Trace SW5548 - Control panel issue - need help

OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
Hey All, I just acquired a Trace SW5548 and I did test it and it does invert with good power.  I want to use it, However some of the control panel buttons do not work - meaning they produce no effect when pushed.  Because of this, I cannot get into the settings menu of the system.  I need to access the settings menu because I have special batteries that require special settings.  Indeed, they are Chevy Volt Lithium batteries, 6S with a high voltage of 50.4 and a low voltage of 36.  I know that the SW5548 can be programmed to have a low cutout of 36 volts - and I need to do this in order to access the full capacity of the battery.

Before I take the panel off, I'm hoping someone here can offer some experienced guidance on how to clean it and hopefully repair it.  I don't want to mess it up!

Any suggestions or insight is highly appreciated.  Thanks!

Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭✭
    Not sure if this is your problem but the setup menu buttons are seperate from the user menu buttons, to avoid tampering, the red and green buttons need to be pressed together once to access the setup menu. See page 33 of attached manual.
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Indeed.  The Green button produces no effect.  When I press them together, nothing happens.  The Red button works.  In fact it seems like the "up" buttons for both menu / adjustments don't work either.  I'm guessing they've got very little action in their past life.  The "down" buttons seem to work fine.

    Weird?  I just don't know.  But again, I would like to get these buttons working.

    thanks!
  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭✭
    You could try using contact cleaner on the buttons, logic membrane buttons sometimes need cleaning, not sure what you have,  only going by the manual, cleaning is the only solution I can think of, obviously this is a used component since it's obsolete,, perhaps this will solve the problem, who knows.

      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,203 ✭✭✭✭
    That is a huge range for lithium batteries, be sure of a couple things, that they have that range and that you are leaving the last 20%. Lithium doen't recover well when the last 20% is used, or that is my understanding from info on this forum.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    There was a shop in San Diego that Downwind Marine used for repairs. You definitely will not be able to clean this type of switch/control and need to replace from a scavenged unit.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Yes, these lithium's do have a nice range.  I believe it's 2.65 at the low end and 4.15 at the high end per cell.  The modules are 12S (Oh, I just realized I said 6S in my first post - my mistake.... thinking 24v but no, these are 48v nominal).  So 12S x 4v at the top end would be 48v.  12 x 3 at the low end would be 36v giving a nice little margine.  But I'm not sure what 20% would be... maybe I'll set the low end up a little to perhaps 38v. 

    So cleaning the buttons.. Yes.  That's what I was thinking.  Some kind of solvent?  Any ideas what would be a good solvent to use?  I was reading about using Baking Soda paste.  I want to be very careful with this and bring this thing back to life....  Anything to watch out for when opening the body?

    thanks again...

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    If the control module is , in fact, shot you might keep an eye on ebay these parts come up for sale from time to time. There is also an inverter repair person who lists on ebay who may be able to help you out right away, if needed.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    thanks - I saw that repair person on Ebay once but not recently.  Yes I thought that would be a good possibility.  Also, I am wondering if I could find a SWRC, would that be able to take it's place?  Is the control panel actually a SWRC mounted to the unit???
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 17 #10
    Ocean said:  Is the control panel actually a SWRC mounted to the unit???
    They sure look like it. Just did some surfing, looking for info for you. no luck at the moment. There's tons of these inverters out there. you're bound to find what you need with some persistence. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    thanks!  I was wondering about the SWRC because, I also have a Trace PowerStation 2524, which as I understand it is basically a SW2524 without the programming controls... but if I had a SWRC I could program that as well.  It would be nice to have an SWRC that could control both units (PS2524 and SW5548) - knowing I simply unplug from one and move it to the other.  Is that possible???
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 18 #12
    Fading memory but the Xantrex SW+ was able to do this but I don't think the Trace did without a working display/control bd. Is it just the up/down switch or internal prob on its pcb? and since you don't know that....Probably many of the people selling these old units don't know either.

    Many of the Lithium batteries can be damaged or lives shortened by too much current. Using old gear seems to be an unwise choice to me.
    The new gear logs 7 days of charging or more with an SD card and can be current limited.

    There is a reason that this has gone to non support mode for 15+ years now. Certainly offgrid people who depend on the unit better have complete spares.  It really is time to be realistic. Some of the prices for this old Trace gear is more than a current CSW 4048 with warranty.
    It is why the store is here right :)  
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    Looks like these guys might know or help. I was happy to see the link still worked.
    http://www.jbinverters.com/location/

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Thanks Dave... well, indeed I wouldn't spend the ebay price for such an old thing - but I got mine for $100 so I think it's worth trying.  I couldn't even afford a new unit right now.  I guess I will just remove the keypad and try cleaning it up / under the keys.  Not sure how the buttons work but I will just have to investigate.  Wish I knew the best solvent to use for cleaning the PCB... something not $50 for a can.  My PS2524 works well and I was hoping to be able to use the control panel from the SW5548 to program the PS2524... although it's not truly necessary.

    The lithiums I have are from a chevy volt so I think they can handle a punch.  Especially since it will be a 16 or 20kWh pack wired up in parallel (each of 10 x 2kWh units (48v nominal each) wired in parallel)... I mean, they were once moving a car - and all in series at that time (albiet @300v).  Each 2kWh unit is 47Ah.

    Besides, I have no intention of charging with a generator unless I can really control it.

    I've read through some of the other threads on the Trace gear, so I'm learning.  I really like the idea of keeping old equipment going as long as it remains solid.  It feels to me like Classic Cars - they way they used to make them - built to last and solid as a rock.  I believe in that philosophy but I think it's a philosophy rarely practiced by the industry.  Who makes gear like that anymore?  I don't have a great feeling about Schneider / Xantrex nowadays... but I do like Outback... and I hear Magnum is pretty good.  

    I'd love to get this Trace operating like new.  Again, anybody's insight is greatly appreciated.

    thanks!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 7,249 ✭✭✭✭
    Ocean said:
    ........
    So cleaning the buttons.. Yes.  That's what I was thinking.  Some kind of solvent?  Any ideas what would be a good solvent to use?  I was reading about using Baking Soda paste.  I want to be very careful with this and bring this thing back to life....  Anything to watch out for when opening the body?
    NOOOO !!!   You will destroy any contacts with baking soda paste, you will never get it out.

     You want electrical contact cleaner.  Automotive parts stores carry it.  Plastic safe, very flammable, about $12 for a 8 oz spray can.  Works on old potentiometers , the overdrive switch on my transmission stalk.
    It may remove the adhesive on the membrane switch overlay, but rubber or contact cement would fix that back afterwards

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    thank you Mike for the warning!
  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    So eventually I talked with a guy in San Diego with Mark Snyder Electric (found his link in another SW Thread).  He was very cool and gave me some good advice on cleaning the buttons - besides being extremely careful with the board as I work on it... and this is what I did:

    Remove the cover of the unit and remove the control board - turned out to be fairly simple and easy.  Took it inside and began inspecting it.  

    I found that I could do a continuity check of the buttons by accessing the pins on the back of the CB..  Many had no continuity when pressed - which confirmed my suspicion that the issue lies first in the buttons - since some had worked while others did not... namely the "up" arrows and the "Gen" red button did not work - those which might have hardly been used by the last owner.   But I will say that the continuity was shifty on all of the buttons, so I did them all.

    Looking closely at the buttons, I could see how the button itself sits in a cage.  He said to carefully pry out the buttons.  So I pulled out a very sharp dental tool, and began working the buttons out of their cage.  To my surprise they came up without too much hassle.  The plastic button has four stems that fit down the sides of the cage and press out against them.  They are springlike with a catch at the bottom (much like the keeper of an automotive plug) - holding tension outward under a recess within the cage wall - keepers if you will - keeping the button in place.  Working the button up from both sides seemed to work well.

    Once the button is removed, a metal sheet is revealed.  It is convex - pointing up.  this provides the "button action" (like the lid of a glass juice bottle - pops up when you open it - then you can "press it like a button").  Under the sheet is two contacts - one at the center and one at the corner.   I could see some kind of build up / corrosion on some of the contacts.  I cleaned all the contacts by *carefully* shining them up with a very small / very fine wire brush attachment to my rotary tool (dremel style).  Then I used a little electrical parts cleaner - as was suggested I found it at the auto parts store - WD-40 brand for $10 bucks!. (I like WD)

    A couple of the metal sheets had corrosion on the edges - which I think may have been a real issue since the "corner contact" touches the metal sheet on the actual edge of the sheet due to the convex shape.  Pressing the button shorts the two contacts under the metal sheet- the metal sheet itself being the conductor.

    Anyways, after re-assembling them (gently working the buttons back into their seats) - I tested again with my multimeter in "continuity check" mode - and I found them to work just fine!  Can't wait to re-assemble the board to the unit and test... going to be a couple days tho.

    Also I would note: there was discoloration of the copper lines on the top of the board, but not underneath - the bottom was very clean.  I was able to check continuity of a discolored line I found between two pins - and it was good... so I guess the discoloration is not an issue at this time.

    Cheers!
    -Ocean


  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Today I re-installed the control panel and turned it on - Success!  All buttons work and I can access the settings menu by pressing the Power + Gen keys at the same time.

    Now the bad news.... As I was re-installing the control panel, I was looking closely at the FET board underneath, and I found a burned spot.

    I got this unit from someone who got it from someone else... so I don't know the history.

    The burn spot is located at the end of the board farthest from the DC supply.  It appears that the very last FET may be damaged, along with it's resistor, on the POS side of the board (nearest the transformers).  There is a heavy wire coming up from that location on the FET board, leading to a junction, leading to the smallest transformer.  That wire is burned at the board.  In fact two such wires may be burned.  One certainly.

    Given all that, the Inverter still works.  Talking again with a guy at Mark Snyder Electric, he basically said this damage was the result of heavy loading / overload, and even though it still works, I should limit my use to about 4kva - roughly 2/3'rds of it's rated capacity.

    I'm ok with this, although I'd really love to find another FET board for this old (2001) SW5548.

    Anybody with any ideas???

    cheers!
    -Ocean
  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭✭
    Good to hear the control panel is working, but realistically the life expectancy has passed for the ballance of the components, 10 years is normal, 16 years is exceptional, light on the throttle and prepare for a new replacement, borrowed time comes to mind, I do understand wanting to extend the life as long as possible, but everything dies sooner or later, even us. :(
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    I found the Trace/Xantrex inverter repair place that carries parts for Trace  SW series inverters. Not sure if I can post their website here. If not is there another way to send the info? PM or email?

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Yes, feel free to post link/repair center information.

    Also we have an old list of various repair facilities:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/discussion/comment/241766#Comment_241766

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Bill.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
      Ocean, Here's the inverter repair site that may be able to supply boards for Trace SW inverters. If you are going to pursue further repair and they are able to help you. It would be good to hear about your experience.

    http://www.tekrispower.com/About-Us.html

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    I see they are in your list of repair centers already. Good to know.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • OceanOcean Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Thank you Littleharbor!  I will check that out..
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    You're welcome. I was online with them today so info I received regarding trace components is current. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • soloronesolorone Solar Expert Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    Ocean said:
    thanks - I saw that repair person on Ebay once but not recently.  Yes I thought that would be a good possibility.  Also, I am wondering if I could find a SWRC, would that be able to take it's place?  Is the control panel actually a SWRC mounted to the unit???

    I get several Ebay notices a month of his posted sales, he is still busy.
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