PIP-4048MS inverter

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Post by coulomb » Sat, 27 Jun 2015, 00:38

offgridQLD wrote: ... showing 2100w AC output ... . My imiev is showing 1600w to the battery. All this conversion wastage. Just under 30% total loss

Well, don't forget that the iMiev is also using power, to drive coolant pumps, all the 12 V loads via the DC/DC, and so on. So the losses aren't quite that bad.

But yes, you are converting DC to AC, then AC to DC; two main conversion steps. (Though I think that there are actually three conversion stages inside the PIP, a DC/DC, a buck stage, and the final DC/AC inverter. But who cares, that combination seems efficient enough.)

If you did want to improve this efficiency (and I think you don't ;-) you could build your own Chademo setup to DC/DC directly from the eJerry Can to the pack. I think I read somewhere that the protocol details are all available on the 'net. But I think that just the Chademo connector plus cable on its own would be a big proportion of the cost of the PIP inverter, then there would be the moderately sized DC/DC, and the protocol would be a nightmare. Tritium claim that they finalised approval in Japan the quickest of any company, in about a week! You don't need that level of compliance, of course, but it has to be pretty daunting.
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Post by offgridQLD » Sat, 27 Jun 2015, 23:09

Yes the PIP4048 was only contributing to about 8-10% of the losses. The Imiev (base loads) and charger inefficacy was the other 18-20% and you get that if your charging from mains or inverter and it becomes less in percentage terms the faster you charge (3200w)charge rate would be better.

I need to come up with some kind of precharge arrangement (To avoid the zap when the PIP's caps charge initially) for the PIP4048 as I need to disconnect it regularly at the 120A Anderson and remove the PIP4048 and battery separately.

Kurt

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Post by coulomb » Sun, 28 Jun 2015, 05:46

offgridQLD wrote: I need to come up with some kind of precharge arrangement (To avoid the zap when the PIP's caps charge initially) for the PIP4048 as I need to disconnect it regularly at the 120A Anderson and remove the PIP4048 and battery separately.
I've experienced one of the zaps, and it's not pleasant. But Weber claims that there is a pre-charge circuit in the PIP, just that it doesn't operate if the battery has only recently been disconnected. He says he's had many connects where there was no splat at all.

According to the Main Board Repairing Service Guide, there is a "bus soft start circuit", and "reverse protection MOSFETs on DC side". The "bus" might refer to the DC bus (battery capacitors), but more likely it refers to one of the two (!) higher voltage buses. It seems likely that they would include DC bus pre-charging along with the reverse protection on the DC side of the bus.

Have you perhaps not allowed the DC bus capacitors to discharge before re-applying the battery? If you have, perhaps there is some other trick to getting the pre-charge circuit, assuming there really is one, to take effect.
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Post by offgridQLD » Sun, 28 Jun 2015, 15:54

"Weber claims that there is a pre-charge circuit in the PIP, just that it doesn't operate if the battery has only recently been disconnected"

It could well be that I haven't given it time. Typically I Would disconnect the battery and remove the Inverter and battery from the car. Place them both on the bench and then plug the battery back in to PIP to charge the battery back up again via the PIP's Ac mains charger.

It hasn't happened all the time perhaps 2 times over 20 or so disconnect/reconnects. Enough to show some small arcing damage on the leading face of the Anderson pins than needed to be polished out.

I will keep that info in mind and give it some time befor reconnecting the battery and see how I go. Hopefully it wont happen again.

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Post by PlanB » Mon, 29 Jun 2015, 23:08

Well no sign of a precharge here! Everytime I connect my battery there is an almighty spark even if the ESS has been sitting overnight!
The $29 power meter says 4.9A~ mains stdby current for 2 boxes in parallel with the pack on light charge (1.1ADC=65w from each box) with a 0.24 power factor. So, if it's right, that's still about 4.9x250x0.24-130=60wtotal or 30w/per box.
Also battery current into 2 boxes in parallel (no external load) is about 2.5ADC, so that's another 70w/box!
Each box is chewing through ~100w just sitting there. In case you're wondering, I wandered into this energy black hole because I stumbled across perpetual motion, ie the boxes reporting a power output greater than the sum of their inputs from battery, solar & mains charging.

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Post by offgridQLD » Mon, 29 Jun 2015, 23:56

PlanB,
      I think you my as well be giving us the football score or lotto numbers if your metering is not accurate.

I measured the DC idle consumption of one PIP4048 with a more accurate inline shunt based power meter and it was 48W. So I would expect 96w for the two.

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Post by ChrisHobson » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 10:08

Hi I am a South African rancher and have read this thread through start to finish. There is an incredible amount of information here about the PIP4048. In South Africa the PIP is marketed as an Axpert 5kVA or Mecer 5kVA and they have the reputation of being reliable inexpensive (if one can describe an inverter as inexpensive) units. Some of the Aussie users' experience tends to differ from this.

I am not involved in electric cars in anyway but have just purchased a PIP (Mecer) as part of an off grid system for my farm house.

I have a problem in that the setting of the charging rate for output from the PV cannot be set. The overall charging rate can be set to between 70A and 120A This is far too high for the 4x 260Ah batteries that I have secured.This differs from the Aussie manual which allows 10A to 120A. Batteries are scarce since our government has managed to turn an electrical network that had 25% spare capacity when they cam to power into one that limps along with scheduled blackouts in rotation to prevent the entire grid collapsing. I am unlikely to secure more batteries with out paying a king's ransom so I would like my charge rate both PV and AC input to be 25A or 20A if necessary.

Johnny posted protocols for the PIP and I was wondering how does one go about communicating with the PIP using these protocols and whether anyone had practical experience using the protocols? I would love to lower the charge rate of the PIP(Mercer).

Thank-you

Chris


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Post by solamahn » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 11:13

What size and how many solar panels have you got connected and in what configuration.
Our prog 02 goes from 10A to 120A. What options does yours give.
What are your options with prog 11?What have you got prog 16 and 31 set to. What have you got 05 set to?
Possible solutions are:
Set prog 16 to C50
Set prog 12 and 13 to suitable values. I use 48 and 52
Set prog 11 to 2A or 10A
Set prog 31 to Sbd
Set prog 01 to sbU
Load the firmware that we use.
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Post by solamahn » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 11:19

All the old mosfets 11-320110-00G 120A, are 11-320138-00G, 200A in all new 3248/4048ms now
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Post by solamahn » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 12:01

Chris,
Have you actually scrolled through the options of prog 02. I just read the old and new manual for prog 02. The old model clearly states the 6 options 10A to 60A. You have to read the new manual closely from page 14 to see that there are now 12 options for prog 02 4k/5k 10A to 120A.
You should not connect solar panels that could supply more than 60A
Also if you dont have solar charging and utility charging happening at the same time, then your maximum charging current can never be more than 60A.
I think if you set 01 to Sbu 02 to 30A, 11 to 30A, 12 to 48, 13 to 52, 16 to C50 and 31 to SBE, then you will be ok.
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Post by ChrisHobson » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 12:54

solamahn wrote: What size and how many solar panels have you got connected and in what configuration.


I should have specified that I have 12 250W panels(4 strings of 3) and my battery bank is 4 x 12V 260Ah. I live in a very sunny environment and have a communal generator that runs approximately from 5pm to 9:30pm so a smaller battery bank makes sense except for charging.

Our program 2 goes from 70A - 120A.

Program 11 is 20A or 30A depending on what I finally decide.

Program 16 is CSO and program 31 is SBE.

Program 5 will be user defined so that you can set 27 and 29.

I am starting to think that this may just be a printing error in the S African manual
Last edited by ChrisHobson on Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 03:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by coulomb » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 14:25

ChrisHobson wrote: Hi I am a South African rancher
Hi, Chris, welcome to the forum.
Johnny posted protocols for the PIP and I was wondering how does one go about communicating with the PIP using these protocols and whether anyone had practical experience using the protocols?
Most users would use the WatchPower software to control their inverters. It's a GUI front end for the protocol. You can do most things with the WatchPower that you can by talking to the inverter directly. The necessity for calculating a CRC for each command when communicating directly with the inverter makes the GUI option infinitely easier.

Whatever USB to RS232 converter you use to connect the WatchPower software to your inverter is all you need hardware wise. You just need a terminal emulator program. The one Weber and I use for this and all our serial communications needs is Tera Term. It's free and has all the features we need. You need to do some editing of the configuration file to allow sending of characters with the high bit set, for some of the CRCs; see the end of this post on the fan upgrade. Actually, for completeness, I'll repeat it here:

To enable sending of characters with the high bit set (e.g. 0xA8), you need to edit TERATERM.INI in the Tera Term program folder. Change MetaKey=??? to MetaKey=right, and Meta8Bit=??? to Meta8Bit=raw . Restart Tera Term to take effect. Tera Term is a free terminal emulation program, allowing you to talk to an RS232 serial port. You need to select 2400 bps speed: choose Setup/Serial port... and set Baud rate to 2400.

For the CRC calculation, we use this handy page: Online CRC calculation . Enter the command you want (e.g. QPIGS) into the text box just to the left of the "Calculate CRC" button; leave the Input Type as ASCII. Press the Calculate CRC button, and it produces all 10 CRCs at once. The one you want is labelled "CRC-CCITT (XModem)". For the QPIGS command (Device General Status Parameters Inquiry) the result is B7 A9. Both of these have the high bit set (the first hexadecimal digit is greater than 7). You need to be able to do a little hex arithmetic, and you may need an ASCII table as well. Let's take the first CRC character, B7. B is 11, which is 8+3, so subtracting 0x80 from 0xB7 gives 0x37. Looking up an ASCII table, like this one, we see that 0x37 is the '7' character. So once the meta key has been set up as above, we can send the character whose binary representation is 0xB7 by using the right-alt key like a shift key and pressing the '7' key. 0xA9 - 0x80 is 0x29, the ')' key. So we can send the QPIGS command as follows:
QPIGS<right-alt-7><right-alt-shift-0><enter>
(on my keyboard, the ')' key is shift-zero; it may be something else on international keyboards).

Phew! That's a lot of work. You can see why most people use the GUI WatchPower program. But the QPIGS command, for example, gives you some information (such as heat sink temperature) that the WatchPower program does not (unless it's hidden somewhere, and I don't use it regularly).

For completeness, the protocol manual is available here: uploads/293/HS_MS_MSX_RS232_Protocol_20 ... pgrade.pdf.

[ Edit: added the following ]

This gives the following output:
QPIGS·©
(231.0 50.0 000.0 00.0 0000 0000 000 000 00.00 00 000 0021 0000 000.0 00.00 00000 00000000È


(The above has a copyright symbol for me at the end of the QPIGS command (typed by the user), and an E with a diacritical mark above it after the response. These may vary depending on your browser and language settings. They are the representation of the CRC characters.)

The response is long and unfriendly; it's not designed to be human readable, but machine parseable. The temperature in this output is 0021 (21 Celsius). You need the protocol manual to find out what information is where. Note that the above is from a test machine that doesn't even have a battery or the SCC (Solar Charger) connected, so there are more zeroes than usual. The open round bracket at the start of the response appears at the start of almost all responses; it seems to indicate "start of text". There is no close bracket to go with it.

[ Edit2: Mention set to 2400 bps; sign bit -> high bit; reworded CRC phrasing ]
Last edited by coulomb on Sun, 20 Dec 2015, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by solamahn » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 14:37

Chris,
I think all you need to do is enter appropriate values from the lcd screen. Just try scrolling through 02 and if 30 shows up, enter that. We use firmware 52 30
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 14:43

ChrisHobson wrote: In South Africa the PIP is marketed as an Axpert 5kVA or Mecer 5kVA

As a point of interest, do you get a 2-year warranty, quieter fans, and technical support from the suppliers? We do in Australia from Giant Power. We also get a red coloured front panel:

http://www.giantpower.com.au/giant-powe ... wer-system

Image

I'm just curious if Giant Power did some special deal with MPP Solar (the manufacturers*), or whether distributors are expected to do these things. We pay a bit more for these inverters through Giant Power compared to MPP Solar via Ebay, but after freight and other costs are taken into account, plus the doubled warranty and not having to change the fans, it's a pretty good deal for us.

[ * Edit: it turns out that MPP solar are also resellers. The manufacturer is actually Voltronic. ]
Last edited by coulomb on Tue, 05 Apr 2016, 18:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by offgridQLD » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 16:03

Has anyone actually compared the (quieter fan upgrade) offered by Giant power to say a high quality PC case fan like what Weber installed on a PIP?

I know I have several case fans that I use and some say they are (quiet) and usually the definition of quiet follows the price you pay for them.

Or should I say are the Giant power fans actually quiet now or just quieter ?

Kurt
Last edited by offgridQLD on Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 08:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by weber » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 17:15

Welcome Chris.

For others trying to help Chris, the Axpert manual is here:
http://www.voltronicpower.com/oCart2/fi ... manual.pdf
You will see that it claims, at top of page 16, that the allowed settings for parameter 2 (Maximum charging current) are 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 A.

Chris, I assume you've tried the front-panel settings of parameter 2 and that's where you found that the allowed settings are 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 A?

You are right that there is no way to set the maximum solar charge current except by setting the maximum total charge current. But that's really what you want anyway, to protect your batteries.

With other settings we have tried, we have found that the serial protocol does not allow any values other than those available on the front panel. But it's still worth a try in your case.

You should connect the PIP to a computer via a USB to RS232 converter, download install and run TeraTerm, choose Setup/Serial port... and set Baud rate to 2400, and type the command followed by its two CRC characters and a carriage return (Enter key). It just so happens that, for the two commands you are interested in, the CRC characters are ordinary characters. Otherwise you will need to do the meta-key thing Coulomb describes to enable the right Alt key to set the high bit.

To try setting the maximum charge current to 20 A, type the following, followed by the Enter key. Those are all zeros. There is no letter "O".
MNCHGC0020Gh

To try setting the maximum charge current to 30 A, type the following, followed by the Enter key.
MNCHGC0030tY

It will respond with ACK if it has accepted it, NAK otherwise. Let us know how you go.
Last edited by weber on Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 07:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by weber » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 17:58

You could also try the following. You will need to enable the meta-key in TeraTerm as Coulomb described. Don't type the spaces. Right-Alt-Q means hold the right-hand Alt key while typing an uppercase Q, i.e. hold a Shift key as well as the right Alt key.

MCHGC020 right-Alt-Q u
MCHGC030 right-Alt-a D
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Post by ChrisHobson » Tue, 30 Jun 2015, 21:54

coulomb wrote:   
As a point of interest, do you get a 2-year warranty, quieter fans, and technical support from the suppliers? We do in Australia from Giant Power. We also get a red coloured front panel:


Comes with the noisy ADDA fans and just a gray/silver front panel with Mecer labelling.

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Post by solamahn » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 00:17

52 30 firmware has the fans running slower and quieter
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Post by solamahn » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 00:22

Chris, I dont think you need to worry too much about putting too much current into your battery bank. They will take a lot of current when they are in a low state of charge and if you try to push too much current into a small battery bank, the voltage will rise to the equalise or float setting and the inverter will go into current limit anyway.
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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 00:55

"52 30 firmware has the fans running slower and quieter"

So they don't change the actual fans in the giant power units just slow them down via software ?

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Post by solamahn » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 00:59

I would expect that they are the same fans. If someone has one, can the take the bottom cover off and see what fans they are. I had a 4048 running 52 25 and changed it to 52 30 and now the fans run a lot slower. 2kw load and they were still slow.
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Post by solamahn » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 01:12

The more load that you place on the inverter, then the faster the fans run. Just tried 2.8kw and 3.6kw.
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Post by solamahn » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 01:34

I think the reason that the fans run fast all the time in firmware 52 25 is that mppsolar were trying to cure the problem of failures of the mosfets on hs1, thinking, like me taht it was an overheating problem. But running the fans fast all the time does not fix the problem. Higher rated mosfets does and thats what they have done. Now with all the DC terminal screws being tightened from the factory, coated solder terminals on the fans, upgraded mosfets, slower running fans and upgraded firmware, the 3248/4048 will be a much better unit.
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Post by Scott » Wed, 01 Jul 2015, 02:17

coulomb wrote:To enable sending of characters with the high bit set...

Crikey! That's no fun.

I wrote a little calculator app (Windows only): CrcGen
It spits out the command+crc as hex bytes for pasting into something like RealTerm. Image

It needs .net 4.5 installed if you're on an older version of windows.

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