PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Northland
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by Northland » Tue, 24 May 2016, 23:55

Was offered this clone from China. Shell is identical. Supposedly 60A mppt 4kva model. Let's play spot the difference....

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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 25 May 2016, 01:19

The firmware he is running is 52.28

"The unit had a error/shutdown event today but by the time I got down to read the error it had restarted successfully. I was considering changing the setting back to AGM rather than user but had a fiddle with reducing settings today in case they were a little high.
The Bulk was set at 57 so I reduced that to 56.6. The Float was set at 56 so that was reduced to 55.5."

Coulomb,
        In regards to your "any month now". I had A guy over the weekend on a Home theater PC forum insist on sending me to a 400+ page thread to solve technical issues I was having. I think he took great pleasure in toying with me by linking me into this 400+ page thread about 50 pages prior to the relevant post on my issue that he was referring to . I ended up solving the issue myself and haven't come up with a way to get him back... yet!

Kurt
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by solamahn » Wed, 25 May 2016, 01:24

I use 56.8 and 54 for new AGM's and gradually increase to 58 and 55 as they age and when they are getting really old 58 and 58
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Post by coulomb » Wed, 25 May 2016, 14:21

offgridQLD wrote: The firmware he is running is 52.28

If (as seems reasonable) Weber is right and every unit was released with firmware that uses its full capabilities, the 52.28 must have the high utility charge current mods. So there is a chance that the bus voltage fix came after that, either in 52.29 or 52.30. So it seems worthwhile updating to 72.40 (main DSP), and since the SCC (solar charger seems to be involved, it should be updated as well (little extra effort, once set up for firmware updating).
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 25 May 2016, 07:09, edited 1 time in total.
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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Post by coulomb » Wed, 25 May 2016, 14:37

Northland wrote: Was offered this clone from China.

My understanding is that all the real Voltronic units, including all the rebranded versions like Mppsolar and Giant Power, are made in China. [ Voltronic research and design are in Taiwan. ] Voltronic are aware of some illegal clones; I've posted a few months ago about the Must brand. These are usually red with a blue stripe at the bottom of the front cover. They may be getting bolder, or there may be other clones.

The large toroidal inductor (top right) in your photo looks a little different, and the board serial number nearby has fewer digits than a 2013 model. Of course, 2016 models are quite different, with the SCC board on top of the heatsinks.

Edit: the HF transformer (a little south west of centre) has something white on its south end that I don't see on a 2013 model. I don't know which if any of these changes are variations that Voltronic have already made to their 2014-2015 models.

Edit2: it seems not all are red, but so far all I've seen have the stripe (not always sky blue) at the bottom:

Image
Last edited by coulomb on Wed, 25 May 2016, 05:06, edited 1 time in total.
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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Post by offgridQLD » Wed, 25 May 2016, 15:58

So your hacked firmware with the absorb bug fix (lead acid version) only upgrades the inverters firmware and there is a additional step to upgrade the SCC's firmware?

I was under the impression that they were both updated in the one stepImage

Edit: Ok I see now "firmware versions 01.24 and 04.00 ." are for the SCC. I have some reading to do...

Kurt
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Post by coulomb » Wed, 25 May 2016, 16:45

offgridQLD wrote: So your hacked firmware with the absorb bug fix (lead acid version) only upgrades the inverters firmware and there is a additional step to upgrade the SCC's firmware?

That's right. The SCC's processor and the main DSP processor are completely separate. One is an 8-bit microcontroller, the other a 32 bit Digital Signal Processor. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the SCC hardware in the pre-2016 models is the same or very similar to the guts of one of the Voltronic stand alone MPPT products (but very likely with different 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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Post by Northland » Wed, 25 May 2016, 21:50

Time to reassess Lifepo4

When I was writing the code for my soc monitor I had to enter several variables. The first was charging efficiency of lead acid, which many say is 80% while some others say 70%. Let's use 80%. The second is the peukurt effect which we will average to 90%. By contrast, Lithium has a charging efficiency of 97% and no peukurt effect.

I've done the math, and will now prove that a 1000ah lead acid bank can be replaced by a 210ah (or smaller) lifepo4 bank.

Let's start with capacity (watt/hours).

I'm going to use an average voltage of 12.5v for lead acid x 4 = 50v. 50 x 1000 = 50000wh. Since the normal dod rate for lead acid is 20%,this gives usable wh of 10000. But then this is adjusted for peukurt by 0.9 = 9000wh.

For lifepo4 I'm going to use an average voltage of 3.3v x 16S = 52.8v. 52.8 x 210 = 11088wh. A normal dod is 80% giving usable wh of 8870.

So in summary, in both cases we are allowing for a 9kwh overnight usage.

But wait, there's more.

If like me you have more than 3kw connected to your pip, there are further benefits.

For lead acid, using the pips maximum mppt current of 60A and a charge voltage of 54 (average), max pv input is 60 x 54 = 3240w.

For lifepo4, charge voltage of 60?v = 3600w.

Now we can calculate how many hours of full sun are required to recharge the batteries from the normal dod figures given above. (assume the rest of the dayday is darkness)

For lead acid to recover 20% of 50000wh = 10000wh at 80% efficiency requires 12500wh pv input. Since the peak pv input is 3240w, it will take 12500/3240 = 3.86 hours to recover.

For lifepo4 to recover 80% of 11088wh = 8870wh at 97% efficiency requires 9145wh pv input. Since the peak pv input is 3600w, it will take 9145/3600 = 2.54 hours to recover.

I have tried to tilt the odds in lead acids favour by using an efficiency of 80% and ignoring any drain on the batteries during the day which is extremely likely and would make the results significantly worse.

So yes, I have ordered lifepo4

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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by paulvk » Thu, 26 May 2016, 02:21

While Lifepo4 appears to be better my questions are
How long will they last at that depth of charge
What is their fire hazard compared to lead acid

Then there is the 63volt caps in the PIP not much room left at 60volts

For me its just curiosity as I have the lead acids which I got at a low price for the VRLAs and wholesale for the trojan T105s

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 26 May 2016, 02:49

16s lifepo4 will be using a lower voltage than lead acid. Typically you don't need more than around 3.5v pr cell at your disposal at any given time that's only 56v.

Edit: You could need as high as 58.5v if your balancing system has preset and non adjustable shunting voltage set points. Though any good balancing unit should be able to shunt at absorb voltage or around 3.5v pr cell or less and it's much preferable.

All technical analysis aside life (100% offgrid) is just so much better with lithium. Big pv array and a small to medium lithium bank 300 - 400ah. They just recover so fast as they can take all the charge any domestic size array can throw at them over a large portion of there capacity scope. Inverters are happy with a solid stable voltage well over 50V at all SOC levels and loads (within reason). No nasty acid to deal with or the dreaded time spent at less than 100% SOC syndrome. That plagues the lead acid owners.

Kurt

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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 26 May 2016, 03:11

As an example this is a 5min sample rate of the voltage graph of my 16 cell lithium offgrid system over the past 24hrs.

Image

Kurt
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by lopezjm2001 » Sat, 28 May 2016, 01:29

lopezjm2001 wrote:
paulvk wrote: a trick to reduce this hold current is to put a resistor in series with the coil shorted by a set of normally closed contacts.
Good idea. Problem is that my contactors only have one normally open contact. I could use a small relay in conjunction with the contactor. But just how much current will I decrease the holding current of 1 amp by?
What value resistor? Watts?

It is explained here:- Economy Resistor in DC Coil

Just need to find the coil's holding current.

Update:

Found the holding current to drop out at about 165mA, so settled for 200mA, So economy resistor = (12v/0.2amps) - 12ohm = 48ohm,
Power = 0.2amps x 0.2amps x 48ohms = 1.92 watt, so use 5 watt resistor.

Using a 50ohm ceramic resistor 10 watts and an Omron time delay(0-10sec) relay H3Y-2 12volts. Timer power consumption: 75mA.
The parts finally came in from China to reduce the 3 x contactors' coil loading current from 1 amp to 200mA. I used a 43 ohm, 5 watt ceramic resistor and a 12v Omron timer. I measured a holding voltage of 2.4Vdc across the coil.

The other positive side effect is that the coil no longer runs too hot to touch.

Thanks again to paulvk.

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Post by Northland » Mon, 30 May 2016, 03:21

Question:

Since I have a bunch of 3.2v cells on the way, and my old PIP-812HS (12v 1kw) is in storage with 1kw of 12v panels.... I wonder what the max battery voltage could be. To use lifepo4 would require a firmware update anyway.
It's pwm model so between 13v and 20v is wasted. So why not make it 5S = 16V? 3.6v charge = 18v. The caps are 35v and the fets 60v.

Why?
1. Back up inverter
2. Extra pv input (50A x 18v = 900w)
3. Can put all night loads (fridge, TV, lights) on this inverter
4. Can put the 4048 to sleep saving 35w (well 20w really since the 812HS uses 15w)
5. Extra inverter capacity

Possible?

Edit: I just emailed mpp asking if there was a firmware update and also if 5S is ok

Also, does anyone see a problem with wiring the grid input of the 812HS to the output of the 4048? Ie, load too big (unlikely) or battery too low = use bigger inverter and different battery bank (obviously less efficient)

Paulvk - the 812 has only USB comms. Can I connect a nano to it and transmit the data to the mega? If so, why not do the same for the 4048?
Last edited by Northland on Sun, 29 May 2016, 17:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by paulvk » Mon, 30 May 2016, 19:51

USB is only short distance device and its a lot of work to create the master.
The USB in the new versions of the PIPs are just RS232 to usb converters you may find that its the same in that other inverter. It may be easy to wire the nano to the board in the inverter I also think the boards in the PIPs would be the same ones.
RS232 is already provided in hardware in the Atmel AVRs
I do not know that running one inverter from another will work so well as the hamonics from the first may upset the second.
I hope to get my nanos this week and will try to get the PIP to PC interface working on one. I could not believe how cheap they were AU $2.50
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Post by Northland » Mon, 30 May 2016, 23:57

Yes I was thinking of putting the nanos inside. Could the response of the first be added to the string of the second so only one comm channel?

On another note, I've been researching arduino lifepo4 monitoring. There are many people discussing how it could be done, but none actually saying "this worked" . Option a is optocouplers and heaps of other circuitry. Option b is multiple voltage dividers, but resolution decreases at the top end. Since a nano is a couple of bucks, why not give each cell one. Wire the TX of the first to the RX of the second... and so on. Add each cell voltage to a string... one comm channel required to the mega. You can set alarms and connect a relay with a dump resistor to each also. Maybe also an lcd display. Maybe add the cell voltage string to the inverter outputs string? A nano won't run on 2.5v so will need to steal voltage from the next cell. But the last cell can't do that so it will need to go down one and measure via a voltage divider
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Post by paulvk » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 15:32

I also have the need to monitor the 44 batteries in my bank
I was thinking of one nano per bank 0f 4 x 12v batteries
But I have positive earthed battery so I need isolation of the buss
I looked at rs485 and I2C but this is a bit more complicated than rs232
So I am going to go with rs232 but you have to use opto couplers two for every nano but since they are small and cheap that is not a problem.
Each nano will be a slave and the master will call it for data it will then respond sending the data back to the master.
This should also work for single cells and or groups of them.

I will also put some HEX files up here for the Arduinos for communication PIP to PC where the Arduino takes care of the CRC and decodes the returning data back to the computer or device asking for it

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Post by Northland » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 17:11

I wonder if using the supply we are measuring might affect the readings? If the reference voltage is changing will the measurements change or will the voltage regulator fix that?

Another option Paul is 2 of these http://www.ebay.com/itm/282004999037 or for lifepo4 http://www.ebay.com/itm/141688697464 one for +, one for (-) this also removes the need to calibrate

For those thinking "why not buy one off the shelf?" well many of them will drain your batteries all by itself. None output the data. None are adjustable. The input current is limited. The output current is limited. They are expensive (the higher the current, the higher the price) and are a management system, not a monitoring system.   
Last edited by Northland on Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 07:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by weber » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 18:00

Why not use this open-source open-artwork system?
http://dkeenan7.github.io/LyteFyba/
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Post by Northland » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 18:02

Back to relays, I ordered 2 of these http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/172129913434 and just checked them out. See a normal 30A automotive relay for comparison
ImageImageImage

Closing current is 104mA, holding current strangely was 100mA

Will they handle 100A? I don't see my system ever pulling 100A, 50A perhaps. So I am not a good test case

[ Edited Coulomb: fixed link ]
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Post by Northland » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 18:37

weber wrote: Why not use this open-source open-artwork system?
http://dkeenan7.github.io/LyteFyba/


I've read those 4 pages. My question is why?
Is it better than arduino? Cheaper? Less complicated? More efficient? More reliable? Easier to fault-find? After reading 4 pages I still have no idea how much it costs, where to get it, who assembles it, who installs it, who programs it or if it is even ready. I can see you two put a lot of work into it though. If China was making these for $5 a pop I could see the appeal. Maybe one day....
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Post by paulvk » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 19:22

For me with a 48v lead acid bank of 12v batteries its really not suited
I also like using standard hardware and protocols it also has to work with
my system overall
I also want to stay away from large systems running linux etc
But for lithium cells as it is designed for yes it would be good
The only thing being with the surface mount parts its very hard to do by hand.

I have question though on slightly different battery Nicad has anybody investigated them for stationary use after some reading I am seeing 20 year plus life along with the ability to handle being run almost flat on the odd occasion
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Post by weber » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 19:27

Northland wrote:I've read those 4 pages. My question is why?
Because it already exists, and as you note, a lot of work has already been done for you, while still allowing you to change anything to suit yourself, hardware or software. It has been well tested in actual use, in an electric vehicle for 3 years, and in three stationary power systems for about a year.
Is it better than arduino? Cheaper? Less complicated? More efficient? More reliable? Easier to fault-find?
I'm sorry, but these questions make no sense to me, because as far as I know, arduino is not a BMS.
After reading 4 pages I still have no idea how much it costs, where to get it, who assembles it, who installs it, who programs it or if it is even ready. I can see you two put a lot of work into it though. If China was making these for $5 a pop I could see the appeal. Maybe one day....
Again, I'm a little confused. I thought you were considering designing, building and writing software for a BMS yourself, from scratch. LyteFyba is open source, which means you can build it yourself, but designing, coding and importantly testing, has already been done for you. And yet the schematic and PCB files, in the free DesignSpark format, are in the GitHub repository. You can change them how you like and send them off to any PCB manufacturer you like.

You are free to omit components that you might consider luxuries, such as the piezo beeper on every CMU or the parts relating to optic-fibre comms (and in the latest version, infrared wireless comms). And you can change the code to do anything you like. The MSP430 is a 16 bit machine with 16 registers and its assembly language is highly orthogonal (which means almost all instructions work with all registers and all addressing modes). There are several free integrated development environments available for it. We use the free version of IAR Workbench.

Cost depends heavily on how many are made at one time. But they are unlikely ever to be $5 each. Yes we are planning to do a production run with automated pick and place eventually, but we couldn't resist some last-minute feature creep such as the aforementioned IR comms and eliminating the 16 bypass resistors and replacing them with 1.3 metres of track zig-zaggged over most of one side of the PCB, and a cheap watch crystal to maintain accurate comms speeds, and an alternative octagonal version of the PCB that fits on cylindrical cells such as Headway brand. All of which we are currently testing. We hope the fully populated version could be sold for $25 each.
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Post by Northland » Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 20:27

"because it already exists"

But it doesn't exist. I can't click a buy button and have some here within a week, ready to install. The process of bringing them into existence is long and expensive. And what if one fails?

I'm betting you know far more about arduino than I. I bet you could turn an arduino into a BMS in 5 minutes flat. And for about $5. You make it sound like an ordeal. As I said above it's a nano, a relay and a resistor. It's probably 10 lines of code.

"unlikely ever to be $5 each"

A RPi is $35. A Computer! An arduino nano for $2. I see no reason why these can't be mass produced for $5. It's simpler than a nano.
The question is - why hasn't China run with it? How many millions of lifepo4 cells do they make? That's a ridiculous market for this gadget. But not above $25 I suspect. Have you thought about a kickstarter campaign? Or I can pass the design on to the factory making my cells if you like. Assuming it's finished...

Edit. Actually, the logical progression is for this type of circuit to be integrated into the cell itself. Probably with 2? extra terminals. They already do it on 12v packs, but these don't have monitoring capabilities
Last edited by Northland on Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 10:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by paulvk » Thu, 02 Jun 2016, 01:20

To make it easy to get the data from the PIP I wrote a small program to communicate with the inverter
I originally used a Arduino mega2560 and two of its serial ports but recently I got some Arduino nano's to have a play with so I changed some things and now with the nano you can use a simple terminal program to talk to the inverter the nano will send back the data listing the values with what they represent eg Battery Volts =
All that is needed is to type INFO then hit enter key and the nano does the rest sending the QPIGS command and taking care of the CRC calculation.

Notes
You need to get a buffer for the nano as it only works at 5volts and the inverter sends 15volts on its serial port.
something like this
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MAX232-RS232 ... SwPcVVo7dT

Pin D7 is the TX pin for the rs232 to the inverter
Pin D6 is the RX pin for the rs232 to the inverter
yes the nano has only one serial port that is used by the usb cable so there is a software uart making a second serial port on these pins
The nano usb cable provides power and serial to the PC
The baud rate to the nano is 57600

You can use Xloader to program the nano http://russemotto.com/xloader/

The zip file contains the hex file to program with

MPP-NANO.zip
Last edited by paulvk on Wed, 01 Jun 2016, 15:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Northland » Thu, 02 Jun 2016, 02:09

Awesome job Paul, thanks a bunch. The axpert forum would love it also I bet.

Is there any way to pull the code out of the nano (in arduino format) to modify it (for lcd etc) ? Or maybe you could make it modular by adding another uart so another arduino could connect to it (and on this one people can make their own code)?
What is required to use this on my 1kw inverter with USB only? I have it by the computer for easy testing. I actually made a square USB to mini USB cable, but the inverter doesn't provide 5v so I have to pin that. I'm guessing that would require swapping the comms ports? Or is that not going to work?





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