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Axpert Installation


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I recently installed my 3000VA Axpert,generally happy with but I want to know whether I can configure to it to auto start a generator with key start when the load picks beyond its capacity. I will share the pictures when I get some time.

Thanks,

Secondly, I can not figure out how to earth it as it an island setup (off grid).

Edited by herb T
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39 minutes ago, herb T said:

Secondly, I can not figure out how to earth it as it an island setup (off grid).

Since it is an off grid setup you could bond  the earths on the supply side and load side and then ground this probably with an earth mat. I am told in new dwellings they are recommending the earth mat is included in the concrete of the kitchen floor.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I added a 5kW/5kVA Axpert PF1 (SOL-I-AX-5P) to my current SOL-I-AX-5M 4kW/5kVA installation. Finding the "tools" to update the firmware and firmware versions was a real mission. The Aussie AEVA forum (https://forums.aeva.asn.au) eventually provided useful info - hard to admit for a South-African ;-). Must say, it is very disappointing not to find this kind of resources on the OEM's website! (I assume one won't have that problem with SMA, Victron, etc.....?)

My PF1 had firmware 74.30 installed. Couldn't get that anywhere. Only a older version or 2/3 MPPT units. Not sure if 74.30 has the premature floating of LA batteries solved. I couldn't get v 73.00b installed. The Reflash tool also stopped working and I was in a bit of panic. But restarting

Eventually after a few attempts got both on v 72.70c and all of a sudden no more screaming alarms and they started working in parallel. SO IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET THE 0.8PF AND 1PF 5kVA 48V INVERTERS IN PARALLEL. Firmware v 72.70c seems to have bugs. The LCD display driver is not driving all the LCD segments. And it doesn't have all the additional settings of v 74.30.

PV panels are going up in the next few days on the PF1. I also plan to upgrade the LA battery bank to a 10kWh LiFePO4 bank in January.

Any useful links to the latest matched firmware and other advice will be appreciated.

 

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16 minutes ago, HannesE said:

I assume one won't have that problem with SMA, Victron, etc.....?

Occasionally something might not be documented, but at least an effort is made :-)

This continues to amaze me... years down the line, still no official site to download official firmware, float bug still not fixed, no documentation about what units work well in parallel with what other units... and yet they continue to sell <switch to high pitched voice>because they are so cheap!</switch back to normal voice>.

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13 hours ago, HannesE said:

I added a 5kW/5kVA Axpert PF1 (SOL-I-AX-5P) to my current SOL-I-AX-5M 4kW/5kVA installation. 

This will be a continuing problem.

13 hours ago, HannesE said:

My PF1 had firmware 74.30 installed. Couldn't get that anywhere. Only a older version or 2/3 MPPT units.
 

That would have been a 75.XX. You can't mix single and multiple MPPT models.

Quote

Not sure if 74.30 has the premature floating of LA batteries solved.

It's not just LA batteries; all batteries. As far as I know, no Voltronic Power factory firmware has the charge bugs fixed.

Quote

I couldn't get v 73.00b installed. The Reflash tool also stopped working and I was in a bit of panic. But restarting

Interesting.

Did you try 72.70c in the older inverter, and leaving factory 74.30 in the new? I believe that's how it's supposed to work.

But if you want the LiFePO₄ version, you'll have to update both anyway.

Quote

 

Eventually after a few attempts got both on v 72.70c and all of a sudden no more screaming alarms and they started working in parallel. SO IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET THE 0.8PF AND 1PF 5kVA 48V INVERTERS IN PARALLEL. 

 

Well done. I'm actually slightly surprised you were able to update the firmware on the new inverter. I hope you realise that you now have two 4 kW inverters, not a 4 kW and a 5 kW.

Quote

Firmware v 72.70c seems to have bugs. The LCD display driver is not driving all the LCD segments.

Not a bug, feature! The font changes are meant to me more readable. RTFM (Read The Fine Manual) here.

Quote

And it doesn't have all the additional settings of v 74.30.

No, it won't; it's older firmware. What settings are now missing?

Quote

I also plan to upgrade the LA battery bank to a 10kWh LiFePO4 bank in January.

Then I believe you'll have needed to have downgraded your 5 kW to a 4 kW anyway. Don't forget to change to the LFP version of the patched firmware at that point.

 

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1 hour ago, HannesE said:

Where do I get 74.3 or higher to try on the 5kW PF 1 with 72.70c on the 4kW?

Sadly, you have to ask for it from your supplier. I'm not aware of any other source for it. Of course, it came with your inverter from the factory, but you can quite rightly claim that it was very confusing what you were supposed to do to use your existing investment with your new inverter. Hopefully, that (along with several emails with photos of labels) should be enough to get a firmware update file for it.

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  • 3 months later...
On 2018/12/19 at 2:36 AM, Coulomb said:

This will be a continuing problem.

That would have been a 75.XX. You can't mix single and multiple MPPT models.

It's not just LA batteries; all batteries. As far as I know, no Voltronic Power factory firmware has the charge bugs fixed.

Interesting.

Did you try 72.70c in the older inverter, and leaving factory 74.30 in the new? I believe that's how it's supposed to work.

But if you want the LiFePO₄ version, you'll have to update both anyway.

Well done. I'm actually slightly surprised you were able to update the firmware on the new inverter. I hope you realise that you now have two 4 kW inverters, not a 4 kW and a 5 kW.

Not a bug, feature! The font changes are meant to me more readable. RTFM (Read The Fine Manual) here.

No, it won't; it's older firmware. What settings are now missing?

Then I believe you'll have needed to have downgraded your 5 kW to a 4 kW anyway. Don't forget to change to the LFP version of the patched firmware at that point.

 

Hi All! Still looging for Axpert MK5 PF1 firmware 74.30. Now have two PF1's running in parallel, master with 74.30 (and PV) and slave with 72.70c (no PV) and BYD 2nd life LFP EV batteries. Slave's input is 230V but output is however 0V with display toggling between "SL" and "nE". What does this mean? Some problem or no problem the load is less than what the master can service on it's own?

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On 2019/04/22 at 4:46 PM, HannesE said:

display toggling between "SL" and "nE". What does this mean?

I believe that it means that its flipping between SL (slave) and NE (new, not yet declared a master or slave). This is indeed a problem. It has been shown that 74.10 will parallel with 72.70 (unpatched), but I've not seen an example of 74.30 paralleling with 72.70.

There is a small chance that the changes we made in 72.70c to the CAN packet format (to allow for zero maximum charge current, for example) could be affecting the slave confirmation process. But I think that since maximum charge current can differ between inverters, this might not be a problem.

Is your 72.70c the LFP flavour? If so, there is a small chance that the changes [ edit: to the CAN packet format] for the altered rsnge of the back to utility [ edit: was battery ] setting might be causing this. 

You could try reverting your 72.70c to factory 72.70 to at least eliminate these two remote possibilities.

It might be that 74.30 simply can't parallel with 72.70 or any other 4 kW firmware. That seems crazy, especially when we've seen 74.10 successfully paralleling. It might mean that you have a reason for your reseller to send you a firmware update file (in this case, to downgrade it). I think it's certainly worth raising with your supplier, but try factory 72.70 first.

[ Edit: typo 73.10 → 74.10 ]

Edited by Coulomb
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On 2018/12/19 at 2:36 AM, Coulomb said:

It's not just LA batteries; all batteries. As far as I know, no Voltronic Power factory firmware has the charge bugs fixed.

@Coulomb please excuse my ignorance but could you elaborate on premature floating on the Axpert inverters?

The reason I ask is because my LA bank didn't even last 3 years and was only cycled during power failures and I think that premature floating it may have something to do with this.

I have ordered a new lithium bank and I would hate to have this same thing happen to this new bank!

 

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5 hours ago, Noobie said:

@Coulomb please excuse my ignorance but could you elaborate on premature floating on the Axpert inverters?

I'll paste something I recently wrote on another forum (here, if you are interested):

"The premature float bug arises because the inverter should only go to float stage when two things happen: the current is low enough (they do this, obviously), and the battery voltage is high enough (this is where they screw up). Obviously, on a cloudy day, the charge power will fluctuate wildly, from the nameplate rating of the panels (or even a little more for a few seconds) down to nearly zero. So the charge current will vary from the maximum allowed by setting 02 (maximum charging current) down to almost zero. So plenty times, well before the battery is fully charged, the charge current criterion (that the charge current falls below about a fifth of setting 02) will be met. But there is a voltage criterion as well, as there should be (otherwise the charging would stop at the very first cloud, and that would be blatantly obvious). The trouble is, the factory firmware uses the wrong voltage setting to compare against. It should obviously be checking for the battery voltage to be at or near the bulk/absorb setting. Instead, they check for being at or near the float voltage setting. Even worse, they don't insist that the battery voltage is exactly the float voltage setting; half a volt less will do. With an LFP battery, the float setting is near the long flat voltage plateaus in the voltage versus state of charge curve. So if the battery has had a decent burst of charge for a while and hasn't had a lot of time to settle back to its steady state voltage, the SOC could be as low as 45% or a little lower, and it will still pass this "voltage criterion". So your charger could stop charging as it sails past 53.8 - 0.5 = 53.3 V, or 3.33 VPC, quite a long way short of 55.2 V and 3.45 VPC!"

The above refers to a 16S lithium battery; most of the 19" rack units you buy these days are 15S, so the voltages are different by a factor of 16/15.

Quote

The reason I ask is because my LA bank didn't even last 3 years and was only cycled during power failures and I think that premature floating it may have something to do with this.

3 years is good for certain types of lead acid battery, if you are cycling it a lot. Since you were not cycling it, it should have lasted a bit longer, say 5 years. So chronic undercharging due to the premature float bug could very well have contributed to their short life.

Quote

I have ordered a new lithium bank and I would hate to have this same thing happen to this new bank!

Fortunately, lithium chemistry batteries don't hate undercharging as much (undercharging doesn't curtail life). But you still get less performance (less run-time) from what your paid good money for.

Your inverter may be eligible for patched firmware; if so, using the patched firmware will fix the premature float bugs (and make a few other things more liveable). See Can I Update My Firmware, and if so, To What?

Edited by Coulomb
Reworded the "doesn't curtail life" part.
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14 minutes ago, Coulomb said:

half a volt less will do

For Victron inverters it is the same. It doesn't have to be exactly the absorption voltage, just within 50mV. Obviously 50mV is about an order smaller than 500 🙂

 

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Hi guys,

I have an Axpert 5KVA which I purchased in 2013.  It is obviously a few firmware upgrades behind as I do not have the settings on the inverter from option 30 upwards.

I managed to get hold of the 72.70 version of the firmware and would like to upgrade.

2 questions:

a) can I perform the upgrade whilst the inverter is in situ, i.e. still connected to panels, batteries, utility and providing power to the home?

b) i scratched around and found a cable supplied with the inverter at the time of purchase.  It has a female serial plug on the one end (which I assume plugs into my PC serial port) and a RJ45 (male network connection) on the other end (which I assume plugs into the inverter.  Can you please confirm whether this is the correct cable to use for the firmware upgrade?

 

Tx in advance.

Conroy

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1 hour ago, Coulomb said:

3 years is good for certain types of lead acid battery, if you are cycling it a lot. Since you were not cycling it, it should have lasted a bit longer, say 5 years. So chronic undercharging due to the premature float bug could very well have contributed to their short life.

Fortunately, lithium chemistry batteries don't hate undercharging as much (undercharging doesn't curtail life). But you still get less performance (less run-time) from what your paid good money for.

Your inverter may be eligible for patched firmware; if so, using the patched firmware will fix the premature float bugs (and make a few other things more liveable). See Can I Update My Firmware, and if so, To What?

Thanks so much @Coulomb

Am I correct in assuming that if I do not have any PV panels connected to my Axpert that I shouldn't have this premature float issue?

I am afraid that my inverter is a 24v 3kva unit so I can't upgrade my firmware :(

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Quote

I have an Axpert 5KVA which I purchased in 2013. 

Wow. One of the earliest ones.

25 minutes ago, Conroy said:

a) can I perform the upgrade whilst the inverter is in situ, i.e. still connected to panels, batteries, utility and providing power to the home?

The inverter will stop inverting, so you may as well prepare for that, and disconnect all loads and sources, just leave the battery connected.

25 minutes ago, Conroy said:

b) i scratched around and found a cable supplied with the inverter at the time of purchase.  It has a female serial plug on the one end (which I assume plugs into my PC serial port) and a RJ45 (male network connection) on the other end (which I assume plugs into the inverter.  Can you please confirm whether this is the correct cable to use for the firmware upgrade?

Yes, you'll need that. But you'll also likely need a USB to RS232 adapter, unless your computer is as old or older than your inverter 🙂

See Firmware Update Instructions.

You might consider patched firmware while you're at it, e.g. Patched Firmware Version 73.00e.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2019/04/23 at 6:52 AM, Coulomb said:

I believe that it means that its flipping between SL (slave) and NE (new, not yet declared a master or slave). This is indeed a problem. It has been shown that 73.10 will parallel with 72.70 (unpatched), but I've not seen an example of 74.30 paralleling with 72.70.

There is a small chance that the changes we made in 72.70c to the CAN packet format (to allow for zero maximum charge current, for example) could be affecting the slave confirmation process. But I think that since maximum charge current can differ between inverters, this might not be a problem.

Is your 72.70c the LFP flavour? If so, there is a small chance that the changes [ edit: to the CAN packet format] for the altered rsnge of the back to utility [ edit: was battery ] setting might be causing this. 

You could try reverting your 72.70c to factory 72.70 to at least eliminate these two remote possibilities.

It might be that 74.30 simply can't parallel with 72.70 or any other 4 kW firmware. That seems crazy, especially when we've seen 74.10 successfully paralleling. It might mean that you have a reason for your reseller to send you a firmware update file (in this case, to downgrade it). I think it's certainly worth raising with your supplier, but try factory 72.70 first.

Hi Coulomb,

No luck getting previous firmware versions to work in parallel with 74.30. None of these worked: 72.70c, 72.70 (original), 72.60A, 72.40.

72.70 also toggles between SL and nE with 0V output.

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  • 10 months later...

Reviving an older topic with a little new data. I've just verified personally that 72.70 (as master, turned on first) and 74.40 do NOT parallel properly either. So it looks like everything from 73.30 onwards, possibly back as far as 73.11 if there was one, won't parallel properly between 72.70 and 74.40.

So it seems to me that there is no risk free way of paralleling PF0.8 inverters with PF1.0 inverters, unless you happen to have a PF1.0 inverter with 74.10 already installed (possibly also 74.20, it's paralleling capability is unknown).

It seems that there is a risky way, however. Flash 74.40 into both. I've been running 74.40 on a PF0.8 inverter for a few days (only a few hours as I type with the inverters actually paralleled, however). The risk is as follows: flashing 74.40 into the PF0.8 machine turns it into a PF1.0 machine. Woot you say? But that means that hardware designed for 4 kW (specifically the battery-to-bus bidirectional converter) may have to work at 5 kW (ignoring losses for simplicity). We simply don't know what (if any) improvements the manufacturer made when the PF1.0 models came out. Maybe they just took a 25% chunk out of the safety margin and shipped it with the same hardware but new firmware and model number. Maybe they beefed up the MOSFETs and/or their heatsinks, possibly changing the bypass capacitors, gate drivers, and other details as well. So I won't be taking this risk for long, and I'll be careful to keep the total load below around 7 kW (so neither of my two paralleled inverters is asked to provide more than 4 kW through the battery-to-bus DC-DC converter). So if you do this maybe you've gotten 25% extra real power for free, or maybe you've just lost an important safety limit and the first overload situation will blow the hardware.

If there are any daredevils out there prepared to test this, I suggest that you watch the temperature as reported by the QPIGS or Q1 commands (it seems you can only get the temperature of the machine that the monitoring computer is connected to). WatchPower and ICC may report the temperature as well. If patched firmware 74.40e is available (still alpha testing as I post), then you could use the front panel display (flash all paralleled / three phased machines with 74.40e). I take no responsibility for blown-up machines.

If you've done this (flashed 74.40 into a PF0.8 machine) and didn't realise the implications, please let us know the results. Particularly if you have logs to show more than 4 kW per inverter successfully delivered. Extra bonus points if you can show temperature logs for the same time as the overload.

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On 2020/03/02 at 8:48 PM, Coulomb said:

Maybe they just took a 25% chunk out of the safety margin and shipped it with the same hardware but new firmware and model number.

I love how you wrote that with a straight face. The idea that an Axpert would have a 25% safety margin for anything, strikes me as hilarious.

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