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Mark Y-M

Kodak OG 5.48 VMIII "blew up"

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Hi, I have a Kodak OG5.48 VMIII which has lasted a several weeks with Eskom & a couple of 6kw Coslight Lithium batteries for back-up during "load-shedding".

I fitted 10 JA Solar 390W panels (2 x 5 strings in series, paralleled at the end) last week and on the second day in the late afternoon, there was a crackling sound inside the panel.

I bypassed the Inverter on the DB Board (in this mode it still gives power to the inverter) and disconnected my batteries by opening the 2 x 100A fuse holders and removed power from and to the inverter with the circuit breakers at the inverter for "in" and "out" AC power.

I also isolated the panels with their isolation  switch and opened their two 30A fuse boxes.

Later that evening, with all the power still off,  I attempted to close the batteries fuse box and was given a huge flash of light and loud noise which seemed to move into the inverter with sparks coming out the right hand side.

I managed to turn on the inverter with the panels and battery still isolated . Assuming the large batteries had supplied the power for my earlier fright, I exchanged them with 4 x 12V x 7.5ah batteries.

The battery charger was working and I could even run a 5W light bulb from the AC "Out" to which I had attached an adapter plug.

After 5 minutes I received an 09 error which wouldn't clear.

I opened the inverter with a friend who is an auto electrician and the "mosphets" are all quite badly scorched.

I've heard that opening it up immediately voids any warranty here in South Africa. 

I wanted to ask if there is a good chance if I replace the mosphets and any other obvious damage that it will work again?

If there is not anything I have done that appears obviously to have caused the damage, I intend to contact the Kodak agents to see if I do have any recourse, despite having opened it to see what the problem was.

Thanks in advance for any comments. I'll attach a photo of the mosphets.

Regards,

Mark.

 

 

E96181C6-0295-4F49-83FA-ED96D8E5678E.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

close the batteries fuse box and was given a huge flash of light and loud noise which seemed to move into the inverter with sparks coming out the right hand side.

It depends on the manufacturer. I've opened boxes in the past and even told the manufacturer "hey, I see it blew that part" without trouble, and I've never had any problems. If you had to remove a "warranty void" sticker, that's where the trouble starts.

Sounds to me like the inrush current was a it too much for those FETs (it's short for Field Effect Transistor, and a MOSFET would be a specific variant thereof, a Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistor), though I really only see a diode with a blown-off leg in the picture and some black residue... it's not clear to me that it's really damaged at all.

Also, the silkscreen (the white text part) indicates that diode is a TVS (transient voltage suppression) device. It may well have done its job (which is to take one for the team and absorb the spike).

In any case, this probably makes a good case for a precharge circuit. You don't just switch the battery on directly, you put a resistor in between, for example a 230VAC incandescent works well, to slowly charge the DC bus. Once it reaches a good voltage, you close the switch.

@Coulomb is the resident expert on at least some of these units.

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3 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

I've heard that opening it up immediately voids any warranty here in South Africa. 

I wanted to ask if there is a good chance if I replace the mosphets and any other obvious damage that it will work again?

If you dont come right, please send me clear pictures of any indication numbers on the board. I can get 4 different types of main boards for the Kodak units for between 3 and 4k

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5 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

I wanted to ask if there is a good chance if I replace the mosphets and any other obvious damage that it will work again?

The trouble is that a lot of damage isn't obvious without a lot of careful examination and testing of resistors and diode voltage drops.

Also, after a massive current surge like that, I'd be suspicious of damaged PCB tracks. While a lot of the high current paths have metal bars to carry the current, some of that current flows through really wide (and hopefully extra thick) PCB tracks. Sometimes you might not notice through-holes that have lost part of their plating, and that can cause weird problems. Any blackened PCB material has to be carefully cleaned, especially around the high voltage parts.

Certainly your best bet would be warranty replacement. Failing that, take Jaco's offer of main board replacement, if he can get the main board for your model. Attempting to repair a board after a massive over-current event like that (note that the MOSFET second from the right in your photo split apart) is a very distant last resort, especially if you're not well equipped (e.g. a desoldering station really helps when you have 16 3-legged MOSFET legs to remove). 

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On 2020/06/02 at 12:23 AM, plonkster said:

It depends on the manufacturer. I've opened boxes in the past and even told the manufacturer "hey, I see it blew that part" without trouble, and I've never had any problems. If you had to remove a "warranty void" sticker, that's where the trouble starts.

Sounds to me like the inrush current was a it too much for those FETs (it's short for Field Effect Transistor, and a MOSFET would be a specific variant thereof, a Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistor), though I really only see a diode with a blown-off leg in the picture and some black residue... it's not clear to me that it's really damaged at all.

Also, the silkscreen (the white text part) indicates that diode is a TVS (transient voltage suppression) device. It may well have done its job (which is to take one for the team and absorb the spike).

In any case, this probably makes a good case for a precharge circuit. You don't just switch the battery on directly, you put a resistor in between, for example a 230VAC incandescent works well, to slowly charge the DC bus. Once it reaches a good voltage, you close the switch.

@Coulomb is the resident expert on at least some of these units.

Thanks, Plonkster. I've mailed the supplier and hope the response will be positive. The warranty falls away if one's battery is not on their list, but I hope the fact that it was running for a few weeks on the batteries with no issue, will negate that rule kicking in. It was only after the solar panels were installed that the problem arose, but they bran for 24 hours with no issue first.

Thanks also for the 230 VAC incandescent light tip to slowly charge the DC bus, but for this occasion, I think it should have been in the owners manual i9f not doing it was going to blow up my inverter. 🙂

I've attached a pic of the underside in case it is relevant, thank you.

 

 

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On 2020/06/02 at 2:55 AM, Coulomb said:

The trouble is that a lot of damage isn't obvious without a lot of careful examination and testing of resistors and diode voltage drops.

Also, after a massive current surge like that, I'd be suspicious of damaged PCB tracks. While a lot of the high current paths have metal bars to carry the current, some of that current flows through really wide (and hopefully extra thick) PCB tracks. Sometimes you might not notice through-holes that have lost part of their plating, and that can cause weird problems. Any blackened PCB material has to be carefully cleaned, especially around the high voltage parts.

Certainly your best bet would be warranty replacement. Failing that, take Jaco's offer of main board replacement, if he can get the main board for your model. Attempting to repair a board after a massive over-current event like that (note that the MOSFET second from the right in your photo split apart) is a very distant last resort, especially if you're not well equipped (e.g. a desoldering station really helps when you have 16 3-legged MOSFET legs to remove). 

I'm not sure I'm replying to these correctly, but just wanted to say thank you, because I have NO idea what has happened or what is wrong and would rather start again. The Victron EasySolar II GX is starting to look like a more compelling option if I can't even look after the Kodak more than 2 days with all its features finally installed and working. Am I less likely to have a problem such as mine with the Victron, or does stuff always go wrong if one has limited electronics knowledge when trying to operate these inverters?

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On 2020/06/02 at 1:06 AM, Jaco de Jongh said:

If you dont come right, please send me clear pictures of any indication numbers on the board. I can get 4 different types of main boards for the Kodak units for between 3 and 4k

Hi Jaco, I'd like to say that it sounds good, despite my dire current financial situation after all these purchases, but it may be the best offer I'll get, thank you. I'm struggling with the site as can only seem to load one photo. How can I send you more photos? thanks again!

382CC548-E1DB-4154-8302-DE7CA3CA1F65.heic 6AE784D5-A9E4-4BB4-84D4-FFACDEAE0E2F.heic

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1 hour ago, Mark Y-M said:

I've attached a pic of the underside in case it is relevant, thank you.

Eek, an Apple image. I managed to view it in the end. If you convert those HEIF files (.heic) to JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), then you don't need to send them as attachments and the browser will display them.

It looks like at least two of your 10 Ω resistors and associated diodes are burned, probably damaging at least one of the driver transistors as well. Your 200 Ω resistors look a little singed, but are probably OK if they measure correctly. And of course, at least 8 MOSFETs will be dead, if not all 16.

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1 hour ago, Mark Y-M said:

Hi Jaco, I'd like to say that it sounds good, despite my dire current financial situation after all these purchases, but it may be the best offer I'll get, thank you. I'm struggling with the site as can only seem to load one photo. How can I send you more photos? thanks again! p.s. and am unable to convert them to jPEG's at the moment, sorry.

382CC548-E1DB-4154-8302-DE7CA3CA1F65.heicUnavailable 6AE784D5-A9E4-4BB4-84D4-FFACDEAE0E2F.heicUnavailable

 

6AE784D5-A9E4-4BB4-84D4-FFACDEAE0E2F.heic

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

am unable to convert them to jPEG's at the moment

to make life easier for now you can

1) for new photos change the camera settings so that photos are captured as. jpg rather than .heic. Should be "settings" -> camera -> formats -> select "most compatible".

2) For photos already captured as .heic

copying photos from the photos app to another folder in the files app should convert the photos to .jpg (more steps to this).

First create a folder you can easily find: Open Files App -> choose "on my iphone/ipad" -> tap and hold in an empty area -> on the pop-up select "new folder" -> enter a name like JPEG -> tap "Done"

Now select photos  you want to copy to the folder you just created: Open photos app -> go to folder that contains the photos you want to convert ("Recents"?) -> when in correct album tap "select" button -> now tap on each photo you want -> then tap "share" button (bottom left ..little square with up arrow) -> select "copy photos"  (photos are now "in" the clipboard).

Now open files app and then go to the JPEG (or whatever name you chose) folder and open it. Tap and hold in an empty area of the folder -> from the pop-up choose "paste". The photos you selected should now appear here (but as jpg versions).

Use these photos to upload/send/share

3) last resort is online conversion. THIS one seems simple and efficient

Edited by introverter
added online conversion option

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5 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

Victron EasySolar II GX is starting to look like a more compelling option

Much as I'd like to say yes, since it really is a good inverter, do your homework. The setup is a bit different to your average all-in-one Axpert/Growatt/Kodak (although the EasySolar does put it all in one box). Warranty and support wise the Victron inverter is a better inverter, I don't think there is any debate about that. The debate is usually around the cost. But I can say this: If your Victron inverter blew its power pack like that.... (that is what we call that part of the unit), you'd have a new one by next week.

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I already had a Kodak VM III ordered, but then decided to go the Easysolar II route after reading so much good stuff regarding service after the sale that I spent nearly two and a half times the amount

   Tariq

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Thanks, Plonkster. Why do you have 3 x Blue Solars? is it because of the max open circuit Voltage of ones solar array? I have 12 x JASolar 370W panels so am able to have two arrays in series that I parallel at the end, but that wouldn't be possible with  a BlueSolar 150/70 would it?

In response to my Kodak problem, they have asked me to send wiring diagram with DC and AC protection etc., so I have no complaints yet. The ball is in my court, but literally just haven't got around to it. In fact, that is what I am supposed to be doing right now 🙂

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On 2020/06/04 at 9:21 PM, Tariq said:

I already had a Kodak VM III ordered, but then decided to go the Easysolar II route after reading so much good stuff regarding service after the sale that I spent nearly two and a half times the amount

   Tariq

Yeah, I must say, I was very happy with the Kodak, and only after installing the solar panels, 5 weeks after the initial installation, did it give up on me. Had it continued the way it had been, I was very impressed, and it's 5kVA capability was more in line with  my 4400W solar array I had ordered. If I bought the Multi-Plus II 5kVA, I would be in for R30k, then would still need to pay R15k for the MPPT 250/100 for similar specs. That's 450% more than the VMIII for what looks like the same thing on paper. And so....here we are....:-)

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8 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

If I bought the Multi-Plus II 5kVA, I would be in for R30k, then would still need to pay R15k for the MPPT 250/100 for similar specs. That's 450% more than the VMIII for what looks like the same thing on paper. And so....here we are....:-)

There is no comparison except for the 5Kva rating. You can not compare the 2. You can save on the quoted prices for Victron, at least a few K. 

I had 4 Voltronic inverters on my wall before I decided to go Blue. It would have been cheaper for me to buy the Victron first.. 

I hope they sort your inverter soon, I know how it feels to own an inverter that is sitting on a work bench somewhere waiting for spares.. Mine was on a work bench for longer periods than they were on my wall.

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2 hours ago, Mark Y-M said:

Why do you have 3 x Blue Solars?

Because I've not updated my sig in years... 🙂

I do however have three MPPTs, because I have three strings, and back in the day 2 x 150/35 worked out more cost effective (I already had a big blocky 150/70 for the third array). Also, 24V system, so a 35A controller is only good for 900W. So no particular reason, just worked out that way. I could get away with just two, a 150/70 and a 150/35, but by now I actually have more unused MPPTs lying around. Can't sell them though... occasionally need them to test stuff.

1 hour ago, Mark Y-M said:

That's 450% more than the VMIII for what looks like the same thing on paper

 

45 minutes ago, Jaco de Jongh said:

There is no comparison except for the 5Kva rating.

I've had this argument too often in the last .... (counts on fingers)... 7 years? To get an idea of what is going on, draw a line around the 15k mark. Put all inverters (that are not complete crap) that are cheaper than 15k below the line, and all those that are more expensive above the line. What you will find is that below the line there is pretty much just one brand (and its rebadged variants), and everything else will be above the line. The voltronic is the odd one out... not the others 🙂

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On 2020/06/08 at 9:55 PM, Jaco de Jongh said:

There is no comparison except for the 5Kva rating. You can not compare the 2. You can save on the quoted prices for Victron, at least a few K. 

I had 4 Voltronic inverters on my wall before I decided to go Blue. It would have been cheaper for me to buy the Victron first.. 

I hope they sort your inverter soon, I know how it feels to own an inverter that is sitting on a work bench somewhere waiting for spares.. Mine was on a work bench for longer periods than they were on my wall.

Yeah, thanks Jaco. I read your post a while ago, and haven’t had time to get on here again, but have thought of it often. The supplier doesn’t seem to have any kind of service ethic. I don’t even know if they are waiting for parts, or whether they plan to honour the warranty at all.

Like you said, “the waiting” is the worst. I replied to a post earlier regarding the using of a Victron MPPT with the 5Kva Voltronics, and am thinking of buying the MPPT in the meantime so my panels are still being acknowledged and batteries charged. 🙂

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On 2020/06/04 at 9:21 PM, Tariq said:

I already had a Kodak VM III ordered, but then decided to go the Easysolar II route after reading so much good stuff regarding service after the sale that I spent nearly two and a half times the amount

   Tariq

Hi Tariq,

I think you did the right thing. Was that the 3Kva Easysolar? How many panels did you put up? I already have my panels fitted, (12x370) so would have a slightly higher watt capacity of 4400W than the 4000W max on the EasySolar MPPT,  but think it would just throttle my Solar output once it hits 4000W.

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On 2020/06/02 at 12:23 AM, plonkster said:

In any case, this probably makes a good case for a precharge circuit. You don't just switch the battery on directly, you put a resistor in between, for example a 230VAC incandescent works well, to slowly charge the DC bus. Once it reaches a good voltage, you close the switch.

 

Thanks Plonkster, it won’t happen again! I hear Mecer here in JHB change their boards out under warranty irrespective of cause of damage, so that would have been a better Voltronics system to go for as I am still waiting to hear from the Kodak agents.

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On 2020/06/02 at 12:23 AM, plonkster said:
On 2020/06/01 at 9:18 PM, Mark Y-M said:

 

It depends on the manufacturer. I've opened boxes in the past and even told the manufacturer "hey, I see it blew that part" without trouble, and I've never had any problems. If you had to remove a "warranty void" sticker, that's where the trouble starts.

Hi Plonkster, you appear to be quite correct and that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Getting back to me with any kind of feedback at all does seem to be a problem for them. Thanks to you, I have what seems like the most plausible cause of the issue and a way to avoid it in the future, thanks.

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On 2020/06/02 at 2:55 AM, Coulomb said:

The trouble is that a lot of damage isn't obvious without a lot of careful examination and testing of resistors and diode voltage drops.

Also, after a massive current surge like that, I'd be suspicious of damaged PCB tracks. While a lot of the high current paths have metal bars to carry the current, some of that current flows through really wide (and hopefully extra thick) PCB tracks. Sometimes you might not notice through-holes that have lost part of their plating, and that can cause weird problems. Any blackened PCB material has to be carefully cleaned, especially around the high voltage parts.

Certainly your best bet would be warranty replacement. Failing that, take Jaco's offer of main board replacement, if he can get the main board for your model. Attempting to repair a board after a massive over-current event like that (note that the MOSFET second from the right in your photo split apart) is a very distant last resort, especially if you're not well equipped (e.g. a desoldering station really helps when you have 16 3-legged MOSFET legs to remove). 

I wasn’t sure which part to quote as it’s all so helpful and informative @Coulomb. I just want to thank you very much for that detailed analysis and advice! I’m still waiting for feedback from the supplier, but will opt for a replacement board from Jaco if they are not coming to the party. Thanks again!

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On 2020/06/02 at 1:06 AM, Jaco de Jongh said:

If you dont come right, please send me clear pictures of any indication numbers on the board. I can get 4 different types of main boards for the Kodak units for between 3 and 4k

Hi Jaco, what should the number look like or do you need all of them?

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Hi Mark,

yes, it is the new Easysolar II GX, it only comes as in a 3 kva, which is more than sufficient for my critical loads, as the non essential loads can be up to 32 amps, based on the transfer switch.

i am putting up eight 355 watt panels for now, have set up pv array structure for up to twelve panels ( 4260 watts ), 

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On 2020/06/08 at 10:52 PM, plonkster said:

Because I've not updated my sig in years... 🙂

I do however have three MPPTs, because I have three strings, and back in the day 2 x 150/35 worked out more cost effective (I already had a big blocky 150/70 for the third array). Also, 24V system, so a 35A controller is only good for 900W. So no particular reason, just worked out that way. I could get away with just two, a 150/70 and a 150/35, but by now I actually have more unused MPPTs lying around. Can't sell them though... occasionally need them to test stuff.

 

I've had this argument too often in the last .... (counts on fingers)... 7 years? To get an idea of what is going on, draw a line around the 15k mark. Put all inverters (that are not complete crap) that are cheaper than 15k below the line, and all those that are more expensive above the line. What you will find is that below the line there is pretty much just one brand (and its rebadged variants), and everything else will be above the line. The voltronic is the odd one out... not the others 🙂

Well, after a month of total radio silence whilst my emails turned from, “I’m so sorry, I know you must be busy”, to, “What could be taking so long when @Coulomb and Plonkster seemed to sum it up with a few grainy photo’s?”

My gentle prompting was swiftly acknowledged with a “quote to repair ‘Kadak’ inverter” in invoice format with a Total of R4,400.00.

I’ve now noticed that the warranty covers repair or replacement as long as installation was according to spec, as one may expect, but any Lithium Battery other than those approved that is installed immediately disqualifies you from a warranty claim.

This is in the warranty slip, but in no other place in the maketing material or installation manual. Oddly, the battery (a Coslight 48100) was working well for 5 weeks with the inverter. It was the arrival of the panels that created the issue.

I don't want to spend another 5k on this inverter. Does the CPA work, in this country? I must need an explanation for receiving a quote instead of a replacement, surely? 

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