflash your PIP-5048MS or Axpert MKS 5K-48 (PF1 with 64 V option), and to revert to factory 72.20 firmware if required.

Note: This firmware is only compatible with the 48 V models that have a single low-voltage MPPT and a power factor of 1 (5kW/5kVA) and the 64 V maximum battery voltage option, except for the Axpert King or PIP-5048MK. It is not compatible with those having dual or triple MPPTs, or the older models with a PF0.8 rating (4 kW/5 kVA), and not PF1 models without the optional 64 V hardware, and not models with a maximum PV array open circuit voltage greater than 145 V DC. It is not compatible with grid-feed or hybrid models such as EnerSolar or InfiniSolar. Parallel or phased machines must all run the same patched firmware version.

WARNING!!

Flashing this firmware to an incompatible machine will almost certainly render it useless.
Permanently. Not suitable for Axpert King or PIP-5048MK.

For lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP)† (16S or 15S)
dsp_LF1_72.20e pf1 64V.zip
(1.94 MiB) Downloaded 81 times

For lead acid (24S), lithium cobalt-blends (LCO, NMC, NCM, NCA) (14S), and lithium titanate (LTO) (21S or 20S)
dsp_LC1_72.20e pf1 64V.zip
(1.94 MiB) Downloaded 83 times

For reflashing instructions see the 72.70b reflashing instructions, but ignore the zip files there.

It should go without saying that you use this at your own risk. Please report any problems to this thread.

† "Lithium ferrous phosphate" and "LFP" are the preferred name and abbreviation for what is sometimes called lithium iron phosphate or LiFePO₄.
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Fri, 08 Feb 2019, 19:28

Calibrating your inverter's battery voltage reading

It has long been known that there is a series of commands (BTA0/1/2) that calibrate the inverter (offset and scale), but you have to either use an adjustable power supply in place of the battery, or take a pair of readings many hours apart to guarantee widely different battery voltages. This was "documented" in a PDF file that a few people have seen. But it's always been too hard for the average user to make effective use of.

However, I recently came across a much simpler single command to adjust the battery voltage reading in these inverter-chargers. The command is BTA, followed by a number between "-09" and "+09" (without the quotes, but the leading zero is required). It turns out that you need a change of 2 to make a change of one tenth of a volt in a typical battery reading.

If you have a way of automatically sending CRCs with commands, as I do, then you're set. But many users won't have this, and so would wish for something simpler. Weber's excellent post below shows a way to do this, using just a terminal program such as Tera Term. Set to 2400 bps, and use an appropriate USB to RS-232 adapter with the serial cable that came with your inverter.

To nudge the PIP's battery voltage reading up, type: BTAg01XPenter
To nudge it down, type: BTA</9d*enter
Merely keep sending commands till your inverter reading is what you want.

In case you're wondering how Weber's unusual looking commands work, they exploits two facts: first, anything other than a minus sign in position 4 is treated as positive, and secondly, there is no overflow checking when converting characters to numbers. So the "/9" is like "minus one tens plus a nine". In conjunction with the <, this results in CRCs that are printable, so we can avoid all the mucking about with hexadecimal modes.

The above is by far the easiest method. I'll leave the other method here, since it took me a lot of time to figure it out :geek:
There aren't all that many command combinations that make sense. Here they all are, ready for pasting into AccessPort.
Don't forget to go into settings and choose your COM port (use Device Manager to find which port your USB to serial adapter is), and set to 2400 bps.
In the Send-> area at the bottom, choose the Char radio button and "Hex String" from the drop-down box next to it. (Note: the Hex radio button isn't the right setting!)

If your inverter reads too HIGH:
by .05 V: BTA-01      42 54 41 2D 30 31 82 3C 0D
by 0.1 V: BTA-02      42 54 41 2D 30 32 B2 5F 0D
by 0.2 V: BTA-04      42 54 41 2D 30 34 D2 99 0D
by 0.3 V: BTA-06      42 54 41 2D 30 36 F2 DB 0D
by 0.4 V: BTA-08      42 54 41 2D 30 38 13 15 0D
by .45 V: BTA-09      42 54 41 2D 30 39 03 34 0D

If your inverter reads too LOW:
by .05 V: BTA+01      42 54 41 2B 30 31 30 9C 0D
by 0.1 V: BTA+02      42 54 41 2B 30 32 00 FF 0D
by 0.2 V: BTA+04      42 54 41 2B 30 34 60 39 0D
by 0.3 V: BTA+06      42 54 41 2B 30 36 40 7B 0D
by 0.4 V: BTA+08      42 54 41 2B 30 38 A1 B5 0D
by .45 V: BTA+09      42 54 41 2B 30 39 B1 94 0D

For testing your comms etc but not do anything:
by 0.0 V: BTA-00      42 54 41 2D 30 30 92 1D 0D  

To use: highlight from the "42" to the end of the line (a few extra spaces won't hurt), copy to clipboard (usually ctrl+C for most browsers), paste into AccessPort.

For each command, click Clear, click in the Send-> text box area, then ctrl+V to paste, then click Send. You should see (ACK9 in the receive area above. If you see (NAKss or nothing at all, something is wrong.

[ Edit: modified to present first Weber's vastly easier method. ]
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by 6mdx » Sun, 10 Feb 2019, 12:17

Hey coulomb and weber, thanks for the new kettle komp beta. I hope to try it tomorrow

On another note adjusting the voltage reading on the 5048, mine is about 0.4 v. Higher than my multimeter.

I dont undrstand what I need to calculate to arrive at the check sums?
Further elucidation would be appreciated.

Cheers Robert

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Sun, 10 Feb 2019, 13:32

6mdx wrote:
Sun, 10 Feb 2019, 12:17
On another note adjusting the voltage reading on the 5048, mine is about 0.4 v. Higher than my multimeter.

I don't understand what I need to calculate to arrive at the check sums?
It's all there in the linked posts, but I realise this sort of thing is really hard if you're not used to it. So I've hopefully simplified things; see the end of the calibration post. You'll be wanting the BTA-08 command.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by CrAzY_DrIveR » Mon, 11 Feb 2019, 20:39

There is so much bad and good feedback about these units but this community is so smart and helpful that it makes you think twice about the purchase.
Any feedback on units coming out this year? I am interested in the 5048MG that is max 450v PV so no firmware from you guys :|
Last edited by CrAzY_DrIveR on Mon, 11 Feb 2019, 21:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jonescg » Mon, 11 Feb 2019, 21:03

I'm told the MPP Solar product range (like the PIP5048MK series) are solid products, and most of the bug fixes discussed in this thread are not issues in the later models.

A friend wants to install a whopping 30 kW off-grid system in a shed on WA's south coast. At US$580 each, they are outstanding value.
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Mon, 11 Feb 2019, 21:50

jonescg wrote:
Mon, 11 Feb 2019, 21:03
I'm told ... most of the bug fixes discussed in this thread are not issues in the later models.
Who told you that? The PIP-5048GK (Axpert VM III) is pretty recent, and firmware version 25.90 still has the charge bug, as nearly as I can tell. In fact, it looks like the manufacturer actually believes that the absorb stage should terminate when the charge current is low and the battery voltage is near the float voltage setting. But I'd be quite pleased if you can show me that I'm wrong about this.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jonescg » Tue, 12 Feb 2019, 08:40

Oh - I was going on an earlier response to a query concerning newer models of this inverter. It's about 100 posts back or something.

I can see how attempting to hold a LiFePO4 battery at 58.8 volts for hours would be undesirable. If it still have a float charge bug that's no good.
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by weber » Tue, 12 Feb 2019, 13:51

Great work @coulomb discovering that battery voltage calibration "nudge" command, BTA<xxx>, and figuring out what it does.

I found two versions of the BTA command that let you ignore all that complicated hexadecimal CRC stuff. You just need to have a computer running your favourite terminal program, set to 2400 b/s and connected to the serial port of the PIP/Axpert†, and then:
To nudge the inverter's battery voltage reading up, type: BTAg01XP
To nudge the inverter's battery voltage reading down, type: BTA</9d*
Then hit the Enter or Return key.

These commands nudge the reading by the minimum amount in each direction. Just repeat the appropriate command until you get the reading you want.

† You will need to exit other monitoring software such as WatchPower. To see how, read the end of the fifth paragraph of this post.

I note that people should be careful that whatever they are using for voltage measurement is in fact accurate. There are lots of crap multimeters out there.

If you happen to have an LFP battery and a coulomb-counting type SoC meter (not the crappy voltage-based one in the PIP/Axpert), you can use the battery as a voltage reference. Fully charge and balance your LFP battery then gently discharge it, at 0.1C or less, until your SoC meter says it's at 90% SoC. It doesn't matter if it is really at 85% or 95%. And the battery temperature can be anywhere from 10 °C to 35 °C. Then isolate the battery and rest it for 3 hours or more. The cells will then be at 3.333 V each. That's 53.33 V for 16S and 50.00 V for 15S.
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by paulvk » Wed, 13 Feb 2019, 13:51

weber wrote:
Tue, 12 Feb 2019, 13:51

If you happen to have an LFP battery and a coulomb-counting type SoC meter (not the crappy voltage-based one in the PIP/Axpert),
Just installed this one its working well
Image

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by lopezjm2001 » Fri, 15 Feb 2019, 12:21

I am using a Victron Energy - BMV 702 and uploading data to www.pvoutput.com.
Image
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jdavies1994 » Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 20:29

Hello everyone, I'm having a little trouble updating my inverter. Everytime I click update the Inverter locks up followed by connection failed on my computer. I have tried setting to com 1 (reads ok in watch power). Tried forcing closed watch power in task manager so the com port is definitely not in use. I've tried clicking update at various stages of the power switch being cycled on the inverter. Everything disconnected except the serial and battery. 3 different pl2303 cables all checked out ok on the pl checker.

The only way to get the inverter to unfreeze is by disconnecting the power and reconnecting the switch on the bottom has no effect once it's frozen.

I'm at my wit's end, any help would be really appreciated.

Regards,
Jeran

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 20:55

jdavies1994 wrote:
Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 20:29
Tried forcing closed watch power in task manager so the com port is definitely not in use.
I don't think that actually guarantees that the COM port isn't in use, since the forced closing may well bypass the cleanup code that closes the port. However, it sounds like you've been quite thorough in all other respects.
The only way to get the inverter to unfreeze is by disconnecting the power and reconnecting the switch on the bottom has no effect once it's frozen.
When firmware updates are in progress, the main firmware isn't running, for obvious reasons. So it's expected that the switch on the bottom has no effect.

It sounds like it's actually crashing, rather than running the bootstrap loader. I have a theory that some clones have no bootstrap loader at all, so when the "start flash loading" command is executed, it shuts everything down apart from the LC screen and jumps to a special location in the one flash sector that is never erased. Since there isn't any code there (perhaps all FFFFs), it crashes, or at least never returns. Such clones can never be firmware updated, at least with normal processes.

Have you checked whether your machine might be a clone? If unsure, you could post or PM a picture of your machine's sticker with the bar-code.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jdavies1994 » Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 21:55

coulomb wrote:
Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 20:55
jdavies1994 wrote:
Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 20:29
Tried forcing closed watch power in task manager so the com port is definitely not in use.
I don't think that actually guarantees that the COM port isn't in use, since the forced closing may well bypass the cleanup code that closes the port. However, it sounds like you've been quite thorough in all other respects.
The only way to get the inverter to unfreeze is by disconnecting the power and reconnecting the switch on the bottom has no effect once it's frozen.
When firmware updates are in progress, the main firmware isn't running, for obvious reasons. So it's expected that the switch on the bottom has no effect.

It sounds like it's actually crashing, rather than running the bootstrap loader. I have a theory that some clones have no bootstrap loader at all, so when the "start flash loading" command is executed, it shuts everything down apart from the LC screen and jumps to a special location in the one flash sector that is never erased. Since there isn't any code there (perhaps all FFFFs), it crashes, or at least never returns. Such clones can never be firmware updated, at least with normal processes.

Have you checked whether your machine might be a clone? If unsure, you could post or PM a picture of your machine's sticker with the bar-code.
Thank you for the quick response coulomb. It is possible that I bought a cloned as I bought them from AliExpress. However I hope not as they were labelled as voltronic units. The current firmware is 72.70 c not sure if that insinuates clone or not. However I'll send you a label over now, iappreciate it thank you. The label as far as I can tell follows the checklist you provided apart from the date label sealing it shut.

if it turns out to be a clone is changing the main board a solution as I've seen other people suggest?

Regards
Jeran

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 07:31

jdavies1994 wrote:
Sat, 16 Feb 2019, 21:55
It is possible that I bought a cloned as I bought them from AliExpress.
Ah. Do you have a link for what you bought? It might be interesting to see if there are clues we can give to other buyers, so they know what they are getting.
However I hope not as they were labelled as voltronic units.
They actually mentioned "Voltronic Power"? Or just a term like "Axpert", which leads you to assume that it's from Voltronic Power?
The current firmware is 72.70 c not sure if that insinuates clone or not.
Yes, that's a dead giveaway. The letter on the end is something we've added only to patched firmware; as far as I know no official firmware has a letter or anything else after the last two digits. Certainly, Voltronic Power won't have anything to do with our patched firmware. I wish they would, or at least adopt some of the fixes and features.
However I'll send you a label over now, iappreciate it thank you. The label as far as I can tell follows the checklist you provided apart from the date label sealing it shut.
I've seen the label. Unfortunately, your machine looks very much like a clone, based on
* More than 14 digit bar-code number, in the wrong format
* Use of the ¢ symbol instead of ϕ for "phase"
* Sticker too close to front cover
* No small sticker over the cover screw nearest the main sticker, with manufacturing date

I think I need to move the clone detection part of the "Can I update my firmware" post to a separate post, and expand it somewhat.
if it turns out to be a clone is changing the main board a solution as I've seen other people suggest?
Huh. That's an interesting idea, but the only place to get spare parts like a new main board would be from your official Voltronic Power reseller (such as MPP Solar, Mecer, Inverex, there are many). They won't even talk to you without a serial number from your genuine Voltronic Power inverter-charger. Besides that, you'd really need to replace the SCC board as well, and the control board, and about all that is left is the metal case, LC Display, and fans. PIPs and Axperts are fussy about the fans (very intermittent fan lock warnings), so even those might have to be replaced :shock:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The clones are everywhere at the moment.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jdavies1994 » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 07:42

This is the ones I bought but I got shipped 80a versions. The certificates all said voltronic when I bought them :|

898.83 6%OFF | MPPT Solar Inverter 60A off Grid Solar System 2pcs Parallel Pure Sine Wave Power Battery Charger Inversor Parallel Kit Card Free
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/chYv878z

Gutted 😣 the voltage sag is always causing switch over which is cause everything to flicker all the time 😭

It may have been the control board I read about. Is that the one that holds the firmware CPUs etc?

Sorry haven't quoted all paragraphs. Couldn't figure how to do just sections easily on the phone.

Regards,
Jeran

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 09:35

Do I Own a Clone? (Oh, moan!)

The large number of official resellers of Voltronic Power inverter-chargers makes it hard to know if any inverter-charger for sale or that you've purchased is actually made by Voltronic Power, or an unofficial clone (copy) or work-alike (not a copy, but major elements are very similar). While some clones may work well enough at least for a time, you really don't know what you're getting, and the original manufacturer is saddled with most of the development expense.

MPP Solar (one of the larger resellers, and who seem to have good connections to the manufacturer) have issued two warning bulletins about clones. The first is Must Power: illegal duplicate of inverter design, from November 2015, and specifically mentions the company Must Power. They seem to be quite a large manufacturer, and presumably have legitimate products as well as the illegal clones. In September 2018, they published Declaration of Non-Affiliation: NEXUS inverters. There seems to be a legitimate Nexus brand, so even the name is stolen.

Any clone might use components similar to those of the Voltronic Power model it's copying, but it's nearly impossible to know. Voltronic Power use capacitors rated for 105 °C and 2000 hours; these are reasonable (though I have replaced these in my inverter-charger with 10 000 hour rated capacitors; see this post). What quality capacitors will you find in a clone?

It's difficult to distinguish some clones from the real thing. But so far, these features seem to differentiate the clones:
  • A genuine machine should have a sticker like the below on the side of the inverter, usually the right side, usually about 30 mm from the front cover, with a bar-code and some specifications.
  • Covering the front cover screw nearest this large sticker there should be a smaller sticker with a 4-digit year, and 12 boxes with the numbers 1-12, with one box blacked out. This is both a manufacturing date indication, and if broken becomes an indication that the front cover has been opened (which will probably void your warranty, unless your reseller instructs you to open it).
  • Genuine machines seem to have black cover screws; clones seem to have silver.
  • The bar-code with the serial number on the large sticker should have at least a 14-digit number (possibly preceded by letters such as "VM III" or an "article number", preferably mentioned elsewhere on the sticker), structured as follows:
    • The first several digits (usually 4) should be a product code, for most resellers who don't have a custom sticker this will be 9293 for the models covered by this topic. See below for a list of values seen.
    • The next four (not six) digits should be a manufacturing year and month in YYMM format, for example 1805 for 2018 and May. This manufacturing date should match the smaller sticker.
    • The last 6 or so digits are the actual serial number, which might be unique, or only unique when combined with the manufacturing date. Genuine machines without custom stickers seem to have this number starting with a one.
      Image
    • 14 digits of the bar-code should appear in the device identifier in WatchPower. If you find a device ID like 55355535553535, it's likely a clone.
      CloneDeviceID.png
      CloneDeviceID.png (44.71 KiB) Viewed 3280 times
  • If the brand and model appears in the list of known inverters near the top of the first post of this topic, it's a good sign that it's not a clone. Of course, everything including the brand and model can be faked.
  • In three places, the string "1Φ" appears on the large sticker (meaning single phase). In some of the clones, these render as "1¢". With some custom stickers of genuine machines, it is written as "1-ph.".
  • If the main firmware as delivered has more than 4 digits, or a letter after the last two digits, it's patched firmware, and is a definite sign of a clone. The main firmware "screen" in a genuine machine (as it comes from the factory) should start with "U1". Clones have been known to come from the factory with "LC1 72 70C". I speculate that they do this to avoid fault code 90.
  • If you've done absolutely everything right and can't update the firmware, that seems to be a good indication of a clone. However, some clones, particularly those that come with main firmware version 72.90, are able to have their firmware updated. Early clones that come with patched firmware version 72.70c (LC flavour) seem mostly not able to be updated.
  • If your machine stops with fault code 90 (error 90), and you have not updated the firmware, this is an indication that you have a clone. Unfortunately, it appears that a few genuine machines also seem to have had this fault come up.
For interest's sake, other "product codes" that I have found on genuine but not custom stickers:
  • 9293 seems to cover all 5 kVA models without a removable display, PF0.8 or PF1, and 4 kVA 3200 W models. Also dual/triple MPPT models, and Axpert MKS II with 450 V MPPT.
  • 9233 3 kVA PF0.8 or PF1
  • 9213 1 kVA PF1
  • 9249 VM III 3200 W PF1
  • 9281 PF0.8 2400 W hybrid? Main firmware 79.20
  • 9616 Infini 10 kW
The heat-sink on top should have disappeared by October 2015.

There is evidence, such as this post, that a main firmware version of 72.90 means it's a clone. However, the fifth post of this Google translated page indicates otherwise.

When resellers purchase a container load (!) of inverters at once (see this post), they are entitled to a custom sticker, and the details of the custom sticker can vary somewhat from the guidelines above. For example, here is the sticker for a machine that appears to be genuine:

Steca custom sticker.jpg
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A few things to note about the above sticker:
  • The brand is a well-known one, so it's believable that they would resell enough machines to warrant the custom sticker.
  • The small manufacturing date sticker covering a front cover screw is present.
  • The bar-code number has way more digits than the usual 14, but it's still structured much the same: the "product code" (highlighted in green) matches the "article number" near the top of the sticker. The manufacturing date (1806, or possibly 180620) matches the year and month of the smaller sticker.
  • The general layout, while different in detail (e.g. two columns in a table), conveys much the same information. The only thing missing is the maximum battery voltage.
  • The "1 Φ" that seems to give many clone makers trouble (appearing as "1 ¢") here appears as "1-ph.". At least it shows that the manufacturer understands that this means "single phase".
By contrast, here is an example of a fairly definite clone's label:
Sticker indicates clone.jpg
Sticker indicates clone.jpg (90.04 KiB) Viewed 2534 times
  • There is no small sticker over the nearest cover screw.
  • The bar-code has too many digits, and is in the wrong format.
  • The cover screws are silver.
  • The bottom screw is too close to the sticker.
  • The font is wrong somehow, e.g. the "Φ" characters are very fat. At least they're not cent signs.
This one has other red flags:
Clone restart warning.jpg
Clone restart warning.jpg (44.33 KiB) Viewed 2534 times
  • This one has a sticker on top telling the user not to use certain firmware settings, or the machine will blow up and warranty will be voided. Why put features into your firmware that blows the machine up? Only if you stole the firmware and have no choice, I suggest.
  • The barcode is on a sticker over the main sticker. Could they not afford to customise the larger sticker?
The first and possibly most common clone is the Must brand. Avoid these logos:
Must logos.jpg
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Signs of clone 1.jpg
Signs of clone 1.jpg (32.83 KiB) Viewed 3886 times
The model "PV1800" seems to be a Must model number. The 3D rectangles logo seems to belong to Must. The rounded cable cover also indicates a clone.

Must inverters don't always have their name on them. A different-coloured stripe along the bottom of the front cover seems to be a Must favourite (but obviously isn't conclusive):
Stripe suggests clone.jpg
Stripe suggests clone.jpg (23.61 KiB) Viewed 3886 times
The LC Displays of some clones show variations. In a 5 kVA model, the LC Display plastic should be rectangular, no curved edges (some rounding of the corners is normal, as per the below). If the there are other than three LEDs arranged horizontally between the actual LC Display and the four buttons, it's a clone. The four buttons should be plain black, no arrows (etc) on them. (Note: the recent models with way more buttons and a distinctly different LC Display layout are obviously not going to look like this, but those aren't covered by this whole topic anyway.)
Genuine LC Display.jpg
Genuine LC Display.jpg (28.09 KiB) Viewed 3886 times
Finally, some known clone brands:
  • Must, as mentioned above
  • Synerji look-alike.
    • Note that there are Must and Synerji models (e.g. the Must PH1800 Plus) which look like the Voltronic Power originals, but are grid-tie capable. Check setting 09 (it may vary in setting number): if it is set to GrE or Grd ("Solar or battery energy feed to grid" enable/disable), then it's a clone.
  • VOLTRON (example, while it lasts)
  • Fronus (note: not the well-known Fronius, with an "i") work-alike; example. There are advertisements for 6 kVA VM IIIs.
  • The Sunicorn MHP series (and their PWM HP cousins) from Sacolar are possibly more of a work-alike than a direct clone.
Caveat Emptor!

It's a clone. What now?

If you knew that the machine you bought was a clone, then you're stuck with it. For the rest of this section, I'll assume that you expected your clone to be yet another legal rebranding of a genuine Voltronic Power model.

Most clones cost less than the original. So you could keep it, and live with whatever limitations it has. It may be built with inferior components, so it may have a shorter life than a genuine model. Unless your clone came with a patched firmware, (and even then), you don't know for sure that performing a firmware update (if even possible) will work as expected, and you probably can't go back to the original firmware that it came with.

It seems that at least some of the clone resellers don't realise that their product is a clone, with all the limitations that this implies. You may be able to shame your supplier into swapping it for a genuine model, if they can source one, possibly for a little more money, just to protect their reputation and sense of fair dealing.

One of the major limitations of some (but not all) clones is that they can't have their firmware updated. There is some evidence that some clone manufacturers have learned to work around this, so you may be able to obtain a replacement control card that is able to be firmware updated.

Pure speculation: if you bought a clone from Ebay or similar, it may be possible to get your money back under the "not as advertised" rule, but it's a grey area. Similarly, some countries' fair trading laws and/or consumer ombudsman may be able to help or at least apply pressure.

[ Edit: Some Inverex genuine models have "VM III" before the standard 14-digit bar-code. ]
[ Edit: Several changes and a new photo attempting to clarify what custom stickers, such as those on Steca branded machines, should look like. ]
[ Edit: The Synerji may not be meant to be a clone, and perhaps only accidentally looks like a Voltronic Power off-grid inverter-charger. ]
[ Edit: Added "What now?" section. ]
[ Edit: Added check of bar-code number with device ID. ]
[ Edit: Added check that the LC Display buttons should be plain black. ]
[ Edit: added MustPower hybrid example. Clarified Synerji/Must hybrid situation. ]
[ Edit: mentioned Sacolar Sunicorn. ]
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

CrAzY_DrIveR
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by CrAzY_DrIveR » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 10:02

just found this inverter really close to me thanks to you guys or i would have bought it :!:
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coulomb
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by coulomb » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 11:44

jdavies1994 wrote:
Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 07:42
Gutted 😣 the voltage sag is always causing switch over which is cause everything to flicker all the time 😭
That may be a battery or battery cable issue.
It may have been the control board I read about. Is that the one that holds the firmware CPUs etc?
The control board (plugs into the main board on one side) does contain the main digital signals processor (DSP), which contains the firmware, and a lot of other stuff including the EEPROM where settings are stored, and various op-amps and buffers. I doubt you'll be able to obtain a genuine control board, and even if you could, it might have slightly different pinouts, and might not even fit mechanically.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
1.4 kW solar with 1.2 kW Latronics inverter and FIT.
160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

jdavies1994
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jdavies1994 » Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 18:14

Good work on that clone post coulomb.

I have 8 X 16mm (2 for positive and 2 for negative on each inverter and only 1.5 meters long)

The voltage is fine until I boil the kettle (around 50a) and I get around 4/5v drop across the pack. Probably says more about the batteries. They were sold as deep cycle but have since found there dual purpose so probably not great choice for solar.
coulomb wrote:
Sun, 17 Feb 2019, 11:44
It may have been the control board I read about. Is that the one that holds the firmware CPUs etc?
The control board (plugs into the main board on one side) does contain the main digital signals processor (DSP), which contains the firmware, and a lot of other stuff including the EEPROM where settings are stored, and various op-amps and buffers. I doubt you'll be able to obtain a genuine control board, and even if you could, it might have slightly different pinouts, and might not even fit mechanically.
I'll see if I can find a serial number online and go direct.

Might be worth it just for testing purposes etc

Thanks again coulomb
Jeran

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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by swagner2018 » Tue, 19 Feb 2019, 01:27

Hello All,

Today I've tried to update the firmware but I get always in the ReflashTool "Can not open serial port" I have tried different USB to RS232 Adapter and different COM ports.

FTDI driver version 2.12.28.0
Prolific PL-2303TA chip and driver version 3.2.0.0 and 3.6.81.357
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64Bit

The Connection to Watch Power via USB to RS232 works without any problems either with the FTDI or Prolific.

Did somebody updated the firmware using one of the mentioned USB to RS232 adapter with Windows 10 Pro 64Bit ?

Thanks and have a nice day,

Stefan

jdavies1994
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by jdavies1994 » Tue, 19 Feb 2019, 05:29

swagner2018 wrote:
Tue, 19 Feb 2019, 01:27
Today I've tried to update the firmware but I get always in the ReflashTool "Can not open serial port"
Have you made sure watch power is definitely closed and the com port is open.

[ Edited Coulomb: trimmed quote ]

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erland82
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Re: PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

Post by erland82 » Tue, 19 Feb 2019, 07:08

swagner2018 wrote:
Tue, 19 Feb 2019, 01:27
Today I've tried to update the firmware but I get always in the ReflashTool "Can not open serial port"
Yes, i just updated mine. With a windows 10 Pro 64Bit pc and a USB to RS232 adapter.

[ Edited Coulomb: trimmed quote ]
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