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Mecer King - Host of Problems


Lionel Kosny
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We have recently purchased 30x Mecer King's for resale in kits with our own brand of Lithium battery and have flashed all of them with Main CPU 71.94 and Remote Panel 2.49. Some of the units seem to work fine, but here are the major issues we face on the majority of machines:

1. When using the setting LIB, you cannot set ANYTHING remotely related to battery settings, which wouldn't be necessary if the King managed the battery settings correctly, however, the King allows the battery do discharge to 43.2V which is 0.00% SoC on the particular battery we also resell, There is no way to determine/set/program your own high and low cutoffs and when using User Defined vs. Comms Cable, the battery SoC display on the inverter is ALWAYS ALWAYS incorrect. So guess what happens when the Lithium hits 0.00%... The entire system shuts down and the battery goes into sleep mode. Now you have two options, wait 9 hours for the battery to trickle charge and then magically come to life without any warning, or bridge the Lithium with 4x Gels or another lithium, just to wake the King up so it can start charging the flat lithium, EXTREMELY inconvenient

2. When charging using PV power, the inverter charges the battery to 95% SoC, stops charging and will never ever charge the battery again until such a time as you physically reset the inverter, after resetting, it works perfectly until the fault is repeated, this is EXTREMELY inconvenient to clients and should be an automatic process.

3. Our Lithium Batt is completely full (100% SoC) @ 53.4V, however the King would like to push into the 54V range, as soon as the battery hits 53.4V (only achievable through AC Charging) Warning 69 starts flashing indicating the King is being forced to stop when it wants to continue charging, now for us tech freaks this may be nice info te see (obviously if you know what the messages mean), but Clients keep on phoning complaining about an error, which isn't even an error. One should be given the opportunity to switch this function on or off

4. Besides for the normal method of comms, how can we see accurate SOC on the King, but have the power to set the parameters manually? I have been monitoring this forum daily in the hope of a King firmware version 71.95 or something in the hope some of these issues mentioned can be solved?

If I only knew how to write the firmware or to who to speak in order to get these issues addressed, I would be willing to give a lot of time and energy to address these issues.

ANY assistance will be greatly appreciated.

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7 hours ago, Lionel Kosny said:

Some of the units seem to work fine

This is surprising.  I would expect them all to be the same.

Most of the rest of what you write is unsurprising - the King's LiFePo4 integration is primitive and poor.

7 hours ago, Lionel Kosny said:

you cannot set ANYTHING remotely related to battery settings

The good bit is that the King gets the target charge and (I assume) discharge voltages from the BMS.  If you have the ability to sets these in your BMS then you can solve at least some of your problems.

The bad news is that the King is fundamentally designed around lead-acid technology.  That means that it really does everything using voltages rather than BMS reported SOC.  Examples are back-to-grid and back-to-battery settings - you can only set these as voltages (rather than SOC) which is extremely unsuitable for LiFePo4 batteries.

I can think of 3 options:

1. Wait for a firmware fix.  Good luck - Voltronics NEVER release information about any firmware updates, what they contain or when they may appear.

2. Hope that @Coulomb and @weber will release patched firmware that will address some of these issues. (My impression is that they may well release something for eg. the premature float bug, but perhaps not for BMS related functionality?)

3. Install something like ICC (there are also a number of open source options) that essentially controls the inverter based on information obtained from the BMS.  I control my 3 Kings using a single microcontroller and it works very well (the batteries are set to USE mode).  If you use a WiFi enabled microcontroller (eg. ESP8266, ESP32) you can even add wireless management as a nice option.

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5 hours ago, Calvin said:

2. Hope that @Coulomb and @weber will release patched firmware that will address some of these issues.

We do hope to get to the King soon, but BMS functionality is not something we have a great interest in.

I think the ICC option is the best bet, at least in the short term.

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3 hours ago, Coulomb said:

We do hope to get to the King soon, but BMS functionality is not something we have a great interest in.

I think the ICC option is the best bet, at least in the short term.

Hi Coulomb, we have two units running the ICC, it makes no difference to the problem whatsoever, it basically gives remote monitoring as an extra feature. The king and the PIP5048M is the same machine, if you have access to one, you basically have a king, we reflashed our kings with your patched firmware and the BMS is actually working, it's just that we wish we were able to adjust the high and low paramaters so the inverter would actually stop inverting at say 43V and would stop charging @ 52V, is there no way you could do a patch for us?

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On 2021/01/27 at 2:39 AM, Lionel Kosny said:

we wish we were able to adjust the high and low paramaters so the inverter would actually stop inverting at say 43V and would stop charging @ 52V, is there no way you could do a patch for us?

Hmmm. That doesn't sound completely impossible. No promises.

We could either have two new "never ignore" parameters for these, or just have it respect the limits that are already there in EEPROM settings. The latter sounds way easier.

So regardless of what the BMS suggests, if the charge voltage is higher than the bulk/absorb voltage setting, the bulk/absorb setting is used.

Similarly, regardless of what the BMS suggests, if the battery voltage falls below the low DC cutoff voltage setting, the setting takes effect, and the inverter shuts down with a fault code or whatever it normally does. It's just adding a pair of comparisons, by the sound of it.

Does the above sound like it would suit your needs?

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Hi (completely new to this forum) Andrew Deacon - Namibia

I have the Mecer SOL-I-AX-5NB inverter KW 4500V. I live on a farm in Namibia completeley off grid. 3 Inverters 3 fase with 2 X SolaMd 7.4KW batteries. I have had numerous problems of which I read on your forum (premature floating & Over voltage). I upgradedfrom 71.50 firmware to 71.82 - that solved some of the problems. My problem is it does not communicate properly with the battery software as well. Can I try the 71.94 firmware on this inverter?

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7 hours ago, Andrew Namibia said:

I have the Mecer SOL-I-AX-5NB inverter... 

I upgradedfrom 71.50 firmware to 71.82 - that solved some of the problems. My problem is it does not communicate properly with the battery software as well.

This model is equivalent to an Axpert MKS II. This does not have the removable display, and so does not talk to the battery's BMS. All Axpert models that talk to the BMS use the display processor to talk to the BMS. 

Quote

Can I try the 71.94 firmware on this inverter?

NO NO NO!!!

The firmware version numbers are very confusing. 71.94 is a King firmware, and will not work in an MKS II. Worse, there is no sanity check for this combination (if I recall correctly), so you will very likely brick your inverter trying this!

Sorry to be so abrupt on your first post, but I think bricking is bad enough to warrant it. It's not your fault that the version numbers are inconsistent and confusing, or that there is no sanity check in some cases, so don't feel bad. 

Edited by Coulomb
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Thanks Coulomb. Appreciate the help. I have 3 Phocos PSW-H-5KW-230/48V inverters on a different location on the farm running onled acid batteries. Maybe easiest would be to swop the inverters around so that the Mecer runs the led acid and the phocons the BMS Lithium SolarMD batteries?

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On 2021/01/27 at 5:44 PM, Gnome said:

How sure are you that your Lithium battery software is not the problem?

Hi Gnome

All of the faults presenting themselves are inverter related and not battery related, our battery firmware is also custom patched specifically for Voltronix

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On 2021/01/28 at 2:01 PM, Coulomb said:

Hmmm. That doesn't sound completely impossible. No promises.

We could either have two new "never ignore" parameters for these, or just have it respect the limits that are already there in EEPROM settings. The latter sounds way easier.

So regardless of what the BMS suggests, if the charge voltage is higher than the bulk/absorb voltage setting, the bulk/absorb setting is used.

Similarly, regardless of what the BMS suggests, if the battery voltage falls below the low DC cutoff voltage setting, the setting takes effect, and the inverter shuts down with a fault code or whatever it normally does. It's just adding a pair of comparisons, by the sound of it.

Does the above sound like it would suit your needs?

Hi Coulomb

This sounds real good, but the problem is that with 71.94 once you select LiB you are unable to modify any battery settings, so how would one be able to tell the inverter what the low and high cutoffs should be? 

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7 hours ago, Lionel Kosny said:

Hi Gnome

All of the faults presenting themselves are inverter related and not battery related, our battery firmware is also custom patched specifically for Voltronix

I mean reducing variables here;  when using a competitor's Lithium battery product, do you see the same problem?

I would start by reverse engineering their protocol and then simply emulating that protocol.  That way it should work as it does for them?

Edited by Gnome
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Hi @Lionel Kosny

I'm the developer of monitoring software that supports the Mecer King.  We recommend the following to customers that don't have inverter to bms coms: use "User" battery type setting and set your cutoffs as desired (see screenshot below).  Then use our power management as described here: https://solar-assistant.io/help/power_management/axpert

This solution of course requires the monitoring device which might not be ideal for your scenario, but the solution does work very well.  I'll give you a free license if you want to try it out.  In terms of supporting your custom Lithium battery: we support the typical lithium bms protocols you get via the RS232 or RS485 interface.

Alternatively what @Gnome mentioned in principle sounds like it should work to get inverter to bms coms working.

image.thumb.png.4bd18d9d4a0cb11f72d1248594cbb777.png  

Edited by Solar Assistant
language correction
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9 hours ago, Gnome said:

I mean reducing variables here;  when using a competitor's Lithium battery product, do you see the same problem?

I would start by reverse engineering their protocol and then simply emulating that protocol.  That way it should work as it does for them?

Hi Gnome

Thank you for this tip, This is exactly what I have been thinking of, but the problem is that my knowledge of actually editing firmware and tweaking values / creating a patch is little to zero, so even if I managed to find the exact cause of our particular issue, I would not know how to translate that into an actual firmware update and unfortunately the nature of our "customer solution" specifically requires an "automated approach", which means that the systems we sell are supposed to be "plug and play" without any issues, hence, the comms between battery and inverter must be flawless. I have actually received a full protocol breakdown from our battery manufacturer, which according to them should be translated to firmware by the inverter manufacturer, but I am unable to find somebody at Voltronix to actually write the firmware for us, if I only knew how to write the firmware myself, I am almost certain the problem would be solved. We have recently acquired a new model, the Mecer 7.2kW Max and would like to launch this product as another kit option with our batteries and to date, I have not even been able to get them to communicate with each-other, let alone, issue free. Any advice or knowledge that could send me in the right direction so I can learn how to write my own firmware will be immensely appreciated. 

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6 hours ago, Solar Assistant said:

Hi @Lionel Kosny

I'm the developer of monitoring software that supports the Mecer King.  We recommend the following to customers that don't have inverter to bms coms: use "User" battery type setting and set your cutoffs as desired (see screenshot below).  Then use our power management as described here: https://solar-assistant.io/help/power_management/axpert

This solution of course requires the monitoring device which might not be ideal for your scenario, but the solution does work very well.  I'll give you a free license if you want to try it out.  In terms of supporting your custom Lithium battery: we support the typical lithium bms protocols you get via the RS232 or RS485 interface.

Alternatively what @Gnome mentioned in principle sounds like it should work to get inverter to bms coms working.

image.thumb.png.4bd18d9d4a0cb11f72d1248594cbb777.png  

Hello Solar Assistant

This is amazing! Thank you so much for this piece of advice.

I have a raspberry pi with me, currently it is called an ICC controller and I have managed to get the unit communicating with both batt and inverter but it does not address any of the problems mentioned. It would appear that your solution would mean inserting a brand new 16GB SD Card and forgetting the ICC software and running your Solar Assistent software instead, which is specifically designed for the King and the Max (our two problem products). You have no idea how much this solution will help us out, if it does work as you say. The idea is to set everything up beforehand for the clients so that they literally just plug the setup in and everything works like it should, hence if it means we have to set up these units beforehand and sell them pre"flashed" with your product on, that would be perfect. Please do contact me at [email protected] and I will more than gladly be willing to try this as a solution. If this does solve our problem, we will be willing to pay licence fees on each and every unit we sell, provided that the fee is reasonable (South African renewables market is cutthroat unfortunately). 

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On 2021/02/02 at 10:28 PM, Lionel Kosny said:

Hi Coulomb

This sounds real good, but the problem is that with 71.94 once you select LiB you are unable to modify any battery settings, so how would one be able to tell the inverter what the low and high cutoffs should be? 

Good point. I'd have to re-enable the editing of those settings, another small patch. No big deal. I'd also have to patch commands that modify settings (e.g. PSDV to set the low DC cutoff voltage) to work even if the battery type isn't USER. Only a handful of minor patches, though they do tend to add up. So something like this will likely have to wait until I have a King in hand. I'm nearly ready to order one anyway. 

The change would be for all BMS direct connection protocols, not just LiB or PylonTech. If you didn't want this change for whatever reason, just set the limits very high or low so that they have no real effect.

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On 2021/02/03 at 8:19 AM, Solar Assistant said:

Hi @Lionel Kosny

I'm the developer of monitoring software that supports the Mecer King.  We recommend the following to customers that don't have inverter to bms coms: use "User" battery type setting and set your cutoffs as desired (see screenshot below). 

image.thumb.png.4bd18d9d4a0cb11f72d1248594cbb777.png  

Why do you recommend these really high battery voltage settings, of 53.2 V? I know that these are the values recommended by the manufacturers, but they want their batteries to appear to perform better in the short term. The problem is that all the BMSs have to disconnect the battery at 54.0 V (3.60 VPC for 15S LFP), and that's less than one volt over the set point. Axperts just aren't that good at hitting their targets, so over a volt of overshoot is common. This can cause issues.

The consensus of forum readers seems to have converged on 52.5 V max (absorb) and 51.8 V (float voltage; less time at high battery voltage leads to longer battery life). Similarly, to-grid and back-to-battery voltages converge to 48 and 51 V respectively. Though back to battery could be reduced to 50 V if the battery is large (>7 kWh), and the user prefers to minimise utility energy usage.

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16 hours ago, Coulomb said:

Why do you recommend these really high battery voltage settings, of 53.2 V? I know that these are the values recommended by the manufacturers, but they want their batteries to appear to perform better in the short term. The problem is that all the BMSs have to disconnect the battery at 54.0 V (3.60 VPC for 15S LFP), and that's less than one volt over the set point. Axperts just aren't that good at hitting their targets, so over a volt of overshoot is common. This can cause issues.

The consensus of forum readers seems to have converged on 52.5 V max (absorb) and 51.8 V (float voltage; less time at high battery voltage leads to longer battery life). Similarly, to-grid and back-to-battery voltages converge to 48 and 51 V respectively. Though back to battery could be reduced to 50 V if the battery is large (>7 kWh), and the user prefers to minimise utility energy usage.

Hi @coulomb, just to be clear: we don't recommend specific charge/cutoff voltage settings, we only recommend setting battery type "User" with values filled into the charge/cutoff voltage settings as desired by the user/installer.  I agree your recommendations are better than what is configured in the screenshot I posted.

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On 2021/02/03 at 6:55 AM, Lionel Kosny said:

Hi Gnome

Thank you for this tip, This is exactly what I have been thinking of, but the problem is that my knowledge of actually editing firmware and tweaking values / creating a patch is little to zero, so even if I managed to find the exact cause of our particular issue, I would not know how to translate that into an actual firmware update and unfortunately the nature of our "customer solution" specifically requires an "automated approach", which means that the systems we sell are supposed to be "plug and play" without any issues, hence, the comms between battery and inverter must be flawless. I have actually received a full protocol breakdown from our battery manufacturer, which according to them should be translated to firmware by the inverter manufacturer, but I am unable to find somebody at Voltronix to actually write the firmware for us, if I only knew how to write the firmware myself, I am almost certain the problem would be solved. We have recently acquired a new model, the Mecer 7.2kW Max and would like to launch this product as another kit option with our batteries and to date, I have not even been able to get them to communicate with each-other, let alone, issue free. Any advice or knowledge that could send me in the right direction so I can learn how to write my own firmware will be immensely appreciated. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is.  Connected something like the Pylon battery to an Axpert King with it set to PYL.  Then capture what communication is happening between the BMS and the Inverter.  Then simply do the same thing as they are doing with your own battery parameters.

Forget about help from Voltronic or a modified firmware.  If you want it working, then you'll need to basically clone the Pylon hardware communication protocol as they do it.  That way if Voltronic does something that updates their firmware, you are support because Pylon is supported.

Edited by Gnome
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  • 2 months later...
On 2021/01/26 at 4:58 PM, Calvin said:

2. Hope that @Coulomb and @weber will release patched firmware that will address some of these issues. (My impression is that they may well release something for eg. the premature float bug, but perhaps not for BMS related functionality?)

We have already released patched firmware for the King which fixes the premature float bug (and nothing else). That's presumably what Lionel is referring to below. It can be found here:

https://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?p=76178#p76178

On 2021/01/27 at 2:39 AM, Lionel Kosny said:

The king and the PIP5048M is the same machine, if you have access to one, you basically have a king, we reflashed our kings with your patched firmware ...

I assume you meant to write "PIP-5048MK". Yes, Coulomb recently obtained one, and we plan to start porting more of our PIP-5048MS patches to it in a few weeks time.

Edited by weber
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On 2021/04/09 at 12:48 AM, weber said:

I assume you meant to write "PIP-5048MK". Yes, Coulomb recently obtained one, and we plan to start porting more of our PIP-5048MS patches to it in a few weeks time.

Looking forward to this, thanks!

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