AGS settings for Outback FM60

BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
I need to know which setting is incorrect. When charging with the generator through the FM60 after approx 1 hr the generator charger stops and the Mate reads "Silent" and the solar charger goes back to "bulk". I have to stop the generator and restart it so that it can finish it's absorbing and go to float.
I'm assuming it's a setting, but after going over and over the Outback encyclopedia I cannot find an explanation for this?!
Thanx as always for your help.
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    "Silent" sounds like a time of day setting (for example: generator operation prohibited between 10pm and 8am).

    Either the "clock" or the "quiet time" settings need looking at?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Whoa.
    I hope you do not mean "charging with the generator through the FM60" because the generator does not go through the FM60. Only the solar panels do.

    Generator feeds AC In on an FX inverter. MATE needs to be used to program CHARGER parameters to be identical to those in FM60. If the generator is connected via autostart function then there's a ton of additional generator parameters to set, including RUN times/SILENT times.

    I'm a tad fuzzy from medication at the moment but it sounds like the gen run time is being stopped due to one of the following: incorrect V set point, short run time setting, clock time stoppage. Start with the charging parameters and make sure they are identical.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    It does read that way - sorry. Charging with generator through the FX - monitoring with the Mate and FM.
    Absorb and float setpoints are the same for solar and generator. I will ck the clock, but I'm fairly sure it's correct. Should I be using just voltage settings or amp settings too?
    Setting the clock on the mate is the only clock, or are there others internally in the FX apart from the Mate. Mate is lord of all, yes?
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    OK. All the set points appear to be fine. Maybe the following has an effect on this situation:
    The generator initially has to be fired manually at the generator as it is still gas and has to be choked. It charges nicely raises the voltage to absorb quite quickly. It never gets to finish the absorb cycle as the inverter/mate/cc-who knows? disconnects the inverter charger, leaves AC flowing through to the house and puts the solar system back in bulk. So it gets turned off manually at the generator.
    Now that the generator is good and warmed up it is possible to fire it with the Mate manually until float, which is not too long now as it was almost there before.
    I don't know why the FX charger drops charging. Is that a run time setting somewhere?

    BTW 'tis the season so I hope the fuzziness from the meds comes from something with ice floating in it?! LOL
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Disconnect the autogen start and see if the gen can operate through a full charge cycle when started manually.

    I suspect the timer is programmed incorrectly, causing it to either shut down quickly (gen run limit) or encountering forced 'silent' time (when the AGS is forbidden to run) while you're trying to run it. In other words a conflict between manual and auto run. Probably somewhere on my list of reasons not to use AGS.

    Unfortunately the meds are nothing enjoyable at all. :cry: Naproxyn for euchred back.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    OK, I'll try that on next generator runtime - probably tomorrow as clouds and rain are forecast (unusual for down here)

    Why do you not approve of AGS? Seems to me it helps to round out a solar system and keep the batteries topped off.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Probably just a huge mix of anything that can go wrong will go wrong. To make a system that is self monitoring/remotely monitored with multiple levels of fail safes is a huge amount of effort and cost.

    I designed some systems with redundant circuit packs, fans, power supplies, battery power, etc... And even my "simple" designs add hugely to the cost and complexity. And there was always the issue of "knowing" that the standby hardware was actually still functional without having to swap it over and put it into service.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60
    BajaSun wrote: »
    OK, I'll try that on next generator runtime - probably tomorrow as clouds and rain are forecast (unusual for down here)

    Why do you not approve of AGS? Seems to me it helps to round out a solar system and keep the batteries topped off.

    Short version: How well is yours working? :p

    It isn't a matter of 'approval', more of 'recommendation'. Most small systems will be more dependable and less hassle if you stick with manual start. For instance you need to set and remove the choke manually on yours. Not exactly "automatic" in that respect, is it?

    The bigger the system, the more practical it becomes (especially if there is no one to attend the generator). AGS is not exactly simple even on the smallest system. And it can become incredibly complex; you could have a logic board checking everything including fuel level and ambient temperature as well as battery SOC and load demand and have it adjust variables to suit. More complexity = more things that can go wrong. If you read through the numerous threads about AGS on this forum you'll see that is born out.

    It can be a real pain in the anatomy to get these things to work right.
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Which devices aux relay are you using to switch the AGS?
    The Outback system allows you to use the FM or the FX but they operate somewhat differently.

    It is best to use the AUX relay in the FX (inverter) for AGS function.

    I suggest that you set the FXs (inverter) absorb time longer than the FM (charge controller) so running the generator will not disable the solar charging. You may be able to get more efficient use of your generator fuel this way too.

    There is sometimes a problem when using one timed device to run the AGS and another timed (or finish amps) device for charging.

    ~Alex
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    I'm not actually using the AGS as such yet as the propane conversion kit has not yet been installed on the generator. However, the relay is installed on the generator and goes through a control unit from gencontrol which is a great little unit, so the generator can be started from the Mate (once it has been previously warmed up, not requiring choke) through the FX.
    Generator is 50 mters away from Solar equipment for noise reasons and storage space - it is planned to be on AGS or started through the Mate manually as if you've ever been in a hurricane (happens a lot down here) the last thing you want to do is head out in high winds, driving rain etc to fire the generator.
    So yes, small system, likely more complicated than needed - but a fascinating project and a real test in patience! Also, with room for expansion and all set up ready to go....hah!
    After investing in 400AH AGM's earlier in the year, I want to keep them up to par and even knowing we are in the shortest daylight times right now, I'm upset when I see the low battery light on every am when there is only a small aquarium pump that runs 24/7, "Baja Midnight" - which means lights out and in bed by 9.30pm after using only maybe 4 fluorescent bulbs and two strings of Xmas tree lights, usually enough sun by 8am in the morning to at least start charging.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    :confused: 400 Amp hours at what Voltage? My "200 Amp hour" 24 Volt system doesn't go to "low Voltage" over night running a refrigerator and lights. Charging is usually gone by 4 PM even in Summer. And I have the LVD set to system nominal. You must be getting more daylight hours than we do in Winter. I'd suspect the Absorb time isn't long enough (default value is 2 hours - it is better to run it up to 4 and set the Absorb End Amps on the FM60).
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60
    :confused: 400 Amp hours at what Voltage?
    24V, 2 banks

    My "200 Amp hour" 24 Volt system doesn't go to "low Voltage" over night running a refrigerator and lights. Charging is usually gone by 4 PM even in Summer. And I have the LVD set to system nominal. You must be getting more daylight hours than we do in Winter. I'd suspect the Absorb time isn't long enough (default value is 2 hours - it is better to run it up to 4 and set the Absorb End Amps on the FM60).

    I'm only set for 1 hr absorb - can't remember where that came from. Now I'm worried as it's been this way since battery purcahase almost a year ago. Can I save this situation? If I equalise for the suggested 8 hrs and then reset absorb to 4 hrs will these batteries work correctly? Gosh, hope so......
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    BTW not having much sun today, battery charge dropped off so I tried the generator disconnected from AGS and the FX dropped charging again after approx. 1 hr.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Two planets align:
    I'm only set for 1 hr absorb
    FX dropped charging again after approx. 1 hr

    That sounds very much like batteries that are going through Bulk rapidly, hitting Absorb, and then the Absorb stops after 1 hour because that's all the time there is on the clock.

    The resting Voltage on these is bound to be low, as it surely sounds like they are not spending enough time in Absorb. If this has been standard practice for a year, they could be in trouble. I personally am not keen on EQ for AGM's, but I do think you need to lengthen that Absorb time out. Do you have any idea what the charge current is when the FX drops the generator? It will read in Amps AC (annoying) and has to be converted to the approximate DC equivalent according to system Voltage: 12 Volt multiply by 10, 24 Volt multiply by 5, 48 Volt multiply by 2.5 to get near the DC Amps. You should be seeing around 4 to 6 Amps DC when Absorb is done (regardless of system Voltage) about 1% to 2% of the battery capacity. My guess is it is ending long before the current reduces that far.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Which screen would I find the Amps AC when FX drops the generator?
    Should I equalize for 8 hrs as recommended then adjust absorb time?
    Absorb time of 2 or 4 hours?

    Won't equalizing adjust the batterie's memory somewhat especially as the "low battery" condition has been only recently and all year the batteries have usually floated by 10.30am with only the one hour absorb time?

    Thanx.....
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    this doc is from C&D and will give you great insight to what is happening inside those AGM's, especially if you try an EQ...

    http://www.cdtechno.com/pdf/ref/41_2128_0212.pdf

    enjoy...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Interesting article, yes. If I read it correctly it says not to "equalize" VRLA batteries at more than 2.40V per cell ie for a 24V system 28.8V maximum. Even if the manufacturer (Lifeline) says to use 31V for 8 hrs, it's more of a quick fix. So as Cariboocoot says, increase absorb time and it should get better?

    However, has damage been done or can it be "restored" with more absorb time?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60
    BajaSun wrote: »
    Which screen would I find the Amps AC when FX drops the generator?

    The 'SUMMARY' screen on the MATE shows charge Amps, Load Amps, and total Amps. You have to watch it while charging to see how low charge Amps goes.
    Should I equalize for 8 hrs as recommended then adjust absorb time?

    Who recommended equalizing AGM's? Unless it is the company that made them, don't do it. If it is, follow their instructions to the letter if you do. I still wouldn't. EQ is higher Voltage charging than normal Absorb set point, and as a rule AGM's do not take kindly to high Voltage charging.
    Absorb time of 2 or 4 hours?

    Max it out to 4 hours, watch the current. If it drops below 2% before that you can cut the time down to the nearest hour (as in within 3 hours set Absorb time to 3 hours max).
    Won't equalizing adjust the batterie's memory somewhat especially as the "low battery" condition has been only recently and all year the batteries have usually floated by 10.30am with only the one hour absorb time?

    Lead acid batteries do not have a "memory". They do need a long enough time in Absorb to finish charging properly. Reducing the math to the lowest point (engineers please do not groan):

    400 Amp hours discharged 25% means 100 Amp hours needs to be "replaced". 80% will be "put back" during Bulk charging stage. That last 20 Amp hours comes from Absorb. In order to do that in 1 hour the current would have to average 20 Amps. It is doubtful that this would be the case.

    That is an extreme over-simplification which ignores things like the Peukart factor, temperature compensation, system efficiency, current going to loads while charging, et cetera. But you get the idea I hope.

    This problem has only showed up recently because it takes time for the symptoms of chronic deficit charging to appear. You start out with a 100% battery and use some small percentage of its capacity, but don't "put it all back" with every charge. Slowly the total capacity goes down. You still use the same small amount of power, but eventually those Amp hours aren't being "taken off the top", they are being taken from a battery that now has only 70% of its original capacity. So now the power drops the battery down into the "low" zone. To extend the example:

    That 100 Amp hours from 400 is 25%. If it's not all put back the 400 is now 320, and the same 100 Amp hours used becomes 31.25%. If this continues the battery capacity goes down more. Now it's 256 Amp hours and the 100 Amp hours used is 39% of the remaining capacity. And so on until the power used exceeds 50% of the remaining capacity and the batteries stand no chance of recovery.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    OK. What a bummer to find this out at this stage after investing a lot of money into the new batteries.

    Can they come back with increased absorb time, or by equalizing as is suggested to be OK by the manufacturer?

    I realize you should say "ask the manufacturer" - but surely they're bound to say "yes".....

    They say to equalize at 31V for 8 hrs - the article suggested by westbranch says basically to not equalize VRLA's..... confusing, yes?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    The people that made the things have the final say. :p If they say their AGM's can be EQ'ed, then it can be done.

    Problems:
    The batteries could vent, losing some of the little acid they contain. This is unrecoverable.
    You can not check the SG on a sealed battery, so there is no way to judge if the EQ is doing any good. You can only try it and see if the charge lasts longer.
    Eight hours is a very long time for any battery to be held at high charge Voltage. This would fry most FLA's in fact. I think I'd try a few days of longer Absorb first, and if no improvement in performance is seen go for the EQ (albeit perhaps shorter time).

    This is why we continually suggest buying the cheap golf cart batteries to begin with; it is so easy to wreck a set of batteries.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Tomorrow I will try a 3hr absorb and see what happens. It's likely to be by generator anyway as it just sprinkled which indicates a rainy/bad solar day mañana! Still have to figure out why the FX drops the charger tho'......
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 1,012 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60
    BajaSun wrote: »
    Tomorrow I will try a 3hr absorb and see what happens. It's likely to be by generator anyway as it just sprinkled which indicates a rainy/bad solar day mañana! Still have to figure out why the FX drops the charger tho'......

    Did you check the absorb time adjustment for the FX ??

    It may be that the generator/FX was keeping the FM60 solar charge above its absorb voltage set point and it turned off while the FX and generator were keeping the battery voltage up
    during that time. Then, when the generators stopped, the voltage fell below the FM's set point and it continued its bulk/absorb (?)

    BTW, there was an OB "silent" mode which simply meant that the system was waiting for the battery voltage to drop naturally from absorb to just below float voltage before it would
    start the Float stage, but this context may very well be a generator silent period. Not sure about that.

    No fuzzy brain drugs here... Just fuzzy recollections from years past...

    boB
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Along the lines of boB's statement, if you have a RTS on the FM but not the FX (or vice-versa) that will throw the V set point off between the two. Id est, they won't agree on Voltage at any given time.

    One thing at a time; save the batteries first, if possible.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Some information from Concorde on their AGM Lifeline battery line (they do allow higher voltage equalization fro their battery line--Not recommended for other mfg's AGM lines):
    BB. wrote: »
    Here is a thread how one company (Concorde) recommends to "recover" their AGMs... Not supposed to apply to any other brands of AGMs:

    Sulfated Lifeline Concorde AGM Batteries

    And here is a great thread from DapDan with information on how one place recommends to restore AGM batteries (new catalyst caps, adding water to cell, etc.):

    Low rest voltage on GNB absolyte IIP cells

    In the end, trying to do "extreme" things to batteries should be done in a safe area and always under some sort of supervision/monitoring (don't want to overheat the cells and blow acid around) and performed while wearing appropriate safety gear/gloves/face shield/water/hose/baking soda nearby/etc.).

    And--if the cells are otherwise scrap--if you can try some of the above things (if done safely)--you are not loosing much anyway.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    I am absorbing for two hours today. However with no sun, it's going to be hard to keep the batteries floating.
    If these were flooded acid, I wouldn't hesitate to equalize them as they are definitely showing signs of stress after only a year. I've been on solar for fourteen years "graduating" from T 105's to Surrete 460's and now to what I was thinking king of the batteries with AGM's! So I'm actually very disappointed in performance so far and appreciate all the help I'm receiving from the forum.
    I'd like an honest opinion from you all - if the manufacturer says it's OK to equalize 8 hrs at 31V, would you do it?
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    If they were mine, I'd do a EQ on them 1 hour a day for 8 days. You should be able to tell after a day or two if your doing them any good by the ending Voltage if your overnight loads are fairly constant. The Voltage should be higher in the morning. With AGM's thats a load test of sorts.

    Remember a EQ really doesn't start until you get the voltage and Current to stabilize, it could take the first two hrs for that to happen. I use a Variable Power supply to EQ batteries, with a DVM on the battery, a 12 V battery will take as much as 16.5 v from the supply to maintain 15.5 V at the battery. One never knows what voltage the batteries is getting unless you check. You should only EQ a fully charged battery.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Ditto. An hour a day for 8 days is preferable over 8 hours straight in my book.

    But it's not an EQ unless the batteries are charged to begin with. Even 2 hours on Absorb may be too short. Unlike with flooded cells, you aren't going to lose water on a long Absorb with AGM's.

    And when you do an EQ on an AGM, watch it carefully for Voltage, temperature, and any signs (sounds) of the vent opening up. No matter who made it, those are all potential problems.
  • BajaSunBajaSun Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    OK, now I'm feeling a little better about it.
    Float setpoint is 26.6 and we're holding steady at around 25.5 at the moment back in bulk with very little sun.
    Would it be better to bring the batteries up again today or wait for a cycle tomorrow and hope for some sun which would normally keep me floating?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    Bring them up every day. Run the gen for two or three hours at least to Bulk charge and do at least some of the Absorb. In fact, run the gen all day and take them through at least one full charge cycle every three days. These batteries have been chronically deficit charged, so you have a choice of trying to save them by burning a lot of gasoline or else buying new batteries well before you'd like to.

    Take advantage of the generator's ability to ensure Bulk charging and hope the panels can provide the finish.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: AGS settings for Outback FM60

    I would not EQ at the start.

    There is probably a range to Absorb at, use the top of the range. Once you see the performance stabilize you can try backing down a bit, monitoring performance all the while.

    What is the max Absorb time for those batteries? If you are not at it, work your way up to that or beyond before EQing.

    You need to get to a stable point (V) , at least 3 hours after charging has stopped. Once you are there then cautiously attempt a small EQ 1 HR? Remember the part in that doc about heating...

    hth
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
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