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ebrsa

Axpert 5Kw Switching On Delay

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On the past Monday I restarted my two parallel 5Kw MKS Axperts. Both are flashed with version BLC73.00c firmware of  @Coulomb and @weber which has been running for a week at the time. The newest of the two refused to start up, after switching all power inputs and outputs to both inverters off and restarting by switching batteries on first, then solar panels, then mains and lastly output. After trying this several times, without, success  I gave up. The fans of the dead inverter were running and I could hear relays clicking a few time though. About 3 hours later I noticed that the dead inverter came on and was functioning fine.

This morning I noticed that the older and working inverter would not display the SCC firmware version or charge current from the solar panels connected to it, so switched everything off and on as per above procedure. And again the newer inverter would not start but some 3 hours later I noticed on ICC that it was now working.

Has anyone got an explanation or must I expect that the inverter will soon fail completely and have to be replaced. The dodgy inverter was installed only 20 months ago.

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Has anybody on the forum have a suggestion about my problems. Today was an overcast rainy day with almost zero solar generation and the older inverter again won't display the SCC version firmware.

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On 2018/05/23 at 10:54 PM, ebrsa said:

would not display the SCC firmware version or charge current from the solar panels connected to it

That just means that the SCC isn't running, or at least isn't talking successfully to the main processor. I don't think you can infer that the inverter is about to fail.

But I have to say that fixing itself after 3 hours running is very strange behaviour. When you say the newer inverter refused to start up, do you mean the LC Display was totally blank, or the display was working but there was no output. Was it bypassing?

One of the changes with factory (and therefore patched) firmware 73.00 is that the fans run all the time, requesting at least at 30% of maximum speed. The 30% speed request results in them just ticking over.

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Thanks a great deal for your reply @Coulomb. The LCD of the new inverter remains blank after turning it on so I don't know in what state it is in. However I just realized that the information of its workings is shown by ICC-Pi so I will switch it off and on to see what I can discover. After about 3 hours the LCD came on but I will check the time delay again. We have had thick overcast and rainy weather for the past 2 days so solar generation was close to zero. The new inverter has 1560W of panels connected and the old one 780W so most of solar comes from the new one as the panels face north while the panels on the old inverter face north-west. Today is more sunny so I will be able to see if the new inverter's solar charging is working and what state it is in according to ICC after switching it off and on again. Hopefully I will have useful information to report a bit later as we had sunrise about an hour ago and solar generation is still insignificant.

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26 minutes ago, ebrsa said:

Thanks a great deal for your reply @Coulomb. The LCD of the new inverter remains blank after turning it on so I don't know in what state it is in. However I just realized that the information of its workings is shown by ICC-Pi so I will switch it off and on to see what I can discover. After about 3 hours the LCD came on but I will check the time delay again. We have had thick overcast and rainy weather for the past 2 days so solar generation was close to zero. The new inverter has 1560W of panels connected and the old one 780W so most of solar comes from the new one as the panels face north while the panels on the old inverter face north-west. Today is more sunny so I will be able to see if the new inverter's solar charging is working and what state it is in according to ICC after switching it off and on again. Hopefully I will have useful information to report a bit later as we had sunrise about an hour ago and solar generation is still insignificant.

Do you switch off the batteries too? If not it doesn't have much of effect

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@Coulomb I have switched the inverters to solar/battery supply with ICC. Then switched the load to grid with a change-over switch in the circuit and then disconnected solar panels and mains input but left batteries still connected. Then switched the inverters off with their builtin switches. Both displays went blank after a while so I reversed the process but left the load on grid and isolated from the inverters. Both came on just fine although the fault LED on the new inverter came on for a second or two. Then went through the switching off sequence again but this time decided to be brave and isolated the batteries as well. Waited a while until no further clicking of relays happened and turned on batteries and then the inverters which both started up just fine. Then turned on panels and mains and switched the load from grid to inverters and still everything worked fine. 

I am a bit suspicious of equipment that suddenly works well but not so on another occasion. However for now it seems fine although I cannogvery explain why not on the previous occasions. I am vey grateful for your kind advice.

 

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On 2018/05/23 at 2:54 PM, ebrsa said:

I restarted my two parallel 5Kw MKS Axperts. Both are flashed with version BLC73.00c firmware

What version were they running before flashing?

Was it at 72.40 before the upgrade?

Did you jump to BLC73.00c from 72.40 or run the flash process with every mod that was produced?

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@flamegrilled I had the firmware version wrong. It is actually BC1_73.00c which is beta firmware but beta releases of the past were pretty much the same as the final when released by @Coulomb and @weber so I had no hesitation in flashing it. I have been flashing all the past versions as they became available. My first inverter was commissioned in June 2016 and the second parallel one in September 2016. I started flashing the Aussie firmware from those dates. However the developers have in the past stated that the latest firmware release incorporates all modifications of the past so I suppose it does not matter what is installed when one upgrades.

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15 hours ago, flamegrilled said:

or run the flash process with every mod that was produced?

There is no reason to do this. The patched firmware (same as factory firmware) always completely replaces what was there (apart from the bootloader, which as far as I can tell is never updated).

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A stupid question .....can you not revert back to the last "working"  version as to test if the fault is hardware or software based?

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1 hour ago, Mike said:

A stupid question .....can you not revert back to the last "working"  version as to test if the fault is hardware or software based?

Yip, he should be able to. I've done it before. 

@ebrsa, have you checked for any loose cables, bad connections to the inverter and also the joints between panels?

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Posted (edited)

@Mike and @PurePower I suppose I could revert back to a previous version of the firmware but since the inverters started normally yesterday there would probably not be much to be gained. I did check connections between batteries and inverters but not between panels. At 80 years of age crawling under panels to check connections is more of an effort than what I like to undertake. And yes you will all understand what I mean when you get there. I will see how everything performs until the next restart and what happens then. Strange glitch though and I simply can't explain why it happened. Appreciate all the advice though.

Edited by ebrsa

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My suspect Axpert displayed error code 60 which is to be found in the manual for the parallel kit and the description is "Current feedback into the inverter is detected". However after disconnecting all power inputs and outputs and then taking my time to turn on everything, waiting a fair while between stages, the inverters worked just fine until this morning when the troublesome inverter display an error code 08 with the fault LED on and the siren wailing. Eventually I got it working mostly by switching the output to grid and thus disconnected from the inverters. When the output is connected to the inverters and parameter 01 is set to SBU, everything works fine but when I change 01 to UTI, the error code 08 as well as the fault LED and siren comes on in seconds. The only way to stop it is to disconnect all power inputs and outputs.

@Coulomb in checking all the settings of the inverters, I noticed that BF1_73.00c firmware, parameter 04 only have one setting of "nor" available on my inverters whereas the Aussieview manual shows settings of SdS and SEn. Could it perhaps indicate that the flashing did not work correctly and could that cause the errors I am getting. Or is it just components that failed perhaps. I am really just clutching at straws here as I have zero doubt that finding a repair facility in South Africa is probably close to zero.

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10 hours ago, ebrsa said:

... everything works fine but when I change 01 to UTI, the error code 08 as well as the fault LED and siren comes on in seconds. The only way to stop it is to disconnect all power inputs and outputs.

Fault code 08 is uncommon. However, I did respond to one user with that error here:

http://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?p=67392#p67392

I think that the most useful part of that post is:

Quote

 

One potential hardware problem that occurs to me is that perhaps the bus soft start "power supply" isn't turning off, or is coming on when it should not. Check R251, R250, a short from pins 3-4 of U16, U16 itself, perhaps U17 or any of the passives around U16.

 

My only suggestion is that if you are lucky enough to find someone who can attempt to repair your unit, these part numbers may give them a good place to start. Or contact your supplier for repair options, if that is possible.

The fact that fault code 08 only comes up with UTI mode is surely a good clue, and now that I think about it, means that the soft start "power supply" mentioned in my AEVA post is unlikely to be the problem. Now I'm thinking it's more likely to be something to do with the buck converter, which is meant to buck the bus voltage to the lower voltage from eight times the battery voltage. But a buck converter from bus to batteryx8 means it's a boost converter from batteryx8 to bus (I hope I got that right). Something must be going wrong with the buck converter or its control circuitry. Perhaps suggest to your repairer to check the buck converter components, and also the sense resistors (sets of 4 SMD resistors in line, such as R146/R154/R171/R172 and R131/R138/R12?9/R135 near the five 8-pin DIP packages under the main board.

Another thought: the buck converter is disabled when in battery mode (hence the lack of problems in SBU mode) , and should do little or nothing unless AC charging. Perhaps you can work around the problem by changing the settings to discourage AC charging. For example, change Charger Source Priority (setting 16) to OSO (Only SOlar).

10 hours ago, ebrsa said:

@Coulomb in checking all the settings of the inverters, I noticed that BF1_73.00c firmware, parameter 04 only have one setting of "nor" available on my inverters whereas the Aussieview manual shows settings of SdS and SEn. Could it perhaps indicate that the flashing did not work correctly and could that cause the errors I am getting. Or is it just components that failed perhaps. I am really just clutching at straws here as I have zero doubt that finding a repair facility in South Africa is probably close to zero.

That's normal behaviour, unless you have the output mode (setting 28) is set to SIG (single machine). Any other setting will force the power saving mode (setting 04) to "NOR". Perhaps the AussieView manual could be improved in that respect; I'll mention it to Weber.

Once you have more than one machine paralleled, it seems that power saving goes out the window.

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Thanks a great deal for your reply @Coulomb, it is much appreciated.

I have just set Setting 16 to OSO on both inverters and then changed setting 01 to UTI on the faulty inverter. Some of the settings are automatically transferred to the parallel inverter and 01 is one of them. Within seconds the faulty inverter siren went off and error code 08 was displayed. This time I was a bit more patient and turned off both inverter switches, mains input and solar panels but left the battery supply connected. After a while the faulty inverter siren stopped and the error code disappeared. During all this time the mains output was disconnected from the inverters and connected to the grid. Then I changed setting 01 to SBU, setting 16 to SOL and  turned mains and panel inputs to the inverters on again. All was fine and I then changed output from the grid to the inverters and all was well.

As my whole house is supplied by the inverters, I am limited to 8Kw so both inverters being operational is essential to avoid overloading. I suppose best bet is to replace the faulty one and then see if I can find a clever enough technician to fix the faulty one. At least I will have a spare should a fault occur again. That is if the corrosive environment at the coastal town where I live, some 100Km north of Cape Town does not destroy it first.

Any further suggestions you or anyone else may have will be much appreciated as it seems that all us Axpert owners are exposed at least to some risk. Small wonder the Blue Brigade seems to feel somewhat superior.

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5 hours ago, ebrsa said:

Small wonder the Blue Brigade seems to feel somewhat superior.

I'll put it this way. If we had as much trouble as you... we'd be asking for our money back!

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, plonkster said:

I'll put it this way. If we had as much trouble as you... we'd be asking for our money back!

Amen to that. The time, effort and stress, you have to be really into tinkering to appreciate the effort Axpert users put in. Respect for that.

I see Current Automation has new Victron prices. they have the whole list it seems to me.

My little off grid inverter today is sold for nearly the same price paid back in 2012!

They said they will and then they DID reduce their prices substantially.

Noted the Quatro 48/15000 - peaks at 25 000 watts. Moses that's huge.
The Multiplus 48/5000 - peaks at 10 000 watts - and not too shabby in price either.

But lets be honest, Victron is expensive.

But if you want plug and forget with an option to free support and advice with some serious guarantees that follows the product, and not the 1st buyer,  it is worth every cent.

For based on THIS forum I will never buy and Axpert. I do not have the time nor the patience to tweak a system so much with no support or care for the money I spent on buying a Axpert, or whatever flavor or colour the supplier I bought them from, calls them. :P

My blood is and will stay Blue ... or red for SMA or grey for Fronius(!) ... one day when I am all grown up.

Edited by The Terrible Triplett

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41 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Noted the Quatro 48/15000 - peaks at 25 000 watts. Moses that's huge.

Last week we had to tell a customer with a 60kwh battery that his battery is a bit on the small side compared to the rest of the system.

The theoretical maximum of a Quattro-based system is 270kw. You can parallel up to 6, in a 3-phase config you'd have 6 per phase, and if you use 15kva units... that's 18 Quattros or 270kva. And it can peak at 200% nominal as you already noted. Of course this will set you back almost 2 bar on the inverters alone, and probably another 2 for the batteries. So far the largest one I've seen was around 100kva.

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Some of us drive Rolls Royces and others make do with VW Polos. It is alway a cost/quality balancing act. That said, considering the large numbers of Voltronics products apparently being sold, it can't be all bad. I was just told that Pinnacle has spares and a technician that does the repairs so will see what happens.

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I have  after 3 years of hassle-free Axpert use had two Error code 8s in the last week or so. My observation has been the error  occurs when I have a combination of solar and grid charging (poor weather) and as we hit 100% SOC on my small Pylontech bank the inverter has switched off due to an Error 8.

 

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2 hours ago, ebrsa said:

Some of us drive Rolls Royces and others make do with VW Polos.

True enough. A farming analogy perhaps. Where I grew up, some farmers like the European breeds. Larger carcas, more meat, faster growth, more money. But they eat more, so you can't have the same head count per hectare. Their teeth is set straighter in the jaw, so where an indigenous breed would slice off a mouth full of grass, these would be more likely to tear out the roots. In short, they are harder on your grazing. My dad, who is a die hard indigenous-breed farmer, explained to me one day that the important number isn't money per head of cattle, it is money per hectare.

The same is true of cars. Us males explain everything in terms of cars. What you care about is cost per kilometer, or perhaps if a low annual mileage is unavoidable then you care about annual total cost, or TCO (total cost of ownership).

This is the gamble with a cheaper inverter, a cheaper anything really. If you have to buy two in a 5 year period (taking into account that the second one will cost more), chances are that you have the same TCO as the guy who bought the more expensive one.

To me a better analogy has always been the Sinoteq televisions. They are cheap enough that you can buy two for the price of a nice Samsung or Sony, and they are cheap enough that the manufacturer can replace it under warranty and still make a profit... they literally are "worth it" in terms of a simple division sum :-) A clever man, who thinks TCO, might very well fit these to his guest house instead of a more expensive brand.

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55 minutes ago, Chris Hobson said:

100% SOC on my small Pylontech bank the inverter has switched off due to an Error 8

...just a thumbsuck...

[Error 08] = [bus voltage too high] - is it possible that the Pylontech BMS protection is kicking in and disconnecting the charge input to the battery which causes a voltage surge in the Axpert as the charge current suddenly has "nowhere to go"? I guess it would be similar to dropping the battery CB.

1 hour ago, Chris Hobson said:

when I have a combination of solar and grid charging

By "grid' i assume you mean generator as I was under the impression that you are off-grid. If I am correct could you not change [Menu 16 = CUT], so that when you run the gennie it uses only the gennie as charge source and not solar, then when you reach about 90% SOC you shut off the gennie and continue on solar/battery only?

The above might be garbage as I have never worked with Pylontech batteries, and I dont know if you would have access to a control output at 90% SOC (BMV still in operation?)

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