PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Post by Northland » Mon, 17 Oct 2016, 11:07

Solar Junky wrote:That is one cool BMS system!


Cooler than mine?
A better BMS with unlimited everything
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Post by coulomb » Mon, 17 Oct 2016, 16:36

Ankit wrote: I am working on PV system Integration with APC-UPS. For MPPT, i am using SCC-MPPT 3K from Voltronics.
So this is a stand-alone SCC with a non-Voltronic UPS? If so, this is off topic.

I know a little about how the SCC firmware operates, but it behaves so differently when integrated inside a PIP/Axpert integrated charger/inverter that unfortunately I can't begin to answer your question.
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Post by Solar Junky » Tue, 18 Oct 2016, 01:56

Your system is nice!! really like that 800 watt victron inverter You got.

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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 17:22

Has anyone used (or know of anyone that has used) a PIP system with the 1000Ah LiFePO4 batteries successfully?

(Is there any analysis of using 1000Ah batteries instead of smaller ones in parallel?)
Last edited by andys on Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 06:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 17:41

In general the less number of cells to get the job done the better.

I don't see any big issue with 1000ah of lithium on a pip over say 400ah that I am using now.

Though one issue is the pip older version is 3000w pv charger. Let's just call the battery bank 1000ah x 53v 53kwh of storage. And let's just say 3000w x 5hrs max potential of the charger . That's only 15kwh over 24hrs. So if you need 1000ah of lithium (that's a lot!) because your power needs overnight are big enough to warrant it. Then one pip won't be enough to recover more than 15kwh max.

Two of the newer pips 4000w pv chargers x 2 would be a good fit for 1000ah at 53v.

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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 17:45

Thanks. Makes sense.

Since this small system is working well, I'm now looking at a bigger system for a busy home+office. Current usage is 30kWh/day and instant (5 second) peaks of 10kW.

So I was planning on at least 3 PIP units in parallel, a nice side effect being that means three available MPPT channels for the solar panels in different orientations.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 18:06

The other down side to 3 pips is 3x50w idle consumption roughly 12hrs at 150w .1.8kwh extra drain on the bank. Though it's a wast and it always bugs me wasting energy the reality is a big system can brush off that 1.8kwh with little effect .

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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 18:11

I was worried about that initially, but currently (with 4kW of panels) I've yet to see the panels put out less than about 100 watts even in the worst weather, so its only really a problem while the sun is down.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 18:42

Yes that's why I calculated the 1.8kwh on 12hrs 3 pips actually consumes a shocking 3.6kwh every 24rs doing nothing!

Standalone power always has some inefficacy's that you need to cover for. In your case with 30kwh consumption each day 15% of your energy is going towards powering 3 pips idle consumption.

Perhaps 2 pips would be a good match they would have no issue handling 10kw spikes and are rated to 8kw continuous. 8kw of pv is a good size. I often consume 40kwh in good weather from 8.2kw of pv with a 400ah bank. most big loads are run in the day time.

Spend the extra $1000 for the 3rd pip and $4000 for the 4kw of PV that would go with that 3rd pip on more energy efficient appliances. And try and get that 30kwh daily consumption down its always way less expensive to reduce your energy needs than to cover for them off grid.

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Last edited by offgridQLD on Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 07:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:01

All good advice and I agree - up to a point.

Areas of concern are space heating, water heating, and cooking/cleaning. We don't have gas.

Seems that to get energy efficiency after a certain point takes a big jump in appliance cost which makes it seem not worth while, since if you put the same money into panels and batteries, they can be used for multiple purposes and not just the one appliance.

Since each PIP has a peak overload output of another whole PIP, would it be feasible to have the next inverter in the string turn on only when the previous one has exceeded its output?

(Say I wired up the PIP power switches to relays somehow)

Or can you not switch units on/off when they're operating in parallel like that?

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Post by Northland » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:04

You should get a victron multi plus. Ultra low consumption and can act as a grid tie (in your case the pip could be the grid) but you should only run the victron at night. That way you get your 8kw without high consumption, in fact you would reduce consumption since the victron draws 8w

I see no need to have huge amounts of panels or inverters.

For hot water, buy a heat pump. They use 75% less and it's usually the biggest load
Last edited by Northland on Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 08:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:16

Heat your water with a heat pump HWS 1000w will give you 4000w of water heating. Yes I forget in QLD we are lucky it doesn't get cold so we don't need to run heaters at night. lots of air-conditioning in the day though.

Yes perhaps having one pip dedicated to the most hungry appliance (say large aircon/heater or on it's own circuit and just paralleling the other two pips for 24/7 operation.

Automating it might not be worth the trouble perhaps just wall plate switch in the kitchen that turned the 3rd pip on when you want to use the all electric oven / hotplate or large Aircon/heater depending what one you dedicate to it.

I dedicated my PIP to powering my workshop though I have been lazy about working on a remote switch option so it just stays on 24/7 wasting 0.6 kwh overnight. One day I will test a 25m shielded extension to the on/off rocker switch on the bottom. Or some kind of RF remote relay to activate that switch. As I often drive my car to the workshop late at night and being able to switch it on via a RF remote then have the workshop electric roller door powered up would be nice......hmmm more projects LOL.



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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:21

A few things are different here to what you'd expect...


Doing alot of off-grid self-sufficiency stuff and also work from home, so have pretty high base load (several computers, three fridges, poultry heat lamps and egg incubators, UV water sterilizer, lights). So a Victron can't manage all that unless its a bigger one.

Also using high drain cooking appliances daily including oven (very little supermarket / packet food here!), big power tools, etc. Sometimes need to use the A/C for heating too. So I need chunky inverter output on a regular basis.

I do the clothes washing and drying only on sunny days, so its not all bad!

I had a look at the heat pumps - how cheap can you get them? I'm seeing at least $1k price difference between the heat pump and a cheap regular electric. That's a whole extra PIP. I was planning to have it turn itself off at night, so the drain is mostly when the sun's up.

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Post by Northland » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:26

By heat pump I mean heat pump only, not an all in one. You can add one to an existing cylinder


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Post by offgridQLD » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:38

Don't know but you will get some rebate for it . A pip is only usefull if you have the battery behind it to get the job done and you need the pv behind that to make it all work. Adding 1 exta pip = 4000w extra pv (at what cost ) (say 330ah of lithium at what cost) not just $1000 for the pip .

edit: By that I'm saying by going with a heat pump you might be able to get away with just a 700ah battery and few thousand watts less pv + one less pip.

I would say that would be many thousands of $ less.

VS a 3600w element boiling 300lt of water each day (that can be 12kwh a day for a family of 3)

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Post by Northland » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:45

Exactly. People always assign a zero value to solar power, when the truth is, every kwh has a cost. All the equipment necessary to create, store and convert that kwh has a cost and a limited number of hours. Do the sums, it is quite high. Often using off peak works out better

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Post by andys » Thu, 20 Oct 2016, 19:52

What do you all guess is the average lifespan of a PIP-4048?


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Post by weber » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 05:45

He's done it again!

Coulomb and I have been working solidly for the last four days to port all our patches to the latest version of the PIP-4048MS firmware, version 72.60. These are the patches that fix the "no-absorb" charging bug, and improve the readability of the display, in both "Pb" and "Li" versions. And in the "Li" version, they also change the range of the Low cut-off voltage setting (parameter 29) and some other invisible thresholds, to protect 16-cell LiFePO4 batteries.

And now, as requested, Coulomb has made LiFePO4 operation even better, by lifting the range of the Back-to-Utility setting (parameter 12).

It took us two days to put it together and another two days (just gone) to test and debug it. All together, we had to change 72 words scattered over 24 different locations in the firmware, and we added 65 words of additional code. Coulomb is working on detailed documentation, and then we'll put the two versions (Pb and Li) up here for people to download.
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Post by Northland » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 10:56

Great stuff

Would it be possible to make the pip output qpigs data once per second without a request? (how victron products do it)

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Post by coulomb » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 13:53

Northland wrote: Would it be possible to make the pip output qpigs data once per second without a request? (how victron products do it)

I think so, though not for this release.

It would have to have a different output to the present QPIGS output, to distinguish it from other requests that may have just been made. For example, start the output with [IGS instead of (<data>.

Quite possibly all present monitoring programs might be intermittently broken by it, not knowing to treat the [IGS output specially, and to wait for the output of the latest command after the [IGS has finished. I suppose it could have a different checksum regime, so that unaware software would treat it as an error and merely retry.

Needing to be different in format, it could be designed with different data fields. Perhaps the monitoring experts could get together to design their ideal format. It might even emit the data in binary, with escapes for forbidden patterns like carriage return, to save time. But only if that's easy enough to parse for any monitoring program. Finally, every second might not be the ideal period, especially if you're attempting to work from a terminal. Though there could be another pair of commands to turn it on and back off again (defaulting to off, perhaps).

Will it be possible to reach a consensus on the best format?

No promises. As Weber indicated, these patches consume significant time.
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160 W solar, 2.5 kWh 24 V battery for lights.
Patching PIP-4048/5048 inverter-chargers.

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Post by Northland » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 15:19

Ve.direct is proven protocol, it will also work with ve.direct monitoring equipment (eg Bluetooth dongle) which could be enormously beneficial to many

https://www.victronenergy.com/live/vedi ... otocol:faq
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 19:40

The (no longer) Latest Patched Firmware Description

Update: See the Firmware section of the index post to find the latest patched firmware for your machine.

Image     Image

LiFePO₄ and Lead Acid Patched Firmware

This post describes both the LiFePO₄ and Lead Acid patched firmware for PIP-4048MS, Axpert 5 KVA and similar machines with other names. It is based on Voltronic's 72.60 firmware, which is supplied with newer machines that have single, dual or triple MPPTs (Solar Charge Controllers) that are capable of charging at up to 80 A. We believe that it is safe to use on all post-2013 machines.

Warning! and disclaimer. It is possible to set the total charge current to 140 A, which may be beyond the capacity of your hardware. I don't believe that this is a problem, since the Solar Charge Controller (SCC) will limit itself to its own hardware capacity. All our testing has been on an early 2016 machine which came with 72.40 firmware, and no adverse effects have been detected to date, apart from the 60 A current limit noted below in the section headed "SCC Compatibility". So it all should be safe, but caution is advised particularly during initial testing.

This patched firmware has been developed mainly to overcome a bug in the charging algorithm for these machines. The bug manifests itself as not charging the battery fully. When charging from solar, the charge will often transition from bulk/absorb mode to float mode far too early, often in the first minutes of charging. The reason is that one of the termination conditions is the current dropping off to a low value. This is all well and good, but there is no check that the low current is due to the charge having completed; it could happen because the solar charge current available is below that low value. Our patch introduces an additional termination criterion: the battery voltage must be near the bulk/absorb voltage setting (parameter 26 on the LCD menu) as well as the charge current being at the low value. This means that the absorb stage cannot complete until the battery is close to or above the required absorb voltage. This bug is more likely to be seen when the maximum charge current setting is high; as a result, it seems to be less commonly seen with lead acid batteries (which typically charge at C/10 to C/6.7).

For those interested in the exact new charge terminating conditions, here they are. Others can skip this somewhat complex paragraph. The battery voltage must stay above a threshold, and the charge current must stay below another threshold, for at least 50 seconds. The voltage threshold is the bulk/absorb setting (parameter 26) minus 0.5 V. The current threshold is the maximum of two values:
1) the sum of all the Maximum Charge Current settings (parameter 02) for all paralleled machines, divided by 5 (24 for LiFePO₄), and
2) the number of paralleled machines multiplied by 5 amps (1 amp for LiFePO₄).
The official firmware is the same except that (a) it doesn't have the voltage criterion, (b) the total of maximum current settings is always divided by five, and (c) the number of paralleled machines is always multiplied by five amps.

Having gone to the trouble of devising the patched firmware, some other changes became desirable. Some of the 7 segment character renderings leave something to be desired, particularly letters "r" and "k". Weber devised a set based on what others have done, and a desire to have most character renderings distinct. In the end, he decided that "S" and "5" need to use the same rendering. Some letters like "M", "W", "X" and "k" you can't do much with, but I think he's chosen good compromises.

When more than one machine is parallelled, one is designated the master, with "HS". This was presumably because they thought their rendering of an H looked more like an actual M than their rendering of an M did. In this firmware, we've used a different rendering of an M. After a while, you get used to reading the three separated segments as an M. Try to imagine it's like this:
Image

It's also desirable that the patched firmware be readily identified, yet software such as Watchpower should not be confused by a version it's never heard of. Therefore, the U1 main version display screen has been replaced with either an Li1 (lithium iron) or Pb1 (lead acid) display screen, still with 72 in the middle, but now with 60A on the right. Subsequent versions of the patch will be labelled 60b, 60C and so on. Enquiries such as QFVW (main firmware version enquiry) still return 00072.60 as before, so that Watchpower still works properly (with the limitations described at the end of the following post).

LiFePO₄ patched firmware only

All changes from here on are made to the Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO₄) version of the patched firmware only. For other common lithium chemistries the "lead acid" patched firmware should used, typically with 14 cells in series.

For LiFePO₄ batteries, the most important other desired change is the battery low cutoff voltage, where the battery will be effectively disconnected to protect it from under-voltage. The maximum that this voltage can be set to in the official firmware is 48.0 V, which is unsuitable for lithium iron phosphate batteries. We have added 4.0 V to the manufacturer's range of 40.0 to 48.0 V, allowing cutoff voltages of 44.0 to 52.0 V. This assumes 16 cells in series.

In cases where the battery low cutoff voltage defaulted to 42 V, it now defaults to 44 V.

The battery low warning used to happen at 2 V above the battery low cutoff voltage, and reset at 4 V above the battery low cutoff voltage. They now happen at 0.5 V and 1 V above.

The transition from the "float" charging stage to the "bulk" charging stage was set at 4 V below the float setting. This has been reduced to 1 V below.

It also makes sense for parameter 12 (back to utility voltage) to be increased. This is the battery voltage below which the loads will switch back to the utility. This is used when output source priority (parameter 01) is set to Sbu or SoL. Now, the range of this setting has been increased by 2 V, so it is now 46 V to 53 V.

Change Summary
LiFePO₄ and Lead Acid Patched Firmware
* The extra criterion for transitioning from bulk/absorb to float.
* "Font" improvements, and HS -> MS for Master units.
* Firmware revision display screen contains patch revision.

LiFePO₄ patched firmware only
* The bulk/absorb to float transition occurs with a different threshold: minimum 1 A per paralleled unit, and (sum of maximum charge current settings) divided by 24.
* Low battery cutoff voltage range changed from 40-48 V to 44-52 V.
* Back to utility voltage range changed from 44-51 V to 46-53 V.
* Float to bulk charge stage transition occurs at 1 V under the float setting.
* The battery low warning occurs at the cutoff voltage plus half a volt, and returns at cutoff plus one volt.

SCC firmware compatibility

The Voltronic main firmware version 72.60 normally coexists with SCC firmware version 04.10. If you use either the original 72.60 or our patched 72.60A with any earlier version of the SCC firmware, the inverter refuses to charge from solar unless you set the maximum total charge current (parameter 02) to 60 A or lower.

So if you need a higher maximum charge current and you want to use this patched firmware, you will also need to update the SCC firmware to version 04.10 (provided below).
Last edited by weber on Tue, 05 Dec 2017, 08:30, edited 2 times in total.
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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 » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 19:41

The (no longer) Latest Patched Firmware Instructions

Edit: the now-latest patched firmware is in this post.

dsp_Li1_72.60A.zip (1.5 MB)
dsp_Pb1_72_60A.zip (1.5 MB)
SCCMPPTReflash_V4.10.zip (if needed; 1.8 MB)

Image

You will need a Windows computer and a USB to D9 serial adapter, or an older computer with a real serial port. (You can't use the USB port of the inverter if it has one; that's only for monitoring programs.) Use the serial to RJ45 cable that came with your inverter-charger. Some serial adapters (or possibly the combination of serial adapter and Windows version) seem to be more suitable than others;
see earlier posts on this.

Power up your inverter charger by connecting the battery. Turn on the inverter switch. Make sure that your computer has power that won't go off during the reflash process.

Download and unzip the appropriate zip file above. The zip file has no folder inside it; it will extract files to the current folder, so it is best to start with an empty folder. Make sure you are not running any software that could be using the serial port, in particular, exit the WatchPower application. Don't just close the application; use the right mouse button on the WatchPower system tray icon, usually at the bottom right of Windows:

Image

The file name the reflash tool looks for is fixed, it's always "dsp.hex" in the same folder as the reflash tool. In the zip file, dsp.hex is already a copy of the patched firmware.

Finally, double click on the ReflashTool_Xseries.exe icon. It should bring up the small reflash application. If necessary, change the serial port selection to the one that connects to your inverter.

Click on the Update button, and answer Yes to "Are you sure". Nothing will appear to happen for 10-20 seconds, so don't panic. Eventually, new text should start appearing in the box under the progress bar, saying that erasing has been successful and so on. It will take some 8 minutes to complete the flash programming. At the end, just click OK and exit the reflash application.

If you get an error to do with the serial port (e.g. invalid serial port, or the serial port doesn't appear in the drop down list), it's probably because you have something running that is keeping the serial port in use. Double check that you have exited WatchPower and any terminal emulation programs like TeraTerm. You may need to change the com port used by the USB to serial adapter to be named COM1 through COM9 for the reflash tool to see it (Device Manager, Ports, Properties, Advanced).

The standard instructions say you should revert all the settings to standard, then change them to suit your needs. As long as you had been running a recent firmware (52.30 or later), this should not be necessary. But if you were running an earlier firmware, or if the settings seem strange after the update, use WatchPower to reset to default settings, then change them to suit your needs.

The instructions say to turn off the inverter after the firmware update. This doesn't seem to be necessary.

If something goes wrong, see the If you think your inverter is bricked post.

Using Watchpower

WatchPower comes for free and allows basic interaction with the inverter(s). However, many find that it does not meet all their needs. In this case, consider some of the many other monitoring programs available. A few of them are referenced from the index at the start of this thread.

WatchPower is not aware of the changes to the range of the battery low cutoff voltage and the back to utility voltage parameters. You will not be able to change these values with WatchPower outside their original range. Instead, you can use the LCD buttons, or any software that changes these settings via the PSDV or PBCV commands.
Last edited by coulomb on Fri, 24 Feb 2017, 10:44, 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 Northland » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 21:01

Just curious, why (in general) have such a high 'low voltage cutoff' ?
44-52 is 2.75-3.25.
3.33v normal when not charging....a large load and it would surely trigger at a high soc? I mean 3.25 very close to 3.33...
Am I missing something?

On another note, all these changes make going to 17S easier. 44/17 is 2.59. Or 52/17 is 3.06. I'm happy with that range.
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Post by coulomb » Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 21:10

Solar Junky wrote: Have been trying to update firmware with USB no luck tried many times............. lol! I'm kinda obsessive compulsive! haha.. Contacted MPP Solar they told me firmware update only works with DB9 This Sucks for me as it was working with db9 on my home computer & laptop then one day just stopped working on both????????...

I've just found out that the reflash tool can only "see" comm ports named COM1 through COM9. Fortunately, you can use the Device Manager to change the name of any comm port; find the USB to serial port under Ports in Device Manager, right click and select Properties, click Advanced. On Windows 10, the change takes effect immediately; for Windows 7 you have to reboot to see it again at all.

This may explain why it appeared to suddenly stop working; you might have plugged into a different USB port that assigns a different serial port. Some may be below COM10, and some above.

Worth a try, anyway.
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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