PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

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Tejota
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Re: About comm board bypass

Post by Tejota »

coulomb wrote: Thu, 18 Jun 2020, 10:36
Tejota wrote: Wed, 17 Jun 2020, 22:11 Is there any possibility to directly attack the UART of the control board without going through the communication board??
...
I am referring to converters of the DT-06 or HC-08 type powering directly from the 5V of the control board. With these converters the isolation is total since it is wifi or bluetooth to TTL level.
That should be fine, though I wonder at the effects of tiny capacitances to earth on Radio Frequency receivers.
Axpert King and VMIII have got built in Bluetooth converter inside. But I dont know if BT converter inject/receive data after o before optocouplers.

coulomb wrote: Thu, 18 Jun 2020, 10:36
Tejota wrote: Wed, 17 Jun 2020, 22:11
Even with tcpip-ttl converters like this and powered from the 5V's on the control board I think the digital ground isolation would be respected since the rj45 tcpip connector pins are never grounded.

Image

Any problems using these converters directly to the UART on the control board??
The "UART on the control board" is inside the DSP itself. [ Edit: Therefore, if you cause any problems, it's not going to be an easy chip to replace. ] I assume that CAT-5 cable is non-isolated from both the transmitter and the receiver, but I've never looked into that. Even if they are isolated by a tiny toroidal transformer, it's not clear to me that they can withstand hundreds of volts continuously, or that they will be immune to the presumably somewhat spiky voltages with respect to earth. So these I would not use or even experiment with.
Ground CAT6 wire on RJ45 is in the connector housing but this ground is not digital ground from converter USRIOT.
RJ45 TCPIP conector pinouts havent got any digital ground.

Anyway, I think to incorporate these converters, the most secure procedure is to use optocouplers and power supply from comm board.
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by manio »

coulomb wrote: Sun, 26 Jul 2015, 02:21 [...] we discovered a multitude of failed parts:

Image
@coulomb
I can see from the above that you had similar problem soldering out the IGBTs. Even when I use desolder station it was very hard to take it out without small damage. In my case I also took a via from one IGBT's gate on the upper layer of the PCB. But as far as I can see - the QD2 gate is only connected on the bottom layer so I hope I will be ok after soldering the replacement in... what do you think? Did you do some additional track repairing?

One more thing:
coulomb wrote: Thu, 13 Jul 2017, 21:17 The low side battery MOSFETs are on the outside; the high side battery MOSFETs are in the middle. The primary of the high frequency transformer is the output of the MOSFET full bridge. The drains of the low side MOSFETs, the sources of the high side MOSFETs, and the inputs of the high frequency transformer are connected by a flat bar between the main PCB and the heatsink for the MOSFETs. Tabs from these two flat bars bend down at 90° to the bar, and poke through the PCB like thick square component leads [ edit: see this post for what they really look like ] :

Image
I was measuring resistance between these two flat bars (Flat bar 1 and Flat bar 2 from the transformer inputs) and the meter is showing 0 ohms (MOSFETs soldered in), I hope this is ok, right?
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

manio wrote: Thu, 25 Jun 2020, 19:12But as far as I can see - the QD2 gate is only connected on the bottom layer so I hope I will be ok after soldering the replacement in... what do you think? Did you do some additional track repairing?
Yes, the gate should not need a plated through hole if there are no additional parts on the upper side. From memory, all the gate connections I've ever seen on these inverter-chargers are on the bottom side. So that should be fine.
I was measuring resistance between these two flat bars (Flat bar 1 and Flat bar 2 from the transformer inputs) and the meter is showing 0 ohms (MOSFETs soldered in), I hope this is ok, right?
Yes, the transformer primary winding resistance has to be very low resistance, or the losses would be horrendous. So you won't measure any resistance with a general purpose multimeter.

If you really wanted to measure the resistance, you'd have to pass a known current through the winding (say 3 A from a current limited power supply), and measure the voltage drop on the millivolt scale right at the terminals (those flat bars). Use Ohm's law (R = V/I) to calculate the resistance. I've not heard of transformers failing, but of course it could happen.
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5650 W solar, 2xPIP-4048MS inverters, 16 kWh battery.
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by manio »

Hello!
I only want to let you know that it seems that I've successfully repaired my inverter thanks to you guys!
So far it is working properly with the nominal load :)

My special thanks goes to: @coulomb and @weber for answering my questions and helping me with the order/repair process 8-)
Thank you, I really appreciate this!


ps. here is the complete list of replaced elements:
- 4x 4200uF/35V capacitors, replacement: EKZN500ELL332MM40S
- 16x IRFB3206 MOSFETs, replacement: IRFB3206PBF
- 1x SMD 200 Ohm resistor (in the MOSFET driver), replacement
- 1x SMD 10 Ohm resistor (in the MOSFET driver), replacement
- 2x GP4063D IGBTs, replacement: chinese clone from ebay

Complete story:
https://skyboo.net/2020/07/my-skymax-inverter-died/

regards!
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by weber »

manio wrote: Sun, 12 Jul 2020, 23:36 I only want to let you know that it seems that I've successfully repaired my inverter thanks to you guys!
Congratulations, Manio! That's great to hear. :) And thanks for the writeup.
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Growatt SPF5000

Post by Vissie »

Good day . I have a problem on this inverter when charging the battery from AC
This is a lot like the PIP board but it does not have Q32 for charging
I need to know how it does the charging
It starts to charge and than trip my AC input circuit breaker
I cannot find any faulty components on this board
Please see photos of board
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Vissie
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Re: Growatt SPF5000

Post by coulomb »

Vissie wrote: Mon, 27 Jul 2020, 21:06 This is a lot like the PIP board but it does not have Q32 for charging
But presumably it still has Q31; Q31 and Q32 are in parallel. Older boards had the two, newer boards (somewhere around 2015) only have Q31.

This/these form a buck converter with L1 and D31, when utility charging.
I need to know how it does the charging
I works by running the inverter-proper (full bridge, QA1-QD2) in reverse (appropriate phase of the gate signals in comparison to the phase of the AC-out, which is at that point connected to AC-in through the safety relays. So the problem is likely some fault in either the full bridge (but that might be OK if there is no problem until utility charging), or the buck circuit.
It starts to charge and than trip my AC input circuit breaker
Is the input breaker an earth leakage / residual current breaker, or just an overload breaker? I assume that this doesn't trip with a non-faulty board/inverter-charger connected.

If it's an RCD that trips, look for leakage to earth/chassis. Note that an RCD connected to the AC-in is expected to trip due to the EMI suppressing capacitors to earth/chassis, depending on the sensitivity of the RCD and the other leakages to earth in the house/lab.
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 inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

This one only has the 2 sets of H bridge IGBTs. 2 sets of 4. That Q3.. does not exist. It also has no L1 or D13.
That is why I am confused as to how the charging from AC works.
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

Vissie wrote: Tue, 28 Jul 2020, 16:11 This one only has the 2 sets of H bridge IGBTs. 2 sets of 4. That Q3.. does not exist.
Ah. Somehow I didn't see your second and third photos. That's a Growatt, not manufactured by Voltronic Power. There are many similarities to PIP inverters, but they are not direct copies. I should have realised by the bus capacitors not being side by side. I assumed it was a 24 V model, hence the unfamiliar proportions of the heatsinks, etc.

Your images are very small, it's hard to read the text or see much detail. That's the opposite problem with many posters; they tend to post images from megapixel phones or cameras directly without resizing them down.

So I can only guess how utility charging might work for this machine. There don't seem to be enough semiconductors for double conversion, as in the PIP-MK / Axpert King.

In many Voltronic models smaller than 5 kVA, there seems to be a separate board to the main board with the AC to DC converter (utility battery charger). Is there such a board? I assume it would be obvious, and if so I assume you would have posted a photo of that board as well.

Growatt may have found a way of eliminating the buck stage. Indeed, I don't see the equivalent of L1 in your first photo. Perhaps they eliminate the buck stage by making the DC-DC converter (48 V battery ⇔ 400 V bus) somehow be variable ratio. The Voltronic Power models are a fixed 1:8 ratio (1:7 ratio for 64 V models), fixed by the turns ratio of the transformer. I don't know enough about power converters to know if this is feasible.

Edit: a final thought: perhaps this Growatt has a very restricted range of battery voltages over which it can operate? That could eliminate the need for the buck converter, at the cost of a lot of flexibility.
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 inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

Hi
It has a big dual solar charger but it doesn't seem like any AC is going there. Than there is the comms board in front and this little board in the back that looks like a switched power supply, that has thick dc wires going to the battery and all the other wires connecting to it from the main board are thin wires
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

I came to the conclusion that the control card or firmware is corrupt. And of coarse Growatt say that they cant help with firmware on such old models
I seems like the relays sometimes switch incorrectly. If my old heavy transformer is switched on and this thing stars charging that old inverter goes into a noisy buzz as if this one output unsynched ac onto the input ac line and then it trips the breaker in my db box.
I still have no idea how they do the charging from ac but thats not important anymore as I hardly ever get this things for repair
Without another control card to test with Im lost
At least it can run and charge from solar
Thanks for all the help and ideas on this one
Regards
Vissie
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by urubuolx »

Hello guys,
First of all I want to congratulate and thank you all for sharing your knowledge and this wonderful forum.
I am from Portugal (small country on the other side of the World from you guys)
I have been reading the threads from some time just for knowledge but unfortunately now I really need some advice.
I have a 4kva Inverter from MPPSolar model PIP 3248MS installed in my house with 3000W PV array and 100Ah battery pack that after a grid power failure, reported the 58 Error and stop generating the inverter 230 AC output. After the reset the error disappeared but the inverter doesn’t generate output and display report 0V AC. All the other functions are working ok (charging batteries and direct grid AC). I already open the unit and make visual and MOSFETs checking and nothing visible was found burned or shorted on the MOSFETs side (all seem to report good values with the revert diode intact).
The most strange is that I hear a clicking with a period of around 1 second or less. Seems that something is trying to start but cannot. Any idea what I should check first? Does it ring any bell?
Thanks
Urubu
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

urubuolx wrote: Wed, 02 Sep 2020, 06:53 Hello guys,
Welcome.
I already open the unit and make visual and MOSFETs checking and nothing visible was found burned or shorted on the MOSFETs side (all seem to report good values with the revert diode intact).
You should check the 8 IGBTs as well. I'd say that you don't have a short across the DC bus, or you would get a fault code 09.
The most strange is that I hear a clicking with a period of around 1 second or less. Seems that something is trying to start but cannot. Any idea what I should check first? Does it ring any bell?
🛎 :) Yes, it does. I don't know exactly where the sound comes from, but it's common when the main power supply is attempting to come up and can't. Yours must be a model that has an AC power supply as well as one that runs from the battery. The AC power supply must be operating the processor, display, and bypass relays. So my guess is some sort of problem with the battery power supply, though on its own, as long as you have AC-in present, I don't see how that would prevent the inverter proper (DC to AC converter) from working.

I'd try starting with the AC-in isolated, to see if the battery power supply is working. If not, use the partial schematic for the 4048 models as a guide.

It may be that something is causing the power supply voltage to collapse, that only comes on when the inverter-proper is operating. So check the IGBT gate drivers.
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 inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by urubuolx »

Hi Coulomb,
Thank for your fast reply.
I already tested with battery only and the display and functions seem to work ok. Battery voltage is enough to operate the unit.
The clicking like you said is not possible to identify the origin. It's really strange!
My unit only has 4 IGBTs and all have good readings.
When you mean IGBTs drivers, do you mean the 8 pin DIP ICs (T350)?
They look ok! How can i check it? Is anything i should look for?
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

urubuolx wrote: Thu, 03 Sep 2020, 07:38 The clicking like you said is not possible to identify the origin. It's really strange!
Weber has a unit with similar symptoms. He mentioned some small electrolytic capacitors across the 15 V or 12 V supply, especially if above the battery-side heatsink (perhaps C75 / C78 / C20 / C141 (for 5 kVA models, they may differ for smaller models); my component guesses).
My unit only has 4 IGBTs and all have good readings.
I suspect you have another four at the higher voltage end of the main DC-DC converter; they may be TO-220 devices.
When you mean IGBTs drivers, do you mean the 8 pin DIP ICs (T350)?
I mean the whole driver circuit, check all diode forward voltages (including those inside the ICs), test resistors where possible, especially the low resistance ones near the gates. But perhaps first try to get a measurement of the 12 V and 15 V power supplies while running (you may need to solder temporary wires to do this safely).
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 inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by weber »

Not necessarily across the 15 V or 12 V supply, but at least involved in producing those supplies. Possibly the electrolytic across the supply pins of the PWM chip involved in making those supplies.
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

Good day
Im struggling with a inverter called Solar solved Africa VM 5KV 48V. Its the same as the normal Axperts or pips. Just the layout differ
I replaced all 16 mosfets on the dc dc side and there was only one 10 ohm resistor fauty in the drive circuits.
Also replaced the 5 IGBTs on the other side of the dc dc transformer. Drive circuits was ok
It works perfect under load from battery when the ac supply is off
When the ac comes back and goes in bypass mode and the battery charges it works perfect and charge perfect till the battery is full and then suddenly it stops with error code 8. Bus voltage to high.
After switching off and removing battery and ac for a while it will switch on again after connecting all with no problem
I have done a restore to factory defaults and have no idea what to check next
Any ideas?
Regards
Vissie
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

Vissie wrote: Thu, 03 Sep 2020, 17:04 When the ac comes back and goes in bypass mode and the battery charges it works perfect and charge perfect till the battery is full and then suddenly it stops with error code 8. Bus voltage to high.
At the end of utility battery charging, the power flow will reverse from into the battery to out of the battery. This will reverse the power flow through L1 and Q31, the buck transistor. I'd be suspicious about the buck circuit; perhaps some capacitors around L1, C42. C16, C17. Ah. I wonder if D13 could be open circuit. Depending on battery voltage, the buck transistor might not switch, just turn on hard, meaning D13 doesn't have to do any switching except perhaps when the current through L1 changes direction. It should be easy enough to check in-circuit, even with the biggish bus capacitors across it. If D13 didn't conduct, then I'd expect the inductor's energy to decrease the bus voltage, but perhaps the control circuit over-reacts and overcharges the bus from the mains (with the full-bridge perhaps still in reverse). Ok, it's a long shot.

Your replacement for Q31 presumably is the type with an integral diode, right? With a "D" in the part number? Recall Weber's saga here. I assume it has to be, for the inverter to work in battery mode.
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 inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

Thank you. It makes sense what you say
Normally Q31 blows together with any of the 4 IGBTs on whatever side. In this case it did not and Its the first time in many that I did not replace it
I will make work of it and double check its drive circuit and D13. Yes it does use an IGBT with the diode in.
That is normally all I check in circuit and if the internal diode is ok mostly the IGBT is ok
Thank you
Will report back
Regards
Vissie
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

Hi
I replaced Q13 even though it was ok. D13 also ok. C42. C16, C17 also ok
I found the 2 bus caps a bit low and replaced them
The problem is still there
I found on the Axpert service manual that Error 8 can be firmware. The current firmware is U1 20 30
What I have to load is U1 72 70 etc. Im not sure if it will even load and if the inverter will still work afterwards
I want to insert an Axpert control card and lcd display and start it up to see if the fault goes away
The company that sold this inverters does not exist anymore so I have no idea where to get that firmware
Will keep you updated
Regards
Vissie
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by Vissie »

Ok. Inserting an Axpert control card wont work. The footprint is completely different
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Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by coulomb »

Vissie wrote: Fri, 04 Sep 2020, 16:36 Ok. Inserting an Axpert control card wont work. The footprint is completely different
Yes, it's a VM model, but presumably not a VM II (those have 450 V max SCC).
The current firmware is U1 20 30
What I have to load is U1 72 70 etc. Im not sure if it will even load and if the inverter will still work afterwards
No, 72.70 is either quite old PF0.8 firmware for 4 kW PV (this one is 3 kW), or very modern PF1.0 also for 4 kW PV and 64 V max.

I've never seen Axpert VM (non II) firmware.
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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Do I have my PIP-4048 Inverter bricked?

Post by klaus.ramge »

This is my first post.
When I made something wrong, please tell me.
I'm from Germany, so please excuse my english...

Do I have my PIP-4048 Inverter bricked?

I have four paralleled HYB5032M (bought from Foshan Ouyad Electronic Co.,Ltd).
As I know now, they're a cheap clone, but they worked fine since May until 09.05 2020.
My clones don't offer 64V, only 58.4V battery voltage, they allow a solar input voltage up to only 145V and they contain exactly one MPPT input.
When I got the inverters, they had installed the firmware 73.00.
So I hoped that a firmware upgrade could work properly.

Yesterday, (the first) one of them displayed Error 90. This was the day, I was waiting for since I have been reading from the "Ticking Time Bomb" in this forum.
I tried to get support from China, but without success. The manufacturer is either clueless or unhelpful.
So I tried to update the firmware to version dsp_LC1_73.00e of the inverter which showed error 90 and it worked fine, after about ten minutes the new firmware was properly installed and I was happy.

Then I installed the firmware update at the second of my four inverters, because I didn't know if paralleled inverters with 73.00 and 73.00e would work properly together. The firmware upgrade at the second inverter worked fine too.

Then I tried to update the third inverter from 73.00 to 73.00e, but
I got a nasty surprise: The upgrade started as normal, but the number of transferred blocks per time unit decreased over the course of the upgrade and ended up after over an hour with only one block per second. Nevertheless I reached 99%, but then I got an error message that the upgrade had failed.
I tried several times to get ANY firmware to this inverter, the procedure is always the same:
At the beginning it looks fine, after half a minute or two the upgrade process gets slower ans slower and at the end (after over an hour) the upgrade fails with 99% of transferred Blocks.

Now I don't know what to do. Shall I try to upgrade the fourth inverter or not?
If the upgrade will fail, I have destroyed 2 of 4 inverters, if it runs properly, I have three working inverters, which would be ok for me.

Because I have 4 identical inverters here, I could also swap modules with each other so that the upgrade might be implemented successfully, but in which module is the firmware stored?
And do I even have a chance of success when I exchange the parts between the inverters or does the module which contains the firmware prevent the successful upgrade by itself?

Or could I use two inverters with firmware 73.00e together with one inverter with firmware 73.00 paralleled?

I would be very happy if anybody could help me to find a decision.
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Re: Do I have my PIP-4048 Inverter bricked?

Post by coulomb »

klaus.ramge wrote: Sat, 05 Sep 2020, 13:53 This is my first post.
Welcome.
Do I have my PIP-4048 Inverter bricked?
Almost certainly not.
Then I tried to update the third inverter from 73.00 to 73.00e, but
I got a nasty surprise: The upgrade started as normal, but the number of transferred blocks per time unit decreased over the course of the upgrade and ended up after over an hour with only one block per second.
It sounds like this one has a marginal comms board. Luckily, you have three spares, two of which are known to work well! See below.
Now I don't know what to do. Shall I try to upgrade the fourth inverter or not?
I would try to get this third one updated first. Even if just for peace of mind.
Because I have 4 identical inverters here, I could also swap modules with each other so that the upgrade might be implemented successfully, but in which module is the firmware stored?
In a real PIP/Axpert, the firmware is in a TI DSP chip on the control board.
And do I even have a chance of success when I exchange the parts between the inverters or does the module which contains the firmware prevent the successful upgrade by itself?
The easiest thing is to exchange the communications board with one of the known good ones (the first two you updated). I'm pretty sure that this will enable you to update this one without problem.
Or could I use two inverters with firmware 73.00e together with one inverter with firmware 73.00 paralleled?
No, don't do that. The CAN packets between master and slaves had to be changed to allow for zero total charging current. I can't quickly recall if there were other changes that were made to the CAN packets. I'm 99% sure you can update all four machines.

You are lucky that these clones (if that's what they are, and it seems very likely) were able to update the firmware at all. But you have twice proved that it can be done.

Good luck, and let is know how you go.
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.
klaus.ramge
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Posts: 3
Joined: Fri, 04 Sep 2020, 18:52

Re: PIP inverter repairs and hardware modifications

Post by klaus.ramge »

Thanks a lot for the answers!
Now I got peace in my mind: I upgraded the last inverter successfully to 71.00e.
My system works now with these three inverters, so I didn't lose topo much soar energy (only one day).
Now my challenge is to repair the forth inverter.
I found a curcuit board inside the fourth inverter, which is connected by a cable with the board where I can plug in the serial cable for the computer. I think one of these two boards is not ok and causes the problems. I will exchange the smaller board first to see if the upgrade runs then. Then I will exchange the bigger board to see what happens then.
I will report what happened....
...Klaus
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