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Hi everybody,

I am new to the forum and in need of help with my system. My system currently consist of the following:

3 x 5 kva Synerji inverters running in parallel. 2 months old. Know it is cloned of something but had not much luck with Victron either, lost two 10 kva units and just had enough spending vast amounts of money. Only still using the bms unit. 

20 x 230 Amp  Silver Calcium batteries wired in 5 packs of 4 for 48 v and total storage of 1150 Amp hour. Oldest battery 2 years. Never discharge them less than 46.7 volt as per supplier recommendation. Each pack is connected to a H02 balancer which keep the all the batteries balanced within .3 volt.

15 x 255 w 36 v Solarworld panels wired for 108 v facing North This bank is split between two inverters

12 x 255 w 36 v Solarworld panels wired for 145 v due to distance facing West @ 55 degrees due to roof angle. This bank feed one inverter.

Even in winter the system is fully charged (57.8 v)at around 11:30 will carrying the household load too and start to float @ 46.7 v for the rest of the day till sunset.

The system is programmed to stop discharging @ 46.7 v. My night time load does not exceed 300 ah but average around 268 ah.

As you all guessed, my problem is that around 2 am my system switch over to grit power.

Any suggestions?

Ronnie

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9 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

lost two 10 kva units

They have 5-year warranties... is there more to this story?

9 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

20 x 230 Amp  Silver Calcium batteries wired in 5 packs of 4 for 48 v and total storage of 1150 Amp hour.

Sounds like Excis 230Ah batteries. Not real deep cycle batteries, though they are not bad for backup purposes.

And you have 5 strings. Anything past two is looking for trouble. Anything past three is rolling out the red carpet for bad luck.

9 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

Oldest battery 2 years.

So they are of different ages too?

9 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

My night time load does not exceed 300 ah but average around 268 ah.

Load is measured in Watts, and consumption in watt-hour, though one could probably translate the watt-hours to amp-hours if you have an average voltage. Either way, it sounds like you have a 1000Ah battery and it conks out about a third of the way.

9 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

As you all guessed, my problem is that around 2 am my system switch over to grit power.

Maybe you have a large load that drops the voltage causing premature switching to grid? If not, well then my only guess is that you don't really have a 1000Ah battery anymore, some degradation has taken place :-)

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Thank you for answering!

Triplett

I have a BMV 700 to monitor the batteries. 

These batteries are maintenance free.

 

Plongster,

The one Quattro got damaged due to lightning strike statics which entered the system behind all protection. Second one just would not change to inverter mode anymore after running from generator. Think they are too sensitive. I still have the two 85/150 MPPT's. They are bullet proof.

They are not the best batteries available and that is why I dont punish them. Never use more than 20% from them. I replaced one last month but the rest are 2 years old with a month between them.

I did the conversion from watts to ah to put it in perspective with the total capacity.

There is no sudden increase in the load, the BMV 700 would pick it up.

I have taken out a string at a time over a 24 hour period and after 24 hours the batteries in the string tests 12.6 v rested.

I am awaiting delivery of a Fluke analizer to test the batteries better.

How do you suggest I connect or devide the battery strings between the 3 inverters?

 

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12 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

How do you suggest I connect or divide the battery strings between the 3 inverters?

You don't divide them, I assume your 3 inverters are in parallel in which case they use a single bank of batteries. I think if you require 1000Ah then when you get round to replacing your battery bank (which I think is going to be pretty soon) then rather go for something like 24x 2v/1000Ah OPZ style battery bank where you will have a single string and not multiple strings.

On 2018/06/23 at 8:54 AM, Ronnie_V said:

start to float @ 46.7 v for the rest of the day till sunset.

I assume that this statement was a typo, because 46V translates to a 0% state of charge in most Lead-Acid batteries, I guess you have been floating at 54V or something like that.

image.png.4b53d9cb71c3f1156fe1578520836a64.png

The above chart was downloaded from the net and doesn't apply precisely to all batteries, but it is a pretty good guide. I don't think you should be allowing your bank to drop much below 48V on a regular basis - at 46V your batteries have been allowed to go very low and may have sustained damage as a result.

Personally I think the normal float charge voltage should be used for standby batteries in a UPS that are occasionally used during a power failure, for cycle use 14.0 - 14.4 (56.0 - 57.6). So bulk charge at 57.6V and then drop to an absorb voltage of 56V.

Try this to see if you can lift your batteries, but if you have been draining your batteries to 46.7 volts each night and they are around 2 years old I think they will be shot. I hope that I am wrong.

 

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Tx Pilotfish,

I am going to try what you suggested and see what happens. Hope that batteries are still fine, don't want to fork out 75+ K for new batteries. I have fired up my two Victron 150/85 MPPT's and disconnected the panels from inverters. Now the inverters stay connected to the grid and switch between bypass and batteries. Tried to change the settings but my guess is that the inverters does not see the MPPT's pushing 110 amps into the batteries. 

 

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On 2018/06/23 at 9:13 PM, Ronnie_V said:

The one Quattro got damaged due to lightning strike statics which entered the system behind all protection. Second one just would not change to inverter mode anymore after running from generator. Think they are too sensitive.

It has been bothering me. Have you had them checked by a Victron repairer?

I know most of the time they can be repaired with little trouble. 

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On 2018/06/23 at 8:54 AM, Ronnie_V said:

20 x 230 Amp  Silver Calcium batteries wired in 5 packs of 4 for 48 v and total storage of 1150 Amp hour.

Can I suggest you split them into seperate strings and then charge each string using a MPPT.

If you have an issue with one battery in the bank you won't be able to work this out if you nail all 5 strings at once.

At least then you can isolate bad batteries even though it may take longer to do this.  I would run off grid only while you sort the batteries and switch off inverters Disconnect them from the bank). 

Regards

Mark

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32 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

It has been bothering me. Have you had them checked by a Victron repairer?

I know most of the time they can be repaired with little trouble. 

I must say, my experience with Victron inverters and after sales service is horrific at best. Also the agent close by closed down. I still think it is one of the best products on the market but maybe a bit sensitive for Africa or for me. Both were sent in to CA and the repair costs was about the same as buying a new one. The fact that I was unable to source the boards I needed to repair it myself did not help much either. That is why  I just decided to stop trying to get the best and go the el cheapo route. Can buy 10 hybrids for the price of the quattro units. So they are sitting in the store till I buy a boat, got the anchors.  

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16 minutes ago, Mark said:

Can I suggest you split them into seperate strings and then charge each string using a MPPT.

If you have an issue with one battery in the bank you won't be able to work this out if you nail all 5 strings at once.

At least then you can isolate bad batteries even though it may take longer to do this.  I would run off grid only while you sort the batteries and switch off inverters Disconnect them from the bank). 

Regards

Mark

Hi Mark,

Would you suggest what each string of 4 batteries must be connected to its own MPPT? Each of the strings then connected together on the two bus bars and from there to the 3 inverters?

Must I then divide the 27 solar panels between the 5 MPPT's? 

Regard

Ronnie

 

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No not at all!

divide the strings at the busbar...

  • String A = 4x12V batteries = 48V - connect to MPPT1 (charge and let it sit on the MPPT 1 panel string for a good few days)
  • B= 4x12V batteries = 48V - connect to MPPT2 (charge and let it sit on the MPPT 2 panel string for a good few days)
  • C  leave disconnected
  • D leave disconnected
  • E leave disconnected

Monitor StringA and StringB very carefully and see how they go...When you are happy they are fully charged then move MPPT1 to SC and MPPT2 to SD (Repeat!)

Monitor SA and SB to see if they hold charge (test each battery daily and see if any are week)

Move MPPT1 to SE and repeat (monitor SA, SB, SC, and SD)... look for batteries that drop their voltage against the others.

Remember the bateries are at rest when not on the MPPT's so should settle to a good voltage (around 12.7V)

I know this sounds alot of work but one bad battery could hide in the bank if you don't do this... 

PS: Rest of forum...Any suggestions or corrections? 

Edited by Mark
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27 minutes ago, Ronnie_V said:

I must say, my experience with Victron inverters and after sales service is horrific at best.

That happens everywhere.

Presume you still have them?

I have found a man, Thys is his name, owner of https://www.omnisolar.co.za/contact.html

Him, his sons and staff, they really understand Victorn products. I have sent one I blew up, to him to check and repair. He is straight down the center, if it is not viable, he will tell you. If he has spare parts, with permission, he uses that.

Drop him a mail, and ask.

Ps. I am sure there are other good ones, but I spend the monies to send to him. 

If you are not interested, maybe I can take them off your hands? :-) 

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1 hour ago, Ronnie_V said:

my experience with Victron inverters and after sales service is horrific at best

Well my opinion is likely severely biased, but as someone on the inside, Victron support is some of the best there is. The thing is, it relies on a hierarchy, it has to be followed from the bottom up, first talking to your installer (who should have been trained by Victron -- the training is very affordable), and then escalating that to the local representative (there is one in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg), and then it gets escalated to third level and if it is a really tough problem it gets given to a developer in R & D. It sounds to me like for you it failed fairly low down on the ladder.

1 hour ago, Ronnie_V said:

unable to source the boards I needed to repair it myself

There are repair centers, eg OnTrack is one. These people can source a replacement board for you and fit it. If it is under warranty it should cost you nothing. The big deal breaker with self repair is the MCU on the control board. It is a common part that you can source yourself, but the code that runs on it obviously cannot be given to you (if it could... some entrepreneur in China can do the same thing and then we have a second Fangpusun to deal with). Even the downloadable firmware is encrypted. So the only way to repair it is to ship a complete new control board with an MCU, and the only way to provide any kind of warranty is for a trusted shop to fit it. I know it is frustrating, but there really is no other way to avoid the entire thing becoming a disorderly mess.

A 10KVA 48V unit is a bit large for my application, otherwise I'd offer to take it too. For interest sake, look at the serial number, it will start with HQ and then 4 digits indicating the manufacture date: The first two is the year, the next two is the week of the year. If it's still in warranty, for goodness sake try to get it repaired!

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Morning Plonkster,

 

Serial starts with HQ1539.....

Because it was a big investment when I started I actually had the guys from CA overseeing the whole installation for insurance purposes,even when the first unit was replaced with latest one.

R

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11 hours ago, Mark said:

No not at all!

divide the strings at the busbar...

  • String A = 4x12V batteries = 48V - connect to MPPT1 (charge and let it sit on the MPPT 1 panel string for a good few days)
  • B= 4x12V batteries = 48V - connect to MPPT2 (charge and let it sit on the MPPT 2 panel string for a good few days)
  • C  leave disconnected
  • D leave disconnected
  • E leave disconnected

Monitor StringA and StringB very carefully and see how they go...When you are happy they are fully charged then move MPPT1 to SC and MPPT2 to SD (Repeat!)

Monitor SA and SB to see if they hold charge (test each battery daily and see if any are week)

Move MPPT1 to SE and repeat (monitor SA, SB, SC, and SD)... look for batteries that drop their voltage against the others.

Remember the bateries are at rest when not on the MPPT's so should settle to a good voltage (around 12.7V)

I know this sounds alot of work but one bad battery could hide in the bank if you don't do this... 

PS: Rest of forum...Any suggestions or corrections? 

Morning Mark,

Done your suggested tests and all tested between 12.6 - 12.75 after 12 hours of rest. 

I ordered a Fluke battery analyzer which should arrive today and see what that tells me. 

Any experience with Synerji clone of the Axpert for the correct settings?

Regards 

R

 

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Hi

1.5 V is a significant difference between the top and bottom... how about redoing the strings and match all the lowest together and so on.

Then charge them as per my above post...that way the mppt's start with a "balanced set of 4" ...

I don't have experience with the clone's...sorry. 

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@Ronnie_V,

If the Synerji = 100% clone of Axpert (if there is such a thing), then you will do well to download and apply @Chris Hobson's Axpert Settings Guide in the download section.

I have read that the clones do have a tendency to generate a "this is a clone" alarm when updating the software, which makes it not usable for @Coulomb's bug fix software.

Using the BMV is a good start, but the Axpert/Clone are notorious for weak SOC calc's, and that is what you are relying on to manage the system. 

Most of the well behaved Axpert/Infini installation run on ICC control software. Maybe a bit geeky to get going, but help is always available from Manie or this forum.

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21 minutes ago, Sidewinder said:

@Ronnie_V,

If the Synerji = 100% clone of Axpert (if there is such a thing), then you will do well to download and apply @Chris Hobson's Axpert Settings Guide in the download section.

Hi Ronnie 

I had a Synerji for a very short while. You are using your Victron MPPTs to do your charging which is a good thing. I found the Synerji to have a serious DC ripple which would in in my mind wreck your batteries over time.  The settings of a Synerji are different to an Axpert.

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1 hour ago, Ronnie_V said:

Any experience with Synerji clone of the Axpert for the correct settings? 

There are a bunch of knock-offs with different capabilities, please scan and post the settings section of your inverter so that we can try and help you. 

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2 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

Because it was a big investment when I started I actually had the guys from CA overseeing the whole installation for insurance purposes,even when the first unit was replaced with latest one.

Please tell me more on why CA did not fix the machines, or helped you with parts at cost, and why the insurance did not pay for repairs, as it is lightning related, not so?

2 hours ago, Ronnie_V said:

I ordered a Fluke battery analyzer which should arrive today and see what that tells me. 

You can do that or borrow a load tester from a Auto Electrician shop and test each battery. If you pull 3 x the AH out of each battery for up to max 15 seconds, you see very quickly if there is a problem with that battery or not. 

1 hour ago, Chris Hobson said:

You are using your Victron MPPTs to do your charging which is a good thing.

If it was my system, I will bite the bullet and either get the Victron inverter/s fixed, or at least get one fixed from parts of both.

From your questions, I am suspecting that there may be battery problems too, because Silver Calcium batteries have +- give or take 200-250 cycles to 50% DOD.

Then, if one V inverter can be fixed, I would reduce the load to fit the one inverter, sort everything else to perfection, taking the time to take some deep breaths after having to spend more money.

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@Ronnie_V it seems that the suggestion is that you get rid of the Synerji inverters (sell them on OLX etc) and get 3x 5kVA Axpert/RCT/Mecer - they should be a simple drop in replacement.

The reason I suggest this is that with Axpert you will have access to information and assistance on the forum, intelligent control software (ICC), and firmware updates that you don't have access to now - this will ensure that you are able to wring the best life out of your batteries which is by far the most expensive component in your system.

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2 hours ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Please tell me more on why CA did not fix the machines, or helped you with parts at cost, and why the insurance did not pay for repairs, as it is lightning related, not so?

You can do that or borrow a load tester from a Auto Electrician shop and test each battery. If you pull 3 x the AH out of each battery for up to max 15 seconds, you see very quickly if there is a problem with that battery or not. 

If it was my system, I will bite the bullet and either get the Victron inverter/s fixed, or at least get one fixed from parts of both.

From your questions, I am suspecting that there may be battery problems too, because Silver Calcium batteries have +- give or take 200-250 cycles to 50% DOD.

Then, if one V inverter can be fixed, I would reduce the load to fit the one inverter, sort everything else to perfection, taking the time to take some deep breaths after having to spend more money.

The first one was replaced by the insurance. The next one failed after a power failure and the gen ran. It stayed on bypass mode. CA quoted 47 k for repairs which I still can't believe. To me it seems like the changeover relay might be faulty. Insurance said that the unit was still under warranty. I just lost interest in trying to fight and the shipping costs. 

My load from sunset to sunrise is around 630 watt. I am still going to rip out the fridge door warmer one of these days. 

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