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20VT

Microcare MPPT Lithium Settings

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I have a 60amp Microcare LCD MPPT updated to the latest version and have recently installed a set of Sinopoly cells in a 24V configuration.

Any ideas on what settings are best to use ?

Spoke to the microcare guys and they weren't very helpful...

Attached is the datasheet for the cell I am using.

SP-LFP60AHA(A).pdf

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Don’t worry, you are not the first. They make a good product, but their after sales service leaves a lot to be desired. 

Here are the settings I have used before for 48v LFP cells, 15S.  Keep in mind that all settings are in the 12v configuration, so it would be x 2 for 24v and x 4 for 48v...

Float charge: 13.2v (this is the lowest it can go with standard software. It might even be a little high for your cells if you are using a 7S battery, 8S will be fine) 

Boost charge: 13.5V (again, might be too high for 7s, but cannot be set lower) 

Boost to float Voltage: 30mins 

Boost to float Current: Disabled 

Equalize charge mode: Manual 

So before setting anything, is your battery 7S or 8S? 

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Thanks for your response.

 

I have the cells connected as an 8S configuration. 

Edited by 20VT

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In 8S you can safely use the same settings I used: Boost 13.5V, float 13.2V. For me charging full is not as important as the longevity of the battery. 

You could even boost as high as 13.8v, but I wouldn’t go much over that. For floating you could go as high as 13.5V. To go higher would probably shorten the life of the cells.

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Actually good to know this because i already got one 60amp Microcare LCD MPPT and on my way to get a second one and plans to go Lithium to. Some questions: 

@20VT how did you do software update on your MPPT and are you running a wifi link to yours? and second question, did you import your Sinopoly cells your self? 

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22 hours ago, Solaris said:

In 8S you can safely use the same settings I used: Boost 13.5V, float 13.2V. For me charging full is not as important as the longevity of the battery. 

You could even boost as high as 13.8v, but I wouldn’t go much over that. For floating you could go as high as 13.5V. To go higher would probably shorten the life of the cells.

Thanks for the advice will try it

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10 hours ago, Gerlach said:

Actually good to know this because i already got one 60amp Microcare LCD MPPT and on my way to get a second one and plans to go Lithium to. Some questions: 

@20VT how did you do software update on your MPPT and are you running a wifi link to yours? and second question, did you import your Sinopoly cells your self? 

The update is done by putting in a new PIC controller which you can get from them or send the unit for them to do it so its not a simple process.

Yes ordered the cells from Aliexpress

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15 minutes ago, 20VT said:

The update is done by putting in a new PIC controller which you can get from them or send the unit for them to do it so its not a simple process.

Yes ordered the cells from Aliexpress

Thanks @20VT . Will keep that in mind. 

If I can ask, what was the price on the cells and what did you cost you to import it and maybe a link. You got my attention with this cells. 

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On 2019/08/01 at 7:15 PM, 20VT said:

Thanks for the advice will try it

Hey 20VT

I wanted to find out how your cells were working with those settings I suggested. I recently did a test on my individual cells and found many different voltages on the individual cells, with one in particular sitting at 3.62V 😳  Clearly too high!

On doing a lot of reading I found that charging anything over 3.55V per cell is actually useless and does more damage than good. In many cases it is overcharging that causes this mismatch in the cells. I also found that floating LiFePo4 cells is not a good idea. I have sent my controller back to Microcare to have a custom LiFePo4 charging profile loaded. 

I will report back after a few days or weeks of using the new settings. 

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On 2019/08/21 at 12:15 PM, Solaris said:

Hey 20VT

I wanted to find out how your cells were working with those settings I suggested. I recently did a test on my individual cells and found many different voltages on the individual cells, with one in particular sitting at 3.62V 😳  Clearly too high!

On doing a lot of reading I found that charging anything over 3.55V per cell is actually useless and does more damage than good. In many cases it is overcharging that causes this mismatch in the cells. I also found that floating LiFePo4 cells is not a good idea. I have sent my controller back to Microcare to have a custom LiFePo4 charging profile loaded. 

I will report back after a few days or weeks of using the new settings. 

I haven't checked them will do it today and report back later.

 

What new settings are you using and what software version is your MPPT currently on ? 

Mine is on V7.15

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Well, it is at Microcare right now. They are still busy doing the programming. I’ve asked them to make it so that it charges at 3.5V per cell and to stop charging once that voltage is reached. No float charging at all. I read this very, very long article on how LiFePo4 batteries are supposed to be charged at Marinehowto.com

Technically these batteries are the same as we have in our cellphones and iPads. Neither of which are float charged.

I will get back to you with the software version as well as how my batteries are doing with these charge settings. 

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3 hours ago, Solaris said:

Well, it is at Microcare right now. They are still busy doing the programming. I’ve asked them to make it so that it charges at 3.5V per cell and to stop charging once that voltage is reached. No float charging at all. I read this very, very long article on how LiFePo4 batteries are supposed to be charged at Marinehowto.com

Technically these batteries are the same as we have in our cellphones and iPads. Neither of which are float charged.

I will get back to you with the software version as well as how my batteries are doing with these charge settings. 

Ok let me know what the final settings are.

Just checked and my cells are sitting around 3.32V to 3.31V after a full day of charging.

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14 hours ago, 20VT said:

Just checked and my cells are sitting around 3.32V to 3.31V after a full day of charging

This is probably fine for now, because you are below the “elbow point” 

If you get time you must seriously read that article about charging LiFePo4 batteries. It is a real eye opener.

I can foresee many users of LFP, degrading their batterie’s lifespan by float charging. I once took my iPad in to a cellphone repair shop to have a screen protector fitted. On the counter was an iPad battery (of another customer) that was all swelled up and it actually bent the iPads metal casing. The repair guy told me that this kind of thing happens because people leave their phones and tablets on charge for too long... 😳 I learned a valuable lesson that day!

Please do not take what I say as law, this might all be a myth. However I cannot afford to replace my batteries in a year because of overcharging them. 

I will first give the new settings a few days or weeks and then report back... 😁

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@Solaris What was the price Microcare charge you to change the settings and who did you use to courier your MPPT to them. I got one 60 amp MPPT that i need to send of to them to replace the main board in the unit and was think that they must do the update to on this unit. 

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5 hours ago, Solaris said:

This is probably fine for now, because you are below the “elbow point” 

If you get time you must seriously read that article about charging LiFePo4 batteries. It is a real eye opener.

I can foresee many users of LFP, degrading their batterie’s lifespan by float charging. I once took my iPad in to a cellphone repair shop to have a screen protector fitted. On the counter was an iPad battery (of another customer) that was all swelled up and it actually bent the iPads metal casing. The repair guy told me that this kind of thing happens because people leave their phones and tablets on charge for too long... 😳 I learned a valuable lesson that day!

Please do not take what I say as law, this might all be a myth. However I cannot afford to replace my batteries in a year because of overcharging them. 

I will first give the new settings a few days or weeks and then report back... 😁

Keep me posted keen to hear how your new settings work

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6 hours ago, Gerlach said:

What was the price Microcare charge you to change the settings

My original quote was R750 + vat. Apparently they will install a new chip with all the latest software and settings. I haven’t yet got my final invoice from them so I will report back once I receive it... 😁

6 hours ago, Gerlach said:

who did you use to courier your MPPT to them

I used Reymar freight.  P.E. is 300km from me so it only cost R86 to get it there. 👍

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On 2019/08/23 at 4:14 PM, Solaris said:

My original quote was R750 + vat. Apparently they will install a new chip with all the latest software and settings. I haven’t yet got my final invoice from them so I will report back once I receive it... 😁

I used Reymar freight.  P.E. is 300km from me so it only cost R86 to get it there. 👍

I sent my 100A MPPT for the same exercise and received it back without any changes. They are currently still busy to do some programming and testing and they told me they will sent me the PIC's on Monday.

It actually make more sense now as surely  @Solaris inputs was used to program the PIC's.

Hopefully I will receive the PIC's during the week and then it needs to be installed. I have two MPPT's and it also needs to be changed on the Inverter as the Inverter settings is also not accommodating for LiFe as the voltage changeover settings is not fine enough (2V between settings).

I used PostLink to courier the 100A MPPT and it cost me R207 from Vanderbijlpark to Microcare.

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10 hours ago, Jaco Venter said:

I sent my 100A MPPT for the same exercise and received it back without any changes. They are currently still busy to do some programming and testing and they told me they will sent me the PIC's on Monday.

It actually make more sense now as surely  @Solaris inputs was used to program the PIC's.

Hopefully I will receive the PIC's during the week and then it needs to be installed. I have two MPPT's and it also needs to be changed on the Inverter as the Inverter settings is also not accommodating for LiFe as the voltage changeover settings is not fine enough (2V between settings).

I used PostLink to courier the 100A MPPT and it cost me R207 from Vanderbijlpark to Microcare.

Ok what version is your software currently ? 

My understanding is that the older versions did not have lower settings that are recommended for LFP for both voltage and current.

It would be interesting to see if they are adding in a completely new LFP charging function.

 

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I still haven’t got my controller back yet. It has been with them since last Thursday. I will call them if I don’t get an answer by tomorrow. (I was told when it arrived that I was number 30 in the queue) 😳

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3 hours ago, Solaris said:

I still haven’t got my controller back yet. It has been with them since last Thursday. I will call them if I don’t get an answer by tomorrow. (I was told when it arrived that I was number 30 in the queue) 😳

I remember back when I sent mine for repairs, communication was, shall we say, not the strongest part of the exercise. Despite my name being on the unit, nobody thought of looking it up and finding out what it is about, so after I called a few days later I was told that they tested it and don't know what is wrong with it. I explained that the error does not show up immediately, the memory in the microcontroller is worn out and that is all that needs replacing.

The other issue is that the email-based support tracker works a bit different to what you might be used to. I'd get emails saying the case was closed... which confused the heck out of me as it wasn't, to my satisfaction, really closed.

Got the controller back, installed it and it failed almost immediately. Threw it in the bin. It wasn't worth yet another trip with the courier.

Edit: Well technically I didn't bin it immediately... I took it apart studied it, and tried to repair it. That was worth way more than the controller. THEN I tossed it in the bin... the parts bin.

Edited by plonkster

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I have to agree, communication is lacking. Sending emails is useless, they never reply. Phoning is semi-useless, they say they will call you back and never do. I also remember the last time I sent my controller to them for an LCD replacement. It lay on the one guys table for some days. When I called nobody knew which one was mine. 

I hope I get the correct one back. Or who knows maybe they send me a 100A unit. Yea! Free upgrade!!🕺🤣

 

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One day I might still replace the control board with an ATMEL-based controller. For no other reason than arduino's being ridiculously easy to source and program. The only important thing I have to note is that you have to dig a bit into the registers to get the PWM stuff to work well for a buck converter, the defaults aren't really suitable, just in case another idiot (other than myself) wants to try this 🙂

The lower "power" board in these MPPTs make a really nice building block. It only needs an isolated 15V supply for driving the MOSFET(s) on the high side, a PWM driver signal which feeds an opto-coupler (so that's also completely isolated), and there's a signal coming back from the HAL sensor for sensing the current, also isolated I believe. You plug it all in using ribbon cables. The "power" board itself is a garden variety asynchronous buck converter. It does not get any simpler than this.

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1 hour ago, Solaris said:

I have to agree, communication is lacking. Sending emails is useless, they never reply. Phoning is semi-useless, they say they will call you back and never do. I also remember the last time I sent my controller to them for an LCD replacement. It lay on the one guys table for some days. When I called nobody knew which one was mine. 

I hope I get the correct one back. Or who knows maybe they send me a 100A unit. Yea! Free upgrade!!🕺🤣

 

I had the same bad experience waiting for them to upgrade the system with numerous calls, emails etc. 

Their turn-around time is bad - business must be really good to have such poor service and not be concerned about it.

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