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System struck by Lightning


HennieJH

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Hi All, I would like to ask some advice on an issue I have been having after lightning struck my solar system. The setup is a Victron 5kVA EasySolar with 10.24kW battery bank. The inverter was recently struck by lightning and got damaged ( no longer inverted power when grid is available, when grid fell away, it would still invert the power). The complete inverter only was replaced through insurance, and after replacement of the inverter, i started noticing a few issues: 

1) The battery monitor (victron unit) was not picked up by the easy solar.

2) I would be getting low battery indicator on the inverter, and battery would shutdown, thus leaving us in the dark.

3) The battery on inverter would still show battery capacity available as 34%, but then I get a battery low light on inverter and system shuts down.

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What can be possible issues, is there other items that also got damaged due to lightning strike which was not detected?

Has the battery sustained damage due to not discharging below 34%, and dropping out when reaching 34% (basically battery thinks it is at 0%???), give me only 66% useable capacity?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks. 

IMG-20211120-WA0054.jpeg

Edited by HennieJH
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Are the ccgx on the latest software? Also in the menu, can you scan for the battery monitor? There should be a menu item “Press to redetect battery” Yes the battery monitor can be damaged as well. 
 

I see your menu item “Multiphase regulation” set to unknown. It should be set to “Total of all phases”. 

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I believe the problem is related to your system not picking up the battery monitor.

Go to > Settings > System Setup > Battery monitor > and manually select your monitor.

Once selected press the ✅ and you should be good to go.

If your monitoring device does not appear in the list then it could very well be as @Sarel  said, either your VE.Direct cable or the device is kaput

Edited by GVC
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10 hours ago, GVC said:

I believe the problem is related to your system not picking up the battery monitor.

Go to > Settings > System Setup > Battery monitor > and manually select your monitor.

Once selected press the ✅ and you should be good to go.

If your monitoring device does not appear in the list then it could very well be as @Sarel  said, either your VE.Direct cable or the device is kaput

Victron battery monitor device not in list.

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11 hours ago, Sarel said:

Are the ccgx on the latest software? Also in the menu, can you scan for the battery monitor? There should be a menu item “Press to redetect battery” Yes the battery monitor can be damaged as well. 
 

I see your menu item “Multiphase regulation” set to unknown. It should be set to “Total of all phases”. 

Yes, ccgx seems to be on latest version v2.73.

Victron battery monitor not detected during scan.

Thanks, set Multiphase regulation to “Total of all phases”. 

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34 minutes ago, HennieJH said:

Victron battery monitor device not in list.

Then I would select the Multiplus as the default battery monitor until you can figure out what is wrong with your battery monitor. The Multiplus doesn't do a bad job monitoring the battery.

The other option is that if you have Lithium batteries that are compatible with the Multiplus, then you can use them as the battery monitor through the CAN-bus port  

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1 hour ago, GVC said:

Then I would select the Multiplus as the default battery monitor until you can figure out what is wrong with your battery monitor. The Multiplus doesn't do a bad job monitoring the battery.

The other option is that if you have Lithium batteries that are compatible with the Multiplus, then you can use them as the battery monitor through the CAN-bus port  

I changed the inverter to monitor batteries for now. Have the ReVOV Lithium type batteries, not sure how they do there come (i.e. CAN-bus).

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As far as I know, they are compatible, what is involved I do not know as I have no Revov experience. Worth looking into as it may be just a cable and configuration or maybe also an adapter from Revov that you will need.

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Just an update, so even after setting the Victron to monitor the battery voltage, the inverter (Victron Easy solar) kicks out a battery low alarm when the battery shows 32% on the Victron Color Control GX. I thus suspect that either the BMS of ReVOV is faulty (i.e. sends an incorrect signal so that at 32%-34% it shows battery low), or the actual battery cells got damaged by the lightning and the cells are reporting the incorrect voltage to the system.

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On 2021/11/25 at 6:55 AM, HennieJH said:

Just an update, so even after setting the Victron to monitor the battery voltage, the inverter (Victron Easy solar) kicks out a battery low alarm when the battery shows 32% on the Victron Color Control GX. I thus suspect that either the BMS of ReVOV is faulty (i.e. sends an incorrect signal so that at 32%-34% it shows battery low), or the actual battery cells got damaged by the lightning and the cells are reporting the incorrect voltage to the system.

So for interest sake, the battery supplier's response is as follows:

When you run a Carlo gavassi meter (ET112)  and you don't have sufficient solar on your roof, and you feed back to the inverter to the non criticals with a SoC of 45% in ess, you will stuff up the battery. To monitor the ve bus from the inverter is not the right way to measure your battery, the most accurate way is with a bms of smartshunt (Victron Energy Battery Monitor BMV-700).

Ok, so i have a few questions.

1) If the (Victron Energy Battery Monitor BMV-700) was damaged by the lightning strike, you cannot use it (waiting for insurance approval to replace it), the next best option is the inverter or nothing. What does one choose....No brainer! Let the inverter monitor battery voltage whilst the Victron Energy Battery Monitor BMV-700 is out of action.

2) What do they mean by "you run a Carlo gavassi meter (ET112)  and you don't have sufficient solar on your roof, and you feed back to the inverter to the non criticals with a SoC of 45% in ess, you will stuff up the battery. ". 

- What is sufficient solar on the roof? I have 15 x 355W panels, is that not sufficient for a 5kVA easy solar? Do they need more panels?

- I don't understand why you cannot feed back through the inverter to the Non Essentials with the ESS in a 45% SoC? The battery drops out at low voltage at 32% in any case, meaning i cannot drain the battery less than 32%, yet they say the battery is working fine....

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

 

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Hi guys, I am back to ask for more advice again. So today the BMV-700, shunt & the ET112 devices was replaced with new units. I ran a discharge test on the batteries to see if it would now drain less than the 32%/34% drain I got before. I managed to get to 29.5% when the battery gave a low alarm and switched to Eskom supply. Thus I can only get  70.5% use of the battery before getting a battery low alarm. This is not right, as I was previously able to get down to 0% before the whole lightning strike issue. I suspect the battery sustained damage during the lightning strike...? Is it even possible? How does one fault find it and proof if the battery is now faulty? Seriously pulling out my hair here.....😠😠😠!!!

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VE Bus Voltage_2021.12.08_23-03.PNG

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16 hours ago, HennieJH said:

Hi guys, I am back to ask for more advice again. So today the BMV-700, shunt & the ET112 devices was replaced with new units. I ran a discharge test on the batteries to see if it would now drain less than the 32%/34% drain I got before. I managed to get to 29.5% when the battery gave a low alarm and switched to Eskom supply. Thus I can only get  70.5% use of the battery before getting a battery low alarm. This is not right, as I was previously able to get down to 0% before the whole lightning strike issue. I suspect the battery sustained damage during the lightning strike...? Is it even possible? How does one fault find it and proof if the battery is now faulty? Seriously pulling out my hair here.....😠😠😠!!!

Do those batteries show the voltage per cell?  Likely one or more cells got damaged and are no longer able to match the rest of the cells.  Or maybe even the BMS in the battery got damaged.  There is no doubt that high voltage can damage battery cells.  High voltage can damage anything and everything.

I think your challenge is going to be convincing the insurance company that your batteries where lighting damaged and not "used up" so to speak.  Best way to prove that is to show the voltage per cell is totally off or the BMS on the battery is giving spurious readings.

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9 hours ago, Gnome said:

Do those batteries show the voltage per cell?  Likely one or more cells got damaged and are no longer able to match the rest of the cells.  Or maybe even the BMS in the battery got damaged.  There is no doubt that high voltage can damage battery cells.  High voltage can damage anything and everything.

I think your challenge is going to be convincing the insurance company that your batteries where lighting damaged and not "used up" so to speak.  Best way to prove that is to show the voltage per cell is totally off or the BMS on the battery is giving spurious readings.

Not on a UI, you have to have the right software and hardware to connect to the battery to be able to see the volts per cell. I don't know what it is, all I know is this battery is rubbish and I want it gone, tired of the battery supplier and the battery. It left me in the dark again tonight, Eskom is on, battery drained to 40% and switched off, doesn't want to stay on when I try to switch it on. True, will likely be an issue to get insurance to accept that it is due to lightning, and probably impossible to proof, but hell, battery is not even 1 year old, so if it is used up, proofs my point that the battery is a load of ...... Wish I had the tools to access the battery myself. Will investigate which batteries are the better ones to use with the Victron product.

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11 hours ago, HennieJH said:

Not on a UI, you have to have the right software and hardware to connect to the battery to be able to see the volts per cell. I don't know what it is, all I know is this battery is rubbish and I want it gone, tired of the battery supplier and the battery. It left me in the dark again tonight, Eskom is on, battery drained to 40% and switched off, doesn't want to stay on when I try to switch it on. True, will likely be an issue to get insurance to accept that it is due to lightning, and probably impossible to proof, but hell, battery is not even 1 year old, so if it is used up, proofs my point that the battery is a load of ...... Wish I had the tools to access the battery myself. Will investigate which batteries are the better ones to use with the Victron product.

Keep in mind, it was probably the lightning and not the battery brand itself.  Do not get too frustrated by this specific brand because of this.  But def. get your insurance involved to get it replaced.

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Hennie  I was requested by the battery company to help with the installation done by your insurance company.

I have the screen grabs of the system after it was adjusted as it was not setup correctly by your installer. The battery delivered 6kwh in a 24 hour cycle and had 40% SOC this indicating that there was in excess of 10kwh usable from the battery which is well within the specification of the battery.

Furthermore i clearly pointed out to installer that the use of a energy meter  for back feed Into non critical loads with insufficient  solar would cause the battery to be drained to the set  SOC of the ess system.

This in effect caused your battery to be kept at 40% SOC at all times which is the reason why the battery appears not to have capacity. Keeping a battery at this level is EXTREMELY harmful to the battery and can have an effect on your warranty.

I am môre than willing to correct your system so that you get the full capacity of the battery out, however will only assist when you remove the 10 users in your vrm, all with admin rights.

I am more than willing to share the screen grabs of your system to demonstrate what is actually happening in your system.

The battery and the inverter  system which are installed are operating 100% in line with what they are set do however, the way the system has been setup is probably not as what you where expecting or it was not explained correctly to you.

 

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2 hours ago, Gnome said:

Keep in mind, it was probably the lightning and not the battery brand itself.  Do not get too frustrated by this specific brand because of this.  But def. get your insurance involved to get it replaced.

Definitely will thanks. I am considering a battery change as this is already the second set of the same battery type. Not shooting it down, just saying. Would be good to change to see if other brands have same type of hassles.

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6 hours ago, JNTM said:

Hennie  I was requested by the battery company to help with the installation done by your insurance company.

I have the screen grabs of the system after it was adjusted as it was not setup correctly by your installer. The battery delivered 6kwh in a 24 hour cycle and had 40% SOC this indicating that there was in excess of 10kwh usable from the battery which is well within the specification of the battery.

Furthermore i clearly pointed out to installer that the use of a energy meter  for back feed Into non critical loads with insufficient  solar would cause the battery to be drained to the set  SOC of the ess system.

This in effect caused your battery to be kept at 40% SOC at all times which is the reason why the battery appears not to have capacity. Keeping a battery at this level is EXTREMELY harmful to the battery and can have an effect on your warranty.

I am môre than willing to correct your system so that you get the full capacity of the battery out, however will only assist when you remove the 10 users in your vrm, all with admin rights.

I am more than willing to share the screen grabs of your system to demonstrate what is actually happening in your system.

The battery and the inverter  system which are installed are operating 100% in line with what they are set do however, the way the system has been setup is probably not as what you where expecting or it was not explained correctly to you.

 

Hi @JNTM, The Various users was added over time due to the various and ongoing issues experienced from day one with the batteries in question, the battery supplier was added as a user with the first battery having issues, and they were not able to address that at the time, whereby they replaced the full set. I since reduced the users to the minimum. 

I would love to see and better understand the mentioned screenshots as well as to understand what the cause is that leads to this battery doing what it is doing.

I might be missing the point, but my understanding was that the ET112 is to prevent feeding back into the grid?? My understanding of the SOC of 40% was that assuming grid supply is available, and the battery is fully charged, load can be drawn from the battery by either the essentials and/or non essentials up to the 40% limit upon which the inveter switches over to grid supply.

Assuming battery is 100% full, and grid supply would fall away (say due to system fault in the grid), the battery would only supply essentials loads (no supply to the non essentials from the battery) up to such time that grid supply comes back, and assuming this drain went past the 40% soc mark (say 15%), then power to grid is restored, the grid would charge the batteries back up to 40% soc.

Also note the battery stays at 40% soc for only around 10 hours (21:00 - 07:00) where after it starts to charge again with solar. Also, whilst the battery is sitting at 40% soc, load is supplied from grid, this should not damage battery if large loads at switched on, since the battery is not feeding the load.

What I also don't understand is the fact that the battery voltage jumps down to 36v and back up, and that being said, the system drained 2 days ago down to 29.5% with the inverter monitoring the ve bus. When the new bmv was installed, that evening (yesterday) the battery drained to 40% and completely shut down. Things are not making sense, or I am slow.

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Hennie the et112 is what they call a zero meter ie it tries to zero any energy moving backwards and forwards through it , so yes your assumption is partly correct. However if it is installed on your grid incommer  before your non critical and critical loads it will only stop backfeed to the grid.

Therefore any load this includes critical and non critical will be fed at anytime from battery or solar until you reach the SoC as set on ess , at this stage the system will revert to grid. 

If you have your et112 installed at your grid entry point the usual modus operandi , if your solar is not sufficient for non critical and critical, is to set the SoC on ess to about 95% this then ensures that you do not keep your battery in a semi depleted state and that your using your solar to its full potential, however you then do not get without manual switching the usage of your battery at night.

There are also other means of configuring your system to optimise better and I am willing to assist, I am gathering that maybe you haven't had a proper sitdown with your installer to really discuss what you really want to achieve with your system.

Furthermore my personal preference is to have a bmv installed as it is to me a far more accurate way of measuring SoC especially when one is dealing with lithium batteries that have a voltage operating window of between 54v and 50v , especially if  you are using unmanaged batteries. Remember the older agm batteries have an operating platform between 57.6 and 44v which is a larger increment and not prone to slight SOC differences.

So probably due to not understanding how your et112 operates you've been running your battery at 40% SOC consistently and many lithium battery suppliers would actually null and void their warranty , so I would probably be pretty thankful that the battery company your dealing with actually replaced this battery under warranty I know many that wouldn't have.

I have had exceptional service from both your inverter manufacturer and battery company and have found that with proper communication with both they usually will bend over backwards to be of service to any of their customers. Both have accredited installers who are very able to answer any pertinent questions that you may have and help you on your way to becoming independent from eskom.

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Hi JNTM, thanks for your reply.  Maybe I may have been miss informed by the original installer on the exact working and  limitations of the system. I was however clear with the supplier that the aim for installing my system is to be less dependent on the grid (I would want to supply my loads critical and non critical) from the solar/battery system when obviously there is sufficient sun available. If there is a shortage of sun, or if I aim to draw big loads (typically my geyser), I would use the eskom supply, and this would involve some manual switching of my system on my side. Thus, the battery would supply load 60% every day and stop at 40% reserve to hold that for if their is unexpected load shedding, and if there was no load shedding, the system would charge the battery back to 100% in most cases, sun availability dependent. The average soc should thus be on average more than 40% since the battery is cycled daily. 

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On 2021/12/11 at 10:20 AM, HennieJH said:

Hi JNTM, thanks for your reply.  Maybe I may have been miss informed by the original installer on the exact working and  limitations of the system. I was however clear with the supplier that the aim for installing my system is to be less dependent on the grid (I would want to supply my loads critical and non critical) from the solar/battery system when obviously there is sufficient sun available. If there is a shortage of sun, or if I aim to draw big loads (typically my geyser), I would use the eskom supply, and this would involve some manual switching of my system on my side. Thus, the battery would supply load 60% every day and stop at 40% reserve to hold that for if their is unexpected load shedding, and if there was no load shedding, the system would charge the battery back to 100% in most cases, sun availability dependent. The average soc should thus be on average more than 40% since the battery is cycled daily. 

Hennie 

I believe there may have been a misunderstanding between your installer and yourself or possibly your installer doesn't quite grasp how the system hierarchy works and how the system is using your energy produced by your panels.

Please contact the insurance installer and get my number from them , I would be more than willing to assist to get your system streamlined correctly so that we optimise and utilise the system that has been put in place  or at least  point you in the right direction to get the system working as you envisaged originally.

Regards 

JNTM

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