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Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 25 Mar 2014, 00:08
by Taxman
Hey guys,

So I have upgraded my little datto ute to a lithium pack, but when I try to fire it up I get a error message, saying it's not getting a high enough voltage to close the contactors. When it was running the lead acid batteries,it would do it sometimes, but I just had to turn it off and on again and it was fine.

It's a soliton jnr controller. When I upgraded the pack I also put in a bigger dc-dc, and a bigger auxillary battery. So it should have plenty of start up juice. The voltage is good going in and out of the dc-dc, the battery is at 12.7 at rest and 13.2 when the system is on. The input voltage at the controller starts at 11 something right when you turn it on, then winds up to 13 volts.

Any ideas would be awesome, I am dreading the prospect of cracking the dash and delving into spaghetti madness.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014, 22:57
by Bryce
Perhaps check the wiring size to the contactors? May be too small/too much VD (voltage drop that is ) Image

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014, 23:35
by Jeff Owen
Could it be the traction pack voltage is lower than the controller expects?

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 22:53
by Taxman
So I ended up contacting support at evnetics, and they came back with this-

Sam,

You should try running the logger program to see what the precise error is, but it sounds like the precharge circuit inside the controller has been damaged from repeated starts with the 12V supply being too low. If you get persistent "Precharge timeout - no pack voltage" errors on startup then your controller will have to be returned to us for repair.

Regards,


Evnetics Support

That's the error I'm getting, so it looks like I'm going to have to send it away. Is there anyone in Brisbane who could work on it? Weber/Coulomb?

I shudder to think how much evnetics is going to want to ship it back and forth etc, plus I would rather employ someone locally.

Sam



Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 22:56
by Johny
Hi Sam. A few weeks ago Jeff Owen asked about the pack voltage.
Can you give us a before and after figure (Lead vs Lithium)?

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 23:03
by Taxman
The old pack was 156v, 13 x 75 Ah optima yellow tops. The new pack is 144v, 45 x 160Ah Thunderskys. Do you reckon the lower voltage would affect the 12v system?

I have upgraded the 12v lead acid battery and the DC DC convertor, so it should have a stronger 12v input now. But maybe the damage was done already, the last 12v was only a little 9 Ah or something. I thought that it would be sufficient, though, it was running for ages with that set up.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 23:07
by Johny
The idea of "high enough voltage to close the contactors" could well be the pre-charge doesn't get to enough voltage. That would be your 144V system - not the 12 V system.

My somewhat hazard(ous) guess is the your 144V isn't high enough.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 23:17
by Taxman
Hmm, the pack is sitting at 149V though. They got me to check all the cells,too, they are all sitting at 3.3v, tho I don't have a load tester.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014, 23:54
by evric
If the unit was not getting a good 12V supply... then the internal contactor may not have been operating correctly (not pulling in fast enough) - maybe causing arcing of the contacts.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 01:00
by Taxman
Yeah, that makes sense. I was wondering how something could get fried from insufficient voltage.

The 12v wire does look a little thin, I think I'll run an ignition relay to connect a chunky line straight from the 12v battery to the controller on starting. A the moment it's coming through the dash somewhere.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 03:11
by 4Springs
Taxman wrote: Hmm, the pack is sitting at 149V though. They got me to check all the cells,too, they are all sitting at 3.3v, tho I don't have a load tester.
At a guess the lead-acid pack might have varied between 156V fully discharged and 182V fully charged. Your current pack voltage might be a bit low, it would be good to try it a little higher. Are you able to charge the pack a bit more? The cells would be fine charged to 3.8V per cell, which would mean a pack voltage of 171V.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 04:07
by Bluefang
Is the contactor inside the controller? It says on the website that the control stuff is built in but could you not just bypass that by buying a precharge timer unit from Zeva?

I would guess the controller would work fine with the main pack voltage coming onto it? $60 or so including shipping to test it out rather then stripping it from the car and sending it off for repairs. Or you could just build up a simple precharge circuit to test it out for $5 from jaycar.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 05:39
by evric
Yes, contactor and precharge are built into the Soliton. They cannot be bypassed.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 18:40
by BigMouse
4Springs wrote:
Taxman wrote: Hmm, the pack is sitting at 149V though. They got me to check all the cells,too, they are all sitting at 3.3v, tho I don't have a load tester.
At a guess the lead-acid pack might have varied between 156V fully discharged and 182V fully charged. Your current pack voltage might be a bit low, it would be good to try it a little higher. Are you able to charge the pack a bit more? The cells would be fine charged to 3.8V per cell, which would mean a pack voltage of 171V.
If this is the case, just throw a single 12v battery in series with the lithium pack to up the voltage and see if the controller comes to life?

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 20:05
by Johny
I would have thought that the pack voltage pre-charge cut-in value would have been configurable. What happens if you want to run less cells?

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014, 20:07
by Johny
Quote from Soliton site:

* Battery pack protection: Both maximum current and minimum voltage on the battery side are programmable - protect your pack from abuse while extracting the maximum performance and range from your pack.

Edit: It also states in the manual that the contactors will not close if the pack voltage is 10 volts or more below the zero load minimum pack voltage (configurable in controller).

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Wed, 14 May 2014, 19:10
by Damir
I have a Soliton JR with a lithium 144v bat pack with 12v - 55A dc/dc converter.
I have set my minimum voltage under load to 90v and minimum voltage without a load to 110v this could be your problem, check these settings and make sure they are set to a lower value than your battery pack, my pack fully charged gets up to 170v dc so I have set maximum voltage to 170v this is not your problem.
Check the 12v dc supply make sure it is stable and wired to handle a few amps it does not have to be a heavy duty supply 10A should be ample, especially if you have your dc/dc converter running as we'll, it is most unlikely that this is your problem but place a multimeter on this terminal and see if the voltage drops as you start the ignition it should remain above 10v if it sags below on fire up then this is your problem.
Double check the 3 inputs and outputs settings perhaps disable them all just in case one is set up in a condition that has not been met correctly this will disable your contractors from closing for safety reasons.

The last bit of advice is that Evnetics has advised users not to turn the on off switch in quick succession when starting the car as it might damage the contactor cct, you need to wait a bit as you turn off before firing up again to prevent possible damage, this might be your problem if you have been doing this for some time, since they have suggested you return the unit they probably know this might be the case. Since there are no repair services in Australia you will need to send the unit back, it should cost about $150, I have just done this lately and it is the second time in about 15 months, NOT HAPPY!If this is the case I would be complaining to Evnetics for their poor design any hopefully getting a cheaper deal to fix this.
I have had two major issues with my Soliton JR since I have purchased it and have now been upgraded to Soliton 1 as it was the original design unit with tougher use in mind meaning better long term reliability, the junior is a cut down version which I believe better designed for cars under 1 ton, the unit gets stressed in Australian hot conditions even with water cooling and can pack up sooner than its big brother Soliton 1.
I hope this helps, and that it is a setup problem, good luck!
Damir

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Thu, 15 May 2014, 14:46
by Damir
Good idea to run through a separate relay but I don't think that is your problem especially since the unit was ok on previous battery pack.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Thu, 15 May 2014, 21:36
by Richo
I thought he said it faulted but only sometimes on SLA.

I suspect that your old key switch could be causing a loss on the 12V line into the controller in combination with undersized 12V power wire.
So it's likely that the separate relay would help.

Given you have seen the voltage rise from 11 to 13V at the controller sounds like a high resistance line (key switch) and big caps in the controller on the 12V line charging up.

It's unlikely that they would discharge the 12V line in the controller so if it faults then you turn it off and back on again the 12V is still there from the first attempt so it doesn't trip the second time.

Most contactors will still engage below the lower voltage of a SLA.
I would think it is the precharge circuit that would burn out if the key was repeatedly turned on/off.

Also check the ground line out of the controller as this could also give similar problems.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 13:05
by Damir
What are your minimum voltage settings UNDER NO LOAD in the software settings?
This could be your problem since you have dropped your battery pack voltage from a higher 156v lead acid to 144v lithium.
If you havent changed your minimum voltage setting under no load it might be set to a higher voltage than your battery pack 144v normal voltage this would create a error message and would not fire up the contactor.

What are your soliton data settings?

This is very important as this unit is very flexible and complicated to set up if you get it wrong it can be confusing to diagnose.
I had a few issues when i firstly started my conversion and they all turned out to be settings related.

Since we both have the same system here are mine settings
110V under no load
90v with a load

I would reccomend - Low Batt Voltage under no load - not less than 110v as this could damage your batt pack long term, and not more than 130v as this would give you a problem you are having now, and it would also minimize your running distance from full charge.

Cheers Damir

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 20:38
by Richo
I doubt there is enough change in traction pack voltage to trip an error message.
Esp since he said it was sitting at 149V.
13xSLA would typically have a minimum of 136V so it would have to not reach 126V to trip the error.
The error message would be different anyway.

The issue was on the 12V line.
The pre-charge has now blown.
The controller needs repair.
The car needs a relay to prevent the same issue.

It likely to have blown the fet/IGBT or burnt out the resistor in the precharge circuit.


Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 20:44
by Richo
So your options are:
Find a service tech in Brisbane.
Send it to me in Perth.
Send it back to evnetics and pay the $150.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 21:54
by Johny
I don't agree Richo.
The Soliton has a setting for minimum expected NO LOAD battery pack voltage.

The manual says if it's 10V under this then the contactors will not close.
If there were 13 Leads at 11.5 volts then that's 149.5 volts.
149.5 is 45 times 3.32. LiFePO4 will not be no load that high even under under no load normally. I admit that we have to drop another 10V but you can see the issue.

Taxman has to at least check what the no-load voltage setting before looking for a more drastic problem. The problem started after LiFePO4 replaced Lead - look there.

Edit: fixed OP name

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 22:02
by evric
Johny, Taxman has the problem - not me.

Could anyone help diagnose my soliton's issue?

Posted: Fri, 16 May 2014, 22:08
by Johny
Sorry - fixed