PIP-4048MS and PIP-5048MS inverters

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Northland
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PIP-4048MS inverter

Post by Northland » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 15:08

Well I just had a basement full of smoke.

I was laying carpet upstairs and noticed smoke wafting up through a gap. I ran down and saw a haze, not thick. I could not see the source and flipped off all breakers. No cables, batteries or breakers were hot. The inverter wasn't hot. There was no fault led lit and output seemed normal. After a minute I turned breakers back on and restarted the inverter. Everything seems normal. It was on solar, pulling 1-1.5kw and load was 1.4kw.

Any ideas?

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Post by Johny » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 15:15

My first guess is the electrolytic capacitors in the PIP. They could expire and vent and leave the inverter still functioning - for a while.

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Post by offgridQLD » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 15:41

You should be able to smell it. Follow the smell if its strong smell from the PIP case then (TURN IT OFF NOW AND DISCONNECT THE BATTERY AND PV!!!!)Be for you potentially damage the unit more or burn your house down.

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Post by coulomb » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 15:57

Johny wrote: My first guess is the electrolytic capacitors in the PIP.

Could be. But electrolytic capacitors tend to make an unpleasant smell, quite distinct from the "burning resistor" smell you get from MOSFETs and, well, resistors Image

Was there a smell, and if so, what was it like?
Last edited by coulomb on Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 05:00, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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 » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 18:04

No smell that I noticed. I put a smoke detector above the inverter in case anything else happens

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Post by rinaldoparaipan » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 23:05

Did you notice any leakeage below the inverter?
Do you see the PV icon on the display?

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Post by Northland » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 23:09

No leakage. I did notice after restart, the pv icon disappear with a relay click then come back a few seconds later. But I have seen that on the remote about 20x before and thought it was normal

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Post by rinaldoparaipan » Mon, 25 Jan 2016, 23:52

If the relay is clicking once, is a normal behavior due to the MPPT algorithm initializing.In my opinion is better to open the inverter case and check the 3300uF caps if they are swollen.Because if they will explode, will damage all the electronics around.I know how is it Image
I hope my English is understandable for you.

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Post by mmaritz » Wed, 27 Jan 2016, 01:49

Hi Mike

I have PIP-MS_SCCMPPT1.24.rar installed as factory - is it worth upgrading to PIP-MS_SCCMPPT4.00.rar and so you know the benefits?

Thanks
Mark

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Post by coulomb » Wed, 27 Jan 2016, 04:18

mmaritz wrote: I have PIP-MS_SCCMPPT1.24.rar installed as factory - is it worth upgrading to PIP-MS_SCCMPPT4.00.rar and so you know the benefits?
It's hard to say. I see differences to do with temperature monitoring, for example. The volume of code changes is small, but small changes can make a huge difference.

It's possibly better to ask some of the mega installers whether they've noticed any difference.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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 mmaritz » Wed, 27 Jan 2016, 06:08

Thanks

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Post by Northland » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 02:04

OK so I've waited 48hrs for them to respond, which they haven't Image

I opened it up, did the fan swap. Could not see anything abnormal. Nothing smelly.

I noticed 6 relays inside. 3 on the main board, 2 on the mppt board, 1 on the comms board. All 12v coils. Anyone know what they do?

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 03:11

Northland wrote: I opened it up, did the fan swap. Could not see anything abnormal. Nothing smelly.
It seems the smoke must have come from elsewhere, then. Weird.
I noticed 6 relays inside. 3 on the main board, 2 on the mppt board, 1 on the comms board. All 12v coils. Anyone know what they do?

There's 4 on the main board; according to the service manual, two are designated "safety relay" on the mains input (active and neutral). The "inverter" relay isolates the inverter from the mains, and the "output relay" isolates the load from the mains. I think if you have a generator and it's out of spec for voltage and/or frequency, you need to disconnect the mains and run the load from the inverter. Perhaps the load relay goes off if a short circuit is detected on the load.

Image

I'm guessing the MPPT switches both positive and negative of the PV inputs. [ Edit: I've found that at least for the 2015 model, the two relay contacts are in parallel, connecting the output of the MPPT section with battery positive; see this later post. ] The one on the comms board is the "dry contact" that can be used for generator starting or other purposes. I believe it can be programmed to turn on at a particular battery voltage, but I've never looked into it.
Last edited by coulomb on Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 07:32, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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 » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 11:53

Thanks.

Well the Internet company called this morning saying our fibre box had been showing an error last few days. Mystery solved. Pity they didn't call yesterday

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Post by Northland » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 13:11

Obviously there is a 12v DC power supply, do you know where I could tap into it to run my voltage detectors? (100ma) really don't want to have to run a separate 12v plug pack

Also I would like to have an overide switch that would quickly switch to utility mode, without needing to go through the settings twice with delays (say my batteries are low and I want to run the kettle) would it be a case of disengaging the inverter relay (how....another relay in series?) and engaging the safety relay?

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Post by Northland » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 15:54

If relays disconnect the pvs, why have blocking diodes? 0.7v x 60A = 42w going to waste?

Last edited by Northland on Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 05:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by coulomb » Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 23:06

Northland wrote: why have blocking diodes? 0.7v x 60A = 42w going to waste?

I think you mean bypass diodes, since no-one uses blocking diodes any more.
Also I believe that the diodes are Schottky types, which have a lower voltage drop of around 0.4 V near full load. But the reason for the bypass diodes is to do with protection of shaded panels from other panels in their string. See Weber's post on this topic.

[ Edit: Also, bypass diodes don't dissipate power except in circumstances where they're needed. ]

[ Edit2: clarified which type of diode (bypass) and corrected the panels they protect (others in the series string). ]
Last edited by coulomb on Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 14:42, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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, 29 Jan 2016, 00:33

coulomb wrote: Also, bypass diodes don't dissipate power except in circumstances where they're needed.

It seems you can get active bypass diodes now, so even though they are usually only needed during shading, you can reduce the losses in those conditions (for some situations, this will be a common occurrence):
http://www.digikey.com/en/articles/tech ... erformance

[ Edit: And now that I read more closely, I see they're claiming up to 0.5% improvement! Image I suspect there would be applications where the benefit is more substantial. ]
Last edited by coulomb on Thu, 28 Jan 2016, 13:51, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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, 29 Jan 2016, 13:00

Northland wrote: Obviously there is a 12v DC power supply, do you know where I could tap into it to run my voltage detectors? (100ma)
There is 12 V on the comm port; I don't know if it will provide 100 mA. See this pair of posts, but I haven't checked the 2015 model (not home at present). I'm hopeful that 12 V is still present on pins 7 or 4.
Also I would like to have an overide switch that would quickly switch to utility mode, without needing to go through the settings twice with delays (say my batteries are low and I want to run the kettle) would it be a case of disengaging the inverter relay (how....another relay in series?) and engaging the safety relay?

No need to operate the relays directly: there is firmware to do that safely.

You could run the PIP in Util mode all the time, and switch the incoming mains. It will still charge from PV whenever available, and use the inverter to supply power from the battery or PV when the mains is off. Alternatively, there is a serial command to change this setting; you could get an Arduino or Rpi or similar to squirt out that command when a switch is thrown, and the normal setting when that switch goes off. I think that Jaco's AICC software can do this from a computer.

[ Edit: +12 V on pin 7 of 2013 models, not pin 8, which is always ground/common. ]
Last edited by coulomb on Fri, 29 Jan 2016, 09:26, edited 1 time in total.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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 weber » Fri, 29 Jan 2016, 15:57

Excellent suggestions Coulomb.

Yes, isolated +12V is still present on pin 4 of the RJ45. (It was on pin 7 in early models, not pin 8 which has always been GND).

I just measured its voltage drop under load. At 35 mA it drooped from 12.91 V to 11.34 V, which suggests it has an internal resistance of about 45 ohms.
One of the fathers of MeXy the electric MX-5, along with Coulomb and Newton (Jeff Owen).

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Post by Northland » Sat, 30 Jan 2016, 20:17

Here is the circuit diagram for my hot water regulator
Image

I wasnt sure what would happen if I put 230v on the output side of an SCR that didnt have 230 on input so I decided to use one instead of 5, remove the trim pot and configure resistors to vary the output of one SCR. It also kept mains voltage off the relays, and less live SCR terminals to worry about, so its safer.

It seems to work well. Relay 1 is basically a day / night. Each relay has a resistor on N.C or a short on N.O. The circuit carries through successive relays giving either a short (100%) or a sum of resistance (20-80%)
Going from full sun to overcast it drops from 5A (230) to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1, then when the sun comes back it goes back up.

I watched it all day and it automatically reduced HW load if the kettle went on or if the sun was behind a cloud. Battery current always seemed to be less than 3A in or out. On a rainy day instead of running a heavy load for 2hrs it will run a smaller load 8hrs. No strain on the batteries.

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Post by paulvk » Sat, 30 Jan 2016, 23:26

coulomb wrote:
There is 12 V on the comm port; I don't know if it will provide 100 mA.


I am using this to run a small access point , router & rs232 to tcpip unit via a small switch mode regulator to get 5V dc
This output is not regulated it starts at about 15V so a switch mode regulator is need to stabilize the voltage
Its use is to run the remote control unit.
I am going to use it to run my web server interface to the inverter but my unit runs off 5V so it will not have a problem with its switch mode regulator.
This is the sort of regulator I/ am using
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/LM2596S-Step ... Swl9BWJfYR

Northland
Replace your relays with opto couplers you will not need much current for them and you still get isolation.
Last edited by paulvk on Sat, 30 Jan 2016, 12:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rinaldoparaipan » Sun, 31 Jan 2016, 23:42

I think is useful.
PIP 4048 Service Manual 06.2015 Part1
Copy_of_PIP-HS_MS_4-5KVA_new_Service_manual_201506A.pdf

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Post by rinaldoparaipan » Sun, 31 Jan 2016, 23:51

And Part2
Part2.pdf

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Post by coulomb » Mon, 01 Feb 2016, 01:53

rinaldoparaipan wrote: I think is useful.

Definitely! Thanks, Rinaldo.
Nissan Leaf 2012 with new battery May 2019.
5650 W solar, PIP-4048MS inverter, 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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